Bossier citizens reacted to the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 as did the rest of the United States—with horror.
That horror is evidenced by a front page editorial in the December 11, 1941 issue of the Bossier Banner.
“War for all of us has come as was long ago foreseen and forecast by observant people here in the United States. Following a sneak attack by Japanese planes on the Hawaiian and Philippine Islands and other Pacific Ocean possessions at an early hour Sunday morning—an attack that was in no manner heralded or even suspected and for which there was no sane reason. Monday morning President Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war against Japan. That action quickly followed.”
“The losses to the United States in the unsuspected early Sunday morning attack were reported as 1500 dead and 1500 wounded, two battleships and several destroyers sunk and damage to many airplanes. But there are claims by the [Japanese] and likely can be revised as the facts become known.”
“The treacherousness of the attack is reflected when we consider that a [Japanese] peace emissary was in Washington in conference with government authorities presumably seeking out a course for the two governments that would smooth out all differences and redound to lasting peace in the Pacific. And at the same time the faithful [Japanese] subjects back home were as faithfully carrying out all preparations for their dastardly attack and entered into it.”
“But, while there was considerable loss of both life and property as a result of the attack by the Orientals, it is well that it came in the manner it did. Thus do all of us become of one mind, thus do we become united as never before, thus do we have presently but a single purpose and thus is the isolationist completely wiped out. He is now at the side of your soldier son, pitchfork in and side arms in belt.”
“It is likely the Japanese people know in advance they cannot win in a war against the United
States, especially with Great Britain, Russia, China and other formidable forces on our side. So the natural conclusion is that they were urged to make the attack by the Germans and Italians, with the proffer of immediate help in the struggle. That, at war with Japan, the United States will not find time to continue aid to Britain, China and Russia is likely the hope. But those who thus reckon do not know the spirit and resourcefulness of the American people. Thus our aim must be to quickly wipe out Japan and as surely recognize that both Germany and Italy are our enemies.”
“Mr. Roosevelt has warned that the war will be a long one—in other words, a bitter and bloody struggle in the extreme. Perhaps it will be, for the [Japanese] will not be without all help the Axis partners can muster. The losses in life and property to this nation cannot be foreseen. They may be great. But the result of the Battle of the Pacific can be foretold. Did you, reader, ever hear of the Stars and Stripes being lowered in defeat? No, and it is likely you never will.”
Stringent sacrifices by all Americans followed. A call for license plates was made and instructions for making tires last longer were encouraged. Rationing and collecting grease became commonplace.
Until peace was achieved, the Bossier Banner published articles that clarified the requirements called for by the United States government to support the war efforts. To find out what those requirements were, visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.
Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center