Upon learning about the attack on Pearl Harbor, this was FDR's reaction:
The first thing Eleanor [FDR's wife] noticed when she went into her husband's study was his "deadly calm" composure. While his aides and Cabinet members were running in and out in a state of excitement, panic, and irritation, he [FDR] was sitting quietly at his desk, absorbing the news from Hawaii as it continued to flow in -- "each report more terrible than the last." Though he looked strained and tired, Eleanor observed, "he was completely calm. His reaction to any event was always to be calm. If it was something that was bad, he just became almost like an iceberg, and there was never the slightest emotion that was allowed to show.," Sumner Welles agreed with Eleanor 's assessment. In all the situations over the years in
which he had seen the president, he "had never had such reason to admire him."
Beneath the president's imperturbable demeanor, however, Eleanor detected great bitterness and anger toward Japan for the treachery involved in carrying out the surprise attack while the envoys of the two countries were still talking. "I never wanted to have to fight this war on two fronts."
Roosevelt was able to manage the emotions of bitterness, anger, surprise, and whatever else he was feeling, and present a calm face as the leader of the country.
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