Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the president of the United States during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack occurred on Dec. 7, 1941, during President Roosevelt's third term in office.
Franklin Roosevelt was president from 1933 until his death in 1945, a time period that encompassed most of the Great Depression and the lion's share of World War II. Though the isolationist politics of the United States restrained Roosevelt from active participation in the early stages of the war, he helped the European allies of the United States by providing them with military material, and he tried to blunt Japan's ambitions in the Far East through embargoes and trade sanctions. Starved of American oil, the Japanese wanted to expand in South Asia, where there were deposits of oil. To stop the Americans' ability to respond to such incursions, they attempted to destroy the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.