War On The Horizon

President Franklin Roosevelt offered the following observations, warnings, and advice on the impending war in his Four Freedoms speech on January 6, 1941:

•  At no previous time has American security been as seriously threatened from without as it is today.

•  Every realist knows that the democratic way of life is at this moment being directly assailed in every part of the world—assailed either by arms, or by secret spreading of poisonous propaganda by those who seek to destroy unity and promote discord in nations that are still at peace.

•  Armed defense of democratic existence is now being gallantly waged in four continents. If that defense fails, all the population and all the resources of Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia will be dominated by the conquerors. Let us remember that the total of those populations and their resources in those four continents greatly exceeds the sum total of the population and the resources of the whole of the Western Hemisphere—many times over.

•  In times like these it is immature—and incidentally, untrue—for anybody to brag that an unprepared America, single-handed, and with one hand tied behind its back, can hold off the whole world.

•  The first phase of the invasion of this Hemisphere would not be the landing of regular troops. The necessary strategic points would be occupied by secret agents and their dupes—and great numbers of them are already here, and in Latin America.

•  The need of the moment is that our actions and our policy should be devoted primarily—almost exclusively—to meeting this foreign peril. For all our domestic problems are now a part of the great emergency.

• The immediate need is a swift and driving increase in our armament production.

• We are behind schedule in turning out finished airplanes; we are working day and night to solve the innumerable problems and to catch up. We are ahead of schedule in building warships but we are working to get even further ahead of that schedule.

• To change a whole nation from a basis of peacetime production of implements of peace to a basis of wartime production of implements of war is no small task.

• Our most useful and immediate role is to act as an arsenal for them [democratic nations under attack] as well as for ourselves. They do not need man power, but they do need billions of dollars’ worth of the weapons of defense.

• We must all prepare to make the sacrifices that the emergency—almost as serious as war itself—demands.

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