Franklin D. Roosevelt

Armistice Day Address.

November 11, 1942

In Arlington we are in the presence of the honored dead.

We are accountable to them- and accountable to the generations yet unborn for whom they gave their lives.

Today, as on all Armistice Days since 1918, our thoughts go back to the first World War; and we remember with gratitude the bravery of the men who fought and helped to win that fight against German militarism.

But this year our thoughts are also very much of the living present, and of the future which we begin to see opening before us—a picture illumined by a new light of hope.

Today, Americans and their British brothers-in-arms are again fighting on French soil. They are again fighting against a German militarism which transcends a hundred-fold the brutality and the barbarism of 1918.

The Nazis of today and their appropriate associates, the Japanese- have attempted to drive history into reverse, to use all the mechanics of modern civilization to drive humanity back to conditions of prehistoric savagery.

They sought to conquer the world, and for a time they seemed to be successful in realizing their boundless ambition. They overran great territories. They enslaved- they killed.

But, today, we know and they know that they have conquered nothing. Today, they face inevitable, final defeat.

Yes, the forces of liberation are advancing.

Britain, Russia, China, and the United States grow rapidly to full strength. The opponents of decency and justice have passed their peak.

And—as the result of recent events—very recent—the United States' and the United Nations' forces are being joined by large numbers of the fighting men of our traditional ally, France. On this day, of all days, it is heartening for us to know that soldiers of France go forward with the United Nations.

The American Unknown Soldier who lies here did not give his life on the fields of France merely to defend his American home for the moment that was passing. He gave it that his family, his neighbors, and all his fellow Americans might live in peace in the days to come. His hope was not fulfilled.

American soldiers are giving their lives today in all the continents and on all the seas in order that the dream of the Unknown Soldier may at last come true. All the heroism, all the unconquerable devotion that free men and women are showing in this war shall make certain the survival and the advancement of civilization. That is why on this day of remembrance we do not cease from our work. We are going about our tasks in behalf of our fighting men everywhere. Our thoughts turn in gratitude to those who have saved our Nation in days gone by.

We stand in the presence of the honored dead.

We stand accountable to them, and to the generations yet unborn for whom they gave their lives.

God, the Father of all living, watches over these hallowed graves and blesses the souls of those who rest here. May He keep us strong in the courage that will win the war, and may He impart to us the wisdom and the vision that we shall need for true victory in the peace which is to come.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Armistice Day Address. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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