Franklin D. Roosevelt

Radio Address from the White House.

November 02, 1944

I had hoped that during the early part of this week I could have gone in person to some of the nearer midwestern cities, such as Cleveland and Detroit, and I had hoped that I could visit some of my old friends in upstate New York.

However, on my return to Washington from Chicago, I find that I am not free to spare the time right now. Therefore, I am speaking to you from the White House.

I am disappointed about this—but, as I told the American people a long time ago, I follow the principle of first things first; and this war comes first. That is why I have to be right here in Washington.

We have all been overjoyed by the news from the far Pacific, eight thousand miles away. Never before in all of history has it been possible successfully to conduct such massive operations with such long lines of supply and communications.

In the Pacific Theater, even while we are fighting a major war in Europe, our advance towards Japan is many months ahead of our own optimistic schedule.

But we must remember that any military operation conducted at such a distance is a hazardous undertaking. In any long advance, progress may be interrupted by checks or setbacks. However, ultimately our advance will stop only in Tokyo itself.

Our success has been the result of planning and organization and building; it has been the result of the hardest work and the hardest fighting of which our people are capable.

On the other side of the world, in Europe, the Allied forces under General Eisenhower are pounding the Germans with relentless force.

We do not expect to have a winter lull in Europe. We expect to keep striking—to keep the enemy on the move—to hit him again and again- to give him no rest—and to drive through to the final objective—Berlin itself.

In Italy, against the handicap of rugged mountain obstacles, and against bitter German resistance—the Allied armies are steadily moving forward, wearing down the German fighting strength in a slow, hard slugging match.

In winning this war there is just one sure way to guarantee the minimum of casualties—by seeing to it that, in every action, we have overwhelming material superiority.

We have already sent to Europe—just one of our many fronts- a force greater than the entire American Expeditionary Force Of 1918. American troops are now fighting along a battle line of three hundred miles in northern France and Germany, and about a hundred miles long in Italy.

Within ten weeks after the first landings in France last June, the Allies had landed on the Normandy beaches nearly two million men, more than two million tons of supplies, and nearly half a million vehicles.

Think of all that vast mass of material for one operation think of the war factories and the ships and the planes, the railroads and labor required to produce and deliver the right supplies to the right place at the right time.

Then think of the tasks that lie ahead of us- all the long, tough miles to Berlin—all the major landings yet to be made in the Pacific- and you will have a conception of the magnitude of the job that remains to be done. It is still a job requiring the all-out production efforts of all of our people back here at home.

Delays in the performance of our job at home mean prolonging the war. They will mean an increase in the total price we must pay in the lives of our men.

All of our able commanders in the field know this. And so do our soldiers and sailors. And we at home must remember it and never forget it.

All Americans at home are concerned in this—the fulfillment of an obligation to our fighting men.

And the women of America are also most profoundly concerned.

Today, women are playing a far more direct, more personal part in the war than ever before.

First, and I think rightly first, are those women in uniform who have gone into the WAACs and the WAVES, the Marines and the Coast Guard, the nursing services of the Army and Navy, the Red Cross- serving in all kinds of places, in and out of the United States—all of them performing functions which definitely relieve men for combat work.

Then there are the millions of women who have gone into war industries. They are greatly responsible for the fact that the munitions and supplies to our men at the front have gone through to them on time.

And, finally, the women who uncomplainingly have done the job of keeping the homes going—the homes with service flags in the windows- service flags with blue stars or gold stars.

And we do not forget those women who have volunteered with the men in the difficult and important work of the ration boards all over the Nation- doing the job of apportioning the necessities of life equitably among their neighbors- rich and poor.

Everyone who has made a sacrifice in this war—and that includes pretty close to one hundred and thirty-five million Americans—is determined that this must not happen again-that the disastrous mistakes of the past shall not be repeated-that this Nation shall be committed to playing a leading part in a world organization which shall be strong and effective and enduring.

We have been told during this political campaign that unless the American people elect the Republican Presidential choice, the Congress will not cooperate in the peace. That is a threat to build a party spite-fence between us and the peace.

I do not know who empowers these men to speak for the Congress in uttering such a threat.

Certainly the United States Senate and the House of Representatives showed no reluctance to agree with the foreign policy of this Administration when, almost unanimously last year, they passed the Connally and Fulbright Resolutions which pledged this Nation to cooperate in a world organization for peace.

These are high and serious matters to those who know how greatly our victory in this war and our ability to establish a lasting peace depend on maintaining unshaken that understanding Which must be the core of the success of the United Nations.

It is heartening for me to have known and to have talked with the statesmen not of the big Nations only, but the statesmen of the smaller Nations-men like Benes of Czechoslovakia, Mikolajczyk of Poland, Nygaardswold of Norway—and leaders of democratic thought from Yugoslavia and Greece and Denmark and Belgium and The Netherlands—and, of course, the great leaders of our neighbor countries in this hemisphere.

I have spent many fruitful hours talking with men from the more remote Nations—such as Turkey, Persia, Arabia, Palestine, Abyssinia, Liberia, Siam, and others—for all of them are part and parcel of the great family of Nations. It is only through an understanding acquired by years of consultation, that one can get a viewpoint of their problems and their innate yearnings for freedom.

And all of them have this in common- that they yearn for peace and stability, and they look to the United States of America with hope and with faith.

The world is rising from the agony of the past. The world is turning with hope to the future. It would be a sorry and a cynical thing to betray this hope for the sake of mere political advantage, and a tragic thing to shatter it because of the failure of vision.

There have been some other aspects of this campaign which have been distasteful to all of us.

This campaign has been marred by even more than the usual crop of whisperings and rumorings. Some of these get into print, in certain types of newspapers; others are traded about, secretly, in one black market after another. I do not propose to answer in kind.

The voting record proves that the American people pay little attention to whispering campaigns. They have paid little attention to all the malignant rumors of enemy origin that have flooded this country before and during this war—and I am sure that they will treat the present whispering with the same contempt.

As we approach election day, more wicked charges may be made—and probably will—with the hope that someone or somebody will gain momentary advantage.

Hysterical, last-minute accusations or sensational revelations, are trumped up in an attempt to panic the people on election day.

But the American people are not panicked easily. Pearl Harbor proved that.

This election will not be decided on a basis of malignant murmurings—or shouts. It will be settled on the basis of the record.

We all know the record of our military achievements in this war.

And we all know the record of the tremendous production achievements of our American farmers, our American businessmen, and our American labor.

And we all know the record of our teamwork with our allies. Immediately after Pearl Harbor we formed with the other United Nations the greatest military coalition in all of world history. And we have gone steadily on from that to establish the basis for a strong and durable organization for world peace.

The America which built the greatest war machine in all history, and which kept it supplied, is an America which can look to the future with confidence and faith.

I propose the continuance of the teamwork that we have demonstrated in this war.

By carrying out the plans we have made we can avoid a postwar depression- we can provide employment for our veterans and our war workers- we can achieve an orderly reconversion.

Above all, we can avoid another false boom like that which burst in 1929, and a dismal collapse like that of 1930 to 1933.

With continuance of our teamwork, I look forward, under the leadership of this Government, to an era of expansion and production and employment—to new industries, to increased security.

I look forward to millions of new homes, fit for decent living; to new, low-priced automobiles; new highways; new airplanes and airports; to television; and other miraculous new inventions and discoveries, made during this war, which will be adapted to the peacetime uses of a peace-loving people.

The record that we have established in this war is one of which every American has a right to be proud—today and for all time.

We do not want the later record to say that the great job was done in vain.

We do not want our boys to come back to an America which is headed for another war in another generation.

Our postwar job will be to work, to build—for a better America than we have ever known.

If in the next few years we can start that job right, then you and I can know that we have kept faith with our boys—we have helped them to win a total victory.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Radio Address from the White House. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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