Franklin D. Roosevelt

Radio Address on the President's Purchases of the First Defense Savings Bond and Stamps.

April 30, 1941

One thought is uppermost in my mind as I make grateful acknowledgment of this dual honor. It is that in reserving the first Defense Savings Bond and the first Defense Postal Savings Stamps in the name of the President, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Postmaster General have given emphasis to the national character of this defense savings campaign. This character of the campaign is national in the best sense of the word -for it is going to reach down, we hope, to the individual and the family in every community, and on every farm, in every State and every possession of the United States.

It is national and it is homey at the same time. For example, I am buying not one stamp but ten stamps each to go into a little book for each of my ten grandchildren. And the first savings bond is being made out in the name of Mrs. Roosevelt as beneficiary.

It is fitting that the President in his purchases should be a sort of a symbol of the determination of all the people to save and sacrifice in defense of democracy.

In a larger sense, this first defense bond and these first defense stamps sold to the President constitute tangible evidence of a partnership- a partnership between all of the people and their Government—entered into to safeguard and perpetuate all of those precious freedoms which Government guarantees. In this time of national peril what we all must realize is that the United States Government is you and I and all the other families next door all the way across the country and back again. It is one great partnership.

This evening we are giving special thought to the financial structure of our partnership. We know that we are engaged in an all-out effort to perpetuate democracy in the New World by helping it to be safe and by aiding embattled democracy in the Old World and everywhere else. From the Atlantic to the Pacific, America today at this time of the year happens to be in the full beauty of glorious springtime. And we have eyes to see the beauty of our country this spring as we never saw it in any spring before, in the memory of most of us.

For a great many people are appreciating our blessings all the more when they realize what blessings so many other millions of people have lost this spring and last spring- so many millions of people who hoped and prayed and even assumed—even took it for granted that fate—some kind fate—would let them live on as they had always lived.

In the few words that I am speaking to my fellow countrymen tonight, I desire above all else to emphasize the thought that in just such measure as we support our Government will our Government be strong and effective and safe.

Defenses that were adequate ten years ago are today a broken reed. New machines in the air, on the land, and on the sea have created a revolution in the conduct of offensive war, and therefore of necessity in the conduct of defensive war.

Nations and lands that were safe ten years ago by virtue of the mere fact of distance- the mere fact of miles- countries thousands of miles away from possible aggression have today been overrun by mechanized conquerors. And so distance is no longer a guarantee of safety.

Your Government, therefore, is arming, factories spring up, production multiplies—a country-wide unanimous effort of planning and of work.

And so at this time we add another call—a frank and clear appeal for financial support to pay for our arming, and to pay for the American existence of later generations.

With jobs more plentiful and wages higher, slight sacrifice here and there, the omission of a few luxuries, will swell the coffers of our Federal Treasury. The outward and the visible tokens of partnership through sacrifice will be the possession of these defense bonds and defense savings stamps which are, at the same time, a guarantee of our future security.

Yes, your Government is asking that you make this sacrifice. But is it a sacrifice? Is it a sacrifice for us to give dollars when more than a million of our finest young men have been withdrawn from civilian life to accept the discipline of military life in defense of our country? No, I do not think that sacrifice is the word. This defense savings program is rather a privilege and an opportunity—an opportunity to share in the defense of all the things we cherish against the threat that is made against them. We must fight this threat wherever it appears; and it can be found at the threshold of every home in America.

And so my fellow Americans, I ask you to demonstrate again your faith in America by joining me in investing in the new defense savings bonds and stamps. I know you will help.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Radio Address on the President's Purchases of the First Defense Savings Bond and Stamps. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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