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Franklin Roosevelt Wartime Address Highlights: 7 Quotes From Speech

By    |   Friday, 22 May 2015 09:25 AM

More so than any previous president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt took his case directly to the American public, particularly during wartime, through the maturing medium of radio.

Here are seven highlights from his speeches given as the U.S. faced war:

1. Franklin Delano Roosevelt marked the entry of the United States into World War II with a simple statement that gave history a ringing and enduring phrase: “Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
– “Day of Infamy” declaration of war speech to Congress, Dec. 8. 1941.

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2. Roosevelt sounded the theme of Japan’s treachery throughout the brief address: “It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.”

3. He spoke as if, despite the calls for isolation that persisted right up to Pearl Harbor and beyond, he knew the American people were behind him: “The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation. As commander in chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.”

4. The day after his “Day of Infamy” speech, Roosevelt used one of his by-then famous “Fireside Chats” to take his message directly to the living-room radios of America: “Powerful and resourceful gangsters have banded together to make war upon the whole human race. Their challenge has now been flung at the United States of America. ... The Congress and the people of the United States have accepted that challenge.” – “Fireside Chat” radio address, Dec. 9, 1941

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5. In that “Chat,” Roosevelt attempted to steel the public for shared sacrifice ahead and cautioned the war would be a long and bloody haul: “We are now in this war. We are all in it – all the way. Every single man, woman, and child is a partner in the most tremendous undertaking of our American history.”

6. He promised the public would receive honest and timely information about the war, good and bad, as long as the government could verify it and determine it would not aid the enemy: “So far, the news has been all bad ... The casualty lists of these first few days will undoubtedly be large. I deeply feel the anxiety of all of the families of the men in our armed forces and the relatives of people in cities which have been bombed. I can only give them my solemn promise that they will get news just as quickly as possible.”

7. One of Franklin Roosevelt’s last addresses of the war would be to inform the American public of the Normandy assault on D-Day. He chose that address to lead the nation in prayer: “My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

“And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. ...Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.” – Radio address, June 6, 1944

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More so than any previous president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt took his case directly to the American public, particularly during wartime, through the maturing medium of radio.
franklin roosevelt wartime, address, highlights, quotes, speech
Friday, 22 May 2015 09:25 AM
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