Page 91

                              PAPER XXIV

"This decision is the end of any attempts at appeasement in our land,   
. . . the end of compromise with tyranny and the forces of oppression   
. . . Our country is going to be what our people have proclaimed it must 
be the arsenal of democracy." 

Address at the White House Correspondents' Association

Dinner, Washington, D. C., March 15, 1941

This dinner of the White House Correspondents' Association is unique. It 
is the first one at which I have made a speech in all these 8 years. It 
differs from the press conferences that you and I hold twice a week. You 
cannot ask me any questions; and everything I have to say is word-for-
word on the record. 

For 8 years you and I have been helping each other. I have been trying 
to keep you informed of the news of Washington, and of the Nation, and 
of the world, from the point of view of the Presidency. You, more than 
you realize it, have been giving me a great deal of information about 
what the people of this country are thinking. 

In our press conferences, as at this dinner tonight, we include 
reporters representing papers and news agencies of many other lands. To 
most of them it is a matter of constant amazement that press conferences 
such as ours can exist in any nation in the world. 

That is especially true in those lands where freedoms do not exist- 
where the purposes of our democracy and the characteristics of our 
country and of our people have been seriously distorted. 

Such misunderstandings are not new. I remember that in the early days of 
the first World War the German Government received solemn assurances 
from their representatives in the United States that the people of 
America were disunited; that they cared more for peace at any price than 
for the preservation of ideals and freedom; that there would even be 
riots and revolutions in the United States if this Nation ever asserted 
its own interests. 

Let not dictators of Europe and Asia doubt our unanimity now. 

Before the present war broke out on September 1, 1939, I was more 
worried about the future than many people-most people. The record shows 
I was not worried enough. 

That, however, is water over the dam. Do not let us waste time reviewing 
the past, or fixing or dodging the blame for it. History cannot be 
rewritten by wishful thinking. We, the American people, are writing new 
history today. 

The big news story of this week is this: The world has been told that 
we, as a united Nation, realize the danger which confronts us-and that 
to meet that danger our democracy has gone into action.

Page 92

We know that although Prussian autocracy was bad enough, nazi-ism is far 

Nazi forces are not seeking mere modifications in colonial maps or in 
minor European boundaries. They openly seek the destruction of all 
elective systems of government on every continent-including our own; 
they seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation 
of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers who have seized 
power by force. 

These men and their hypnotized followers call this a new order. It is 
not new. It is not order. For order among nations presupposes something 
enduring-some system of justice under which individuals over a long 
period of time, are willing to live. Humanity will never permanently 
accept a system imposed by conquest and based on slavery. 

These modern tyrants find it necessary to their plans to eliminate all 
democracies-eliminate them one by one. The nations of Europe, and 
indeed, we ourselves, did not appreciate that purpose. We do now. The 
process of the elimination of the European nations proceeded according 
to plan through 1939 and 1940, until the schedule was shot to pieces by 
the unbeatable defenders of Britain. 

The enemies of democracy were wrong in their calculations for a very 
simple reason. They were wrong because they believed that democracy 
could not adjust itself to the terrible reality of a world at war. 

They believed that democracy, because of its profound respect for the 
rights of men, would never arm itself to fight. 

They believed that democracy, because of its will to live at peace with 
its neighbors, could not mobilize its energies even in its own defense. 

They know now that democracy can still remain democracy and speak and 
reach conclusions and arm itself adequately for defense. 

From the bureaus of propaganda of the Axis Powers came the confident 
prophecy that the conquest of our country would be "an inside job"-a job 
accomplished not by overpowering invasion from without, but by 
disrupting confusion and disunion and moral disintegration from within. 

Those who believed that knew little of our history. America is not a 
country which can be confounded by the appeasers, the defeatists, the 
backstairs manufacturers of panic. It is a country which talks out its 
problems in the open, where any man can hear them. 

We have just now engaged in a great debate. It was not limited to the 
Halls of Congress. It was argued in every newspaper, on every wave 
length, over every cracker barrel in the land. It was finally settled 
and decided by the American people themselves. 

The decisions of our democracy may be slowly arrived at. But when that 
decision is made it is proclaimed not with the voice of any one man but 
with the voice of 130,000,000. It is binding on all of us. And the world 
is no longer left in doubt. 

This decision is the end of any attempts at appeasement in our land, the 
end of urging us to get along with the dictators, the end of compromise 
with tyranny and the forces of oppression. 

The urgency is now.

Page 93

We believe firmly that when our production output is in full swing the 
democracies of the world will be able to prove that dictatorships cannot 

But now the time element is of supreme importance. Every plane, every 
other instrument of war, old and new, which we can spare now we will 
send overseas. That is common-sense strategy. 

The great task of this day, the deep duty which rests upon us is to move 
products from the assembly lines of our factories to the battle lines of 
democracy now. 

We can have speed and effectiveness if we maintain our existing unity. 
We do not have and never will have the false unity of a people 
browbeaten by threats and misled by propaganda. Ours is a unity which is 
possible only among free men and women who recognize the truth and face 
reality with intelligence and courage. 

Today, at last, ours is not a partial effort. It is a total effort; and 
that is the only way to guarantee ultimate safety. 

Beginning a year ago, we started the erection of hundreds of plants and 
we started the training of millions of men. 

Then, at the moment the aid-to-democracies bill was passed, we were 
ready to recommend the $7,000,000,000 appropriation on the basis of 
capacity production as now planned. 

The articles themselves cover the whole range of munitions of war and of 
the facilities for transporting them. 

The aid-to-democracies bill was agreed to by both Houses of the Congress 
last Tuesday afternoon. I signed it one-half hour later. Five minutes 
later I approved a list of articles for immediate shipment. Many of them 
are on their way. On Wednesday I recommended an appropriation for new 
material to the extent of $7,000,000,000; and the Congress is making 
patriotic speed in making the appropriation available. 

Here in Washington we are thinking in terms of speed, and speed now. And 
I hope that that watchword will find its way into every home in the 

We shall have to make sacrifices-every one of us. The final extent of 
those sacrifices will depend upon the speed with which we act now. 

I must tell you tonight in plain language what this undertaking means to 
you-to your daily life. 

Whether you are in the armed services; whether you are a steel worker or 
a stevedore, a machinist, or a housewife, a farmer or a banker, a 
storekeeper or a manufacturer-to all of you it will mean sacrifice in 
behalf of country and your liberties. You will feel the impact of this 
gigantic effort in your daily lives. You will feel it in a way which 
cause many inconveniences. 

You will have to be content with lower profits from business because 
obviously your taxes will be higher. 

You will have to work longer at your bench, or your plow or your 

Let me make it clear that the Nation is calling for the sacrifice of 
some privileges, but not for the sacrifice of fundamental rights. Most 
of us will do that willingly. That kind of sacrifice is for the common 
national protection and welfare; for our defense against the most 
ruthless brutality in history; for the ultimate victory of a way of life 
now so violently menaced. 

Page 94

A half-hearted effort on our part will lead to failure. This is no part-
time job. The concepts of "business as usual" and "normalcy" must be 
forgotten until the task is finished. This is an all-out effort-nothing 
short of all-out effort will win.

We are now dedicated from here on to a constantly increasing tempo of 
production-a production greater than we now know or have ever known 
before-a production that does not stop and should not pause.

And so tonight I am appealing to the heart and to the mind of every man 
and every woman within our borders who love liberty. I ask you to 
consider the needs of our Nation at this hour and to put aside all 
personal differences until our victory is won.

The light of democracy must be kept burning. To the perpetuation of this 
light each must do his own share. The single effort of one individual 
may seem very small. But there are 130,000,000 individuals over here. 
There are many more millions in Britain and elsewhere bravely shielding 
the great flame of democracy from the black-out of barbarism. It is not 
enough for us merely to trim the wick or polish the glass. The time has 
come when we must provide the fuel in ever-increasing amounts to keep 
the flame alight.

There will be no divisions of party or section or race or nationality or 
religion. There is not one among us who does not have a stake in the 
outcome of the effort in which we are now engaged.

A few weeks ago I spoke of four freedoms-freedom of speech and 
expression, freedom of every person to worship God in his own way, 
freedom from want, freedom from fear. They are the ultimate stake. They 
may not be immediately attainable throughout the world but humanity does 
move toward those ideals through democratic processes.

If we fail-if democracy is superseded by slavery-then those four 
freedoms, or even the mention of them, will become forbidden things. 
Centuries will pass before they can be revived.

By winning now, we strengthen their meaning, we increase the stature of 
mankind and the dignity of human life.

There is a vast difference between the word "loyalty" and the word 
"obedience." Obedience can be obtained and enforced in a dictatorship by 
the use of threat and extortion or it can be obtained by a failure on 
the part of government to tell the truth to its citizens.

Loyalty is different. It springs from the mind that is given the facts, 
that retains ancient ideals and proceeds without coercion to give 
support to its own government.

That is true in England and in Greece and in China and in the United 
States today. And in many other countries millions of men and women are 
praying for the return of a day when they can give that kind of loyalty.

Loyalty cannot be bought. Dollars alone will not win this war. Let us 
not delude ourselves as to that.

Today, nearly a million and a half American citizens are hard at work in 
our armed forces. The spirit and the determination of these men of our 
Army and Navy are worthy of the highest traditions of our country. No 
better men ever served under Washington, or John Paul Jones, or Grant, 
or Lee, or Pershing. That is a boast, I admit, but it is not an idle 

Upon the national will to sacrifice and to work depends the output of 
our industry and our agriculture.

Page 95

Upon that will depends the survival of the vital bridge across the 
ocean; the bridge of ships which carry the arms and food for those who 
are fighting the good fight. 

Upon that will depends our ability to aid other nations which may 
determine to offer resistance. 

Upon that will may depend practical assistance to people now living in 
nations which have been overrun should they find the opportunity to 
strike back in an effort to regain their liberties. 

This will of the American people will not be frustrated either by 
threats from powerful enemies abroad or by small, selfish groups or 
individuals at home. 

The determination of America must not be obstructed by war profiteering. 

It must not be obstructed by unnecessary strikes of workers, by short-
sighted management, or by deliberate sabotage. 

For, unless we win, there will be no freedom for either management or 

Wise labor leaders and wise business managers will realize how necessary 
it is to their own existence to make common sacrifice for this great 
common cause. 

There is no longer the slightest question or doubt that the American 
people recognize the extreme seriousness of the present situation. That 
is why they have demanded, and got, a policy of unqualified, immediate, 
all-out aid for Britain, Greece, China, and for all the governments in 
exile whose homelands are temporarily occupied by the aggressors. 

From now on that aid will be increased-and yet again increased-until 
total victory has been won. 

The British are stronger than ever in the magnificent morale which has 
enabled them to endure all the dark days and the shattered nights of the 
past ten months. They have the full support and help of Canada and the 
other Dominions, of the rest of their Empire, and of non-British people 
throughout the world who still think in terms of the great freedoms. 

The British people are braced for invasion whenever the attempt may 
come-tomorrow-next week-next month. 

In this historic crisis, Britain is blessed with a brilliant and a great 
leader in Winston Churchill. But no one knows better than Mr. Churchill 
himself that it is not alone his stirring words and valiant deeds which 
give the British their superb morale. The essence of that morale is in 
the masses of plain people who are completely clear in their minds about 
the one essential fact-that they would rather die as free men than live 
as slaves. 

These plain people-civilians as well as soldiers and sailors and airmen-
women and girls as well as men and boys-are fighting in the front line 
of civilization, and they are holding that line with a fortitude which 
will forever be the pride and the inspiration of all free men on every 
continent and on every island of the sea. 

The British people and their Grecian allies need ships. From America, 
they will get ships. 

They need planes. From America they will get planes. 

They need food. From America they will get food. 

They need tanks and guns and ammunition and supplies of all kinds. From 
America they will get tanks and guns and ammunition and supplies of all 

Page 96

China likewise expresses the magnificent will of millions of plain 
people to resist the dismemberment of their nation. China, through the 
generalissimo, Chiang Kai-Shek, asks our help. America has said that 
China shall have our help. 

Our country is going to be what our people have proclaimed it must be 
the arsenal of democracy. 

Our country is going to play its full part. 

And when dictatorships disintegrate-and pray God that will be sooner 
than any of us now dares to hope-then our country must continue to play 
its great part in the period of world reconstruction. 

Be believe that the rallying cry of the dictators, their boasting about 
a master race, will prove to be pure stuff and nonsense. There never has 
been, there isn't now, and there never will be any race of people fit to 
serve as masters over their fellow men. 

The world has no use for any nation which, because of size or because of 
military might, asserts the right to goose step to world power over 
other nations or other races. We believe that any nationality, no matter 
how small, has the inherent right to its own nationhood. 

We believe that the men and women of such nations, no matter what size, 
can, through the processes of peace, serve themselves and serve the 
world by protecting the common man's security; improve the standards of 
healthful living; provide markets for manufacture and for agriculture. 
Through that kind of peaceful service every nation can increase its 
happiness, banish the terrors of war, and abandon man's inhumanity to 

Never in all our history have Americans faced a job so well worth while. 
May it be said of us in the days to come that our children and our 
children's children rise up and call us blessed. 


See footnote to Paper XVII of this series for further citations to aid 
for the democracies and Lend-Lease.