Students of Today—The Leaders and Builders of Tomorrow


By HENRY A. WALLACE, Vice-President of the United States

Delivered to the youth of America during the OWI-produced Victory Hour program over the Blue Network, January 26, 1943

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. IX, pp. 288.

I AM glad that the boys and girls in our high schools are giving thought to the problems of tomorrow as well as to those of today. Of course your hearts are first of all in the war and in the complete victory the United Nations are out to win. Many of you have older brothers or uncles or cousins in the Army, Navy or Marine Corps. Some boys now in school are almost 18 and are planning to enter the service soon. Other boys and girls will do their part in the war by working on farms and in many other ways.

All of you are wondering what kind of world you are going to live in when the war is over and you are following careers of your own. You are hoping that that world will be one of peace and stability, and that you will have a decent chance to show what you can do.

One thought I would like to leave with you about all else is this: The world you will live in will be what you and the others of your generation make it. There will be plenty of problems and obstacles. It will be your job to study those problems and overcome those obstacles.

You, and all of us, will have to think hard about the policies we want our nation to follow in the next few years, if we wish to make certain that the victory, when it comes,

is worth the winning. We shall have to face facts, and some of those facts will not be pleasant ones. But unless we do face the facts, and all the facts, we can not make our coming victory count in terms of increased opportunity for useful work.

We shall have to think about the part to be played by the armies and navies and air forces of the world; about disarming aggressors and keeping them disarmed; about safeguarding the world's peace; about ways to get and keep full production and full employment in our own country; about world prosperity and world trade, and the effect of our own tariff and investment policies; about ways to make the voices of plain people heard in the councils and the affairs of our nation.

If we in the United States face the facts, and then take whatever action those facts require, we shall have done our full part in helping toward the restoration of human lives and human values for which millions have already paid the highest price that man can pay. Sharing vitally in this great task will be the high school students of today, who are the leaders and the builders of tomorrow. We can, if we will, make the post-war world exceed the pre-war world in abundance, jobs and happiness.