The Fireside Chats of Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The great news that you have heard today from General Eisenhower
does not give you license to settle back in your rocking chairs and
say, “Well, that does it. We’ve got ’em on the run. Now we can
start the celebration.”

The time for celebration is not yet. And I have a suspicion that
when this war does end, we shall not be in a very celebrating mood,
a very celebrating frame of mind. I think that our main emotion
will be one of grim determination that this shall not happen again.

During the past weeks, Mr. Churchill and I have been in constant
conference with the leaders of our combined fighting forces. We
have been in constant communication with our fighting Allies,
Russian and Chinese, who are prosecuting the war with relentless
determination and with conspicuous success on far distant fronts.
And Mr. Churchill and I are here together in Washington at this
crucial moment.

We have seen the satisfactory fulfillment of plans that were made
in Casablanca last January and here in Washington last May. And
lately we have made new, extensive plans for the future. But
throughout these conferences we have never lost sight of the fact
that this war will become bigger and tougher, rather than easier,
during the long months that are to come.

This war does not and must not stop for one single instant. Your
fighting men know that. Those of them who are moving forward
through jungles against lurking Japs–those who are landing at this
moment, in barges moving through the dawn up to strange enemy
coasts–those who are diving their bombers down on the targets at
roof-top level at this moment–every one of these men knows that
this war is a full-time job and that it will continue to be that
until total victory is won.

And, by the same token, every responsible leader in all the United
Nations knows that the fighting goes on twenty-four hours a day,
seven days a week, and that any day lost may have to be paid for in
terms of months added to the duration of the war.

Every campaign, every single operation in all the campaigns that we
plan and carry through must be figured in terms of staggering
material costs. We cannot afford to be niggardly with any of our
resources, for we shall need all of them to do the job that we have
put our shoulder to.

Your fellow Americans have given a magnificent account of
themselves–on the battlefields and on the oceans and in the skies
all over the world.

Now it is up to you to prove to them that you are contributing your
share and more than your share. It is not sufficient to simply to
put into War Bonds money which we would normally save. We must put
into War Bonds money which we would not normally save. Only then
have we done everything that good conscience demands. So it is up
to you–up to you, the Americans in the American homes–the very
homes which our sons and daughters are working and fighting and
dying to preserve.

I know I speak for every man and woman throughout the Americas when
I say that we Americans will not be satisfied to send our troops
into the fire of the enemy with equipment inferior in any way. Nor
will we be satisfied to send our troops with equipment only equal
to that of the enemy. We are determined to provide our troops with
overpowering superiority–superiority of quantity and quality in
any and every category of arms and armaments that they may
conceivably need.

And where does this our dominating power come from? Why, it can
come only from you. The money you lend and the money you give in
taxes buys that death-dealing, and at the same time life-saving
power that we need for victory. This is an expensive war–expensive
in money; you can help it–you can help to keep it at a minimum
cost in lives.

The American people will never stop to reckon the cost of redeeming
civilization. They know there can never be any economic
justification for failing to save freedom.

We can be sure that our enemies will watch this drive with the
keenest interest. They know that success in this undertaking will
shorten the war. They know that the more money the American people
lend to their government, the more powerful and relentless will be
the American forces in the field. They know that only a united and
determined America could possibly produce on a voluntary basis so
huge a sum of money as fifteen billion dollars.

The overwhelming success of the Second War Loan Drive last April
showed that the people of this Democracy stood firm behind their
troops.

This Third War Loan, which we are starting tonight, will also
succeed–because the American people will not permit it to fail.

I cannot tell you how much to invest in War Bonds during this Third
War Loan Drive. No one can tell you. It is for you to decide under
the guidance of your own conscience.

I will say this, however. Because the nation’s needs are greater
than ever before, our sacrifices too must be greater than they have
ever been before.

Nobody knows when total victory will come–but we do know that the
harder we fight now, the more might and power we direct at the
enemy now, the shorter the war will be and the smaller the sum
total of sacrifice.

Success of the Third War Loan will be the symbol that America does
not propose to rest on its arms–that we know the tough, bitter job
ahead and will not stop until we have finished it.

Now it is your turn!

Every dollar that you invest in the Third War Loan is your personal
message of defiance to our common enemies–to the ruthless savages
of Germany and Japan–and it is your personal message of faith and
good cheer to our Allies and to all the men at the front. God bless
them!

December 24, 1943.

My Friends:

I have recently returned from extensive journeying in the region of
the Mediterranean and as far as the borders of Russia. I have
conferred with the leaders of Britain and Russia and China on
military matters of the present–especially on plans for stepping-
up our successful attack on our enemies as quickly as possible and
from many different points of the compass.

On this Christmas Eve there are over 10,000,000 men in the armed
forces of the United States alone. One year ago 1,700,000 were
serving overseas. Today, this figure has been more than doubled to
3,800,000 on duty overseas. By next July first that number overseas
will rise to over 5,000,000 men and women.

That this is truly a World War was demonstrated to me when
arrangements were being made with our overseas broadcasting
agencies for the time to speak today to our soldiers, and sailors,
and marines and merchant seamen in every part of the world. In
fixing the time for this broadcast, we took into consideration that
at this moment here in the United States, and in the Caribbean and
on the Northeast Coast of South America, it is afternoon. In Alaska
and in Hawaii and the mid-Pacific, it is still morning. In Iceland,
in Great Britain, in North Africa, in Italy and the Middle East, it
is now evening.

In the Southwest Pacific, in Australia, in China and Burma and
India, it is already Christmas Day. So we can correctly say that at
this moment, in those far eastern parts where Americans are
fighting, today is tomorrow.

But everywhere throughout the world–throughout this war that
covers the world–there is a special spirit that has warmed our
hearts since our earliest childhood–a spirit that brings us close
to our homes, our families, our friends and neighbors–the
Christmas spirit of “peace on earth, good will toward men.” It is
an unquenchable spirit.

During the past years of international gangsterism and brutal
aggression in Europe and in Asia, our Christmas celebrations have
been darkened with apprehension for the future. We have said,
“Merry Christmas–a Happy New Year,” but we have known in our
hearts that the clouds which have hung over our world have
prevented us from saying it with full sincerity and conviction.

And even this year, we still have much to face in the way of
further suffering, and sacrifice, and personal tragedy. Our men,
who have been through the fierce battles in the Solomons, and the
Gilberts, and Tunisia and Italy know, from their own experience and
knowledge of modern war, that many bigger and costlier battles are
still to be fought.

But–on Christmas Eve this year–I can say to you that at last we
may look forward into the future with real, substantial confidence
that, however great the cost, “peace on earth, good will toward
men” can be and will be realized and ensured. This year I _can_ say
that. Last year I could _not_ do more than express a hope. Today I
express a certainty–though the cost may be high and the time may
be long.

Within the past year–within the past few weeks–history has been
made, and it is far better history for the whole human race than
any that we have known, or even dared to hope for, in these tragic
times through which we pass.

A great beginning was made in the Moscow conference last October by
Mr. Molotov, Mr. Eden and our own Mr. Hull. There and then the way
was paved for the later meetings.

At Cairo and Teheran we devoted ourselves not only to military
matters; we devoted ourselves also to consideration of the future–
to plans for the kind of world which alone can justify all the
sacrifices of this war.

Of course, as you all know, Mr. Churchill and I have happily met
many times before, and we know and understand each other very well.
Indeed, Mr. Churchill has become known and beloved by many millions
of Americans, and the heartfelt prayers of all of us have been with
this great citizen of the world in his recent serious illness.

The Cairo and Teheran conferences, however, gave me my first
opportunity to meet the Generalissimo, Chiang Kai-shek, and Marshal
Stalin–and to sit down at the table with these unconquerable men
and talk with them face to face. We had planned to talk to each
other across the table at Cairo and Teheran; but we soon found that
we were all on the same side of the table. We came to the
conferences with faith in each other. But we needed the personal
contact. And now we have supplemented faith with definite
knowledge.

It was well worth traveling thousands of miles over land and sea to
bring about this personal meeting, and to gain the heartening
assurance that we are absolutely agreed with one another on all the
major objectives–and on the military means of obtaining them.

At Cairo, Prime Minister Churchill and I spent four days with the
Generalissimo, Chiang Kai-shek. It was the first time that we had
an opportunity to go over the complex situation in the Far East
with him personally. We were able not only to settle upon definite
military strategy, but also to discuss certain long-range
principles which we believe can assure peace in the Far East for
many generations to come.

Those principles are as simple as they are fundamental. They
involve the restoration of stolen property to its rightful owners,
and the recognition of the rights of millions of people in the Far
East to build up their own forms of self-government without
molestation. Essential to all peace and security in the Pacific and
in the rest of the world is the permanent elimination of the Empire
of Japan as a potential force of aggression. Never again must our
soldiers and sailors and marines–and other soldiers, sailors and
marines–be compelled to fight from island to island as they are
fighting so gallantly and so successfully today.

Increasingly powerful forces are now hammering at the Japanese at
many points over an enormous arc which curves down through the
Pacific from the Aleutians to the Jungles of Burma. Our own Army
and Navy, our Air Forces, the Australians and New Zealanders, the
Dutch, and the British land, air and sea forces are all forming a
band of steel which is slowly but surely closing in on Japan.

On the mainland of Asia, under the Generalissimo’s leadership, the
Chinese ground and air forces augmented by American air forces are
playing a vital part in starting the drive which will push the
invaders into the sea.

Following out the military decisions at Cairo, General Marshall has
just flown around the world and has had conferences with General
MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz–conferences which will spell plenty
of bad news for the Japs in the not too far distant future.

I met in the Generalissimo a man of great vision, great courage,
and a remarkably keen understanding of the problems of today and
tomorrow. We discussed all the manifold military plans for striking
at Japan with decisive force from many directions, and I believe I
can say that he returned to Chungking with the positive assurance
of total victory over our common enemy. Today we and the Republic
of China are closer together than ever before in deep friendship
and in unity of purpose.

After the Cairo conference, Mr. Churchill and I went by airplane to
Teheran. There we met with Marshal Stalin. We talked with complete
frankness on every conceivable subject connected with the winning
of the war and the establishment of a durable peace after the war.

Within three days of intense and consistently amicable discussions,
we agreed on every point concerned with the launching of a gigantic
attack upon Germany.

The Russian army will continue its stern offensives on Germany’s
Eastern front, the allied armies in Italy and Africa will bring
relentless pressure on Germany from the south, and now the
encirclement will be complete as great American and British forces
attack from other points of the compass.

The Commander selected to lead the combined attack from these other
points is General Dwight D. Eisenhower. His performances in Africa,
in Sicily and in Italy have been brilliant. He knows by practical
and successful experience the way to coordinate air, sea and land
power. All of these will be under his control. Lieutenant General
Carl D. Spaatz will command the entire American strategic bombing
force operating against Germany.

General Eisenhower gives up his command in the Mediterranean to a
British officer whose name is being announced by Mr. Churchill. We
now pledge that new Commander that our powerful ground, sea and air
forces in the vital Mediterranean area will stand by his side until
every objective in that bitter theatre is attained.

Both of these new Commanders will have American and British
subordinate Commanders whose names will be announced to the world
in a few days.

During the last two days at Teheran, Marshal Stalin, Mr. Churchill
and I looked ahead–ahead to the days and months and years that
will follow Germany’s defeat. We were united in determination that
Germany must be stripped of her military might and be given no
opportunity within the foreseeable future to regain that might.

The United Nations have no intention to enslave the German people.
We wish them to have a normal chance to develop, in peace, as
useful and respectable members of the European family. But we most
certainly emphasize that word “respectable”–for we intend to rid
them once and for all of Nazism and Prussian militarism and the
fantastic and disastrous notion that they constitute the “Master
Race.”

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