Roosevelt and Hopkins, An Intimate History

By Robert E. Sherwood | Go to book overview

PART IV: 1943—THE SECOND FRONT

CHAPTER XXVII
The Casablanca Conference

On january 7, 1943, Roosevelt delivered his annual State of the Union Speech to the 78th Congress which had been elected two months previously and in which his usually formidable majority had been all but wiped out. There were expectations that he would seize this opportunity to be tough and quarrelsome with the largely hostile legislators, but this was perhaps the most amiable and conciliatory speech he ever made to the Congress, at any rate, since the end of the New Deal honeymoon. The newspapers reported that, during his fortyseven-minute address, he was interrupted forty-five times by applause and even occasional cheers. Although present on this occasion, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of those figures, but I do remember that at the end of the speech the President was given a loud and warm ovation by Republicans as well as Democrats.

Confidence was promoted by the very fact that Roosevelt devoted a large part of his speech to talking about the postwar world. He said:

Victory in this war is the first and greatest goal before us. Victory in the peace is the next. That means striving toward the enlargement of the security of man here and throughout the world—and, finally, striving for the Fourth Freedom—Freedom from Fear.

It is of little account for any of us to talk of essential human needs, of attaining security, if we run the risk of another World War in ten or twenty or fifty years. That is just plain common sense. Wars grow in size, in death and destruction, and in the inevitability of engulfing all nations, in inverse ratio to the shrinking size of the world as a result of the conquest of the air. I shudder to think of what will happen to humanity, including ourselves, if this war ends in an inconclusive peace, and another war breaks out when the babies of today have grown to fighting age.

-667-

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