Roosevelt, from Munich to Pearl Harbor: A Study in the Creation of a Foreign Policy

By Basil Rauch | Go to book overview

Epilogue

THE CHIEF LESSON THAT PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT DREW FROM the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was the lesson of internationalism. In his War Message to Congress at noon on December 8, 1941, he said:

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.1

This statement might have been understood to apply only to military measures, but on December 9, in a radio address to the nation, the President amplified it:

In my message to the Congress yesterday I said that we "will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again." In order to achieve that certainty, we must begin the great task that is before us by abandoning once and for all the illusion that we can ever again isolate ourselves from the rest of humanity.

In these past few years--and, most violently, in the past few days-- we have learned a terrible lesson.

It is our obligation to our dead--it is our sacred obligation to their children and our children--that we must never forget what we have learned.

And what we all have learned is this:

There is no such thing as security for any nation--or any individual --in a world ruled by the principles of gangsterism. . . .

The true goal we seek is far above and beyond the ugly field of battle. When we resort to force, as now we must, we are determined that

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