Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941

By United States Department of State | Go to book overview

XIII
EUROPEAN WAR 1941

The Four Freedoms

IN HIS ADDRESS to Congress on January 6, 1941 President Roosevelt declared that "at no previous time has American security been as seriously threatened from without as it is today". The democratic way of life was being directly assailed "by arms, or by secret spreading of poisonous propaganda" in every part of the world. The President said that the assault had blotted out the whole pattern of democratic life in an appalling number of independent nations and that the assailants were still on the march threatening other nations, great and small. Armed defense of democratic existence was being waged on four continents; if that defense failed, all the population and all the resources of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australasia would be dominated by the conquerors.

The President defined our national policy as follows: We were committed to an all-inclusive national defense; we were committed to full support of resolute peoples everywhere who were resisting aggression and were thereby keeping war away from our hemisphere; and we were committed to the proposition that principles of morality and considerations for our own security would "never permit us to acquiesce in a peace dictated by aggressors and sponsored by appeasers".

President Roosevelt said that we looked forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms: Freedom of speech and expression; freedom of every person to worship God in his own way; freedom from want—which meant economic understandings that would secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants; freedom from fear—which meant a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point that no nation would be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor. These four essential human freedoms constituted a definite basis for the kind of world attainable in our own time and generation, the kind of world which is "the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb". (194)

The President's budget message of this month, January 1941, called for the expenditure of approximately $11,000,000,000 for the national‐ defense program. This raised to $28,000,000,000 the estimated outlay for the defense program inaugurated in May 1940.

-99-

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Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Peace and War - United States Foreign Policy 1931-1941 *
  • Foreword iii
  • Contents v
  • Documents i
  • I- The Fateful Decade 1
  • II- Japanese Conquest of Manchuria 1931-1932 4
  • III- Disarmament Discussions 1932-1934 9
  • IV- Warnings of Danger 1933-1935 13
  • V- Italian Conquest of Ethiopia 1935-1936 29
  • VI- Developing Dangers 1936-1937 34
  • VII- Japanese Attack on China 1937 45
  • VIII- European Crisis 1938 54
  • IX- European War 1939 62
  • X- European War 1940 71
  • XI- Defense Measures of the United States 1940 80
  • XII- Relations with Japan 1938-1940 88
  • XIII- European War 1941 99
  • XIV- Discussions with Japan 1941 Pearl Harbor 118
  • XV- United Nations 151
  • Documents 1-271 *
  • Index *
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