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Archive for October, 2008

Franklin D. Roosevelt – “The Arsenal of Democracy” – Fireside Chat, December 29, 1940

This is not a fireside chat on war. It is a talk on national security; because the nub of the whole purpose of your President is to keep you now, and your children later, and your grandchildren much later, out of a last-ditch war for the preservation of American independence and all the things that American independence means to you and to me and to ours.

Tonight, in the presence of a world crisis, my mind goes back eight years to a night in the midst of a domestic crisis. It was a time when the wheels of American industry were grinding to a full stop, when the whole banking system of our country had ceased to function.

I well remember that while I sat in my study in the White House, preparing to talk with the people of the United States, I had before my eyes the picture of all those Americans with whom I was talking. I saw the workmen in the mills, the mines, the factories; the girl behind the counter; the small shopkeeper; the farmer doing his spring plowing; the widows and the old men wondering about their life’s savings.

I tried to convey to the great mass of American people what the banking crisis meant to them in their daily lives.

Tonight, I want to do the same thing, with the same people, in this new crisis which faces America. We met the issue of 1933 with courage and realism.

We face this new crisis—this new threat to the security of our nation—with the same courage and realism.

Never before since Jamestown and Plymouth Rock has our American civilization been in such danger as now.

For, on September 27, 1940, by an agreement signed in Berlin, three powerful nations, two in Europe and one in Asia, joined themselves together in the threat that if the United States of America interfered with or blocked the expansion program of these three nations- a program aimed at world control—they would unite in ultimate action against the United States.

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“The objects of Free France” Speech delivered at a Meeting organized by Les Français de Grande-Bretagne

The traveller climbing a hill pauses from time to time to gauge the distance covered and take his bearings. In the same way, we thought it well to meet today in response to the moving invitation of the Français de Grande-Bretagne, to fortify ourselves with this concrete evidence of our unity and gather strength to go forward on the hard path of war in our country’s cause. This will be easy, because, despite the tumult of war, we now realize more clearly than ever what we are and what we are fighting for. We are confident that the path we have chosen is the best for France.
What are we ? The answer is simple. Seventeen months ago, all but one day, the question arose and was answered. We are Frenchmen drawn from every walk of life and from every party, who have decided to join forces and fight for our country. Each one of us has taken this step of his own free will, acting quite simply and without any mental reservations. It would, I think, be unfitting to dwell here on the sacrifices and sufferings this has meant for all. Each one of us alone knows in his secret heart what it has cost him. But it is from our self-denial, just as much as from our unity, that we draw our strength. From these embers has leapt a steady flame, burning brighter and higher day by day. It is the flame that burns in the spirit of France, the flame that tempers our strength.
We have obeyed the call of France. In that hour of disaster and despair when our world seemed to come crashing down, the question which had to be answered was whether our great and noble country, delivered to the enemy by an act of the blackest treachery in all history, would find among her sons men bold enough to raise her standards from the dust. The question was whether an unimpaired Empire of sixty million inhabitants would play any part in this struggle for the life or death of France. The question was whether any single belligerent part of our territories would remain at the side of our brave Allies who continued to fight for their salvation and our own. The question was whether France would be silenced for ever or, worse still, whether the world would think it recognized her voice in the execrable imitation given by traitors and foes.

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Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz’ Broadcast Informing The German People of Their Unconditional Surrender
May 8, 1945

German men and women,

When I addressed the German nation on May 1 telling it that the Fuehrer had appointed me his successor, I said that my foremost task was to save the lives of the German people. In order to achieve this goal, I ordered the German High Command during the night of May 6-7 to sign the unconditional surrender for all fronts.

On May 8 at 23 hours (11 P.M.) the arms will be silent.

German soldiers, veterans of countless battles, are now treading the bitter path of captivity, and thereby making the last sacrifice for the life of our women and children, and for the future of our nation.

We bow to all who have fallen. I have pledged myself to the German people that in the coming times of want I will help courageous women and children, as far as I humanly can, to alleviate their conditions. Whether this will be possible I do not know.

We must face facts squarely. The unity of state and party does not exist any more. The party has left the scene of its activities.

With the occupation of Germany, the power has been transferred to the occupying authorities. It is up to them to confirm me in my function and the Government I have appointed or decide whether to appoint a different one.

Should I be required to help our Fatherland, I will remain at my post.

Should the will of the German people express itself in the appointment of a head of state, or should the powers of occupation make it impossible for me to continue in my office remains to be seen.

Duty keeps me in my difficult post for the sake of Germany. I will not remain one hour more than can be reconciled with the dignity of the Reich. I will disregard my person in this matter.

All of us have to face a difficult path. We have to walk it with dignity, courage and discipline which those demand of us who sacrificed their all for us. We must walk it by making the greatest efforts to create a firm basis for our future lives.

We will walk it unitedly. Without this unity we shall not be able to overcome the misery of the times to come. We will walk it in the hope that one day our children may lead a free and secure existence in a peaceful Europe. On this thorny path, which we all will have to tread, I will try to help you as much as is possible, should I remain at my post. Should we succeed in going this way together, this step will be a service to the nation and to the Reich.

Source: New York Times, May 1945
Source: Historical Resources

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May 1, 1945

Federal Communications Commission

ANNOUNCER: The German wireless broadcasts serious, important news for the German people.

(Three rolls of the drums are heard.)

ANNOUNCER: It is reported from Der Fuehrer’s headquarters that our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler, fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism, fell for Germany this afternoon in his operational headquarters in the Reich Chancellery.

On April 30 Der Fuehrer appointed Grand Admiral Doenitz his successor. The grand admiral and successor of Der Fuehrer now speaks to the German people.

DOENITZ: German men and women, soldiers of the armed forces: Our Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler, has fallen. In the deepest sorrow and respect the German people bow.

At an early date he had recognized the frightful danger of Bolshevism and dedicated his existence to this struggle. At the end of his struggle, of his unswerving straight road of life, stands his hero’s death in the capital of the German Reich. His life has been one single service for Germany. His activity in the fight against the Bolshevik storm flood concerned not only Europe but the entire civilized world.

Der Fuehrer has appointed me to be his successor.

Fully conscious of the responsibility, I take over the leadership of the German people at this fateful hour.

It is my first task to save Germany from destruction by the advancing Bolshevist enemy. For this aim alone the military struggle continues. As far and for so long as achievement of this aim is impeded by the British and the Americans, we shall be forced to carry on our defensive fight against them as well. Under such conditions, however, the Anglo-Americans will continue the war not for their own peoples but solely for the spreading of Bolshevism in Europe.

What the German people have achieved in battle and borne in the homeland during the struggle of this war is unique in history. In the coming time of need and crisis of our people I shall endeavor to establish tolerable conditions of living for our women, men and children so far as this lies in my power.

For all this I need your help. Give me your confidence because your road is mine as well. Maintain order and discipline in town and country. Let everybody do his duty at his own post. Only thus shall we mitigate the sufferings that the coming time will bring to each of us; only thus shall we be able to prevent a collapse. If we do all that is in our power, God will not forsake us after so much suffering and sacrifice.

(National anthems.)

Source: War Documents and ibiblio.org

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Atoms for Peace

 

Address by Mr. Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America, to the 470th Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly

Tuesday, 8 December 1953, 2:45 p.m.

General Assembly President: Mrs. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (India)

 

Madam President and Members of the General Assembly;

 

When Secretary General Hammarskjold’s invitation to address the General Assembly reached me in Bermuda, I was just beginning a series of conferences with the Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom and France. Our subject was some of the problems that beset our world. During the remainder of the Bermuda Conference, I had constantly in mind that ahead of me lay a great honour. That honour is mine today as I stand here, privileged to address the General Assembly of the United Nations.

 

At the same time that I appreciate the distinction of addressing you, I have a sense of exhilaration as I look upon this Assembly. Never before in history has so much hope for so many people been gathered together in a single organization. Your deliberations and decisions during these sombre years have already realized part of those hopes.

 

But the great tests and the great accomplishments still lie ahead. And in the confident expectation of those accomplishments, I would use the office which, for the time being, I hold, to assure you that the Government of the United States will remain steadfast in its support of this body. This we shall do in the conviction that you will provide a great share of the wisdom, of the courage and of the faith which can bring to this world lasting peace for all nations, and happiness and well-being for all men.

 

Clearly, it would not be fitting for me to take this occasion to present to you a unilateral American report on Bermuda. Nevertheless, I assure you that in our deliberations on that lovely island we sought to invoke those same great concepts of universal peace and human dignity which are so clearly etched in your Charter. Neither would it be a measure of this great opportunity to recite, however hopefully, pious platitudes. I therefore decided that this occasion warranted my saying to you some of the things that have been on the minds and hearts of my legislative and executive associates, and on mine, for a great many months: thoughts I had originally planned to say primarily to the American people.

 

I know that the American people share my deep belief that if a danger exists in the world, it is a danger shared by all; and equally, that if hope exists in the mind of one nation, that hope should be shared by all. Finally, if there is to be advanced any proposal designed to ease even by the smallest measure the tensions of today’s world, what more appropriate audience could there be than the members of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

 

I feel impelled to speak today in a language that in a sense is new, one which I, who have spent so much of my life in the military profession, would have preferred never to use. That new language is the language of atomic warfare.

 

The atomic age has moved forward at such a pace that every citizen of the world should have some comprehension, at least in comparative terms, of the extent of this development, of the utmost significance to every one of us. Clearly, if the peoples of the world are to conduct an intelligent search for peace, they must be armed with the significant facts of today’s existence.

 

My recital of atomic danger and power is necessarily stated in United States terms, for these are the only incontrovertible facts that I know, I need hardly point out to this Assembly, however, that this subject is global, not merely national in character.

 

On 16 July 1945, the United States set off the world’s biggest atomic explosion. Since that date in 1945, the United States of America has conducted forty-two test explosions. Atomic bombs are more than twenty-five times as powerful as the weapons with which the atomic age dawned, while hydrogen weapons are in the ranges of millions of tons of TNT equivalent.

 

Today, the United States stockpile of atomic weapons, which, of course, increases daily, exceeds by many times the total equivalent of the total of all bombs and all shells that came from every plane and every gun in every theatre of war in all the years of the Second World War. A single air group whether afloat or land based, can now deliver to any reachable target a destructive cargo exceeding in power all the bombs that fell on Britain in all the Second World War.

 

In size and variety, the development of atomic weapons has been no less remarkable. The development has been such that atomic weapons have virtually achieved conventional status within our armed services. In the United States, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Marine Corps are all capable of putting this weapon to military use.

 

But the dread secret and the fearful engines of atomic might are not ours alone.

 

In the first place, the secret is possessed by our friends and allies, the United Kingdom and Canada, whose scientific genius made a tremendous contribution to our original discoveries and the designs of atomic bombs.

 

The secret is also known by the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union has informed us that, over recent years, it has devoted extensive resources to atomic weapons. During this period the Soviet Union has exploded a series of atomic devices, including at least one involving thermo-nuclear reactions.

 

If at one time the United States possessed what might have been called a monopoly of atomic power, that monopoly ceased to exist several years ago. Therefore, although our earlier start has permitted us to accumulate what is today a great quantitative advantage, the atomic realities of today comprehend two facts of even greater significance. First, the knowledge now possessed by several nations will eventually be shared by others, possibly all others.

 

Second, even a vast superiority in numbers of weapons, and a consequent capability of devastating retaliation, is no preventive, of itself, against the fearful material damage and toll of human lives that would be inflicted by surprise aggression.

 

The free world, at least dimly aware of these facts, has naturally embarked on a large programme of warning and defence systems. That programme will be accelerated and extended. But let no one think that the expenditure of vast sums for weapons and systems of defence can guarantee absolute safety for the cities and citizens of any nation. The awful arithmetic of the atomic bomb does not permit of any such easy solution. Even against the most powerful defence, an aggressor in possession of the effective minimum number of atomic bombs for a surprise attack could probably place a sufficient number of his bombs on the chosen targets to cause hideous damage.

 

Should such an atomic attack be launched against the United States, our reactions would be swift and resolute. But for me to say that the defence capabilities of the United States are such that they could inflict terrible losses upon an aggressor, for me to say that the retaliation capabilities of the United States are so great that such an aggressor’s land would be laid waste, all this, while fact, is not the true expression of the purpose and the hopes of the United States.

 

To pause there would be to confirm the hopeless finality of a belief that two atomic colossi are doomed malevolently to eye each other indefinitely across a trembling world. To stop there would be to accept helplessly the probability of civilization destroyed, the annihilation of the irreplaceable heritage of mankind handed down to us from generation to generation, and the condemnation of mankind to begin all over again the age-old struggle upward from savagery towards decency, and right, and justice. Surely no sane member of the human race could discover victory in such desolation. Could anyone wish his name to be coupled by history with such human degradation and destruction? Occasional pages of history do record the faces of the “great destroyers”, but the whole book of history reveals mankind’s never-ending quest for peace and mankind’s God-given capacity to build.

 

It is with the book of history, and not with isolated pages, that the United States will ever wish to be identified. My country wants to be constructive, not destructive. It wants agreements, not wars, among nations. It wants itself to live in freedom and in the confidence that the peoples of every other nation enjoy equally the right of choosing their own way of life.

 

So my country’s purpose is to help us to move out of the dark chamber of horrors into the light, to find a way by which the minds of men, the hopes of men, the souls of men everywhere, can move forward towards peace and happiness and well-being.

 

In this quest, I know that we must not lack patience. I know that in a world divided, such as ours today, salvation cannot be attained by one dramatic act. I know that many steps will have to be taken over many months before the world can look at itself one day and truly realize that a new climate of mutually peaceful confidence is abroad in the world. But I know, above all else, that we must start to take these steps – now.

 

The United States and its allies, the United Kingdom and France, have over the past months tried to take some of these steps. Let no one say that we shun the conference table. On the record has long stood the request of the United States, the United Kingdom and France to negotiate with the Soviet Union the problems of a divided Germany. On that record has long stood the request of the same three nations to negotiate an Austrian peace treaty. On the same record still stands the request of the United Nations to negotiate the problems of Korea.

 

Most recently we have received from the Soviet Union what is in effect an expression of willingness to hold a four-Power meeting. Along with our allies, the United Kingdom and France, we were pleased to see that this note did not contain the unacceptable pre-conditions previously put forward. As you already know from our joint Bermuda communique, the United States, the United Kingdom and France have agreed promptly to meet with the Soviet Union.

 

The Government of the United States approaches this conference with hopeful sincerity. We will bend every effort of our minds to the single purpose of emerging from that conference with tangible results towards peace, the only true way of lessening international tension.

 

We never have, and never will, propose or suggest that the Soviet Union surrender what rightly belongs to it. We will never say that the peoples of the USSR are an enemy with whom we have no desire ever to deal or mingle in friendly and fruitful relationship.

 

On the contrary, we hope that this coming conference may initiate a relationship with the Soviet Union which will eventually bring about a freer mingling of the peoples of the East and of the West – the one sure, human way of developing the understanding required for confident and peaceful relations.

 

Instead of the discontent which is now settling upon Eastern Germany, occupied Austria and the countries of Eastern Europe, we seek a harmonious family of free European nations, with none a threat to the other, and least of all a threat to the peoples of the USSR. Beyond the turmoil and strife and misery of Asis, we seek peaceful opportunity for these peoples to develop their natural resources and to elevate their lot.

 

These are not idle words or shallow visions. Behind them lies a story of nations lately come to independence, not as a result of war, but through free grant or peaceful negotiation. There is a record already written of assistance gladly given by nations of the West to needy peoples and to those suffering the temporary effects of famine, drought and natural disaster. These are deeds of peace. They speak more loudly than promises or protestations of peaceful intent.

 

But I do not wish to rest either upon the reiteration of past proposals or the restatement of past deeds. The gravity of the time is such that every new avenue of peace, no matter how dimly discernible, should be explored.

 

There is at least one new avenue of peace which has not been well explored – an avenue now laid out by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

 

In its resolution of 28 November 1953 (resolution 715 (VIII)) this General Assembly suggested: “that the Disarmament Commission study the desirability of establishing a sub-committee consisting of representatives of the Powers principally involved, which should seek in private an acceptable solution and report…on such a solution to the General Assembly and to the Security Council not later than 1 September 1954.

 

The United States, heeding the suggestion of the General Assembly of the United Nations, is instantly prepared to meet privately with such other countries as may be “principally involved”, to seek “an acceptable solution” to the atomic armaments race which overshadows not only the peace, but the very life, of the world.

 

We shall carry into these private or diplomatic talks a new conception. The United States would seek more than the mere reduction or elimination of atomic materials for military purposes. It is not enough to take this weapon out of the hands of the soldiers. It must be put into the hands of those who will know how to strip its military casing and adapt it to the arts of peace.

 

The United States knows that if the fearful trend of atomic military build-up can be reversed, this greatest of destructive forces can be developed into a great boon, for the benefit of all mankind. The United States knows that peaceful power from atomic energy is no dream of the future. The capability, already proved, is here today. Who can doubt that, if the entire body of the world’s scientists and engineers had adequate amounts of fissionable material with which to test and develop their ideas, this capability would rapidly be transformed into universal, efficient and economic usage?

 

To hasten the day when fear of the atom will begin to disappear from the minds the people and the governments of the East and West, there are certain steps that can be taken now.

 

I therefore make the following proposal.

 

The governments principally involved, to the extent permitted by elementary prudence, should begin now and continue to make joint contributions from their stockpiles of normal uranium and fissionable materials to an international atomic energy agency. We would expect that such an agency would be set up under the aegis of the United Nations. The ratios of contributions, the procedures and other details would properly be within the scope of the “private conversations” I referred to earlier.

 

The United States is prepared to undertake these explorations in good faith. Any partner of the United States acting in the same good faith will find the United States a not unreasonable or ungenerous associate.

 

Undoubtedly, initial and early contributions to this plan would be small in quantity. However, the proposal has the great virtue that it can be undertaken without the irritations and mutual suspicions incident to any attempt to set up a completely acceptable system of world-wide inspection and control.

 

The atomic energy agency could be made responsible for the impounding, storage and protection of the contributed fissionable and other materials. The ingenuity of our scientists will provide special safe conditions under which such a bank of fissionable material can be made essentially immune to surprise seizure.

 

The more important responsibility of this atomic energy agency would be to devise methods whereby this fissionable material would be allocated to serve the peaceful pursuits of mankind. Experts would be mobilized to apply atomic energy to the needs of agriculture, medicine and other peaceful activities. A special purpose would be to provide abundant electrical energy in the power-starved areas of the world.

 

Thus the contributing Powers would be dedicating some of their strength to serve the needs rather than the fears of mankind.

 

The United States would be more than willing – it would be proud to take up with others “principally involved” the development of plans whereby such peaceful use of atomic energy would be expedited.

 

Of those “principally involved” the Soviet Union must, of course, be one.

 

I would be prepared to submit to the Congress of the United States, and with every expectation of approval, any such plan that would, first, encourage world-wide investigation into the most effective peacetime uses of fissionable material, and with the certainty that the investigators had all the material needed for the conducting of all experiments that were appropriate; second, begin to diminish the potential destructive power of the world’s atomic stockpiles; third, allow all peoples of all nations to see that, in this enlightened age, the great Powers of the earth, both of the East and of the West, are interested in human aspirations first rather than in building up the armaments of war; fourth, open up a new channel for peaceful discussion and initiative at least a new approach to the many difficult problems that must be solved in both private and public conversations if the world is to shake off the inertia imposed by fear and is to make positive progress towards peace.

 

Against the dark background of the atomic bomb, the United States does not wish merely to present strength, but also the desire and the hope for peace. The coming months will be fraught with fateful decisions. In this Assembly, in the capitals and military headquarters of the world, in the hearts of men everywhere, be they governed or governors, may they be the decisions which will lead this world out of fear and into peace.

 

To the making of these fateful decisions, the United States pledges before you, and therefore before the world, its determination to help solve the fearful atomic dilemma – to devote its entire heart and mind to finding the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life.

 

I again thank representatives for the great honour they have done me in inviting me to appear before them and in listening to me so graciously.

 

Source: World Nuclear University

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