Franklin D. Roosevelt
State of the Union Address
January 6, 1942
IN FULFILLING my duty to report upon the State of the Union, I am proud
to say to you that the spirit of the American people was never higher than
it is todaythe Union was never more closely knit togetherthis country
was never more deeply determined to face the solemn tasks before it.
The response of the American people has been instantaneous, and it will
be sustained until our security is assured.
Exactly one year ago today I said to this Congress: "When the dictators.
. . are ready to make war upon us, they will not wait for an act of war
on our part. . . . Theynot wewill choose the time and the place and the
method of their attack."
We now know their choice of the time: a peaceful Sunday morning December
We know their choice of the place: an American outpost in the Pacific.
We know their choice of the method: the method of Hitler himself.
Japan's scheme of conquest goes back half a century. It was not merely
a policy of seeking living room: it was a plan which included the subjugation
of all the peoples in the Far East and in the islands of the Pacific, and
the domination of that ocean by Japanese military and naval control of
the western coasts of North, Central, and South America.
The development of this ambitious conspiracy was marked by the war against
China in 1894; the subsequent occupation of Korea; the war against Russia
in 1904; the illegal fortification of the mandated Pacific islands following
1920; the seizure of Manchuria in 1931; and the invasion of China in 1937.
A similar policy of criminal conquest was adopted by Italy. The Fascists
first revealed their imperial designs in Libya and Tripoli. In 1935 they
seized Abyssinia. Their goal was the domination of all North Africa, Egypt,
parts of France, and the entire Mediterranean world.
But the dreams of empire of the Japanese and Fascist leaders were modest
in comparison with the gargantuan aspirations of Hitler and his Nazis.
Even before they came to power in 1933, their plans for that conquest had
been drawn. Those plans provided for ultimate domination, not of any one
section of the world, but of the whole earth and all the oceans on it.
When Hitler organized his Berlin-Rome-Tokyo alliance, all these plans
of conquest became a single plan. Under this, in addition to her own schemes
of conquest, Japan's role was obviously to cut off our supply of weapons
of war to Britain, and Russia and China- weapons which increasingly were
speeding the day of Hitler's doom. The act of Japan at Pearl Harbor was
intended to stun usto terrify us to such an extent that we would divert
our industrial and military strength to the Pacific area, or even to our
own continental defense.
The plan has failed in its purpose. We have not been stunned. We have
not been terrified or confused. This very reassembling of the Seventy-seventh
Congress today is proof of that; for the mood of quiet, grim resolution
which here prevails bodes ill for those who conspired and collaborated
to murder world peace.
That mood is stronger than any mere desire for revenge. It expresses
the will of the American people to make very certain that the world will
never so suffer again.
Admittedly, we have been faced with hard choices. It was bitter, for
example, not to be able to relieve the heroic and historic defenders of
Wake Island. It was bitter for us not to be able to land a million men
in a thousand ships in the Philippine Islands.
But this adds only to our determination to see to it that the Stars
and Stripes will fly again over Wake and Guam. Yes, see to it that the
brave people of the Philippines will be rid of Japanese imperialism; and
will live in freedom, security, and independence.
Powerful and offensive actions must and will be taken in proper time.
The consolidation of the United Nations' total war effort against our common
enemies is being achieved.
That was and is the purpose of conferences which have been held during
the past two weeks in Washington, and Moscow and Chungking. That is the
primary objective of the declaration of solidarity signed in Washington
on January 1, 1942, by 26 Nations united against the Axis powers.
Difficult choices may have to be made in the months to come. We do not
shrink from such decisions. We and those united with us will make those
decisions with courage and determination.
Plans have been laid here and in the other capitals for coordinated
and cooperative action by all the United Nationsmilitary action and economic
action. Already we have established, as you know, unified command of land,
sea, and air forces in the southwestern Pacific theater of war. There will
be a continuation of conferences and consultations among military staffs,
so that the plans and operations of each will fit into the general strategy
designed to crush the enemy. We shall not fight isolated warseach Nation
going its own way. These 26 Nations are united-not in spirit and determination
alone, but in the broad conduct of the war in all its phases.
For the first time since the Japanese and the Fascists and the Nazis
started along their blood-stained course of conquest they now face the
fact that superior forces are assembling against them. Gone forever are
the days when the aggressors could attack and destroy their victims one
by one without unity of resistance. We of the United Nations will so dispose
our forces that we can strike at the common enemy wherever the greatest
damage can be done him.
The militarists of Berlin and Tokyo started this war. But the massed,
angered forces of common humanity will finish it.
Destruction of the material and spiritual centers of civilization-this
has been and still is the purpose of Hitler and his Italian and Japanese
chessmen. They would wreck the power of the British Commonwealth and Russia
and China and the Netherlandsand then combine all their forces to achieve
their ultimate goal, the conquest of the United States.
They know that victory for us means victory for freedom.
They know that victory for us means victory for the institution of democracy
the ideal of the family, the simple principles of common decency and humanity.
They know that victory for us means victory for religion. And they could
not tolerate that. The world is too small to provide adequate "living room"
for both Hitler and God. In proof of that, the Nazis have now announced
their plan for enforcing their new German, pagan religion all over the
worlda plan by which the Holy Bible and the Cross of Mercy would be displaced
by Mein Kampf and the swastika and the naked sword.
Our own objectives are clear; the objective of smashing the militarism
imposed by war lords upon their enslaved peoples the objective of liberating
the subjugated Nationsthe objective of establishing and securing freedom
of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear
everywhere in the world.
We shall not stop short of these objectivesnor shall we be satisfied
merely to gain them and then call it a day. I know that I speak for the
American people- and I have good reason to believe that I speak also for
all the other peoples who fight with uswhen I say that this time we are
determined not only to win the war, but also to maintain the security of
the peace that will follow.
But we know that modern methods of warfare make it a task, not only
of shooting and fighting, but an even more urgent one of working and producing.
Victory requires the actual weapons of war and the means of transporting
them to a dozen points of combat.
It will not be sufficient for us and the other United Nations to produce
a slightly superior supply of munitions to that of Germany, Japan, Italy,
and the stolen industries in the countries which they have overrun.
The superiority of the United Nations in munitions and ships must be
overwhelmingso overwhelming that the Axis Nations can never hope to catch
up with it. And so, in order to attain this overwhelming superiority the
United States must build planes and tanks and guns and ships to the utmost
limit of our national capacity. We have the ability and capacity to produce
arms not only for our own forces, but also for the armies, navies, and
air forces fighting on our side.
And our overwhelming superiority of armament must be adequate to put
weapons of war at the proper time into the hands of those men in the conquered
Nations who stand ready to seize the first opportunity to revolt against
their German and Japanese oppressors, and against the traitors in their
own ranks, known by the already infamous name of "Quislings." And I think
that it is a fair prophecy to say that, as we get guns to the patriots
in those lands, they too will fire shots heard 'round the world.
This production of ours in the United States must be raised far above
present levels, even though it will mean the dislocation of the lives and
occupations of millions of our own people. We must raise our sights all
along the production line. Let no man say it cannot be done. It must be
doneand we have undertaken to do it.
I have just sent a letter of directive to the appropriate departments
and agencies of our Government, ordering that immediate steps be taken:
First, to increase our production rate of airplanes so rapidly that
in this year, 1942, we shall produce 60,000 planes, 10,000 more than the
goal that we set a year and a half ago. This includes 45,000 combat planes-
bombers, dive bombers, pursuit planes. The rate of increase will be maintained
and continued so that next year, 1943, we shall produce 125,000 airplanes,
including 100,000 combat planes.
Second, to increase our production rate of tanks so rapidly that in
this year, 1942, we shall produce 45,000 tanks; and to continue that increase
so that next year, 1943, we shall produce 75,000 tanks.
Third, to increase our production rate of anti-aircraft guns so rapidly
that in this year, 1942, we shall produce 20,000 of them; and to continue
that increase so that next year, 1943, we shall produce 35,000 anti-aircraft
And fourth, to increase our production rate of merchant ships so rapidly
that in this year, 1942, we shall build 6,000,000 deadweight tons as compared
with a 1941 completed production of 1,100,000. And finally, we shall continue
that increase so that next year, 1943, we shall build 10,000,000 tons of
These figures and similar figures for a multitude of other implements
of war will give the Japanese and the Nazis a little idea of just what
they accomplished in the attack at Pearl Harbor.
And I rather hope that all these figures which I have given will become
common knowledge in Germany and Japan.
Our task is hard- our task is unprecedentedand the time is short. We
must strain every existing armament-producing facility to the utmost. We
must convert every available plant and tool to war production. That goes
all the way from the greatest plants to the smallestfrom the huge automobile
industry to the village machine shop.
Production for war is based on men and womenthe human hands and brains
which collectively we call Labor. Our workers stand ready to work long
hours; to turn out more in a day's work; to keep the wheels turning and
the fires burning twenty-four hours a day, and seven days a week. They
realize well that on the speed and efficiency of their work depend the
lives of their sons and their brothers on the fighting fronts.
Production for war is based on metals and raw materials-steel, copper,
rubber, aluminum, zinc, tin. Greater and greater quantities of them will
have to be diverted to war purposes. Civilian use of them will have to
be cut further and still further and, in many cases, completely eliminated.
War costs money. So far, we have hardly even begun to pay for it. We
have devoted only 15 percent of our national income to national defense.
As will appear in my Budget Message tomorrow, our war program for the coming
fiscal year will cost 56 billion dollars or, in other words, more than
half of the estimated annual national income. That means taxes and bonds
and bonds and taxes. It means cutting luxuries and other non-essentials.
In a word, it means an "all-out" war by individual effort and family effort
in a united country.
Only this all-out scale of production will hasten the ultimate all-out
victory. Speed will count. Lost ground can always be regained- lost time
never. Speed will save lives; speed will save this Nation which is in peril;
speed will save our freedom and our civilizationand slowness has never
been an American characteristic.
As the United States goes into its full stride, we must always be on
guard against misconceptions which will arise, some of them naturally,
or which will be planted among us by our enemies.
We must guard against complacency. We must not underrate the enemy.
He is powerful and cunningand cruel and ruthless. He will stop at nothing
that gives him a chance to kill and to destroy. He has trained his people
to believe that their highest perfection is achieved by waging war. For
many years he has prepared for this very conflict- planning, and plotting,
and training, arming, and fighting. We have already tasted defeat. We may
suffer further setbacks. We must face the fact of a hard war, a long war,
a bloody war, a costly war.
We must, on the other hand, guard against defeatism. That has been one
of the chief weapons of Hitler's propaganda machineused time and again
with deadly results. It will not be used successfully on the American people.
We must guard against divisions among ourselves and among all the other
United Nations. We must be particularly vigilant against racial discrimination
in any of its ugly forms. Hitler will try again to breed mistrust and suspicion
between one individual and another, one group and another, one race and
another, one Government and another. He will try to use the same technique
of falsehood and rumor-mongering with which he divided France from Britain.
He is trying to do this with us even now. But he will find a unity of will
and purpose against him, which will persevere until the destruction of
all his black designs upon the freedom and safety of the people of the
We cannot wage this war in a defensive spirit. As our power and our
resources are fully mobilized, we shall carry the attack against the enemywe
shall hit him and hit him again wherever and whenever we can reach him.
We must keep him far from our shores, for we intend to bring this battle
to him on his own home grounds.
American armed forces must be used at any place in all the world where
it seems advisable to engage the forces of the enemy. In some cases these
operations will be defensive, in order to protect key positions. In other
cases, these operations will be offensive, in order to strike at the common
enemy, with a view to his complete encirclement and eventual total defeat.
American armed forces will operate at many points in the Far East.
American armed forces will be on all the oceans- helping to guard the
essential communications which are vital to the United Nations.
American land and air and sea forces will take stations in the British
Isles- which constitute an essential fortress in this great world struggle.
American armed forces will help to protect this hemisphereand also
help to protect bases outside this hemisphere, which could be used for
an attack on the Americas.
If any of our enemies, from Europe or from Asia, attempt long-range
raids by "suicide" squadrons of bombing planes, they will do so only in
the hope of terrorizing our people and disrupting our morale. Our people
are not afraid of that. We know that we may have to pay a heavy price for
freedom. We will pay this price with a will. Whatever the price, it is
a thousand times worth it. No matter what our enemies, in their desperation,
may attempt to do to us- we will say, as the people of London have said,
"We can take it." And what's more we can give it back and we will give
it backwith compound interest.
When our enemies challenged our country to stand up and fight, they
challenged each and every one of us. And each and every one of us has accepted
the challengefor himself and for his Nation.
There were only some 400 United States Marines who in the heroic and
historic defense of Wake Island inflicted such great losses on the enemy.
Some of those men were killed in action; and others are now prisoners of
war. When the survivors of that great fight are liberated and restored
to their homes, they will learn that a hundred and thirty million of their
fellow citizens have been inspired to render their own full share of service
We can well say that our men on the fighting fronts have already proved
that Americans today are just as rugged and just as tough as any of the
heroes whose exploits we celebrate on the Fourth of July.
Many people ask, "When will this war end?" There is only one answer
to that. It will end just as soon as we make it end, by our combined efforts,
our combined strength, our combined determination to fight through and
work through until the end the end of militarism in Germany and Italy
and Japan. Most certainly we shall not settle for less.
That is the spirit in which discussions have been conducted during the
visit of the British Prime Minister to Washington. Mr. Churchill
and I understand each other, our motives and our purposes. Together, during
the past two weeks, we have faced squarely the major military and economic
problems of this greatest world war.
All in our Nation have been cheered by Mr. Churchill's visit. We have
been deeply stirred by his great message to us. He is welcome in our midst,
and we unite in wishing him a safe return to his home.
For we are fighting on the same side with the British people, who fought
alone for long, terrible months, and withstood the enemy with fortitude
and tenacity and skill.
We are fighting on the same side with the Russian people who have seen
the Nazi hordes swarm up to the very gates of Moscow, and who with almost
superhuman will and courage have forced the invaders back into retreat.
We are fighting on the same side as the brave people of Chinathose
millions who for four and a half long years have withstood bombs and starvation
and have whipped the invaders time and again in spite of the superior Japanese
equipment and arms. Yes, we are fighting on the same side as the indomitable
Dutch. We are fighting on the same side as all the other Governments in
exile, whom Hitler and all his armies and all his Gestapo have not been
able to conquer.
But we of the United Nations are not making all this sacrifice of human
effort and human lives to return to the kind of world we had after the
last world war.
We are fighting today for security, for progress, and for peace, not
only for ourselves but for all men, not only for one generation but for
all generations. We are fighting to cleanse the world of ancient evils,
Our enemies are guided by brutal cynicism, by unholy contempt for the
human race. We are inspired by a faith that goes back through all the years
to the first chapter of the Book of Genesis: "God created man in His own
We on our side are striving to be true to that divine heritage. We are
fighting, as our fathers have fought, to uphold the doctrine that all men
are equal in the sight of God. Those on the other side are striving to
destroy this deep belief and to create a world in their own imagea world
of tyranny and cruelty and serfdom.
That is the conflict that day and night now pervades our lives.
No compromise can end that conflict. There never has beenthere never
can besuccessful compromise between good and evil. Only total victory
can reward the champions of tolerance, and decency, and freedom, and faith.