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FDR: “In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression–everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want–which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear–which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor–anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.”
Since Europe had been at war going almost a year and a half, the world situation was tense to say the least. In an atmosphere where our involvement in the conflict was practically inevitable, the emphasis on this address was our national security and where we fit into the picture. Our policy of isolationism, one we had adopted at the end of World War 1, was rapidly becoming impractical. Even in the 1940s, the world was becoming smaller and our involvements were becoming more entangled. So as a way of breaking with the isolationist policy, FDR sought to reverse our previous stance. In doing so, he was roundly criticized for wanting to drag us into another war. But with France having fallen and Britain fighting it alone and in fear of invasion almost any day, the writing was on the wall.
And that’s what happened on this day, Monday January 6, 1941.