During the Second World War (1939–1945), "Arsenal of Democracy" was the slogan used by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a radio broadcast delivered on 29 December 1940. Roosevelt promised to help the United Kingdom fight Nazi Germany by giving them military supplies while the United States stayed out of the actual fighting. The president announced that intent a year before the Attack on Pearl Harbor (7 December 1941), at a time when Germany had occupied much of Europe and threatened Britain.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A Democrat, he won a record four presidential elections and became a central figure in world events during the first half of the 20th century. Roosevelt directed the federal government during most of the Great Depression, implementing his New Deal domestic agenda in response to the worst economic crisis in U.S. history. As a dominant leader of his party, he built the New Deal Coalition, which realigned American politics into the Fifth Party System and defined American liberalism throughout the middle third of the 20th century. His third and fourth terms were dominated by World War II. Roosevelt is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in American history, as well as among the most influential figures of the 20th century. Though he has also been subject to much criticism, he is generally rated by scholars as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents, along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
The fireside chats were a series of 30 evening radio addresses given by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt between 1933 and 1944. Roosevelt spoke with familiarity to millions of Americans about the promulgation of the Emergency Banking Act in response to the banking crisis, the recession, New Deal initiatives, and the course of World War II. On radio, he was able to quell rumors and explain his policies. His tone and demeanor communicated self-assurance during times of despair and uncertainty. Roosevelt was regarded as an effective communicator on radio, and the fireside chats kept him in high public regard throughout his presidency. Their introduction was later described as a "revolutionary experiment with a nascent media platform."
The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
Nazi Germany was allied with Fascist Italy and the Empire of Japan (the Axis powers). At the time, Germany and the Soviet Union had signed a non-aggression treaty under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, and had jointly affected the Invasion of Poland (1939), a Realpolitik deal that remained effective until Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, in 1941.
The Empire of Japan was the historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the enactment of the 1947 constitution of modern Japan.
The Axis powers, also known as "Rome–Berlin–Tokyo Axis", were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allies. The Axis powers agreed on their opposition to the Allies, but did not completely coordinate their activity.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 30 December 1922 to 26 December 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
Roosevelt's address was "a call to arm and support" the Allies in Europe, and, to a lesser extent, arm and support the Republic of China (1912–), in total war against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. "The great arsenal of democracy" came to specifically refer to the industry of the U.S., as the primary supplier of material for the Allied war effort.
The Allies of World War II, called the United Nations from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.
The slogan "Arsenal of democracy" refers to the collective efforts of American industry in supporting the Allies, which efforts tended to be concentrated in the established industrial centers of the U.S., such as Chicago, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, and other places.
In 1918, Doubleday executive Herbert S. Houston analyzed World War I with an article titled "Blocking New Wars". He wrote that American business was the "Protector of Democracy" while the American free press was "one of the most effective weapons in the arsenal of democracy."
Doubleday is an American publishing company founded as Doubleday & McClure Company in 1897 that by 1947 was the largest in the United States. It published the work of mostly U.S. authors under a number of imprints and distributed them through its own stores. In 2009 Doubleday merged with Knopf Publishing Group to form the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, which is now part of Penguin Random House.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the principle that communication and expression through various media, including printed and electronic media, especially published materials, should be considered a right to be exercised freely. Such freedom implies the absence of interference from an overreaching state; its preservation may be sought through constitutional or other legal protections.
The concept of America as an actual arsenal came from the American playwright Robert Emmet Sherwood, who was quoted in the May 12, 1940 New York Times as saying "this country is already, in effect, an arsenal for the democratic Allies." [ page needed ] The phrase was suggested by top Roosevelt advisor Harry Hopkins. Yet another account has it that Roosevelt borrowed the phrase from Detroit auto executive William S. Knudsen, who was tapped by Roosevelt to lead the United States' war materiel production efforts.Although the French economist Jean Monnet had used the phrase later in 1940, he was urged by Felix Frankfurter not to use it again so Roosevelt could make use of it in his speeches. Franklin Roosevelt has since been credited with the phrase.
The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 125 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation and 2nd in the U.S.
Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet was a French political economist and diplomat. An influential supporter of European unity, he is considered as one of the founding fathers of the European Union. Jean Monnet has been called "The Father of Europe" by those who see his innovative and pioneering efforts in the 1950s as the key to establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, the predecessor of today’s European Union. Never elected to public office, Monnet worked behind the scenes of American and European governments as a well-connected pragmatic internationalist. He was named patron of the 1980–1981 academic year at the College of Europe, in honour of his accomplishments.
Felix Frankfurter was an Austrian-American lawyer, professor, and jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Frankfurter served on the Supreme Court from 1939 to 1962 and was a noted advocate of judicial restraint in the judgments of the Court.
Much of the ending of the speech attempted to dispel complacency. Roosevelt laid out the situation, and then pointed out the flaws in United States isolationism. He mentioned that "Some of us like to believe that even if Britain falls, we are still safe, because of the broad expanse of the Atlantic and of the Pacific."
He refuted this by saying that modern technology had effectively reduced the distances across those oceans, allowing even for "planes that could fly from the British Isles to New England and back again without refueling."
After establishing the danger, the president then proceeded to request action from the people. He acknowledged a telegram he had received. He refuted its message, which he summarized as "Please, Mr. President, don't frighten us by telling us the facts." The central fact he felt Americans must grasp was the geopolitical Heartland theory: "If Great Britain goes down, the Axis powers will control the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia, and the high seas—and they will be in a position to bring enormous military and naval resources against this hemisphere."
He then continued to describe the situation in Europe, punctuating his remarks with warnings of how the Nazis would use the same tactics in the Western Hemisphere, and giving vivid imagery such as "The fate of these [occupied] nations tells us what it means to live at the point of a Nazi gun." Roosevelt attacked the British prewar policy of "appeasement," calling it ineffective. Listing prior examples given by European countries, he said it was futile.
The only solution was to assist Britain ("the spearhead of resistance to world conquest") while it was still possible.
While not explicitly pledging to stay out of the war, he stated that "our national policy is not directed toward war," and argued that helping Britain now would save Americans from having to fight. "You can, therefore, nail–nail any talk about sending armies to Europe as deliberate untruth." Europe does "not ask us to do their fighting. They ask us for the implements of war, the planes, the tanks, the guns, the freighters which will enable them to fight for their liberty and for our security. Emphatically we must get these weapons to them, get them to them in sufficient volume and quickly enough, so that we and our children will be saved the agony and suffering of war which others have had to endure."
He urged this to change, all the while stressing that open war would not hurt the country: "the strength of this nation shall not be diluted by the failure of the Government to protect the economic well-being of its citizens." He focused on that theme of "splendid cooperation between the Government and industry and labor" for several paragraphs, cited how American labor would make an impact in the combat zones, and noted how important the manufacture of weapons and vehicles is to being strong, as a nation.
He warned against labor disputes, saying, "The nation expects our defense industries to continue operation without interruption by strikes or lockouts. It expects and insists that management and workers will reconcile their differences by voluntary or legal means."
Roosevelt stressed that it was not the American government but the American people who had the power to turn the tide of the war. It was here that he used the phrase "arsenal of democracy": "We must be the great arsenal of democracy. For us this is an emergency as serious as war itself. We must apply ourselves to our task with the same resolution, the same sense of urgency, the same spirit of patriotism and sacrifice as we would show were we at war." Finally he reassured the American people: "I believe that the Axis powers are not going to win this war."
The speech reflected the American approach to entry into World War II. It marked the decline of the isolationist and non-interventionist doctrine that had dominated interwar U.S. foreign policy since the United States' involvement in World War I. At the time, while the United States Navy appeared strong and was widely thought to guarantee the Western Hemisphere would be safe from invasion, there were only 458,365 non-Coast Guard military personnel on active duty—259,028 in the Army, 160,997 in the Navy, and 28,345 in the Marine Corps. By the next year, that number had nearly quadrupled, with 1,801,101 total military personnel—1,462,315 in the Army, 284,437 in the Navy, and 54,359 in the Marine Corps.
Previous policies such as the Neutrality Acts had already begun to be replaced by intensified assistance to the Allies, including the cash and carry policy in 1939 and Destroyers for Bases Agreement in September 1940. The Lend-Lease program began in March 1941, several months after the Arsenal of Democracy address. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941—less than a year after the Arsenal of Democracy address—the United States entered the war.
The spending on military production was distributed 32% for aircraft, 14.8% for ships, 25.6% for ordnance (guns, ammunition and military vehicles), 4.9% for electronics, and the remaining 22.7% for fuels, clothing, construction materials, and food. Note that production costs fell steadily—the same item cost much less to produce in 1945 than in 1942. The largest United States military prime contractors are listed below in order of the total value of munitions produced from June 1940 through September 1944. These large firms produced many different items; the aircraft companies assembled parts made by thousands of firms.
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The Four Freedoms were goals articulated by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Monday, January 6, 1941. In an address known as the Four Freedoms speech, he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people "everywhere in the world" ought to enjoy:
The Lend-Lease policy, formally titled An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States, was an American program to defeat Germany, Japan and Italy by distributing food, oil, and materiel between 1941 and August 1945. The aid went to the United Kingdom, China, and later the Soviet Union, Free France, and other Allied nations. It included warships and warplanes, along with other weaponry. The policy was signed into law on March 11, 1941, and ended overnight without prior warning when the war against Japan ended. The aid was free for all countries, although goods in transit when the program ended were charged for. Some transport ships were returned to the US after the war, but practically all the items sent out were used up or worthless in peacetime. In Reverse Lend Lease, the U.S. was given no-cost leases on army and naval bases in Allied territory during the war, as well as local supplies.
The Yalta Conference, also known as the Crimea Conference and code-named the Argonaut Conference, held from 4 to 11 February 1945, was the World War II meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union for the purpose of discussing Germany and Europe's postwar reorganization. The three states were represented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Premier Joseph Stalin, respectively. The conference convened near Yalta in Crimea, Soviet Union, within the Livadia, Yusupov, and Vorontsov Palaces.
The America First Committee (AFC) was the foremost United States non-interventionist pressure group against the American entry into World War II. Started on September 4, 1940, it experienced mixed messaging with antisemitic and pro-fascist rhetoric from leading members, and it was dissolved on December 10, 1941, three days after the attack on Pearl Harbor had brought the war to America. Membership peaked at 800,000 paying members in 450 chapters. It was one of the largest anti-war organizations in American history.
Joseph Patrick Kennedy was an American businessman, investor, and politician known for his high-profile positions in United States politics. Kennedy was married to Rose Kennedy, and three of their nine children attained distinguished political positions: President John F. Kennedy (1917–1963), Attorney General and Senator Robert F. Kennedy (1925–1968), and longtime Senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy (1932–2009). John won the 1960 presidential election; Robert was assassinated during his presidential primary campaign in 1968; Ted was defeated in the 1980 Democratic Party primary by incumbent President Jimmy Carter. His eldest son Joseph Jr. was killed in action during World War II, age 29, in 1944. He was a leading member of the Democratic Party and of the Irish Catholic community. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Kennedy to be the first chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and he later directed the Maritime Commission. Kennedy served as the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1938 until late 1940, when he annoyed Roosevelt by his pessimism about Britain's survival.
Technology played a significant role in World War II. Some of the technologies used during the war were developed during the interwar years of the 1920s and 1930s, much was developed in response to needs and lessons learned during the war, while others were beginning to be developed as the war ended. Many wars had major effects on the technologies that we use in our daily lives. However, compared to previous wars, World War II had the greatest effect on the technology and devices that are used today. Technology also played a greater role in the conduct of World War II than in any other war in history, and had a critical role in its final outcome.
Sweden maintained its policy of neutrality during World War II. When the war began on September 1, 1939, the fate of Sweden was unclear. But by a combination of its geopolitical location in the Scandinavian Peninsula, successful realpolitik manoeuvring during an unpredictable course of events, and a dedicated military build-up after 1942, Sweden succeeded in keeping its official neutrality status throughout the war.
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.), Poland and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe (Baltics), and Southeast Europe (Balkans) from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It has been known as the Great Patriotic War in the former Soviet Union and modern Russia, while in Germany it was called the Eastern Front, or the German-Soviet War by outside parties.
A war economy or wartime economy is the set of contingencies undertaken by a modern state to mobilize its economy for war production. Philippe Le Billon describes a war economy as a "system of producing, mobilizing and allocating resources to sustain the violence." Some measures taken include the increasing of Taylor rates as well as the introduction of resource allocation programs. Needless to say, every country approaches the reconfiguration of its economy in a different way.
Robert Emmet Sherwood was an American playwright, editor, and screenwriter.
The American Century is a characterization of the period since the middle of the 20th century as being largely dominated by the United States in political, economic, and cultural terms. It is comparable to the description of the period 1815–1914 as Britain's Imperial Century. The United States' influence grew throughout the 20th century, but became especially dominant after the end of World War II, when only two superpowers remained, the United States and the Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States remained the world's only superpower, and became the hegemon, or what some have termed a hyperpower.
Military production during World War II includes the arms, ammunitions, personnel and financing which were mobilized for the war. Military production, in this article, means everything produced by the belligerents from the occupation of Austria in early 1938 to the surrender and occupation of Japan in late 1945.
William Signius Knudsen was a leading automotive industry executive and an American general during World War II. His experience and success as a key senior manager in the operations sides of Ford Motor Company and later General Motors led the Franklin Roosevelt Administration to directly commission him as a lieutenant general in the United States Army to help lead the United States' war materiel production efforts for World War II.
Germany–United States relations, also referred to as German–American relations, refers to the bilateral relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America. German–American relations are the historic relations between Germany and the United States at the official level, including diplomacy, alliances and warfare. The topic also includes economic relations such as trade and investments, demography and migration, and cultural and intellectual interchanges since the 1680s.
In the decades since the Holocaust, some national governments, international bodies and world leaders have been criticized for their failure to take appropriate action to save the millions of European Jews, Roma, and other victims of the Holocaust. Critics say that such intervention, particularly by the Allied governments, might have saved substantial numbers of people and could have been accomplished without the diversion of significant resources from the war effort.
The home front of the United States in World War II supported the war effort in many ways, including a wide range of volunteer efforts and submitting to government-managed rationing and price controls. There was a general feeling of agreement that the sacrifices were for the national good "for the duration [of the war]."
The following events occurred in August 1940:
The diplomatic history of World War II includes the major foreign policies and interactions inside the opposing coalitions, the Allies of World War II and the Axis powers. The military history of the war is covered at World War II. The prewar diplomacy is covered in Causes of World War II and International relations (1919–1939).
On 11 December 1941, four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States declaration of war against the Japanese Empire, Nazi Germany declared war against the United States, in response to what was claimed to be a series of provocations by the United States government when the US was still officially neutral during World War II. The decision to declare war was made by Adolf Hitler, apparently offhand, almost without consultation. Later that day, the United States declared war on Germany.
The third and fourth terms of the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt began on January 20, 1941, the date of Roosevelt's third inauguration, and ended with Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945. Roosevelt won a third term by defeating Republican nominee Wendell Willkie in the 1940 United States presidential election. He remains the only president to serve for more than two terms. Unlike his first two terms in office, Roosevelt's third and fourth terms were dominated by foreign policy concerns, as the United States became a belligerent in World War II in December 1941.