THE ANNUAL MESSAGE TO CONGRESS
Delivered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (excerpts)
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 today-the Union was never more closely knit together-this country was never more deeply determined to face the solemn tasks before it.
The response of the American people has been instantaneous. 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 . . . They-not we-will 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 7, 1941.
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.
The plan failed in its purpose. We have not been stunned. We have not been terrified or confused. This reassembling of the Seventy-seventh Congress 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.
Powerful and offensive actions must and will be taken in proper time. The consolidations of the United Nations' total war effort against our common enemies is being achieved.
Difficult choices may have to be made in the months to come. We will not shrink from such decisions. We and those united with us will make those decisions with courage and determination.
The militarists in Berlin and Tokyo started this war. But the massed, angered forces of common humanity will finish it.
Our own objectives are clear: the objective of smashing the militarism imposed by warlords upon their enslaved peoples-the objective of liberating the subjugated nations-the 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 objectives-nor 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 I speak also for all the other peoples who fight with us-when I say that this time we are determined not only to win the war but also to maintain the security of the peace which will follow.
But 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.
The superiority of the United Nations in munitions and ships must be overwhelming-so overwhelming that the Axis nations can never hope to catch up with it. In order to attain this overwhelming superiority the United Nations 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.
This production of ours in the United States must be raised far above its 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 done-and 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:
1. 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 set a year and a half ago. This includes 45,000 combat planes-bombers, dive bombers, pursuit planes. The rate of increase will be continued, so that next year, 1943 we shall produce 125,000 planes, including 100,000 combat planes.
2. 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.
3. 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 guns.
4. To increase our production rate of merchant ships so rapidly that in this year, 1942, we shall build 8,000,000 deadweight tons as compared with a 1941 production of 1,100,000. We shall continue that increase so that next year, 1943, we shall build 10,000,000 tons.
Our task is hard-our task is unprecedented-and 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 smallest-from the huge automobile industry to the village machine shop.
Production for war is based on men and women-the 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 24 hours a day and 7 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% of our national income to our 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 one-half of the estimated annual national income. This 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 civilization-and slowness has never been an American characteristic.
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
THE WHITE HOUSE
January 6, 1942.