I have recently (just) returned from extensive
journeying in the region of the Mediterranean and as far as the
borders of Russia. I have conferred with the leaders of Britain
and Russia and China on military matters of the present --especially
on plans for stepping-up our successful attack on our enemies
as quickly as possible and from many different points of the compass.
On this Christmas Eve there are over ten million
men in the armed forces of the United States alone. One year ago
1,700,000 were serving overseas. Today, this figure has been more
than doubled to 3,800,000 on duty overseas. By next July first
that number overseas will rise to over 5,000,000 men and women.
That this is truly a World War was demonstrated
to me when arrangements were being made with our overseas broadcasting
agencies for the time to speak today to our soldiers, and sailors,
and marines and merchant seamen in every part of the world. In
fixing the time for this (the) broadcast, we took into consideration
that at this moment here in the United States, and in the Caribbean
and on the Northeast Coast of South America, it is afternoon.
In Alaska and in Hawaii and the mid-Pacific, it is still morning.
In Iceland, in Great Britain, in North Africa, in Italy and the
Middle East, it is now evening.
In the Southwest Pacific, in Australia, in China
and Burma and India, it is already Christmas Day. So we can correctly
say that at this moment, in those far eastern parts where Americans
are fighting, today is tomorrow.
But everywhere throughout the world -- through(out)
this war that (which) covers the world -- there is a special spirit
that (which) has warmed our hearts since our earliest childhood
-- a spirit that (which) brings us close to our homes, our families,
our friends and neighbors -- the Christmas spirit of "peace
on Earth, goodwill toward men." It is an unquenchable spirit.
During the past years of international gangsterism
and brutal aggression in Europe and in Asia, our Christmas celebrations
have been darkened with apprehension for the future. We have said,
"Merry Christmas -- a Happy New Year," but we have known
in our hearts that the clouds which have hung over our world have
prevented us from saying it with full sincerity and conviction.
And (But) even this year, we still have much to face in the way
of further suffering, and sacrifice, and personal tragedy. Our
men, who have been through the fierce battles in the Solomons,
and the Gilberts, and Tunisia and Italy know, from their own experience
and knowledge of modern war, that many bigger and costlier battles
are still to be fought.
But -- on Christmas Eve this year -- I can say
to you that at last we may look forward into the future with real
, substantial confidence that, however great the cost, "peace
on Earth, good will toward men" can be and will be realized
and ensured. This year I can say that. Last year I could not do
more than express a hope. Today I express -- a certainty though
the cost may be high and the time may be long.
Within the past year -- within the past few weeks
-- history has been made, and it is far better history for the
whole human race than any that we have known, or even dared to
hope for, in these tragic times through which we pass.
A great beginning was made in the Moscow conference
last (in) October by Mr. Molotov, Mr. Eden and our own Mr. Hull.
There and then the way was paved for the later meetings.
At Cairo and Teheran we devoted ourselves not
only to military matters, we devoted ourselves also to consideration
of the future -- to plans for the kind of world which alone can
justify all the sacrifices of this war.
Of course, as you all know, Mr. Churchill and
I have happily met many times before, and we know and understand
each other very well. Indeed, Mr. Churchill has become known and
beloved by many millions of Americans, and the heartfelt prayers
of all of us have been with this great citizen of the world in
his recent serious illness.
The Cairo and Teheran conferences, however, gave
me my first opportunity to meet the Generalissimo, Chiang Kai-shek,
and Marshal Stalin -- and to sit down at the table with these
unconquerable men and talk with them face to face. We had planned
to talk to each other across the table at Cairo and Teheran; but
we soon found that we were all on the same side of the table.
We came to the conferences with faith in each other. But we needed
the personal contact. And now we have supplemented faith with
It was well worth traveling thousands of miles
over land and sea to bring about this personal meeting, and to
gain the heartening assurance that we are absolutely agreed with
one another on all the major objectives -- and on the military
means of obtaining them.
At Cairo, Prime Minister Churchill and I spent
four days with the Generalissimo, Chiang Kai-shek. It was the
first time that we had (had) an opportunity to go over the complex
situation in the Far East with him personally. We were able not
only to settle upon definite military strategy, but also to discuss
certain long-range principles which we believe can assure peace
in the Far East for many generations to come.
Those principles are as simple as they are fundamental.
They involve the restoration of stolen property to its rightful
owners, and the recognition of the rights of millions of people
in the Far East to build up their own forms of self-government
without molestation. Essential to all peace and security in the
Pacific and in the rest of the world is the permanent elimination
of the Empire of Japan as a potential force of aggression. Never
again must our soldiers and sailors and marines -- and other soldiers,
sailors and marines -- be compelled to fight from island to island
as they are fighting so gallantly and so successfully today.
Increasingly powerful forces are now hammering
at the Japanese at many points over an enormous arc which curves
down through the Pacific from the Aleutians to the Jungles of
Burma. Our own Army and Navy, our Air Forces, the Australians
and New Zealanders, the Dutch, and the British land, air and sea
forces are all forming a band of steel which is slowly but surely
closing in on Japan.
And (On) the mainland of Asia, under the Generalissimo's
leadership, the Chinese ground and air forces augmented by American
air forces are playing a vital part in starting the drive which
will push the invaders into the sea.
Following out the military decisions at Cairo,
General Marshall has just flown around the world and has had conferences
with General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz -- conferences which
will spell plenty of bad news for the Japs in the not too far
I met in the Generalissimo a man of great vision,
(and) great courage, and a remarkably keen understanding of the
problems of today and tomorrow. We discussed all the manifold
military plans for striking at Japan with decisive force from
many directions, and I believe I can say that he returned to Chungking
with the positive assurance of total victory over our common enemy.
Today we and the Republic of China are closer together than ever
before in deep friendship and in unity of purpose.
After the Cairo conference, Mr. Churchill and
I went by airplane to Teheran. There we met with Marshal Stalin.
We talked with complete frankness on every conceivable subject
connected with the winning of the war and the establishment of
a durable peace after the war.
Within three days of intense and consistently
amicable discussions, we agreed on every point concerned with
the launching of a gigantic attack upon Germany.
The Russian army will continue its stern offensives on Germany's
Eastern front, the allied armies in Italy and Africa will bring
relentless pressure on Germany from the south, and now the encirclement
will be complete as great American and British forces attack from
other points of the compass.
The Commander selected to lead the combined attack
from these other points is General Dwight D. Eisenhower. His performances
in Africa, in Sicily and in Italy have been brilliant. He knows
by practical and successful experience the way to coordinate air,
sea and land power. All of these will be under his control. Lieutenant
General Carl (D.) Spaatz will command the entire American strategic
bombing force operating against Germany.
General Eisenhower gives up his command in the
Mediterranean to a British officer whose name is being announced
by Mr. Churchill. We now pledge that new Commander that our powerful
ground, sea and air forces in the vital Mediterranean area will
stand by his side until every objective in that bitter theatre
Both of these new Commanders will have American
and British subordinate Commanders whose names will be announced
to the world in a few days.
During the last two days in (at) Teheran, Marshal
Stalin, Mr. Churchill and I looked ahead -- ahead to the days
and months and years that (which) will follow Germany's defeat.
We were united in determination that Germany must be stripped
of her military might and be given no opportunity within the foreseeable
future to regain that might.
The United Nations have no intention to enslave
the German people. We wish them to have a normal chance to develop,
in peace, as useful and respectable members of the European family.
But we most certainly emphasize that word "respectable"
-- for we intend to rid them once and for all of Nazism and Prussian
militarism and the fantastic and disastrous notion that they constitute
the "Master Race."
We did discuss international relationships from
the point of view of big, broad objectives, rather than details.
But on the basis of what we did discuss, I can say even today
that I do not think any insoluble differences will arise among
Russia, Great Britain and the United States.
In these conferences we were concerned with basic
principles -- principles which involve the security and the welfare
and the standard of living or human beings in countries large
and small. To use an American and somewhat ungrammatical colloquialism,
I may say that I "got along fine" with Marshal Stalin.
He is a man who combines a tremendous, relentless determination
with a stalwart good humor. I believe he is truly representative
of the heart and soul of Russia; and I believe that we are going
to get along very well with him and the Russian people -- very
Britain, Russia, China and the United States
and their Allies represent more than three-quarters of the total
population of the Earth. As long as these four nations with great
military power stick together in determination to keep the peace
there will be no possibility of an aggressor nation arising to
start another world war.
But those four powers must be united with and
cooperate with (all) the freedom-loving peoples of Europe, and
Asia, and Africa and the Americas. The rights of every nation,
large or small, must be respected and guarded as jealously as
are the rights of every individual within our own republic.
The doctrine that the strong shall dominate the
weak is the doctrine of our enemies -- and we reject it.
But, at the same time, we are agreed that if
force is necessary to keep international peace, international
force will be applied -- for as long as it may be necessary.
It has been our steady policy -- and it is certainly
a common sense policy -- that the right of each nation to freedom
must be measured by the willingness of that nation to fight for
freedom. And today we salute our unseen Allies in occupied countries
-- the underground resistance groups and the armies of liberation.
They will provide potent forces against our enemies, when the
day of the counter-invasion comes.
Through the development of science the world
has become so much smaller that we have had to discard the geographical
yardsticks of the past. For instance, through our early history
the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans were believed to be walls of safety
for the United States. Time and distance made it physically possible,
for example, for us and for the other American Republics to obtain
and maintain (our) independence against infinitely stronger powers.
Until recently very few people, even military experts, thought
that the day would ever come when we might have to defend our
Pacific Coast against Japanese threats of invasion.
At the outbreak of the first World War relatively
few people thought that our ships and shipping would be menaced
by German submarines on the high seas or that the German militarists
would ever attempt to dominate any nation outside of central Europe.
After the Armistice in 1918, we thought and hoped that the militaristic
philosophy of Germany had been crushed; and being full of the
milk of human kindness we spent the next twenty (fifteen) years
disarming, while the Germans whined so pathetically that the other
nations permitted them -- and even helped them -- to rearm.
For too many years we lived on pious hopes that
aggressor and warlike nations would learn and understand and carry
out the doctrine of purely voluntary peace.
The well-intentioned but ill-fated experiments
of former years did not work. It is my hope that we will not try
them again. No -- that is putting it too weakly -- it is my intention
to do all that I humanly can as President and Commander-in-Chief
to see to it that these tragic mistakes shall not be made again.
There have always been cheerful idiots in this
country who believed that there would be no more war for us, if
everybody in America would only return into their homes and lock
their front doors behind them. Assuming that their motives were
of the highest, events have shown how unwilling they were to face
The overwhelming majority of all the people in
the world want peace. Most of them are fighting for the attainment
of peace -- not just a truce, not just an armistice -- but peace
that is as strongly enforced and as durable as mortal man can
make it. If we are willing to fight for peace now, is it not good
logic that we should use force if necessary, in the future, to
keep the peace?
I believe, and I think I can say, that the other
three great nations who are fighting so magnificently to gain
peace are in complete agreement that we must be prepared to keep
the peace by force. If the people of Germany and Japan are made
to realize thoroughly that the world is not going to let them
break out again, it is possible, and, I hope, probable, that they
will abandon the philosophy of aggression -- the belief that they
can gain the whole world even at the risk of losing their own
souls. I shall have more to say about the Cairo and Teheran conferences
when I make my report to the Congress in about two weeks' time.
And, on that occasion, I shall also have a great deal to say about
certain conditions here at home.
But today I wish to say that in all my travels,
at home and abroad, it is the sight of our soldiers and sailors
and their magnificent achievements which have given me the greatest
inspiration and the greatest encouragement for the future.
To the members of our armed forces, to their
wives, mothers and fathers, I want to affirm the great faith and
confidence that we have in General Marshall and in Admiral King
who direct all of our armed might throughout the world. Upon them
falls the (great) responsibility of planning the strategy of determining
(when and) where and when we shall fight. Both of these men have
already gained high places in American history, places which will
record in that history many evidences of their military genius
that cannot be published today.
Some of our men overseas are now spending their
third Christmas far from home. To them and to all others overseas
or soon to go overseas, I can give assurance that it is the purpose
of their Government to win this war and to bring them home at
the earliest possible time (date).
(And) We here in the United States had better
be sure that when our soldiers and sailors do come home they will
find an America in which they are given full opportunities for
education, and rehabilitation, social security, and employment
and business enterprise under the free American system -- and
that they will find a Government which, by their votes as American
citizens, they have had a full share in electing.
The American people have had every reason to
know that this is a tough and destructive war. On my trip abroad,
I talked with many military men who had faced our enemies in the
field. These hard-headed realists testify to the strength and
skill and resourcefulness of the enemy generals and men whom we
must beat before final victory is won. The war is now reaching
the stage where we shall all have to look forward to large casualty
lists -- dead, wounded and missing.
War entails just that. There is no easy road
to victory. And the end is not yet in sight.
I have been back only for a week. It is fair
that I should tell you my impression. I think I see a tendency
in some of our people here to assume a quick ending of the war
-- that we have already gained the victory. And, perhaps as a
result of this false reasoning, I think I discern an effort to
resume or even encourage an outbreak of partisan thinking and
talking. I hope I am wrong. For, surely, our first and most foremost
tasks are all concerned with winning the war and winning a just
peace that will last for generations.
The massive offensives which are in the making
both in Europe and the Far East -- will require every ounce of
energy and fortitude that we and our Allies can summon on the
fighting fronts and in all the workshops at home. As I have said
before, you cannot order up a great attack on a Monday and demand
that it be delivered on Saturday.
Less than a month ago I flew in a big Army transport
plane over the little town of Bethlehem, in Palestine.
Tonight, on Christmas Eve, all men and women
everywhere who love Christmas are thinking of that ancient town
and of the star of faith that shone there more than nineteen centuries
ago. American boys are fighting today in snow-covered mountains,
in malarial jungles, (and) on blazing deserts, they are fighting
on the far stretches of the sea and above the clouds, and fighting
for the thing for which they struggle.(,) I think it is best symbolized
by the message that came out of Bethlehem.
On behalf of the American people -- your own
people - I send this Christmas message to you, to you who are
in our armed forces:
In our hearts are prayers for you and for all
your comrades in arms who fight to rid the world of evil.
We ask God's blessing upon you -- upon your fathers,
(and) mothers, and wives and children -- all your loved ones at
home. We ask that the comfort of God's grace shall be granted
to those who are sick and wounded, and to those who are prisoners
of war in the hands of the enemy, waiting for the day when they
will again be free.
And we ask that God receive and cherish those
who have given their lives, and that He keep them in honor and
in the grateful memory of their countrymen forever.
God bless all of you who fight our battles on
this Christmas Eve.
God bless us all. (God) Keep us strong in our
faith that we fight for a better day for human kind -- here and