You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2010.
December 31, 1948
“NEW YORK, Thursday—…Yesterday I was presented with the “1949 Dime Hat,” which was designed and created by Dorothy Gordon to commemorate the new March of Dimes Campaign for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. The brim of the hat is turned up on the left side and under the basket weave of the felt, dimes are inserted; many more dimes are tucked into slits in the crown—more than 400 dimes in all, which will be turned over to the National Foundation. I was delighted to accept Miss Gordon’s creation, but I must say I am glad I won’t have to wear it, for its weight would be a matter of considerable discomfort.”
December 20, 1961
“NEW YORK—What can one woman do to prevent war? This is the question that comes my way in any number of letters these days.
In times past, the question usually asked by women was, “How can we best help to defend our nation?” I cannot remember a time when the question on so many people’s lips was, “How can we prevent war?”…
…Here is where the individual comes in. To the women and the men who are asking themselves, “What can I do as an individual?” my answer is this: Take a more active interest in your government, have a say in who is nominated for political office, work for these candidates and keep in close touch with them if they are elected.
If our objective is to do away with the causes of war, build up the United Nations and give the U.N. more control over the weapons of total destruction, we should urge that world law be developed so that people’s grievances can be heard promptly and judiciously settled.
We should begin in our own environment and in our own community as far as possible to build a peace-loving attitude and learn to discipline ourselves to accept, in the small things of our lives, mediation and arbitration.
As individuals, there is little that any of us can do to prevent an accidental use of bombs in the hands of those who already have them. We can register, however, with our government a firm protest against granting the knowledge and the use of these weapons to those who do not now have them.
We may hope that in the years to come, when the proper machinery is set up, such lethal weapons can be destroyed wherever they are and the knowledge that developed them can be used for more constructive purposes.
In the meantime, no citizen of a democracy need feel completely helpless if he becomes an active factor in the citizenship of his community. For it is the willingness to abdicate responsibilities of citizenship which gives us our feeling of inadequacy and frustration.
As long as we are not actually destroyed, we can work to gain greater understanding of other peoples and to try to present to the peoples of the world the values of our own beliefs. We can do this by demonstrating our conviction that human life is worth preserving and that we are willing to help others to enjoy benefits of our civilization just as we have enjoyed it.”
December 15, 1941: FDR gives a radio address on the 150th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights.
December 8, 1941
“WASHINGTON, Sunday—I was going out in the hall to say goodbye to our cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Adams, and their children, after luncheon, and, as I stepped out of my room, I knew something had happened. All the secretaries were there, two telephones were in use, the senior military aides were on their way with messages. I said nothing because the words I heard over the telephone were quite sufficient to tell me that, finally, the blow had fallen, and we had been attacked.
Attacked in the Philippines, in Hawaii, and on the ocean between San Francisco and Hawaii. Our people had been killed not suspecting there was an enemy, who attacked in the usual ruthless way which Hitler has prepared us to suspect.
Because our nation has lived up to the rules of civilization, it will probably take us a few days to catch up with our enemy, but no one in this country will doubt the ultimate outcome. None of us can help but regret the choice which Japan has made, but having made it, she has taken on a coalition of enemies she must underestimate; unless she believes we have sadly deteriorated since our first ships sailed into her harbor.
The clouds of uncertainty and anxiety have been hanging over us for a long time. Now we know where we are. The work for those who are at home seems to be obvious. First, to do our own job, whatever it is, as well as we can possibly do it. Second, to add to it everything we can do in the way of civilian defense. Now, at last, every community must go to work to build up protections from attack.
We must build up the best possible community services, so that all of our people may feel secure because they know we are standing together and that whatever problems have to be met, will be met by the community and not one lone individual. There is no weakness and insecurity when once this is understood.”
December 8, 1941: FDR addresses Congress asking for an acknowledgement of a state of war against Japan. He declares December 7th “a date which will live in infamy.”
Here are some photos from our three 1935 New Deal Public Forums.
December 5, 1933: The 18th Amendment is repealed.
December 2, 1957
“NEW YORK—People all over the world have been asked to sign a Declaration of Conscience to observe a day of protest against South Africa’s apartheid policy. An international committee, composed of more than 150 world leaders from more than 43 nations, has designated Human Rights Day, December 10, as this worldwide day of protest. Particularly in India and in Africa, as well as in many other countries of the world, there will be demonstrations protesting the policy which is felt to be harmful to human relations the world over. Therefore it cannot be the domestic concern of one nation only, but of all nations…
…When I was asked to sign this Declaration of Conscience, I at first hesitated. I felt that a country which needed to look at its own situation and acknowledge the basic rights of all its own citizens and work for the necessary changes which would bring every citizen in the U.S. the opportunity for complete development of his powers, might better perhaps first sign a Declaration of Conscience covering his own country. I signed, however, because the situation here, bad as it is, is not quite the same as the situation in South Africa. The Negroes of our South have good leaders and though their education has been insufficient and their opportunities for advancement certainly not equal, still they have begun their upward climb. They are able to do much for themselves, and on the whole in this country there is a vast majority of people who are ready and willing to help them achieve equality of opportunity in every area of our complicated civilization.”