Roosevelt Warns Against Axis Racial Agitation Seeking to Destroy Our Unity
Menu JTA Search

Roosevelt Warns Against Axis Racial Agitation Seeking to Destroy Our Unity

Download PDF for this date

A warning against Axis agents seeking to “destroy our unity” by stirring racial and religious strife, with the unwitting aid of some Americans, was sounded last night by President Roosevelt in his speech on defense to a vast radio audience in the Americas and abroad.

Roosevelt’s speech recalled his last “fireside chat” on defense, on May 26, in which he also warned against racial and religious agitation by the fifth column. At that time he spoke of racial and political discord as an “undiluted poison” and asserted that “our moral and mental defenses must be raised as never before against those who would cast a smokescreen across our vision.”

In his speech last night the President said: “Let us no longer blind ourselves to the undeniable fact that the evil forces which have crushed and undermined and corrupted so many others are already within our own gates. Your Government knows much about them and every day is ferreting them out.

“Their secret emissaries are active in our own and in neighboring countries. They seek to stir up suspicion and dissension, to cause internal strife. They try to turn capital against labor, and vice versa. They try to reawaken long slumbering racial and religious enmities which should have no place in this country. They are active in every group that promotes intolerance. They exploit for their own ends our own natural abhorrence of war.

“These trouble-breeders have but one purpose. It is to divide our people, to divide them into hostile groups and to destroy our unity and shatter our will to defend ourselves.

“There are also American citizens, many of them in high places, who, unwittingly in must cases, are aiding and abetting the work of these agents. I do not change these American citizens with being foreign agents. But I do charge them with doing exactly the kind of work that the dictators want done in the United States.

“These people not only believe that we can save our own skins by shutting our eyes to the fate of other nations. Some of them go much further than that. They say that we can and should become the friends and even the partners of the Axis powers. Some of them even suggest that we should imitate the methods of the dictatorships. But Americans never can and never will do that….

“The history of recent years proves that the shootings and the chains and the concentration camps are not simply the transient tools but the very altar of modern dictatorships. They may talk of a new order in the world, but what they have in mind is only a revival of the oldest and worst tyranny. In that there is no liberty, no religion, no hope.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund