"No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it." (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
By December of 1940, when the world was at war, President Roosevelt had already delivered dozens of fireside chats. This speech however was different. He talked about a world crisis and how the United States would have to be courageous and realistic. He talked about the alliance of the Soviet Union, Germany and Japan. He reminded the American people that they could not bury their heads in the sand. The president pointed out that a hundred years before, the Monroe Doctrine had been drafted in response to another European alliance that threatened the existence of the United States.
"Let us not blind ourselves to the fact that the very forces which have crushed, undermined and corrupted so many others are already within our gates." The President pointed out that some thought the United States was safe even if Britain fell. However, the Atlantic Ocean was no longer the obstacle it once was. Planes could fly from the British Isles to New England and back without refueling.
President Roosevelt condemned Nazi Germany for its tyranny over Europe. He said that a dictatorship like Germany could not reconcile itself with a democracy. He called on America: "We must be the great arsenal of democracy." Here is an excerpt from President Roosevelt's speech:
"The experience of the past two years has proven beyond doubt that no nation can appease the Nazis. No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it. There can be no appeasement with ruthlessness. There can be no reasoning with an incendiary bomb. We know now that a nation can have peace with the Nazis only at the price of total surrender. Even the people of Italy have been forced to become accomplices of the Nazis; but at this moment they do not know how soon they will be embraced to death by their allies."
President Roosevelt's words were prophetic. On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese and the United States finally entered the Second World War. In October of 1943, Italy was "embraced to death" by Germany and switched sides in the war.