War Message

Franklin D. ROOSEVELT   |   Claude WICKARD

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"DECEMBER 7, 1941, A DATE WHICH WILL LIVE IN INFAMY"

ROOSEVELT, Franklin D. The War Message. Philadelphia: Ritten House, 1942. Slim octavo, original blue cloth, original glassine, original cardboard box.

First limited edition, number 53 of only 100 copies, of Roosevelt's War Message, featuring his most famous speech, his Address of December 8, 1941, in which FDR electrified a nation with words now etched into history, also containing FDR's Address of December 9 and that of December 15.

"Early in the afternoon of December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his chief foreign policy aide, Harry Hopkins, were interrupted by a telephone call from Secretary of War Henry Stimson and told that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. At about 5:00 p.m., following meetings with his military advisers, the President calmly and decisively dictated to his secretary, Grace Tully, a request to Congress for a declaration of war. He had composed the speech in his head after deciding on a brief, uncomplicated appeal to the people of the United States… President Roosevelt then revised the typed draft— marking it up, updating military information, and selecting alternative wordings that strengthened the tone of the speech. He made the most significant change in the critical first line, which originally read, "a date which will live in world history." Grace Tully then prepared the final reading copy, which Roosevelt subsequently altered in three more places. On December 8, at 12:30 p.m., Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress and the Nation via radio. The Senate responded with a unanimous vote in support of war; only Montana pacifist Jeanette Rankin dissented in the House. At 4:00 p.m. that same afternoon, President Roosevelt signed the declaration of war" (National Archives). The Address of December 8, Roosevelt's most famous speech, opens with those momentous words now etched into history: "Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked…"

This first limited edition of Roosevelt's War Message contains a printing of that Address, followed by a printing of his Address of December 9, in which he plainly tells the nation: "We must be set to face a long war… not for conquest, not for vengeance, but for a world in which this nation, and all that this nation represents, will be safe for our children." The volume then concludes with a printing of his December 15 Address, where FDR forcefully states: "We are fighting in defense of principles of law and order and justice." At his sudden death in 1945, the New York Times wrote: "Men will thank God on their knees a 100 years from now that Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House." First limited edition of 100 copies: including 80 numbered copies and only 20 lettered copies, the latter reserved for members of FDR's Cabinet and for presentation. Preceded only by the same year's limited trade edition of 500 copies. Halter T742.

Book and glassine fine, original cardboard box with expert restoration.

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