Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Laborers Waiting in Line
The Battlefield
Psychology of War
The Home Front
American Industrialization
Isolationism
Financing the War
Americans on the Move
Censorship
Social Aspects
View Timeline
Rediscovering the Film
Preserving our History
Special Features
Home
American Industrialization
Letters Color Photos Videos
Excerpts from the Annual Message to Congress delivered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 6, 1942.
"The superiority of the United Nations in munitions and ships must be overwhelming- so overwhelming that the Axis nations can never hope to catch up with it."
Victory requires the actual weapons of war and the means of transporting them to a dozen points of combat.
It will not be sufficient for us and the other United Nations to produce a slightly superior supply of munitions to that of Germany, Japan, Italy and the stolen industries in the countries which they have overrun.
The superiority of the United Nations in munitions and ships must be overwhelming- so overwhelming that the Axis nations can never hope to catch up with it. In order to attain this overwhelming superiority the United Nations must build planes and tanks and guns and ships to the utmost limit of our national capacity. We have the ability and capacity to produce arms not only for our own forces but also for the armies, navies, and air forces fighting on our side.
And our overwhelming superiority of armament must be adequate to put weapons of war at the proper time into the hands of those men in the conquered nations, who stand ready to seize the first opportunity to revolt against their German and Japanese aggressors, and against the traitors in their own ranks, known by the already infamous name of "Quislings." As we get guns to the patriots in those lands, they too will fire shots heard 'round the world.'
This production of ours in the United States must be raised far above its present levels, even though it will mean the dislocation of the lives and occupations of millions of our own people. We must raise our sights all along the production-line. Let no man say it cannot be done. It must be done- and we have undertaken to do it.
I have just sent a letter of directive to the appropriate departments and agencies of our Government, ordering that immediate steps be taken:
1. To increase our production rate of airplanes so rapidly that in this year, 1942, we shall produce 60,000 planes, 10,000 more than the goal set a year and a half ago. This includes 45,000 combat planes-bombers, dive bombers, pursuit planes. The rate of increase will be continued, so that next year, 1943 we shall produce 125,000 planes, including 100,000 combat planes.
2. To increase our production rate of tanks so rapidly that in this year, 1943, we shall produce 45,000 tanks; and to continue that increase so that next year, 1943, we shall produce 75,000 tanks.
3. To increase our production rate of anti-aircraft guns so rapidly that in this year, 1942, we shall produce 20,000 of them; and to continue that increase, so that next year, 1943, we shall produce 35,000 anti-aircraft guns.
4. To increase our production rate of merchant ships so rapidly that in this year, 1942, we shall build 8,000,000 deadweight tons as compared with a 1941 production of 1,100,000. We shall continue that increase so that next year, 1943, we shall build 10,000,000 tons.
These figures and similar figures for a multitude of other implements of war will give the Japanese and Nazis a little idea of just what they accomplished in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Our task is hard- our task is unprecedented- and the time is short. We must strain every existing armament-producing facility to the utmost. We must convert every available plant and tool to war production. That goes all the way from the greatest plants to the smallest- from the huge automobile industry to the village machine shop.
Production for war is based on men and women- the human; hands and brains which collectively we call labor. Our workers stand ready to work long hours; to turn out more in a day's work; to keep the wheels turning and the fires burning 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. They realize well that on the speed and efficiency of their work depend the lives of their sons and their brothers on the fighting fronts.

American Industrialization Image Collage
home