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Jeremy Kappell

​​​​​​​Jan 6, 1941 – FDR Four Freedoms Speech

There are some dates that should NEVER be forgotten.  Like the time we were attacked by 19 Islamic Extremists on September 11, 2001.  Or going back in during our history as a Republic, with the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.  Or the date when Confederate General Lee surrendered the Union’s General Grant marking the end to a long and bloody Civil War on May 9, 1865. 

Then there was the day we were bombed by the Imperial Japanese Navy on December 7, 1941, marking the official entrance of the United States into the Second World War. 

These are all dates that fundamentally changed the direction and course of our country and for that matter, the rest of the world too. 

However, one date that should also be remembered is January 6.  No, I don’t mean January 6, 2021, the date of the Capitol Riot, or even January 6, 2019, the date of my Canceling and Firing from WHEC. 

But on that same day, exactly 80 years prior to the 2021 Capitol Riot, the United States of America made a bold proclamation about freedom to the rest of the world.

On January 6, 1941, just 11 months prior to the Attack at Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt outlined a vision of freedom for all humanity. In the face of the ‘Axis of Evil’ that was advancing through Europe and the Pacific under the commands of Nazi Germany, Italy, and the Japanese Empire, 

Late in 1940, while Europe was under siege and losing the war, FDR remarked, “In the past few years. You and I have seen event, after event. Each one of them shot. A shot at our hopes, for the peaceful development of modern civilization. As we know it.”

You see, the 32nd President of the United States, was preparing the nation for our eventual entrance into the war. 

He had just begun his third term as President and ran on promises of protecting America from the scourge of war.  It was only a generation earlier that the US had been badly bloodied during its involvement during the First World War which raged across Europe from 1914 through 1918.

However, as tyranny was advancing in Europe and abroad, FDR had a choice to make.  To sit back and watch the world collapse into Authoritarianism or to push through the discomfort of entering another world conflict and take a stand, once again, for the foundational truths that gave birth to our Republic. 

He chose wisely and on January 6, 1941, as the world was falling into oppression, tyranny, and dictatorship, in front of the entire US Congress and in full view of the entire world, he made his ‘Four Freedoms Speech’ as he made a case for universal freedoms for all people across the Globe.

“The first is freedom of speech and expression. Everywhere in the world. The second is the freedom of every person to worship God in his own way, everywhere in the world. Freedom from want (or freedom from poverty) which translated into world terms, means economic understanding, which will secure to every nation, a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants, everywhere in the world. The fourth, is freedom from fear, which translated into the world term, means worldwide reduction of armaments (weapons of war) to such a point, and in such a thorough fashion, that no Nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor, anywhere in the world.”

Following a standing ovation of the entire US Congress, FDR went on to say:

“This nation has placed its destiny in the heads and hands and hearts of its millions of free men and women.  And its faith in freedom, under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle, to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept, that can be no end, save victory.”

You see, during that Four Freedoms Speech, it was a different time in America, and it was a different time in the world.

Having just witnessed the ravages of a World War that pitted freedom loving citizens against Authoritarian Rulers of the day, the importance of fighting for basic human rights and freedoms was not lost on FDR and it wasn’t lost on the rest of the US Citizenry either. 

They had witnessed evil before and now they were witnessing it again. It is only through the active pursuit of freedom and liberty that any man can actually remain free.

Let us remember what happened next, what happened on December 7, 1941, with our entrance into the Second World War and more importantly, the victory for all freedom loving humans with the end of that war and the defeat of Hitler and Nazi Germany as well as the Totalitarian Japanese Empire in 1945.

Was it bloody? Yes! A quarter million Americans died in the conflict.  But was it worth it?  Was it worth the preservation of freedom for the entire world?  Of course it was and we thank Almighty God for the ‘Greatest Generation’ to this day.

However, if it wasn’t for the brave, freedom loving leaders of the western world, like Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, it wouldn’t have been possible. Remember, freedom isn’t free. 

Excerpt from: Chapter 1 - What Happened to Humanity?



-Jeremy Kappell

Meteorologist, Speaker, Talk Show Host, Blogger and American Patriot

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