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Women and War



We women have our own special reasons for hating war. The glory and the glamor [sic] of war have not been for us. Ours have been the agony of suspense, the fear of danger to our loved ones which we could not share, and the duty to nurse the human wrecks which war leaves behind.

With their unusual mastery of psychology the Nazis are now moving Heaven and earth to exploit this feeling of the women of America. They appeal above all to our women with their slogans “Stop Aid to Britain,” “Keep America out of War.” American women hate war, but there is one thing they hate worse than war, slavery. They want to keep their husbands and sons at home, but they want still more a world in which their children can develop freely and not be molded according to the wishes and purposes of a dictator.

Like our men we women of America are prepared for war if it is necessary to preserve a free America. But, if we act quickly to save England now, war may still be avoided here. Our only hope of keeping war away from America is to beat Hitler in Europe. At the same time we must make haste to arm the brave representatives of the countries of Europe, who are heroically defending the outposts of freedom.

What we Americans, men and women equally, need right now is more confidence in ourselves. Our resources are ample to accomplish the downfall of Hitler if we have the will to do it. In Britain we have an associate whose will nothing can break. We can rely upon the British to use our help with skill and undaunted courage. Let our confidence equal theirs.

Whoever doubts our success in our present effort doubts not only our material resources but our moral character. The great masses of our people, I am convinced share no doubts. They do not intend to give Britain limited aid. They intend to give Britain enough all-out aid to ensure all-out victory. The day will come when the planes out of American and British factories will drive the Nazi planes from the skies both over the Atlantic and over Europe. That day will be the end of Hitler and Hitlerism. There is no doubt that it will come. Our choice is only between making it come lingering and making it come speedily.

Let us settle every delaying domestic controversy, every delaying cowardly doubt, and let us drive this war off this earth with all the speed that our fearless and matchless energies command.

We are a Mighty Nation. Let us act as befits a Mighty Nation.



Source: Florence Jaffray Hurst Harriman Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.


Also: From Megaphones to Microphones: Speeches of American Women, 1920-1960, eds. Sandra J. Sarkela, Susan Mallon Ross, Margaret A. Lowe (Westport, CN: Praeger) 2003, pp. 218-219.