January 6, 2015 marks the 74th anniversary of Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" speech.
It was January 6, 1941, war was raging in Europe (WWII) and American involvement in the war was inevitable. President Franklin Roosevelt presented a speech to the nation known as the Four Freedoms speech (technically the 1941 State of the Union address) regarding the need for America to enter the war. The gravity of the situation was severe with Britain's need for support immense, as well as a dire need for greater production of war industries at home.
President Roosevelt's Four Freedoms Speech provided hope in the following years to a war-wearied people because it was unquestionable that the fight was a fight for freedom. The speech was prepared by Roosevelt with the aid of his close advisers Harry L. Hopkins, Samuel I. Rosenman, and Robert Sherwood.
The famous Four Freedoms paragraphs did not appear in the speech until the fourth draft. One night as Hopkins, Rosenman, and Sherwood met with the President in his White House study, FDR announced that he had an idea for a peroration (the closing section of a speech). As recounted by Rosenman: “We waited as he leaned far back in his swivel chair with his gaze on the ceiling. It was a long pause—so long that it began to become uncomfortable. Then he leaned forward again in his chair” and dictated the Four Freedoms.
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