740.0011 European War 1939/5–1844: Telegram

President Roosevelt to the British Prime Minister (Churchill)5

[541.] Instead of a tripartite statement to be issued by the U.S., U.K. and Soviet Governments, and in place of a Message to the Congress, what would you think of a statement by me alone along these lines, to be issued after D Day?6

[Page 514]

“It has been suggested that the Allied Governments join in a general statement to the German people and their sympathizers emphasizing the landings recently made on the Continent of Europe.7 I have not been in agreement with this because it might overemphasize the importance of these landings. What I want to impress on the people of Germany and their sympathizers is the inevitability of their defeat. What I want to emphasize to them is their continuation of the war from now on is unintelligent on their part. They must know in their hearts that under their present leadership and under their present objectives it is inevitable that they will be totally defeated.

Every German life that is lost from now on is an unnecessary loss. From a cold-blooded point of view it is true that the Allies will suffer losses as well, but the Allies so greatly outnumber the Germans in population and in resources that on a relative basis the Germans will be far harder hit—down to every family—than the Allies. And in the long run mere stubbornness will never help Germany. The Allies have made it abundantly clear that they do not seek the total destruction of the German people. They do seek total destruction of the philosophy of those Germans who have announced that they could subjugate the world.

The Allies are seeking the long range goal of human freedom—a greater true liberty—political, religious and intellectual; and a greater justice, social and economic.

Our times are teaching us that no group of men can ever be strong enough to dominate the whole world.

The Government and people of the United States—with nearly twice the population of Germany—send word to the people of Germany that this is the time to abandon the teachings of evil.

By far the greater part of the world’s population of nearly two billion people feel the same way. Only Germany and Japan stand out against all the rest of humanity.

Every German knows this in his heart. Germany and Japan have made a terrible and disastrous mistake. Germany and Japan must atone reasonably for the wanton destruction of lives and property which they have committed; and they must give up an imposed philosophy the falsity of which by now must be very clear to them.

The more quickly the end of the fighting and the slaughter the more quickly shall we come to a more decent civilization in the whole world.

The attacks which are now being made in the European theatre by the Americans, by the British, by the Russian armies and their associates will, we hope, continue with success, but the German people can well realize that they are only a part of a series of attacks which will increase in number and volume until the inevitable victory is completed.”

  1. On May 23, 1944, a similar message for Marshal Stalin was sent to the Chargé in the Soviet Union (Hamilton), who transmitted it to Mr. Molotov on May 24.
  2. Reference here is to the Allied invasion of Europe, which took place on June 6, 1944.
  3. See telegram S–50325, April 13, p. 507.