This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
General Eisenhower addresses the joint session of Congress with a tribute to the US soldiers. He speaks of the great sacrifices made by American soldiers and their families. He speaks of the hazards soldiers faced during the war, and notes the bravery with which they met them.
He speaks with reverence of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Eisenhower speaks of the loyalty and bravery of the members of the American armed forces.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 5804
Municipal archives id: LT173
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
First of all this is over now this is a generalized General Dempsey a few moments. Here a Speaker Rayburn. Number grab the Congress. It is my great pleasure and my distinct privilege I have to present to you General the army supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force there's going to liven up. Mr President Mr Speaker members of Congress maybe John. And the message that you'd like to bring to you from the fighting this morning there is so much I would like to say so many subjects I should like. That as the only way of saving and conscionable kept passing on your time I. Have tried to reduce my thoughts. And therefore I ask your permission for me to write by and by the best and. For you. Just you know what this. Language A nation cannot picture more than medicine in the vice and humor. I stand before the elected federal lawmakers of our great keep up with the very core of our political life and the symbol of those things we call the American heritage to preserve that heritage thirty million American citizens at thirty the House has faced resolutely every fire the ruthless Nazi that divides. I come before us the representative of those three million people that commander because to them you wish this morning to pay the tribute of a grateful American for a military victory on the realization that. They who were in your commendation should properly be here to receive it I am nevertheless proud and honored to be your agent in conveying it to this. This is not seen to be the moment in which to describe the great campaign by which the victory in Europe was won they will become the substance of history and great accounts they will be but I think you would want for me somebody Testament of the quality of the sun the relatives and friends that you all America sent to all I have seen the American food on the battlefields of Africa and Europe over which armies have been fighting for more than two thousand years of recorded history none of those battlefields has seen a more worthy soldier than the trained American. Referral. Well they need you have suffered hardships but I don't wonder you have made heavy sacrifice is endured not but you never faltered his aggressive. The pose of the enemy has become a by word in the embattled armies of Europe you have read many reports of these individual exploits but not one of them ever had or ever will be told any one of them is sufficient to fill a true American with emotion with intense pride. Never have so just been called upon to do with your longer sustained period of contact with. Your greater punishment from others around the American has been firing automatic weapons counted by hand grenades by artillery and rocket. Attacks but tanks and airplane bombs faced the hazards of this mines and booby traps and every form of static that will convert them all the temple of battle has increased tremendously during the span of this conflict when the Germans once their blitzkrieg to Poland the Low Countries and friends featuring tactical use of air power with the mechanized units on the ground seemed to a perfect world that at last there had been achieved the ultimate in destructive force that nothing could stand against the German army when America entered the war of the Nazi machine was at the zenith of its power in one thousand nine hundred eighty eight overrun of the whole of Western Europe and a year later. Hammered back the great Red Army into the far reaches of the Russian territory the Allies met this challenge. Determination and a full comprehension of the enormity of the task ahead American effort from every conceivable source new technique so War What about. The most outstanding was a completely co-ordinated use air and sea force to his dismay the German found that far from having a cheaper fixtures in the combined employment of all types of destructive power his skills and methods were daily outmoded and surpassed by the Allies. Through tactical or strategic goal unification the Allies successfully undertook the greatest amphibious landing you have attempted in warfare following each of these forces were swiftly built up on the beaches and sustained by our naval strength the next step was always a speedy advance applying to dishonest enemy an air ground teamwork that inflicted upon him defeat after defeat the service of supplied by their devotion to duty performed real miracles in supporting about it. America and our allies sent finally in Europe such an avalanche of aggressive power by land by sea by air as to make the campaigns of nineteen thirty nine and one hundred forty just seem puny in contrast. The result was the unconditional surrender of an arrogant enemy all its America and our allies have done the real beginning for us was in December one thousand nine hundred one when our late great warrior President Roosevelt met to these friend Prime Minister Churchill and forge the definition of Allied organizational and directional methods for the prosecution of this wall during most of my three years in Europe these two Godgiven men were my joint commanders in chief. Their insistence on making common cause the key to victory a status the pattern of the war in Europe to those to all of us recognize our lasting obligations. Because no word of mine but add to your appreciation of the man who until he's tried to get America in war I will say nothing other than from his friends and indomitable spirit I do constant support and confidence in the solution my own problem. You'll. See in Mr Churchill he had a worthy partner who had led his country through the blackest hours of one thousand nine hundred the Prime Minister's rugged determination is fighting spirit and the singleness of purpose were always a spur to action never once did he give less than full cooperation in any endeavor necessary to our military objectives and never did you hesitate to use his magnetic and powerful personality to Winterfell except in from the front of them of the great demands he was forced to make upon them it was no small test of the hospitality and generous understanding of the British people to have two million strangers moved among their already limited and crowded besides the added confusion imposed by the expensive gear of a great army was accepted with the cheerfulness that won the admiration of America in critical moments Mr Churchill did not hesitate to cut Britain's already reduced rations to provide more shipping for warbirds they're overburdened railways had to absorb additional loads until practically all passenger traffic was suspended and even essential goods could be moved only on emergency basis for the hospitality the British offered for the discomfort they endured on our behalf and for the sacrifices they made for the success of operations every American acquainted with the facts will always carry for them a warm and grateful place deep within these are. Rules. Under these two great war needers where the combined but he's American chief of staff who are my direct military superiors and the channel through whom I received all my orders. There on wavering support there expressed an implied confidence there was direction and their friendliness in contact were things to which I am happy to bear with us they devised the machinery by which huge allies forces were put together as a single unit and through them were implemented the great military purposes that America and Great Britain agreed upon to further the political objectives of the will the spirit of unity that they developed was absorbed by the force of. What was this vital unity more striking the evidence that among the individual to serve as my principal commander and on my staff should Americans forgot differences in customs and even national prejudice in their devotion to a common cause often have I think the kind Providence for these Dons allies from Commander to the newest recruit and for the rest for their readiness to serve within the team from our first battle associations with the British Air Forces and even with our Navy in the opportunity and with the British armies in North Africa we have measured many once of all we well know and respect the fighting part of the British Canadian and French soldiers and early. This teamwork was equally strong among the several service their brown Navy and. The Navy's Task in getting our first European football's staggering. Without worrying it with facts of the case I ask you to take my word for the truth that in all the brilliant achievements of the American Navy and over Sister service in Great Britain there is none to excel the record that was written in the great successful invasions of Africa Sicily Italy and France. The rule. With the Navy was always the merchant marine in which Americans have served with a devotion to duty and the disregard for danger and hardship that defies any attempt to describe to the air forces without whose services all else would have been futile by all of us ost similar deaths of gratitude perhaps it is best for me to say every ship in every plane in every right to be was a readiness to give life is felt by the common good and in this statement I must include the men that have been responsible for the tactics of the battle itself as an allied commander I have tried in London and Paris to record something of the depth the United Nations Oh to the fighting leaders of the British empire and of France today as an American I should like to give you the names of our own officers that will always rank high in any list of those noted for service to our country but any enumeration necessarily be incomplete so I must content myself by saying that in great numbers these battle leaders of the Army the Navy and the air have served loyally devoted and brilliantly in my commands in Europe and in Africa particularly I think you would like to know that without exception their first concern their first care has been the welfare spiritual and physical all their main your sons relatives and friends. Lul. You have as much right to swell with pride in the quality of the battle commanders you have sent to Europe in Africa as you have in the conduct of the millions they have led so skillfully and devoted I spoke in mostly of Americans and British because troops in this country and the British Empire always form the bulk of my own command but the campaigns of the Red Army rushing all resistance in the fight a decisive part in defeat of Germany. The abilities of the Soviet leaders and the courage and fortitude of their fighting men and women started the emotions of anyone who admires soldier the march of the Soviet people have been called upon for terrible sacrifices in their own life ravaged by the BE STILL excesses of the German driven back to starting grad their contribution to acknowledge the possibility of any other outcome than victory will be honored in history for all time to come. Through a lawyer who finally in the Russian army and ourselves started the great drives that met on the Elbe the end was merely a matter of days the Allies east and west linked up and Nazi Germany was normal here at home you played a very special part of the Soviet victory large quantities of American equipment sent over the Arctic were immense and up in the Persian Gulf for these vital material to assist the Russians in mounting a great guy the production of our people has one high praise of the Soviet leader as he has from other leaders in the Allied nations there is not a battlefront in Europe where he has not been a decisive importance liberated countries of Europe have played a part in the falling upon our invasion of Normandy the breakthrough last summer permitted the swift liberation of most of France and gave that people an opportunity to begin resumption of normal conduct for their own lives France's own resistance forces some of our own divisions took a notable part in driving out the every American soldier I'd seen told the war's expect exact from friends towns have been destroyed broken bridges make difficult road and river transport destruction of rolling stock or delegation to military needs as United used to carry needed civilian goods particularly food and fuel. Even though all of the guns are silent the urgent necessity of our redeployment of the city make it impossible to do all that we would wish for to including the triangle which the French people. This feeling extends also to Belgium. And Luxembourg which endured four years of German tyranny and which supported effective resistance movements in the Netherlands during the last two months of conflict real starvation prevailed in certain sections for the German tourists and refusing assistance our sympathy was aroused and tons of food were dropped and to alleviate their suffering those countries still need and deserve our help and now because this meeting typifies for me the spiritual unity of the American home and battlegrounds I address the work of that relationship the American fighting man has never failed to recognize his dependence upon us all I am grateful for this opportunity to stand before the Congress and express my own and the thanks of every soldier sailor airman to their countrymen who have remained devoted to their task this feeling goes beyond the tangible guns emanation tanks and planes although in these things you upset us the most and the best it extends to such in terms of all there's a competence and sympathetic understanding which have filled the letters written by families and friends to the Minister for a few moments simple words of affection and cheer but out the danger and loneliness and hardship which are the soldier like they send them back with renewed vigor in Cars two is an actual task pressing the enemy I hope you realize that all you have done to the soldier has been truly appreciate never had they felt absent from your thank you care and warm affection the Red Cross to name just one outstanding organization stands high in their admiration of the Red Cross with his clubs for recreation. It's coffee and donuts in the border it's ready to meet the needs of the well and health minister to the movie even more important the devotion and warm hearted sympathy of the Red Cross. The Red Cross is often seen to be the friendly hand of this nation reaching across the sea to sustain its fight the battle front and the home front together we have found a victory but even the banners are trying to hide from our site the sacrifices in which victory has been bought the hard task of a commander is to send men into battle knowing some of them often many must be killed or wounded in order that necessary missions may be achieved it is a soul killing task my sorrow is not only for the fine young lives lost or broken but it is equally for the parents the wives and the friends who have been to read. The price they paid is possibly the greatest the blackness of their grief can be relieved only by the faith that all this shall not happen again because I feel it so deeply I hope you will let me attempt to express the thought that I believe is today embedded in the hearts of all fighting it is that the soldier knows how green and black was the outlook for the Allies in one nine hundred forty one and one thousand nine hundred two he is fully aware of the magnificent way the United Nations responded to the threat to his mind the problems of peace can be no more difficult than the one you had to solve more than three years ago and which one battle area has been brought to a glorious conclusion he knows that in war the threat of separate annihilation tends to hold allies together. He hopes we can find in peace I know but incentives to produce the same unity. Ruled. The price and he believes that with the same determination the same optimistic resolution and the same mutual consideration among allies that marginally in Europe forces capable of crushing what had been the greatest war machine in history the peoples the problems of peace can and must be met he sees United Nations strong but considered humane and understanding leaders in the world to preserve the P.C.'s twenty genius and power of America have with her out eliminated one menace to our country's freedom even her very just still another remains to be crushed in the Pacific before peace will be restored the American with men and women I have been so honored to command would I know say this to you today in our minds and hearts there is no slightest doubt that our people spirit of determination which has been with us up and driven us forward in Europe will continue to fire this nation through the ordeals of battle yet to come though we dream of returning to our loved ones we are ready as we have always been to do our duty to our country. No matter what it may be in this spirit we renew our But just service to our commander in chief President Truman under whose strong leadership we know that final victory is certain. General of the armies like the Eisenhower has completed his address before the joint meeting of Congress here in the United States of America his home life. After completing his address to turn around Bob Bennett percolates Speaker Rayburn and president both on the Senate side of the seller walked over shook hands and told a number that was back on the name of the House chamber in fact is a door through which you originally came just a few months ago. But I still broadcasting company has dropped your complete coverage of the rival in Washington the General Dwight D. Eisenhower in this body of this trip from the airport to the Pentagon with the stark streets of downtown Washington to the Capitol where you just addressed a joint meeting of Congress.