75 Years Ago: the Winds of War

As Nazi Germany took an increasing fight to Great Britain, United States Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson warned the day is coming when the U.S. would need to “send its war ships into war zones.” Today’s 75 Years Ago news feature comes from the Belvidere Daily Republican in Illinois. It shows the contrast between pacifist attitude in much of the country and the realization by the Roosevelt administration in early 1941 that war was coming.


Be Ready for War, Stimson Urges

By John R. Beal
United Press Correspondent

Washington, Jan. 17 — Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson told the house foreign affairs committee today that “situations might arise which might make it most essential — in the light of our own defense — for our country to send its war ships into war zones.”

“I don’t believe this country under any circumstances should tie its right hand behind its back,” Stimson said in opposing a proposal that a clause prohibiting the dispatch of American war vessels into danger zones be written into the administration’s aid-to-Britain bill.

The proposal was made by Rep. George Holden Tinkham, R., Mass., as Stimson testified for the second day at hearings on the bill.

After Stimson had made his remark about the advisability of not tying this country’s “right hand behind its back,” Tinkham inquired:

“Even to keep out of war?”

“I think,” replied Stimson, “that it would be one of the surest ways to get us into war, or at least leave us open to attack under the most disadvantageous circumstances.”

“You are in favor of the United States staying at peace?”

“I am, certainly,” said Stimson. “But I’m in favor of its remaining in complete readiness under all circumstances.”


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