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It was time to "proclaim certain truths," the president said.Military and naval victories for the "gods of force and hate" would endanger all democracies in the western world.
"I like your word 'shrimps.' There are too many of them in all the Colleges and Universities -- male and female.Even as Nazi troops, tanks, and planes chalked up more conquests in Europe, the contest between the shrimps and the White House was not over.On the contrary, the shrimps still occupied a position of formidable strength.Some were simply afraid to face a dark and foreboding reality.Others were gullible, eager to accept what they were told by some of their fellow Americans, that what was happening in Europe was "none of our business." These "cheerful idiots," as he would later call them in public, naively bought into the fantasy that the United States could always pursue its peaceful and unique course in the world.In his talk, FDR deplored the "gods of force and hate" and denounced the treacherous Mussolini."On this tenth day of June, 1940," he declared, "the hand that held the dagger has plunged it into the back of its neighbor." But more than a denunciation of Mussolini's treachery and double-dealing, the speech finally gave a statement of American policy.In that critical month of May 1940, he finally realized that it was probably a question of when, not if, the United States would be drawn into war.Talk about neutrality or noninvolvement was no longer seasonable as the unimaginable dangers he had barely glimpsed in 1936 erupted into what he termed a "hurricane of events." On the evening of Sunday, May 26, 1940, days after the Germans began their thrust west, as city after city fell to the Nazi assault, a somber Roosevelt delivered a fireside chat about the dire events in Europe. "All bad, all bad," Roosevelt grimly muttered, handing them to Eleanor to read.On June 10, the day of his Charlottesville talk, with Germans about to cross the Marne southeast of Paris, it was clear that the French capital would soon fall.France's desperate prime minister, Paul Reynaud, asked Roosevelt to declare publicly that the United States would support the Allies "by all means short of an expeditionary force." But Roosevelt declined.