American Rearmament

December 27, 1938

Report Outline
Roosevelt and Impending Arms Increases
Naval Defense and the Expansion Program
Strengthening of Army and Land Defense
Rearmament Plans and American Security
Special Focus

Roosevelt and Impending Arms Increases

Only two weeks after Hitler at Munich obtained the partition of Czechoslavakia by threatening to plunge Europe into war, President Roosevelt announced that he was undertaking a new study of the national defense needs of the United States. Bernard M. Baruch, talking with reporters after a conference with the President, October 13, ascribed the terms of the Munich settlement solely to British and French un preparedness and insisted the United States likewise was unprepared for war. Baruch explained he did not wish to be understood as advocating that America prepare itself to go to the aid of European democracies.

What I want to see is for this country to get itself in the strongest position to mind its own business without any interference from abroad. My idea is not to have an armed force ready to go to any foreign soil. It should be entirely defensive. This country should not concern itself with any foreign ideologies as long as they do not impinge on us.

Baruch pointed out that Germany had not gained, either in Austria or the Sudetenland, all the raw materials or markets she needed. He added that “the threat to the United States from Germany is in South America and is real and immediate.”

The President declared on the radio, October 26, that “until there is general abandonment of weapons capable of aggression, ordinary rules of national prudence and common sense require that we be prepared … for while we refuse to accept as a permanent necessity the idea of force, and reject it as an ideal of life, we must be prepared to meet with success any application of force against us.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
U.S. Preparation for World War II
Aug. 22, 1947  Industrial Mobilization
Sep. 23, 1941  War Organization of the Government
Aug. 02, 1941  Daylight Saving
Jul. 24, 1941  Conservation of Strategic Materials
Jun. 27, 1941  Atlantic Islands and American Defense
May 27, 1941  Production of War Materials
May 21, 1941  Rearmament and Work Relief
Mar. 15, 1941  War Aims
Feb. 20, 1941  War Orders and Decentralization
Feb. 05, 1941  Regulation of Priorities
Jun. 03, 1940  Methods of Financing War
Dec. 27, 1938  American Rearmament
Feb. 20, 1937  War Profits and Industrial Mobilization
Defense Technology and Force Planning
Emergency Preparedness