Do You Know Your Four Freedoms?

We are Making History  

Like some of you, I was sleepwalking through my history classes in high school. For those of you that paid attention, this blog may add to your education concerning the financing of U.S. involvement in World War I and II.  

There are several posts that I have outlined how the American government and private companies profited from war. To be more specific, read my blog, The lone wolf of Wallstreet.  Or, perhaps you'd like my essay on how we get involved in the unthinkable, Problem, Action, Solution.  

Hasten the homecoming, buy war bonds

However, I believe it is important that we understander the level of public advertising and the constant justification of U.S. involvement in foreign battles. To clarify, I provide pictures for you to judge.  If not for the reasons of full disclosure but for your own insight.

Let's Remain Neutral

Norman Rockwell's Save Freedom Speech

Take, for example, the four freedoms outlined for us by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Monday, January 6, 1941. He stated in his address to Congress, and the country, that the four fundamental freedoms that people "everywhere in the world" ought to enjoy are:

Roosevelt delivered his speech 11 months before the surprise Japanese attack on U.S. forces in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and the Philippines. These atrocities caused the United States to immediately declare war on Japan, December 8, 1941. Interestingly, the four freedoms speech that was given before Congress was about the national security of the United States.  It also talked about the threat to other democracies from world war.  Roosevelt pointed to what was currently being waged across the continents in the eastern hemisphere. Furthermore, it was also an attack on the Neutrality Act of the 1930s.  

What is the Neutrality Act? It was an Act (not a law) that was passed based on the education of Americans about the U.S. entry into World War I. In addition, the prevailing understanding was that the U.S. involvement had been orchestrated by bankers and the arms industry for profit reasons. Consequently, a proactive response was given by congress, the Act was voted and passed. The idea was to keep America neutral, and not involve itself in foreign affairs. That strengthened the position of isolationists and non-interventionists in the country. The act worked for about ten years.  

Him Again? 

The problem for neutrality came in September 1939, after Germany had invaded Poland, Great Britain, and France declared war on Germany. As a result, Roosevelt wanted to use the "cash-and-carry" provision that had been created by his advisor Bernard Baruch (please read my blog on The lone wolf of Wallstreet). The President would be permitted to sell materials and supplies to belligerents (waring countries) in Europe.  As long as the recipients arranged for the transport and paid immediately with cash. Supporting this position would support the argument that this would not draw the U.S. into the conflict.

Later in 1939, after Nazi Germany had invaded Czechoslovakia, Roosevelt lobbied Congress to have the cash-and-carry provision renewed. He was denied, the provision lapsed, and the mandatory arms embargo remained in place. Here's where it gets interesting.  

Several months later, in 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the entire Pacific Fleet, nearly 100 ships, to Pearl Harbor to deter growing Japanese aggression.  

Moreover, all those ships in Pearl Harbor was looked at critically at the time. It was also not Navy policy to have an entire fleet in one harbor. Additionally, it congested the port to a virtual standstill. If pressed into service, it would have taken hours to get the fleet out to sea.

war bond propaganda for WWII

How Do I Get Paid? 

Unfortunately, the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, killing 2,403 U.S. personnel, including 68 civilians, and destroyed or damaged 19 U.S. Navy ships, including eight battleships

Three months later, the end of the neutrality policy came with the Lend-Lease Act of March 1941.  It allowed the U.S. to sell, lend or give war materials to nations Roosevelt wanted to support: Britain, France, and China.

The Lend-Lease policy formally, titled An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States, was enacted March 11, 1941. It was in direct response to the attack on Pearl Harbor and would supply food, oil, and materials, to the allied forces between 1941 and 1945. 

A total of $50.1 billion (equivalent to $758 billion in 2021) worth of supplies were shipped.  Or 17% of the total war expenditures of the U.S. The official breakdown was $31.4 billion went to the United Kingdom, $11.3 billion to the Soviet Union, $3.2 billion to France, $1.6 billion to China, and the remaining $2.6 billion to the other Allies.

Norman Rockwell's Freedom from Fear

Images Matter

There is no conspiracy here. War is good for business. The moral arguments are all here for us to see. Hitler is a homicidal maniac, the Japanese attacked us in Hawaii, and we are needed to stop this war.
On the other hand, I find it odd that there was no Pentagon or central hub for spending American taxes on military armaments until January 15, 1943. However, the construction of the Pentagon broke ground on 9/11, 1941. a full four months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Roosevelt's personal advisor was a private citizen billionaire (Bernard Baruch) and he wanted him to envoke the Cash and Carry provision to get taxpayer money to spend on armaments in 1939. Baruch also headed the development of the Pentagon finance mechanism.  Meanwhile, he made millions by selling his companies rubber and technologies to the military and foreign governments for years to come.

What Do You Want? 

Let's get back to those four freedoms again.  

The first two freedoms are part of the United States Constitution. And the second two are declarations that seem obvious to support the human condition.  

Freedom to be who you are without fear


I support these and other human rights as facts. However, I also have faith in the human spirit to rise above distrust in our fellow humans. My contention, is that we do not have to fight one another to prevail. We must consider focusing on what we desire and draw our attention to those things. It is with that attention that new energy is created.
There will always be distractions, but if you release the fear, you'll see there are many other options available to you. That is to say, you have the Freedom to choose.

outstretched hand of tolerance


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