“We know that we cannot save freedom in our own midst, in our own land, if all around us our neighbour nations have lost their freedom.”
But his country was not ready for war and did not wish it. Most Americans remembered the previous occasion when their nation had been dragged belatedly into a European conflict.
Even so, Roosevelt saw the threat from Nazism and Fascism. “I tell the American people solemnly that the United States will never survive as a happy and prosperous oasis in the middle of a desert of dictatorship.” The text of his speech was reported the following day in the New York Times. (See also the article by James R. Heintze).
Anxious to avoid a repetition of 1917, Roosevelt would eventually have no choice. Within a few months, America would be attacked and would be at war.