Voices of the 1930s – From Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations

The quotations are from the online version of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations: A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature, available at http://www.bartleby.com/100/.

The left column lists the country and its usual classification in the 1930s; the right column provides quotations from its leaders. If you want to know more about these terms such as communism and fascism, look at the other page provided in this folder.

The classifications do not mean who was allied with whom the 1930s. For example, based on their economic and political systems, the Communists and the Fascists were enemies of each other; however, in the early years of World War II, Stalin and Hitler made an alliance. Hitler later attacked the Soviet Union—as one of the quotations indicates.

 

Soviet Union

(Communist since the revolution during World War I)

In the U.S.S.R. work is the duty of every able-bodied citizen, according to the principle: “He who does not work, neither shall he eat.”

In the U.S.S.R. the principle of socialism is realized: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his work.”

Joseph Stalin, Constitution of the U.S.S.R., 1936

 

History shows there are no invincible armies.

Joseph Stalin, Declaration of War against
Hitler after Germany’s invasion, July 3, 1941

 

 

Italy (Fascist since the 1920s)

Fortunately the Italian people is not yet accustomed to eating several times a day. [Quotation typed exactly.]

Benito Mussolini, Speech, December, 1930

 

We have buried the putrid corpse of liberty.

Benito Mussolini, Speech, 1934

 

War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to face it.

Benito Mussolini, written for The Italian Encyclopedia, 1935

 

 

Germany (Fascist)

The one means that wins the easiest victory over reason: terror and force.

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

 

All propaganda has to be popular and has to adapt its spiritual level to the perception of the least intelligent of those towards whom it intends to direct itself.

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

 

In the size of the lie there is always contained a certain factor of credibility, since the great masses of the people … will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one.

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

 

An intelligent victor will, whenever possible, present his demands to the vanquished in installments.

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

 

 

Japan (Fascist)

The ties between us [the emperor] and our people … are not predicated on the false conception that the Emperor is divine and that the Japanese people are superior to other races and fated to rule the world.

Emperor Hirohito, 1946 [US is in power at this point, and
he’s rejecting past doctrines of his being a god.]

 

 

United States (democracy, capitalist)

The money changers have fled their high seats in the temple of our civilization.

F.D. Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address, 1933

[If you need background on the Christian image here, please ask. Glad to help]

 

We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics.

[If you need background on the Adam Smith and laissez faire term here, please ask. If you need background on Adam Smith’s powerful support for a moral life beyond mere self-interest, please ask. Glad to help you.]

 

I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.

 Both quotations by F.D. Roosevelt, Second Inaugural Address, 1937

 

 

History proves that dictatorships do not grow out of strong and successful governments, but out of weak and helpless ones. If by democratic methods people get a government strong enough to protect them from fear and starvation, their democracy succeeds; but if they do not, they grow impatient. Therefore, the only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over its government. [For a visual version of this text, see below.]

F.D. Roosevelt, Fireside Chat on April 14, 1938

 

 

This last quotation is Roosevelt’s explanation of the rise of fascism and communism throughout the world and of the purpose of government. His quotation has many levels; therefore, it merits breaking the information apart to reveal it:

 

History proves that dictatorships:

  • do not grow out of strong and successful governments,
  • but [do grow] out of weak and helpless ones.

 

If by democratic methods people get a government strong enough to protect them from fear and starvation, their democracy succeeds;

 

but if they do not [get a government able to protect them from fear and from starvation], they grow impatient.

 

Therefore, the only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is:

  • a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people,
  • and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over its government.

 

 

 

 

 

WCJC Department:

History – Dr. Bibus

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Last Updated:

2009

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