JULY 27, 1943
WASHINGTON, Monday—Like everybody else in the United States, we were excited by the news which came through yesterday afternoon announcing the resignation of Mussolini. One cannot help hoping that it means the beginning of the end and shows a weakening of the dictators' belief in themselves, which is certainly the first step to ultimate victory.
At breakfast this morning two people, who have seen Italian prisoners, one in this country and one in Africa, were talking about them. I was amused to learn how friendly their attitude is. There is something in the Italian people which I think appeals to ours. These two men were saying how much the prisoners sang at their work, how well they worked and how relieved they were to be out of the war.
Other people who have seen them in this country tell me they are most appreciative of the country, of their opportunities and their treatment. In Africa, apparently, one of their chief joys is food. They seem to be getting more food than they have had for a long, long time. The old saying that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, seems to hold good for these prisoners of war, for they do not even try to escape.
Let us hope that we can make real allies of the Italian people in the cause of future peace. I think they are a nation which really wants peace. Perhaps we can help to build something really dynamic among them, which will bring us closer together and keep us working for an ideal in the future, that will preclude the rise of dictators and make impossible the preparation for another war.
The Vice President's speech in Detroit yesterday afternoon had many statements in it which we are going to think about in the days to come. I particularly like his statement "We seek a peace that is more than just a breathing space between the death of an old tyranny and the birth of a new one." Again, "We cannot fight to crush Nazi brutality abroad and condone race riots at home." More important than anything else for the future is the presentation of three outstanding peacetime responsibilities.
1—The responsibility for the enlightenment of the people.
2—The responsibility for mobilizing peacetime production for full employment.
3—The responsibility for planning for world cooperation.
How many groups will have to work together to accomplish these ends! It means a full time job for every citizen in the exercise of his citizenship.