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Speech for Third War Loan Drive1
September 23, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
This exhibit offers thousands of Americans an opportunity of seeing the powerful weapons and superb equipment which their purchases of War Bonds are providing.
In the wastage of every conceivable type of military equipment, this devastating war in which we are now engaged surpasses any in the history of the world. There is the hazard of loss in every shipment overseas, with a greatly increased hazard during landing operations. The development of the airplane, of modern automatic weapons, of rockets, and bombs of every description, combined with operations in all types of terrain and weather, jungles and ice caps, deserts and mountains, plus an enemy who is adept in every method of destruction, all this necessitates the production of staggering quantities of munitions. No previous war has approached such requirements as the present awful struggle. Tanks, jeeps, trucks, airplanes, and artillery are inevitably destroyed by the hundreds on the battlefield even when the going is good. So far we have been extraordinarily fortunate, but even so the losses present a serious problem. The weapons and equipment must be replaced immediately, without delay, if the advance is to continue and if we are to give the soldiers who depend on these weapons a fair break on the battlefield.
There will be no end to these requirements for weapons until the last battle is victoriously completed.
We face grim months of fighting on fronts all over the globe. Last week we secured our landings on the Italian mainland against determined resistance on the beaches. In company with the British VIII Army our V Army is now starting its offensive towards Naples and Rome. Our air war on the continent from British bases grows in intensity week by week. In the Southwest Pacific and the Solomons our advances have been greatly accelerated. And in the China-Burma theater we are getting into a position to carry heavy fighting to the Japanese. In fact we are, for the first time since the war started, ready to deploy the tremendous American Army which the purchase of War Bonds had financed. But successful as all these operations have been of late, they impose heavy requirements in shipping and munitions to replace the losses by enemy action or by wave or wear and tear. They draw heavily on our reservoir of supplies.
The American people must give not only their full personal effort but the full use of their dollars invested in War Bonds, to back these attacks. There is no alternative. Total victory is in sight but it can only be won by concentrating every resource of America to the task.
Do not, I beg of you, be lulled into a false sense of easy victory by the initial successes which our troops have already gained. Each of these victories was secured by hard and costly fighting. The toll will mount with the increased size of the opposing forces engaged as we drive deeper into the territory of the enemy. Our men are trained and are resolved to do their full part, to the sacrifice of life itself. The Army will not fail in skill and courage. Your purchases of War Bonds must keep the weapons in the hands of our soldiers to make that skill and courage count.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Speeches, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed draft.
1. Marshall spoke, beginning at 9:34 P.M., during the “Parade of Spotlight Bands” program at the Back the Attack Exposition on the grounds of the Washington Monument. The speech was broadcast on the N.B.C. Blue Network. “Back the Attack” was the theme of the Treasury Department’s Third War Loan Drive (September 3-October 2) to raise $15,000,000,000.
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 137-138.