Vintage Audio - The Republic Must Awaken

Warren G Harding Click to download as MP3

Reproduced below is the speech recorded by the future U.S. Republican President, Warren G Harding.

Harding was elected President in November 1920 by a landslide margin, gaining 60% of the popular vote.  While he was an opponent of America's participation in the League of Nations he nevertheless supported Democratic President Woodrow Wilson during wartime.  The speech reproduced below - The Republic Must Awaken - was an attempt in 1917 to help galvanise support at home for America's new war against the Central Powers.

Use the player above to listen to a recording of Harding's speech from 1917.

The Republic Must Awaken

The Republic must awaken.  The people must understand.  Our safety lies in full realization the fate of the nation and the safety of the world will be decided on the western battlefront of Europe.

Primarily the American Republic has entered the war in defence of its national rights.  If we did not defend we could not hope to endure.  Other big issues are involved but the maintained rights and defended honour of a righteous nation includes them all.

Cherishing the national rights the fathers fought to establish, and loving freedom and civilization, we should have violated every tradition and sacrificed every inheritance if we had longer held aloof from the armed conflict which is to make the world safe for civilization.

More, we are committed to sacrifice in battle in order to make America safe for Americans and establish their security on every lawful mission on the high seas or under the shining sun.

We are testing popular government's capacity for self-defence.  We are resolved to liberate the soul of American life and prove ourselves an American people in fact, spirit, and purpose, and consecrate ourselves anew and everlastingly to human freedom and humanity's justice.  Realizing our new relationship with the world, we want to make it fit to live in, and with might and fright and wrathfulness and barbarity crushed by the conscience of a real civilization.

Ours is a small concern about the kind of government any people may choose, but we do mean to outlaw the nation which violates the sacred compacts of international relationships.  The decision is to be final.

If the Russian failure should become the tragic impotency of nations - if Italy should yield to the pressure of military might - if heroic France should be martyred on her flaming altars of liberty and justice and only the soul of heroism remain - if England should starve and her sacrifices and resolute warfare should prove in vain - if all these improbable disasters should attend, even then we should fight on and on, making the world's cause our cause.

A republic worth living in is worth fighting for, and sacrificing for, and dying for.  In the fires of this conflict we shall wipe out the disloyalty of those who wear American garb without the faith, and establish a new concord of citizenship and a new devotion, so that we should have made a safe America the home and hope of a people who are truly American in heart and soul.

A "creeping barrage" is an artillery bombardment in which a 'curtain' of artillery fire moves toward the enemy ahead of the advancing troops and at the same speed as the troops.

- Did you know?

Vintage Audio

Vintage Video