|8. Statement by the President on Demobilization|
January 8, 1946 |
THERE IS, naturally, great discussion both in public and in private as to when the members of our individual families in military service will return home. There are some who feel that all fathers should be released at once. The parents of young men whose education has been interrupted feel that they should be given an immediate opportunity to resume their studies. Others feel equally strongly that first consideration should be given to men who are needed in certain occupations at home.
The armed forces have been reduced as fast as possible. For many reasons it is impossible for every member of the armed forces to be discharged promptly.
First, there is the enormous size of the task involved.
Second, there is the fact that our Nation must assume its full share of responsibility for keeping the peace and destroying the war-making potential of the hostile nations that were bent on keeping the world in a state of warfare.
Already the critical need for troops overseas has begun to slow down the Army's rate of demobilization. This is not an arbitrary action on the part of the Army. It is an inescapable need of the nation in carrying out its obligation in this difficult and critical postwar period in which we must devote all necessary strength to building a firm foundation for the future peace of the world. The future of our country now is as much at stake as it was in the days of the war.
To satisfy myself that demobilization is being carried out with all possible speed, I have reviewed once more the Army and Navy procedures. I am convinced, as every other American who examines the record must be, that the services are carrying out demobilization with commendable efficiency and with justice to all concerned.
The task has been enormous. The Army has now released well over half the 8,300,000 in service when the European fighting stopped. More than four and three-quarter million men and women have passed through the separation centers.
The Navy has pursued an equally vigorous policy in speeding the separation of. its men and women. Out of a peak strength of 3,500,000, the Navy has already returned close to a million and a quarter to civilian life. From the Marine Corps, which totaled nearly 486,000, more than 183,000 have been discharged. The Coast Guard, with 180,000 men, has demobilized over 74,000.
These numbers are staggering when you consider what they mean in ships, in extensive staffs required to carry out processing before discharge, and in rail transport sufficient to carry these soldiers, sailors and marines to their homes once they reach our ports. The wonder is not that some of our soldiers, sailors and marines are not yet home but that so many are already back at their own firesides.
There are, it is true, parents who are still waiting for the return of their sons. There are young men in service who are anxious for the chance to find jobs and establish homes. There are others eager to continue their education. There are wives and children impatiently awaiting the return of their husbands and fathers. To prefer the members of any single group, however appealing their claim, would be to ignore our obligation to give first consideration to the individuals who have made the heaviest sacrifices.
NOTE: The release noted that the statement was issued in response to many appeals that had been made to the President for the discharge of various groups from the Armed Forces.
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project. John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.