"This is not the land of my birth, but it is the land for which I hold the greatest affection."
-President Kennedy, Remarks in Limerick, Ireland, June 29, 1963
Pictured: President Kennedy visits Eyre Square in Galway.
-from the JFK Library
Day 15: June 15
This manuscript scroll of the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, which Christians call the Old Testament) was removed from a synagogue in Czechoslovakia for safekeeping after the 1938 Munich Crisis and brought secretly to the United States. The overwhelming majority of Czechoslovakia’s Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
On March 14, 1939, the National Council of Young Israel presented it to President Roosevelt to “inspire thousands upon thousands of young people with deeper respect and reverence for the eternal values contained therein.”
Under Jewish law, the sacred text of the Torah must be altered before it can be exhibited. A Jewish religious scribe (known as a sofer) has examined this Torah and confirmed that a portion of the sacred scroll was removed before it was given to FDR.
On March 14, 1957 President Eisenhower boarded the USS Canberra for a voyage to Bermuda where he met with British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. He arrived in Bermuda 6 days later.
-from the Eisenhower Library
George W. Bush climbing the steps to his Texas National Guard fighter plane in 1968.
-from the George W. Bush Library
FDR’s First Fireside Chat - March 12, 1933
FDR’s March 12, 1933 radio address on the banking crisis made a powerful impression on the public. His familiar speaking style made people feel as if he were sitting in their homes speaking directly to them.
The press soon labeled the speech a “Fireside Chat.” This term became associated with a series of informal radio addresses FDR made on important issues during his presidency. He used these speeches to bypass Congress and the press and speak directly to the nation.
Though the Fireside Chats seemed informal, Roosevelt carefully crafted them for his radio listeners. They usually ran for about thirty minutes and were generally delivered on Sunday evenings, when radio audiences were largest. Only a few radio technicians and advisers were in the room when FDR spoke. Roosevelt talked in a clear, informal, conversational style that featured intimate phrasing—including familiar expressions and terms like “we” and “you.” He imagined himself speaking to individuals, rather than a group. He spoke firmly, but softly, and deliberately slowed the pace of his speaking. The result was a new and powerful manner of presidential communication that inspired thousands of letters which often aided FDR in his political battles.
Roosevelt limited the number of his Fireside Chats, believing their impact would decline if he took to the airways too often. During his presidency, he made only thirty-one of them.
Radio microphone, Early 1930s
FDR used this RCA model 4-A-1 carbon condenser microphone to deliver some of his Fireside Chats from the White House.
FDR’s First Fireside Chat
Today in history, March 12, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his first Fireside Chat. Using the radio to speak directly to the nation, FDR laid out his plan to address the banking crisis of the Great Depression.
Watch archival footage from the FDR Presidential Library here.
More — President Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats
-from the FDR Library