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New Year's Day 1943

Speech given by King Haakon VII, to the American people through the Mutual Broadcasting Company, New Year's Day 1943.

At this New Year’s Day, when the United States of America are entering the second year of war and when my country, Norway, faces her fourth year of fight for freedom and independence, I am very glad, indeed that the Mutual Broadcasting Company has given me this opportunity of sending a greeting to the American people.

When Winston Churchill addressed the British nation in the gloomy days of 1940, he promised nothing but “blood and sweat” and - talking about what was going to happen in 1941 and even in 1942 – he indicated that we probably had to face a long war.

Most people, at the time, didn’t like to hear, that the horrors of war should have to be endured perhaps for years. Neither did Hitler like it, and he declared that it was not up to Mr Churchill to decide upon the duration of the war, thus indicating, that he, Hitler, wanted and expected to end the war he had started, in his favourite “Blitz” fashion.

Today we all know that Churchill was right and did right in preparing his people for what was to come. And thus we have seen, how the Allied Nations were ready to “take it”, - to take the heavy blows given in the first years of the war and at the same time preparing for the final victory.

The United States got into the war after the treacherous attack on Pearl Harbour, and thus the basis was laid for political and military collaboration between all freedom-loving people in the fight against the aggressors.

When President Roosevelt shortly after Pearl Harbour told the world about what the United States were going to do, - what sort of war material you were going to produce and how much, - the Japanese haughtily declared: that is all very good, but it will all be too late. By now the Americans have already proven, - not only, that they have not been too late, but that they are everywhere and in every respect ahead of schedule.

Thanks to the foresight of President Roosevelt the United States were well on the way to take up the fight when challenged, as the States had given both moral and material support to the Allies even before they themselves had entered the war.

I want to emphasize how much we have been impressed by the fact, that already in the year of 1942 the United States have been able to take an active part in the war in Europe. We appreciate this so much the more, because we know, that the Americans are fighting in the European and African war zone not in order to conquer new territories for themselves, but because they want to join the fighting for decency between nations, to set free the oppressed nations and to knock out, once and for all, the political mentality, which is based on brutal and barbaric oppression of other nations and races. The Americans have thus clearly shown to the world, that their slogan of “goodwill between nations” is a reality and not merely a mode of speaking.

In the years that passed we have further learned to admire and to be grateful for the amazing capacity of the American production, which has enabled the British Commonwealth as well as the other Allied Nations to carry on with the war.

The Axis powers everywhere pursue the same methods; peaceful and democratic Norway, too, was attacked suddenly and without warning; we had our “Pearl Harbour” on the 9th of April 1940. Since then the Norwegian people are conducting a bitter fight against an enemy, who is behaving with a cruelty and brutality without parallel in world history. And we are most grateful to the American people for all sympathy shown to us and all effective help given to us in this struggle for life and death.

It is clear to all of us, that the Axis Powers are fighting against all principles of Christianity, and their fresh attack on all Jews shows us anew, that they intend to build their “New Order” upon hate and brutality.

We hope, that the United States also in the future will stand together with the Allies and that the collaboration during war time will be extended into an organised co-operation between all free peoples.

The Norwegian people is bound by many a tie to the great Western democracy and it is watching with confidence and enthusiasm the growing contribution of the United States to the war effort. I take this opportunity to convey to the American people my sincerest thanks for all sympathy and help in the year that passed, and I conclude by expressing the hope, that it may not last too long, before the Allies have achieved victory and that then, after these sad years of misery, we may see a new world arise, built on Christian principles.



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