On this day in history, March 12, 1933, FDR gives his first fireside radio address.
President Franklin Roosevelt gave his first ever “fireside chat” on this day, March 12, 1933, to reassure and educate a nation suffering from the Great Depression.
It was the first in a series of shows where FDR spoke clearly and directly to every American in his own voice, as Fox News Digital previously reported.
According to Britannica, the term “fireside chat” was coined by Harry Butcher of the CBS radio network.
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By the time Roosevelt took office in early March 1933, the Great Depression had spread throughout the world, according to History.com.
The US economy went bankrupt, industrial production stopped, more than 13 million people lost their jobs, and fell to a “desperate level”, reports the same site.
In his first inaugural address, Roosevelt tried to instill a new sense of faith in a despairing nation, saying that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” according to History and other sources. .
Not “an executive or a distant leader who speaks to his subordinates,” the president began his first “fireside chat” by greeting him as “my friends” and “continued to engage the audience on terms that made sense to them,” the National Archives said.
The site also states: “Those who normally could hear programs like the Manhattan Symphony Orchestra or ‘DW Griffith’s Hollywood’ sat happily in front of their sets as the President spoke. with they are not To whom they”.
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Roosevelt used a conversational and informal tone in his speech, notes the Presidential Library.
In his first “fireside chat,” he described the banking crisis: “So what happened in the last days of February and the first days of March?
He continued: “Because of the weakening of confidence on the part of the people, there has been a general rush on the part of a large part of our population to convert their bank deposits into money or gold—so strong that the banks are stronger. cannot get enough currency to meet the demand”.
He closed the country’s banks to prevent investors worried about bank failures from withdrawing their money, he said, and the banks would reopen the next day, according to the Presidential Library.
FDR thanked his audience for their “courage and good humor.”
“Your government does not intend to repeat the history of the last few years,” he said. “We do not want and will not have another wave of bank failures.”
He also thanked his listeners for their “courage and good humor” during the “holiday”.
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On the National Archives website, the president’s radio speeches were previously published in newspapers and on the radio.
The president’s remarks, carried over three major networks, began at 10 a.m. ET from the White House.
As the National Archives notes, the White House “had not yet organized the radio and news media with the efficiency that would later be experienced,” but the broadcast “was a success.” , according to the mail and telegrams received by the White House. after the first “fireside interview”.
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The speech had an “immediate impact” in terms of boosting confidence in the banking system and the administration’s executive and legislative agenda.
For the next 12 years, FDR would continue to speak directly to Americans via radio, according to the National Archives, “establishing a personal relationship with ordinary Americans like no other president ever had.”
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According to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Museum and Library, Roosevelt gave a total of more than 30 “fireside talks,” discussing everything from the banking crisis to the jobs relief program to the drought situation in the United States.
He also bolstered support for the New Deal and discussed U.S. involvement in World War II during the shows, they said.
Roosevelt was a “pioneer” in the use of both technology and media, and the impact of his vision is still felt today, according to the National Archives.
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