October 16, 1941
On October 10, President Roosevelt sent a message to Congress, calling German attacks on American shipping intolerable. Fearing that isolationists would tie up repeal of neutrality legislation passed the previous year, he asked instead for repeal of certain restrictions, so that he could arm merchant vessels. Claiming that Hitler was trying to drive the American flag from the seas “either by his submarines, his airplanes or his threats,” Roosevelt said, “It is time for this country to stop playing into Hitler’s hands, and to unshackle our own.”
A few days later, 122 members of the Vassar Faculty sent a letter of support to the President:
“We, members of the faculty of Vassar College, in our capacity as citizens, wish to express our agreement with your pronounced policy that the defeat of Hitlerism is necessary for the survival of the freedom of America.
“To this end we pledge our support of the measures you propose in your message to Congress and such others as may be necessary to the defense of our nation against the greatest menace to liberty we have ever had to face.” The New York Times