Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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White House News Release, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Statement Announcing the Opening of a Second Front in French North and West Africa, 7 November 1942

In November 1942, Anglo-American forces under the overall command of U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower opened a second front against French colonies in North Africa, including Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. Although these areas were under the control of officials supposedly loyal to the collaborationist Vichy government in France, Allied leaders hoped that they would quickly come over to the Allied side. Roosevelt made a radio broadcast to the French people, appealing to them to support the invasion. He followed up these appeals with personal messages seeking support from the head of the French government, Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain, and the governors general and commanders of the French colonies. He also sought the continued neutrality of the dictator of Spain, General Francisco Franco.

In order to forestall an invasion of Africa by Germany and Italy, which if successful, would constitute a direct threat to America across the comparatively narrow sea from Western Africa, a powerful American force equipped with adequate weapons of modern warfare and under American Command is today landing on the Mediterranean and Atlantic Coasts of the French Colonies in Africa.

The landing of this American Army is being assisted by the British Navy and air forces and it will, in the immediate future, be reinforced by a considerable number of divisions of the British Army.

This combined allied force, under American Command, in conjunction with the British campaign in Egypt is designed to prevent an occupation by the Axis armies of any part of Northern or Western Africa, and to deny to the aggressor nations a starting point from which to launch an attack against the Atlantic Coast of the Americas.

In addition, it provides an effective second front assistance to our heroic allies in Russia.

The French Government and the French people have been informed of the purpose of this expedition, and have been assured that the allies seek no territory and have no intention of interfering with friendly French Authorities in Africa.

The Government of France and the people of France and the French Possessions have been requested to cooperate with and assist the American expedition in its effort to repel the German and Italian international criminals, and by so doing to liberate France and the French Empire from the Axis yoke.

This expedition will develop into a major effort by the Allied Nations and there is every expectation that it will be successful in repelling the planned German and Italian invasion of Africa and prove the first historic step to the liberation and restoration of France.


Further Reading
Web site: ibiblio. Available at http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/policy/1941/411117b.html. .
 

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