With Nation Panicked, FDR Called for Bank Holiday Financial security for all Americans was weighing heavily on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt 75 years ago. On March 12, 1933, FDR delivered the first of what would become his famous "fireside chats" designed to reassure an anxious public struggling to find its way out of the Great Depression. He spoke after proclaiming a four-day bank holiday to prevent panicked customers from making huge withdrawals.
NPR logo

With Nation Panicked, FDR Called for Bank Holiday

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/88019870/88019845" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
With Nation Panicked, FDR Called for Bank Holiday

With Nation Panicked, FDR Called for Bank Holiday

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/88019870/88019845" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

(Soundbite or archive recording)

President FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT: My friends, I want to talk for a few minutes with the people of the United States about banking.

LIANE HANSEN, host:

Financial security for all Americans was weighing heavily on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's mind 75 years ago. On March 12th, 1933, FDR delivered the first of what would become his famous radio Fireside Chats. They're purpose was to reassure an anxious public struggling to find its way out of the great depression. He spoke after proclaiming a four-day bank holiday to prevent panicked customers from making huge withdrawals.

(Soundbite or archive recording)

Pres. ROOSEVELT: It is possible if when the banks resume a very few people, who have not recovered from their fear, may again begin withdrawals. Let me make it clear to you that the banks will take care of all needs except, of course, the hysterical demands of hoarders, and it is my belief that hoarding during the past week has become an exceedingly unfashionable pastime in every part of our nation. It needs no profit. To tell you that when the people find that they can get their money, that they can get it when they want it for all legitimate purposes, the phantom of fear will soon be laid. I can assure you my friends, that it is safer to keep your money in a reopened bank, than it is to keep it under the mattress.

HANSEN: Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivering his first Fireside Chat on March 12th, 1933.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.