— Harry Truman American politician, 33rd president of the United States (in office from 1945 to 1953) 1884 - 1972
Context: Our victory in Europe was more than a victory of arms.
It was a victory of one way of life over another. It was a victory of an ideal founded on the rights of the common man, on the dignity of the human being, on the conception of the State as the servant — and not the master — of its people.
A free people showed that it was able to defeat professional soldiers whose only moral arms were obedience and the worship of force.
We tell ourselves that we have emerged from this war the most powerful nation in the world — the most powerful nation, perhaps, in all history. That is true, but not in the sense some of us believe it to be true.
The war has shown us that we have tremendous resources to make all the materials for war. It has shown us that we have skillful workers and managers and able generals, and a brave people capable of bearing arms.
All these things we knew before.
The new thing — the thing which we had not known — the thing we have learned now and should never forget, is this: that a society of self-governing men is more powerful, more enduring, more creative than any other kind of society, however disciplined, however centralized.