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Franklin Roosevelt

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Franklin Roosevelt was the 32nd President of theUnited States of America. He has been the only President of the United States to have been elected four times. He is best known for his leadership of the United States and Free World throughout the Great Depression and the Second World War, during his time in office from 1933 to 1945. He was a dynamic military leader and he had many achievements to his credit.

Franklin Roosevelt’s Early Years

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on the 30thof January, 1882 to a wealthy family inNew YorkState. His father, James

FDR 1933

Franklin Roosevelt pictured in 1933.

Roosevelt was a successful businessman and financier. As a child he made several trips abroad, with his parents and had private tutors before he went toGroton from 1896 to 1900. He then went to Harvard and later to theColumbiaLawSchool where he passed the bar but found that he had no interest in the legal profession.

In 1905 he married Eleanor Roosevelt, the niece of his cousin Theodore Roosevelt. Together they had a daughter, Anna Eleanor and four sons named James, Elliot, Franklin Jr. and John Aspinwall. WhenFranklinlater became President of theUnited States of America, Eleanor was a politically active First Lady and she was involved in several causes like the Civil Rights and others.

Franklin Roosevelt’s Development as an Administrator

He practiced law for a short time but then decided to run for the New York State Senate and in 1913 he accepted an appointment as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, a post he held till 1920. It was in this period that his capabilities as a successful administrator were noticed and he was recognized as a Democratic politician with great potential.

Franklin_Roosevelt_Secretary_of_the_Navy_1913

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing left as Asst. Sect. of the Navy.

He was not successful when he ran for the post of Vice President of theUnited States of Americain 1920 so he began practicing law once again. In 1921, Franklin Roosevelt was crippled with polio and it seemed that this would be the end of his career. He overcame his disability with great will power and self-determination and also with the support of his wife. She often substituted for him at political meetings. He gradually recovered and once again picked up his political career.

FDR’s Election as President of the United States

His interest in politics grew and in 1929 he was elected as Governor of New York. In 1932 he was nominated as the Democratic candidate for the Presidential election and won against the Republican, Herbert Hoover. That was the time when the country was reeling under the economic depression, but his aggressive campaigning and his optimism which was shown through his campaign song, “Happy Days are here Again” won him a landslide victory and he became the 32nd President of the USA. He took the oath of office on March 4th 1933 and addressed the nation over radio. In his inaugural address he was optimistic about reversing the crisis the country was going through, with the support of the people.

Franklin Roosevelt Video

FDR’s New Deal

His strategy in his first hundred days in office, from March 4th the 16th of June, was to bring immediate relief by getting the Congress to pass a record number of bills. Some of the most important legislative acts passed at that time as part of his “New Deal”, were as follows:

  • The Social Security Act in which the poor, the sick and the elderly were given financial security. The Social Security
    Signing_Of_The_Social_Security_Act

    Roosevelt Signs The Social Security Act: President Roosevelt signs Social Security Act, at approximately 3:30 pm EST on 14 August 1935. Standing with Roosevelt are Rep. Robert Doughton (D-NC); unknown person in shadow; Sen. Robert Wagner (D-NY); Rep. John Dingell (D-MI); unknown man in bowtie; the Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins; Sen. Pat Harrison (D-MS); and Rep. David Lewis (D-MD).

    System benefited several needy Americans during the time of the economic crisis.

  • The Civilian Conservation Corps was a program where job opportunities were provided in various projects to more than three million people.
  • Electricity was generated from theTennessee Riverto the depressed area through the Tennessee Valley Authority.
  • Aid was provided to cities for further construction and also to improve businesses through the newly created Public Works Administration.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission was created to correct the problems which caused the crash in the stock market.

Franklin Roosevelt was re-elected as President in 1936 for a second term. He won against the Republican candidate Alf Landon with a large margin basically due to the effectiveness of his “New Deal” program. He was re-nominated to the post in 1940 and he won against the Republican nominee Wendell Willkie, who was opposed to his Tennessee Valley Authority Act and also against FDR’s pledge to keep America out of World War 2. In spite of his failing health Roosevelt was once again nominated and also won the election and became the President of the USA for the fourth term in 1944. He died in office on the 12th of April in 1945 due to a cerebral hemorrhage.

Franklin Roosevelt’s Domestic Accomplishments

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s twelve year tenure in office as the President of the United States of America brought about a tremendous impact on the country. His aggressive and bold leadership sawAmerica through two of the major threats that the country faced in those days. His “New Deal” program steeredAmerica out of the economic crises during the days of the Great Depression. There were relief programs and employment opportunities for the citizens. There was an economic growth and several reforms were made by regulation of the stock market and banks. Unfortunately, the Conservative Coalition which was formed in 1937 prevented further legislations being passed and many of the relief programs were abolished with the start of the Second World War. The country was once again reeling under an economic depression.

Keeping the United States Out of the War

The German Nazi aggression and the invasion of China by Japan in 1938 marked the commencement of the Second World War. Roosevelt preferred to keepAmericaout of the war by remaining neutral but extended financial as well as diplomatic support toChinaand theUnited Kingdom.Americaprovided equipment, food and medicines toBritainand its allies in the Second World War. He aimed at supplying the Allies with ammunition by makingAmericaan “Arsenal of Democracy”. With the approval of the Congress he created the “Lend-Lease” Act in 1941 which provided aid to the countries that together withBritainwere fighting against Nazi Germany. He made several speeches to his countrymen promising to keepAmericaout of the war. He also created the “Atlantic Charter” with Winston Churchill pledging to defeat Nazi Germany.

The United States Enters World War 2

Prince_of_Wales-5

Conference leaders during Church services on the after deck of HMS Prince of Wales, in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, during the Atlantic Charter Conference. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (left) and Prime Minister Winston Churchill are seated in the foreground.
Standing directly behind them are Admiral Ernest J. King, USN; General George C. Marshall, U.S. Army; General Sir John Dill, British Army; Admiral Harold R. Stark, USN; and Admiral Sir Dudley Pound, RN.
At far left is Harry Hopkins, talking with W. Averell Harriman.

America was forced to enter the Second World War after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on the 7th of December in the year 1941. With the support of the Senate, he gotAmerica to declare war againstJapan. Franklin Roosevelt was an active military leader. He strengthened theUS forces with equipment and man-power during the earlier years of his tenure as President. He remained Commander-in-Chief of theUS armed forces till he died in office.

It was in his tenure that the atomic bomb was developed. This was a momentous feat as it was the first atomic bomb in the world. He helped the allies defeat the German-Japanese Axis Powers with his war strategies and with the help and support he gave his military leaders. In 1942 he ordered the internment of thousands of American citizens of Japanese origin.

Important Allied Victories

Amongst the important victories for the Allies and the United States of Americaagainst the Axis powers were the Battle of Midway, the North African campaign, the capture of Sicily after a joint amphibious attack, the campaign in the Pacific and finally the “D-Day” invasion.

Rooseveltwas always in close contact with Winston Churchill and other European leaders through the war. Many meetings were held at various places to discuss war strategies and later to talk about world peace. Churchill and Roosevelt also met Joseph Stalin atYaltawhere concessions were pledged toRussiaif it entered the war againstJapan. They discussed the end of the war and the matters pertaining to peace in the world.

Helping Form the United Nations

With the end of the war in sightRooseveltspent a great deal of time in planning the establishment of the United Nations. He wanted the UN to be a permanent peace time group with powers to thwart all effort towards war. He was hopeful that the year 1945 would be remembered in history for all the achievements and the beginning of the efforts to organize peace in the world.

In April 1945 an important international meeting was organized in San Franciscoto draw up a charter for the formation of the World Organization. Many nations were to take part in this conference on the 25th of April 1945. According to the plans, Roosevelt was to open the conference. The delegates had begun arriving for the conference, when on the 12th of AprilRoosevelt slumped forward in his seat as he was signing documents. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

FDR’s Impact

He died before he could see the end of the war. With his strong leadership Americaand the Allies were able to win the war against the Axis powers. He left a tremendous impact on his country during his twelve year tenure as President and the impact lasted for several years after he died. Though many of his countrymen disagreed with his domestic and foreign policies he had millions of supporters who elected him as President for four terms.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt will be remembered as one of the greatest Presidents of theUnited States of Americaand as the administrator who created the United Nations for world peace.

 

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