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FDR’s Preparation for War

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1 FDR’s Preparation for War
What did FDR do that helped prepare an isolationist nation for war.

2 Steven Felzenberg “ He (FDR) committed his greatest political mistake as president when, in the aftermath of his record-breaking 1936 re-election landslide, without preparing the country he embarked on his ill-conceived and ill-fated scheme to pack the Supreme Court.

3 Steven Felzenberg He recovered from that defeat in time to render his greatest services to his country, his masterful nudging of the United States away from its post World War I isolationism and his extraordinary performance as commander in chief during World War II.”

4 Recognition of the Soviet Union
The US refused to officially recognize Soviet Union’s Bolshevik Government in the fall of 1933. FDR recognizes them stating: 1. The US needs to open up trade with them. FDR’s rationale 1. Check Japanese Power 2. Prepare the US to start thinking internationally.

5 US entrance into the World Court
In 1935, FDR proposes the US enter the World Court. This is a message to the Japanese and Fascists that the US will get involved. The Senate defeats this due to isolationist fears. 1. FDR realizes isolationism is still very strong in the US.

6 The Quarantine Speech The Japanese invade China which confirms FDR’s fear of their expansionist desire. In 1937, he gives the “Quarantine Speech” stating the US will use economic sanctions to help quarantine and contain them. 1) The press hammers him questioning that he is actually preparing a potential military action.

7 FDR to an aide after this reaction
“It’s a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead and find no one there,…”

8 Disappointments The US Congress and public will not let him get involved in the Spanish Civil War. In 1939, FDR asks to supplement the neutrality laws on a “cash and carry” basis. 1) This is defeated by the Senate. By 1939, FDR is really boxed in and feels he will not be able to prepare the nation and help the allies once the war starts. Also, his Second Term is almost up. What should he do?

9 “Drafting” FDR for a Third Term
After the 1938 purge failed, members of FDR’s staff and other New Dealers start floating the idea of FDR running for a 3rd term. Gov. Frank Murphy (MI) gives a speech in Traverse City citing this idea. (July 26, 1938) - “The New Deal must go on and we may have to draft the President for four more years of leadership.” The New York Times picks up the speech and starts the speculation. Would be nominees start having second thoughts just in case FDR does run. FDR is able to keep people out of the loop and achieve this thanks in large part to his re-organization of the Executive Branch.

10 Samuel Lubell, Democratic Pollster and Washington Post Reporter (After FDR wins re-election in 1940)
“The Republicans do not know what hit them; the Democrats certainly, as distinguished from the New Dealers, do not know what they hit the Republicans with. The New Deal aimed at a bloodless revolution. In 1940 it went a long way toward accomplishing it.”

11 World War II ( Nov. 1941) FDR knows the US must have a role in this war. 1) The Nazi’s attack on W. Europe 2) Japan’s aggression FDR decides the US will be officially neutral but not in their actions. The polls show: 1) 90% of Americans don’t want war 2) A majority due support the Allies

12 Cash and Carry Neutrality Again
FDR says that if the US is going to stay out of the war, they need to help the Allies win. The Congress supports the “Cash and Carry” proposal. 1) The Allies can buy war materials paying directly with cash. (Britain and France) 2) They must carry it on their own ships. This time Congress approves this.

13 ----- End of Part I -----
Spring and Summer 1940 The French are quickly defeated by the Germans. This leaves the British alone fighting against the Germans. At this point, FDR decides to run for a 3rd term. ----- End of Part I -----

14 Destroyer/Bases Churchill asks FDR for 50 WWI destroyers to form a defensive line against Hitler’s invasion. FDR needs figure a way to sell this to the American Public. FDR explains we are trading these old “tin cans” for a huge strategic advantage. 1) 99 year lease on British bases which will protect the US against Germany. The Press says it’s the greatest deal since the Lousiana Purchase.

15 Spring and Summer 1940 The US Army is no match for Hitler.
1. US army is 200,000. Germany is 2 million 2. US Army is grossly unequipped as shown in the Newburgh, NY exercises. a. Use broomsticks instead of rifles. b. Milk trucks portray German tanks. 3. There is no draft.

16 Peacetime Draft of 1940 FDR proposes while running for a 3rd term. (A big risk) Isolationist say it is a step in entering the war. FDR proposes only 1 year of service. 1) Prepare them just in case we are attacked. 2) They will NOT be sent overseas. FDR is able to get this passed by making it a defensive measure. 16 million men register. 1) 1 million are trained. 2) 800,000 reserves called up.

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