The Rise and Fall of Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The Rise and Fall of Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The Rise and Fall of Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The Rise and Fall of Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Synopsis

This book examines the personal and administrative qualities of FDR and from that perspective analyzes the U.S. response to the changing global scene between the two world wars. Governments during the period preceding and throughout World War II were not without defects, yet despite lapses and mistakes made by the U.S. Administration in Washington between 1939 and 1945, the accumulated errors did not equal either of two major ones committed by wartime enemies: 1) Hitler's judgment in invading the Soviet Union, and 2) Japan's decision to attack Pearl Harbor. World War I had reduced most of Western Europe to rubble, and in the aftermath of that debacle extreme poverty, due in large part to the harshness of peace treaties, swept over the defeated nations. The hardships of those times made it inevitable that some governments would attempt recovery through authoritarian and military means. In the United States, conditions first flourished and then, after the stock market crashed in 1929, sank into a Great Depression. Stresses were very grave, but rather than resorting to arms American citizens yielded to reforms instituted through measures of the New Deal, the hallmark of Roosevelt''s presidency. Meanwhile, totalitarian leaders in Germany and Italy encouraged huge rearmaments programs and began encroaching upon neighboring governments. Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and smaller nations were taken over by Nazis, thereby adding to a Reich which der Fuhrer (the leader) and his cohorts claimed would last a thousand years. Driven by that zeal, the German Wehrmacht (armed forces) in 1939 invaded Poland, and another World War was begun. Roosevelt and his interactions with Churchill, who was urgently seeking U.S. assistance -- while the American population wanted no part in another war -- make up a central theme of the current work. The Rise and Fall of Franklin D. Roosevelt will appeal to readers who want to know more about the Great Depression, the New Deal, and events leading to World War II. There are hundreds of histories of the Franklin Roosevelt period, but in the main they are mere recitals of events or profiles of characters who participated in them. Those works that offer any judgment tend to be laudatory or critical across the board. Few, if any, recognize the changes in FDR''s acumen brought on by the burdens of office, ill health, and age, not to mention an innate self-confidence that developed into arrogance. But despite his obvious achievements, important errors can be traced to FDR that would have driven a lesser idol from office, as this book demonstrates. The book is written in a narrative style that is engaging and easy to grasp for students as well as adults, yet the work has sufficient documentation to satisfy discriminating historians."

Excerpt

It is said that an experienced oceanographer can examine an incoming tide and learn of events which happened far out at sea. Likewise, those who study an historical event will be drawn into examining happenings leading up to it. The rabble in arms that sparked the Revolutionary War can be understood only by knowing something about disgruntled settlers in colonial America when ruled by overseers from abroad. Those who want to understand our country’s Civil War will have to study sectional rivalries, differing social patterns, and economic conditions in the North and South during that period.

At the equator, the earth’s diameter is approximately 25,000 miles, and maps tell us that from the Balkan Peninsula to Hawaii is nearly half that distance—a space demanding over fifteen hours of flight time for most travelers. Connections between an assassination in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia in 1914 and an attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1941—twentyseven years later, therefore, might appear at first blush to be unrelated. The years between the two dates, slightly more than one-third of a human’s life span according to modern reckoning, would seem long, yet with instantaneous communication and in the world’s history, the interlude becomes infinitesimal.

World War I reduced most of Western Europe to rubble, and in the aftermath of that debacle extreme poverty, due in large part to the harshness of peace treaties, swept over the defeated nations. The hardships of those times made it inevitable that some governments would attempt recovery through authoritarian and military means. Choosing such routes . . .

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