Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945

By David M. Kennedy | Go to book overview

Prologue: November 11, 1918

. . . and a knell rang in the ears of the victors, even in their hour of triumph. -- Winston Churchill, 1927

The Great War ended on November 11, 1918. It had lasted 1,563 days, claimed the lives of some ten million soldiers, wounded twenty million others, and devoured more than $300 billion of the world's treasure. It destroyed empires and dethroned dynasties -- the Hohenzollerns in Germany, the Hapsburgs in Austria, the Romanovs in Russia. In the war's final hours, new regimes were aborning in Vienna, Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, and Dublin, while revolutionaries huzzahed through the streets of Berlin and Petersburg.

A strange stillness settled over the fighting fronts, a grim herald of two decades of tense armistice in the twentieth century's Thirty-Year War.

News of the war's end reached Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler in a military hospital in the town of Pasewalk, near Stettin in Pomerania. A twice-decorated message runner with the Sixteenth Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment, Hitler had huddled through the night of October 13 on a hillside in Flanders while the British rained gas grenades on the German trenches. Through the darkness the gas hissed from the canisters toward the German lines. By morning Hitler's eyes were "red-hot coals," and he was blind. Clutching his last report of the war, he groped his way to the rear and was put aboard a train for the east.1

Now, four weeks later, on November 10, a sobbing hospital chaplain informed Hitler and his recuperating comrades that a revolution had dethroned the kaiser. The civilian leaders of the new German republic

____________________
1
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf ( New York: Stackpole Sons, 1939), 200-201.

-1-

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Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Editor''s Introduction xiii
  • Abbreviated Titles Used in Citations xvii
  • Prologue - November 11, 1918 1
  • 1 - The American People on the Eve of the Great Depression 10
  • 2 - Panic 43
  • 3 - The Ordeal of Herbert Hoover 70
  • 4 - Interregnum 104
  • 5 - The Hundred Days 131
  • 6 - The Ordeal of the American People 160
  • 7 - Chasing the Phantom of Recovery 190
  • 8 - The Rumble of Discontent 218
  • 9 - A Season for Reform 249
  • 10 - Strike! 288
  • 11 - The Ordeal of Franklin Roosevelt 323
  • 12 - What the New Deal Did 363
  • 13 - The Gathering Storm 381
  • 14 - The Agony of Neutrality 426
  • 15 - To the Brink 465
  • 16 - War in the Pacific 516
  • 17 - Unready Ally, Uneasy Alliance 565
  • 18 - The War of Machines 615
  • 19 - The Struggle for a Second Front 669
  • 20 - The Battle for Northwest Europe 709
  • 21 - The Cauldron of the Home Front 746
  • 22 - Endgame 798
  • Epilogue- the World the War Made 852
  • Bibliographical Essay 859
  • Index 877
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