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

By David M. Kennedy | Go to book overview

4
Interregnum

The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.

-- Franklin D. Roosevelt, speech at Oglethorpe University, May 22, 1932

Roosevelt was now president-elect. But Herbert Hoover was still president and would remain so for four months. The ratification of the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution in February 1933 moved the start of the presidential term to January 20 of the year following election, but the amendment would take effect only in 1937. Roosevelt's inaugural thus fell under the old rules and would not take place until March 4.1

History, meanwhile, refused to mark time to the antiquated cadences of the American electoral system. In the agonizing interval between Roosevelt's election in November 1932 and his inauguration in March 1933, the American banking system shut down completely. The global economy slid even deeper into the trough of the Depression. The world also became a markedly more dangerous place. Adolf Hitler was installed as chancellor of Germany, after massive unemployment had seeded despair into millions of German households and after months of bloody clashes between Communist and Nazi gangs had left scores of people dead in the streets of German cities. Japan, hell-bent on the

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1
The amendment also changed the schedule for meetings of Congress, which was now mandated to begin its annual session on January 3. Thretofore, newly elected Congresses had to wait a full thirteen months, from November of election year until December of the succeeding year, to be seated. Roosevelt accelerated the seating of the new Congress elected in 1932 by calling it into special session in March 1933.

-104-

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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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