The Primacy of Foreign Danger
WITHIN THE THREE MONTHS AFTER MUNICH, PRESIDENT Roosevelt completed the change-over from a political strategy whose primary emphasis was on the achievement of domestic reforms to one whose primary emphasis was on the achievement of a foreign policy of collective security. Farley's speech of September 22, 1938, closing the "purge" episode, was the first indication of the new orientation. But it did not suggest the full scope of the President's change of strategy. Nor did the blows suffered by the administration in Congressional elections make impossible continuance under full pressure of the struggle to wipe out the domestic evils against which the President had declared war in his statements that one third of the nation was ill-fed, ill-clothed, and illhoused, and that the South was the nation's economic problem number one.
Relegation of that struggle to a secondary position was the result of a decision that Axis aggression presented greater dangers to the American people than did domestic evils. The "illogical" alignments of party factions on domestic and foreign issues made it impossible to pursue strong new measures in both fields at the same time. Roosevelt chose to conciliate southern Democrats and northern Republican business groups, who supported a stronger foreign policy, by conceding to their hatred of the New Deal.
The President's decision was based on his judgment that the Munich Agreement meant not peace but war. In his press confer-