Following the example of his cousin whom he greatly admired, President Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt entered public service through politics. Unlike his distant cousin, however, Franklin took a risk, and ran as a Democrat in a district that had voted Republican for the past 32 years. He won election to the New York Senate in 1910. In 1913, President Wilson appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and he was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 1920.
|Franklin D. Roosevelt |
Assistant Secretary of the US Navy
By Harris & Ewing, photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
|FDR presenting one of his famed "fireside chats"|
Most photos of President Roosevelt show him either seated or behind a lectern,
to avoid calling attention to his medical condition
US National Archives[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
|"Day of Infamy Speech"
December 8, 1941
United States Government. [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
During World War II, Roosevelt was a commander-in-chief who worked with, and sometimes around, his military advisers. He helped develop a strategy for defeating Germany in Europe through a series of invasions, first in North Africa in November 1942, then Sicily and Italy in 1943, followed by the D-Day invasion of Europe in 1944, while Allied forces rolled back Japan in Asia and the eastern Pacific. During this time, Roosevelt also promoted the formation of the United Nations.
The stress of war, however, began to take its toll on FDR. In March 1944, hospital tests indicated he had atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, and congestive heart failure. In spite of this, and because the country was deeply involved in war, there was no question that Roosevelt would run for another term as president. He selected Missouri Senator Harry S. Truman as his running mate, and together they defeated Republican candidate Thomas E. Dewey, carrying 36 of the 48 states. In February 1945, Roosevelt attended the Yalta Conference with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet General Secretary Joseph Stalin to discuss post-war reorganization. He then returned to the United States and the sanctuary of Warm Springs, Georgia. On the afternoon of April 12, 1945, Roosevelt suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage and died. At his side were two cousins, Laura Delano and Margaret Suckley, and close friend Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd.
|Funeral Procession on Pennsylvania Avenue|
April 14, 1945
US Library of Congress [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Cover image by By Elias Goldensky (1868-1943) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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