A leader in Civilization IV
|Introduced||The original Civilization IV|
Franklin D. Roosevelt (Jan. 30 1882-April 12 1945) was the 32nd president of the United States.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States, is best known for leading the US out of the Great Depression and to victory in WWII. Crippled by polio at 39, Roosevelt displayed indomitable courage and resolve to overcome his disability and achieve his goals.
Roosevelt was a man of contradictions. Though wealthy and powerful, Roosevelt was beloved by the poor and downtrodden and despised as a socialist by the wealthy and powerful. Roosevelt ran for office on a platform of isolationism, but he hated fascism and oppression, and unceasingly worked behind the scenes to aid the UK and get America into World War II.
When Roosevelt first became President in 1932, the United States was in a crippling depression. Banks had closed and businesses had failed. Millions were unemployed and falling into poverty. To counter this malaise, Roosevelt enacted a series of policies that he called the "New Deal:" a sweeping program to bring recovery to business and agriculture, relief to the unemployed and to those in danger of losing businesses, farms and homes.
Meanwhile, the Depression raged across the entire planet, and much of the rest of the world was degenerating into chaos. Japan was attacking China, while the two great dictators - Hitler and Stalin - were threatening to engulf Europe. The United States had largely withdrawn from world politics after World War I and the failure of the League of Nations, and few American politicians had the stomach to call for intervention. Roosevelt didn't, either, and in fact he ran for reelection on a platform of isolationism.
However, Roosevelt sincerely believed that the United States would have to become involved in the conflict one way or another - he abhorred fascism and totalitarianism - and he feared that, left unchecked, Germany, Russia and Japan would become powerful enough to overwhelm everything in their path - including, eventually, the US. Thus he did everything in his power to ready the US for the upcoming conflict by dramatically increasing the size of the US armed forces, pitifully weakened after the end of World War I. Further, he gave as much aid as was politically feasible to England, whom he rightly saw as the unprepared US's chief protection from the German war machine. Meanwhile, he did his best to turn public opinion around in favor of more direct action.
It is not clear that Roosevelt would have succeeded in that, if it weren't for Japan's attack against Pearl Harbor. Though casualties were extremely heavy, Pearl Harbor did "awake a sleeping giant," and at long last the citizens of the country realized their peril. And when Germany made the huge strategic blunder of declaring war on the United States shortly thereafter, Roosevelt was able to put all of the United States' massive industrial and military might into the conflict.
During the war, Roosevelt showed himself to be a masterful international politician; the UK-Soviet-American alliance was shaky at best, and his adroit handling of Stalin and Churchill did much to keep things running (relatively) smoothly. Meanwhile his "fireside chats" kept the country firmly behind him, and world opinion in the allies' favor. It has been said that Hitler hated Roosevelt even more than Stalin or Churchill - high praise indeed.
As a military leader Roosevelt was less sure-footed and the US made some early strategic blunders that could have been avoided. He learned quickly, however, and by the end of his life the US military machine was the most powerful that the world had ever seen.
Roosevelt died in 1945, shortly before the war ended. His legacies of social welfare and international cooperation would dominate United States policies for the next half a century.
Musical Theme:Marines' Hymn (John Phillip Sousa)