Charles Clanton Rogers

Reflections based on poetry, music, visual art, book reviews, history of science, first-person history, philosophical essays and International Blogging II #5    

FDR IS DEAD!  death of fdr   On Thursday, the 12th day of April 1945, at the age of  69, The Commander-in-Chief  of The United States Armed Forces  and de facto leader of “the free World” in the apex of the World history’s largest war, had a sudden severe headache ….and died.

Number four in the series: “I am a Time Traveler from The Twentieth Century”

 I guess you had to have lived in the Thirties and Forties, in the U.S., to understand what that meant. I was eleven years old and I was stunned.  If you were alive on Friday, November 22, 1963, [1] or Tuesday, September 11, 2001[2], you may have some idea of the shock felt by The Nation, on April 12, 1945.

I was in the fifth year of a school where each school room had  pictures of  “The Three Most Important Men” and an American Flag.

Each day began standing with a hand over our heart.

I pledge allegiance to The flag of The United States….”

On the front wall of each classroom, above the blackboards, were the predictable three icons:

washington         16_lincoln_1          Roosevelt


Washington: founded the Nation! [3]

Lincoln: saved the Nation 1861-1865 The  War Between the States! [4]

Roosevelt:  saved the Nation from the cataclysmic Great Depression of The Thirties and was The Commander-in-Chief of the on-going World War [5]

iwo jima X

 The Twentieth Century: The American Century: The Year Nineteen forty-five; a “watershed ” of American History  

cub scout    I was a Cub Sout early in the War.

Beginning the fourth decade of The 20th Century, Americans were numb.

i) In the aftermath of World War I, America was licking its wounds. The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was over 38 million: over 17 million deaths and 20 million wounded, ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history. [6]

ii) prohibition, organized crime, two Constitutional Amendments.  [7]

iii)  the ravages of the Great Depression of The Thirties [5]

boy scouts     I became a Boy Scout later in the War.

Although I was only seven years old, I remember the mood of the pre-war United States.
The Neutrality Acts were laws that were passed by the United States Congress in the 1930s, in response to the growing turmoil in Europe and Asia that eventually led to World War II. They were spurred by the growth of isolationism and non-interventionism in the US following its costly involvement in World War I, and sought to ensure that the US would not become entangled again in foreign conflicts.

boy scouts 2   My father was The Chief Boy Scout for The Nortwest Arkansas Council. The Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Sea Scouts were the principal patriotic organization for boys too young to serve in the military. I had three uncles who fought in The War; Two in the Pacific and one in Europe. My grandmother and I raised an American Flag in front her house each morning and took it in at dusk.

I am submitting a long list of events critical to The Second World War to impress upon you the prolog and complexity of Roosevelt’s involvement. I want my readers to understand that President Roosevelt was  leader of/ or significant participant in virtually every one of these steps. Many felt that Roosevelt was the “indispensable warrior”  in the War.  Harry Truman was not a participant, nor even  informed of Roosevelt’s deep background or decisions. This information accentuated the loss caused by the death of FDR. 

Outline of Critical Events Leading to, and during  the Second World War:
Jan 30, 1933
Hitler Becomes Chancellor of Germany

Oct 3, 1935
Mussolini Invades Ethiopia

Italy, under the leadership of Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, invades Ethiopia.

May 1, 1937 USA Neutrality Act; President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the 1937 Neutrality Act, which bans travel on belligerent ships, forbids the arming of American merchant ships trading with belligerents, and issues an arms embargo with warring nations.

Jul 7, 1937 Japan Defeats China;The Japanese defeat Chinese forces in a clash near Peking, taking control of North China.

Sep 14, 1937 President Franklin D. Roosevelt forbids U.S. ships from carrying arms to China or Japan.

Oct 5, 1937 Roosevelt Quarantines War; In response to Japanese action in China, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers a speech in which he calls for peace-loving nations to act together to “quarantine” aggressors to protect the world from the “disease” of war.

Feb 20, 1938   Supports Japan; German Chancellor Adolf Hitler announces support for Japan.

May 14, 1938 Mussolini Joins Hitler In a speech in Rome, Benito Mussolini, fascist leader of Italy, promises to fight the democracies alongside Adolf Hitler’s should war break out.

May 17, 1938 Naval Expansion Act The U.S. Congress passes the Naval Expansion Act giving President Franklin D. Roosevelt one billion dollars to enlarge the navy.

Sep 12, 1938 Hitler Aims for Sudetenland Adolf Hitler is poised to invade and conquer the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.

Sep 29, 1938
Sudetenland and Appeasement

Leaders of France and Great Britain meet with representatives from Germany, including Adolf Hitler, to discuss Germany’s demands, ultimately granting Hitler the Sudetenland in the hopes of gaining “peace with honor.” The Czechs are not consulted.

Sep 29, 1938
Hitler Promises Peace

Adolf Hitler, in return for the Sudetenland, promises to leave the rest of Czechoslovakia alone.

Nov 10, 1938

During the German Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), 7500 Jewish businesses are looted, 191 synagogues are set afire, nearly 100 Jews are killed, and tens of thousands are sent to concentration camps

Mar 15, 1939
Hitler Annexes Czechoslovakia

Adolf Hitler reneges on the promise made in September of 1938 and takes all of Czechoslovakia.

Apr 1939
Roosevelt Writes Hitler and Mussolini

President Franklin D. Roosevelt writes letters to both Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, requesting they promise not to attack a list of nations for at least ten years. Hitler would respond on behalf of the Italian leader and himself, assuring Roosevelt that he had nothing to fear.

May 1939
Senate Blocks Aid to Allies

A group of U.S. Senators block the President’s request for permission to offer economic aid to Britain and France in case of war.

Jun 6, 1939
St. Louis Refusal

Passenger ship St. Louis, containing 907 Jewish refugees, begins its journey back to Europe after the United States refuses to grant it permission to dock.

Aug 23, 1939
Stalin and Hitler Sign Nonaggression Pact

Germany and the Soviet Union agree to a nonaggression pact leaving the Soviets free to strengthen their western frontier, and Hitler free to attack Poland.

Sep 1, 1939
Germany Invades Poland

German troops invade Poland on the ground while Hitler’s air force bombs Polish cities from the sky.

September 3, 1939 Britain and France Declare War honoring their commitment to Poland.President Franklin D. Roosevelt invokes the Neutrality Act but notes, “Even a neutral cannot be asked to close his mind or his conscience.”

Nov 3, 1939
Congress Lifts Aid Embargo Congress grants President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s request to revise neutrality laws, to repeal an arms embargo so that munitions could be sold to Britain and France, and to prevent American ships from sailing into war zones.

Apr 1, 1940
Hitler Seizes Low Countries Adolf Hitler takes neutral Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg.

Apr 1940
Germany Pummels France

German fighter planes and ground troops pummel France.

Apr 1940
Hitler Defeats France

Britain forces retreat from France and Adolf Hitler’s armies defeat French forces.

May 1940
Allied Support Grows

The Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies is founded.

May 1940
Fleet Moved to Pearl Harbor

President Franklin D. Roosevelt moves the United States Pacific Fleet base from San Diego, California to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

May 16, 1940
Roosevelt Increases Defense Spending

In a speech to Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt requests new defense spending, an enlarged army, and an expanded air fleet. Public opinion favors the new defense program.

Jun 10, 1940
Italy Attacks France

Benito Mussolini’s Italian forces attack France from the south.

Jun 22, 1940
France Surrenders France, crushed, surrenders to Germany and signs an armistice. Great Britain now stands alone against the Axis powers.

Jul 26, 1940
U.S. Withholds Gas from Japan The United States orders gasoline withheld from Japan sparking protest from the Japanese government.

Aug 1940
Congress Enacts Draft Congress appropriates $16 billion for defense needs, and enacts the first peacetime draft in American history.

Sep 3, 1940
Roosevelt Aids Britain

President Franklin D. Roosevelt makes a deal to give Great Britain 50 destroyers in exchange for naval bases in Newfoundland, Bermuda, and sites in the Caribbean and the South Atlantic.

Sep 25, 1940
U.S. Extends Japanese Embargo The United States extends the Japanese embargo to include iron and steel.

Sep 27, 1940
Japan Joins Axis Responding to the embargoes imposed by the United States, Japan joins the German-Italian coalition.

Oct 29, 1940
Draftees to Camps The first draft numbers are drawn, sending thousands of draftees to drill camps all over the country.

Nov 1940 Roosevelt Reelected for Third Term

In the presidential election, Democrats break with the two-term tradition and renominate Franklin D. Roosevelt for a third term. Republicans nominate Wendell L. Willkie, a public-utilities executive who shared FDR’s views on the war in Europe. Franklin D. Roosevelt defeats Wendell L. Willkie by nearly 5 million popular votes.

Dec 29, 1940
Arsenal of Democracy

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers a fireside chat to the American people announcing, “We must be the great arsenal of democracy.”

Jan 6, 1941
Lend-Lease Program

Before the U.S. Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposes a “lend-lease” program, which would deliver arms to Great Britain to be paid for following the war’s end. Congress approves the bill.

Mar 30, 1941
U.S. Seizes Axis Ships

President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the United States Coast Guard to seize German ships that sail into American ports. 65 Axis ships are held in “protective custody.”

Jun 16, 1941
Axis Consulates Closed

President Franklin D. Roosevelt demands Germany and Italy close their American consulates located in the United States.

Jun 22, 1941
Germany Invades Soviet Union

Germany invades the Soviet Union violating the Nonaggression Pact. U.S. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson estimates that it will take Hitler less than three months to conquer the Soviet Union.

Jun 24, 1941
US Aids Soviets

The United States extends lend-lease aid to the Soviet Union.

Aug 9, 1941
Roosevelt and Churchill Draft Atlantic Charter

On a British battleship, President Franklin D. Roosevelt meets with the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill. The two leaders write up the Atlantic Charter.

Aug 17, 1941
Roosevelt Warns Japanese

President Franklin D. Roosevelt warns the Japanese government to cease all aggression toward neighboring countries or else face United States forces.

Sep 4, 1941
Greer Provoked by the American destroyer Greer, a German submarine fires on the ship. In response to the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the navy to shoot any Axis battleships they encounter.

Nov 1941
Lend-Lease to Soviets

The United States extends “lend-lease” to the Soviet Union.

Nov 3, 1941
Japanese Decide to Attack

The Japanese government decides to attack Pearl Harbor if negotiations with the United States fail.

Nov 29, 1941
U.S. Learns Japanese Plan

U.S. Naval cryptographers learn from secret code that Japan plans aggressive action if an agreement with the United States is not met.

Dec 1, 1941
Japan Ignores US Requests

Japan dismisses American demands to withdraw forces from China.

December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor

Japanese fighter planes attack the American base at Pearl Harbor destroying U.S. aircraft and naval vessels, and killing 2,355 U.S. servicemen and 68 civilians.

Dec 11, 1941
US At War

Germany and Italy, Japan’s axis partners, declare war on the United States. The United States declares war on Germany, Italy, and Japan.

Jan 6, 1942
Largest Budget in History

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers his State of the Union address in which he proposes a massive government spending budget, the largest in American history.

Oct 23, 1942
North African Theatre

In the first major Allied offensive, British and U.S. armies attack Germany’s Africa Korps on the Mediterranean chasing forces back toward Libya.

Nov 8, 1942
US Troops Land In Africa

Under the leadership of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. troops land in Algiers, Oran, and Casablanca in North Africa.

Jan 1, 1943
Chuchill and Roosevelt Plan

Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt meet in Casablanca in North Africa to plan attacks on all fronts, to invade Sicily and Italy, to send forces to the Pacific, and to better aid the Soviet Union.

Jan 31, 1943
Russians Trap Germany

The Russian Red Army traps and captures German armies that had invaded the Soviet Union.

Sep 8, 1943
Italy Surrenders The Italian government officially surrenders to the Allied powers; still, German forces occupy much of Italy.

Dec 1, 1943
Cairo Declaration

The Allied powers announce the Cairo Declaration in which all three declare their intention to establish an international organization to maintain the peace and security of the world.

Jun 1, 1944
Allies Assemble In England, the Allied powers assemble 2.9 million men, 2.5 million tons of supplies, 11,000 airplanes, and hundreds of ships in preparation for D-Day.

Jun 4, 1944
Rome Falls

Rome falls to Allied forces.

Jun 6, 1944

D-Day: The first of nearly 3 million Allied soldiers arrive in Normandy, on the northern shores of France.

Jul 24, 1944
Normandy and Brittany

Allied troops take large portions of Normandy and Brittany initiating a German retreat.

Aug 25, 1944
Paris Liberated U.S. forces, aided by a Free French division, liberate Paris from Nazi control.

Nineteen forty-five was another “hinge-of-history” year.

Notable events that I intend to review in subsequent posts:

The Yalta Conference,

The surrender of Germany,

The Holocaust,

The formation of the United Nations,

The development and use of the atomic bomb,

The surrender of Japan.

Charles Clanton Rogers        November 13, 2015

Please leave your geography in the comments section.  Please feel free to Reblog or Share


[1] The Assassination of President Kennedy.

[2] Destruction of The Twin Towers, WTC

[3] While the Revolution of 1776-1783 created the United States,[Washington]

[4] The Civil War is the central event in America’s historical consciousnessthe; Civil War of 1861-1865 determined what kind of nation it would be.[Lincoln]

[5] The emotional toll of The Great Depression: [Roosevelt] “One of the most salient factors linking economic recession to psychological distress is unemployment. Job loss has a powerful negative effect on psychological well-being. Those who lose their jobs tend to report increased anxiety, depression, and somatization. Unemployment has a profound influence on our sense of identity. Jobs can be a source of prestige and social recognition, a basis for our evaluations of self-worth. When someone loses their job, they also lose the social status that the job provided. This places them at greater risk of facing stigma and discrimination, both of which are linked to psychological distress.”

[6] The total number of fatalities includes about 11 million military personnel and about 7 million civilians. The Allies lost about 6 million military personnel while the [enemy] lost about 4 million. At least 2 million died from diseases and 6 million went missing, presumed dead.  About two-thirds of military deaths in World War I was in battle, unlike the conflicts that took place in the 19th century when the majority of deaths were due to disease. Nevertheless, disease, including the 1918 flu pandemic and deaths while held as prisoners of war, still caused about one-third of total military deaths for all belligerents.

[7] Source: Boundless. “The Mood in America.” Boundless U.S. History. Boundless, 21 Jul. 2015. Retrieved 12 Nov. 2015 from



16 thoughts on “FDR IS DEAD!

  1. Like always! Very meticulous in your presentation. Thank you for it because it is one that could be uses in a classroom.
    How do you feel the boy scouts have changed since you were a member.
    The formation of the United Nations is of interest.
    What effect do you think the United Nations really have in the interactions of countries now a day? Food for thought.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. clanton1934 says:

      Great questions . I will keep those in mind as I continue on with 1945 and “The Time Traveler” series. It is so rewarding to recurve your feedback. I hope we can continue to share and discuss. Thank you! c

      Liked by 2 people

  2. bbnewsab says:

    Great post – as usual!

    But you look at the WWII with American eyes.

    A European historian would disagree in some aspects with your summary.

    I really don’t intend to depreciate or belittle the American military forces and what they did.

    But the truth is that during the first years of WWII the European military forces (i.e. Great Britain and the Soviet Union) had to bear the brunt themselves.

    I’ve often wondered why the U.S. didn’t intervene earlier in a more powerful way. I think the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 became sort of a watershed.

    Thereafter the Americans “at last” realized that they should participate (with both soldiers and weapons) in the European war battlefields. Or else there was a huge risk that – if Great Britain and the Soviet union lost the war – Hitler (Nazi Germany), and Japan, would be able to cooperate and coordinate their forces in order to defeat the U.S. as well.

    Hitler and his generals tried to have just one enemy to fight at one and the same time. That’s why the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact came about. See: .

    KK, you need not agree with my war “analysis”. But I want you to understand that there are more views than just the American one to describe this big war whose battles were fought in many continents during many years.

    Just an example: I don’t like Joseph Stalin or the Soviet Union at all. But without the huge sacrifices of the many Soviet soldiers, Hitler and his generals would have had just one enemy, Great Britain, to fight. Now they got two tough enemies (Great Britain and the Soviet Union) at the same time.

    When at last the U.S. soldiers came to Europe, Hitler and his generals got three big enemies at the same time. And that became too much for the German “Wehrmacht”.

    Maybe the biggest mistake made by Hitler was his sudden termination of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Hitler probably thought that his soldiers were much better than Stalin’s. So he declared the Soviet Union war on 22 June 1941. And expected a German victory within weeks (or, at most, months).

    And yes, the German soldiers were much better equipped than the Soviet troops. But Stalin didn’t care about human values. When his soldiers were killed in action, he just recruited new ones. So the war lasted much longer than Hitler had expected. And the following winter was unusually cold and much snow fell. At the same time Stalin forced his soldiers to never give up. It was strictly forbidden to retreat.

    The Soviet soldiers had not enough weapons but they were ordered to advance towards the enemy in spite of that, even without weapons in their hands. The order was: Advance, and when you find a killed soldier, take his weapons. Just obey this simple order. And remember, if you retreat, you’ll be shot by your own comrades. But if you advance, then there is a chance for you to survive. The choice is yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. clanton1934 says:

      Oh , yeah! I agree with every word you just said. Roosevelt knew years before Pearl Harbor that the US could not sit the WW II. He had to beg, plead and deceive US Congress with aid to Allies. (classic 50 destroyers to The British Navy) In my previous post, I talked about the essential “Battle of Britain” which was done without US. And as you imply, it was the Russians who broke Hitler’s back. I think 3million Russians died when Hitler invaded Russia!
      My post was written , as you have so oftener encourage to be the “memories of my youth”. My post was colored by the subjective feelings of an eleven year old of the 1940’s , who had never been more than 200 miles from Fort Smith,; Arkansas.; no TV;
      There are critical interactions of Churchill, Stalin & Roosevelt. Also competition between Eisenhower & Montgomery. Even competition between US Army & US Navy! This was a sal

      Liked by 1 person

    2. clanton1934 says:

      My post was the memoirs of a small rural American boy who read American newspapers. K

      Liked by 1 person

  3. bbnewsab says:

    KK, you wrote: “My post was colored by the subjective feelings of an eleven year old of the 1940’s.”

    That’s why I commented: “Great post – as usual.”

    But when I read, in the comment field, that your post maybe would be used at school, I thought that your first-person memories needed to be somewhat balanced by other opinions on the matter.

    History, as you know and hopefullt agree with, is not like mathematics. In the latter science you say, for instance, that 3 + 4 = 7. But for a historian 3 + 4 can be anything between 5 and 9, i.e. 7 plus/minus 2, all depending on the perspective you prefer to use.

    BTW, do you mean it is correct to say, that there actually was on ongoing debate in the U.S. – whether to play a more active and important role in the war or not – long before the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor? If so, who tried to keep the U.S. outside the war? How did they argue? Was it a kind of protectionism and/or “mind your own business = don’t interfere if you don’t have to”?

    Of course I can understand that kind of opinion(s). As a matter of fact we have seen (almost) the same kind of discussion(s) over and over again; just think of wars like those in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. No parents want to see their sons being sent to an evil war abroad, far far away from home, with a high risk of being killed in action and returned back home in a coffin.

    If FDR understood earlier than many other Americans the need to cooperate in an active way in order to defeat Nazi Germany, then I must consider him to be a both clear-sighted and clear-headed president (commander in chief).

    As far as I know, FDR has a very good reputation over here in Europe.

    So you, as an American, are really entitled to feel proud of him, KK, whether you are 11 or 81 years old.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. clanton1934 says:

      FDR & Churchill had a strong private relationship at least two years before the US isolationist gave in after Pearl Harbor. FDR had to actually deceive the US Congress to help the British. He could very well have been impeached for providing tangible assistance to the English and the Russians. Most Americans and all of the Congress were determined not to be involved in “the European War”. Roosevelt was a major player but achieved a lot by deception. He often keep things from his Chief of Staff, his generals and his wife. It was nothing to be proud of if it failed! He and Churchill also kept secrets from Stalin. The Germans, the Japanese, the Russians, the British and Roosevelt all “kept their own council” and lied through the their teeth! ” All is fair, in love and War!” K

      Liked by 1 person

    2. clanton1934 says:

      It is also very important to know that Roosevelt did not even trust Harry Truman, his Vice-president who’s selection had been forced on Roosevelt. FDR told Truman nothing. When FDR died, Truman did not know about the atomic bomb, which he would use that same year. FDR’s death was so dangerous because only Roosevelt knew all of the secrets that he only passed out as needed. A lot died with him! K

      Liked by 1 person

  4. bbnewsab says:

    Thank you, KK, for all this valuable information! Over here in Europe president Truman is not regarded as one of the sharpest knives in the kitchen cutlery drawer.

    Please tell us more about the fact you mention that vice president Truman was more or less forced upon FDR. Do you mean that FDR was not fully trusted by some groups/politicians and therefore needed to be spied upon?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. clanton1934 says:

      This Truman choice by The Democrat party convention of 1940. Never before had a President been trusted with a third term nomination. The party bosses who reluctantly accepted FDR’s third nomination insisted on Truman not as a spy but just to remind FDR that he was not all powerful. FDR responded by walling off Truman from everything executive. On the day that Truman became President, he didn’t know where the men’s rooms were in the Oval Office! K

      Liked by 1 person

      1. bbnewsab says:

        Aha! That explains the rumor that someone always used to pee in the flowerpots in the White House in the 40’s. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. clanton1934 says:

      I made a mistake it was the fourth term not the third where Truman was selected. 1944 not 1949. Sorry, that was ac”senior moment” 😱K

      Liked by 1 person

      1. clanton1934 says:

        Typo error this time; yes 1944 and not 1940.
        1949 was a key mistake. Of course FDR had been dead for 4 years by 1949.

        FDR’s VP 1940-44 was Henry Wallace, Europeans are justifiably puzzled by the processes by which presidents and vice-presidents are chosen. Although, allegedly the presidential candidate can choose his running mate, the choice is made to mollify the political powers who didn’t get their first choice.The term used is “balanced ticket” supposing getting votes from t Although never written down, many see different constituencies selection ambitious;some presidents (e,g, Nixon) believed the office of VP was a threat rather than an asset; therefore would choose a weak, non-threatening VP!
        Although Truman was no-way prepared to be president, he turned out to be very strong; e.g. when General MacArthur challenged Truman, Truman immediately fired the most popular American General proving that the military was always subordinate to the civilian elected president. Truman also integrated the military which was a very bold move! K

        Liked by 1 person

      2. bbnewsab says:

        I suspected that. Or else you must have become a ghost believer and, perhaps, that you were going to start telling us ghost stories when we come together as usual in the evenings to sit around the camp fire after a hard day’s work. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. bbnewsab says:

    Good! The military should always be subordinate to a civilian elected leader. There are way too many countries still today around the world in which military leaders cling to the political power. And that is ill-boding.

    Liked by 1 person

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