The story

Franklin Roosevelt

Franklin Roosevelt

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American politician (1882-1945). As US president, he created a gigantic military-industrial complex.

The only man to be elected for four consecutive terms as president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born in Hyde Park, New York State, on January 30, 1882. His parents were James Roosevelt and Sarah Delano Roosevelt, both family members. rich, descendants of ancient Dutch, English and American ancestors. President Theodore Roosevelt was his distant cousin. After graduating from Harvard University and Columbia University Law School, he began practicing in 1907. He married his cousin Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) in 1905 and entered politics in 1911. He served as a senator for the state of New York, as assistant secretary of the navy under President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) and, in 1920, ran unsuccessfully as a vice presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.

After a polio crisis in 1921, his legs became useless for the rest of his life. To overcome this deficiency, he learned to walk using crutches and leg rests and returned to politics in 1924. He was elected governor of New York in 1928 and ran for president of the United States in 1932, promising a bold new plan. to rescue the nation from the effects of the Great Depression of 1929, the worst economic disaster of the twentieth century. He campaigned against Acting President Herbert Clark Hoover (1874-1964), proposing nothing less than the most active government in American history, and convincing the people that he "had nothing to fear but himself." own".

Elected by an overwhelming majority of votes, Roosevelt took office in March 1933 and was able to approve in Congress in just one hundred days his innovative economic plan, which he called the New Deal (which could be translated as the New Order). The legislature gave Roosevelt $ 3.3 billion, an unprecedented amount, to invest in new job creation and passed the National Industrial Recovery Act, which gave the president the power to control the economy.

Roosevelt hoped the law would encourage private sector growth. But instead the act was heavily criticized by business leaders and in 1936 it was declared unconstitutional. Undaunted, Roosevelt continued to propose numerous innovative - but controversial - New Deal programs, such as the Tennesse Valley Authority, which built a series of hydroelectric dams on the Tennesse River to generate electricity and jobs in one of the most depressed regions. of the country, and the Labor Progress Administration, which employed thousands of people in public projects, from building bridges to producing short travel guides.

In 1935, Congress passed the historic Social Security Act, a nationwide retirement plan that would eventually be one of Roosevelt's most enduring inheritances. Although controversy continued to surround his programs, Roosevelt won the 1936 election by another overwhelming advantage and still won the third and fourth terms in 1940 and 1944 respectively.
When World War II (1939-1945) began, the United States stood apart from hostilities, although it continued to provide moral support for England. Roosevelt was well aware of the possibility that the United States could finally be brought to war - just as it had in World War I (1914-1918), when German submarines began attacking nine Americans in the Atlantic. Roosevelt met secretly with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in August 1941, and the two leaders agreed to work together if the United States were forced into war.

On December 7, 1941, bombers from Japanese cargo planes destroyed US military facilities in Hawaii, particularly at Pearl Harbor Naval Base. The attack was a huge surprise and a huge success. By the time it was over, 3,000 Americans were dead, 100 planes had been destroyed, and the US Pacific Navy had been decimated. Eight of the nine warships moored at Pearl Harbor were unusable. The next day, President Roosevelt, calling December 7 "infamy day," asked Congress for a declaration of war. It was December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, and Japan declared war on England.

Roosevelt then assembled a team of advisers who planned massive support from industries - called the Democracy Armory - in the war effort. This would make victory not only possible, but inevitable. The formidable industrial-military complex created by Roosevelt and his team, almost overnight, was unprecedented in history, and is almost certain to never happen again. When Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, the war was not over, but victory was near. He had not yet completed a year in his fourth term, yet he held office longer than any other US president in history. In addition, it has left a legacy of social and economic reforms that continue today.