Roosevelt Facts and Figures

FDR and Eleanor RooseveltTable of Contents:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

When was FDR born?
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882, at the family home, "Springwood,"  in Hyde Park, New York.

How did the Roosevelt and Delano families make their money?
The Roosevelt family was New York based and involved in commerce, banking and insurance, shipbuilding and seafaring, urban real estate and landholding. Although a lawyer by training, James Roosevelt's interests were in  business where he was a respected figure in the field of finance, transportation (railroads), and philanthropy.

The Delanos were a New England seafaring and mercantile family. FDR's maternal grandfather, Warren Delano II, was in the China trade in which he made and lost several fortunes.

Was FDR an only child?
FDR was the only child of James Roosevelt and his second wife, Sara Delano. Franklin had an older half brother, James Roosevelt Roosevelt (1854-1927), born to his father and his first wife, Rebecca Howland, who died in 1876.

When did FDR's father die?
James Roosevelt was born in 1828 and died on December 8, 1900 in New York City at the age of 72. Franklin was eighteen and a freshman at Harvard College.

When did FDR's mother die?
Sara Delano Roosevelt was born in 1854 and died on September 7, 1941 at the family home "Springwood," in Hyde Park, New York at the age of 87. Franklin died less than four years later.

Where did FDR go to school?
In September 1896, at age fourteen, Franklin entered Groton School, a small boarding school in Massachusetts which prepared sons of wealthy and prominent families for college. Before entering Groton, Franklin had a series of governesses and tutors.

What was FDR's first job?
In the autumn of 1907 Franklin became an apprentice lawyer with the Wall Street firm of Carter, Ledyard and Milburn. It was a typical arrangement at the time-no salary the first year and then a small one to start.

What was FDR's first public office?
FDR was elected New York State Senator from Dutchess, Columbia and Putnam counties in 1910 and re-elected for a second term in 1912. He served only a few months of the second term before President Woodrow Wilson appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1913.

Was FDR ever in the military?
No. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, Franklin held the civilian post of Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He was eager to enlist, but President Wilson urged against it, citing his important service in the Navy Department.

During World War II, President Roosevelt served as Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces.

When did FDR run for the Vice-presidency?
In 1920 the Democratic Party nominated Ohio Governor James M. Cox for President and Franklin D. Roosevelt for Vice President. They were defeated by Republicans Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge.

When was FDR elected Governor of New YorkState?
FDR was elected Governor of New York State in 1928 and 1930 for two two-year terms.

Who was Lucy Mercer?
Lucy Page Mercer, daughter of a well-connected Washington family living in reduced financial circumstances, was hired as Eleanor Roosevelt's social secretary in 1914 to assist with the heavy social responsibilities of the wife of a sub-cabinet secretary.  In September 1918, Eleanor discovered love letters from Lucy to Franklin and Eleanor offered Franklin a divorce, which he declined for political reasons. In the end, Eleanor agreed to preserve the marriage and Franklin promised never to see Lucy again.  

In 1920, Lucy Mercer married Winthrop Rutherfurd, a wealthy widower. Despite his promise to Eleanor, Franklin and Lucy continued to maintain contact. Lucy was present at the Little White House, Warm Springs, Georgia, when President Roosevelt died in 1945.

When did FDR die and what was the cause of his death?
President Roosevelt died of cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945 at the Little White House, his cottage at Warm Springs, Georgia, the rehabilitation center for the treatment of polio that he founded.

What events and ceremonies occurred during FDR's funeral?
On the morning of April 13, 1945, the Presidents' casket was carried to the railroad station at Warm Springs, Georgia, accompanied by a procession of 2,000 soldiers from Fort Benning. Moving no faster than 35 miles per hour, the train passed through the Carolinas and Virginia, arriving in Washington, DC on April 14. All along the way sorrowful citizens turned out to pay their respects to the passing funeral train. President Truman, members of the immediate family, and high-ranking government officials met the funeral train at the Union Station.

Full military honors were rendered in the procession from the railroad station to the White House through the streets lined with units of the nation's armed forces and the grieving public. Behind the casket two flag bearers bore the American flag and the presidential standard. At the White House, the casket was placed in the East Room where the funeral services were conducted at 4:00 p.m. The Episcopal Funeral Service lasted twenty-three minutes.

That evening the casket was removed from the White House and taken in a small procession of soldiers and police to the Union Station for the trip to Hyde Park, New York. Again mournful citizens turned out to witness the passing train. The morning of April 15 the funeral train arrived at a siding on the Hudson River four miles from the Roosevelt home. The casket was transferred to a gun carriage and driven to the Roosevelt estate along a route lined with soldiers, sailors and marines. The caisson was preceded by a military band and a battalion of West Point cadets and followed by limousines containing President Truman and the Roosevelt family. Full Military honors were rendered from the train to the burial site.  Great numbers of ordinary Americans young and old traveled to Hyde Park to attend the funeral. 

Interment was in the Rose Garden at the estate in Hyde Park. The rector of St. James Episcopal Church read the burial services, three volleys were fired over the grave and taps were sounded as the casket was lowered into its final resting place.

What lifelong hobby did FDR pursue?
Stamp collecting was one of FDR's lifelong hobbies. His interest began when he was eight years old and his mother passed her collection on to him. He enjoyed stamps, he said, because of their link with geography and history, not for their intrinsic value. While recovering from polio, he spent many bedridden hours arranging and annotating thousands of specimens. As President, there was scarcely a day when he did not spend some time with his collection.

At his death, his personal stamp collection numbered over 1,200,000 stamps, 80% of which was of little value-"scrap"" as the President called it. The collection was sold at public auction in accordance with his wishes and realized $228,000.00. The stamps he received officially from foreign governments were not sold, but are a part of the holdings of the Roosevelt Library.

What were FDR's "vital statistics"?

Born: January 30, 1882 at 9 pm, weighing 10 lbs
Height: 6'2"
Weight: Approximately 182 lbs.
Complexion: Fair to ruddy
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Grey-blue
Voice: Tenor
Shirt Size: 16 3/4 neck, 35 sleeve
Hat Size: 7 and 3/8
Shoes: Size 12

What were FDR's favorite things?

Authors: He enjoyed Rudyard Kipling, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain
Bible Passage: St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians, 13th Chapter
Cake: Fruit cake
Color: Blue
Dish: Scramble eggs and fish chowder (Fairhaven recipe)
Fishing Rod: Regulation salt water rod with long butt
Flowers: Mountain laurel, and also roses, dogwood, magnolia, and all wild blossoms
Fruit: Orange
Historical Hero: John Paul Jones
Hymns: "The Hymn of the Navy," "Eternal Father Strong to Save," "Art Thou Weary, Art Thou Languid," and others
Hobbies: Stamps, Maritime Collection and growing trees
Horse: "Bobby"
Poem: Kipling's "If"
Sandwiches: Hot dogs and toasted cheese
Songs: "Anchors Aweigh," "Medelon," "Home on the Range," "Wild Irish Rose," "Yellow Rose of Texas," etc.
Sports: Swimming, sailing, fishing
Sermon: Robert Louis Stevenson's "A Christmas Sermon"
Tree: Tulip poplar

What dogs did FDR have?
Reared on a country estate, FDR grew up with a succession of dogs. They included a white spitz, a red setter, a Saint Bernard, and a Newfoundland.

On their honeymoon, Franklin and Eleanor bought the first of their Scottish terriers, Duffy. The Roosevelts brought an Irish setter and an aging Scottie named Meggie to the Governor's Mansion in Albany, New York, and then Meggie and a German shepherd to the White House. Before the first year was over, the German shepherd broke his foot and Meggie bit a Senator. The President and Mrs. Roosevelt decided that they did not have the time to enjoy their pets in the White House.

Seven years later the President received a black Scottish terrier puppy as a gift and named him Murray, the Outlaw of Fala Hill. Fala became his constant companion for the rest of his life.

Who was Fala?
Although FDR had many dogs during his lifetime, Fala was the most famous. He was a Scottish terrier born on April 7, 1940, and given to FDR by Mrs. Augustus Kellogg of Westport, Connecticut through FDR's cousin, Margaret Suckley. Fala's full name was "Murray the Outlaw of Fala Hill," and after going to live at the White House on November 10, 1940, he became the President's constant companion.

What boats did FDR own?
FDR was always interested in ships and sailing. "I love to be on the water," he said. Although his love of the sea came from his Delano ancestors who were seafarers, it was his father who taught him how to handle the Half-Moon, the family sailboat, on trips up the Hudson River and in the Bay of Fundy near their Campobello Island summer home. At the age of sixteen, he had his own twenty-one foot knockabout, the New Moon .

Ice-boating was a very popular pastime on the Hudson River during the second half of the nineteenth century. FDR owned a twenty-eight foot ice-boat, the Hawk, which he frequently sailed on the Hudson as a young man.

FDR also enjoyed canoeing. One of the canoes that he used at Campobello was a birch bark canoe made by Tomah Joseph, the last chief of the Passamaquoddy Indians, the tribe living in Eastport, Maine, across the bay from Campobello Island. The canoe is on loan from the Presidential Library and Museum to the Franklin D. Roosevelt International Park Commission, New Brunswick, Canada.

FDR bought Vireo, a small sailboat, after the Half-Moon II, a sixty-foot auxiliary schooner his father bought in 1900, was sold to the United States government in 1917 for naval use. August 10, 1921, the day that FDR took his family for a sail on the Vireo, was the day FDR contracted poliomyelitis. The sailboat is owned and exhibited by the Marine Historical Association at Mystic Seaport, Connecticut.

For several winters after the attack of polio, FDR cruised the warm Florida waters on the houseboat Larooco. The sun and swimming seemed to help, but he made no lasting improvements. The Larooco was destroyed in a hurricane in 1926.

What sports did FDR engage in?
At Groton School, Franklin D. Roosevelt played football and served as manager of the baseball team and at Harvard College he participated in crew.

During his lifetime, he enjoyed sailing, fishing, riding, playing golf and tennis, going off on hunting trips and cruises with friends, and playing poker. He was a "birder" all his life and even his disability and the burdens of the presidency did not prevent active pursuit of this hobby.

What did FDR consider his greatest accomplishment?
FDR piloted the country successfully through two major events - the Great Depression and World War II. In his message to Congress in June 1934, FDR stated that among his administration's objectives, he placed "the security of the men, women and children of the Nation first." The "security of the home, the security of livelihood, and the security of social insurance," he stated, "constitute a right that belongs to every individual." The achievement of these goals, in part through creation of the Social Security system, was among his greatest accomplishments.

When and where did FDR get polio?
On August 10, 1921, FDR developed acute symptoms of poliomyelitis while visiting his summer home on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada. He was thirty-nine years old. Based on the incubation period of the polio virus, it is believed that FDR most likely was infected while visiting a large Boy Scout encampment at Bear Mountain, New York on July 28, 1921.

Was FDR totally paralyzed from his polio?
The attack of poliomyelitis resulted in motor paralysis from the waist down. Franklin never again walked without leg braces, crutches or canes and the support of his son or an aide. According to two historians who also suffered from poliomyelitis, Geoffrey Ward and Hugh Gallagher, the lower body paralysis was not complete.

Where did FDR go to be treated for polio?
For several years after his attack of polio, FDR searched for ways to regain the use of his legs. For several winters he cruised the warm Florida waters where the sun and swimming seemed to help. He spent two summers with a doctor in Massachusetts who had devised a new set of exercises for polio patients. He made no lasting improvements from either approach.

At the suggestion of a friend, FDR went to a run-down resort in Warm Springs, Georgia, to bathe in the mineral rich waters. He was delighted to find the water was so buoyant that he could walk around in it without braces. In 1927, he purchased the resort and converted it to a water therapy treatment center for polio patients. It became the Warm Springs Foundation and, over the years, treated thousands of polio victims who went to Warm Springs, Georgia for treatment. It was believed that the naturally warm waters had recuperative powers for polio victims.  The Warm Springs Foundation became the March of Dimes and ultimately funded the research that led to the polio vaccine. 

Was FDR's paralysis hidden from the public?
Yes. FDR concealed his paralysis as much as possible for political reasons: society at the time did not recognize the ability of disabled persons to perform the demanding responsibilities of elective office.

How many photographs show FDR in a wheelchair?
There was a gentlemen's understanding with the press that photographs displaying FDR's disability were not published. Consequently, only candid photos of FDR in his wheelchairs have survived. The Roosevelt Library owns three of them.

What was perhaps FDR's most famous phrase?
In his first inaugural address, March 4, 1933, FDR said. "...the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." During the Great Depression, fear gripped the nation-fear of the present and fear of the future. He is also remembered for his famous "Day of Infamy" speech, an address to Congress after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. 

Who is buried in the Rose Garden at the FDR Estate?
The Rose Garden is the burial site of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Two family dogs, Fala and a German shepherd named Chief that belonged to their daughter Anna, are buried near the sundial in the Rose Garden.

What was FDR's favorite tree?
FDR always referred to himself as a tree farmer. The Tulip Poplar was FDR's favorite tree. There is a stand of tulip poplars just south of the Library.

What was FDR's favorite popular song?
FDR's favorite song was Home on the Range.

What was FDR's favorite hymn?
FDR's favorite hymn was "Eternal Father Strong to Save." Written by William Whiting, 1860, the hymn was used by the United States Navy.

What was FDR's religion and where did he attend church services? FDR was an Episcopalian. He was baptized in the chapel of St. James Episcopal Church in Hyde Park, New York. Like his father and half brother, he served as junior vestryman, vestryman and senior warden. He rarely attended services in Washington, DC. "I can do almost anything in the "Goldfish Bowl" of the President's life," he said, "but I'll be hanged if I can say my prayers in it...."

What was FDR's favorite food?
According to Henrietta Nesbitt, the White House housekeeper, FDR had very simple American tastes in foods; he liked foods "he could dig into." Among his favorite dishes were scrambled eggs, fish chowder, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, and fruitcake.

Did FDR belong to any fraternal organizations?
FDR was a 32nd degree Mason, a member of Holland Lodge No. 8, New York City. FDR's Masonic regalia are not presently on display. In addition, he was inducted into numerous fraternal organizations while Governor and President.

What was FDR's contribution to conservation?
Franklin Roosevelt acquired a keen interest in the environment, conservation, and forestry when he was a boy on his estate in Hyde Park, New York, and throughout his life he considered himself a "tree farmer." Conservation was a major issue for Roosevelt when he campaigned for Vice President in 1920 and during his two terms as Governor of New York (1929-1933). He believed in the superior virtue of rural living, and as Governor he tried (without much success) to place unemployed workers on subsistence farms and to develop the St. Lawrence River as a public power producer. He also put the jobless to work on forest improvement through the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration.

As President, Roosevelt continued his conservation policies, and he saw the unemployment brought on by the Great Depression as a way to emphasize environmental planning and projects. The Civilian Conservation Corps, the Farm Security Administration, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and other agencies employed thousands of people planting trees, preventing soil erosion, and building dams for flood control and generating public power. He also added millions of acres to America's national forests, national parks, and wildlife refuges. Through all of these projects, he adhered to one overall philosophy: that the nation must be responsible and preserve the world we live in for future generations.

Eleanor Roosevelt

When was Eleanor Roosevelt born?
Eleanor Roosevelt was born October 11, 1884 in New York City.

Who were Eleanor's parents? 
Eleanor's parents were Elliott and Anna Hall Roosevelt. Elliott was the younger brother of Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, the twenty-fourth President of the United States. Anna Hall was descended from the Livingston family. The Livingstons, an old Hudson River family, played an important role in the formation of the new republic: one Livingston administered the oath of office to George Washington, another signed the Declaration of Independence, still another became a Supreme Court justice.

Was Eleanor an only child? 
No. Eleanor had two brothers Elliott Roosevelt (1889-1893) and Gracie Hall Roosevelt (1891-1941), who was known as Hall. A few months after their mother's death in 1892 both boys contracted scarlet fever. Hall recovered, but Elliott did not.

When did Eleanor's parents die? 
Eleanor's mother died of diphtheria following an operation on December 7, 1892, when Eleanor was eight years old. Her father died on August 14, 1894, less than two years later when Eleanor was not quite ten years old.

Where did Eleanor go to school?
After her mother's death, Eleanor went to live with her grandmother, Mrs. Valentine G. Hall, in Tivoli, New York. She was educated by private tutors until the age of 15, when she traveled to England to attend Allenswood, a preparatory school for girls run by a progressive headmistress, Marie Souvestre. Eleanor was very studious but also very popular at Allenswood and many believe that she gained much self-confidence during her time there. She later wrote that Marie Souvestre was an important role model and perhaps one of the most influential people in Eleanor's life.

What sport did Eleanor participate in at Allenswood?
Eleanor played varsity field hockey.

Did Eleanor go to college? 
No, but Allenswood provided a serious collegiate environment with high scholastic standards.

What did Eleanor do after her coming out party? 
After her debut into New York society, Eleanor found herself caught in a whirl of debutante parties, an ordeal she later termed "utter agony." The following year Eleanor turned to other acceptable activities for young socialites, joining the Junior League and teaching calisthenics and dancing to the children at the Rivington Street Settlement House in New York City's Lower East Side. She also became a member of the Consumers League, participating in the investigation of sweatshops in the city.

Could Eleanor dance? 
Eleanor was an excellent dancer. The Eleanor Roosevelt Reel was named in her honor.

What people influenced Eleanor's life? 
In a 1951 Look Magazine article, Eleanor Roosevelt listed seven people who, in her estimation, shaped her life. The first two were her father and mother: her father provided her love and reassurance, and her mother gave her the unattainable goal of perfection. Madame Marie Souvestre, headmistress and a teacher at Allenswood School, gave her a sense of confidence, and her Aunt Pussie (Mrs. W. Forbes Morgan) taught her discipline.

But, she said, it was the personalities of her husband and her mother-in-law that exerted the greatest influence on her development. It was their influence that made her "develop willy-nilly into an individual." Lastly, Louis Howe, her husband's political advisor, pushed her into taking an interest in politics.

Did Eleanor want FDR to be President? 
In her autobiography This I Remember, Eleanor wrote: "From a personal standpoint, I did not want my husband to be president. I realized, however, that it was impossible to keep a man out of public service when that was what he wanted and was undoubtedly well equipped for. It was pure selfishness on my part, and I never mentioned my feelings on the subject to him."

Did Eleanor ever run for President? 
No. President Truman indicated that she would be acceptable to him as a vice-presidential candidate, but Eleanor made it clear that she did not wish to seek elective office.

What was the relationship between Sara Delano Roosevelt, FDR's mother, and Eleanor? 
The relationship between Eleanor and her mother-in-law was a complex, changing one. At the time of her engagement, Eleanor was a shy, insecure girl looking for love and acceptance. Sara Roosevelt dominated her and Franklin's world and when Eleanor entered it, she dominated her as well. It was her husband's illness, Eleanor said, that made her stand on her own two feet in regard to her husband's life, her own life and the rearing of her children. Her mother-in-law was "a very vital person [whose] strongest trait was loyalty to her family," Eleanor wrote in her My Day column on Sara's death.

What role did Eleanor play in FDR's presidency?
According to The Eleanor Roosevelt Encyclopedia, Eleanor "exerted considerable influence on the New Deal. As First Lady, she served as both an advocate for, and a critic of, FDR's developing reform program. While she neither drafted legislation nor held elective office, she worked with other reformers outside and inside the administration to shape the contours of the New Deal."

Who was Lorena Hickok? 
Lorena Hickok was a top newspaperwoman who was assigned to cover Eleanor Roosevelt for the Associated Press (AP) during FDR's first campaign in 1932. She developed a deep attachment to Eleanor which compromised her objectivity and she resigned from the AP. It was "Hick" who suggested that the First Lady hold White House press conferences for women reporters only. She then went to work as the chief investigator of relief programs for Harry Hopkins, head of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. Her major duty was to travel around the country and report on the effectiveness of local relief administrations. She died in Hyde Park, New York in 1968.

What is "My Day"? 
"My Day" was a syndicated column that Eleanor wrote six days a week from December 1935 until her death in 1962. The column was her public diary. She used it as a pedagogical device, a political tool, and a medium for communicating the liberal ethic to her readers.

Following is an excerpt from her column:

First Lady

NEW YORK, OCTOBER 21, 1960 - As we watch the Presidential campaign unroll, I wonder how many have noticed one rather interesting change in the modern type of campaign. This was brought to my attention the other day when a young newspaper reporter said to me: "Do you really think that the decision as to a man's fitness for the office of President should depend, in part at least, on what kind of a President's wife his wife will be?"

I looked at her in surprise for a moment, because it had not dawned on me what changes had come about since Mr. Eisenhower's first campaign.

Apparently we have started on a new trend. I can't remember in my husband's campaign, nor in Mr. Truman's, that such a question could be asked. Some of the children or I would accompany my husband on the various campaign trips, and if we were around at railroad stops he would introduce us to the crowd in a rather casual manner. He often said "My little boy, Jimmy," when Jimmy was as tall as he was!

My husband insisted always that a man stood on his own record. He did not bring his family in to be responsible in getting him votes or in taking the blame for his decisions. I think he sometimes found it amusing to let me do things just so as to find out what the reaction of the public would be. But nothing we did was ever calculated and thought out as part of the campaign in the way we feel that Mr. Nixon plans every appearance with his wife.

There must be times when the whole situation becomes practically unbearable, I would think, for the woman of the family. And I hope that we will return to the old and rather pleasant way of looking upon White House families as people who have a right to their own lives.

The wives, of course, have certain official obligations, but they are certainly not responsible for their husband's policies. And they do not have to feel that sense of obligation at every point to uphold the ideas of the man of the family.

With so many people around a President who say "yes" to everything he says, it is fun sometimes for the family around him to say "no" just for the sake of devilment--but that should be a private family relaxation.

What did Eleanor do after FDR's death?
After Mrs. Roosevelt left the White House in 1945, her life was busier than ever. She continued to be an influential figure in the Democratic Party. President Truman appointed her a member of the first U.S. delegation to the United Nations in 1945 and she served as chairman of the Human Rights commission.

She gave public lectures and speeches, supported organized labor, and worked on behalf of a variety of causes, such as child welfare, displaced persons, minority rights, and women's rights. She continued to write books and her syndicated My Day column.

When did Eleanor Roosevelt die? 
Eleanor died on November 7, 1962, in New York City from aplastic anemia, tuberculosis, and heart failure. She was 78 years old.

Franklin D. Roosevelt's Presidency

How many times was FDR elected President of the United States ?
Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States four times: 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944. Prior to the third-term election of 1940, it was a presidential tradition set by George Washington that presidents only held the office for two terms. As a result of FDR's unprecedented four terms, the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1951, limiting all future presidents to two elected terms.

Who were FDR's opponents?
FDR's Republican Party opponents during the four presidential elections were: 1932, President Herbert Hoover; 1936, Governor Alfred M. Landon of Kansas; 1940, Wendell L. Wilkie of Ohio; 1944, Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York.

When was FDR first inaugurated as President of the United States
FDR was first inaugurated as 32nd President on March 4, 1933. The date of March 4 was set by the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Effective in 1937, however, the presidential inauguration date was changed to January 20 by the 20th Amendment.

Who were FDR's Vice Presidents?
FDR had three Vice-Presidents during his four terms in office: John Nance Garner of Texas (March 4, 1933 - January 20, 1941), Henry Agard Wallace of Iowa (January 20, 1941 - January 20, 1945), and Harry S. Truman of Missouri (January 20, 1945 - April 12, 1945).

Who were FDR's Cabinet Officers?
FDR's Cabinet Officers were as follows:

Secretary of State
Cordell Hull, 1933-1944
Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., 1944-1945

Secretary of Treasury
William H. Woodin, 1933
Henry Morgenthau, Jr., 1934-1945

Secretary of War
George H. Dern, 1933-1936
Harry H. Woodring, 1936-1940
Henry L. Stimson, 1940-1945

Attorney General (Department of Justice)
Homer S. Cummings, 1933-1939
Francis W. (Frank) Murphy, 1939-1940
Robert H. Jackson, 1940-1941
Francis Biddle, 1941-1945

Postmaster General
James A. Farley, 1933-1940
Frank C. Walker, 1940-1945

Secretary of the Navy
Claude A. Swanson, 1933-1939
Charles Edison, 1940
William Franklin Knox, 1940-1944
James V. Forrestal, 1944-1947

Secretary of the Interior
Harold L. Ickes, 1933-1946

Secretary of Agriculture
Henry A. Wallace, 1933-1940
Claude R. Wickard, 1940-1945

Secretary of Commerce
Daniel C. Roper, 1933-1938
Harry L. Hopkins, 1938-1940
Jesse H. Jones, 1940-1945
Henry A. Wallace, 1945-1946

Secretary of Labor
Frances Perkins, 1933-1945

What were fireside chats and how many did FDR make during his presidency?
When FDR became president in 1933, he believed that the best way to comfort and inform the public about his administration and its policies was to address them on the radio. He considered it most effective to talk to the people as if he had joined them in their living rooms or kitchens for a relaxed, informal conversation about one or two specific topics. The term "Fireside Chat" was not coined by FDR, but rather was used by a reporter to describe FDR's speech of May 7, 1933. The term was quickly adopted throughout the media and by FDR. There was no solid definition as to what constituted a Fireside Chat. As a result, there is some dispute as to the total number of Fireside Chats that FDR delivered.

The following is a list of the thirty-one speeches that have been identified as Fireside Chats:

* WH= White House HP= Hyde Park

1. On the Bank Crisis (March 12, 1933) WH

2. Outlining the New Deal Program (May 7, 1933) WH

3. First Hundred Days: The Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program (July 24, 1933) WH

4. The Currency Situation (October 22, 1933) WH

5. Review of the Achievements of the Seventy-third Congress (June 28, 1934) WH

6. Moving Forward to Greater Freedom and Security (September 30, 1934) WH

7. Works Progress Administration and Social Security (April 28, 1935) WH

8. Drought Conditions and the Plight of Farmers (September 6, 1936) WH

9. Reorganization of the Judiciary (March 9, 1937) WH

10. New Proposals to Special Session of Congress and on the Storm Clouds Abroad (October 12, 1937) WH

11. The Unemployment Census (November 14, 1937) WH

12. Economic Conditions (April 14, 1938) WH

13. The Democratic Party Primaries (June 24, 1938) WH

14. The War in Europe (September 3, 1939) WH

15. National Defense and Military Readiness (May 26, 1940) WH

16. Arsenal of Democracy: The Lend-Lease Program (December 29, 1940) WH

17. Proclaiming a National Emergency (May 27, 1941) WH

18. Freedom of the Seas (September 11, 1941) WH

19. War with Japan (December 9, 1941) WH

20. Progress of the War (February 23, 1942) WH

21. National Economic Policy During War: The Call for Sacrifice (April 28, 1942) WH

22. Food Price Stabilization and the Progress of the War (September 7, 1942) HP

23. Report on the Home Front (October 12, 1942) WH

24. The Coal Strike Crisis (May 2, 1943) WH

25. The Fall of Mussolini and Plans for Peace (July 28, 1943) WH

26. Italian Armistice and Launching the Third War Loan Drive (September 8, 1943) WH

27. Report on the Teheran and Cairo Conferences (December 24, 1943) HP

28. State of the Union: National Service and Economic Bill of Rights (January 11, 1944) WH

29. The Capture of Rome (June 5, 1944) WH

30. Launching the Fifth War Loan Drive (June 12, 1944) WH

31. Fireside Chat (Abridged) Version of Message to Congress on Return from Yalta Conference: Work-or-Fight and Vision for the United Nations (January 6, 1945) WH

Did women play a significant part in FDR's administrations? 
During FDR's presidency, women were appointed to positions that were unprecedented in terms of both number of appointments as well as rank in the United States government.

The following is a list of some of the "firsts" achieved by women during the administrations of Franklin D. Roosevelt:

Frances Perkins, New York: First woman member of a President's Cabinet. Secretary of Labor.

Ruth Bryan Owen Rohde, New York and Florida: First woman U.S Minister. She was U.S. Minister to Denmark and Iceland (1933). (Daughter of William Jennings Bryan)

J. Borden Harriman, District of Columbia: First woman U.S. Minister to Norway (1937).

Nellie Tayloe Ross, Wyoming: First woman Director of U.S. Mint (1933).

Josephine Roche, Colorado: First woman Assistant Secretary U.S. Treasury (1934).

Blair Banister, Virginia: First woman U.S. Assistant Treasurer.

Florence Allen, Ohio: First woman appointed to U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (1934).

Mary W. Dewson, Maine: First woman member of Social Security Board (1937).

Emily Newell Blair, Missouri: Chairman, Consumer's Advisory Board, NRA.

Harriet Elliott, North Carolina: Only woman member of National Defense Advisory Commission; first defense agency set up by the President (1940).

Marion J. Harron, California: First woman member of U.S. Court of Tax Appeals.

Carrick H. Buck, New Mexico: First woman Judge Circuit Court, Territory of Hawaii (1934).

Jewell W. Swofford, Missouri: First woman member of U.S. Employees' Compensation Commission.

Margaret Hickey, Missouri: Chairperson of the Women's Advisory Committee, War Manpower Commission (1942).

Josephine Schain, New York: First woman to be named on any United Nations Conference. Served as U.S. Delegate to U.N. Conference of Food and Agriculture.

What was the Good Neighbor Policy?
The Good Neighbor Policy was the common name (first expressed in the First Inaugural Address in 1933) for FDR's foreign policy with regard to Latin America. Under the new policy, the United States pledged that it would treat Latin American nations with respect and avoid intervening in their foreign and domestic affairs.

The goal of the policy was to strengthen the United States economy by increasing trade with Latin America. A necessary prerequisite to increased trade was the improvement of political relations with those countries and the assurance that the United States would no longer interfere in the affairs of its neighbors. As a by-product of the policy, all Latin American countries eventually joined the United States in the war against the Axis Powers.

What was FDR's role in establishing the United Nations? 
Even as the United States was moving closer to war, FDR began to formulate his ideas for a post-war world. FDR first discussed a "family of nations" with Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Atlantic Charter conference in August 1941. In January 1942, representatives of 26 nations met in Washington, DC and signed the United Nations Declaration that pledged to win the war against the Axis Powers. FDR suggested the name "United Nations" for the group, and in October 1943 he sent representatives to Moscow to begin preliminary discussions with their counterparts from the Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and China about the structure of a world political organization.

At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, FDR, Churchill and Premier Stalin of the Soviet Union agreed that the "Big Five" nations (United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, France and China) would be permanent members of a United Nations Security Council, a special committee with powers to keep the peace. The leaders also agreed to call a conference in San Francisco, California on April 25, 1945 to prepare a Charter for the new organization. FDR planned to attend the opening of the San Francisco Conference, but he died in Warm Springs, Georgia, on April 12, 1945. Despite this loss, the San Francisco Conference reached final agreement, and delegates from fifty nations signed the Charter on June 26, 1945.

On October 24, 1945 the Big Five plus one-half of the other nations had ratified the Charter, and the United Nations was officially born.

Was there ever an assassination attempt on FDR?
There was never an assassination attempt on FDR after he was inaugurated President of the United States. However, after the presidential election of 1932, and before the inauguration in March 1933, FDR nearly lost his life to an assassin's bullet.

On February 15, 1933, FDR was in Miami, Florida at a public rally accompanied by Anton Cermak, the Mayor of Chicago. Joseph Zangara, a thirty-three year old disillusioned Italian immigrant jumped onto a park bench and fired four shots towards FDR's car. FDR was not hit, but Mayor Cermak was wounded mortally and died a few weeks later.

The public and press hailed FDR's courage in refusing to allow his driver to leave the scene before first attending to the wounded Mayor Cermak and driving him to the hospital. Zangara later stated that he did not hate FDR personally, but rather he hated all government officials and all rich people no matter from which country they came. Zangara was executed for the murder of Mayor Cermak.

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt's Partnership

Were Franklin and Eleanor related? 
Franklin and Eleanor were fifth cousins once removed.

When and where did Franklin and Eleanor first meet? 
According to her Autobiography, Eleanor met Franklin in 1886 when her parents visited Sara Delano and James Roosevelt in Hyde Park, New York. She was two and he was four.

When and where did Franklin and Eleanor marry and honeymoon?
Franklin and Eleanor were married on St. Patrick's Day March 17, 1905 in New York City at the home of her aunt, Mrs. Henry Parrish, Jr.

The wedding was a simple one except for the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt, who gave his niece away. Since Franklin was attending Columbia Law School at the time, they postponed their honeymoon to Europe until the summer and instead took a one-week trip to Hyde Park, New York.

Their honeymoon trip took them to England, France, Italy, Germany, Scotland, and Switzerland.

Who were Franklin and Eleanor's children?
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (May 3, 1906, New York - December 1, 1975, New York), James Roosevelt (December 23, 1907, New York -August 13, 1991, Newport Beach, California), Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. (March 8, 1909, New York - November 8, 1909, New York), Elliott Roosevelt (September 23, 1910, New York -October 27, 1990, Scottsdale, Arizona), Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. (August 17, 1914, Campobello Island - August 17, 1988 Poughkeepsie, New York), John A. Roosevelt (March 13, 1916, Washington, DC - April 27, 1981, New York)

Biographies:

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (Daughter)

The eldest child and only daughter of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (called "Sis" by the family) was born in New York City on May 3, 1906. Anna was active as a writer and journalist, and she served as editor of the woman's page of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for several years.

In 1944, at her father's request, Anna moved into the White House to serve as an assistant to the President and as White House hostess during her mother's frequent absences. Anna also accompanied her father to the Yalta Conference in January-February 1945.

Anna devoted much of her later life to problems of education and to carrying on many of her mother's interests and philanthropies. She was an active supporter of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. Anna died on December 1, 1975 at the age of 69.

Anna's Marriages and Children:

1m. Curtis Bean Dall, 1926; divorced 1934.

Anna Eleanor Dall, b. 1927
Curtis Roosevelt Dall, b. 1930

2m. Clarence John Boettiger, 1935; divorced 1949.

John Roosevelt Boettiger, b. 1939.

3m. James Addison Halsted, M.D., 1956.

James Roosevelt (Eldest son)

Born in New York City on December 23, 1907, James Roosevelt was the second child and eldest son of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. After attending Groton School and Harvard College, James engaged in the insurance business and played an active role in his father's political career, serving as Massachusetts campaign manager in 1932 and becoming an unofficial aide in 1933. He served on the White House staff as a presidential assistant from 1937-1938, and then became a motion picture executive.

He served in the Marines from 1940-1945, earning the Navy Cross and the Silver Star.

After the war, James returned to California where he revived his insurance career and became involved in Democratic politics. He was elected to six terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California. After he left the House in 1967, he returned to California where he became a business consultant, author, and commentator. James died on August 13, 1991 at the age of 83.

James's Marriages and Children:

1m. Betsey Cushing, 1930; divorced 1940

Sara Delano Roosevelt
Kate Roosevelt

2m. Romelle Theresa Schneider, 1941; divorced 1955

James Roosevelt, Jr.
Michael Anthony Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

3m. Gladys Irene (Kitchner) Owens, 1956; divorced 1969

Hall Delano Roosevelt (adopted)

4m. Mary Lena Winskill, 1969

Rebecca Mary Roosevelt

Elliott Roosevelt (Son)

Born on September 23, 1910, Elliott Roosevelt was named after his maternal grandfather. Elliott attended Groton School like his father and older brother, James, but declined to go to college. He held a variety of jobs before moving to Texas in 1932 to join the communications industry. In 1933 he became manager of the Hearst radio chain.

Elliott joined the Army Air Corps in 1940, where he compiled an outstanding service record, accompanied his father on many of the Allied power conferences, and attained the rank of brigadier-general.

After the war, he became a prolific author, served as head of the Miami Beach Tourist Bureau, and was elected to one term as mayor of Miami Beach, Florida.

Elliott died on October 27, 1990, a month after his eightieth birthday.

Elliot's Marriages and Children:

1m. Elizabeth Browning Donner, 1932; divorced 1933

William Donner Roosevelt

2m. Ruth Josephine Googins, 1933; divorced 1944

Ruth Chandler Roosevelt
Elliott Roosevelt, Jr.
David Boynton Roosevelt

3m. Faye Margaret Emerson, 1944; divorced 1950

4m. Minnewa (Bell) (Gray) (Burnside) Ross, 1954; divorced 1960

5m. Patricia (Peabody) Whitehead, 1960

Livingston Delano Roosevelt, born and died in infancy
Elliott Roosevelt adopted the four Whitehead children:

James M. Roosevelt
Ford Roosevelt
Gretchen Roosevelt 
David Macauley Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. (Son)

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., was born on August 17, 1914 on Campobello Island, site of the Roosevelt summer home. After graduating from Groton, Harvard (A.B.) and the University of Virginia (LL.B.), FDR Jr. worked on his father's 1940 election campaign.

He joined the Navy in 1941, earning the Purple Heart, Silver Star and other honors before his discharge in October 1945 at the rank of lieutenant commander.

After the war, he worked as an attorney in New York City and became active in Democratic politics. He served as vice-chairman of President Truman's Civil Rights Commission in 1949, and later that year was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from New York's Twentieth Congressional District, a seat he would hold for three terms. FDR Jr. served as under-secretary of Commerce from 1962-1965 and as the first chairman of the Equal Opportunity Commission from 1965-1966.FDR Jr. died on August 17, 1988, his seventy-fourth birthday.

FDR Jr.'s Marriages and Children:

1m. Ethel du Pont, 1937; divorced 1949

Franklin Delano Roosevelt III
Christopher du Pont Roosevelt

2m. Suzanne Perrin, 1949; divorced 1970

Nancy Suzanne Roosevelt
Laura Delano Roosevelt

3m. Felicia Schiff (Warburg) Sarnoff, 1970; divorced 1976

4m. Patricia Luisa Oakes, 1977; divorced 1981

John Alexander Roosevelt

5m. Linda McKay Stevenson Weicker, 1984

John A. Roosevelt, Jr. (Son)

The youngest child of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, John Aspinwall Roosevelt was born on March 13, 1916 in Washington, D.C. Educated at Groton School and Harvard College, John worked at Filene's Department Store in Boston, Massachusetts, after graduation.

In 1941, he entered the Navy and was discharged in 1946 at the rank of lieutenant commander.

After the war, John was active in various business and financial concerns on the West Coast, finally joining the firm of Bache and Company in 1967. John spent the rest of his career with the firm, and he retired as a senior vice president just a few months before his death on April 29, 1981.

John was the only Roosevelt son not to seek or hold elected office, and in 1952 he switched his political affiliation to the Republican Party so that he could support General Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidential campaign. He was involved in many philanthropic endeavors, serving as a fund raiser for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis and as a trustee of Marist College and the State University of New York.

John's Marriages and Children:

1m. Anne Lindsay Clark, 1938; divorced 1965

infant son born and died in infancy
Haven Clark Roosevelt
Anne Sturgis Roosevelt
Sara Delano Roosevelt, 1942-1960
Joan Lindsay Roosevelt, 1952-1997

2m. Irene Elder (Boyd) McAlpin, 1965

The Roosevelt Family

Who was the first Roosevelt to come to America
The first Roosevelt to come to America was Claes Martenszen van Rosenvelt, meaning Nicholas the son of Martin of the Rose Field. Claes and his wife Jennetjke (Jannetje) were from the Netherlands and they arrived in New York (then called "New Amsterdam") around 1649.

What other famous people were related to the Roosevelts ?
FDR loved genealogy, and he claimed he could trace his family lines back to eleven Presidents of the United States, directly and indirectly.

FDR also claimed to be related to other famous people, including: Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Douglas MacArthur, Queen Elizabeth, Winston S. Churchill, and King Robert III of Scotland.

Did the Roosevelts have a coat of arms? 
The name "Roosevelt" comes from the Dutch "Rosenvelt" meaning "rose field." The Roosevelt Family Coat of Arms is of a rosebud bearing three red roses on a mound of green set against a background of silver with a crest consisting of a visored helmet and three ostrich plumes in silver and red. The Roosevelt Family Motto accompanying the Coat of Arms is "Qui plantavit curabit" which can be translated as "The one who planted it will take care of it" or "He who will plant will cultivate."

 

Roosevelt Homes

What is the name of FDR's home in Hyde Park , New York
FDR's home in Hyde Park, New York, is officially named "Springwood," but the Roosevelts always referred to the site simply as "Hyde Park" or "The Big House."

The home was originally built in 1826 and was purchased by FDR's father James Roosevelt in 1867.

FDR was born at Springwood on January 30, 1882. Originally a gray clapboard building, the house was extensively remodeled in 1916 to add two full wings, a portico, and exterior stucco. Although the house belonged to his mother until her death in 1941, Springwood was FDR's principal residence throughout his life. FDR last visited Springwood in March 1945 and was buried in the rose garden adjacent to the house after his death on April 12, 1945.

The 33.23 acre site in Hyde Park, New York that included Springwood, its outbuildings, and the rose garden was opened to the public a year later.

Eleanor Roosevelt was buried in the rose garden next to FDR following her death in 1962.

Springwood is managed by the National Park Service as part of the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, the nation's first presidential library, was built under FDR's direction on 16 acres of the Springwood estate that were donated to the U.S. Government. The Library is managed by the National Archives and Records Administration.

Where did Eleanor live? 
Eleanor Roosevelt never felt comfortable at Springwood because FDR's mother Sara continued to live there and to oversee the day-to-day operations of the house. In 1924, FDR granted to Eleanor and to two of her close friends, Marion Dickerman and Nancy Cook, a life interest in a piece of property known as "Val-Kill" (Dutch for "valley stream") located about a mile from the Springwood estate.

The three women built a small house called the "Stone Cottage" to be used by Dickerman and Cook and later built a furniture factory known as Val-Kill Industries. After the factory closed in 1936, Eleanor converted it into a cottage for herself that she used as a weekend or vacation get-away during the remaining White House years.

Following FDR's death in 1945, Eleanor used the factory as her permanent home until her death in 1962, and she always felt that Val-Kill was the only place that she could truly call her own. The Val-Kill property was acquired by the US Government in 1977 and now is managed by the National Park Service as part of the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites.

Did FDR have a private retreat in Hyde Park
During his presidency, FDR felt that the Roosevelt home in Hyde Park was too busy with people and telephones for him to relax or to have any privacy. In 1939, FDR designed and built a stone cottage on a piece of property he acquired a few miles east of Springwood. The cottage was built on top of Dutchess Hill overlooking the Hudson River Valley, and as a result it was called "Top Cottage."

In his initial design, FDR incorporated elements that made Top Cottage fully accessible to him while in his wheelchair, including ramps, wider doors and hallways, ground floor living and bedroom spaces, and lower windows.

FDR used the retreat for entertaining and for official meetings that required more privacy than could be obtained at the White House or at Springwood. Shortly after Top Cottage was completed, FDR hosted the famous "hot dog picnic" for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain.

Although the property was sold to private owners after FDR's death, Top Cottage was restored and donated to the U.S. Government in 2001. It now is managed by the National Park Service as part of the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites.

What was Campobello? 
Campobello is an island located in the Passamaquoddy Bay near the Maine/Canada border and is part of New Brunswick, Canada.

FDR's parents first visited Campobello in 1883 and soon bought several acres and a small cottage on the island's southeastern end. The family became regular visitors, and as a youth FDR spent his summer months in a variety of outdoor activities, particularly sailing. After Franklin's marriage to Eleanor Roosevelt in 1905, the young couple inherited a neighboring cottage.

After marrying Eleanor, FDR's involvement in politics often limited his visits to the island to just a few days a year. In 1921, FDR and his young family traveled to Campobello to spend the summer following his long and unsuccessful campaign for the vice presidency. After a day filled with sailing, swimming, jogging, and helping to put out a forest fire, FDR became feverish and grew weak in his legs. He was diagnosed with infantile paralysis, or polio, a few weeks later. Although his polio treatments and political career prevented FDR's return to Campobello for more than a decade, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Roosevelt children visited often. FDR again visited the island as President in 1933, 1936, and 1939.

The Roosevelt cottage and grounds now are part of the Roosevelt Campobello International Park that is managed by a joint United States and Canadian commission.

Why was there a "Little White House" in Warm Springs, Georgia
FDR was stricken with polio in 1921 while vacationing at Campobello. He soon began seeking out treatments that he hoped would help him walk again. In 1924, a friend suggested that FDR visit an old resort built around mineral springs. The resort in Warm Springs, Georgia was dilapidated, but FDR was delighted that he was able to walk while immersed in the buoyant waters. After several years of treatments and exercise, FDR taught himself to stand and to take a few haltering steps using steel leg braces and some personal assistance. However FDR never recovered sufficient strength in his atrophied muscles to stand or walk again unassisted.

In 1926, FDR purchased the resort in order to convert it into a treatment center for polio victims, and a year later he established the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation which then acquired both the resort and surrounding farmland.

FDR accepted the nomination for New York governor from his cottage at Warm Springs, and during his presidency he used the cottage regularly as a place to continue his recovery and as a retreat from Washington, DC. Because many associates accompanied FDR to help him carry on the affairs of state, his cottage at Warm Springs became known as the "Little White House."

FDR died at Warm Springs on April 12, 1945.

The Little White House State Historic Site is open to the public and is managed by the Georgia State Department of National Resources.

 

The Great Depression

What was the Great Depression?
The "Great Depression " was a severe, world -wide economic disintegration symbolized in the United States by the stock market crash on "Black Thursday", October 24, 1929 . The causes of  the Great Depression were many and varied, but the impact was visible across the country. By the time that FDR was inaugurated president on March 4, 1933, the banking system had collapsed, nearly 25% of the labor force was unemployed, and prices and productivity had fallen to 1/3 of their 1929 levels. Reduced prices and reduced output resulted in lower incomes in wages, rents, dividends, and profits throughout the economy. Factories were shut down, farms and homes were lost to foreclosure, mills and mines were abandoned, and people went hungry. The resulting lower incomes meant the further inability of the people to spend or to save their way out of the crisis, thus perpetuating the economic slowdown in a seemingly never-ending cycle.

How high was unemployment during the Great Depression?
At the height of the Depression in 1933, 24.9% of the total work force or 12,830,000 people was unemployed. Although farmers technically were not counted among the unemployed, drastic drops in farm commodity prices resulted in farmers losing their lands and homes to foreclosure.

The displacement of the American work force and farming communities caused families to split up or to migrate from their homes in search of work. "Hoovervilles," or shantytowns built of packing crates, abandoned cars, and other scraps, sprung up across the nation. Residents of the Great Plains area, where the effects of the Depression were intensified by drought and dust storms, simply abandoned their farms and headed for California in hopes of finding the "land of milk and honey." Gangs of unemployed youth, whose families could no longer support them, rode the rails as hobos in search of work. America 's unemployed citizens were on the move, but there was no place to go that offered relief from the Great Depression.

What was FDR's program to end the Great Depression?
With the country sinking deeper into Depression, the American public looked for active assistance from the federal government and grew increasingly dissatisfied with the economic policies of President Herbert Hoover.

In his speech accepting the Democratic Party nomination in 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt pledged "a New Deal for the American people" if elected. Following his inauguration as President of the United States on March 4, 1933, FDR put his New Deal into action: an active, diverse, and innovative program of economic recovery. In the First Hundred Days of his new administration, FDR pushed through Congress a package of legislation designed to lift the nation out of the Depression. FDR declared a "banking holiday" to end the runs on the banks and created new federal programs administered by so-called "alphabet agencies" For example, the AAA (Agricultural Adjustment Administration) stabilized farm prices and thus saved farms. The CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) provided jobs to unemployed youths while improving the environment. The TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) provided jobs and brought electricity to rural areas for the first time. The FERA (Federal Emergency Relief Administration) and the WPA (Works Progress Administration) provided jobs to thousands of unemployed Americans in construction and arts projects across the country. The NRA (National Recovery Administration) sought to stabilize consumer goods prices through a series of codes. Through employment and price stabilization and by making the government an active partner with the American people, the New Deal jump-started the economy towards recovery.

What did the letters in all those "alphabet agencies" stand for?

The New deal "alphabet agencies":

AAA , Agricultural Adjustment Administration, 1933

BCLB , Bituminous Coal Labor Board, 1935

CAA , Civil Aeronautics Authority, 1938

CCC , Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933

CCC , Commodity Credit Corporation, 1933

CWA , Civil Works Administration, 1933

FCA , Farm Credit Administration, 1933

FCC , Federal Communications Commission, 1934

FCIC , Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, 1938

FDIC , Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 1933

FERA , Federal Emergency Relief Agency, 1933

FFMC , Federal Farm Mortgage Corporation, 1934

FHA , Federal Housing Administration, 1934

FLA, Federal Loan Agency, 1939

FSA , Farm Security Administration, 1937

FSA , Federal Security Agency, 1939

FWA , Federal Works Agency, 1939

HOLC , Home Owners Loan Corporation, 1933

MLB , Maritime Labor Board, 1938

NBCC , National Bituminous Coal Commission, 1935

NLB , National Labor Board, 1933

NLRB , National Labor Relations Board, 1935

NRAB , National Railroad Adjustment Board, 1934

NRA , National Recovery Administration, 1933

NRB , National Resources Board, 1934

NRC , National Resources Committee, 1935

NRPB , National Resources Planning Board, 1939

NYA , National Youth Administration, 1935

PWA , Public Works Administration, 1933

RA , Resettlement Administration, 1935

REA , Rural Electrification Administration, 1935

RFC , Reconstruction Finance Corporation, 1932

RRB , Railroad Retirement Board, 1935

SCS , Soil Conservation Service, 1935

SEC , Securities and Exchange Commission, 1934

SSB , Social Security Board, 1935

TNEC, Temporary National Economic Committee, 1938

TVA, Tennessee Valley Authority, 1933

USEP, United States Employment Service, 1933

USHA, United States Housing Authority, 1937

USMC, United States Maritime Commission, 1936

WPA, Works Progress Administration, 1935

WPA, Name changed to Works Projects Administration, 1939

Did the New Deal end the Great Depression? 
Roosevelt's New Deal recovery programs were based on various, not always consistent, theories on the causes of the Depression. They targeted certain sectors of the economy: agriculture, relief, manufacturing, financial reforms, etc. Many of these programs contributed to recovery, but since there was no sustained macroeconomic theory (John Maynard Keynes's General Theory was not even published until 1936), total recovery did not result during the 1930s.

Following the 1937 recession, Roosevelt adopted Keynes' notion of expanded deficit spending to stimulate aggregate demand. In 1938 the Treasury Department designed programs for public housing, slum clearance, railroad construction, and other massive public works. But these were pushed off the board by the massive public spending stimulated by World War II. Even after 1938 private investment spending (housing, non-residential construction, plant and equipment) still lagged. It was war-related export demands and expanded government spending that led the economy back to full employment capacity production by 1941.

More Information on the Great Depression:
The beginning ofAmerica's "Great Depression" is often cited as the dramatic crash of the stock market on "Black Thursday," October 24, 1929 when 16 million shares of stock were quickly sold by panicking investors who had lost faith in the American economy.  But some sectors of the American economy, such as agriculture, had been in difficulty throughout the 1920s. 

At the height of the Depression in 1933, 24.9% of the nation's total work force, 12,830,000 people, were unemployed. Wage income for workers who were lucky enough to have kept their jobs fell 42.5% between 1929 and 1933.  

It was the worst economic disaster in American history. Farm prices fell so drastically that many farmers lost their homes and land. Many went hungry.   

Faced with this disaster, families split up or migrated from their homes in search of work. "Hoovervilles"-shanty towns constructed of packing crates, abandoned cars and other cast off scraps-sprung up across the nation. Gangs of youths, whose families could no longer support them, rode the rails in boxcars like so many hoboes, hoping to find jobs. "Okies," victims of the drought and dust storms in the Great Plains, left their farms and headed for California, the new land of "milk and honey."  America's unemployed were on the move, but there was really nowhere to go. Industry was badly shaken by the Depression. Factories closed; mills and mines were abandoned; fortunes were lost. Business and labor alike were both in serious trouble.

Unable to help themselves the American people looked to the federal government. Dissatisfied with President Herbert Hoover's economic programs, the people elected Franklin D. Roosevelt as their president in 1932 after a campaign that promised activism and "bold persistent experimentation."  Early on in his administration he assembled the best minds in the country to advise him. This group of men was known as the "Brains Trust."

Within one hundred days the President, his advisors and the U.S. Congress passed into law a package of legislation designed to help lift the troubled nation out of the Depression.

Roosevelt's program was called the "New Deal." The words "New Deal" signified a new relationship between the American people and their government. This new relationship included the creation of several new federal agencies, called "alphabet agencies." The AAA (Agricultural Adjustment Administration) was designed to raise farm prices; the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) to give jobs to unemployed youths and to improve the environment; the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) to bring electricity to those who never had it before; the FERA (Federal Emergency Relief Administration), which later became the WPA (Works Progress Administration), gave jobs to thousands of the unemployed in everything from construction to the arts; the NRA (National Recovery Administration) drew up regulations and codes to help revitalize industry and legalized the workers' right to unionize; the FSA (Farm Security Administration), which was created later, provided for the resettlement of the rural poor and better conditions for migrant laborers.

Later on came the creation of the Social Security System, unemployment insurance and more agencies and programs designed to help Americans during times of economic hardship.

Under President Roosevelt the federal government took on many new responsibilities for the welfare of the people. The New Deal marked a new relationship between the people and the federal government, which   had never existed to such a degree before.

Although the New Deal was criticized by many both in and out of government, and seriously challenged by the U.S. Supreme Court, it received the overwhelming support of the people. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the only president in U.S. history to be elected for four terms of office.

Despite all the President's efforts and the courage of the American people, the Depression hung on until 1941, when America's involvement in the Second World War resulted in the drafting of young men into military service, and the creation of millions of jobs in defense and war industries.

The Great Depression tested the fabric of American life as it has seldom been before or since. It caused Americans to doubt their abilities and their values. It caused them to despair. But they weathered the test, and as a nation, emerged stronger than ever, prepared to take on the new challenges of a world at war.  

 

World War II

When did World War II begin?
World War II formally began on September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland without a formal declaration of war. In support of their mutual defense treaty obligations with Poland, France and Great Britain issued ultimatums to Hitler for the immediate withdrawal of German forces from Poland. When the ultimatum deadlines expired, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany on September 2, 1939.

When did the United States enter World War II?
On December 7, 1941 Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, inflicting heavy casualties and severe damage to the United States naval forces anchored there. Before a Joint Session of Congress on December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the attack "a date which will live in infamy." Later that day, the United States formally declared that a state of war existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

When did America declare war on Germany?
As a result of the Tripartite Pact between Germany, Italy, and Japan (commonly known as the "Axis "), Germany and Italy declared war on the United States on December 11, 1941. Later that same day, the United States formally declared that a state of war existed with Germany and Italy.

When were Japanese Americans interned?
In the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 empowering military authorities to relocate residents of "military areas" to prevent sabotage and espionage. Although there were no reliable reports that Japanese-Americans on the United States West Coast presented a subversive threat, on March 2, 1942 the military declared California, Oregon and Washington State strategic areas from which Americans of Japanese decent were to be excluded. More than 110,000 Japanese-Americans (64% of whom were American-born citizens) were required to abandon their homes and jobs and to live in 10 relocation camps. The United States Supreme Court finally ruled that continued detention without cause was unconstitutional, and the military relocation order was rescinded in December 1944.

Did Japanese-Americans fight for the United States during World War II?
Despite discrimination and internment at home, Japanese-Americans served in the United States armed forces in great numbers with distinction and valor. For example, the 100th Battalion, composed of Japanese-Americans from Hawaii, suffered such a high rate of casualties in the 1944 Italian campaign that they were called the "Purple Heart Battalion."

The survivors of the 100th were integrated into the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and continued to sustain heavy casualties until the war's end. The unit won many commendations for valor, including a Congressional Medal of Honor, and became the most decorated unit in United States history. A recent review resulted in a decision to award 21 more Congressional Medals of Honor to members of the unit.

What restrictions were placed on Italians during World War II? 
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, approximately 600,000 Italian legal aliens in the United States were placed under restrictions. Among the restrictions were prohibitions on travel more than five miles from home; curfews from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.; confiscation of shortwave radios, firearms, cameras, flashlights, and other "signaling devices"; and evacuation from coastal towns.

About 1,600 Italians were interned in a network of camps across the United States, but primarily in Missoula, Montana. The restrictions against the Italians were lifted in October 1942, although it was not until the Italian surrender in September 1943 that most internees were released.

What restrictions were placed on Germans in the United States during World War II? 
Restrictions similar to those imposed on Italian legal aliens were also placed on German legal aliens in the United States during World War II. Such restrictions included curfews, confiscation of personal property, travel restriction, and evacuation from coastal towns. Approximately 10,905 Germans were interned in camps across the United States, including Missoula , Montana and Crystal City, Texas. The last German internees were released in 1948.

What major conferences were held during World War II?

Location: PLACENTIA BAY, Newfoundland, Canada
Date:08/9/41 - 8/12/41
CodeName:RIVIERA
Main Participants:Roosevelt, Churchill
Major Decisions:Agreement on war aims. Atlantic Charter.

Location:WASHINGTON, D.C., USA (first)
Date:12/22/41 - 01/01/42
Code Name:ARCADIA
Main Participants:
Roosevelt, Churchill
Major Decisions:Anglo-U.S. War Council places first priority on Atlantic theater of war. 26 nations sign United Nations Declaration. Combined Chiefs of Staff created. Establishment of the unity of command principle for all Anglo-American ground, naval and air forces.

Location:WASHINGTON, D.C., USA (second)
Date:06/25/42 - 06/27/42
Main Participants:
Roosevelt, Churchill
Major Decisions:Subjects discussed: war production, shipping, aid for China, diversion of German strength from Eastern Front, North African invasion.

Location:LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM 
Date:
 July 1942
Main Participants:
The Combined Chiefs of Staff
Major Decisions:The Combined Chiefs of Staff decided to postpone Second Front in Europe and an offensive in the Pacific. Instead, Anglo-American forces to invade North Africa.

Location:MOSCOW, USSR
Date:
8/12/42 - 8/17/42
Main Participants:Harriman, Churchill, Stalin
Major Decisions:
Discussion of 2nd front & reasons for invasion of North Africa over invasion of France.

Location:CASABLANCA, FRENCH MOROCCO
Date:01/14/43 - 01/24/43
Code Name: SYMBOL
Main Participants:
Roosevelt, Churchill
Major Decisions:Plans for invasion of Sicily. Decision for cross-Channel invasion in 1944. Stepped-up Battle of the Atlantic. "Unconditional surrender" declaration by Roosevelt.

Location:WASHINGTON, D.C., USA (third)
Date:05/11/43 - 05/25/43
Code Name:
TRIDENT
Main Participants:
Roosevelt, Churchill
Major Decisions:Plans for further pressure in Italy. Increased air attack on Germany. Stepped-up war in the Pacific. Invasion of France.

Location:QUEBEC, CANADA (first)
Date:08/17/43 - 08/24/43
Code Name:
QUADRENT
Main Participants:
Roosevelt, Churchill
Major Decisions:"Final" decision to invade France. Reorganization of Southeast Asia command. Signing of secret Quebec Agreement concerning development of atomic bomb.

Location:MOSCOW, USSR
Date:
10/18/43 - 11/01/43
Main Participants:
Foreign ministers; Hull, Eden, Molotov
Major Decisions:Declaration with China on postwar security and cooperation. Establishment of European Advisory Council. Advisory Council for Italy. Democratic regime for Austria. Punishment of war criminals. Assurances to Moscow of Allied invasion of France in Spring or Summer 1944.

Location:WASHINGTON, D.C. (USA) 
Date:
November 9, 1943 
Main Participants: Representatives from 44 Allied Nations
Major Decisions:
Creation of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) to provide economic assistance to liberated nations and repatriate and assist refugees.  

Location:CAIRO, EGYPT (first)
Date:11/22/43 - 11/26/43
Code Name:
SEXTANT
Main Participants:
Roosevelt, Churchill, Chiang Kai-shek
Major Decisions:Agreement on military operations against the Japanese in China. Manchuria promised to China. Free Korea. FDR advises Churchill that Eisenhower will command invasion of France.

Location:TEHERAN, IRAN
Date:
11/28/43 - 12/01/43
Code Name:
EUREKA
Main Participants:
Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin
Major Decisions:First meeting of the "Big Three" Agreement on date of invasion of Western Europe (Operation Overlord). USSR agrees to Eastern Offensive at time of Overlord. USSR to enter war against Japan after Germany defeated. Postwar division of Germany into occupation zones. Initial discussions on structure of the United Nations. Declaration on Iran. Aid for Tito and Yugoslav Partisans.

Location:CAIRO, EGYPT (second)
Date:12/02/43 - 12/07/43
Code Name:
SEXTANT
Main Participants:
Roosevelt, Churchill, Pres. Inonu of Turkey
Major Decisions:
Turkish agreement to complete Allied air bases. Scaling down of Burma offensive due to Overlord.

Location: BRETTON WOODS, NEW HAMPSHIRE, USA 
Date:07/1/44 - 07/21/44
Main Participants:
Representatives from 44 nations. 
Major Decisions: 
Drew up plans for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (or World Bank) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Discussions regarding creation of what later became International Trade Organization. 

Location:DUMBARTON OAKS, WASHINGTON, D.C., USA
Date:08/21/44 - 10/07/44
Main Participants:
Delegates from 39 nations.
Major Decisions:Agreement as to structure of the United Nations organization, including a General Assembly, a Security Council with five permanent members, and an International Court of Justice.

Location:QUEBEC, CANADA (second)
Date:09/11/44 - 09/16/44
Code Name:
OCTAGON
Main Participants:
Roosevelt, Churchill
Major Decisions:Agreement as to increased British participation in the Pacific War and acceptance of the "Morgenthau Plan" for economic structure of post-war Germany.

Location:MALTA, Mediterranean Island
Date:
01/30/45 - 02/02/45
Code Name:
ARGONAUT
Main Participants:
Roosevelt, Churchill
Major Decisions:Preparatory discussions for Yalta Conference. Agreement to redeploy certain Allied forces from Greece and Italy to northwest Europe.

Location:YALTA, USSR
Date:
02/04/45 - 02/11/45
Code Name:
ARGONAUT
Main Participants:
Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin
Major Decisions:Agreement on strategy for final phase of European War. Issuance of Declaration on Liberated Europe. Discussion of structure of post-war Polish government and boundaries, with secret agreement on non-recognition of Polish government in exile in London. Secret agreement between FDR and Stalin about USSR's entry in war against Japan, including concessions to USSR of Japanese territory. Agreement as to voting rights in United Nations and decision to call United Nations Conference in San Francisco in April 1945.

Location:SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA
Date:
04/25/45 - 06/26/45
Main Participants:
Representatives of 50 nations.
Major Decisions:United Nations Security Charter signed by delegates following resolution of issues such as use of veto in Security Council, treatment of refugees, and regional collective security (UN charter goes into force on October 22, 1945 following ratification by necessary number of countries). Creation of Trusteeship Council to administer Axis Power colonies and other non-self-governing territories. Approval of Statute of International Justice governing World Court.

Location:POTSDAM, GERMANY
Date:07/17/45 - 08/02/45
Code Name:TERMINAL
Main Participants:
Truman, Churchill, Stalin, Attlee
Major Decisions:Potsdam Declaration issued calling for unconditional surrender of Japan and setting forth other surrender terms, including the plan for occupation of post-war Japan and trial of Japanese war criminals. Declaration also created Council of Foreign Ministers to formalize European post-war peace terms; pledged destruction of Nazism in Germany and the trial of European war criminals; provided for reparations for the Soviet Union; and formally recognized Poland 's Warsaw government and western boundaries.

Who were "The Big Three"?
The "Big Three" was a term used after the summer of 1941 to denote the leaders of the three major powers opposing Germany, Italy, and Japan during World War II: Roosevelt (United States), Churchill (Great Britain), and Stalin (the Soviet Union). They term was also used in reference to the three Allied countries themselves. The Big Three was expanded to the Big Four when China joined the Allies, and the Big Four nations later played a major role in establishing the United Nations.

What was the Lend-Lease program?
In December 1940, Churchill advised FDR that Great Britain could not guarantee up-front payments for further arms and supplies after June 1941 as was required by United States law. Fearing the loss of Britain to Nazi Germany, FDR announced in a Fireside Chat on December 29, 1940 that America must become "the Arsenal of Democracy" through a Lend-Lease Program.

Lend-Lease was a method by which the United States could provide Great Britain and any other nation that the president decided was vital to US security, with arms, supplies and material.  Signed into law in March 1941, the Lend-Lease Act gave the President the discretion to set any repayment terms necessary in order to keep supplies flowing to nations needing them for survival without formally involving the United States as a belligerent.

In Press Conference No. 702 held on December 17, 1940, FDR described the Lend-Lease Program as similar to loaning a garden hose to a neighbor whose house was on fire, thereby protecting one's own house.

What was the Atlantic Charter?
The Atlantic Charter was the statement of principles agreed to by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill of Great Britain at their first wartime conference held on board naval vessels anchored Placentia Bay, off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The Charter was not an official document, but rather a joint statement expressing the war aims of the two countries: one belligerent and one technically neutral.

The Charter expressed the two countries' beliefs in the rights of self-determination, of all people to live in freedom from fear and want, and of freedom of the seas, as well as the belief that all nations must abandon the use of force and work collectively in the fields of economics and security.

What role did FDR play in creating the atomic bomb?
Nuclear fission was discovered in February 1939 by scientists in Germany. FDR was informed personally of the discovery and its potential in October 1939 when scientist Alexander Sachs read aloud Albert Einstein's letter warning the president of fission's military implications. Based on Einstein's letter and concepts of scientists working in Britain, FDR set up a joint Anglo-American effort to produce atomic bombs for potential use during the war. The result was the Manhattan Project that would ultimately create the weapon. In August 1943 at the Quebec Conference, FDR and Churchill signed a secret agreement governing collaboration between the two countries on the development of the atomic bomb. FDR also foresaw that atomic weapons would become the basis for post-war military and diplomatic policy, and on September 18, 1944 he and Churchill signed the Hyde Park Aide-Memoire committing the two powers to a monopoly on atomic information in the hopes of keeping the peace in a post-war world. FDR did not live to see the use of the weapon in August 1945 against Japan.

What were the Four Freedoms?
In his Annual Message to Congress delivered on January 6, 1941 FDR warned the Congress and the nation of the peril faced by the United States and the world's democracies from the aggression abroad. Roosevelt declared that "in future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms." They are Freedom of Speech and Expression, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear.

The artist Norman Rockwell depicted each of the Four Freedoms in paintings later used by the Office of War Information for popular posters during WW II.

Who were FDR's commanders during World War II?

General Omar N. Bradley was General Eisenhower's top commander in the European theater. Bradley commanded the US First Army in the D-Day landings. Bradley led his Twelfth Army Group (later known as the Central Group of Armies) consisted of about one million men in over 40 combat divisions. The Twelfth Army Group invaded Normandy and liberated Paris, was the first to cross the Rhine into Central Germany, and the first Allied troops on the Western front to make contact with Soviet troops.

General Dwight David (Ike) Eisenhower was the Allied Commander in the European theater. In 1942, FDR selected Ike over 366 other senior officers to command US Army forces in Europe. He commanded forces in Operation Torch, the invasion of French Northwest Africa, and in 1943 his forces seized Sicily and invaded southern Italy. Ike earned high regard from FDR and Churchill because of his abilities to produce military victories, to work out differences between senior Allied officers, and to negotiate effective resolutions to diplomatic problems. In December 1943, FDR and Churchill entrusted Ike with the position of Supreme Allied Commander of Operation Overlord, the invasion of Europe.

Admiral William Frederick (Bull) Halsey, Jr. was a friend of FDR's from the days of Roosevelt's service as Assistant Secretary of the Navy during the Wilson Administration. Halsey took over the South Pacific command in 1942 playing a vital role in the victories at Guadalcanal, the Philippines, and Leyte Gulf. In March 1945, a month before FDR's death, the President awarded Halsey the Gold Star. Halsey's flagship the Battleship Missouri was the site of the formal Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945.

General Thomas Holcomb was appointed Commandant of the Marine Corps prior to WWII. He served in this capacity until he retired at the end of 1943.

Admiral Ernest J. King was appointed Commander in Chief of the U.S. Fleet following the attack on Pearl Harbor. In March 1942, FDR made King Chief of Naval Operations, and he was the first officer to hold both positions simultaneously. King's strategic decisions included the battles of Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands that seriously weakened the Japanese naval power in the Pacific as well as the destroyer escort convoy system that defeated the German U-boat offensive in the Atlantic.

Admiral William Daniel Leahy was appointed Chief of Staff to the President in July 1942.

General Curtis E. LeMay became the commander of the 21st Bomber Command in the Pacific B29 offensive on Japan

General Douglas MacArthur retired as Chief of Staff of the army in late 1935. From autumn of 1935 until mid-1941 he served as military advisor to the Philippine Commonwealth. Roosevelt federalized the Philippine army in July 1941 and appointed MacArthur to command U.S. armed forces in the Far East. In 1942 MacArthur went to Australia and assumed command of Allied ground, sea, and air forces in the new Southwest Pacific Theater. He was elevated the five-star general in late 1944, and the following spring was named commander of all American Army forces in the Pacific. He was chosen by President Truman to be Supreme Allied Commander over the occupation of Japan, and he supervised the signing of the formal surrender on September 2, 1945 aboard the USS Missouri.

Admiral Chester Nimitz was appointed commander of the Pacific fleet and Pacific Ocean areas after the attack on Pearl Harbor. On September 2, 1945, Nimitz signed the Japanese instrument of surrender as representative of the United States.

General George C. Marshall was appointed chief of staff for the army in 1939. He served FDR in that capacity until the President's death and continued under Truman until November 1945. Marshall accompanied FDR on all of his wartime conferences, and he was such a valuable military advisor that FDR chose Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe rather than Marshall so that Marshall would not leave Washington, DC. Upon the President's death Eleanor Roosevelt asked Marshall to arrange the details of the funeral.

General George S. Patton, Jr. commanded the Second U.S. Corps in Africa, the Seventh Army in the invasion of Sicily, and the Third Army in the French campaign.

General Henry Harley (Hap) Arnold was Chief/Commanding General, U.S. Army Air Corps/U.S. Army Air Forces, from 1938 to 1946.

Admiral Harold Raynsford Stark was FDR's Chief of Naval Operations at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, serving in that post from 1939 to 1942 at which time he was appointed to command US naval forces in Europe.

General Joseph Warren (Vinegar Joe) Stilwell commanded American forces in the China-Burma-India theater from 1942 to 1944. He commanded the Tenth US Army in Okinawa in 1945. Stilwell died of cancer in 1946, just five months prior to his retirement.

General Alexander Archer Vandegrift commanded troops at the successful invasions of Guadalcanal and Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. In November 1943, he was appointed Commandant of the US Marine Corps. Vandegrift was the first Marine Corps officer to hold the rank of full general.

Russell Randolph Waesche was United States Coast Guard Commandant from 1936 to 1945. During World War II the Coast Guard was part of the Navy.

Who were the Tuskegee Airmen and what other roles did African Americans play in World War II?
The Tuskegee Airmen were African-American fighter pilots of the 99th Fighter Squadron who flew escort missions for American bombers during the Italian Campaign. They were called "Red Tailed Black Angels" by the bomber crews because they did not lose a single plane to German fighters.

While the Tuskegee Airmen are the most famous, by December 1945 over 2.5 million African-American men and women registered for the draft or volunteered for service. Unfortunately, at the outbreak of the war, discriminatory barriers were still in place in the armed forces, often keeping African-Americans in servile roles or denying them enlistment. In December 1942, FDR issued Executive Order 9279 forcing all services to end officially such restrictions. While change was slow, by the end of 1944 there were 700,000 African-Americans in the Army; 165,000 in the Navy; 5,000 in the Coast Guard; and 17,000 in the Marine Corps.

Also by the end of 1944, over 5,000 African-Americans were commissioned officers including Benjamin O. Davis, the first African-American general. On the Home Front, thousands of African-American men and women served their country by filling the gaps in the labor force left by men sent off to war.

What effects did World War II have on the United States Home Front?
World War II had many effects on the United States home front, including the following:

Industry
Increase production during wartime completed the economic recovery started by FDR's New Deal. However, with millions of American men entering the armed forces, a serious gap in the labor force occurred. This had serious implications for America's continued ability to produce war materials and other goods.

Women
Women entered into the work force to replace the departed men. They worked in factories in many capacities, including as riveters, welders, and heavy machinery operators. While many African Americans also enlisted in the armed forces, many also entered the labor force at home in large numbers to replace enlisted workers. In the workplace, Americans were urged to work to their best abilities in support of the war effort and the troops overseas.

Farms
Like the factories, America's farms also suffered a labor shortage as a result of wartime enlistment. Here again, women took over tasks previously done by men. Farmers also used workers deferred from the military services.

Hollywood
Hollywood and the entertainment industry joined in the war effort, producing many patriotic movies and songs. The United Service Organization (USO) sent volunteer celebrities, such as Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Marlene Dietrich to perform for the troops, and provide recreation (Canteens) for off duty service men and women.

Shortages
The war made many items scarce or unavailable, particularly items of Pacific origin such as sugar oil, fruit, and other fruit stuffs. New cars and appliances were not produced because factories were converted to the production of military equipment. Sugar, gasoline, and shoes were among the many items placed under severe rationing. Many Americans grew Victory gardens to produce vegetables and to increase the available food supply. The shortage of metal, rubber, and silk led to many scrap collection drives. Even fat from butcher shops was collected for use in making ammunitions.

Price Controls
Price controls were introduced to keep down the price of items that were in short supply as a result of the war.

Civil Defense
Blackouts were introduced along the United States coasts so enemy submarines could not use the lights to illuminate or pinpoint targets. Civil Defense Wardens enforced blackout compliance.

War Bonds
War Bonds and Stamps were sold to help pay for the war and to foster a sense of Home Front participation and sacrifice. . Schools and industries joined in supporting the many bond and stamp drives.

Prisoners of War
Many enemy prisoners of war were transported to the United States and housed in prison camps throughout the country.
 
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