(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill; this post was first published in Apr. '07.)
November 5, 1940 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt is reelected for an unprecedented third term. His best remembered campaign promise: “I say it again and again and again, your boys will not be sent into foreign wars.”
Churchill telegraphs FDR from London, now enduring the third month of the Blitz:
I did not think it right for me as a foreigner to express any opinion upon American politics while the election was on but now I feel that you will not mind my saying that I prayed for your success and that I am truly thankful for it.December 16, 1940 – Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Harold Stark, Secretary of War Henry Stimson and Army Chief of Staff George Marshall meet in Washington to review the year’s accomplishments
Stimson recorded in his diary the four leaders had gone beyond just reviewing the year’s accomplishments and agreed “this emergency could hardly be passed over without this country being drawn into the war eventually.”
According to the Imperial War Museum, London:
In early 1941, a feasibility study by Japanese naval aviation experts of the proposed attack on Pearl Harbor concluded that an operation was possible but would be dangerous.Eleanor Roosevelt's remark comes to mind:"no ordinary times."
Ed Cray, General of the Army George C. Marshall, Soldier and Stateman. (W. W. Norton & Co.) (pgs. 178-180) provided most of the material for this post. The FDR quote is found in almost all his biographies. The Eleanor Roosevelt quote served, as many of you know, as the title of Doris Kearns Goodwin's prize winning book.