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Roosevelt, Franklin D

Category: Business and political leaders

Franklin Delano Roosevelt  (1882 –1945), also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States (1933–1945) and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic depression and total war.  FDR defeated incumbent Republican Herbert Hoover in November 1932, at the depth of the Great Depression to become President, a post he kept until his death.  He was also disabled.

Roosevelt’s paralytic illness began in 1921 at age 39, when he got a fever after exercising heavily during a vacation in Canada. While Roosevelt's bout with illness was well known during his terms as President of the United States, the extent of his paralysis was kept from public view. He was diagnosed with poliomyelitis two weeks after he fell ill, which caused facial paralysis, weakness in upper extremities and trunk, inability to urinate, inability to defecate, dysesthesia in legs, and weakness in his lower back and abdomen. He remained paralyzed from the waist down, after his illness.

But he survived and his survival over what could have been his death, led him to propose a series of renewal programmes for the United States and gave him the impetus to work closely with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin in leading the Allies against Nazi Germany and Japan in World War II.

In his first hundred days in office, which began March 4, 1933, Roosevelt spearheaded major legislation and issued a profusion of executive orders that instituted the New Deal —a variety of programs designed to produce relief (government jobs for the unemployed), recovery (economic growth), and reform (through regulation of Wall Street, banks and transportation).

The economy improved rapidly from 1933 to 1937.  But severely hampered by the Conservative Coalition that formed in 1937 preventing him passing any meaningful legislation, the economy relapsed back into a deep recession. It took World War II to put the reforms back on track.  During the war, unemployment dropped to 2%, relief programs largely ended, and the industrial economy grew rapidly to new heights as millions of people moved to new jobs in war centers, and 16 million men and 300,000 women were drafted or volunteered for military service.  The relief programs for the unemployed were removed when unemployment diminished during World War II.

Many of his reforms outlasted him.  Most of the regulations on business were ended about 1975–85, except for the regulation of Wall Street by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which still exists. Along with several smaller programs, major surviving programs include the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which was created in 1933, and Social Security, which Congress passed in 1935.

Roosevelt was also of immense help to Britain, at a time of severe difficulties.  As World War II loomed after 1938, with the Japanese invasion of China and the aggression of Nazi Germany, FDR gave strong diplomatic and financial support to China and Great Britain, while remaining officially neutral. His goal was to make America the "Arsenal of Democracy" which would supply munitions to the Allies. In March 1941, Roosevelt, with Congressional approval, provided Lend-Lease aid to the countries fighting against Nazi Germany with Britain.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, however, virtually forced him to end the USA’s neutrality and war was declared against both Japan and Germany.  From this point his efforts were devoted to mobilizing the U.S. economy to support the Allied war effort. As an active military leader, Roosevelt along with Churchill and Stalin implemented an overall war strategy on two fronts that ended in the defeat of the Axis Powers.

Roosevelt dominated the American political scene not only during the twelve years of his presidency, but also for decades afterward. FDR's New Deal Coalition united labor unions, big city machines, white ethnics, African Americans and rural white Southerners. He also influenced the later creation of the United Nations and Bretton Woods. Roosevelt is consistently rated by scholars as one of the top three U.S. Presidents, along with Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

And just like these two Presidents he got involved in spiritualism.

Towards the end of his life, deeply weary and very ill, he sought the help of Jeane Dixon.  I could have placed the observation under her as a source – she has an entry on this site – but it takes two to obtain an observation like this and this is pure inter composer communication with a sick man.

This is what can be obtained when a man who has had polio and who is dying from a cerebral haemorrhage meets a gifted medium.

Observations

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