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Today in History: September 3, 1939 – WWII Begins

Although Germany had invaded Poland two days earlier, on the 1st, Britain had been hoping to avoid another major war. But, they’d made a promise to Poland, and were obligated to keep it.

Unfortunately for Poland, while Britain and France may have declared war against the Axis powers, they didn’t do much in the way of actually giving Poland the support they needed to fend of the Nazis. Their idea of “helping” was to drop a ton of anti-war pamphlets on the Germans. This, after handing over Czechoslovakia to Nazis. When, oh, that’s right, Hitler promised he’d be content with just that land. Of course, we all knew that wouldn’t last long.

[Below: British newspaper announcing the start of WWII & PM Chamberlain]

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Back in America, while we wouldn’t join the war for another two years, President Roosevelt took the opportunity to address the American People via his famous Fireside Chats. Fireside Chats were something that American people looked forward to, gathering around their family radioes to listen to the President speak to them – right in their living rooms! It felt like he was speaking directly to them.

Despite the breakout of war across Europe, Roosevelt proclaimed neutrality. He may have been keeping his boys out of war, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t willing to lend a helping hand. He told the people of his plan to sell arms to Britain and France. He also intended to send them all the supplies and food they needed. Unfortunately, most of everything sent via ship was sunk by U-boats.

Europe was at war, fighting off the vicious foes of Fascism, Naziism (which is Fascism), Socialism, and Communism.  

[Below: Roosevelt’s September 3, 1939 Fireside Chat]

Image result for fireside chat september 3 1939



September 3, 1939: Fireside Chat 14: On the European War

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Today in History: November 7, 1944 – FDR Wins an Unprecedented 4th Term


We all know that FDR is the only president to serve more than 2 terms. And, of course, we also know that the main reason for this was the war over in Europe. Well, on October 7, 1944, Franklin Delano Roosevelt won his fourth presidential election bid.

We also know that FDR had to defy all odds to win one term in the White House, because he was crippled after contracting polio in 1921 at the age of 29. But being crippled didn’t stop him from presiding over two of the biggest crises in American History: The Great Depression and World War Two. The people clearly had an awful lot of faith in him if they were willing to election him that many times!

Unfortunately, though, by the time the 1944 elections rolled around, America was head over heels in war in Europe and the South Pacific. Even more unfortunate was the fact that President Roosevelt’s health was failing rapidly. “His arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) had been worsened by the stress of serving as a war-time president” (Source). But President Roosevelt did have one thing going for him, at least election-wise: America had just, months earlier, experienced one of the greatest victories in American history – D-Day.

Then, in 1947, under Roosevelt’s successor, Truman, the Congress decided to ensure that no other president could ever serve more than two terms. “In 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was passed, officially limiting a president’s tenure in office to two terms of four years each” (Source). The amendment is an important one and we should all be grateful that it exists. No matter how great a president may be, eight years of any one administration is probably enough. Then, it’s time for some new blood in the White House.

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