This week in the War, 4–10 November 1940: Election Day

As I write this post on Sunday 4 November 2012, I have no idea who will win Tuesday’s US election. Democrat incumbent Barack Obama is pitted against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, and the race is close.

The economy and entanglement in a foreign war (i.e. in Afghanistan) are major  issues. On Tuesday 6 November, the electorate will decide. People reading this post after that date will, of course, know the outcome.

This week in the war, on Tuesday 5 November 1940, Democrat incumbent Franklin Delano Roosevelt was pitted against Republican challenger Wendell Willkie.

Many of the economic difficulties had already been overcome with the New Deal, but possible entanglement in a foreign war (i.e. in Europe) was a major issue.

On the 5th of November, 1940, Roosevelt spent the evening with his family and friends at his Hyde Park home. At first, the radio reported Willkie to be doing well. Later, Roosevelt began to move ahead and, towards midnight, the outcome appeared clear. As we all know, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected for a third term. Churchill was delighted and sent his congratulations. In his book Berlin Diary, American journalist William L. Shirer describes Roosevelt’s victory as “a resounding slap for Hitler and Ribbentrop and the whole Nazi regime.”

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