This week in the War, 9–15 April 1945: Death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s funeral procession, 14 April 1945 [Public domain]

This week in the war, on 12 April 1945, Franklin Delano Roosevelt died at his home in Warm Springs, Georgia—the so-called ‘Little White House.’

America had lost the man who had steered the country through the Great Depression, and the world had lost the man who had taken centre stage in the most destructive war in history, one of the Big Three, and a man who had chosen sides from the outset with Lend-Lease and his famous ‘garden hose’ analogy.

Roosevelt died less than a month shy of seeing an end to the war in Europe, and four months before the Japanese would surrender and the world would enter the nuclear age.

‘The Little White House’—Roosevelt’s home in Warm Springs, Georgia [Public domain]

Ever suspicious, Stalin suggested an autopsy to see whether the president had been poisoned.

Churchill cabled Eleanor Roosevelt, expressing sorrow at losing ‘a dear and cherished friendship.’

In the Fuehrerbunker, Hitler was jubilant. He equated Roosevelt’s death to the death of the Russian czarina, Elizabeth, which had brought an end to the Seven Years’ War and given a last minute victory to Frederick the Great.

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