Franklin D. Roosevelt Biography

Article abstract: Military significance: During World War II, Roosevelt served as commander in chief of the armed forces and planned with Great Britain and the Soviet Union strategies for the military defeat of Germany and Japan and for postwar collective security.

After being a New York state senator (1909-1911), assistant secretary of the navy (1913-1921), and governor of New York (1929-1933), Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to four terms as president of the United States (1933-1945). From 1933 to 1939, he coordinated a comprehensive New Deal program to combat the severe economic depression and maintained U.S. neutrality toward Europe and Asia. The United States banned arms shipments to belligerents and placed cash-and-carry restrictions on nonmilitary goods. From 1939 to 1941, Roosevelt aided Great Britain and France militarily and economically through repeal of the arms embargo, the destroyer-base deal, lend leases, and selective service.

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, Roosevelt became an interventionist urging the United States to declare war on Japan. With the Allies, he planned the joint British-U.S. invasions of North Africa in 1942 and France in 1944 to defeat Germany. Roosevelt sought to develop a postwar collective security system centered on the United Nations.

Further Reading:

Dallek, Robert. Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1933-1945. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Davis, Kenneth S. FDR: Into the Storm, 1937-1941. New York: Random House, 1993.

FDR: The American Experience. Documentary. PBS, 1994.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: The War Years. Documentary. A&E Biography, 1994.

Franklin Roosevelt, American Presidents—Life Portraits. Documentary. C-SPAN, 1999.

Goodwin, Doris Kearns. No Ordinary Time. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994.

Heinrichs, Waldo. Threshold of War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Kimball, Warren F. The Juggler. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1991.

Larrabee, Eric. Commander in Chief. New York: Harper & Row, 1987.