Franklin Delano Roosevelt



Great American politician and statesman, 32nd president of the United States and lawyer was born on 30 January 1882 in one of the oldest families of New York State. He attended prestigious schools, and in 1904 entered Columbia Law School. In 1907 he was admitted to the New York State Bar, and in 1908 took prestigious job in a Wall Street law firm.

He started his political career as early as in 1910, while running for the New York State Senate. He became the first senator for the Democratic Party elected in New York State since 1884. He soon gained a lot of popularity, which boosted his further career. In 1913 he resigned from the New York State Senate to accept an appointment as assistant to the United States Secretary of the Navy. While in office, he paid a lot of attention to the issues of the modern naval warfare and travelled to Great Britain and France to gain first-hand experience. It was then that he met Sir Winston Spencer Churchill for the first time.

Roosevelt's navy career came to the abrupt end in the beginning of 1920s due to scandals undermining the reputation of the US Navy, and polio infection that left him paralyzed from the waist down. He came back to politics, winning the office of the New York State Governor.

On the peak of the Great Depression he won by landslide the Democratic nomination and presidential election in 1932. Altogether, he was elected the President of the United States four times in row. As the president (1933-1945) he introduced the new economical policy, known as the "New Deal", which successfully overcame the Great Depression.

Roosevelt's foreign policy was on one hand flexible and realistic, and on the other hand cautious and full of contradictions. His administration recognized de iure the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1933) and declared the policy of "good neighbor" with the Latin American states. But the matters of the domestic affairs and reforms forced Roosevelt to avoid any commitments in the complex international situation, and maintain neutrality at all costs. As a result of that neutrality in the Italo-Abyssinian war (1935) and Spanish civil war (1936-1939) legitimate governments of their countries were deprived of possibility to buy weapons and war materials in the United States. It was not until November 1939 that Roosevelt eventually repealed certain provisions of the Neutrality Act, and started the policy of aiding the victims of the fascist aggression.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 became a surprise to Roosevelt, who throughout 1941 tried to prevent the outbreak of the war by negotiations with Japan. And when Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, Roosevelt assumed constitutional responsibilities of the supreme commander.

In 1941-1945 he was a key figure in the anti-fascist coalition, and the main constructor of the United Nations. Feeling responsible for the post-war settlements, he voiced his ideas for the first time during the Quebec conference in 1943, where he proposed that the USA, Great Britain, USSR and China would become the great powers of the future international organization responsible for maintaining peace in the post-war world. He continued discussion that idea during the Allied conferences in Moscow, Cairo, Teheran, Dumbarton Oaks, Quebec (second) and Yalta. His realistic position was adequate for the sober examination of the strategic military and political situation, which resulted from the victorious advance of the Red Army into East Europe, desire to acquire Soviet aid in the war with Japan, and plans for Soviet-American co-operation after the war, especially in the field of setting countries of the Third World free of European colonialism.

He died on 12 April 1945 at the presidential residence in Warm Springs, Georgia, from a sudden massive cerebral hemorrhage.