1940

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS

OVERVIEWS & CHRONOLOGIES: 1940

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

OVERVIEW

Election Year: 1940

Election Day Date: November 5, 1940

Winning Ticket:

  • Franklin Roosevelt, Henry Wallace, Democratic 27,313,945 54.74% 449 84.6%

Losing Ticket(s):

  • Wendell Willkie, Charles McNary, Republican 22,347,744 44.78% 82 15.4%
  • Other (+) – - 240,424 0.48% 0 0.0%

Voter Turnout: 62.5%

Central Forums/Campaign Methods for Addressing Voters:

  • Stumping, whistle-stop tour, radio addresses, personal appearances, speeches, pamphlets, ads, newspaper endorsements, editorials

Election Law/Campaign Finance Changes:

Incumbent President and Vice President on Election Day:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Nance Garner, Democratic 1933-1945

Population: 1940: 132,122,000

Nominal GDP (billions of dollars): $101.4  Real GDP (billions of 2005 dollars): $1,166.9 GDP Deflator (index 2005=100%) 8.69 Population (in thousands): 132,122
Nominal GDP per capita (current dollars): $767 Real GDP per capita (year 2005 dollars): $8,832

Number of Daily Newspapers: 1,878 (1940)

Average Daily Circulation: 41,132,000 (1940)

Households with: Radio: 28,048,000 (1940)

Method of Choosing Electors: Popular vote (mostly General Ticket/Winner Take All)

Method of Choosing Nominees:

  • National party convention;
  • Presidential preference primaries

Central Issues (Nomination/Primaries):

  • World War II; The Nazis ended their “phony war” in April; blitzkrieg against Scandinavia; Belgium and the Netherlands fell (May 1940), France fell (June 1940)
  • After World War II commenced in September 1939, Americans debated as to what position or level of involvement the United States should have in the war, Americans were divided between the doves (antiinterventionists), hawks (interventionists), and hawkish doves (aid to Britain but not sending troops).
  • Should the United States remain aloof from the conflict overseas? Should she give all aid short of war to the British who were now fighting alone? Or should she enter the war at once to help her beleaguered British friends? Ever since September 1939, when World War II commenced, a great debate had been raging — in newspapers, magazines, over the radio, in Congress, and in the lecture hall — over America’s foreign policy; and Americans had divided into
  • According to Public-opinion polls Americans wanted an experienced leader

Leading Candidates (Nomination/Primaries):

Democratic Party Candidates:

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States (New York)
  • James A. Farley, former U.S. Postmaster General (New York)
  • John Nance Garner, Vice President of the United States (Texas)

Republican Party Candidates

  • Wendell Willkie, Businessman (New York)
  • Thomas Dewey, Manhattan District Attorney (New York)
  • Robert Taft, Senator (Ohio)
  • Arthur H. Vandenberg, Senator (Michigan)

Main Controversies (Nomination/Primaries):

  • American involvement in the World War Both the Republican and Democratic compromised, stay out of war but aid to the allies (threatened by aggression)
  • Democratic Party: Franklin Roosevelt’s evasiveness as to whether he would run for an unprecedented third term; ignored reporters questions; political endorsements. His name was placed on several ballots and beat his leading opponent, Garner in the primaries.
  • Republican Party: Division between the party’s isolationists and the party’s interventionists

Campaign Innovations (Nomination/Primaries):

Major Personalities (Nomination/Primaries): Thomas Dewey Manhattan District Attorney (38), the “Gangbuster”, prosecution of organized crime figures; Ohio Senator Robert Taft, (son of William Howard Taft) spokesman for isolationism;

Turning Points (Nomination/Primaries):

Democratic Party:

  • Roosevelt remained evasive on his decision to run for an unprecedented third term
  • Vice President John Nance Garner announced his candidacy in late 1939; Democratic National Committee Chairman James Farley announced his candidacy in early 1940. Both believed Roosevelt was not seeking a third term, and received Roosevelt’s permission to run
  • The outbreak of World War II changed Roosevelt’s plans to retire, he then considered the possibility of a third term, he remained undecided until May 1940, when the Nazi overran the Low Countries. He would not however, openly seek the nomination, it would have to appear as a draft Roosevelt movement
  • The Roosevelt “draft” was carefully planned and organized

Republican Party:

  • Movement supporting Wendell Willkie, Indiana native and a former Democrat (until 1939) criticized the New Deal, and was considered a dark horse since 1937, he was young charismatic, homespun air, wide appeal; Willkie “boom”, Willkie Clubs, Willkie petitions, Willkie appearances bombarded delegates with Willkie letters and telegrams
  • The escalation of the war in Europe ruined Dewey’s chances because of his inexperience and Taft’s because Isolationism was becoming less popular and practical

Primaries:

  • Democratic 13 35.8% delegates
  • Republican 13 38.8% delegates

Primaries Results:

Republican Party: (Jul 01, 1940)

  • Thomas Edmund Dewey: 1,605,754, 49.76% Dewey won six of the thirteen primaries; lead other Republicans in the polls
  • Jerrold L. Seawell: 538,112, 16.68%
  • Robert A. Taft: 516,428, 16.00%
  • Unpledged: 186,157, 5.77%
  • Charles L. McNary: 133,488, 4.14%
  • R. N. Davis: 106,123, 3.29%
  • Arthur H. Vandenberg: 100,651, 3.12%
  • Wendell Lewis Willkie: 21,140, 0.66%
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt(I): 9,496, 0.29%
  • Arthur H. James: 8,172, 0.25%
  • Herbert Clark Hoover: 1,082, 0.03%
  • John W. Bricker: 188, 0.01%
  • Charles Montgomery: 5, 0.00%
  • Joseph William Martin, Jr.: 1, 0.00%
  • Charles Augustus Lindbergh: 0, 0.00%
  • Bruce Barton: 0, 0.00%
  • William E. Borah: 0, 0.00%
  • Fiorello LaGuardia: 0, 0.00%
  • Alfred M. Landon: 0, 0.00%
  • Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.: 0, 0.00%

Democratic Party: (Jul 01, 1940)

  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt(I): 3,250,555, 72.16%
  • John Nance Garner: 426,641, 9.47%
  • Charles Sawyer: 283,952, 6.30%
  • William Brockman Bankhead: 196,508, 4.36%
  • H. C. Allen: 102,729, 2.28%
  • Willis Allen: 90,718, 2.01%
  • James A. “Jim” Farley: 76,919, 1.71%
  • Ellis E. Patterson: 48,337, 1.07%
  • Unpledged: 27,636, 0.61%
  • Others: 636, 0.01%
  • Cordell Hull: 0, 0.00%
  • Fiorello LaGuardia: 0, 0.00%
  • Paul V. McNutt: 0, 0.00%
  • Burton Kendall Wheeler: 0, 0.00%
  • Robert Houghwout Jackson: 0, 0.00%
  • Frank Murphy: 0, 0.00%

Conventions (Dates & Locations):

  • Democratic National Convention: July 15-18, 1940, Chicago Stadium; Chicago, Alben W. Barkley (Kentucky), 1st ballot, Franklin D. Roosevelt (New York),  Henry A. Wallace (Iowa)
  • Republican National Convention: June 24-28, 1940, Convention Hall; Philadelphia, 6th ballot, Wendell L. Willkie (New York), Charles L. McNary, (Oregon)

Convention Turning Points:

Democratic National Convention:

  • Despite Roosevelt’s pre-convention statement that he had “no desire or purpose to continue in the office” orchestrated support capitulated Roosevelt to the nomination for an unprecedented 3rd time
  • Harry Hopkins was in charge of the Roosevelt “draft” at the convention, he maintained direct contact with the President at the White House
  • Thomas F. Garry, the city’s Superintendent of Sewers was placed in front of a microphone in a room under the auditorium and ready to be queued, to scream pro Roosevelt chants to drum up support for the draft movement
  • Kentucky Senator Alben Barkley permanent chairman’s gave his speech on the second day, when he mentioned Roosevelt, Chicago Mayor Ed Kelly gave the sign to Garry to commence. He yelled “We want Roosevelt! The world wants Roosevelt!” and other pro-Roosevelt slogan’s over the speech’s remaining 22 minutes
  • After his speech Barkley announced the President decision on the nomination: “The President has never had and has not today any desire or purpose to continue in the office of the President, to be a candidate for that office, or to be nominated by the convention for that office. He wishes in all earnestness and sincerity to make it clear that all delegates to this convention are free to vote for any candidate. This is the message I bear to you from the President of the United States.”
  • Prompting Garry, the “voice from the sewers” to commence yet again “The party wants Roosevelt. . . . Illinois wants Roosevelt. . . . The world needs Roosevelt. . . . Everybody wants Roosevelt!”
  • The majority of delegates then nominated Roosevelt for a third term, however, not by acclamation, which was Roosevelt desire
  • Party and Delegate opposition to Roosevelt choice of a new running mate,  Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace, although he advocated the New Deal, aid to Britain and would get the farm belt, vote, Wallace had been a Republican, and was considered a “mystic.” Roosevelt threatened to refuse the nomination if Wallace would not be his running mate, and commenced his refusal speech
  • Eleanor Roosevelt flew to Chicago to give a speech favoring Wallace to the convention, hoping to placate the delegates, while Roosevelt’s campaign managers negotiated with the delegates
  • Delegated complied and Wallace was nominated on the first ballot
  • Roosevelt did not accept the nomination in person this time; instead, he gave a radio address. He stated he did not wanted to run again, but the world crisis/war called for personal sacrifice

 

Republican National Convention:

  • Dewey and Taft led on the first ballot, but they were deadlocked unable to receive a majority of delegate votes
  • The alternative was Wendell Willkie, an internationalist
  • Dewey lost delegate support after the third ballot, the Willkie movement swept over the delegates on the fourth ballot, where it became a contest between Taft and Willkie
  • Gained momentum and delegate lead, on the sixth ballot Michigan gave Willkie delegate support, which prompted a shift of other state delegate support and resulted in Willkie’s nomination
  • Willkie had powerful businessmen and several leading Republicans endorsing and backing his candidacy
  • Minority Leader in the Senate from Oregon Charles L. McNary was chosen as Willkie’s running-mate, McNary supported public power, but essentially conservative

Number of Ballots to Choose Nominees:

Democratic Party Nomination

Presidential 1st ballot

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt 946
  • James A. Farley 72
  • John Nance Garner 61
  • Millard E. Tydings 9
  • Cordell Hull 5

Vice Presidential Ballot

  • Henry A. Wallace 626
  • William B. Bankhead 329
  • Paul V. McNutt 68
  • Alva B. Adams 11
  • James A. Farley 7
  • Jesse H. Jones 5
  • Joseph C. O’Mahoney 3
  • Alben W. Barkley 2
  • Prentiss M. Brown 1
  • Louis A. Johnson 1
  • Scott W. Lucas 1
  • Bascomb Timmons 1
  • David I. Walsh 0.5

Republican Party Nomination

Presidential 6th ballot after shifts

  • Wendell L. Willkie 105 171 259 306 429 655 998
  • Robert A. Taft 189 203 212 254 377 318 –
  • Thomas E. Dewey 360 338 315 250 57 11 –
  • Arthur Vandenberg 76 73 72 61 42 — –
  • Arthur H. James 74 66 59 56 59 — –
  • Joseph W. Martin 44 26 — – — – –
  • Hanford MacNider 34 34 28 26 4 — –
  • Frank E. Gannett 33 30 11 4 1 1 –
  • Herbert Hoover 17 21 32 31 20 10 –
  • Styles Bridges 28 9 1 1 — – –
  • Scattering / Blank 40 29 11 11 11 5 2

Vice Presidential 1st ballot

  • Charles L. McNary 848
  • Dewey Short 108
  • Styles Bridges 2

Convention Keynote Speaker:

  • Republican National Convention: “up and comer” Harold Stassen, he helped secure the Republican Party (GOP) nomination for Wendell Willkie.

Nominating Speech Speakers (President):

Party Platform and Issues:

  • Democratic Party: Three sections; U.S. military preparedness and foreign policy; New Deal benefits for economic sectors, agricultural, labor and business; New Deal welfare measures; Adopted without a roll call
  • Republican Party: Criticized extension of federal power taking away from free enterprise; approval of unemployment relief and social security programs, but under state control; opposition to United States involving the war ravaging Europe, far east; Constitution amendments to limit the president to two terms in office; equal rights for men and women.

Convention Quotations:

  • “All the headquarters I have are under my hat.” Wendell Willkie
  • “Nothing exactly like it ever happened before in American politics. Willkie had never held public office or even sought it. Virtually a neophyte in politics, he had entered no primaries, made no deals, organized no campaign. . . . His backers were uninitiated volunteers, as strange to the ways of the ward bosses and state chairmen as their hero.” Newsweek
  • Well, damn it to hell, they will go for Wallace or I won’t run, and you can jolly well tell them so.” Franklin Roosevelt to Harry Hopkins

Polls:

  • Gallup:  Willkie: 29%, Dewey: 47%, -5 and Taft, Vandenberg and former President Herbert Hoover trailed at 8%, 8%, and 6% respectively.

General Election Controversies/Issues:

  • Lend-Lease program with Britain;
  • Third term candidate issue
  • First peacetime draft (September 1940);
  • War or peace issue

Campaign Innovations (General Election): 

Major Personalities (General Election): Henry Wallace,

Campaign Tactics:

Republican Party:

  • Stumping, active campaigning
  • Whistle-stop, speech-making tour, 34,000 miles by train, thirty-four states, and over five hundred speeches
  • Campaign errors, in organization, amateur managers, staff, attempted to write all his own speeches, even with speech writer came to many impromptu speeches, his voice could not keep up the speaking schedule
  • Campaigned against “the third term candidate,” perpetuate “one-man rule”; New Deal had not caused an economic recovery stressed distribution rather than production of goods, both became none issues, especially with the war spending economic upturn “What has happened to Willkie?”

Democratic Party:

  • Stumping, speeches: Roosevelt started to actively campaign in October, gave his first of 5 campaign speeches on October 12, 1940 in Philadelphia, the speeches discussed the various campaign issues; New Deal reforms, strengthen America’s defenses, commitment to aid Britain as an American defense, his emphasis was on the message of keeping America out of the war

Turning Points (General Election):

  • War time economic boom, increased defense spending, employment and production
  • On September 3, Roosevelt announced the Lend-Lease program with Britain, an executive issued lending fifty or sixty World War I destroyers to Britain in exchange long-term leases on British air and sea bases in Newfoundland, Bermuda, and the Caribbean.
  • Willkie and the general American public approved the deal, but disapproved in the way the President passed the deal, without congress or a public discussion
  • Willkie’s disagreement with the methods of the deal did not help his campaign especially after he attacked that the administration had neglected the nation’s defenses, and the Democrats responded the Republican congress in the 1930s blocked all attempts at defense bills, defense spending, increases
  • Roosevelt blamed isolationist Republicans for slowing American preparedness. Willkie countered that Roosevelt was going beyond defense planning to all-out scheming for American intervention.
  • War or peace for America became the biggest issue of the campaign, whether the peacetime draft was edging America towards war
  • Willkie made his comeback as the anti-war peace candidate, and gained steam in the public opinion polls
  • Roosevelt commenced campaigning on October 12, 1940 in Philadelphia, the first of five speeches
  • October 30, 1940, Roosevelt gave a speech in Boston where he gave his strongest message about keeping the country out of war

Popular Campaign Slogans:

  • Republican: “Bring on the Champ!”

Campaign Song:

Influential Campaign Appeals or Ads:

Money Spent (Each Campaign/Party/Overall):

Defining Quotation (Winning Candidate):

  • So long as I am President, I will do all I can to insure that that foreign policy remain our foreign policy. All that I have done to maintain the peace of this country and to prepare it morally, as well as physically, for whatever contingencies may be in store, I submit to the judgment of my countrymen. We face one of the great choices of history. It is not alone a choice of Government by the people versus dictatorship. It is not alone a choice of freedom versus slavery. It is not alone a choice between moving forward or falling back. It is all of these rolled into one. It is the continuance of civilization as we know it versus the ultimate destruction of all that we have held dear—religion against godlessness; the ideal of justice against the practice of force; moral decency versus the firing squad; courage to speak out, and to act, versus the false lullaby of appeasement. But it has been well said that a selfish and greedy people cannot be free. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Radio Address to the Democratic National Convention Accepting the Nomination July 19, 1940
  • “I am an old campaigner, and I love a good fight.” Franklin Roosevelt, October 12, 1940, Philadelphia
  • “I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.” Franklin D. Roosevelt, October 1940

Defining Quotation (Losing Candidate):

  • “Who really thinks that the President is sincerely trying to keep us out of war?” “We are being edged toward war by an administration that is alike careless in speech and action.”… “If you elect me President . . . , no American boys will be sent to the shambles of the European trenches.” Wendell Willkie
  • “If his promise to keep our boys out of foreign wars is not better than his promise to balance the budget, they’re almost on the transports!” Wendell Willkie about the peacetime draft, October 1940
  • “There comes a time when it is very wise to get off that horse in midstream, because if we don’t, both you and the horse will sink.” Wendell Willkie about the Lend-Lease program
  • “The President did not deem it necessary in connection with this proposal to secure the approval of Congress or permit public discussion prior to adoption.”…. “the most arbitrary and dictatorial action ever taken by any President in the history of the United States.” Wendell Willkie about the Lend-Lease program
  • “If one man is indispensable, then none of us is free.” Wendell Willkie

Campaign Quotations:

  • “thrown his diaper into the ring” Interior Secretary Harold Ickes about Dewey’s age and inexperience
  • “The effects of this were felt powerfully in the White House during the last week in October. I had to read the letters and telegrams and reports that flooded in and . . . I was amazed and horrified at the evidences of hysteria. . . . Newspapermen . . . reported mounting waves of fear throughout the country, which might easily merge into tidal proportions by election day and sweep Willkie into office.” Robert E. Sherwood, one of FDR’s speech-writers on Willkie creating an anti-war hysteria

Elections Issues/Results: Support from labor unions, big-city political machines, ethnic voters, and the traditionally Democratic Solid South

Significant books about the campaign: 

  • Herbert S. Parmet and Marie B. Hecht; Never Again: A President Runs for a Third Term, 1968.

Lasting Legacy of Campaign:

  • Roosevelt became the first and only President to win a third and consecutive term if office

 

CHRONOLOGY

  • April 12, 1937: Supreme Court rules the National Labor Relations Act to be constitutional, by 5-4 majority.
  • May 1, 1937: FDR signs the third Neutrality Act, “the cash-and-carry law”
  • July 22, 1937: Congress passes the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenancy Act, establishing the Farm Securities Administration (FSA).
  • September 2, 1937: Congress passes the National Housing Act, which creates the U.S. Housing Authority.
  • December 11, 1937: (“International relations continue to sour as Italy withdraws from the League of Nations following criticism of its actions toward Ethiopia. The following day, the Japanese Air Force attacks the U.S. gunboat Panay in China’s Yangtze River. FDR had earlier declared American neutrality in the ongoing conflict between China and Japan. Japan apologizes for the incident two days later.”)
  • February 16, 1938: FDR signs the second Agricultural Adjustment Act. (“as part of a continuing effort to stabilize agricultural prices and farmers’ incomes. To these ends, his administration establishes the Federal Crop Insurance Corp, an agency which will accept wheat as payment for crop insurance taken out against the same crops.”)
  • March 13, 1938: Hitler’s German army annexes Austria to Germany. (“German troops move into Austria, allegedly to bring order to that country. Hitler, however, will fuse Austria to Germany an act he terms Anschluss and describes the annexation as a peaceful.”)
  • May 26, 1938: House of Representatives forms the Committee to Investigate Un- American Activities.
  • May 27, 1938: Over FDR’s veto, Congress passes the Revenue Act of 1938, reducing corporate income taxes for the purpose of stimulating the economy.
  • June 22-24, 1938: Congress passes the Chandler Act, amending the 1898 Federal Bankruptcy Act; the Civil Aeronautics Act; the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. “Congress continues to enact policies enlarging the federal government’s role in regulating American commerce and industry.”
  • June 25, 1938: FDR signs the Fair Labor Standards Act (“raising the minimum wage and setting the maximum work week at 40 hours, though only for businesses engaged in interstate commerce.”)
  • September 27, 1938: “In a private message to the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, and Czechoslovakia, FDR urges that they find a peaceful settlement to the growing crisis over the Sudetenland, an area of Czechoslovakia inhabited by a large number of ethnic Germans who, motivated by Hitler, are asking for autonomy.”
  • November 14, 1938: “Hugh Wilson, American ambassador to Germany, is called backed to the United States for “report and consultation” on anti-Jewish activities there. Four days later, the German ambassador to the United States is also recalled.”
  • March 15, 1939: “The German Army invades Czechoslovakia, five-and-a-half months after gaining the Sudetenland peacefully through the Munich pact. By the end of March, the entire country will be under German control.”
  • April 1, 1939: “As the Spanish Civil War effectively comes to an end, the United States recognizes the government headed by General Francisco Franco.”
  • April 7, 1939: “Italy invades the small country of Albania, located just across the Adriatic Sea. One week later, FDR writes to both Hitler and Mussolini requesting that they offer a ten-year guarantee of peace in Europe and the Middle East in return for U.S. cooperation in international trade.”
  • July 14-26, 1939: “FDR works to cement the U.S. alliance with Britain against the looming Fascist-totalitarian threat. Over these two weeks, he will ask Congress to repeal the arms embargo, revise the neutrality law, and end the trade agreement with Japan.”
  • August 23, 1939: Germany and the U.S.S.R. sign a non-aggression pact in Moscow.
  • August 24, 1939: “The world learns of the agreement the next day, creating disruption and dismay in both Communist and non-Communist circles as it seems to reveal Hitler’s intentions to move launch war on Poland.”
  • September 1, 1939: Second World War commences when Germany launches a major invasion of Poland.
  • September 3, 1939: France and Britain declare war on Germany; Roosevelt declares U.S. neutrality.
  • September 1939: World War II; “After World War II commences, Americans debate as to what position or level of involvement the United States should have in the war, Americans were divided between the doves (anti interventionists), hawks (interventionists), and hawkish doves (aid to Britain but not sending troops).”
  • November 30, 1939: “The U.S.S.R. invades Finland, bombing its capital, Helsinki.”
  • December 14, 1939: “E.B. Germany, co-chairman of the Garner-for-President Committee, says in a nation-wide radio broadcast from Dallas, Texas that Vice President Garner would be a candidate and would, at the proper time, make known “his willingness to accept the nomination for President.”” (NYT)
  • December 1939: Vice President John Nance Garner announces his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
  • Early 1940: Democratic National Committee Chairman James Farley announces his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Both Garner and Farley believe Roosevelt is not seeking a third term, and they receive Roosevelt’s permission to run.
  • January-February, 1940: “The Allies take heavy losses in the “Battle of the Atlantic.” Waged largely by German subs, or U-Boats, against the British Navy, the Allies lose about 440,000 tons of shipping during these two months alone.”
  • March 13, 1940: “Finland signs an armistice and treaty with the U.S.S.R., ending the Russo- Finnish War and ceding territory to the Russians.”
  • April 6-8, 1940: Socialist Party Convention nominates Norman Mattoon Thomas for President. The 11th Socialist Party National Convention convenes in the National Press Club Auditorium in Washington DC. There are 210 delegates present.
  • April 9, 1940: The Nazis end their “phony war” blitzkrieg against Scandinavia.  (“German Army invades Norway and Denmark in preparation for its invasion of France. Copenhagen falls in twelve hours, while the Norwegians resist for two months before falling to Germany.”)
  • May 10, 1940: Prohibition Convention nominates Roger Ward Babson for President. Prohibition National Convention assembles in Chicago IL. There were 230 delegates present from 10 states. The national ticket, nominated unanimously, was Roger W. Babson MA for President and Edgar V. Moorman IL for VP.
  • May 1940: The outbreak of World War II changes Roosevelt’s plans to retire, he then considered the possibility of a third term, he remained undecided until, when the Nazi overran the Low Countries. He would not however, openly seek the nomination, it would have to appear as a draft Roosevelt movement.
  • May 10, 1940: Belgium and the Netherlands fall. Germany invades Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Winston Churchill becomes the Prime Minister of Britain.
  • May 15, 1940: “Churchill sends Roosevelt the first of many personal telegrams requesting American aid and participation in the war.”
  • May 25, 1940: FDR establishes the Office for Emergency Management.
  • May 26-June 4, 1940: France falls as the German Army sweeps across France, thousands of British and French troops converge on Dunkirk, a coastal town in France, in preparation for evacuation of the country. By the time the Germans reach the beach to stop the operation, more than 330,000 troops have been evacuated.
  • June 4, 1940: “Churchill delivers his most famous radio address, framing the retreat from Dunkirk as a symbol of the Allies’ determination to win the war.”
  • June 10, 1940: “In a speech at the University of Virginia, Roosevelt announces that the American stance toward the war is changing from “neutrality” to “non-belligerency.”” (“In effect, this means that the United States will now openly support the Allies without actually going to war against the Axis. Generally well received, it is still criticized by some isolationists who understand that such a posture will eventually lead to outright war against the Axis powers.”)
  • June 20, 1940: FDR appoints two Republicans to his cabinet: Henry L. Stimson as secretary of war, and Frank Knox as secretary of the Navy. (“A political move, the decision is designed to form a “coalition government,” intended to present a unified front to both the world and to American voters as the 1940 election approaches.”)
  • June 14, 1940: Paris falls. ?
  • June 22, 1940: The French government capitulates to the Germans.
  • 1940: According to Public-opinion polls Americans wanted an experienced leader
  • American involvement in the World War Both the Republican and Democratic compromised, stay out of war but aid to the allies (threatened by aggression)
  • 1940: Franklin Roosevelt’s evasiveness as to whether he would run for an unprecedented third term; ignores reporters questions; political endorsements. His name is placed on several ballots and beat his leading opponent, Garner in the primaries.
  • June 24-28, 1940: Republican National Convention convenes at Convention Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and nominates on the 6th ballot Wendell L. Willkie (New York) for President and Charles L. McNary (Oregon) for Vice President.  Dewey and Taft lead on the first ballot, but they are deadlocked and unable to receive a majority of delegate votes. An alternative for the candidacy is Wendell Willkie, an internationalist. Dewey loses delegate support after the third ballot, the Willkie movement sweeps over the delegates on the fourth ballot, where it became a contest between Taft and Willkie. Willkie gains momentum and delegate lead on the sixth ballot when Michigan gives Willkie delegate support. This prompts a shift of support from other state delegate resulting in Willkie’s nomination. Willkie has powerful businessmen and several leading Republicans endorsing and backing his candidacy. Minority Leader in the Senate from Oregon Charles L. McNary is chosen as Willkie’s running-mate.
  • June 28, 1940: “Congress passes the Alien Registration Act, requiring the registration and finger-printing of all aliens.” (“The bill also prohibits individuals or organizations from advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government by force.”)
  • July 10, 1940: The Battle of Britain begins with the first bombing raids by the German Air Force. (“Outnumbered, the British will retain control of British airspace, finally forcing the Germans to end the onslaught in October. Although the bombing raids will continue throughout the war, Hitler is forced to abandon any hope of invading Britain. Also on this day, FDR submits a request to Congress for a defense budget of $4.8 billion; ten days later, Congress will appropriate $4 billion to provide the United States with a two-ocean Navy.”)
  • July 15-18, 1940: Democratic National Convention convenes at the Chicago Stadium in Chicago, Illinois. Alben W. Barkley (Kentucky) serves as chairman.  The convention renominates on the 1st ballot, Franklin D. Roosevelt (New York) for President, and nominates Henry A. Wallace (Iowa) for Vice President. Despite Roosevelt’s pre-convention statement that he has “no desire or purpose to continue in the office” he orchestrates delegate support that would capitulate himself to the nomination for an unprecedented 3rd time.
  • July 16, 1940: Harry Hopkins is in charge of the Roosevelt “draft” at the convention, and he maintains direct contact with the President at the White House. Thomas F. Garry, the city’s Superintendent of Sewers is placed in front of a microphone in a room under the auditorium and ready to be queued, to scream pro-Roosevelt chants to drum up support for the draft movement. Kentucky Senator Alben Barkley permanent chairman’s gives his speech on the second day, when he mentions Roosevelt, Chicago Mayor Ed Kelly gives the sign to Garry to commence. He yells “We want Roosevelt! The world wants Roosevelt!” and other pro-Roosevelt slogan’s over the speech’s remaining 22 minutes
  • July 16, 1940: After his speech Barkley announces the President decision on the nomination: “The President has never had and has not today any desire or purpose to continue in the office of the President, to be a candidate for that office, or to be nominated by the convention for that office. He wishes in all earnestness and sincerity to make it clear that all delegates to this convention are free to vote for any candidate. This is the message I bear to you from the President of the United States.” Prompting Garry, the “voice from the sewers” to commence yet again “The party wants Roosevelt. . . . Illinois wants Roosevelt. . . . The world needs Roosevelt. . . . Everybody wants Roosevelt!” The majority of delegates then nominate Roosevelt for a third term, however, not by acclamation, as Roosevelt hoped.
  • July 16, 1940: There is party and delegate opposition to Roosevelt’s choice of a new running mate,  Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace, although he advocated the New Deal, aid to Britain and would get the farm belt, vote, Wallace had been a Republican, and was considered a “mystic.” Roosevelt threatens to refuse the nomination if Wallace would not be his running mate, and commenced his refusal speech
  • Eleanor Roosevelt flies to Chicago to give a speech favoring Wallace to the convention, hoping to placate the delegates, while Roosevelt’s campaign managers negotiate with the delegates. Delegates comply and Wallace is  nominated on the first ballot.
  • July 19, 1940. Franklin Roosevelt gives a radio address to the Democratic National Convention accepting the nomination. Roosevelt does not accept the nomination in person this time; instead, he gives a radio address. He states he does not wanted to run again, but the world crisis/war calls for personal sacrifice.
  • August 17, 1940, Wendell Willkie gives an address accepting the Republican Presidential Nomination in Elwood, Indiana.
  • Republican Wendell Willkie stumps, active campaigning, Whistle-stop, speech-making tour, 34,000 miles by train, thirty-four states, and over five hundred speeches. Campaign errors, in organization, amateur managers, staff, and attempts to write all his own speeches, even with a speechwriter came to many impromptu speeches, his voice could not keep up the speaking schedule. Campaigns against “the third term candidate,” perpetuate “one-man rule”
  • September 3, 1940: “Roosevelt announces the Lend-Lease program with Britain, an executive issued lending fifty or sixty World War I destroyers to Britain in exchange long-term leases on British air and sea bases in Newfoundland, Bermuda, and the Caribbean.”
  • Willkie’s disagreement with the methods of passing the deal did not help his campaign especially after he attacks that the administration has neglected the nation’s defenses, and the Democrats respond the Republican congress in the 1930s blocked all attempts at defense bills, defense spending, and increases.
  • September 16, 1940: FDR signs the Selective Training and Service Act, a peace-time draft.  (“Authorizing the first peace-time military draft in U.S. history and requiring all men between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-five to register for military training.”
  • October 12, 1940: Roosevelt starts to actively campaign in October, gives his first of 5 campaign speeches in Philadelphia. The speeches discuss the various campaign issues; New Deal reforms, strengthen America’s defenses, commitment to aid Britain as an American defense, his emphasis is on the message of keeping America out of the war.
  • October 19, 1940: Roosevelt campaign announces that President Roosevelt would actively campaign for the election in the last two weeks of the campaign, by giving 5 major speeches and a campaign swing through the Eastern states.
  • Roosevelt blames isolationist Republicans for slowing American preparedness. Willkie counters that Roosevelt is going beyond defense planning to all-out scheming for American intervention.
  • October 1940: Willkie makes his comeback as the anti-war peace candidate, and gained steam in the public opinion polls.
  • October 28, 1940: Roosevelt addresses Madison, Square Garden campaign rally in New York.
  • October 30, 1940: Roosevelt gives a speech in Boston, which is his strongest message throughout the campaign about keeping the country out of war.
  • Nov, 1, 1940: Herbert Hoover campaigns in Salt Lake City, Utah for Wendell Willkie claims that the fundamental issue in the present campaign was still “the preservation of democracy,” and that a reelection for Roosevelt would increase his ‘Personal Power’ and it should be defeated.
  • November 5, 1940: Election Day, Democrats Franklin Roosevelt is reelected for unprecedented a third term and Henry Wallace elected Vice President.
  • December 16, 1940: Presidential Electors cast the electoral vote meet in their state capitols.
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