By Susan Dunn
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Additional resources for 1940: FDR, Willkie, Lindbergh, Hitler—the Election amid the Storm
Who was graduating from the Virginia Law School. That same day, the president received word that Italy would declare war on France and was sending four hundred thousand troops to invade the French Mediterranean coast. In his talk, FDR deplored the “gods of force and hate” and denounced the treacherous Mussolini. ”7 44 Lindbergh and the Shrimps But more than a denunciation of Mussolini’s treachery and doubledealing, the speech finally gave a statement of American policy. It was time to “proclaim certain truths,” the president said.
Under Roosevelt, even that shrunken allotment went unfilled. 41 Politics played a key role as the president yielded to the widespread fear, fanned by his labor union allies, that increased immigration would aggravate unemployment and add more public charges to the relief rolls. FDR’s political antennae were also sensitive to anti-Semitism, not only the hatred whipped up by demagogues like 28 Walking on Eggs the Catholic radio priest Father Charles Coughlin, but anti-Semitism in its quieter, more pervasive forms.
But other isolationists saw reasons for hope. ” 64 In late August, when the president received the devastating news that Germany had signed a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union and that Hitler’s invasion of Poland was imminent, there was little he could do other than send a last plea to Hitler for a nonmilitary resolution. A week later, the Führer replied. In the middle of the night on September 1, 1939, FDR was awakened by an emergency phone call from Bullitt in Paris. He learned that more than one million Nazi troops had stormed into Poland and that German planes were bombing Warsaw.