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50th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Statue of Liberty

On October 28, 1936, President Roosevelt attended and addressed the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty.

In his address FDR states that “the realization that we are all bound together by hope of a common future rather than by reverence for a common past has helped us to build upon this continent a unity unapproached in any similar area or population in the whole world.” He goes on to say:

It is fitting, therefore, that this should be a service of rededication to the liberty and the peace which this Statue symbolizes. Liberty and peace are living things. In each generation—if they are to be maintained— they must be guarded and vitalized anew.

To read the entire speech, please visit: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=15210

FDR & Constitution Day

This is the September 17, 1938 radio address FDR gave to the Constitutional Convention in Poughkeepsie, NY.  For more information on Constitution Day at the National Archives, please visit: http://www.archives.gov/calendar/constitution-day/

For more documents and photographs from FDR’s presidency, please visit the Franklin D. Roosevelt Day by Day Chronology

The Atlantic Charter

FDR and Winston Churchill aboard the HMS Prince of Wales at the Atlantic Charter Conference. August 10, 1941. FDR Library Photo

The Atlantic Charter was the statement of principles agreed to by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill of Great Britain at their first wartime conference, August 9-12, 1941. The conference was held on board naval vessels anchored in Placentia Bay, off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The Charter was not an official document, but rather a joint statement expressing the war aims of the two countries–one technically neutral and the other at war.

The Charter expressed the two countries’ beliefs in the rights of self-determination, of all people to live in freedom from fear and want, and of freedom of the seas, as well as the belief that all nations must abandon the use of force and work collectively in the fields of economics and security.

One of the major provisions of the Atlantic Charter declared as follows:

“. . . [A]fter the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, [we] hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all men in all lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want. . . . [S]uch a peace should enable all men to traverse the high seas and oceans without hindrance.”
 

Atlantic Charter Dinner Menu

The agreement is often cited by historians as one of the first significant steps towards the formation of the United Nations.

The joint declaration was issued by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill on August 14, 1941.

For more information on FDR’s daily activities as President, please visit Franklin D. Roosevelt Day by Day.

This week marked the 75th anniversary of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. Her disappearance has remained an enduring mystery to this day.

In November of 1936 Earhart wrote a letter to FDR detailing her upcoming around the world flight and asking for assistance from the Navy. Her letter can be found on the FDR Day by Day Timeline.

Last seen taking off from New Guinea to Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean, it is believed that Ameila and her navigator, Fred Noonan, may have landed on a reef near the Kiribati atoll of Nikumaroro.  The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery along with a team of scientists, historians and salvagers, is resuming the search for the wreckage Earhart’s Lockheed Electra plane in the nearby waters of Kiribati.

D-Day

On June 6, 1944, the United States and its allies launched the greatest amphibious invasion in history on the shores of France. Over 150,000 soldiers, sailors, and airmen stormed the beaches of Normandy beginning a campaign that would end with the unconditional surrender of Germany in May 1945.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, as Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces during World War II, played an active and decisive role in determining strategy. In his ongoing discussions with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and with the American Joint Chiefs of Staff, he steadily promoted the invasion of the European continent to liberate it from Hitler’s Germany that finally began on D-Day.

On the night of June 6, 1944, President Roosevelt went on national radio to address the American people for the first time about the Normandy invasion. His speech took the form of a prayer.

D-Day Prayer

The date and timing of the Normandy invasion had been top secret. During a national radio broadcast on June 5 about the Allied liberation of Rome, President Roosevelt had made no mention of the Normandy operation, already underway at that time. When he spoke to the country on June 6, the President felt the need to explain his earlier silence. Shortly before he went on the air, he added several handwritten lines to the opening of his speech that addressed that point. They read: “Last night, when I spoke to you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.”

D-Day Prayer Audio Recording: (http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/archives/collections/avclips.html)

Find more documents and photos from the FDR Library collections: (http://docs.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/04DDHOME.HTML)

Memorial Day celebrations in the United States began after the Civil War to commemorate the lives of those lost during the war. During FDR’s presidency, Decoration Day honored the lives of all Americans who had died in military service for the United States. The name of the holiday was officially changed to Memorial Day in 1967 and starting in 1971 the date was moved from May 30th to the last Monday in May.

In 1936, FDR received the following message from King Leopold III of Belgium in observance of Decoration Day.

FDR’s response:

This document and others from the collections of the FDR Library can be found on the Franklin D. Roosevelt Day by Day website.

On March 29, 1945, FDR left the White House for the last time on a trip to Warm Springs, Georgia. He had first visited Warm Springs in the mid-1920s after hearing that the waters there had healing powers.  He hoped they would help him regain the use of his legs which were left paralyzed from a polio attack in 1921.

In 1926, FDR bought and renovated the old resort at Warm Springs, turning it into a state-of-the-art rehabilitation center for polio patients. Throughout his time as Governor of New York and President, FDR continued vacationing at Warm Springs. The cottage where he stayed became known as the “Little White House,” thanks to his frequent visits as president.

It was here that FDR went in April 1945 to rest and rejuvenate following the pressures of the 1944 campaign, the Yalta Conference, and the continued war effort.  On April 12, 1945, while sitting for a portrait by painter Elizabeth Shoumatoff, FDR suffered a massive stroke. He died a few hours later having never regained consciousness.

The President’s body was transported by train to Washington D.C. and then on to his estate in Hyde Park for burial. Thousands of mourners lined the tracks to say goodbye.

The White House appointment diaries for April 12, 1945 are available on our Franklin D. Roosevelt Day by Day website.

March 17, 1935 marked Franklin and Eleanor’s 30th wedding anniversary. They were married on St. Patrick’s Day in 1905 in New York City at the home of Eleanor’s aunt, Mrs. Henry Parrish Jr. The bride was given away by her uncle, President Theodore Roosevelt. They took their honeymoon over the summer and visited England, France, Germany, Italy, Scotland and Switzerland.

Below is the front of a card sent to the President and Mrs. Roosevelt for their 30th wedding anniversary. The rest of the card and letter sent to the Roosevelt’s can be found on Franklin D. Roosevelt Day by Day.

FDR and Japanese American Internment

February 2012 marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066. The decision to intern Japanese Americans is widely viewed by historians and legal scholars as a blemish on Roosevelt’s wartime record.

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the FBI arrested over 1200 Japanese aliens throughout the United States. Over the next several weeks, President Roosevelt received contradictory advice about further action.

FDR’s military advisers recommended the exclusion of persons of foreign descent, including American citizens, from sensitive areas of the country as a safeguard against espionage and sabotage. The Justice Department initially resisted any relocation order, questioning both its military necessity and its constitutionality.

But the shock of Pearl Harbor and of Japanese atrocities in the Philippines fueled already tense race relations on America’s West Coast. In the face of political, military, and public pressure, Roosevelt accepted the relocation proposal. The Attorney General acquiesced after the War Department relieved the Justice Department of any responsibility for implementation.

On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 granting the War Department broad powers to create military exclusion areas. Although the order did not identify any particular group, in practice it was used almost exclusively to intern Americans of Japanese descent. By 1943, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans had been forced from their homes and moved to camps in removed inland areas of the United States.

Please see our document packet on FDR and Japanese Internment for more information as well as documents from the FDR Library related to this topic.

Pictured below is baggage belonging to evacuees of Japanese ancestry at an assembly center prior to transfer to a War Relocation Authority Center. This photograph was taken several months after the February Executive Order, on July 1, 1942.

 

On January 18, 1935, President Roosevelt spoke to Congress on social legislation. He asked for broad social security programs, unemployment compensation, old age pensions, federal aid for dependent and crippled children, and federal aid to state and local public health agencies. Later that year on August 14th, FDR signed the Social Security Act into law.

Below is the first page of the press release of FDR’s speech to Congress. The complete speech can be viewed on the Franklin D. Roosevelt Day by Day website.

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