Effect of successful Sea Lion on FDR's legacy

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HistoryGeek2019
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Effect of successful Sea Lion on FDR's legacy

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 31 Dec 2019 07:56

Suppose Germany managed to conquer Great Britain before the November 1940 US presidential election, or at least enough of Great Britain so that the outcome was inevitable. What effect would this have on FDR's re-election and legacy in history?

As far as the election goes, I can see Wendell Willkie taking a strong militaristic, anti-German stance (even stronger than in the OTL) if the German army is marching across Britain in September and October. Willkie would lambast FDR for not doing enough to prepare America and its allies against the threat of fascist dictators. This would be a successful political strategy for Willkie because (1) Germanophobia was high in America, (2) Anglophilia was equally high and (3) the conquest of Britain and France would mean that America was essentially alone as the only major democracy left in the world. Europe would be run by fascists, Russia by communists, and Japan by a military dictatorship. America would be the only democracy left in the world along with Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some Latin American countries. The sense of fear and foreboding in America would be enormous.

I think Willkie's attacks would carry over after the election and permanently tarnish FDR's place in history. FDR would have gone down as another Neville Chamberlain - a weak-willed appeaser who stood by and did nothing while the world fell to dictatorships under his watch. Of course, the world would be a very different place, but FDR would be vilified as the man who let it happen.

Just an interesting thing to think about.

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