"The Last Heavy Blow" - Roosevelt's Appeal for Negotiation

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"The Last Heavy Blow" - Roosevelt's Appeal for Negotiation

Post by wm » 23 Aug 2020 15:04

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Re: "The Last Heavy Blow" - Roosevelt's Appeal for Negotiation

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 23 Aug 2020 23:09

I'd have to check the dates, but in 1938 one of Roosevelts acquaintances had a talk after returning from Europe, & persuaded him the nazi government was intending war soon if further demands did not get the results desired. The meeting with this early 'war hawk' seems to have persuaded Roosevelt to support expanded military spending in the 1938 budget bill for fiscal years 1939-40. This was at the expense of New Deal programs and brought up fears of tax increases, thus earning Roosevelt opposition from both fiscal conservatives and the New Dealers. This also presages the presidents decision to replace the Democratic party hacks who had been serving as Secretary of War & Secretary of the Navy. Eventually appointing the experienced Knox and Stimson to those positions. So on one hand we see a Roosevelt making increasingly emotional appeals for peace, yet also starting to listen to the warhawks and taking the early steps to rebuild the athropied US military.

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Re: "The Last Heavy Blow" - Roosevelt's Appeal for Negotiation

Post by wm » 28 Aug 2020 19:15

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Re: "The Last Heavy Blow" - Roosevelt's Appeal for Negotiation

Post by wm » 29 Aug 2020 09:47

Amid all the nervous anticipation, the president calmly worked on his response to a letter Franklin D. Roosevelt had sent to him and the Führer. He needed to hurry because he was supposed to leave the Castle in the evening for Zátiší, hopefully before Hitler's speech at 8 P.M.
Beneš was disappointed that Roosevelt had sent identical texts to Prague and Berlin, thus implying moral equivalence between the respective causes of the Third Reich and Czechoslovakia.

Roosevelt's plea that the conflict should not be solved by force was fine, but Czechoslovakia was not proposing to attack Germany. It was the Führer who threatened to use violence to seize the Sudetenland and maybe more. Beneš felt bitter about being put on the same level with Hitler.

Later, he would describe Roosevelt's intervention in the crisis as a stab in the back and the "last heavy blow."
But he was a statesman, and he was able to suppress personal feelings when politics was at stake. His response to Roosevelt—written as it was in that nervous time when German bombers could come at any moment and when his offices were filled with dozens of noisy guests—was a masterpiece. Once the letter had been drafted, it was dictated to London and cabled to Washington.
Roosevelt "even ordered for himself [similar] statements from ... South American republics."
There are additional records of interventions by diplomatic representatives of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.
They contained the same message for President Beneš: Mr. President, please find a peaceful solution.
Czechoslovakia Between Stalin and Hitler by Igor Lukes
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Re: "The Last Heavy Blow" - Roosevelt's Appeal for Negotiation

Post by OpanaPointer » 29 Aug 2020 11:53

What was FDR going to do in Europe?
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Re: "The Last Heavy Blow" - Roosevelt's Appeal for Negotiation

Post by wm » 29 Aug 2020 12:57

FDR enabled the Munich Agreement.
For the next few days Chamberlain hardly stopped thanking Roosevelt, by one means or another, for his intervention.
He had reason to be thankful. ...
Roosevelt's appeal helped to create the right public atmosphere for further talk and so for Munich.

Just to quote Kennedy on 27 September: "not only did last night's papers ploy up tremendously his message but again this morning with very praiseworthy editorials. As a matter of fact it helped offset a good deal of bitterness that had arisen as a result of the terrific blast from the American news-papers on the question of the betrayal of Czechoslovakia".
Roosevelt's appeal helped to still the British conscience - that swan of such high moral principle should back up Chamberlain's efforts... '.

"What ... words", wrote Templewood, "could better show his full approval of Chamberlain's efforts?". What ... words, he might have added, could have been of greater assistance to Chamberlain? He went off to the Munich Conference, in his pocket Roosevelt's blank cheque for peace, ...

And of course, if Roosevelt's appeal for an actual conference had some influence on Hitler, it was really just more support for Chamberlain. It impelled Hitler to accept appeasement for the gain he could make out of it and to steer clear of the war that would have buried appeasement. Roosevelt came in at the last to save the bargain.
Roosevelt and British Appeasement in 1938 by William V. Wallace

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