Nature of US home front in WW2 if Wendell Willkie had won 1940 presidential election

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Nature of US home front in WW2 if Wendell Willkie had won 1940 presidential election

Post by Cantankerous » 24 Aug 2023 02:51

Since the Republican presidential nominee in the 1940 presidential election, Wendell Willkie, favored greater U.S. involvement in World War II to support Britain and other Allied Powers, would he have promoted racially integrated military units and prodded Congress to unilaterally declare war on Nazi Germany in April 1941 if he had won the 1940 presidential election?

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Re: Nature of US home front in WW2 if Wendell Willkie had won 1940 presidential election

Post by KDF33 » 24 Aug 2023 05:12

No.

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Re: Nature of US home front in WW2 if Wendell Willkie had won 1940 presidential election

Post by Huszar666 » 25 Aug 2023 19:19

Short answer: no.
Longer answer: no way in hell.
Longest answer: no possible candidate would win with the promise to enter the war and send sons, husbands, and other male relatives to die for god and country.

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Re: Nature of US home front in WW2 if Wendell Willkie had won 1940 presidential election

Post by Cantankerous » 25 Aug 2023 20:16

Huszar666 wrote:
25 Aug 2023 19:19
Short answer: no.
Longer answer: no way in hell.
Longest answer: no possible candidate would win with the promise to enter the war and send sons, husbands, and other male relatives to die for god and country.
You got to be kidding me. The Republican Party lost the 1932 presidential election because Herbert Hoover didn't do enough to stem the Great Depression, and because no one during the 1940 presidential election ever imagined that the US entry into World War II would become the chief miracle ending the Great Depression, I still believe that Wendell Willkie would have asked Congress to declare war on Germany just four months after taking office if he had won the 1940 election due to the fact that African Americans were part of the GOP's voter base in the Deep South. In this way, African Americans in the Deep South would have preferred to not only have Willkie elected but also see the US go to war with Nazi Germany sooner because they warned that a Nazi victory in Europe or conquest of the UK would not only put the US in grave danger but also embolden KKK clansmen and other white supremacist groups to ratchet up violence against African Americans in the Deep South given that Hitler considered Africans to be just as inferior to the Aryan race as Jews, Gypsies, and Slavs.

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Re: Nature of US home front in WW2 if Wendell Willkie had won 1940 presidential election

Post by Huszar666 » 25 Aug 2023 20:34

ffice if he had won the 1940 election due to the fact that African Americans were part of the GOP's voter base in the Deep South. In this way, African Americans in the Deep South would have preferred to not only have Willkie elected but also see the US go to war with Nazi Germany sooner because they warned that a Nazi victory in Europe or conquest of the UK would not only put the US in grave danger but also embolden KKK clansmen and other white supremacist groups to ratchet up violence against African Americans in the Deep South given that Hitler considered Africans to be just as inferior to the Aryan race as Jews, Gypsies, and Slavs.
I'm not that good in American History - however short it may be - but did colored have voting rights back then? Or did anyone care, what some non-whites had to say?
Just asking, I remember something like non-whites don't be allowed to sit in the white-part of coaches, and being harrassed by the KKK and basically everyone IN THE 60s AND 70s! I do remember some regulations, that Jews weren't allowed to buy property in the better part of big cities. I do remember that one immigrant ship from Germany, full of Jews, that had to cruise up and down the Caribbean because no-one wanted to have a shipload of Jews.

But yeah, maybe the '40 US was more woke, than I previously thought.

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Re: Nature of US home front in WW2 if Wendell Willkie had won 1940 presidential election

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 26 Aug 2023 20:38

Huszar666 wrote:
25 Aug 2023 20:34
ffice if he had won the 1940 election due to the fact that African Americans were part of the GOP's voter base in the Deep South. In this way, African Americans in the Deep South would have preferred to not only have Willkie elected but also see the US go to war with Nazi Germany sooner because they warned that a Nazi victory in Europe or conquest of the UK would not only put the US in grave danger but also embolden KKK clansmen and other white supremacist groups to ratchet up violence against African Americans in the Deep South given that Hitler considered Africans to be just as inferior to the Aryan race as Jews, Gypsies, and Slavs.
I'm not that good in American History - however short it may be - but did colored have voting rights back then? Or did anyone care, what some non-whites had to say?
Voting rights varied mostly by state. In some regions the 'ethnic' vote counted, in others it did not. There were in some cases local restrictions.
Just asking, I remember something like non-whites don't be allowed to sit in the white-part of coaches, and being harrassed by the KKK and basically everyone IN THE 60s AND 70s! I do remember some regulations, that Jews weren't allowed to buy property in the better part of big cities. I do remember that one immigrant ship from Germany, full of Jews, that had to cruise up and down the Caribbean because no-one wanted to have a shipload of Jews.

But yeah, maybe the '40 US was more woke, than I previously thought.

Woke would be the wrong term. The Depression led to a lot of former conservatives or neutrals to become interested in socialism, democracy, & the older late 19th Century forms of progressivism, or liberal social attitudes. Many who would not want to live next door to Catholics, Negros, Italians, Irish, ... saw value in the other ethnic groups as political allies, and that if the other groups could not be denied political rights then you were safer from losing yours. To understand this philosophy rewind to 1915 & the revival of the KKK. At that time the published doctrine of the new Klan had little aimed at Afro Americans, they saw that problem as solved. The concern was Catholics, Slavs, Nordics like Germans and Swede, Asians, and about anyone else who was not a WASP gaining significant political power. Replacement Theory is not exactly new. Just the name has changed. 1915 represented a surge in fear the 100% Americans the WASP ethnic group, would lose is political and economic power to less deserving humans. Twenty years later the pendulum was in the other direction as the assorted groups who wee not allowed in the club sought to gain political and social power through the broader and more inclusive idea of who a citizen was. People who participated in the Klan 1915-1925 because of its claims to upholding 'Morality' turned away as the Klan or social conservatives lost their credentials as the morality police, and became exposed as a cheap political tool.

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Re: Nature of US home front in WW2 if Wendell Willkie had won 1940 presidential election

Post by OpanaPointer » 26 Aug 2023 21:07

Wendell Willkie was born and raised in Elwood, Indiana. When I was kid in the next town over, Alexandria, there were signs on all avenues of approach to Elwood saying "N*gg*r, don't let the sun shine on your head here!" The Indiana Grand Dragon of the Klu Klux Klan lived there. He was the Grand Dragon when Willkie ran for President. Willkie was firmly against the KKK.

When Willkie ran against FDR the Republican party's platform mentioned "defense" eleven times. After Willkie lost the election FDR got him to work as a roving ambassador for the US. He died before the war ended, saving Truman from a really strong candidate for the 1948 elections.

Just points to ponder. I won't dig out my notes.
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Re: Nature of US home front in WW2 if Wendell Willkie had won 1940 presidential election

Post by rcocean » 26 Aug 2023 22:41

OpanaPointer wrote:
26 Aug 2023 21:07
Wendell Willkie was born and raised in Elwood, Indiana. When I was kid in the next town over, Alexandria, there were signs on all avenues of approach to Elwood saying "N*gg*r, don't let the sun shine on your head here!" The Indiana Grand Dragon of the Klu Klux Klan lived there. He was the Grand Dragon when Willkie ran for President. Willkie was firmly against the KKK.

Just points to ponder. I won't dig out my notes.
Really? How old are you? And what was the name of the Indiana "Grand Dragon"? I smell a "story".

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Re: Nature of US home front in WW2 if Wendell Willkie had won 1940 presidential election

Post by OpanaPointer » 26 Aug 2023 23:28

Look up "Elwood Indiana" and add KKK tags. Or find Willkie's bio. I researched Willkie briefly for a paper on public opinion 1939-1941.

Oh, I was born in 1951.
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Re: Nature of US home front in WW2 if Wendell Willkie had won 1940 presidential election

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 28 Aug 2023 18:08

rcocean wrote:
26 Aug 2023 22:41
OpanaPointer wrote:
26 Aug 2023 21:07
Wendell Willkie was born and raised in Elwood, Indiana. When I was kid in the next town over, Alexandria, there were signs on all avenues of approach to Elwood saying "N*gg*r, don't let the sun shine on your head here!" The Indiana Grand Dragon of the Klu Klux Klan lived there. He was the Grand Dragon when Willkie ran for President. Willkie was firmly against the KKK. ...
Really? How old are you? And what was the name of the Indiana "Grand Dragon"? I smell a "story".

Its been covered by multiple historians. Books as obscure as a histoy of Blackford County include a chapter on this. 'Hooded Americanism' a general history of the 20th Century KKK covers the Midwestern/Indiana aspects in some detail.

The basic outline is WASPS in rural/small town Indiana and urban enclaves were feeling anxious about their social/economic/political/cultural position. Replacement fear under a earlier name. This was a backlash to the 19th & early 20th Century Progressive & social Liberal movements. ie: Slavery abolishment, Womens suffrage, laws against predatory & fraudulent business practice. While the WASP ethnic group was not universally or even in majority buying off on the 1915 or 1940 doctrines of the KKK there was a very active cohort who did. It was not just the KKK in the eastern US. The Silver Shirts were a smaller and briefer expression of the same phenom. The revival of the KKK was not aimed specifically at African Americans, but across the board at all non WASP ethnic groups, and focused heavily on non Protestnts. It was also tied strongly to public morality. The KKK was a major supporter of Prohibition in its early years, up until that experiment backfired in the 1920s.

The restriction to a specific ethnic group damaged the expansion of the KKK in the Midwest. Indiana had been one of the centers of the 19th Century phase of the industrial revolution. its factory cities were crammed with immigrants & non WASP ethnic groups. Slavs, Hungarians, Italians, Greeks, Spanish, French. That all those were more often than not Orthodox or Catholics shut the KKK out of the urban islands in rural Indiana. Even in the rural counties seventh Generation Irish Catholics, German Catholics, fifteenth Generation French Catholic residents were 'unsupportive'.

Neither did the KKK gain much traction in the veterans organizations. Some Legion or VFW chapters were deeply involved. Most included a fair number of Veterans not qualified for KKK membership. The American Legion state leaders were also strongly connected to state and Federal politics and found the KKK political connections often in competition. They had little interest in seeing their power roots in the Veterans organization drawn away by overlapping KKK influence.

Bottom line is the KKK in Indiana had a initial surge of membership 1915-1925, then shrank down into a a hard core of active and politically or socially strong members. They could not be ignored, but they had to be unnoticed by the politicians.

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Re: Nature of US home front in WW2 if Wendell Willkie had won 1940 presidential election

Post by rcocean » 01 Sep 2023 02:39

Bottom line is the KKK in Indiana had a initial surge of membership 1915-1925, then shrank down into a a hard core of active and politically or socially strong members. They could not be ignored, but they had to be unnoticed by the politicians.
OK thanks. By 1940, the KKK was a zero factor in American politics, and Willkie's fight against the Klan in the 20s was neither unusual nor particularly noble. The man who lead the charge in 1924 Democrat Convention against the KKK was Al Smith. Who was nominated for POTUS in 1928.

I've looked through the a book of Willkie's campaign speeches in 1940, and can't find single mention of the KKK or the silver bugs or whatever they were called. FDR the same. Willkie was probably to the left of FDR on race issues, but it was simply a non-issue in 40 and 44.

Off topic: Willkie was a bit of a fake. He posed as the country boy from Indiana, but he moved to NYC in the late twenties, and spent almost all his time there. He posed as a Republican and opponent of FDR, but he supported FDR in 1932, and didn't change his party registration from D to R until 1939. He posed as the great family man, but had a mistress who worked for the NY herald Tribune. He posed as a "man of the people" but his whole Campaign for financed and supported by NYC "Big Donors", Luce, the owner the NY HT, and the Cowles family which owned newspapers and look magazine. At the end of the 1940 campaign, he started charging that FDR would lead us into war, and was a warmonger, despite secretly agreeing with all FDR's policies! :lol:

So, what if WIllkie had won? He'd have done everything FDR did, only worse.

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Re: Nature of US home front in WW2 if Wendell Willkie had won 1940 presidential election

Post by T. A. Gardner » 01 Sep 2023 04:45

Actually, if you look at polling at the time, a war with Japan was considered very likely and had popular support. A war with Germany was also considered likely and had a very narrow margin of support. That is, the American public had little qualms about getting in a war with Japan while a war with Germany was considered likely, but one we shouldn't jump into if possible.

The big question would be, what does Wilkie do once we are at war? For instance, let's say he decides "Japan first" as the US strategy. While the US would still be involved in Europe, if the push was to finish Japan the Pacific War might end significantly earlier than it did. The US build up in Europe goes slower. Russia is forced to do more of the ground fighting. The USAAF build up is slower so the bomber campaign is commensurately slower.

What does Britain and Russia say about that?

On the other hand, if Wilkie goes to war earlier with Germany, little really changes in the European campaign. The US build up would still take the same amount of time. The question becomes, what happens with Japan? If the US is at war with Germany, does the USN weaken the Pacific Fleet to deal with the Germans? Does the previous build up in the Philippines get lower priority?
With say, no Pearl Harbor, but Japan still declaring war... What happens?

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Re: Nature of US home front in WW2 if Wendell Willkie had won 1940 presidential election

Post by rcocean » 02 Sep 2023 22:00

Actually, if you look at polling at the time, a war with Japan was considered very likely and had popular support. A war with Germany was also considered likely and had a very narrow margin of support.
No, this is completely wrong.

Gallup Poll July 1940:

If the question of the United States
golng to war against Germany and Italy
came up for a national vote within the
next two weeks, would you vote to go into .the war or stay out of the war?
(July 3, 1940)

Go in 13%
Stay out 79%
Don't Know 8%

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Re: Nature of US home front in WW2 if Wendell Willkie had won 1940 presidential election

Post by KDF33 » 02 Sep 2023 22:04

rcocean wrote:
02 Sep 2023 22:00
No, this is completely wrong.

Gallup Poll July 1940:

If the question of the United States
golng to war against Germany and Italy
came up for a national vote within the
next two weeks, would you vote to go into .the war or stay out of the war?
(July 3, 1940)

Go in 13%
Stay out 79%
Don't Know 8%
How is this in any way proving him wrong?

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Re: Nature of US home front in WW2 if Wendell Willkie had won 1940 presidential election

Post by Cantankerous » 05 Sep 2023 00:31

KDF33 wrote:
02 Sep 2023 22:04
rcocean wrote:
02 Sep 2023 22:00
No, this is completely wrong.

Gallup Poll July 1940:

If the question of the United States
golng to war against Germany and Italy
came up for a national vote within the
next two weeks, would you vote to go into .the war or stay out of the war?
(July 3, 1940)

Go in 13%
Stay out 79%
Don't Know 8%
How is this in any way proving him wrong?
A public opinion poll conducted in September 1940 (two months before the 1940 presidential election season) showed that a slight majority of Americans favored the US helping the UK win the fight against Nazi Germany, and when a Gallup poll conducted November 21-26, 1940 asked "Which of these two things do you think is the more important for the United States to do–to keep out of war ourselves, or to help England win, even at the risk of getting into the war?", the following responses were given:

Help: 60%
Keep out: 40%

Given these poll statistics, if Wendell Willkie had been elected president, the Gallup polling from late 1940 would have prompted him to ask Congress to declare war on Germany as soon as April 1941 because the American people came to realize that if the British Isles were conquered, then the US would be in grave danger. Also, a Willkie administration would have issued propaganda posters urging African Americans in the Deep South to join all-white military units and American Jews to join the Eagle Squadron and warning that a victory for Nazi Germany would send a message of encouragement to white supremacists to renew violence and intimidation against African Americans in the Deep South and Jews.

Link:
https://exhibitions.ushmm.org/americans ... -1939-1941

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