The South African
Military History Society

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging


by John Myburgh

Main Lecture to the Johannesburg Branch on 13 February 2020

Hitler           and       Roosevelt

The Coincidence:


(i) He was sworn in by President Hindenburg as Chancellor of Germany on 31 January 1933. On 23 March 1933, with the passing of the Enabling Act, he became de facto a dictator.
(ii) He committed suicide on 30 April 1945.
(iii) So he was in power from 31 January 1933 until 30 April 1945.
(iv) Electoral support: in the last free election held on 6 November 1932, the Nazi Party received 33,1% of the vote, giving it 196 seats in the Reichstag, making it the largest party in the Reichstag. The Reichstag was set fire to on 27 February 1933. The Nazis used the fire as a pretext to suspend personal liberties and to round up Communist deputies and functionaries, social democrats, trade unionists and left-wing intellectuals. In the election of 5 March 1933, which was not a free election, the Nazi Party received 43,9% of the vote (17,3 million votes) and had 288 out of 647 seats in the Reichstag.

The Coincidence:


(i) Roosevelt was inaugurated as President of the United States on 4 March 1933.

(ii) He died on 12 April 1945.

(iii) Electoral support: In the presidential election held in November 1932: Roosevelt, of the Democratic Party, won 42 of the 48 states, received 7,1 million more popular votes than Hoover of the Republican Party, the incumbent president, (22,8 million to 15,7 million) and received 472 electoral votes to Hoover's 59.



(i) His father was Alois Schicklgruber, born on 7 June 1837.

(ii) At the age of 18 Alois joined the Austrian Ministry of Finance.

(iii) In 1875 he was appointed customs inspector in Braunau am Inn.

(iv) In 1876, at the age of 37, Alois changed his name to "Hitler".

(v) Hitler's mother was Klara Pölzl. She was brought up with Alois in the home of Nepomuk Hüttler.

(vi) Alois was married three times. When his second wife died of TB at the age of 23, leaving him with two small children, Alois asked Klara to join him. Soon afterwards she fell pregnant. Alois and Klara could not get married without the dispensation of the Catholic Church as they were second cousins. After the dispensation was given, they got married in 1885. Alois was 47 years old at the time, Klara was 25.

(vii) Klara's first three children died in infancy. Her fourth child, Adolf was born on 20 April 1889.



(i) FDR's father was James Roosevelt, who was descended from Claes Van Roosevelt, who settled in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam in 1650. New Amsterdam later became known as New York.

(ii) James, although qualified as a lawyer, became a business man and director of companies.

(iii) In 1880 James married Sara Delano. He was a 52 year-old widower. Sara was 26. James was twice the age of Sara.

(iv) Sara's father was descended from a French Huguenot who arrived in the Plymouth Colony in 1621. One of his sources of income was the tea and opium trade with China.

(v) The Roosevelt's main home was their country estate, Springwood, near Hyde Park, consisting of 1000 acres, in the Hudson River Valley in the state of New York.

vi) FDR was born on 30 January 1882. One of his guardians was Elliott Roosevelt: - a brother of Teddy Roosevelt, a future President to the United States; and

(v) the father of Eleanor Roosevelt, the future wife of FDR.

Early Childhood and Schooling:


(i) Hitler grew up in a middle-class home with included, at one time, his parents, sister, brother, two children of Alois' second marriage, one of Klara's younger sisters, and a cook and maid.

(ii) Alois is described by one historian as "an archetypal provincial civil servant - pompous, status-proud, strict, humourless, frugal, pedantically punctual and devoted to duty...At home he was an authoritarian, overbearing, domineering husband and a stern, distant, and often irritable father. For long after their marriage, Klara did not get out of the habit of calling him 'Uncle'".

(iii) Klara was said by her Jewish doctor, Eduard Bloch, to have been a simple, modest, kindly woman. Adolf's sister, Paula, after WW2 described her mother as "a very soft and tender person.' It was especially my brother Adolf who challenged my father to extreme harshness and who got a sound thrashing every often on the other hand did my mother caress him and try to obtain with her kindness what the father could not succeed in obtaining with harshness!".

(iv) Adolf happily attended primary school. He became a great fan of stories of the American Wild West by a German author, Karl May. Even as Reich Chancellor, he read the May stores, which he recommended to his generals. Adolf commenced high school in 1900. He had no close friends. His school record "hovered between poor and mediocre".

(v) Alois wanted Adolf to join the civil service. Adolf refused. He said he wanted to become an artist.

(vi) Alois died on 3 January 1903, at the age of 66. Adolf was 14 years old at the time. Klara tried to persuade Adolf to comply with his father's wishes. He refused.

(vii) In 1905, at the age of 16, Adolf stopped attending school. That was the end of his formal education.

Early Childhood and Schooling:


(i) Franklin's early childhood and education was bizarre. Both parents were devoted to him. James, who was in his 50s and 60s when Franklin was growing up, taught him to ride and to sail. Their relationship was close and affectionate. Franklin's mother, Sara, although equally devoted, kept him in dresses and curls until the age of 5. Thereafter he was dressed in kilts. Sara refused to allow him to go to school. He was taught at home by her and by a succession of tutors. The first time he attended school for six weeks was in Germany when he was 10 years old.

(ii) At the age of 5 Franklin accompanied his parents to Washington DC. The President, Grover Cleveland, was a friend of Franklin's father, James. The Roosevelts visited the Clevelands in the White House. President Cleveland patted Franklin on the head and said "My little man, I am making a strange wish for you, it is that you may never be president of the United States."

(iii) The first time Franklin attended school in the United States was at the age of 14 in 1896. The school was Groton School, north of Boston, Massachusetts. Groton is said by one historian to have been an immediate success and within ten years had become the most exclusive school in America. The founder and headmaster of the school was the Rev Endicott Peabody.

(iv) Franklin matriculated in 1900.

The years between leaving school and WW1:


(i) After leaving school, in the years 1905 to 1907, Adolf lived off his mother. He did not seek employment, he did not study further, he did not learn a trade. He painted, read, or wrote "poetry".

(ii) It was in that period that he went to Vienna to apply to study at the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts. His studies were to be financed by a loan from his aunt, Johanna. Hitler failed the entrance examination.

(iii) On 21 December 1907 Klara died of breast cancer at the age of 47.

(iv) Hitler returned to Vienna in February 1908 at the age of almost 19 years. He was to remain there for 5 years. He lived with his friend August Kubizek. While August studied music at the Conservatoire, Hitler stayed in bed most mornings and then the afternoons read books and fantasised about creating great architectural drawings. Gustav thought Adolf was studying at the Academy of Fine Arts. The life Adolf and Gustav led in Vienna was frugal. Their only extravagance was going to the opera. In early July 1908 Gustav passed his examinations at the Conservatoire and returned to Linz.

(v) In October 1908 Adolf again failed the examination set by the Viennese Academy of Fine Art.

(vi) After Gustav left Vienna, Adolf ran out of money. He lived in the open or cheap lodgings when the weather was bad. He is described by one historian at this stage as "thin and bedraggled, in filthy, live-ridden clothes, his feet sore from walking around, Hitler joined the human flotsam and jetsam finding their way to the large, recently established doss-house for the homeless in Melding." The Meidlng Hospital provided the amenities of a shower, disinfection of clothes and some food, but only at night.

(vii) When Hitler received some money, probably from his aunt Johanna, he bought a coat and moved into the Men's Home, which offered privacy, food, and a kitchen to prepare meals. During his time there Hitler and one Hanisch began a business venture with Hitler painting scenes of Vienna, sometimes at the rate of one a day, and Hanisch selling the pictures. They shared the proceeds. Most of the dealers Hanisch dealt with were Jewish. Hanisch described Hitler in 1913 as "slight in build, poorly nourished, with hollow cheeks, dark hair flopping in his face, and wearing shabby clothes."

(viii) In May 1913 Hitler, having turned 24, became entitled to his inheritance from his father's estate. And so he was able to do what he had wanted to do for some time, namely to leave Vienna for Munich. He was also keen to evade the Austrian military authorities. He failed to register for military service in 1909 and so avoided military service in 1911 and 1912.

(ix) Hitler spent about 15 months in Munich before WW1. He rented room with one Häusler from Frau Popp. He did not have a single visitor in the time that he was in her house. During the day he painted a series of Munich scenes, usually copying postcards and old paintings to earn a modest living. He lived frugally. He read books at night.

(x) The Linz military authorities eventually caught up with him. With the co-operation of the Bavarian authorities he was summoned to appear in Linz. Later he was told to report to Salzburg. On reaching Salzburg he was found to be too weak to undergo military training.

The years between leaving school and WW1:


(i) Franklin went to Harvard College in September 1900. He was allowed to complete a four-year degree in three years because the sixth form at Groton was the equivalent of the required first year at Harvard. He took courses in economics, government and history.

(ii) In his first year at Harvard he was elected to the editorial board of the Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper. At the end of his third year, he was elected editor in chief. He took his degree in June 1903, but remained for a fourth year, to work on the Crimson. He often worked 4 to 6 hours a day on the newspaper.

(iii) Franklin began studying law at Columbia Law School, New York, in October 1904. In June 1906 he passed the Bar examinations for the state of New York. He got a job with a well-known Wall Street firm. He had no interest in the law. He told his contemporaries at the firm that he intended to follow in the footsteps of his cousin Teddy Roosevelt and become a member of the New York state legislature, assistant secretary of the navy, and governor of New York, before becoming president of the United States.

(iv) In March 1905 Franklin married Eleanor Roosevelt, a distant cousin and a niece of Teddy Roosevelt. The Rev Peabody officiated at the wedding. A distinguished guest was Teddy Roosevelt, then president of the United States.

(v) Franklin wanted a large family and so, between 1906 and 1916, Eleanor gave birth to six children, five of whom survived, a girl and four boys.

(vi) In 1910, Franklin, aged 28 years, standing as a Democrat, was elected as a senator in the New York state legislature for Duchess County. The seat had been held for many years by the Republicans. He was an underdog in the election. He won by 1140 votes out of 30 276 votes cast.

(vii) In 1912 Franklin was re-elected to the senate of the New York state legislature. He backed the candidacy of Woodrow Wilson of the Democratic Party in the presidential election that year. That was an election in which the Republican Party was split between William Howard Taft, the incumbent president, and Teddy Roosevelt, making a political comeback.

(viii) On 4 March 1913 Woodrow Wilson appointed Franklin as the deputy secretary of the US Navy.

World War 1


(i) On 5 August 1914 Hitler volunteered to serve in a Bavarian infantry regiment. On 16 August 1914 he was summoned to report at a recruiting depot. He was an Austrian, and had no obligation to fight in the German army. He was accepted, probably by mistake. In September 1914 he was assigned to the List Regiment. After a few weeks of training, the regiment was sent to Flanders. After four days of fighting near Ypres in October 1914, the fighting force of which Hitler was part, was reduced from 3600 to 611 men. On 1 November 1914 Hitler was promoted to Corporal. On 9 November 1914 he was assigned to the regimental staff as a dispatch rider. His job was to convey orders on foot or by bicycle.

(ii) On 2 December 1914 he was presented with the Iron Cross, Second Class.

(iii) Between March 1915 and September 1916 the List Regiment fought in the trenches near Fromelles.

(iv) On 2 October 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, Hitler was wounded in the left thigh when a shell exploded in the dispatch runners' dug-out, killing and wounding several of them. He spent almost two months in hospital. After returning to his regiment he continued in active service, except for taking leave from time to time. During the last two weeks of July 1918 the List Regiment was involved in the second battle of the Marne.

(v) On 4 August 1918 Hitler received the Iron Cross, First Class. He was nominated by a Jewish officer, Leutnant Hugo Gutman. The award was made "for bravery shown in delivering an important dispatch, following a breakdown in telephone communications, from command headquarters to the front through heavy fire."

(vi) On the night of 13-14 October 1914 he was partially blinded by gas. After receiving treatment in Flanders, he was sent to a hospital in Pomerania. The war was over for him.

(vii) According to one biographer: "The war offered him his way out. At the age of 25, it gave him for the first time in his life a cause, a commitment, comradeship, an external discipline, a sort of regular employment, a sense of wellbeing, and - more than that - a sense of belonging. His regiment became home for him."

World War 1


(i) Franklin spent WW1 as assistant secretary of the navy, a post he occupied for 7 years from March 1913. He was responsible for procurement, supply, and civilian and land-bound personnel, while the secretary of the navy, Josephus Daniels was responsible for the fleet.

(ii) When war broke out in Europe in August 1914, the United States remained neutral.

(iii) On 2 April 1917, president Wilson delivered his "war address" to Congress, calling on Congress to declare war on Germany.

(iv) Teddy Roosevelt begged Franklin to resign as assistant secretary of the navy and get into uniform at once. Franklin did in fact resign, but Daniels and Wilson refused to accept his resignation.

(v) In April and May 1917 British and French delegations arrived in the United States. Roosevelt met with them and promised 30 destroyers, without the authority of either Daniels or Wilson. His promises were subsequently ratified by his superiors. Allied shipping now enjoyed greater protection.

(vi) Roosevelt proposed that a barrage of mines be constructed between Norway and Scotland to prevent German submarines from reaching the Atlantic. In February 1918 a convoy carrying 100 000 mines left the US for Britain. The barrage was not completed by the time the war ended.

(vii) In July 1918 Roosevelt set sail for Europe. During his trip to Europe he met with King George V, the British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, and in Paris, the President of France and the Prime Minister, Clemenceau. While he was there he decided to resign. He wrote out, but in the end did not send, a letter to Daniels, resigning at assistant secretary in the navy to pursue his "proper duty" on the Western Front. He went on a courtesy visit to Belgium with the British commander in France, Field Marshall Douglas Haig. They met King Albert I of Belgium. He came under enemy artillery fire and two air raids. Back in Paris he met with General Pershing, the commander of the American forces in France, and Marshall Foch, of the French army. He then left for the United States, arriving in New York in September 1918. He had to be taken off on a stretcher. He was ill with double pneumonia.

1919 to 1932


1919 to 1920

(i) In October 1918 German sailors led a revolt, followed by a mutiny. A republic was proclaimed on 9 October 1918. Shortly afterwards Kaizer Wilhelm abdicated his throne. In Bavaria it was a time of chaos. There was an attempt to create a communist-style Soviet-style system, known as the Räterepublik. It ended in violence, bloodshed, and deep recrimination.

(ii) On 21 November 1918 Hitler returned to Munich shortly after leaving hospital. He was almost thirty years old without a career or prospects, the army his only home and means of support. On 11 May 1919 the Gruko was created from the Bavarian units which had been involved in the crushing of the Räterepublik. In May Gruko took over the information department. The idea was to educate soldiers to be anti-Bolshevik. A series of anti-Bolshevik courses beginning in early June 1919 was organized by Captain Karl Mayr. Hitler was recruited as an informant. In early June 1919 Hitler attended instruction courses at Munich University. One day he came to the attention of Professor Karl Alexander von Müller when he heard Hitler addressing a small group of people outside a lecture hall. He mentioned Hitler to Mayr. Mayr subsequently chose Hitler was one of the lecturers to give instruction courses at the Reichswehr camp, at Lechfeld, near Augsburg. The task of this group of lecturers was to inculcate nationalist and anti-Bolshevik sentiments to the troops. A central feature of Hitler's talks was anti-Semitism, which reflected the views of many people in Munich at the time.

(iii) On 12 September 1919 Hitler was sent by Mayr, as an informant, to report on a meeting of the German Workers Party (DAP). After the lecture Hitler was so annoyed by the lecturer that he intervened and attacked the lecturer to such an extent that the lecturer took his hat and left, even while Hitler was still speaking. Hitler's intervention so impressed the party chairman, Anton Drexler, that he gave a copy of his pamphlet, "My Political Awakening", to Hitler. According to Hitler, he read Drexler's pamphlet; it struck a chord with him. Within a week he received a postcard informing him that he had been accepted as a member, and should attend a committee meeting a few days later. During the second half of September 1919, Hitler joined the German Workers Party and was given membership number 555.

(iv) Captain Mayr later claimed that he had ordered Hitler to join the German Workers Party to help it to grow, and that he had provided Hitler with money. So, Hitler was in the unusual position that he was allowed to stay in the army, drawing his army pay, as well as speaker fees, until his discharge on 31 March 1920, devoting himself full time to political propaganda.

(v) The first mass meeting of the German Workers Party was held on 24 February 1920. There were 25 points to the programme which was to be pronounced at the meeting. Some of the points were demands for a Greater Germany and discrimination against Jews, which were implemented once the Nazi Party got into power in 1933. About 2000 people attended the meeting, perhaps 400 of them, socialist opponents. They were crammed into the Festaal of the Hofbräuhaus. After the main speech had been given, Hitler spoke: "His tone was harsher, more aggressive, less academic, than Dingfelder's. The language he used was expressive, direct, coarse, earthy - that used and understood by most of his audience - his sentences short and punchy." His verbal attacks on the Jews attracted cheers from members of the audience.

(vi) On 1 April 1920 the German Workers Party changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) also known as the Nazi Party.

(vii) In mid-1920 Hitler personally designed the party's banner with its swastika.

(viii) When Hitler was the designated speaker, crowds attended the meetings of the Nazi Party. By the end of 1920 Hitler had addressed over 30 mass meetings, mostly of between 800 and 2500 people, and spoke at many smaller internal party gatherings.

(ix) Kershaw writes: "Without the changed conditions, the product of a lost war, revolution, and a pervasive sense of national humiliation, Hitler would have remained a nobody. His main ability by far, as he came to realise during the course of 1919, was that in prevailing circumstances he could inspire an audience which shared his basic political feelings, by the way he spoke, by the force of his rhetoric, by the very power of his prejudice, by the conviction he conveyed was a way out of Germany's plight, and that only the way he outlined was the road to national rebirth. Another time., another place, and the message would have been ineffective, absurd even. ...

Above all, what came naturally was to stoke up the hatred of others by pouring out to them the hatred that was so deeply embedded in himself. ...

It was as a propagandist, not as an ideologue with unique or special set of political ideas, that Hitler made his mark in these early days. There was nothing new, different, original, or distinctive about the ideas he was peddling in the Munich beer halls. ...What Hitler did was to advertise unoriginal ideas in an original way. He gave voice to phobias, prejudice and resentment as no-one else could. ...

The all-devouring manic obsession with Jews to which all else is subordinated - before 1919, never absent thereafter - courses through almost every Hitler speech at this time. Behind all evil that had befallen or was threatening Germany, stood the figure of the Jew. In speech after speech he lashed the Jews in the most vicious and barbaric language imaginable."

1921 - 1924

(i) By 1921 Hitler was the embodiment of the Nazi Party. He was not the chairman, however, and he did not want to be chairman. The chairman remained Drexler.

(ii) During the course of 1921, Hitler spike at 28 major meetings in Munich and 12 elsewhere, most of them in Bavaria. He gave 7 addresses to the newly-formed SA. Between January and June 1921 he wrote 39 articles for the Nazi Party newspaper. He had time to do all this work because he had no other occupational interest. When he wasn't working for the Nazi Party he spent time in cafés in Munich.

(iii) In March 1921 Drexler, the chairman of the Nazi Party, agreed to a merger with the German-Socialist Party (DSP). Hitler was so angry when he heard about the agreement that he threatened to resign from the party, and succeeded in ending the negotiations with the DSP.

(iv) In June 1921 Hitler left for Berlin to raise money for the party, which was always short of money. When he got back from Berlin he found that a delegation of the Nazi Party's leaders were due to have talks with the Deutsche Werkgemeinschaft. The leader was Dr Otto Dickel. Hitler attended a meeting which so outraged him that he walked out. Hitler resigned from the Nazi Party on 11 July 1921, he was so angry. On 13 July 1921 Drexler asked Hitler on what conditions he would agree to rejoin the party. His key demands were: to be given the post of chairman with dictatorial power; the party's headquarters to be fixed once and for all as Munich; the party programme to be regarded as inviolate; and the end of all merger attempts. His conditions were met at an extraordinary members' meeting. Hitler rejoined the party, as member number 3680, on 26 July 1921.

(v) There was fertile ground for Hitler to make trouble. Amongst the reasons for discontent were that food was costing almost 8 times more in 1921 than it had cost at the end of the war, and by the following year, food would cost 130 times more, and that was before the currency lost all its value in the hyper-inflation of 1920.

(vi) After a violent clash between Hitler's followers and his opponents, he was sentenced in January 1922 to three months' imprisonment for breach of the peace, two months suspended. He served one month of his sentence between 24 June and 27 July 1922 in the Stadelheim prison in Munich.

(vii) There were constant clashes between Nazi Party supporters and the police.

(viii) Hitler was threatened with expulsion from Germany - he was not a German citizen. He made propaganda value out of that, making the point that he, an Austrian, had fought for Germany in the First World War.

(ix) On 8 October 1922, Julius Streicher Nuremburg branch of the Deutsche Werkgemeinschaft, wrote to Hitler offering to take his supporters and his newspaper into the Nazi Party. The transfer took place on 20 October 1922. With Streicher's followers, the Nazi Party increased its membership from around 2000 members in early 1921 to 6000 a year later. The other advantage to Hitler was that the Nazi Party now had a northern, Protestant base. And Streicher was "fervently nationalistic, and stridently anti-Semitic."

(x) On 28 October 1922 Mussolini's "March on Rome" took place. "It suggested the model of a dynamic and nationalist leader marching to the salvation of his strife-torn country. The Duce provided an image to be copied." Less than a week later, on 3 November 1922, Hermann Esser told a packed Festsaal in the Hofbräuhaus: "Germany's Mussolini is called Adolf Hitler." This was the symbolic moment when Hitler's followers invented the Führer cult. From then on Hitler began to attract adulation, including comparisons with Napoleon, from admirers on the Right. "The ground for the later rapid spread of the Führer cult was already well fertilized." Referring to Mussolini a short while after the "March on Rome", Hitler stated: "So will it be with us. We only have the courage to act. Without struggle, no victory." In December 1922, for the first time, the Nazi newspaper claimed that Hitler was a special kind of leader, the leader for whom Germany was waiting. At the time of Hitler's 34th birthday on 20 April 1923, Hermann Göring labelled Hitler, "beloved leader of the German-freedom movement."

(xi) The Nazi Party arranged a "Reich Party Rally" to take place in Munich on 27-29 January 1923. The Bavarian government declared a state of emergency on 26 January 1923, but did not have the power to stop the rally. According to a newspaper report at the time, when Hitler appeared to speak, he was greeted "like a saviour". He gave 12 speeches on the evening of 27 January 1923. He was always deliberately late. He was always given a hero's welcome. As he entered the hall at which he was about to speak, he was shielded by a bodyguard, arms outstretched in the salute which became standard in the Nazi movement by 1926. The salute was apparently borrowed from the Italian Fascists (and by them from Imperial Rome).

(xii) Between May and early August 1923 Hitler addressed five overfilled meetings in the Zircus Krone, and also spoke at another ten party meetings elsewhere in Bavaria. Although he drew the crowds, he needed the support of the German Army, the Reichswehr and the co-operation of the other paramilitary organizations if he was going to gain power.

(xiii) On 1-2 September 1923 a massive rally was held on German Day in Nuremberg, where it was estimated 100 000 were present, of nationalist paramilitary forces and veterans' associations. The main drawcard was Ludendorff. Hitler delivered the most effective speech. At the 2-hour march-past of the various formations, Hitler stood with General Ludendorff, Prinz Ludwig Ferdinand of Bavaria and the military head of the "patriotic associations", Oberstleutnat Kriebel, on the podium. What came out of the rally was the uniting of the Nazi Party and other organisations forming the Deutsche Kampfbund (German Combat League). While Kriebel took over the military leadership, Hitler assumed "political leadership".

(xiv) At that time, Germany was bankrupt, its currency in ruins, inflation was rampant, savings of a lifetime were wiped out, insurance policies had no value, pension and fixed incomes became worthless.

(xv) On 26 September 1923 Bavaria proclaimed a state of emergency and made von Kahr General State Commissar with near-dictatorial powers. The German government responded with a declaration of a general statement of emergency. One of Kahr's first acts was to ban the 14 meetings which the Nazi Party had planned for the evening of 27 September 1923. Hitler was outraged. There were rumours of a forthcoming putsch.

(xvi) On 7 November 1923 a meeting was held of German Combat League leaders. It was decided that a strike would be carried out on the following day, 8 November, when all the prominent figures in Munich would be assembled in the Bürgerbräukeller, one of Munich's largest beerhalls, where Kahr was to give a speech on the 5th anniversary of the November 1918 revolution. While Kahr was speaking, Hitler marched into the beerhall accompanied by armed guards in steel helmets. A heavy machine gun was pushed into the hall. Hitler stood on a chair. When he could not be heard he fired a shot through the ceiling. He then announced that the national revolution had broken out, and that the hall was surrounded by 600 armed men. If there was trouble, he said, he would bring a machine-gun into the gallery. He moved into an adjoining room, where he said that no-one would leave without his permission. He announced the formation of a new Reich government, headed by himself, with Ludendorff to be in charge of a national army.

(xvii) Hitler returned to the hall after about 10 minutes. He repeated assurances which Göering had given earlier that the action was not directed at the police and the Reichswehr, but "solely at the Berlin Jew Government and the November criminals of 1918." He announced: "I can say this to you, either the German revolution begins tonight or we will all be dead by dawn!". Ludendorff arrived shortly afterwards, in full dress uniform, spoke, mentioning his surprise at the whole business. Hitler shook hands with Kahr. "He was the undoubted star of the show. It appeared to be his night."

(xviii) From then on, however, things went wrong. The revolutionaries failed to take control of the barracks and government buildings, and neither the army nor the state police joined forces with them.

(xix) Late that evening, Kahr, Lossow, and Seisser assured the state authorities that they repudiated the putsch. All German radio stations were informed of this by Lossow early the next morning. At about 8 o clock in the morning Hitler sent some of his SA men to seize bundles of 50-billion Mark notes directly from the printing press to keep his troops paid.

(xx) Later during the course of the morning Hitler and Ludendorff came up with the idea of a demonstration. At about noon, a column of about 2000 men, many of them, including Hitler, armed, set out from the Bürgerbräukeller. Faced with a small police cordon, they pushed it aside. Later the marchers encountered a second, larger, police cordon. Shots ran out, 14 marchers and 4 policeman were killed. Hitler dislocated his left shoulder, Göering was shot in the leg. He and other leading revolutionaries escaped over the Austrian border. Others, including Streicher and Röhm, were arrested. Ludendorff gave himself up and was released on his officer's word. Hitler was driven off by the Munich SA medical corps chief to his home, where he was found on the evening of 11 November 1923. He was arrested.

(xxi) In Munich and other parts of Bavaria, the putsch fizzled out as rapidly as it had started.

(xxii) The trial of the Putsch leaders took place between 26 February and 27 March 1924 in Munich. Hitler's co-accused included Ludendorff and Röhme, the leader of the SA. The trial ended on 1 April 1924 with the acquittal of Ludendorff. Hitler was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for high treason, less the four months and two weeks he had already been in custody and a fine of 200 Gold Marks or 20 days imprisonment.

(xxiii) Hitler's time in prison was not spent in a police cell. The conditions were more like those of a hotel. The windows of his large, comfortably furnished room on the first floor afforded and expansive view over the attractive countryside. He read newspapers in a comfortable chair or sat at a desk. He was treated with great respect by his jailers and accorded every privilege, receiving over 500 visitors before he put stop to the visitors. He wrote Mein Kampf.

(xxiv) On 7 December 1924 elections for the Reichstag took place. The National Socialist Freedom Movement won only 3% of the vote. Its Reichstag representation fell from 32 to 14 seats, only 4 of whom were National Socialists, 8 years before the election of November 1932, referred to earlier.

(xxv) On 20 December 1924 Hitler was released. He still had almost 4 years to serve of his sentence.

(xxvi) Hitler subsequently claimed that the Landsberg prison was his university paid for by the State and that he read everything he could get hold of including Nietzsche, Marx, Bismarck's "Thoughts and Memories", and the war memoirs of German and Allied generals and statesmen.



(i) On 4 January Hitler met with the Bavarian Minister President, Heinrich Held. Hitler agreed to respect the authority of the state and to support it in the struggle again Communism. He distanced himself from Ludendorff's attacks on the Catholic Church. He promised he would not attempt another putsch.

(ii) On 16 February the ban on the Nazi Party and the Volkischer Beöbachter was lifted. On 26 February the Volkischer Beöbachter appeared again. Hitler wrote the leading article. In regard to the Nazi Party, he demanded unity, loyalty and obedience. All splits were to be avoided in the struggle against "the most terrible enemy of the German people...Jewry and Marxism."

(iii) On the evening of 24 February, after a gap of 16 months, Hitler gave a speech at the Bürgerbräukeller to an audience of 3000, jammed inside, with 2000 outside. He spoke for 2 hours. He emphasized that his leadership was to be accepted unconditionally.

(iv) Under Strasser's leadership a "Working Community of the North - and West - German Gaue of the NSDAP" was established. It was a loose organisation of northern party districts, mainly for arranging speakers. In November 1925, Strasser composed a draft programme replacing that of 1920. It was potentially divisive.


(i) On 14 February Hitler summoned about 60 Party leaders to a meeting in Bamberg, Upper Franconia. He spoke for 2 hours. He was wholly opposed to the Working Community. He reasserted his authority. On 1 July he signed a directive stating that "since the NSDAP represents a large working community, there is no justification for smaller working communities as a combination of individual Gaue."

(ii) On 22 May a General Members' Meeting of the Party was held, attended by 657 party members. Hitler's leadership emerged inordinately strengthened.

(iii) On 3-4 July the Party Rally was held at Weimar. An estimated 7000 to 8000 attended, including 3600 stormtroopers and 116 SS men, attended. It was the first time that the Schutzstaffel (SS, Protection Squad), founded in April 1925 had been on display. The SS initially emerged out of Hitler's personal bodyguard, the Stosstrupp Adolf Hitler (Adolf Hitler Assault Squad). The Nazi Party was wholly insignificant in relation to national politics, and its prospect may have seemed bleak to outside observers, but internally, the crisis period was over.

(iv) In these years few people saw Hitler on a regular basis, save for his Munich cronies who were in constant touch with him.

(v) Hitler is described by Kershaw as " ... a consummate actor. This certainly applied to the stage-managed occasions - the delayed entry to the packed hall, the careful construction of his speeches, the choice of colourful phrases, the gestures and body-language. Here his natural rhetorical talent was harnessed to a well-honed performing skills." When he spoke in the beer halls, he wore a light brown uniform with swastika armband, diagonal strap belt crossing over the right shoulder, and knee-high leather boots. When appropriate, he wore a dark suit, white shirt, and tie, to appear more "respectable".

(vi) On 28 February Hitler addressed the Hamburger Nationalklub. He spoke to the socially exclusive club whose 400 to 500 members were drawn from Hamburg's upper middle class, many of them high ranking officers, civil servants, lawyers and businessmen. He made no mention of the Jews. Instead, he emphasized the need to eliminate Marxism.

(vii) Between 1926 and 1928, Hitler spoke more and more frequently about the "question of [living] space" and "land policy". He spoke in a speech on 16 December 1925 on the "acquisition of land and soil" as the best solution to Germany's economic problems and alluded to the colonization of the east "by the sword" in the middle ages.


(i) At the end of January 1927 Saxony lifted the ban on Hitler speaking. Bavaria followed on 5 March 1927. But the Nazi Party enjoyed very little support. In January 1928, the Munich police reported that "the advances of the National Socialist Movement repeatedly claimed by Hitler are not true, especially in Bavaria. In reality, interest in the movement both in the countryside and in Munich is strongly in decline. Branch meetings attended by 3-400 people in 1926 now have an attendance of at most 60-80 members." On 19-21 August 1927 the Party Rally, held for the first time at Nuremberg, attracted very little interest. Prussia, the largest state, lifted the speaking ban in the Autumn of 1928. The authorities "could believe that the Nazi menace had passed. Hitler no longer appeared a threat."

(ii) Strasser made a strong push to win over the urban proletariat, but this strategy was not working, and in danger of alienating the lower-middle class support of the Nazi Party. Reports came in from various states, indicating the growing unrest in rural areas offering promising terrain for the Nazi Party. At a meeting of Gaue leaders of 27 November 1927 in Weimar Hitler emphasized that small-shopkeepers, threatened by department stores, and white-collar workers, many of the already anti-semites, should be targeted as potential members. In December 1927 Hitler addressed, for the first time, a rally of several thousand peasants from Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein.


(i) On 20 May 1928 the results of the Reichstag election were made known. The Nazi Party won 2.6% of the votes, giving it 12 seats in the Reichstag. Among the new deputies were Gregor Strasser, Goebbels, and Goering.

(ii) Economic conditions soon began to worsen. There was widespread indebtedness, bankruptcies, forced sales of land, and bitterness in the farming community. In the Ruhr valley, industrialists refused to accept an arbitration award and locked out 230 000 workers, leaving them without wages for months. By January 1929 unemployment in Germany had reached almost 3 million.

(iii) In the winter of 1928/1929 support for the Nazi Party grew. The number of membership cards reached 108 712. In November 1928 Hitler was rapturously received by 2500 students at the University of Munich.

(iv) In March 1929 following a Nazi Party meeting in Wörhden a fight broke out between SA men and supporters of the KPD, the Communist Party of Germany, which led to the death of two storm troopers. A number were injured. There was immediately an increase in support for the Nazis in the locality. Hitler attended the funeral of the two SA men. He was applauded by the locals as a "liberator of the people".


(i) In the first half of 1929 Hitler wrote 10 articles for the Nazi paper and gave 16 major speeches to enthusiastic supporters.

(ii) In state elections the Nazi Party received:
- 5% of the vote in Saxony;
- 4% of the vote in Mecklenburg, double what it had received in 1928 in the Reichstag election;
- 7% in Baden.

(iii) In June 1929 Coburg, in northern Bavaria, became the first town to elect a Nazi-run town council.

(iv) On 1-4 August 1929 a Nazi Party Rally took place in Nuremberg. 35 special trains brought 25 000 SA and SS men and 1300 members of the Hitler Youth to Nuremberg. Police estimated that between 30 000 and 40 000 attended the Rally. By then the Nazi Party was three times as large as it had been at the time of the putsch; it had gained support throughout Germany; and "Hitler's mastery was complete."



(i) The impact of the Wall Street crash was felt almost immediately in Germany. Industrial output, prices, and wages began to drop. By January 1930 there were 3,2 million officially unemployed, 14% of the working population, although the true figure might have been over 4,5 million.

(ii) From the outset, the Nazi Party benefitted from the worsening economic crisis. In the Berlin council elections on 17 November 1929, the party almost quadrupled its vote. In the Thuringian state elections held on 8 December 1929 the party trebled its 1928 vote to 11,3%, breaking the 10% barrier for the first time.

(iii) On 18 July 1930 the Reichstag was dissolved. New elections were to be held on 14 September 1930. The Nazi Party planned 34 000 meetings throughout Germany. Hitler gave 20 major speeches, attracting crowds, for example, of 16 000 in Berlin, and 20 to 25 000 in Breslau. He seldom spoke of the Jews, as he had in the early 1920's. Now he emphasized the need for "living space".

(iv) In the election held on 14 September 1930 for the Reichstag, the Nazi Party, which had won 12 seats and 2,6% of the vote in 1928, now won 18,3% of the vote, and gained 107 seats, making it the second largest party in the Reichstag. Almost 6.5 million Germans voted for the party, eight times as many as in 1928. "The Nazis had moved at one fell swoop from the fringe of the political scene, outside the power-equation, to its heart."

(v) In May 1931 the Nazi Party received 37,2% of the vote in Oldenburg, becoming for the first time, the largest party in a state parliament.

(vi) In 1929, Hitler's niece, Geli Raubal, had moved into his apartment. During the following two years she was frequently seen in public with him. He took her everywhere: to the theatre, concerts, the opera, the cinema, restaurants, for drives in the countryside, picnics, and shopping for clothes. He showed her off. For the first time since the death of his mother, he was emotionally dependent on a woman. He became jealous and possessive. If she went out without him, she had to be chaperoned. Everything she did was monitored and controlled. She resented it bitterly: "My uncle is a monster. No-one can imagine what he demands of me." On the morning of 19 September 1931, aged 23, Geli was found dead in Hitler's apartment, shot with his pistol. He was in Munich at the time. The scandal that followed was enormous.


(i) In October 1931 Hitler took the salute at a march-past of 104 000 SA and SS men in Braunschweig, the largest Nazi paramilitary demonstration to that point in time.

(ii) In 1931 Hitler met with prominent businessmen. Most of them regarded the Nazi Party as a "socialist party with radical anti-capitalist aims." With the exception of Thyssen, it was the owners of small and medium sized businesses that were attracted to the Nazis.


(i) Reich President Hindenburg's term of office was due to expire on 5 May, Hitler was an obvious candidate, but could not stand: he was stateless and not a German citizen. When he was nominated as a civil servant, he acquired German citizenship on 26 February, less than a year before he became Chancellor.

(ii) The main contenders in election for Reich President were Hindenburg and Hitler. On 27 February Hitler addressed about 25 000 supporters in Berlin. He called for Hindenburg to step aside. He received 30% of the vote. Hindenburg narrowly missed obtaining a majority. There had to be a second round. Hitler took to campaigning in an aircraft, a first in electioneering in Germany. He gave 20 speeches to an estimated 1 million people. But Hindenburg was re-elected with 53% of the vote. Hitler increased his support to 37%.

(iii) In state elections the Nazi Party:
- won 36,3% of the vote in Prussia, the largest state in Germany, becoming the largest party, far ahead of the SPD, which had been the dominant party since 1919; increasing its seats from 6 gained in 1928 to 162;
- in Bavaria, won 32,5%, almost on a par with the BVP, the ruling party;
- in Württemberg increased its vote from 1,8% in 1928 to 26,4%;
- in Anhalt received 40,9% and could nominate the first Nazi Minister President of a German state.

(iv) Shortly after his re-election, Hindenburg banned the SA and SS. The SA was suspected of planning to take over power by force if Hitler had been elected.

(v) On 29 May Hindenburg sought and obtained the resignation of the Reich Chancellor, Brüning. Franz von Papen was appointed in his place

(vi) On 16 June the ban on the SA and SS was lifted. The ban was followed by violent clashes between the SA and the Communists. In the second half of June there were 17 politically motivated murders. During July there were 86 killings, mainly of Nazis and Communists. The number of those seriously injured was in the hundreds.

(vii) On 31 July elections were held for the Reichstag. The Nazi Party increased its share of the vote to 37,4%, giving it 230 seats, easily the largest party in the Reichstag.

(viii) On 13 August Hitler was told in a meeting with Papen that Hindenburg was not prepared to appoint him Chancellor. Later that day Hitler met with Hindenburg. Hitler told Hindenburg that he was not prepared to serve in the Papen government, he wanted to be Chancellor, nothing less would do. Hindenburg stuck to his guns.

(ix) On 12 September the Communist Party moved a vote of no confidence in the Papen government. The Nazi Party supported the motion. The government was defeated by 512 votes to 42. Elections were set for 6 November.

(x) In the election on 6 November, which turned out to be the last free election in the Weimar Republic, in a reduced turnout, the Nazi Party lost 2 million votes. Its share of the votes dropped form 37,4% to 33,1%, and its number of seats reduced from 230 to 196. It remained, however, the largest party in the Reichstag. The Communists increased their share of the vote to 16,9%, 3% behind the SDP.

(xi) At a meeting on 10 November Hindenburg requested Hitler that the Nazi Party participate in a majority government to be formed with other political parties. Hitler refused. Two days later, in a letter to Hindenburg, Hitler demanded to be appointed Chancellor. Hindenburg refused to do so.



(i) On 1 January 1919 Franklin and Eleanor set sail for France. They stayed at the Ritz. While Eleanor was ill in the Ritz, Roosevelt and his friend Livy Davis, went by destroyer to lunch with the King of Belgium. The Roosevelts left Europe with President Wilson on 15 February 1919.

(ii) According to one biographer, Conrad Black, Daniels was a good secretary of the navy and Roosevelt was a good assistant secretary and the navy performed will during WW1.

(iii) The Democratic Party convention for the nomination of its candidates for President and Vice President opened on 28 July 1920 in San Francisco. James Cox was nominated as the presidential candidate and Franklin Roosevelt as the vice-presidential candidate. He was nominated without opposition. Although Cox and Roosevelt were defeated in the presidential election of 1920, no-one held it against the young Roosevelt.

(iv) Roosevelt was tall, extremely good-looking, well educated, experienced, and above all, a Roosevelt, one of the most famous names in the United States at that time. He was undoubtedly potentially a candidate for Presidency. And he was only 38 years old.

1921 - 1924

(i) In 1921 Roosevelt became the vice president of the Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland. He was to be paid $25 000 a year and work half days. His pay as deputy secretary of the navy had been $5 000 a year. His job was to get clients for the bank.

(ii) In August 1921, while on holiday with his family on Campobello Island, off the Canadian coast, his legs went lame. He was 39 years old. The cause of the paralysis was later diagnosed as polio or infantile paralysis. From then on he was wheelchair-bound. Initially Roosevelt and his family returned to the family apartment in New York city. Later he moved to the Hyde Park estate.

(iii) In March 1922, seven months after being paralysed, Roosevelt was given a 14-pound set of braces, which extended from his heels to above his waist, and had a leather pelvic band. When locked the braces enabled him to stand as long as he held on to somebody or something. He needed help dressing and undressing and for some ablutions. He took to swimming as a form of exercise.

(iv) On 9 October 1922 he returned to work at the Fidelity and Deposit in New York city. He walked on crutches from his car into the lobby of the building. His left crutch slipped. He fell heavily. He asked two men to help him get up. One of them was Basil O' Connor. O'Connor later became his law partner and friend for life. Roosevelt did not thereafter appear at the F&D offices much in the 1920s.

(v) In 1923 Roosevelt set up the laws firm of Roosevelt and O' Connor. Roosevelt was not required to, and did not do, much to earn his keep. His name on the letterhead was apparently enough for O'Connor.

(vi) Roosevelt was asked to give the speech nominating Al Smith as the Democratic Party's presidential candidate at the national convention in June 1924. A state supreme court judge, Joseph Proskauer, volunteered to write the speech. Roosevelt agreed to give the speech. The convention took place in Madison Square Garden, New York. Roosevelt was chairman of the New York delegation. Prior to the convention Roosevelt and his 16-year old son James had practised walking. Roosevelt held a crutch under his right arm and with his left arm held James's right arm and moved slowly forward. The walk was so physically demanding that Roosevelt perspired profusely. In walking up the aisle to the speaker's platform in Madison Square Garden, Roosevelt and James repeated what they had practised. James said afterwards "Outwardly [Father] was beaming, seemingly confident and unconcerned. But I could sense his inner tenseness. His fingers dug into my arms like pincers. His face was covered with perspiration." When they reached the platform, James handed him a second crutch. He began to move slowly by himself towards the lectern. "The distance he had to cover was only 15 feet, but the vast auditorium was absolutely silent; the solidarity of moral support for Franklin Roosevelt in his personal struggle with infirmity was unanimous and profound. Perspiring heavily and concentrating fiercely, he made the passage without incident and then thrust his head and shoulders back and smiled broadly at the convention in the distinctive way that in a few years would become familiar to the whole world. 20 000 people rose as one and erupted in thunderous applause that lasted for several minutes." Roosevelt spoke for 34-minutes. When he completed the speech, pandemonium broke out. The New York Times called Roosevelt the outstanding personality of the convention. The Herald Tribune called him "the foremost figure on floor or platform." Tom Pendergast, the head of the Missouri delegation, thought that if Roosevelt "had been physically able to withstand the campaign, he would have been nominated by acclamation." Another assessment of his performance appeared in a newspaper in these terms: "There was nothing at the Democratic Convention more inspiring than the heroism of Franklin D Roosevelt. It was the nominator that loomed large in the picture, an invalid on crutches, perhaps in pain, who conquered the frailties of body by sheer power of will." In another newspaper, a columnist wrote: "The convention would make no mistake if it should name Roosevelt himself." Another journalist believed that Roosevelt "would stampede the convention were he put in nomination ....[Roosevelt] had done for himself what he could not do for his candidate." [Smith did not receive the nomination.]

(vii) Franklin and Eleanor visited Bullochville, Georgia, population 450, on 3 October 1924. The purpose of the visit was to visit the hotel and thermal springs there. Roosevelt swam in the pool the next day. Bullochville changed its name to Warm Springs.


(i)In April 1925 Roosevelt returned to Warm Springs. The publicity about his interest in Warm Springs had persuaded a number of polio sufferers to arrive there seeking treatment.


(i)In early 1926 Roosevelt bought the old hotel at Warm Springs for $195 000, almost two-thirds of his personal fortune. Eleanor was outraged. She accused him of acting irresponsibility as they had five children in school.

(ii)He returned to Warm Springs on 21 September 1926, and spent almost half of the next two years there. While he was there, he engaged a local blacksmith to modify a Model T Ford, with hand controls for the accelerator and brakes so he could drive himself around the local countryside


(i) In 1927 the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation was established, with Franklin as chief fund raiser and Louis Howe as principal strategist. Roosevelt set up a fund to help indigent patients, and when that was exhausted, he took care of the bills himself. No-one was turned away.

(ii) On 7 May 1927, James Roosevelt Roosevelt, known as "Rosie" died. Rosie was Franklin's half-brother, the son of Franklin's father, James, from his first marriage. Rosie left a substantial amount to Franklin, which assisted in the running of Warm Springs and the education of Franklin's children.


(i) On 17 June 1928 Roosevelt set out for Houston, Texas, to the Democratic Party convention. He had again been asked to nominate Al Smith for president. The crowd of 15 000 cheered steadily and without anxiety as Franklin and Elliott (one of Roosevelt's sons) made their way to the podium. Smith was nominated to be the Democratic Party candidate. His opponent was to be Herbert Hoover of the Republican Party.

(ii) The person Smith chose to be his successor as governor of New York was Roosevelt. Roosevelt was not interested. He even went so far as to go to Warm Springs, where telephone contact was difficult. Smith eventually got hold of Roosevelt. Those closest to Roosevelt were divided on whether he should accept the nomination for governor. Eleanor was neutral, Louis Howe was opposed, Missy LeHand (his secretary) was strongly opposed, and his daughter, Anna sent a telegram urging acceptance. Franklin cabled back: "You ought to be spanked". What Smith had in mind in nominating Roosevelt, was that he would in effect retain control of the governor's office through his aides Lehman, Belle Moskowitz, and Proskauer.

(iii) At the New York state Democratic convention Roosevelt was nominated for governor. On Louis Howe's recommendation Roosevelt employed Grace Tully, who would share the duties of principal secretary with Miss LeHand. The Republicans and Republican supporters in the press questioned Roosevelt's ability to campaign and serve as a governor. The New York Post described the "drafting" of Roosevelt by Smith as "pathetic and pitiless".

(iv) It was understood that the media would not take photographs of him getting out of his car or in other activities that could alarm the voters. This protocol was never violated. He assembled a campaign team around Louis Howe that would serve him for along time. "Roosevelt conducted a vigorous and original campaign for governor, violently attacking bigotry in every form, which endured into the huge Catholic and Jewish (and perhaps even black) populations of New York." He supported an 8-hour day and 48-hour work week for women and children industrial workers. He called for an old-age pension. He called for better care for handicapped and cripple people. In early October 1928, the betting had been close to 2 to 1 against Roosevelt, but because of his vigorous campaign, by the beginning of November the odds makers were calling the race a toss-up with a possible slight edge to Roosevelt. On 6 November 1928 elections took place. Roosevelt was narrowly elected governor of New York by 25 564 votes out of 4 234 822 cast. Al Smith, however, was defeated by Hoover in the presidential election. He received 15 million popular votes to Hoover's 21,4 million and 87 electoral votes to Hoover's 444.

(v) Smith wanted Roosevelt to retain his chief strategist and speech writer, Belle Moskowitz, as the governor's principal secretary, and Robert Moses as secretary of state of New York. But Roosevelt was having none of it. He appointed Edward Flynn as secretary of state instead of Robert Moses. He appointed Frances Perkins as state industrial commissioner. He did not appoint Belle Moskowitz. She and Smith were out of work.


(i) On 1 January 1929 Roosevelt was sworn in as governor of New York. He was usually at his office by about 10h30, left at about 18h15, and often had dinner at his desk. He usually took some work home with him and retired around midnight. "It was not an invalid's schedule, and he flourished under it."

(ii) Roosevelt and his supporters in the legislature presented hundreds of reform bills that were ignored, killed in committee, or voted down by the Republican leadership. At the end of April 1929 he left Albany (the capital of New York state) for a month at Warm Springs.

(iii) In June 1929 Roosevelt received honorary degrees from Dartmouth, Fordham, and Harvard.

(iv) On 29 October 1929 the Wall Street collapse occurred, a day that would become known as Black Tuesday.


(i) On 29 March Roosevelt, as governor of New York, became the first governor to warn that unemployment was becoming a serious problem. He proposed emergency relief, job-creation, and public works activities. At the Governor's Conference on 30 June, he became the first governor to propose unemployment insurance and old-age pensions.

(ii) On 4 November the election results for governor of New York became known: Roosevelt received an astonishing 750 000 more votes than his Republican opponent: in 1928 he had won by only 25 500 votes!

(iii) By the end of 1930 business failures had reached a record of 26 355; GNP (gross national product) had slumped 12,6% from its 1929 level; production was down as much as 38% in some steel mills, about the same throughout the key industry of automobile manufacturing, which was a huge employer. The construction industry cut down the numbers of employed. The exact number of laid-off workers remained uncertain: later studies estimated that some 4 million workers were unemployed in 1930. Four banks closed their doors in New York.


(i) In June, at the annual governor's conference, Roosevelt called for a reduction of tariffs, reduction of taxes, and increased taxes for those who could afford to pay more, and unemployment and health insurance.

(ii) On 31 August he appeared in person in the New York state legislature successfully calling for the establishment of the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration (TERA). It was financed by "modest supplementary taxes on those with relatively high incomes".

(iii) TERA was operational by early October. This put Roosevelt "ahead of any other politician or government executive in the nation in the struggle with the Depression and the scourge of unemployment." The director of TERA was Jesse Straus, a friend of Roosevelt, and president of Macy's department store. The operational head was the 42-year-old social worker, Harry Hopkins, who would become "Roosevelt's most intimate and versatile collaborator through all the tumultuous and world-shaking events to come."


(i) By February TERA was distributing relief to 160 000 New Yorkers, but the state's unemployed had jumped by 50% to 1,5 million. In six years TERA assisted 5 million people, 40% of the population of New York. At the end of the period 70% of those no longer relied on government assistance.

(ii) On 22 January Roosevelt announced his candidacy for president, which was followed by that of Al Smith on 8 February. Smith had been the Democratic Party's unsuccessful candidate in the 1928 presidential election, and since 1928, was hugely antagonistic towards Roosevelt.

(iii) On 27 June the Democratic Party national convention commenced proceedings in Chicago. By then there were 700 000 unemployed in the city, more than 40% of the work force. On 1 July Roosevelt was nominated by more than two-thirds of the delegates. The chairman of the convention announced that Roosevelt would address the convention personally. This was the first time in American history that this would be done. Roosevelt, his wife, four of his children, his secretaries, and members of his security detail, flew to Chicago. At 7pm on 2 July he began to address the convention. He concluded his speech by referring to those who look "for a more equitable opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth. Those millions cannot and shall not hope in vain. I pledge you, I pledge myself to a New Deal for the American people...this is more than a political campaign; it is a call to arms. Give me your help, not to win votes alone but to win this crusade to restore America to its own people."

(iv) The Republican candidate was the incumbent president, Herbert Hoover.

(v) As indicated at the beginning of this paper, Roosevelt won 42 of the 48 states; received 22,8 million popular votes compared to Hoover's 15,7 million, and received 472 electoral votes to Hoover's 59.

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