After the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 Franklin Roosevelt assured the nation that the USA would remain neutral. The public generally agreed. He did ask Congress to authorize additional funding for the military, which was small and poorly armed, and for industry to build 50,000 airplanes which was 10 times their current annual capacity. The main political question remained whether FDR would run for a third term in office. He advised the Democratic convention that he would not run but they nominated him anyway and he agreed. He defeated Wendell Wilkie in the election and appointed two Republicans to key posts: Henry Stimson as Secretary of War and Frank Knox as Secretary of the Navy. The first peacetime draft was instituted, something opposed by the newly created America First committee, whose membership included such luminaries as Charles Lindbergh. In a deft political move, he introduced lend lease as a way of helping the British. Eleanor for her part could see on the ...
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A voice-over of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt has her saying she answered the phone early on September 2, 1939, and her husband informed her that Germany had invaded Poland. That invasion had taken place early on September 1, some 24 hours earlier. See more