A Cold War or global competition was NOT U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vision for the post World War II world. He saw the Soviet Union and the United States, the Russian and American peoples as the two best and most reliable partners to maintain the peace of the world. 75 years have proven his prescient vision was right. Yet American leaders of the Fake Right and the Fake Left alike have now abandoned it for the policies of chaotic globalism and unending eternal war.
It is always forgotten that Franklin Roosevelt was a personal eyewitness to the catastrophic Versailles Peace Conference in 1919. FDR was no child. He was by then almost 40 years old and had been as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, the civilian chief operating official of the entire United States Navy for more than six years including through a world war.
Roosevelt recognized at the time very clearly that megalomaniac President Woodrow Wilson had completely destroyed the future peace and happiness of the entire world on the rocks of his blasphemous arrogance and sheer incompetence. Decades of observation and reflection combined to show how Wilson’s airy visions of a world remade on the principles of national self determination was only a recipe for endless bloodbaths and more chaos.
Wilson’s monumental mess up at Versailles also led the United States to withdraw from the world stage for more than 20 years.
Roosevelt had a very different vision of the world to come after 1945. Central to it was his understanding that the United States and the Soviet Union did not have to love each other or ignore their very different national interests but that they had to remain partners in the great task of maintaining world peace. But tragically, this vision did not survive the president’s death from a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945.
Roosevelt’s successor Harry Truman suddenly, immediately and without even giving a courtesy warning shut down all Lend Lease aid to the Soviet Union: it was the decision that truly started the Cold War.
Then Truman abandoned Roosevelt’s wise and visionary determination to force the old European powers of Britain, France and the Netherlands to immediately grant independence, or at least initiate a phased process towards that goal in most of their old colonies across Africa and Asia.
Instead, Truman threw U.S. financial and military support behind frantic British and French attempts to keep most of their empires. This decision led directly to two of the most terrible post-colonial wars waged by the French to hold on to Algeria and Indo-China – modern Vietnam, along with Cambodia and Laos.
Thirty more years of wars and oceans of innocent blood would flow before the inevitable outcomes that Franklin Roosevelt reached in 1945 came about anyway.
It has been an almost unanimous consensus among Western historians that Roosevelt was a naive and childish appeaser of Josef Stalin and international communism. Instead, FDR’s successor Truman has been elevated as a far greater figure and the great hero in supposedly saving the West from Soviet conquest.
However, two outstanding recent histories by Susan Butler (“Roosevelt and Stalin”) and Nigel Hamilton “War and Peace: FDR’s Final Odyssey”) document and present a far different picture.
For all their myriad differences, Roosevelt had succeeded in forging an effective partnership with Stalin to create as table, long-lasting new world system in which the two dominant superpowers could work together to maintain world peace.
Indeed, far from manipulating Roosevelt as so many neoconservative and neoliberal Western writers have mindlessly claimed for so many decades, Stalin was emotionally shocked and deeply depressed by FDR’s s passing, Being Stalin, his first reaction was to task the formidable Soviet espionage apparatus to investigate whether FDR had actually been assassinated by hardliners in his own government.
That was not the case. On the contrary, as Hamilton documents, FDR suffered a catastrophic health collapse following his return from the October 1943 Tehran conference with Stalin and Winston Churchill. It was almost certainly brought on by the rigors suffered by an already seriously ill man flying in unpressurized aircraft higher than 10,000 feet for extended periods of time.
Indeed, as Hamilton step by step shows, Roosevelt’s chief cardiologist Dr. Howard Bruenn performed prodigies to keep a dying man alive and as leader of the United States for another 18 months almost to the victorious conclusion of the war against Nazi Germany.
Franklin Roosevelt died at the age of 63 after years of remorselessly developing heart problems. His father James had died from the same fundamental causes. His cousin, President Theodore Roosevelt had died at the age of 61 after years of comparable health problems. The extraordinary fact of FDR’s final years was not that he died so soon but that he lived so long.
It was tragic that FDR did not live to celebrate the Victory Day over the Nazi evil he had done so much achieve. He missed it by only four weeks.
It was vastly more tragic that FDR died before he could take the crucial steps to institutionalize the crucial partnership of the U.S. and the USSR on a lasting basis and force the Europeans to allow their emerging colonies a clear, honest path to freedom.
If the leaders of today’s Democratic Party truly wished to revive the great achievements and heritage of their greatest leader, they would immediately end all the unnecessary wars they have cheered, demanded and plunged into around the world: And they would immediately restore the vital partnership with Russia that was the key to his war success.
Were FDR permitted to return today, he would be horrified, raging and contemptuous of those who claimed to be his successors needlessly demonizing a non-communist and non-aggressive Russia, free and open to a degree no-one in the West in his own day could have possibly imagined.
Most of all, he would have been disgusted beyond reason to see the United States committed so deeply to fighting needless, meaningless unending wars across the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe – wars with no conceivable goal and therefore with no possible end, eternal wars – exercises only in exhaustion and futility.
Franklin Roosevelt would not have celebrated Victory Day 75 years after his death with his customary loud and generous laughter. He could only have wept.