Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Indispensable to that victory was the US President, Franklin D. Roosevelt. My next few excerpts from Roosevelt & Hopkins will pertain to that, especially as it is the actual subject of this long book.
But US forces in the Pacific suffered defeat after defeat in the first months of the war. In January 1942, everyone knew that the US would have to massively step up its war production or face complete defeat, with Europe lost to the Nazis as well. FDR had gathered experts who went over figures of what the US was producing, and what industry estimated they could produce. Under FDR's influence, they set goals for the coming year--astounding goals. Here's Sherwood:
As usual, when critics in the press or among Republicans were afraid to lambast FDR directly they went after Hopkins, the "free spender," for unduly influencing FDR.
The total cost in money bothered him not at all; he always believed it was far better to squander the taxpayers’ dollars than to squander the taxpayers. As a matter of fact—and I can state it as such because I was one of those present when it happened—Roosevelt himself arbitrarily revised some of the figures upward on the eve of his speech to Congress. When Hopkins questioned him on this, Roosevelt said, ‘Oh—the production people can do it if they really try.’
He did the same thing years later en route to Chicago where he proclaimed a national, postwar goal of sixty million jobs. He was never afraid of big, round numbers.”
“When Roosevelt announced a part of the Victory Program to Congress, he said, ‘These figures and similar figures for a multitude of other implements of war will give the Japanese and Nazis a little idea of just what they accomplished in the attack on Pearl Harbor.’ The Congress cheered that vociferously and proceeded to appropriate the necessary funds with few of the quivers that assailed those who were responsible for carrying out the incredible program.”