Power Abroad in Peace and War, 1933–45
Throughout the 1930s Roosevelt, like most Americans, was preoccupied with domestic problems. Yet the most serious challenges confronting the United States in that decade came from abroad. During the 1930s fascist dictators in Germany and Italy and military imperialists in Japan were seeking to redraw the world map by force. The danger this posed to capitalist democracies like Britain and France as well as the United States became increasingly clear as the decade progressed. The German challenge led to war in 1939, and although America did not enter hostilities until the end of 1941, the critical period of the twentieth century, from 1929 until 1945, coincided precisely with FDR’s tenure of power as New York governor and US president. His reputation rests above all on how he used power in both peace and war during this crisis.