Study Guide

Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) At War

At War

FDR spent the last four years of his life—from 1941 until his death in 1945—as a wartime president. Those four years are the stuff of legend (read more about it in Shmoop History). By the war's end, the United States had left the Great Depression behind and become one of the most powerful nations in the world.

During the war, Roosevelt deployed all of the talents he had used domestically to lead the war effort. He used the fireside chats to explain the war to the American people and enlist their support in helping win it. He also used the close relationships he had built with the press to give him wiggle room in which to make difficult decisions. And he used the relationships he had built with the country's European allies (especially his friendship with Winston Churchill) to both plan the war and the world order that followed.

FDR's record during the war was not flawless. Today, his decision to imprison thousands of Japanese-Americans is probably viewed as his most controversial action. In 1942, responding to fears of a Japanese invasion of the American mainland in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack, Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. 110,000 Japanese-Americans were given a week to dispose of their property, rounded up and sent to camps in the desert.blank" rel="nofollow">New Deal rallied behind his leadership of the war effort.