Study Guide

The Great Arsenal of Democracy Timeline

By Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Timeline

April 17th, 1775—September 3rd, 1783

American Revolutionary War

When the colonies started their fight for independence in 1775, it marked the very beginning of America's dedication to freedom. That love of all things free (including free refills) has been a huge part of life in the U.S. ever since, and FDR counted on it when he gave his "Great Arsenal of Democracy" speech almost 200 years later in 1940.

December 2nd, 1823

The Monroe Doctrine

James Monroe said any European interference in the western hemisphere would be treated as an act of war. But he also promised that the U.S. would stay away from existing European colonies as well as all other issues across the pond. It led to a foreign policy focused on isolationism that lasted all the way up until World War I.

October 1st, 1908

Ford Introduces Model T

The Model T was cool for a number of reasons, but for our purposes, the most significant part was how it all was put together: speedily.

Henry Ford was the guy who sped up production by implementing the assembly line, which was critical to speedy production once World War II really got going.

July 28th, 1914—November 11th, 1918

World War I

World War I began with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914. It marked the first time in history all the major players were involved in the fighting, and also led to many scary technological advancements that modernized warfare, including machine guns and poisonous gases.

Plus, trenches full of rats and mud. Because WWI was all about the sheer horror.

June 28th, 1919

Signing of the Treaty of Versailles

When World War I ended in 1918, Germany had to agree to an unconditional surrender. This treaty officially ended the war, and had various stipulations the Germans had to follow, including demilitarization and the payment of some seriously expensive war reparations.

Most Germans were pretty upset with the Treat of Versailles, and it added lots of steam to Adolf Hitler's agenda later on.

October 1929—September 1939

Great Depression

When the stock market crashed in 1929, tons of people lost their jobs and couldn't find work. As a result, the economy slowed down, and the entire world suffered a long period of unemployment and economic decline that didn't really end until World War II really got going in the 1940s.

November 8th, 1932

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Becomes 32nd President of the United States

At first glance, there wasn't anything particularly historic about FDR's win in 1932—except perhaps the horrible state of the U.S. economy. But he'd go on to serve four consecutive terms as president, the only guy to do that in our entire history.

January 30th, 1933

Adolf Hitler Appointed Chancellor of Germany

When Hitler rose to the highest political office in Germany, it only served to give him an even bigger head. He started to consolidate power so he'd be in complete control, and made lots of plans that would eventually lead to World War II.

March 12th, 1933

FDR's First Fireside Chat

FDR was the first president in U.S. history to talk regularly with the American people over the radio, and folks felt really connected to him. His Fireside Chats came in handy whenever he tried to make change, because the American people really felt they knew him as a result of these broadcasts.

September 1st, 1939—August 9th, 1945

World War II

Germany's invasion of Poland in 1939 marked the official start of World War II, but the U.S. didn't get involved until after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor almost two years later. Known as "the last good war," the Allies were fighting to stop the Axis from committing genocide.

Yeah, we'd say that counts as a good war.

September 27th, 1940

The Tripartite Pact

Germany, Italy, and Japan all promise to attack the U.S. if the Americans get any bright ideas about interfering in their plans to take over the world. It was essentially the geopolitical equivalent of the kind of crazy blood oath preteens make at summer camp, where they all use the same knife to slice open a finger and everyone gets an infection.

December 29th, 1940

FDR Delivers "The Great Arsenal of Democracy" Speech

The gloves came off after FDR was reelected, and he unveiled a comprehensive plan to make the U.S. "the great arsenal of democracy" by producing large amounts of munitions and supplies for the Allies.

March 11th, 1941

Lend-Lease Act

FDR signed the Lend-Lease Act in 1941, which gave the U.S. the right to supply military aid to our Allies during World War II. Lots of countries received tons of money and supplies, but it was also a quick and obvious end to any notion of U.S. neutrality.

December 7th, 1941

Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor

All bets were off when the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor—while chatting with U.S. government officials about ways to avoid war. That wasn't very nice, and the U.S. declared war one day later.