Miller Center

Presidential Key Events

Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

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Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/13/1940: Finland signs an armistice and treaty with the U.S…
Finland signs an armistice and treaty with the U.S.S.R., ending the Russo-Finnish War and ceding territory to the Russians. Importantly, both Germany and the Allies are aware of the heavy casualties the Russians sustained in battling the seemingly overmatched Finns, a factor which will later influence both Hitler's decision to invade the U.S.S.R. as well as the Allies' hesitation in sending aid to the Russians. March 13, 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 04/09/1940: The German Army invades Norway and Denmark in prep…
The German Army invades Norway and Denmark in preparation for its invasion of France. Copenhagen falls in twelve hours, while the Norwegians resist for two months with British and French aid before succumbing to the Germans. April 09, 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/10/1940: Continuing its sweep toward France, Germany invade…
Continuing its sweep toward France, Germany invades Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Winston Churchill also becomes the Prime Minister of Britain on this day, replacing the discredited Neville Chamberlain. Five days later, Churchill will send Roosevelt the first of many personal telegrams requesting American aid and participation in the war. May 10, 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/25/1940: FDR establishes the Office for Emergency Managemen…
FDR establishes the Office for Emergency Management, illustrating his belief in the increasing inevitability of U.S. involvement in the war. May 25, 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/26/1940: As the German Army sweeps across France, thousands…
As the German Army sweeps across France, thousands of British and French troops converge on Dunkirk, a coastal town in France, in preparation for evacuation of the country. By the time the Germans reach the beach to stop the operation, more than 330,000 troops have been evacuated. On June 4, Churchill delivers his most famous radio address, framing the retreat from Dunkirk as a symbol of the Allies' determination to win the war. Paris will fall ten days later, and on June 22, the government there will capitulate to the Germans. May 26, 1940 - June 04, 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/10/1940: In a speech at the University of Virginia, Rooseve…
In a speech at the University of Virginia, Roosevelt announces that the American stance toward the war is changing from “neutrality” to “non-belligerency.” In effect, this means that the United States will now openly support the Allies without actually going to war against the Axis. Generally well received, it is still criticized by some isolationists who understand that such a posture will eventually lead to outright war against the Axis powers. June 10, 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/20/1940: FDR appoints two prominent Republicans to his cab…
FDR appoints two prominent Republicans to his cabinet: Henry L. Stimson as secretary of war, and Frank Knox as secretary of the Navy. A political move, the decision is designed to form a “coalition government,” intended to present a unified front to both the world and to American voters as the 1940 election approaches. June 20, 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/28/1940: Congress passes the Alien Registration Act, requir…
Congress passes the Alien Registration Act, requiring the registration and finger-printing of all aliens. The bill also prohibits individuals or organizations from advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government by force. June 28, 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/1940: The political parties convene to nominate their ca…
The political parties convene to nominate their candidates for the upcoming election. The Republicans nominate Wendell L. Willkie for President and Senator Charles McNary of Oregon for vice president. Willkie, a popular candidate despite having never held elective office, supports most of FDR's policies and will find it hard to convince voters to “change horses in mid-stream.” In Chicago, the Democrats nominate Roosevelt in an unprecedented bid for a third term. His former secretary of agriculture, Henry A. Wallace, will be his running-mate, replacing two-time Vice President John Garner. July 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/10/1940: The Battle of Britain begins with the first bombin…
The Battle of Britain begins with the first bombing raids by the German Air Force. Outnumbered, the British will retain control of British airspace, finally forcing the Germans to end the onslaught in October. Although the bombing raids will continue throughout the war, Hitler is forced to abandon any hope of invading Britain. Also on this day, FDR submits a request to Congress for a defense budget of $4.8 billion; ten days later, Congress will appropriate $4 billion to provide the United States with a two-ocean Navy. July 10, 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 09/03/1940: The United States trades fifty outdated destroyers…
The United States trades fifty outdated destroyers to Britain in exchange for the right to construct air and naval bases on British holdings in the Western Hemisphere. September 03, 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 09/16/1940: FDR signs the Selective Training and Service Act, …
FDR signs the Selective Training and Service Act, authorizing the first peace-time military draft in U.S. history and requiring all men between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-five to register for military training. September 16, 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 11/05/1940: In a closer than expected election, FDR wins an un…
In a closer than expected election, FDR wins an unprecedented third-term as President of the United States. While he easily defeats Willkie in the electoral college (449 to 82), Roosevelt wins only a slim margin in the popular vote (27.2 million to 22.3 million). Even so, it is a powerful statement of the public's support for FDR as it looks past the unwritten rule, established by George Washington, of limiting Presidents to two terms. November 05, 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/29/1940: In his end-of-the-year fireside chat, FDR declares…
In his end-of-the-year fireside chat, FDR declares that the United States must be the “arsenal of democracy.” A nation-wide poll taken earlier in the month shows that only 39 percent of Americans think that U.S. participation in World War I was a mistake, down from 64 percent in 1937. December 29, 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/06/1941: In his State of the Union Address, FDR stresses th…
In his State of the Union Address, FDR stresses the need for congressional support for his program to help the Allies defend the “four essential freedoms” (freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear) against the Axis powers. The “four freedoms” will serve as a motto once the United States enters the war. January 06, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/20/1941: FDR is inaugurated for his third term as President…
FDR is inaugurated for his third term as President. January 20, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 02/04/1941: The United Service Organizatio…
The United Service Organizations (USO) is formed by six national groups to serve the social, educational, welfare, and religious needs of those in the armed forces and defense industries. February 04, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/11/1941: FDR signs the Lend-Lease Act, empowering the Presi…
FDR signs the Lend-Lease Act, empowering the President to lend arms and other war material to any country deemed vital to U.S. interests. It is more or less an extension of formal and informal U.S. policy to aid Britain and the Allies without officially declaring war on the Axis. The initial appropriation will be $7 billion; by the program's end in September 1946, the United States will have doled out $50.6 billion in aid. March 11, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 04/11/1941: The Office of Price Administra…
The Office of Price Administration (OPA) is established to control and stabilize prices during wartime. April 11, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/27/1941: Following German victories over Greece and Yugosla…
Following German victories over Greece and Yugoslavia, Roosevelt issues a proclamation declaring unlimited national emergency. The announcement comes six weeks after the first sinking of an American merchant ship, the Robin Moor, by a German U-Boat just off the coast of Brazil. May 27, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/16/1941: FDR orders the closing of all German consulates in…
FDR orders the closing of all German consulates in the United States; Germany and Italy respond by closing all U.S. consulates in their countries. June 16, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/22/1941: Germany breaks the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact…
Germany breaks the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 1939 when it invades the U.S.S.R. Two days later, Roosevelt promises U.S. aid to the Soviet Union. June 22, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/25/1941: Roosevelt establishes the Fair Employment Practice…
Roosevelt establishes the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) by executive order, preventing discrimination due to race, creed, or color in the hiring and treatment practices of the ever-growing defense industry. June 25, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/28/1941: Roosevelt establishes the Office of Scientific Res…
Roosevelt establishes the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) by executive order, with Vannevar Bush as its chairman. The OSRD will coordinate the development of defense-related technology including radar, sonar, and early stages of atomic research. June 28, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/26/1941: FDR nationalizes the armed forces of the Philippin…
FDR nationalizes the armed forces of the Philippines, a U.S. dependency at the time, and names General Douglas MacArthur commander in chief of all U.S. forces in the Far East. This comes one day after Roosevelt freezes all Japanese assets in the United States and halts all trade, as relations between the two countries continues to deteriorate. July 26, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 08/14/1941: After three days of secret meetings on U.S. and Br…
After three days of secret meetings on U.S. and British warships off the coast of Newfoundland, FDR and Churchill issue the Atlantic Charter. The document sets forth eight goals for the world; by September 24, fifteen other countries, including the U.S.S.R., will endorse these maxims. The Atlantic Charter will serve as a blueprint, of sorts, for the United Nations. August 14, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 09/11/1941: In response to the growing number of attacks on U.…
In response to the growing number of attacks on U.S. ships, FDR orders U.S. Navy planes to shoot on sight any Axis ships found operating in U.S. defensive waters. September 11, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 09/20/1941: FDR signs the largest tax bill in American history…
FDR signs the largest tax bill in American history, as the Revenue Act of 1941 provides for sharply increased taxes to collect more than $3 billion for the defense effort. September 20, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 10/27/1941: Ten days after a German U-boat torpedoes the U.S. …
Ten days after a German U-boat torpedoes the U.S. destroyer Kearney, FDR announces to the nation that “America has been attacked, the shooting has started.” He stops short of declaring war on Germany, however, as many Americans are still reluctant to enter into open war, even after another U-boat sinks the U.S. destroyer Reuben James just three days later with the loss of 100 American lives. October 27, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 11/17/1941: Japan’s ambassador to the United States, along wit…
Japan's ambassador to the United States, along with a special envoy, begin negotiations with the State Department in the nation's capital. They propose that the United States remove the trade restrictions on Japan and refrain from involving itself with Japan's activities in China. On November 26, Secretary of State Cordell Hull rejects these proposals, stating that the Japanese must first withdraw from China and Indochina before the trade restrictions can be lifted. November 17, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/07/1941: Japanese bombers attack Pearl Harbor, the major U.…
Japanese bombers attack Pearl Harbor, the major U.S. naval base in Hawaii. The attack kills 2,400 soldiers, sailors, and civilians, and wounds nearly 1,200 others. In addition, the U.S. Pacific fleet is significantly weakened by the loss of eight battleships and 150 planes. That evening, Japan will officially declare war on the United States. The next day, Roosevelt appears before a special joint session of Congress, calling December 7 “a date which will live in infamy,” and asking for a declaration of war against Japan; Congress does so the same day. December 07, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - Pearl Harbor Attacked

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack against the United States at the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii. After the Pearl Harbor attack, the United States quickly entered World War II, declaring war against Japan the next day.

After Japan attacked China in 1937, the United States worked with other Western nations to try to contain and isolate Japan economically and politically although it had not yet entered World War II. President Franklin Roosevelt thought this strategy would let him deal with what he saw as the more pressing German problem. He also knew that it would be difficult for the United States to prepare for and fight wars simultaneously in Asia and Europe.

The strategy, however, turned out to have significant drawbacks. By isolating Japan, the United States and its allies exacerbated Japan's fears of being denied access to the resources it needed to prosecute its war in China. By the summer of 1941, Japan's leaders felt increasingly hemmed in by a coalition of America, Britain, China, and the Dutch (the ABCD powers) and adopted overtly aggressive foreign and military policies. The Japanese planned the Pearl Harbor attack in the hopes of destroying the U.S. Naval Fleet in the Pacific to prevent it from hindering Japanese advances in Asia.

The attack on Pearl Harbor began shortly before 8 o'clock in the morning on December 7 when Japanese planes and submarines began bombing the naval base. The attack lasted little more than two hours, and the Japanese sunk or badly damaged eight battleships, thirteen other naval vessels, and more than 150 planes. The attack killed 2,400 soldiers, sailors, and civilians, and wounded nearly 1,200 others.

The next day, President Roosevelt appeared before a special joint session of Congress. He called December 7 “a date which will live in infamy,” and asked for a declaration of war against Japan, which Congress supported. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. The United States had finally entered World War II as a participant, following several years as an interested and active bystander. The country would never be the same.

To read President Roosevelt's Address to Congress Requesting a Declaration of War on December 8, 1941, click here.

December 07, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/10/1941: Japan invades the Philippines, landing a…
Japan invades the Philippines, landing at Luzon. December 10, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/11/1941: Germany and Italy declare war on the United States…
Germany and Italy declare war on the United States; Congress, in turn, declares war on Germany and Italy. December 11, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/15/1941: In a show of support for the war effort, the execu…
In a show of support for the war effort, the executive council of the American Federation of Labor adopts a “no strike” policy for the duration of the conflict. December 15, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/17/1941: Admiral Chester Nimitz is given command of the Pac…
Admiral Chester Nimitz is given command of the Pacific fleet, replacing Admiral Husband Kimmel, who was found derelict in taking the necessary precautions for thwarting the attack on Pearl Harbor. December 17, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/19/1941: The Office of Censorship is established by executi…
The Office of Censorship is established by executive order to control all matters involving information deemed vital to the war effort. December 19, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/22/1941: The Office of Price Administration announces rubbe…
The Office of Price Administration announces rubber rationing; beginning on New Year's Day, the sale of new cars and trucks will be temporarily banned. December 22, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/23/1941: Japan takes Wake Island, an American territory in …
Japan takes Wake Island, an American territory in the Pacific. Two days later, Hong Kong, a British colony, also falls to the Japanese. December 23, 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/01/1942: Representatives of twenty-six nations, including t…
Representatives of twenty-six nations, including the United States, sign the Declaration of United Nations, affirming their cooperation against the Axis powers. January 01, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/02/1942: Manila falls to the Japanese, forcing Philippine a…
Manila falls to the Japanese, forcing Philippine and U.S. forces under the command of General Douglas MacArthur to retreat to the Bataan Peninsula. January 02, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/12/1942: By executive order, FDR creates the War Labor Boar…
By executive order, FDR creates the War Labor Board (WLB), charged with maintaining the flow of war materials through the arbitration of labor disputes. Four days later, the Office of Production Management (OPM) will be replaced by the War Production Board (WPB). January 12, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/14/1942: By proclamation, FDR orders all aliens in the Unit…
By proclamation, FDR orders all aliens in the United States to register with the federal government. The order is significant for Italian, German, and Japanese immigrants--American citizens who are now viewed with suspicion, although most fears will focus on Japanese-Americans residing on the West Coast. They will soon be moved to internment camps under the pretense that they might provide aid to the enemy. January 14, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/30/1942: The Emergency Price Control Act goes into effect, …
The Emergency Price Control Act goes into effect, authorizing the Office of Price Administration to place ceilings on all prices except those for agricultural products. January 30, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 02/06/1942: The U.S. War Department announces that the United …
The U.S. War Department announces that the United States and Britain have formed a combined chiefs of staff to coordinate their war efforts. February 06, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 02/20/1942: FDR formally authorizes a program to remove Japane…
FDR formally authorizes a program to remove Japanese-Americans living in the Pacific Coast states to internment camps in Colorado, Utah, and Arkansas. Most Americans are undisturbed by the policy as some 100,000 people are “relocated” over the next month. February 20, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 02/27/1942: At the Battle of Java Sea, the Japanese Navy infli…
At the Battle of Java Sea, the Japanese Navy inflicts heavy losses on Allied forces. February 27, 1942 - March 01, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/11/1942: General MacArthur is forced to move his command ba…
General MacArthur is forced to move his command base from the Philippines as Japanese forces approach. Before he leaves for Australia, he famously declares, “I shall return!” One month later, the 75,000 Philippine and American troops that remained to defend the island surrender to the Japanese on Bataan Peninsula. These men will be taken prisoner and forced to march one hundred miles to a prison camp; with poor rations and ill treatment, thousands will die on the so-called Bataan Death March. March 11, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 04/18/1942: Major General James Doolittle leads sixteen U.S. b…
Major General James Doolittle leads sixteen U.S. bombers in a surprise raid on Tokyo. Not only does the attack provide a morale boost for the Allies, it serves to divert Japanese defenses. April 18, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 04/28/1942: A nightly “dim-out” or “black-out” goes into effec…
A nightly “dim-out” or “black-out” goes into effect along a fifteen-mile strip of the Atlantic coast to counter German submarine activity in the area. April 28, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/04/1942: The U.S. Navy inflicts heavy losses on the Japanes…
The U.S. Navy inflicts heavy losses on the Japanese fleet in the Battle of the Coral Sea. It is the first naval battle in history in which surface ships did not engage one another directly, with planes attacking each other and the ships. May 04, 1942 - May 08, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/07/1942: General Jonathan Wainwright is captured by the Jap…
General Jonathan Wainwright is captured by the Japanese and forced to surrender Fort Corregidor and ask all U.S. forces in the Philippines to surrender as well. May 07, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/15/1942: FDR signs the congressional act establishing the W…
FDR signs the congressional act establishing the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps, later to be renamed the Women's Army Corps (WAC). A similar group, known as the WAVES, will be assembled for the Navy. Gasoline rationing also goes into effect in seventeen states in the eastern United States; by the end of the year, it will be extended to the entire country. May 15, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/03/1942: At the Battle of Midway, the U.S. Navy loses the c…
At the Battle of Midway, the U.S. Navy loses the carrier Yorktown, but not before sinking four Japanese aircraft carriers. While the war is far from over, the victory at Midway establishes U.S. naval superiority as the Japanese also lose a significant number of their best pilots. June 03, 1942 - June 06, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/13/1942: The Office of War Information …
The Office of War Information (OWI) is established by executive order to control the disclosure of official news and propaganda. June 13, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/15/1942: Americans join in a great nationwide drive to coll…
Americans join in a great nationwide drive to collect the increasingly rare rubber scraps essential to the war effort. In September, the United States will be forced to purchase Mexico's entire rubber supply for the next four years. Ultimately, it is the rise of the synthetic rubber industry that will meet the country's fighting needs. June 15, 1942 - June 30, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/19/1942: FDR meets with Winston Churchill in Washington, D.…
FDR meets with Winston Churchill in Washington, D.C., to plan the invasion of North Africa. On November 8, 400,000 Allied troops will land in Morocco and Algeria, under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the newly appointed commander of U.S. forces in the European theater. June 19, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 08/07/1942: U.S. Marines land on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Is…
U.S. Marines land on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific. It is the first offensive in the long road to Tokyo. August 07, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 08/22/1942: The Germans, having won major gains in their offen…
The Germans, having won major gains in their offensive against Russia over the summer, launch a massive assault on Stalingrad in an effort to complete the conquest. Before the year is out, the Germans will find themselves overextended and mired in the mud and harsh cold of winter; it marks the turning point on the Eastern Front. August 22, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 10/21/1942: The Revenue Act of 1942 is passed, calling for tax…
The Revenue Act of 1942 is passed, calling for taxes to be increased by $9 billion; included is the so-called Victory Tax, a five-percent tax on all income over $624, in effect until the war's end. October 21, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/02/1942: Scientists at the University of Chicago demonstrat…
Scientists at the University of Chicago demonstrate the first sustained nuclear chain reaction. December 02, 1942

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/14/1943: At the Casablanca Conference in Morocco, FDR, Chur…
At the Casablanca Conference in Morocco, FDR, Churchill, and other Allied representatives agree to the following: they will demand that the Axis powers surrender unconditionally; they will invade Europe initially through Sicily and Italy; they will launch a combined bomber offensive on Germany; they will step up aid to Russia; and they will prosecute the Battle of the Atlantic with greater vigor. January 14, 1943 - January 24, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/27/1943: The first all-American bombing raid on Germany tak…
The first all-American bombing raid on Germany takes place during the day over Wilhelmshaven. January 27, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 02/07/1943: Shoe rationing begins in the United Stat…
Shoe rationing begins in the United States; each civilian is limited to three pairs of leather shoes per year. February 07, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/01/1943: The rationing of canned goods …
The rationing of canned goods begins; customers are required to use coupon books of varying points to purchase these items. One month later, meats, fats, and cheese will also be rationed in this way. March 01, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/02/1943: At the Battle of the Bismarck Sea off New Guinea, …
At the Battle of the Bismarck Sea off New Guinea, U.S. and Australian planes score a major victory in the Pacific, sinking eight Japanese transports and four destroyers, and shooting down at least twenty-five enemy planes, costing the lives of nearly 3,500 men. March 02, 1943 - March 04, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 04/08/1943: FDR freezes prices, wages, and salaries in an effo…
FDR freezes prices, wages, and salaries in an effort to stem inflation. April 08, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/07/1943: During the course of this week, Allied forces remo…
During the course of this week, Allied forces remove the Axis from North Africa through the forced surrender of German and Italian commanders. The two-year effort by the Axis to control North Africa, and specifically the Suez Canal, comes to an end. May 07, 1943 - May 13, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/11/1943: At the Trident Conference in Washington, D.C., Chu…
At the Trident Conference in Washington, D.C., Churchill, Roosevelt, and their top military planners meet and formulate a general strategy for the planned invasions of Europe, and for the commitment of forces to the European and the Pacific theaters. May 11, 1943 - May 27, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/16/1943: In Poland, German troops finally subdue an uprisin…
In Poland, German troops finally subdue an uprising by Jews in the Warsaw ghetto that had begun the previous month. The Jews had been forcibly relocated to the ghetto when the Germans began their occupation of the country nearly four years earlier. The Germans will move the Warsaw Jews to concentration camps and level the ghetto. May 16, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/27/1943: By executive order, FDR establishes the Office of …
By executive order, FDR establishes the Office of War Mobilization to coordinate the nation's efforts at home, and he orders that all government contracts with private industries forbid racial discrimination. May 27, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/09/1943: The Current Tax Payment Act goes into effect, intr…
The Current Tax Payment Act goes into effect, introducing the withholding of federal income taxes on wages and salaries. Also known as the “Pay-As-You-Go-Act,” it will become a cornerstone of U.S. tax policy and government finance. June 09, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/14/1943: The Supreme Court rules in West Virginia Board …
The Supreme Court rules in West Virginia Board of Education v. Bernette that it is unconstitutional for a state to require children to salute the flag if doing so runs counter their religious beliefs. June 14, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/20/1943: In Detroit, Michigan, whites protesting the employ…
In Detroit, Michigan, whites protesting the employment of blacks in formerly “white-only” jobs start a clash that leads to two days of rioting and rampage, leaving thirty-four dead before federal troops intervene. June 20, 1943 - June 22, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/05/1943: Germans launch a massive attack on the Russian cit…
Germans launch a massive attack on the Russian city of Kursk in what will become the largest tank battle in history and the German's last significant effort at conquering the U.S.S.R. July 05, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/10/1943: Allied forces invade Sicily, which falls five week…
Allied forces invade Sicily, which falls five weeks later. The island off the “toe” of Italy will provide safer passage to Allied shipping in the Mediterranean and aid the invasion of the Italian mainland. July 10, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/19/1943: Three days after dropping leaflets urging the Ital…
Three days after dropping leaflets urging the Italian people to surrender, 500 U.S. bombers carry out an air raid on Rome. The city had previously been spared because of its unique historical, religious, and artistic significance. July 19, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/25/1943: King Victor Emmanuel of Italy forces Benito Mussol…
King Victor Emmanuel of Italy forces Benito Mussolini to resign after more than two decades as Il Duce, effectively ending Italy's role as an Axis power. Allied forces will invade the country five weeks later; Italy will surrender unconditionally on September 8, although German troops will pour into the country, continuing the fight. July 25, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 08/11/1943: At the Quadrant Conference in Quebec, Roosevelt, C…
At the Quadrant Conference in Quebec, Roosevelt, Churchill and others agree on, among other items, a plan for the invasion of France, set for the spring of 1944. August 11, 1943 - August 24, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 10/19/1943: In Moscow, the foreign ministers of the U.S.S.R., …
In Moscow, the foreign ministers of the U.S.S.R., Britain, and the United States, along with the Chinese ambassador to Russia, meet to discuss matters relating to the end of the war. They will issue a statement declaring their intentions to treat the Axis powers fairly once the war is over, and to create an international organization for peace. October 19, 1943 - October 30, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 11/22/1943: FDR, Churchill, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek …
FDR, Churchill, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek meet at the Sextant Conference in Cairo, Egypt, and demand the unconditional surrender of Japan according to the following terms: it must restore Chinese territory; give Korea its independence; and give up all Pacific islands seized after 1914. November 22, 1943 - November 26, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 11/28/1943: Flying from Cairo, FDR and Churchill meet Joseph S…
Flying from Cairo, FDR and Churchill meet Joseph Stalin at the Tehran Conference in Iran. At this, the first ever meeting of the “Big Three” leaders, the timing of the invasion of Europe is finally settled. November 28, 1943 - December 01, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - Roosevelt Attends the Tehran Conference

On November 28, President Franklin Roosevelt attended the first day of a conference in Tehran, Iran, with Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. It was the first meeting of the three leaders together.

At the Tehran Conference, the three leaders discussed World War II and post-war plans. They decided on the Allied invasion into Europe to open a second European front, and Stalin agreed to launch a major offensive on Eastern front at the same time. They also discussed the Pacific Theater of the war, and Stalin pledged that Russia would join the fight against Japan once the war against Germany was completed. The leaders also touched on the status of Poland and the Baltic nations.

The conference ran until December 1, 1943. At the end of the meetings, the “Big Three,” as they became known, issued a joint declaration. In it, they pledged their support to one another and noted that they had reached an agreement for the military operations against Germany. They concluded the declaration by stating: “We came here with hope and determination. We leave here, friends in fact, in spirit, and in purpose.”

To read the Tehran Declaration, issued on December 1, 1943, click here.

November 28, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/17/1943: Congress repeals the Chinese Exclusion Acts passed…
Congress repeals the Chinese Exclusion Acts passed during the late- nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries which banned Chinese immigration to the United States. December 17, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 12/24/1943: FDR announces in his end-of-the-year radio address…
FDR announces in his end-of-the-year radio address that General Eisenhower will be Supreme Commander of the forces that will soon invade Europe. December 24, 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 01/31/1944: U.S. forces invade the Marshall Islands in the Pac…
U.S. forces invade the Marshall Islands in the Pacific. On February 2, Roi Island becomes the first to fall, marking the first territory captured from the Japanese that Japan had occupied before the war began. All of the islands fall within three weeks. January 31, 1944 - February 22, 1944

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 02/20/1944: In what is termed “Big Week,” the United States su…
In what is termed “Big Week,” the United States suffers heavy losses during a series of massive air raids on German aircraft production that significantly weakens Germany's air capacity. February 20, 1944 - February 27, 1944

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 03/29/1944: Congress approves a joint resolution appropriating…
Congress approves a joint resolution appropriating up to $1.35 billion for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency, looking toward postwar efforts to aid the millions of people devastated by the war. March 29, 1944

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 04/03/1944: In Smith v. Allwright, the Supreme Court ru…
In Smith v. Allwright, the Supreme Court rules that the white-only primary, sponsored by the Democratic Party in Texas, is unconstitutional. April 03, 1944

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 05/03/1944: The Office of Price Administra…
The Office of Price Administration (OPA) ends the rationing of meat, except on steak and other choice cuts of beef. May 03, 1944

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/04/1944: Allied forces enter Rome after German troops evacu…
Allied forces enter Rome after German troops evacuate the city in retreat; it marks the beginning of the end of German resistance in Italy. June 04, 1944

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/06/1944: On “D-Day,” Operation Overlord begins just after m…
On “D-Day,” Operation Overlord begins just after midnight, with some 4,000 invasion ships, 600 warships, 10,000 planes, and about 176,000 Allied troops. The invasion of the continent takes place at a series of beaches in Normandy. By the end of the day, and despite heavy casualties, around 150,000 Allied troops have safely reached the beach and are dug in. June 06, 1944

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/13/1944: The Germans make use of the first V-1 flying bombs…
The Germans make use of the first V-1 flying bombs, jet-propelled pilotless bombs launched from France and Belgium toward Britain; only one of these “buzz bombs” reaches London. June 13, 1944

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/15/1944: The B-29 Superfortresses, based in China, begin th…
The B-29 Superfortresses, based in China, begin the first air raids on the Japanese main island. On the same day, U.S. forces land on Saipan; when the island falls on July 9, the United States will have lost 3,400 lives; the Japanese, 27,000. June 15, 1944

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/19/1944: In the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the United St…
In the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the United States wins one of the more decisive air-naval battles of the war as the Japanese lose at least 400 planes and three carriers. June 19, 1944 - June 20, 1944

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 06/22/1944: FDR signs the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, which…
FDR signs the Servicemen's Readjustment Act, which provides financial aid to veterans for education, housing, and other needs; it will be widely known as the G. I. Bill of Rights. June 22, 1944

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/1944: At their national convention in Chicago, the Repub…
At their national convention in Chicago, the Republican Party nominates New York governor Thomas E. Dewey for President and Ohio governor John Bricker for vice president. Wendell Willkie, the popular 1940 nominee, had already lost during the primary season earlier that spring, as he underestimated the extent to which his support for the war alienated many of his party members. The Democrats nominate FDR for an unprecedented fourth term, despite insider concerns for his failing health. Senator Harry S. Truman of Missouri is nominated for vice president; he is FDR's third different running mate in four elections. July 1944

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/01/1944: Representatives from forty-four nations meet at Br…
Representatives from forty-four nations meet at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, for a monetary and financial conference. They agree to establish an International Money Fund (IMF) and an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, also known as the World Bank. Both institutions will be central to international economic policy following the war. July 01, 1944 - July 22, 1944

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/20/1944: In a failed assassination attempt, a bomb explodes…
In a failed assassination attempt, a bomb explodes near Hitler in his headquarters in East Prussia, leaving him relatively unscathed but psychologically shaken and increasingly paranoid. Before the day is over, several high-level officers and politicians will be executed for their role--active or merely alleged--in the conspiracy. July 20, 1944

Franklin D. Roosevelt - 07/25/1944: U.S. forces under General Omar Bradley begin Opera…
U.S. forces under General Omar Bradley begin Operation Cobra, a coordinated offensive to cut off German forces in Brittany and collapse the German defensive line in northwestern Germany. Brittany will fall to the Allies two weeks later. July 25, 1944

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