Theodore Roosevelt, president 1933-1945

Salah

Forum Staff
Oct 2009
23,284
Maryland
#1
Inspired by the current thread comparing the two Roosevelt presidents.

Imagine that Theodore R. and Franklin Delano R. were reversed in the annals of history, though their personal experiences and temperaments remained the same. This means that Theodore Roosevelt would be the POTUS during most of the Great Depression, and would be Commander-in-Chief for the duration of America's involvement in World War II.

What would happen?

We can only assume, based on the historical TR's relish for American participation in the Great War (a well as his ominous respect for Japanese military potential), that the USA still would have gotten involved in WWII, and possibly earlier than it did historically.

How would TR get on with Churchill, Stalin? How would he feel about Hitler, the Nazis, the Holocaust? Would he be enthusiastic about the development of nuclear weaponry?
 
Jun 2015
5,627
UK
#2
both were of similar personalities, so i think he would have been as aggressive as FDR was in getting the USA in the war. even if a GOP had defeated FDR in the 30s, i think US entry was inevitable, given Hitler's hatred of democracy, and the USA in his words being a "mongrel race".
 
May 2014
16,700
SoCal
#3
I thought that we were no longer allowed to have Alien Space Bats-style threads on this forum.

Inspired by the current thread comparing the two Roosevelt presidents.

Imagine that Theodore R. and Franklin Delano R. were reversed in the annals of history, though their personal experiences and temperaments remained the same. This means that Theodore Roosevelt would be the POTUS during most of the Great Depression, and would be Commander-in-Chief for the duration of America's involvement in World War II.

What would happen?

We can only assume, based on the historical TR's relish for American participation in the Great War (a well as his ominous respect for Japanese military potential), that the USA still would have gotten involved in WWII, and possibly earlier than it did historically.

How would TR get on with Churchill, Stalin? How would he feel about Hitler, the Nazis, the Holocaust? Would he be enthusiastic about the development of nuclear weaponry?
Honestly, I don't see him being too much different from FDR. Where I could see a difference is that he could more aggressively lobby for immediate US entry into WWII since 1939--though even he might have hesitated to be extremely vocal in regards to this for fear of losing reelection in 1940. I also don't see him being willing to trust Stalin as much as FDR did--though ultimately I think that he would be aware that with Stalin's Soviet Union taking the lion's share of the casualties in the European theater of WWII, there would be little that he could actually do to fight Soviet demands in regards to Eastern Europe.

I do think that, like FDR, TR is going to be determined to have the post-war settlement "done right" this time--in comparison to the botched and bungled way that Wilson handled the post-war settlement the first time around.
 
Apr 2017
2,934
Las Vegas, NV USA
#4
I do think that, like FDR, TR is going to be determined to have the post-war settlement "done right" this time--in comparison to the botched and bungled way that Wilson handled the post-war settlement the first time around.
One could argue how well FDR set the stage for the post war settlement. He gave too much away at Yalta and kept Truman in the dark after the 1944 election. He called Stalin "Uncle Joe" and generally ignored Churchill's opinion regarding Stalin's intensions for Eastern Europe. Truman didn't even know about the progress of the atom bomb until he was briefed after FDR's death.
 
Likes: Futurist
Aug 2016
3,643
Dispargum
#5
While FDR and Churchill got on famously with each other, I think TR had more in common with Churchill so their friendship may have been even stronger.

One problem with this thread is the supposition that FDR and TR had similar personalities. True up to a point, but FDR made a conscious effort to emulate his older cousin, so I don't know how easily we can transpose them. FDR may have had a more difficult time without a hero to model himself on. And TR could never marry his niece Eleanor - that would been incestuous.
 
May 2014
16,700
SoCal
#7
One could argue how well FDR set the stage for the post war settlement. He gave too much away at Yalta and kept Truman in the dark after the 1944 election. He called Stalin "Uncle Joe" and generally ignored Churchill's opinion regarding Stalin's intensions for Eastern Europe. Truman didn't even know about the progress of the atom bomb until he was briefed after FDR's death.
*Intentions, not intentions.

As for FDR, as I said, given that Stalin's Soviet Union was doing the lion's share of the bleeding, he was probably content that the US didn't have to do too much bleeding and thus was willing to compromise with Stalin in regards to Eastern Europe's post-WWII future. I think that FDR remembered just how hostile Americans were towards entering WWII before Pearl Harbor and thus felt that, once the US was in the war, it had to secure victory at all costs even if it meant making unsavory deals with Stalin.
 
Likes: stevev
Mar 2012
2,663
#8
In US history there were a couple of major recessions during the time of Teddy. 4 years of recession between 1899 and 1904, then the Panic of 1907. If FDR would have installed the New Deal at this time, there would not have been a Great Depression in the US for New Time Period Teddy to worry about; the US had around a dozen heavy financial collapses prior to the New Deal, and not one since (the closest being the great recession of 2007-9, which was nowhere near as large as the collapses of old). How would the US have behaved during WW2 as the world's most dominant economic power of the last generation by a considerable amount? Would Japan have dared bomb Pearl Harbour?
 
Mar 2016
888
Australia
#9
One could argue how well FDR set the stage for the post war settlement. He gave too much away at Yalta and kept Truman in the dark after the 1944 election. He called Stalin "Uncle Joe" and generally ignored Churchill's opinion regarding Stalin's intensions for Eastern Europe. Truman didn't even know about the progress of the atom bomb until he was briefed after FDR's death.
I'm not the biggest fan of FDR, and Churchill's opinions of Stalin and communism were much more accurate and realistic, but in the case of their dealings with Stalin there really wasn't much that FDR or Churchill could do regarding Eastern Europe. Millions of Soviet troops had occupied vast swathes of it, it's not as if there was any doubt over who had de facto control of that side of the continent. The Soviets had suffered truly appalling casualties in their war with Germany, so to insist that they give up control over all the land they took, after all those sacrifices and hardships, would be insane. The Soviets did not have the same mentality of liberation as FDR and Churchill did - to them, conquest was conquest. The most they could achieve - or more specifically, Churchill achieved - was getting Stalin to agree to not support communist rebels in Greece, and to allow it to enter Britain's zone of influence. Even that was a difficult compromise, and Greece was mostly irrelevant to Stalin compared to much of Eastern Europe.
 
Likes: Futurist
May 2014
16,700
SoCal
#10
I'm not the biggest fan of FDR, and Churchill's opinions of Stalin and communism were much more accurate and realistic, but in the case of their dealings with Stalin there really wasn't much that FDR or Churchill could do regarding Eastern Europe. Millions of Soviet troops had occupied vast swathes of it, it's not as if there was any doubt over who had de facto control of that side of the continent. The Soviets had suffered truly appalling casualties in their war with Germany, so to insist that they give up control over all the land they took, after all those sacrifices and hardships, would be insane. The Soviets did not have the same mentality of liberation as FDR and Churchill did - to them, conquest was conquest. The most they could achieve - or more specifically, Churchill achieved - was getting Stalin to agree to not support communist rebels in Greece, and to allow it to enter Britain's zone of influence. Even that was a difficult compromise, and Greece was mostly irrelevant to Stalin compared to much of Eastern Europe.
Theoretically speaking, the Western Allies could have tried making a separate peace with Germany (if the Western Allies would have been open to this, then it's possible that there would have been more support among German generals for an anti-Nazi coup) in order to keep the Soviet Union out of Eastern Europe. However, that would have probably meant recognizing a lot of the German conquests in the East and would have sent a clear message that aggression pays off--even if the aggressive party subsequently commits genocide on a large scale.
 

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