Lit review - 1 Greg Reynolds History 7B Section126 11 April...

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Greg Reynolds History 7B: Section126 11 April 2008 F.D.R. and Foreign Policy Franklin Roosevelt’s natural charisma and leadership abilities endeared him to an entire generation and his actions in U.S. policy, foreign and domestic, shaped the course of that office for modern times. Yet the motivations and actions of F.D.R. have come under the critical scope of many historians and a consensus of opinion is far from reached when observing the wealth of literature created to debate the issue. Few dispute the influence that the President wielded during his presidency but many contentions arise from whether of not Roosevelt answered to a consistent set of morals in his actions or if each decision was made on intuitive or situational basis; historians debate whether Roosevelt stood behind the statement, “ ‘If war does come we will make it a New Deal war’,” 1 or if his course of action was series of “adroitly and imaginatively handle(d)” 2 individual issues. The Juggler by Warren F. Kimball puts forth the point of view that Roosevelt, although erratic on first glance, has a deep set consistency to his decision making, “Roosevelt’s consistency, shrouded as it was in rhetoric and tactical maneuverings, is striking.” 3 Published in 1991, The Juggler focuses on the period between 1937 and the President’s death in 1945, almost completely weighted on the wartime period and the events and decisions that led to World War II. This time span covers a myriad of key foreign policy decisions allowing Kimball use his extensive knowledge of Roosevelt to paint a picture of cohesion amongst the various stratagems of the administration. 1 Warren F. Kimball, The Juggler (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), 3. 2 James MacGregor Burns, Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom (New York: Harcourt Inc., 1970), 25. 3 Kimball, 4. 1
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The author constructs his narrative around a substantial number of quotes, references and other sources that add to the generally dense topic. Kimball builds his book around nine essays focusing on individual faucets of Roosevelt’s actions in the World War II era and the general goal to create a stable postwar government based upon his principles. Each essay is heavily riddled with references to seventy pages of notes that flesh out the main text and offer further insight from the author and sight more sources of evidence. The Juggler ’s main argument is that with sufficient evidence it is clear that F.D.R. made his decisions based on a vision of the postwar world. Kimball traces a Roosevelt who envisioned a new world order based upon the values of the United States in which the European power structure would no longer cause catastrophic wars. Although he argues that the President was deliberate he cannot get more specific than to identify some basic assumptions that created the basis for this consistency. These suppositions are that World War II was a vital power shift, that
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This note was uploaded on 09/07/2009 for the course HISTORY 6b taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at Berkeley.

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Lit review - 1 Greg Reynolds History 7B Section126 11 April...

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