Roosevelt as Foreign Policy Leader

  • Robert Dallek
Part of the The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Series on Diplomatic and Economic History book series (WOOROO)


In the years since 1945, Franklin Roosevelt has come under sharp attack for his handling of foreign affairs. To be sure, historians generally agree that he was an architect of victory in World War II, but they find little to compliment beyond that: His response to the London Economic Conference of 1933; his neutrality and peace plans of the 1930s; his pre-Pearl Harbor dealings with Japan; and his wartime approach to China, France, and Russia have evoked complaints of superficiality and naivete. His cautious reactions to the Italian conquest of Ethiopia; the demise of the Spanish Republic; Japanese expansion in China; Nazi victories from 1938 to 1941, the destruction of Europe’s Jews; and apparent wartime opportunities for cementing ties with Russia, transforming China, ending colonialism, and establishing a truly effective world body have saddled him with a reputation for excessive timidity about world affairs. His indirection and guarded dealings with the public before Pearl Harbor and his secret wartime agreements have provoked charges of arbitrary leadership destructive to American democracy.


Foreign Policy Foreign Affair Atomic Bomb World Affair Pearl Harbor 
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Copyright information

© Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Dallek

There are no affiliations available

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