22 1941: Fighting the Shadow War

In December last year we looked at how Churchill in 1940 kept Britain in the war. In this episode we’re crossing the pond to look at Roosevelt and America in 1940/41.

1941: Fighting the Shadow War: A Divided America in a World at War
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In 1941: Fighting the Shadow War, A Divided America in a World at War, historian Marc Wortman thrillingly explores the little-known history of America’s clandestine involvement in World War II before the attack on Pearl Harbor.Prior to that infamous day, America had long been involved in a shadow waolved in a shadow war. Winston Churchill, England’s beleaguered new Prime Minister, pleaded with Franklin D. Roosevelt for help. FDR concocted ingenious ways to come to his aid, without breaking the Neutrality Acts. Launching Lend-Lease, conducting espionage at home and in South America to root out Nazi sympathizers, and waging undeclared war in the Atlantic, were just some of the tactics with which FDR battled Hitler in the shadows.

FDR also had to contend with growing isolationism and anti-Semitism as he tried to influence public opinion. While Americans were sympathetic to those being crushed under Axis power, they were unwilling to enter a foreign war. Wortman tells the story through the eyes of the powerful as well as ordinary citizens. Their stories weave throughout the intricate tapestry of events that unfold during the crucial year of 1941.

Combining military and political history, Wortman tells the eye-opening story of how FDR took the country to war.

At the outbreak of war in Europe the majority of the American people did not want to commit troops to another European war. When much of continental Europe fell under Nazi tyranny and Britain looked over the white cliffs at Dover to see the German Army looking back and the Battle of Britain started in earnest, American public opinion started to waver allowing FDR to push through measures in support of the British and Allied war effort.

I’m joined by Marc Wortman, he is the author of 1941: Fighting the shadow war. Which the Wall Street Journal described as “Engrossing… [1941 is] an absorbing world-wide epic set in that pivotal year. … ”