National Affairs 1939: Roosevelt Learns of the Outbreak of WWII

The Presidency: Preface to War

The President Preface of War

The telephone in Franklin Roosevelt's bedroom at the White House rang at 2:50 a. m. on the first day of September. It was a ghastly hour, but operators knew they must ring. Ambassador Bill Bullitt was calling from Paris. He told Mr. Roosevelt that World War II had begun. Adolf Hitler's bombing planes were dropping death all over Poland.

That day Franklin Roosevelt's press conference was a grave business. One question was uppermost in all mind's. Correspondent Phelps Adams of the New York Sun uttered it: "Mr. President, can we stay out of it?" Franklin Roosevelt sat in...

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