By Anne E. Schraff
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Additional resources for Franklin Delano Roosevelt (20th Century Biographies
After fighting World War I, Americans were sick of thinking about the problems of Europe. Most Americans were isolationists. They wanted the United States to be isolated from the troubles of the rest of the world. But extremely dangerous things were happening in the world. 48 Roosevelt Book 9/17/07 2:07 PM Page 49 Japan was very militaristic. Hitler formed an alliance with Japan and also with another dictator, Benito Mussolini of Italy. Mussolini attacked Ethiopia in Africa and took over the country.
But the economy was coming to life. The most desperate misery had been eased. Some people were annoyed by all 43 Roosevelt Book 9/17/07 2:07 PM Page 44 the government activity. But they were not cold and hungry anymore. Relief and recovery seemed on the way. One of the most far-reaching of Roosevelt’s programs was the Social Security Act of 1935. Before this, Americans who were old or disabled had to live on whatever money they had saved or rely on charity. There were places called poorhouses where old, sick people lived in bitter poverty.
German bombs were raining down on Great Britain. At this time, Roosevelt learned of another horror taking place in Germany. Hitler had set up death camps to kill the entire Jewish population as well as others that Hitler considered unfit to live. Roosevelt now believed the threat facing the world from Hitler was the greatest of any danger in history. In September 1940 Roosevelt began transferring American ships to Britain. Some Republicans were angry. They said this violated American law and would drag the United States into an unwanted war.