Sometimes I get the impression that people who we have elected to guide our country are not real leaders! It seems that our politicians are all “employed” by some of the people who helped them “buy” an election. I know that is not totally true, but on occasion, this is the impression I get. One of the unsung heroes that I greatly admire was a man called Wendell Willkie!
My interest in government came about at an early age. In 1940, Wendell Willkie was nominated to run against Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He beat out Thomas E. Dewey! 1940 was a very critical year. There were dictators in Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan. The United States still had not returned to “normal” from the Great Depression. Europe was at war, and most Americans did not want the country to get involved in a world war. However we did when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor!
When FDR was elected as president of the United States, he made big decisions and invited Willkie to join forces with him. Willkie was very popular and well liked. I often wonder if the United States would have gotten into WW2 had Willkie been elected. He was very active after the Pearl Harbor attack of December, 1941, and President Roosevelt appointed Willkie as a special representative for the United States. He travelled all over the world to visit the American troops.
In no way do I want to cast any fault on FDR; he did a superb job, as a member of a family that has well served the United States for many generations. But I often think how different it might have been if Willkie did the negotiating with Churchill and Stalin.
Germany was a Nazi country. They had only one goal: Conquer Europe, England, Russia and then the U.S. Their theme song was, “Today Germany, tomorrow the world!” For a short while it looked like they might make it. Prior to the U.S. getting into the war, German submarines sank a great number of American ships.
Willkie became a special “representative”, visiting the troops and our allies. When I read about the many different ways that Wendell Willkie served the United States it makes me proud. What has made our Country so great is that we have had many “Wendell Willkie’s” and to them I say, “Thank you.”