By Susan Dunn
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Extra info for 1940: FDR, Willkie, Lindbergh, Hitler—the Election amid the Storm
Then he outlined his policy. America was simultaneously pursuing two courses of action. ” There would be no slowdowns and no detours.
After noting that for over three centuries “a steady stream of men, women and children followed the beacon of liberty,” Roosevelt closed the door. “Within this present generation,” he said, “that stream from abroad has largely stopped. 40 The immigration acts of 1921 and 1924 had imposed tight restrictions on the flow of immigrants to the United States. In 1930, during the economic crisis, President Hoover curtailed immigration even more, reducing the annual quota from Germany, for example, from about 60,000 to only 26,000.
67 After delivering his talk, the president learned from his aides that three hours earlier, the Germans had torpedoed the British passenger liner Athenia. 68 In the fall of 1939, there seemed to be something almost schizophrenic in Roosevelt’s war policy. S. 69 But he also told reporters a week after Germany’s invasion of Poland that there was “no thought in any shape, manner or form of putting the Nation . . ”71 And so, at the same time that he was taking a variety of measures to build up American military strength, the president hedged his words in public and above all waited for events to force his hand.