By Susan Dunn
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Extra resources for 1940: FDR, Willkie, Lindbergh, Hitler—the Election amid the Storm
Not only was war matériel in desperately short supply, but no more than fifteen thousand troops could go into combat at any one time—at a moment when the Germans had two million men equipped and trained for combat. Roosevelt listened quietly to the torrent of words. ” He had broken through the logjam. 91 After the meeting, the secretary of the treasury congratulated the general. ”92 Following those intense discussions,93 the president addressed a joint session of Congress on May 16, 1940. As he tightly gripped the rostrum, reporters could see the whiteness of his knuckles.
Then he outlined his policy. America was simultaneously pursuing two courses of action. ” There would be no slowdowns and no detours.
52 The Evian conference gave birth to the Intergovernmental Committee on Political Refugees (ICPR), which became the new object of hope and disappointment for the persecuted of Europe. Impotent and meagerly funded, this international organization was now responsible for finding safe havens for the increasing numbers of Hitler’s victims. And where would those safe havens be? At an ICPR meeting in Washington in October 1939, FDR proposed that the delegates try to resettle several million people in “comparatively vacant spaces on the earth’s surface”—places like Madagascar, Angola, Alaska, and South America.