FDR had a military parade, too

tags: FDR, military parades, Trump

Susan Dunn is the Massachusetts Professor of Humanities at Williams College and the author of the forthcoming "A Blueprint for War: FDR and the Hundred Days That Mobilized America" (Yale University Press, 2018). The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Related Link America’s Had Military Parades Before. Here’s Why Trump’s Will Be Different. By Joshua Zeitz

"I want a parade like the one in France," President Donald Trump reportedly said to a military official, who passed that information on to The Washington Post.

Trump had been the guest of French President Emmanuel Macron on Bastille Day in July 2017, and after attending the parade he enthusiastically exclaimed that it was "one of the greatest parades" he'd ever seen. And so, he wanted to preside over an equally spectacular one in Washington -- not unlike a 7-year-old who wants his birthday party to be as big and elaborate as his friend's. It would cost millions of dollars in citizens' hard-earned tax money (money that could go instead to veterans' hospitals), and military officials said they were unsure how to pay for it. 

And yet, it wouldn't be the first grand military parade in Washington. There was one in January 1941, for example, after Franklin D. Roosevelt's inauguration to an unprecedented third term in office. That past spring all the European democracies, with the exception of Great Britain, had fallen to the relentless Nazi forces, and in Asia, Japan had extended its reach into China.

It was a year before Pearl Harbor, and the nation was not yet at war, but FDR knew he would have to educate Americans and convince them and Congress that the nation must nevertheless be prepared and mobilized for war. He decided a military parade would be a dramatic display of the nation's willingness to fight to preserve its way of life and its determination to protect Great Britain from the Nazi onslaught. 

And so, after his inaugural address, a grand military parade took place.

Read entire article at CNN

comments powered by Disqus