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Wendell Willkie – Address to the Los Angeles War Chest Committee, Ambassador Hotel – September 30, 1943 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Wendell Willkie was the 1940 Republican nominee for President, running against FDR. Up until 1939, Willkie was a staunch Democratic activist and interventionist during the early days of the War in Europe. But after a disagreement over the Tennessee Valley Authority, which Willkie opposed, he switched parties and became the GOP nominee.
After losing the election, and with FDR gaining a third term, Willkie made two wartime foreign trips as Roosevelt’s informal envoy, and as nominal leader of the Republican Party gave the president his full support. This angered many conservatives, especially as Willkie increasingly advocated liberal or internationalist causes. Willkie ran for the Republican nomination in 1944, but bowed out after a disastrous showing in the Wisconsin primary in April. He and Roosevelt discussed the possibility of forming, after the war, a liberal political party, but Willkie died in October 1944 before the idea could bear fruit. Willkie is remembered for giving Roosevelt vital political assistance in 1941, which helped the president to pass Lend-Lease to send supplies to the United Kingdom and other Allied nations.
Aside from his trips to Europe, Willkie was also a supporter of the War Effort at home. This address to the Los Angeles War Chest Committee in 1943 was one of many such addresses Willkie did during the war in order to bolster morale, but also keep a visibility before the public, as he would run again for President in 1944.
Here is that address, as it was given at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on September 30, 1943.
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