From Time Magazine’s “The Most Important People of the [Twentieth] Century:”
F.D.R. was the best loved and most hated American President of the 20th century. He was loved because, though patrician by birth, upbringing and style, he believed in and fought for plain people — for the "forgotten man" (and woman), for the "third of the nation, ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished." He was loved because he radiated personal charm, joy in his work, optimism for the future. Even Charles de Gaulle, who well knew Roosevelt's disdain for him, succumbed to the "glittering personality," as he put it, of "that artist, that seducer." "Meeting him," said Winston Churchill, "was like uncorking a bottle of champagne."
But he was hated too — hated because he called for change, and the changes he proposed reduced the power, status, income and self-esteem of those who profited most from the old order. Hatred is happily more fleeting than love. The men who sat in their clubs denouncing "that man in the White House," that "traitor to his class," have died off. Their children and grandchildren mostly find the New Deal reforms familiar, benign and beneficial. [SNIP]
To awaken his country from its isolationist slumber, Roosevelt began a long, urgent, eloquent campaign of popular education, warning that unchecked aggression abroad would ultimately endanger the U.S. itself. "Let no one imagine that America will escape, that America may expect mercy," he said. The debate in 1940-41 between isolationists and interventionists was the most passionate political argument of my lifetime. It came to an abrupt end when Japanese bombs fell on Pearl Harbor.The Declaration of War, December 9, 1941 (Fireside Chat #19):
We are now in this war. We are all in it -- all the way. Every single man, woman and child is a partner in the most tremendous undertaking of our American history. We must share together the bad news and the good news, the defeats and the victories -- the changing fortunes of war.
So far, the news has been all bad. We have suffered a serious setback in Hawaii. Our forces in the Philippines, which include the brave people of that Commonwealth, are taking punishment, but are defending themselves vigorously. The reports from Guam and Wake and Midway Islands are still confused, but we must be prepared for the announcement that all these three outposts have been seized.
The casualty lists of these first few days will undoubtedly be large. I deeply feel the anxiety of all of the families of the men in our armed forces and the relatives of people in cities which have been bombed. I can only give them my solemn promise that they will get news just as quickly as possible. [SNIP]
And in the difficult hours of this day -- through dark days that may be yet to come -- we will know that the vast majority of the members of the human race are on our side. Many of them are fighting with us. All of them are praying for us. But, in representing our cause, we represent theirs as well -- our hope and their hope for liberty under God.