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- 'BRITAIN'S GREATEST FRIEND' -
Although born 24 years apart, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt had much in common. As well as being distant cousins, they both had wealthy parents, they both went to Harvard University, they both went to Columbia Law School and they both became President of the United States.
But Franklin chalked up a record that no President has matched before or
since: he served in office for four consecutive terms and on this day
he was nominated by the Democratic Party for his unprecedented third
occupancy of the White House.
Like Theodore, Franklin was a descendant of Dutch colonists who settled in America in the mid-17th century. He was born in 1882 at the family’s Hyde Park estate just outside the city of New York, the only child of very wealthy parents.
He was educated mainly by private tutors, then Harvard University before going to the law school at Columbia University. Early on, Franklin began to admire his distant cousin Theodore and their ties were strengthened in 1905 when he married the former President’s niece, Eleanor Roosevelt.
He worked for several years as a clerk in a Wall Street law firm but wanted to enter politics and Theodore's vigorous leadership style with his reforming zeal made him Franklin's role model and hero. A chance came in 1910 when Democratic Party leaders urged Franklin to stand for a seemingly unwinnable State Senate seat.
His branch of the family had always been Democrats so, once he had made sure popular Republican Theodore would not speak against him he accepted the challenge, campaigned strenuously, won, and took his seat, aged just 29.
In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Roosevelt Assistant Secretary of the US Navy and it seemed that his political star was rising brightly. But fate intervened.
In 1921, at the age of 39, Roosevelt was stricken with poliomyelitis and – in intense pain – he was almost completely paralysed. As he slowly (but never completely) recovered, the torch was taken up by Eleanor. Initially very shy, she turned into an effective public speaker and kept Franklin’s name alive in political circles until he could return.
A limping Roosevelt was elected Governor of New York in 1928 and he went on to win the Democratic Party nomination for President in 1932.
By the time he was inaugurated on March 4, 1933, America was deep into the Great Depression. Most banks had shut down, industrial production had fallen to 56 per cent of its 1929 level, at least 13 million people were unemployed, and farmers were in desperate straits.
But the new President exuded confidence. Millions of Americans listened on the radio to his inaugural address in which he told them: “This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and prosper. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Just as, years before, Theodore had offered the nation a Square Deal, Franklin was to produce the New Deal – a broad array of measures to achieve economic recovery, provide relief to the poor and unemployed, and reform aspects of the economy that Roosevelt believed had caused the collapse.
FDR, as he became known, ran for re-election in 1936 and received the solid backing of farmers, labourers and the poor with 27 million votes. His Republican rival managed fewer than 17 million.
And then came the Second World War . . .
Roosevelt’s second term was due to end in 1941, but with the war under way he wanted to remain as Commander-in-Chief and decided to go for a third term. He stood again in 1944 for the same reason.
(At the time it was traditional not to run for a third term but there was no constitutional law against it. However, in 1947 Congress passed the 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution, which stated that no person could be elected to the office of President more than twice.)
By June 1940, Great Britain stood as the only barrier against total domination of Europe by the Nazis. In less than a year Hitler’s war machine had crushed Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and France.
As Britain stood alone, Prime Minister Winston Churchill made his famous speech declaring: “We shall fight on the beaches; we shall fight in the streets . . .” Afterwards, he reportedly muttered to a colleague: “And we’ll fight them with the butt ends of broken beer bottles because that’s bloody well all we’ve got!”
The truth is Churchill knew that the greatest hope for survival lay in the hands of his friend Franklin Roosevelt.
FDR had promised the American people that the country would be kept out of the war but he never stopped fighting against the forces of isolationism and he tried subtly to prepare Americans for the possibility of fighting Germany at some stage.
Less than two months after his re-election in 1940 he gave one of his famous radio “fireside chats”. In it he warned the American people that “if Great Britain goes down, [Hitler] will be in a position to bring enormous military and naval resources against this hemisphere.”
But knowing that a big majority of his countrymen wanted to keep out of the war, FDR instead stressed the importance of helping Britain as it struggled alone. “We are the Arsenal of Democracy,” he said.
And so it was that in March 1941, vast military supplies – including ships and planes – began to be sent to the UK under a Lend-Lease arrangement brokered by Roosevelt.
The question of whether the United States should be directly involved in the conflict was settled nine months later when, on December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the American fleet at Pearl Harbor. FDR famously described it as “a date which will live in infamy” and the US immediately declared war.
The end came for Franklin Roosevelt just three months into his fourth term. He suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage and died on April 12, 1945 at the age of 63. The war in Europe ended a few weeks later.
Winston Churchill once said of his friend: “Meeting Franklin Roosevelt was like opening your first bottle of champagne. Knowing him was like drinking it.”
Writing at the time of FDR’s death, Churchill said: “It is cruel that he will not see the victory which he did so much to achieve.” The war with Japan concluded in August after Roosevelt’s successor, President Harry Truman, decided to use the atomic bomb at Hiroshima.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill forged a bond that historians say saved the world. In his eulogy to the President, the British Prime Minister said: "In FDR there died the greatest American friend we have ever known.”
- ENGLAND'S HEROINE NURSE -
Every year, two chosen nurses lay a wreath on the statue of Edith Cavell near Trafalgar Square in central London. Meanwhile, some 200 miles north-east of the capital, a memorial service is held in the church at the rural village of Swardestone, where she was born.
Cavell was a nurse working in occupied Belgium during the First World
War and was executed by a German firing squad on this day for gradually
helping about 200 British and French soldiers to escape the country. She
was aged 49.
Her death caused shock and outrage across the world and played a significant part in bringing a disgusted USA into the war.
Cavell, born in 1865, became fluent in the French language which she learnt at school, enabling her to work as a governess for families across Europe, including Brussels.
But after taking care of her sick father she decided to become a nurse and enrolled at the Royal London Hospital. There, Royal Family surgeon Antoine Depage persuaded her to return to Brussels and run a training school for nurses at the Berkendael Medical Institute.
After Germany invaded Belgium in 1914 Cavell’s clinic and nursing school was turned into a Red Cross hospital. She treated wounded soldiers wherever they came from and with her strong religious beliefs is said to have declared: “I can’t stop while there are lives to be saved.”
However, she became involved in an underground group formed to help British, French, and Belgian soldiers reach neutral Holland. They were sheltered at the hospital then given money and guides.
But the suspicious German secret police had been keeping an eye on the hospital and in August 1915, they arrested Cavell and charged her with treason for helping at least 200 soldiers to escape. “Had I not helped,” she said later, “they would have been shot.”
She was kept in solitary confinement for 10 weeks, then at her trial pleaded guilty to the charges against her. She was sentenced to death by firing squad.
Diplomats from the neutral governments of the United States and Spain protested but their efforts were in vain. The night before her execution, Cavell told the Rev. Horace Graham, a chaplain from the American Legation: “They have all been very kind to me here. But this I would say, standing as I do in view of God and eternity: I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.”
After the war, her body was taken to London’s Westminster Abbey for a state funeral before being buried at Norwich Cathedral near her home town.
Cavell’s execution led to a strong rise in anti-German feeling in the
United States as well as in Britain, where she was idealised as a heroic
The Germans claimed that Cavell was not just rescuing Allied soldiers, but was also a spy smuggling intelligence back to Britain. Ironically, in 2015, the British Secret Service admitted there was evidence that Cavell was indeed a spy.
Historian Dr. Emma Cavell, a distant relative, has said: “Despite the posters of a helpless young girl lying on the ground while she is shot in cold blood by a callous German, the truth is that Edith was a tough 49-year-old woman who knew precisely the danger she was placing herself in. She admitted frankly what she’d done, and doesn’t appear to have been afraid of the consequences.”
Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of England has no mechanism for formal canonisation. But it has a Calendar of Saints in which a day is listed for the commemoration of an individual. There, on 12 October, will be found the name of Edith Cavell.
T20 WAS BORN
Faced with dwindling crowd support and falling sponsorship, in 2003 the England Cricket Board were looking around almost desperately for something to reverse their fortunes.
In response, their marketing manager, Stuart Robertson, proposed a new
fast-paced form of the game in which each team would be restricted to 20
overs. The chairmen of the county cricket clubs were sceptical, but
voted 11-7 in favour of the idea.
English county teams played the first official Twenty20 matches on 13th June that year, with one of them, Hampshire v Sussex, being shown live on television at 5pm.
An unconvinced Daily Mail commented: “Whoever chose the traditionally unlucky Friday the 13th to launch this bold format had better hope there is nothing to the superstition.
For cricket cannot afford to fail with a new tournament that the authorities hope will tonight attract a whole new audience and revitalise the game.
At just 20 overs apiece, this breakneck, knock-out game is all done in three hours. What on earth would W. G. Grace have thought?
It all led in 2007 to the first T20 World Cup (officially the ICC World Twenty20), a fast and furious knock-out contest between 16 international teams.
Many of the wildly enthusiastic supporters might agree with playwright Harold Pinter who once said: “I tend to think that cricket is the greatest thing that God ever created on Earth – certainly greater than sex, although sex isn’t too bad either.”
This 1920s Dutch barge is now a floating bookstore.
A most unusual barge floats on Regents Canal, which flows amid the office-littered landscape of King’s Cross. Step aboard the vessel, and you’ll find a trove of literary treasures waiting to be discovered.
Word on the Water, a 1920s Dutch barge, houses an assortment of cult, classic and contemporary fiction and nonfiction books, as well as a large array of children’s books. Its items fill the space both inside and outside the barge, so even those a bit wary of stepping off solid ground can still peruse parts of its collection.
The shop, which the brainchild of Paddy Screech, Jonathan Privett and Stephane Chaudat, has been open for nearly a decade. But it wasn’t always so easy to find. Previously, canal regulations meant the barge had to change location every couple of weeks, popping up wherever its owners could get a spot. After breaking the rules and squatting in one location for six months, the canal trust finally relented and gave the bookshop boat a permanent berth—thanks largely to public outcry and a successful campaign led by the shop’s many supporters.
In its spot along Regents Canal, the barge has become much more than a bookstore. In the winter, its woodburning stove is lit, offering bookworms of all ages a cozy refuge from the dreary cold. In the summer, the barge hosts a variety of performances, bringing anything from folk groups to jazz bands to poetry slams to its rooftop garden.
Word on the Water is a beloved feature of Granary Square, an area developed out of the old King’s Cross train sheds. The particular stretch of Regent’s Canal the barge sits on is home to a small portion of London’s large boating community, some irascible geese and swans, as well as a fine scattering of moorhens.
Atlantis Books is a quirky bookstore hidden beneath a sea of whitewashed Greek villas.
A mecca for bookworms is buried beneath the waves of whitewashed buildings flowing toward the Aegean Sea. Virtually invisible unless deliberately sought it out, Atlantis Books is a tiny bookstore packed with some of the greatest literary works by authors such as Leo Tolstoy and Samuel Beckett.
Opened in 2004 by a group of young and adventurous college students, the shop offers a plethora of books from international authors translated into English. A small set of stairs framed by vines funnels visitors past a vibrant mural and into the bookstore.
The store is a winding maze of books, all sorted by genre. You’ll find anything from literary classics to intriguing newer titles. Splashed along white walls are quotes and colorful illustrations that swirl around the entire bookstore. There’s also a timeline of the bookstore’s creation running along one wall.
Chairs and tables are tucked into the nooks and crannies of the area, inviting readers to sit down and get lost within the pages of a book. Don’t be surprised if you spot a cat or two snoozing among the stacks. Above ground, the bookstore boasts a patio offering a stunning view of the sparkling sea.