REVIEWSrnAs We Go Marchingrnby H.A. Scott Traskrn%et no one believe that children a hundred years from now in the future of Americarnwill not be sick for what our fools and unconscious criminals are doing today.”rn— Robinson JeffersrnThe New Dealers’ War: F.D.R.rnand the War Within World War IIrnby Thomas FlemingrnNewYork: Basic Books; 561 pp., $35.0(rnWho has not heard David McCulloughrnpontificate on the “greatness”rnof Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman,rnand now John Adams, or watched JamesrnMePherson bow before the demigod Lincoln?rnWlio has not suffered the sycophanticrnpuerility of Stephen Ambrose as he dilatesrnon the greatness of “Ike and his boys,”rnwhose mere appearance on the battlefieldrncaused the Germans to quake in fear beforernthrowing up their hands in surrender?rnAnd then there is the cult of St. Franklin,rnwhose chief priestess and idolater is thernubiquitous Doris Kearns Goodwin, recent-rnK’ seen grinning like a Cheshire cat as sherngushed about how FDR knew that “wc justrnhad to get into that war.” hito the midst ofrnthis farrago of lies, idolatry, and downrightrnstupidih’, the historian Thomas Flemingrn(not the editor of this magazine) hasrnthrown a grenade. Flenring has ripped thernregal clothes off Franklin to reeal him as arnrather sinister conspirator and bunglerrnwhose presidency was a catastrophe for Europeanrnei’ilizafion.rnReading Meming’s book, I was struckrnby how much tlie author of the NewrnDeal and the Good War had in commonrnwith our most recent ex-president. LikernGlinton, Roosevelt had great personalrncharm, a glibness with words, an unerr-rnH.A. Scott Trask is an Americanrnhistorian hving in Missouri. Hisrngrandfather was a naval officerrnduring the war with ]apan.rning instinct for political survival, an effortlessrnabilit)’ to deceive, a willingness tornsacrifice both principles and friends inrnthe pursuit of political advancement, arnvindictive streak, a Manichacan worldview,rnand a strong ease of nregalomania.rnFleming offers more than enough e’ideneernto support the comparison.rnWlreii the countr}’ relapsed into deeprndepression in 19^7-?8, Roosevelt blamedrnthe economic disaster not on the failurernof his policies but on a con.spiracy of bigrnbusiness and concentrated wealth designedrnto ruin him politically. Althoughrnit was good politics for Interior Secretar)’rnHarold Ickes to repeat this charge publicly,rnFleming makes it clear that Rooseveltrnactually believed it, just as Clintonrnmay hae believed that the scandals besettingrnhis presidency were all due to arn”vast right-wing conspiracy.” Furthermore,rnRoosevelt was convinced that hernwas the indispensable man. In 1940, hernreally believed that he was the only Democratrnwho could save the New Dealrnfrom fascists at home and abroad. Thus,rneven though the majorit}’ of Democraticrnleaders wanted him to step aside, he insistedrnon running for an unprecedentedrnthird term. Like Clinton, Rooseveltrnviewed opposition to himself and hisrnpolicies as morallv illegitinrate. As thern1940 election returns came in, he remarkedrnto a frierrd that “we seenr to havernavoided a putsch”—thus equating constitutionalrnopposition to his reelection for arnthird term with a violent and illegalrnseizure of power. His vice president oncernreferred to the Republican opposition asrna form of “American Fascism.” Both byrnimplication and direct charge, Rooseveltrnand his people claimed that anyone whornopposed entry into the war was on tirernside of the Nazis, just as anyone who opposedrnthe Ne\’ Deal was a fascist.rnAfter Pearl Harbor, Joe Patterson, thernanti-interventionist editor of the NewrnYork Daily News, offered Roosevelt hisrnservices, believing that Americans shouldrnput aside political differences and pastrnquarrels while the country was at war.rnPatterson had been a captain in the previousrnwar and hoped to receive an arnryrncommission. Roosevelt treated himrnrudely and rejected his help: “There isrnone thing you can do, Joe. Go back andrnread vour editorials for the past six months.rnRead every one of thenr and think whatrnyou’ve done.”rnFleming begins his book with one ofrnthe nrost fairrous governnrent leaks of allrntime, the December 4, 1941, publicationrnin both the Chicago Tribune and thernWashington Times-Herald of the text ofrnRainbow Five, FDR’s to]:)-secret war planrnthat called for the creation of a ten-million-rnman army, including a five-millionmanrnexpeditionary force designed to invadernEurope in 1943. The leak ofrnRainbow Five caused uproar and furor inrnthe United States. Not only did 80 per-rn26/CHRONICLESrnrnrn