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Roosevelt & Churchill in Florida - Jan 1942

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by WeeVeeJosh, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. WeeVeeJosh

    WeeVeeJosh New Member

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    In January 1942, after finishing his business in the Arcadia Conference, Winston Churchill took a short vacation at a beachfront home of Edward Stettinius located in Hillsboro Beach (near Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderale), Florida. This resulted in a famous image of Churchill coming out of the water from an ocean swim which he didn't much care for. This visit is listed in the International Churchill Society's very detailed timeline of Churchill's life.

    There are claims that FDR secretly visited Churchill in Florida during this visit, including dining together at a nearby locally famous restaurant called Cap's Place (who tout this alleged visit to this day). Variants of the story claim the join visit occurred in 1941 before the US entered the war.

    Examples of first person claims reported by local newspapers of the joint visit at an unspecified date can be found in the Fort Lauderdale Daily News issues on 6 Oct 1958 & 26 Dec 1950.

    On the other hand, War in Paradise: Stories of World War II in Florida by Eliot Kleinberg says the story is a myth; FDR and Churchill both vacationed in South Florida, but never at the same time.

    I suspect this story be a mistake of human memory: individuals met Churchill and Roosevelt in the same place during the same time period and years later in retrospect the memories blended together that so two true but separate encounters became one.

    Any FDR or Churchill buffs know more about this subject?

    Anyone have a good FDR or Churchill biography handy they can check to see if this claim is addressed? If so, what sources are cited for or against this claim?
     
  2. KMZgirl

    KMZgirl Member

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    I'm reading a book, Stilwell's Mission to China, that might mention this. I've made it to December of 1941 and it has referenced the Arcadia Conference. What an odd coincidence. It has given a back story leading up to The China Theater and is talking about all the meetings and interactions. The book is free online. I just started reading the hardback now. I'll let you know if it mentions anything, but I'm busy and it will probably be next weekend.
     
  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I have eleven books on FDR during the war. They're in a box. If you need confirmation on something I can get them out.

    You could also check the Roosevelt Library for appointment during that time slot.
     
  4. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    I just finished watching the Ken Burns HBO Mini-series on the Roosevelt's covering this time frame. No mention was made of a trip to Florida.
     
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  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    But did he use the super-duper secret train siding? :eyeroll: I've never tweaked on that Florida visit through all the books I have on him.

    However, the possibility of subterfuge always exists with FDR. He got on his yacht in Chesapeake Bay and went fishing, August 1941. Lots of people waved to the big man on the stern of the boat, happily drowning bait. None of them knew that Roosevelt has transferred the first night out and was on his way to the Atlantic Conference. One of his Secret Service guards was a very close match for him at a distance.
     
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  6. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    No, they never mentioned the super-duper train siding option. Maybe it was in the extra section. Didn't see it. That FDR was a sneaky fellow.
     
  7. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The siding was supposedly built to keep people from knowing that FDR was crippled. Odd, that, considering that it had been public knowledge before he was President and he had his picture taken in a chair, with a young girl in braces, on the White House porch for the March of Dimes campaign. He even mentioned it before Congress at least once. That was filmed and is available for those who look.
     
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  8. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Yes it was mentioned many times that his handicap was hidden, and that reporters were either forbidden to take pictures of FDR in a wheel chair, or the practice was severely frowned upon by aids and secret servicemen, but you're right, it was common knowledge that he was in a wheel chair. Maybe he was a bit vain too.
     
  9. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    He bought a resort and renamed it Warm Springs. The mission was to help children with polio cope and get stronger. There's reason photographers were reluctant to take pictures of him in his chair. They weren't assholes like the newsies of the current age. Nobody had to tell them to not shoot the man while he was struggling to get out of a car and into his chair, they just did what was decent. Even the isolationist press declined to use his illness as a political tool. FDR had to insist that the picture below be published for the March of Dimes.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Boy how things have changed....
     
  11. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The "courtesy" thing was actually far more than just a courtesy to FDR. EVERYBODY either had a relative who had polio or knew someone who did. Using his condition for political gain would have been massively stupid. Even the Saturday Evening Post avoided that one. Easier to attack his dog, Fala.
     
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