Determinism and American Foreign Relations During the Franklin D. Roosevelt Era

Determinism and American Foreign Relations During the Franklin D. Roosevelt Era Wayne S. Cole

Franklin D. Roosevelt is one of the greatest presidents in American history. He served during deeply troubled times-during the Great Depression and World War II. His domestic New Deal program and his leadership toward massive multilateral involvement in world affairs-and war-set patterns that have changed America and the world ever since. Neither the United States nor the world can return to what was before he came on the scene. Scholars have labored to describe, explain, and evaluate President Roosevelt's place in history. One might have thought that everything had been said that there was to say about the man and his times. Not so! In this book, based on a lifetime of experience, research, and reflection, Wayne S. Cole advances fresh, thoughtful, and thought provoking new perspectives on the man and his times. Cole breaks from the "Great Man" and "Devil" theories of history and advances a frankly determinist interpretation that invites neither adoration nor disdain for that sphinx on the American political scene. In his introductory essay Professor Cole traces the bumpy, twisting paths that he inadvertently followed from his early confidence in freedom of the will to his later determinist perspectives. In successive chapters he illustrates the evolution of his thought. In the process he provides readers with his mature thinking on topics on which he had written as a young scholar decades earlier-including the rise and fall of American isolationism, and the image of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He concludes with speculation about what one may anticipate from America in world affairs in the 1990s. Cole does not necessarily expect readers to agree with his unconventional interpretation. Nonetheless, his thoughtful analyses may encourage readers to think anew and more deeply on both Roosevelt and his opponents-and even on the whole human adventure.

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University Press of America
120 pp.

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