Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 41st Visit to Georgia
November 27 - December 17, 1944
Roosevelt was able to return to Warm Springs for an extended Thanksgiving vacation for the first time since 1939. But. he was a shell of his former self. The rigorous campaign, the operation of the war effort, and his advancing heart disease had taken a toll on him. This visit was for relaxation, not just to boost his spirits and energy level, but likely to save his life. He had a doctor nearby at all times.
At the Founder’s Day dinner, Roosevelt of course mentioned the war effort—but most of his talk was a remembrance of past days at Warm Springs. He recalled the first Founder’s Day dinner in 1928 and the tremendous growth of the Foundation since then. Many long-time residents of Warm Springs had difficulty watching the President. When he had given the Founder’s Day speech in 1928, he had been a robust, healthy, tanned 190 pounds just off a victorious campaign in New York and eager to return to public life. Now he weighed only 160 pounds, had little appetite or energy, and his complexion was pale. Still, he stayed after the dinner to watch a skit performed by the children entitled “The Spirit of Warm Springs.” It was a lively skit dedicated to Roosevelt, and he enjoyed it. To top it off and to celebrate the just finished campaign, two staff members came out in a donkey suit and did a dance for the President. Despite his weariness, he remained to shake hands with all the guests as they left.
Warm Springs had always been considered a magical place by Roosevelt, and it soon began working its wonders on him again. He took one swim in the heated indoor pool, but his blood pressure soared and his doctor suggested he stay out of the pools. But he did relax, drive around the countryside, and soak up the “spirit” of Warm Springs. His appetite returned, he began to put on weight, and the color returned to his complexion. When the time came for him to depart his friends felt much better about him and eagerly anticipated his next visit the following spring.
December 15, 1944 - Americans began invasion of The Philippines.
December 16, 1944 - Germans launched counter offensive against American and British forces in western Europe in what became known as the Battle of the Bulge.
January 16, 1945 - Battle of the Bulge ended in German defeat.
January 19, 1945 - German line on the Eastern Front collapsed in face of Russian offensive.
February 4-11, 1945 - Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill met for the Yalta Conference.
February 13-14, 1945 - Allied bombing caused firestorm in Dresden.
February 19, 1945 - American forces landed on Iwo Jima - an island close enough to Japan to allow airplanes to reach Japan and return without the need to refuel. The forces met fierce Japanese resistance, including kamikaze attacks.
March 16, 1945 - Americans took control of Iwo Jima.
April 1, 1945 - American forces invaded Okinawa, even closer to Japan than Iwo Jima.