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Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 34th Visit to Georgia

Thirty-fourth Visit

November 21 - December 4, 1938

For the first time since 1935, Roosevelt was able to visit Warm Springs for Thanksgiving. He planned to use the time to rest, swim, and drive around the countryside. But the world situation could not be ignored. Germany was in the midst of a brutal crackdown against Jews; they were ordered out of industry, had 20% of their holdings confiscated by the state, and many were already in concentration camps or fleeing the country. While he and his companions gave thanks at the annual turkey dinner, he called on all U.S citizens to offer “prayers for the oppressed minorities in other lands.” Source: Columbus Ledger, November 21, 1938, p. 1.

But the persecutions continued; Roosevelt decided to call the U.S ambassadors to Germany and Italy home for a conference on the situation in Europe. They spent Nov. 27-28 at the Little White House briefing Roosevelt. While the persecutions were much more serious in Germany, Italy was beginning to harass the Jewish people within its borders as well.

Roosevelt did not completely ignore the political situation in his “second home” however, nor had he let George’s victory in the recent election daunt him. Writing to a friend:

“… Down here in Georgia there is a rather definite tendency to quit fighting the Administration and try to ‘make up.’ This tendency does not apply to some of the mossbacks…nor does it yet apply to Walter George. I think Dick Russell will be more inclined to go along – and the same thing applies to quite a number of other Senators who come up in 1940. That is something for us to be watching… .” Source: Elliott Roosevelt (ed.), F.D.R.: His Personal Letters 1928-1945, (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1950), p. 830.

Roosevelt did get some relaxation on his visit, and did not relish the thought of returning to Washington:

“… I have been having a grand time down here at Warm Springs and hate the thought of going back next Sunday night to start the long grind… .” Source: Elliott Roosevelt (ed.), F.D.R.: His Personal Letters 1928-1945, (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1950), p. 835.

But finally it was time for Roosevelt to return to Washington. The Columbus newspaper reported:

“President Roosevelt, tanned and rested from two weeks of outdoor life, got ready today to return to Washington… . He also went for his almost daily swim… .” Source: Columbus Ledger, December 4, 1938, p. 1.