Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin Roosevelt's funeral procession, 1945
Courtesy of Library of Congress

Franklin D. Roosevelt held the office of president longer than anyone, more than twelve years. Under his direction, the United States endured two of its most significant and overwhelming crises, the Great Depression and World War II.

The nation had grown used to Roosevelt's leadership and was comforted by his presence, thanks in part to the strategic use of radio and his "fireside chats." So when Roosevelt died suddenly at Warm Springs, Georgia, on April 12, 1945, Americans were devastated.

Roosevelt funeral procession and mourners
Roosevelt's long tenure in office, his ability to lead the nation at times of crisis, and the suddenness of his death all contributed to the sweeping sense of loss experienced by most Americans in the spring of 1945.
Courtesy of Library of Congress
Sheet music, "He Was Your Friend and Mine," 1945
Songs like this one highlighted the connection between FDR and millions of Americans helping explain why his death was viewed as a personal loss.