FDR's Reaction to the German Victories in Europe
Germans in PolandThe Germans captured Poland in 18 days. Attention then turned westward. Roosevelt exhorted US industry and the armed forces to provide as much aid to the allies as possible. The question was, would they be able to arm in time. The Germans first struck in Norway and Denmark, and then in May, they attacked the low countries and soon overran France. Throughout this period, Roosevelt did his maximum to aid the Allies. After the fall of France, despite concern that Britain would soon fall as well, Roosevelt ordered all possible armaments sold to Great Britain.
After the rapid German victory in Poland, a period in what became known as the phony war began. For a short period the war in Europe lost some of its urgency, although Roosevelt did his best to allow the allies to purchase as much war material as they could. Suddenly, on May 10th, the Germans launched a full scale attack on the west. The Netherlands and Belgium were quickly overrun. It soon became apparent that the French were doomed. Roosevelt immediately asked for the most massive arms buildup in American history. At the same time, he continued to give all possible aid to the British. He used the limited diplomatic leverage at his disposal to try to keep Italy out of the fight, but once it became clear that the French were totally defeated, the Italians attacked. The remaining question was whether Britain would manage to stand alone. Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of Britain. Churchill's strong attitude more than anything else, helped convince the President that Britain would stand.