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'Uniting America' explores lessons from bipartisan alliance that shaped U.S. response to Hitler

President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented Henry L. Stimson with his commission as secretary of war after the oath of office had been administered to the Republican in the president's office in Washington on July 10, 1940. The president is holding the commission in his hand. (George R. Skadding/AP)
President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented Henry L. Stimson with his commission as secretary of war after the oath of office had been administered to the Republican in the president's office in Washington on July 10, 1940. The president is holding the commission in his hand. (George R. Skadding/AP)

As Americans wonder whether it’s possible for Republicans and Democrats to unite over policy, Peter Shinkle‘s new book, “Uniting America,” explores the once-controversial role bipartisanship played in the country’s World War II response.

As Adolf Hitler’s Nazi armies threatened Europe, Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt urged divided Americans to mobilize to defend democracy and freedom.

Many Republicans accused FDR of leading the nation needlessly into war and demanded that America remain neutral. Yet on June 20, 1940, FDR shocked the country by announcing that two prominent Republicans would take posts in his cabinet. Among those he brought in was Henry Stimson, who would become Secretary of War.

Host Robin Young talks to author Shinkle about the collaboration.

The cover of “Uniting America.” (Courtesy)

Book excerpt: ‘Uniting America’

By Peter Shinkle

Adapted from ‘Uniting America’ by Peter Shinkle. Copyright (C) 2022 by Peter Shinkle and reprinted with permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group. 

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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