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FDR Sick?


This is kind of interesting; the argument is that FDR may have been suffering from cancer during the 1944 Presidential campaign. The evidence of illness, they suggest, was covered up by his doctors in order to make his run for a fourth term possible.

If Lomazow and Fettman are right, Republican Thomas E. Dewey or a different Democrat should have been elected president in 1944. In that case, Harry S. Truman, FDR’s vice president, would almost certainly not have been commander-in-chief from 1945 to 1952. The Cold War and subsequent American history might have taken a very different path.

Two questions:

1. If this is true, and if FDR’s illness had become widely enough known to preclude a fourth run, who would have taken the Democratic nomination in 1944? I suspect that it would have been very hard for FDR to campaign anyway, given the general undesirability of having a dying President during wartime.

2. If this were true, why would FDR have chosen Truman as his VP? The two men weren’t close, and even allowing that FDR had a cavalier approach to his VP choices, it would be odd that he would select Truman if he knew he was quite likely to die in the short term.

The argument is hardly concrete, but it does open up some interesting avenues of discussion.

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