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Today In History: April 12th, 1945

Photo Credit: FPG/Getty Images
Photo Credit: FPG/Getty Images

President Franklin Roosevelt Dies in Office During His Fourth Term

On April 12th, 1945, an unprecedented era in American history came to a sudden close with the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the only U.S. President ever elected to four terms in office. Roosevelt, who had steered the nation through the Great Depression and the majority of World War II, passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage in the “Little White House,” his retreat in Warm Springs, Georgia. At the time of his death, he had been sitting for a portrait painting and began to complain of a headache before collapsing into the chair – he was pronounced dead a few hours later, at the age of 63.

President Franklin D Roosevelt smiling while seated in wicker chair
Photo Credit: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Roosevelt’s leadership style and policies profoundly shaped the modern American state, but one lesser-known element of his presidency was his use of radio to connect with the American people. Through his “Fireside Chats,” Roosevelt utilized the power of mass media to speak directly to citizens, a novel approach at the time. Additionally, FDR was the first president to fly while in office, showcasing his willingness to embrace new technologies for the sake of efficiency and governance.

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His death thrust Vice President Harry S. Truman into the presidency, a man who admitted to feeling as if “the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me.” Truman would go on to make critical decisions that would shape the outcome of World War II and the post-war world.

As we look back on this day, we remember not just the end of Roosevelt’s monumental presidency but also a pivotal moment of transition in American and world history, marking the close of one chapter and the uncertain beginning of another.

TVN News Poster

TVN News Poster is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News