Episode Information

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: FDR: The Grandest Job in the World / The Juggler
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In this episode:

The central paradox of FDR's presidency, hiding his physical disability and the wartime years.




FDR: The Grandest Job in the World/The Juggler

Aired Monday, May 19, at 9:00 p.m. on CPTV

The first segment, “The Grandest Job in the World,” focuses on the first two terms of Roosevelt’s presidency and explores the central paradox of his presidency: that a man of privilege came to be a hero to a vast and varied coalition of ordinary Americans and a villain to members of his own social class. The episode moves inside the Oval Office to show FDR’s response to the massive problems posed by the Great Depression, and out to the heartland to document how his programs and personal style — ebullient, risk-taking and surprisingly cunning — restored hope to Americans who had lost hope. This section also looks at how FDR engineered the “splendid deception” that hid the extent of his physical disability from the American people and how his relationship with his wife affected both his personal and political life. The last section, “The Juggler,” is devoted to the wartime years, using FDR’s remarkable correspondence with Winston Churchill to chart the calculated and even devious path by which the American president maneuvered support for England before he led his country through the greatest war in history. This segment also traces FDR’s management of the war, including his growing personal ties to Churchill and his relationship with Stalin and the Soviet Union, and explores Eleanor’s attempt to convince him to maintain the principles of the New Deal, despite the pressures of war. visit the website...

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