Saturday, September 17, 2011
Wendell Lewis Willkie (pronounced /ˈwɪlki/; February 18, 1892 – October 8, 1944) was a corporate lawyer in the United States and was the dark horse Republican Party nominee for the 1940 presidential election. A member of the liberal wing of the GOP, he crusaded against those domestic policies of the New Deal that he thought were inefficient and anti-business. Willkie, an internationalist, needed the votes of the large isolationist element so he at the end waffled on the bitterly debated issue of America's role in World War II, losing support from both sides. His opponent Franklin D. Roosevelt won the 1940 election with 55% of the popular vote and 85% of the electoral vote.
Afterward, Roosevelt found Willkie to be compatible politically with his plans and brought him aboard as an informal ambassador-at-large. Willkie criss-crossed the globe on the former army bomber The Gulliver, bringing home a vision of "One World" freed from imperialism and colonialism. "One World" was Willkie's travelogue of his travels and meetings of the then-Allies heads of state, as well as ordinary citizens and soldiers in regions such as Russia and Iran. His liberalism lost him supporters in the GOP and he dropped out of the 1944 race, then died of a heart attack. He never held political office.