Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 224–235 | Cite as

FDR as founding father of the transatlantic alliance: The ‘Roosevelt doctrine’ of January 1936

  • Tony McCullochEmail author


While few historians would doubt Franklin D. Roosevelt’s claim to be one of the founding fathers of the transatlantic alliance during the Second World War, there is much less agreement about his transatlantic credentials during the period of American isolationism in the 1930s. This article takes the view that FDR’s transatlantic leadership can, in fact, be dated back to his first term as president, and argues that his actions during the Ethiopian crisis of 1935–1936 provide strong evidence of his early support for Britain and France in combating the expansionism of Germany, Italy, and Japan. In particular, his ‘state of the union’ message in January 1936 made clear his ideological commitment to cooperation with the European democracies and constituted a ‘Roosevelt doctrine’ that presaged his later wartime leadership of the Atlantic alliance.


Franklin D. Roosevelt Roosevelt doctrine transatlantic relations Ethiopia special relationship isolationism 


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Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Canterbury Christ Church UniversityCanterburyUK

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