The HISTORY Channel’s ‘FDR’ is the perfect miniseries for 4th of July
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was one of the most, if not the most, influential Presidents America has ever had at its helm. The tough decisions he had to make still actively impact American lives and international relations. Every president since his tenure is measured by their first 100 days in office. President Roosevelt is a colossus, but before he was a titan, he was a man. FDR is executive produced by world-renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize®-winning, bestselling author Doris Kearns Goodwin and Academy Award®-nominated producer Bradley Cooper. Best of all, you can stream it right now on The HISTORY Channel’s website! If you loved the “Washington,” “Grant,” “Abraham Lincoln,” and “Theodore Roosevelt” miniseries, then you’re going to love this one, too.
“FDR” is a three-part miniseries detailing President Roosevelt’s battle with adversity that inspired all Americans of his day to be resilient and band together against the threats that could have divided the nation in two. Episode one: Nothing to Fear goes into vivid detail about FDR's early life, his battle with Polio, and how astonishing it truly was that he genuinely cared about Americans. FDR came from the upper echelons of society and was even referred to as a class traitor for his deliberate attempts to improve the common man's lives.
FDR disregarded negative publicity and led America out of the Great Depression with his social programs which continue to protect the most vulnerable Americans. He created jobs and put the country back to work. The restoration of the economy would pay dividends years later when the fate of the world relied on American aid and strength. I loved that this episode brought some context to the political cartoons of the day about him.
The second episode: Rendezvous With Destiny chronicles how FDR was able to convince an isolationist nation stubbornly opposed to having anything to do with Europe to assist allied nations. Each episode of the miniseries features expert commentary from renowned authors, historians and witnesses to history, including Pulitzer Prize-winner Jon Meacham, Michael Beschloss, Allida Black and Evan Thomas, internment camp survivor and actor George Takei, Holocaust survivor Paul Galan, professors Leah Wright Rigeur, Dr. H.W. Brands, Colonel (USMC Ret.) Doug Douds, as well as former speechwriter for President Barack Obama, Sarada Peri.
Episode three: Arsenal of Democracy, which the title is based on one of my favorite FDR quotes of all time, is the crescendo of the three-part documentary series where we see FDR combat the greatest evil the world has ever seen. The Nazis had taken over Europe, and the British Empire was on the brink of collapse. Allied nation after Allied nation fell under the suffocating grip of Hitler’s war machine.
“We must be the great arsenal of democracy. For us this is an emergency as serious as war itself.”
Integral to the success of the war on all fronts FDR had to manage the personalities of Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. One thing that I love that the HISTORY Channel does well with these presidential miniseries is the superb wardrobe and set design. The reenactments really bring you into the critical moments giving you a glimpse of what it would have been like in those meetings behind closed doors.
One motif in this series is that FDR was the only man alive who could rescue America, not only from her domestic issues but those far-reaching abroad, cementing America’s image on the world stage as the guardian of democracy. I didn’t even notice that six hours had passed by the time I finished the series. I highly recommend watching it and would watch it again.