Willkie, Wendell L.

▪ American politician
in full  Wendell Lewis Willkie 
born Feb. 18, 1892, Elwood, Ind., U.S.
died Oct. 8, 1944, New York City
 U.S. Republican presidential candidate in 1940, who tried unsuccessfully to unseat President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Roosevelt, Franklin D.). He subsequently became identified with his famous “One World” concept of international cooperation.

      Willkie earned his law degree from Indiana University in 1916 and practiced law with his father before entering the U.S. Army during World War I. After the war he entered corporate law practice, moving to New York City in 1929 to work in the legal department of Commonwealth and Southern Corporation; four years later the dynamic lawyer was president of the huge utilities holding company. After 1933 he gained national prominence as leader of the battle of privately owned utilities against competition from the federal government's Tennessee Valley Authority.

      Although Willkie had been a Democrat in the early 1930s, he turned Republican a few years later because of what he felt to be unwise government restraints on business enterprise. His effective criticism of Roosevelt's New Deal administration made him a dark horse candidate for the Republican nomination in 1940. Spontaneously, hundreds of grass-roots “Willkie for President” clubs sprang up throughout the country. Despite a late start, limited organization, and opposition from a large segment of party leadership, he was nominated on the sixth ballot. Campaigning until he lost his voice from strenuous speaking, Willkie stressed the need to create more jobs through policies fostering business expansion and investment—at the same time preserving the best of the New Deal reforms. He also supported aid to the Allies as World War II engulfed Europe. The opposition capitalized on Willkie's Wall Street background and the critical nature of the world situation, however, with the result that he carried only 10 states (82 electoral votes to Roosevelt's 449); nevertheless, his popular vote of more than 22,000,000 was the largest ever received by a Republican to that time.

      Willkie went on to stress the need for a “loyal opposition” in a two-party system; he visited England (1941) and the Middle East, the Soviet Union, and China (1942). In 1942 he became chairman of the board of 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation (Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation). His book, One World (1943), largely an outgrowth of his travels, made a strong plea for postwar cooperation and was influential in turning many Republicans away from isolationism.

      Support of Roosevelt's war policies brought considerable opposition to Willkie's renomination in 1944, and after his defeat in the Wisconsin primary, he withdrew from the race.

Additional Reading
Biographies include Joseph Barnes, Willkie (1952); and Steve Neal, Dark Horse (1984). Specifics of his career are examined in Donald Bruce Johnson, The Republican Party and Wendell Willkie (1960, reprinted 1981); Warren Moscow, Roosevelt and Willkie (1968); and James H. Madison (ed.), Wendell Willkie: Hoosier Internationalist (1992).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Willkie, Wendell, 1892–1944 —    Willkie was notable both as ROOSEVELT’s opponent in the 1940 election and as his goodwill envoy to the world. As a former Democrat who switched to the Republican Party in opposition to the New Deal in 1938, Willkie was a surprise candidate in… …   Who’s Who in World War Two

  • Willkie, Wendell Lewis — (1892 1944)    Born in Elwood, Indiana, Wendell Willkie graduated from Indiana University. After serving in the army during World War I, he established a law practice in Akron, Ohio. In 1929, he became legal counsel for the country’s largest… …   Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era

  • Willkie,Wendell Lewis — Will·kie (wĭlʹkē), Wendell Lewis. 1892 1944. American politician who was the Republican nominee for President in 1940. * * * …   Universalium

  • Willkie, Wendell L(ewis) — born Feb. 18, 1892, Elwood, Ind., U.S. died Oct. 8, 1944, New York, N.Y. U.S. politician. He moved to New York City in 1929 to become an attorney for the Commonwealth and Southern Corp., of which he was later president (1933–40). He led the… …   Universalium

  • Willkie, Wendell Lewis — ► (1892 1944) Político y abogado estadounidense. En las elecciones presidenciales de 1940 fue derrotado por Roosevelt …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Willkie, Wendell L(ewis) — (18 feb. 1892, Elwood, Ind., EE.UU.–8 oct. 1944, Nueva York, N.Y.). Político estadounidense. En 1929 se trasladó a Nueva York, donde ejerció como abogado de la Commonwealth and Southern Corp., cuya presidencia asumió poco después (1933–40).… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Willkie, Wendell L(ewis) —  (1892–1944) American businessman chosen by Republican Party as its presidential candidate in 1940 …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Willkie — Wendell Willkie 1941 Wendell Lewis Willkie (* 18. Februar 1892 in Elwood, Indiana; † 8. Oktober 1944 in New York City) war Anwalt in den USA und bei den Präsidentschaftswahlen 1940 republikanischer Gegenkandidat von …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Wendell Willkie — Wendell Lewis Willkie né à Elwood dans l Indiana le 18 février 1892 et mort à New York le 8 octobre 1944, est un avocat et homme politique américain, membre du Parti démocrate puis du …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Willkie — Willkie, Wendell Lewis …   Enciclopedia Universal

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.