US politician who was the Republican presidential candidate in 1940. After losing to Franklin D Roosevelt, he continued as a leader of the liberal wing of the Republican Party. Becoming committed to the cause of international cooperation, he published the best-seller One World (1943).
In the 1930s, as president of Commonwealth and Southern Corporation (an Indiana utilities holding company), Willkie was an outspoken opponent of Roosevelt's New Deal economic policies, notably against the public ownership of utilities by government organizations such as the Tennessee Valley Authority.
A former Democrat, in 1940 Willkie was the surprise Republican candidate for the US presidency. Although he lost the election, Roosevelt winning a third term, he tallied the greatest number of popular votes of any Republican to that date. During World War II he supported Roosevelt's Lend-Lease programme to Britain, promoted an organization to protect world peace, and fought to improve civil liberties in the USA. In 1942 Roosevelt named him goodwill ambassador to the Middle East, China, and the Soviet Union. Willkie ran in the 1944 presidential primaries, but was defeated well behind the eventual Republican candidate, Thomas E Dewey.
Willkie was born in Elwood, Indiana, and educated at Indiana University. He was called to the Ohio bar in 1914, and became a barrister in 1916 before serving in the army in World War I. In 1923 he became a member of the New York City bar. He moved into corporate law practice, and in 1929 joined the Commonwealth and Southern Corporation, being appointed president in 1933. An active Democrat into the 1930s, he served as a delegate to the 1924 national Democrat convention.
Willkie, Wendell: Cooperation But Loyal Opposition
Wendell Wilkie was born in Elwood, Indiana, on February 18, 1892. In 1940, the Republican Party tapped Wilkie, a lawyer and utilities executive,...
(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
Wendell L. Willkie (1892–1944) was one of four Republicans defeated in presidential elections by Franklin D. Roosevelt, perhaps the most popular...