Things were going well for America. The Nazis were losing ground daily against victorious American forces, and the Pacific Theater had the Japanese front moving daily towards the main islands of Japan. The minds of the Big Three, and the rest of the world was turning from winning the war to the division of postwar Europe. Once again, the world seemed more optimistic. However, there were still challenges that Franklin Roosevelt had to face.
The main challenge was Russia. An unlikely ally, and an associate of Hitler up until 1941, the British and the American governments always treated Stalin and his questionable means of governing with an air of disdain and caution. When he first joined the allied side, Stalin was more than happy to cooperate with the demands and requests of Roosevelt and Churchill. However, as the successes of the allied forces began to mount, Stalin became more and more unwilling to bend under pressure from Roosevelt and others. This was made clear at the Tehran Conference of 1944, where for the first time Roosevelt showed signs of cracking.
As well as things may have been going for his country, Roosevelt was encountering mounting difficulties. The pressures of war had separated him further from his wife Eleanor, with whom his relationship had never quite recovered from his affair with his secretary Lucy Mercer. As mentioned previously, the diplomatic part of his job as commander-in-chief was becoming more and more stressful.
Mounting on this pressure was also the grievous deterioration of his health. Franklin Roosevelt never was a man of terribly good health. Various blood diseases, allergies, and even rumors of possible brain tumors had plagued him throughout his life. Late in 1944, Roosevelt was admitted to the United States Navy Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. Although it was announced to the general public that Roosevelt was in excellent health, the truth was very different. The physical had revealed how his stressful lifestyle had taken its toll on him.
Roosevelt adopted a diet and underwent regular medical observation, but his condition failed to improve. Once a man who tried his hardest to do everything himself, now delegated most or all of his responsibilities to his lieutenants and aides-de-camp. More and more he sought the constant companionship of his close friends and relatives including calling upon the company of Lucy Mercer, although nothing went on between them at that time.
Roosevelt's gradual softening did not go unnoticed by others. Stalin, a keen observer of such things, took the opportunity to force his will upon the weakened leader. Roosevelt, now more apt to concede his approval than to engage in one of his trademark six-hour debates was a ripe target for the opportunistic Stalin.
Never was this weakening more clear than at Yalta, the famous meeting on the Crimea with Stalin and Churchill. During the long, drawn out debates and conversations, Roosevelt frequently forgot what the topic of the conversation was, or began to go off on a random conversational tangent.
Things only went downhill from there. Roosevelt became more and more incoherent.
Unfortunately, all of these occurrences were symptoms on the general theme that Franklin Roosevelt did not have very long to live.
All things must come to an end, and Franklin Roosevelt's life was no exception. On April 11, 1945, Roosevelt was feeling upbeat and optimistic, much better than he did in past months. He decided that he would enjoy a nice meal and discuss important matters of state with his finance secretary Morgenthau.
The following day at 1:15 pm the president complained of severe head pain. The beginning of the end was upon him. From there things began to fall apart quickly. His private physician was immediately summoned and it was reported that he had suffered a complete catastrophic cerebral hemorrhage. His friends and family quickly gathered around him, concerned. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, president for four terms, savior of the nation from the great depression, died at 3:36 pm on April 12, 1945. He was buried in the family estate at Hyde Park, New York.