"a loyal Willkie man"

Wendell L Wilkie 1939
Public DomainWendell L Wilkie 1939 - Credit: Time Magazine
Wendell Lewis Willkie (1892-1944) was a corporate lawyer and the Republican candidate for the United States presidency in 1940. He was a high profile businessman, a champion of civil rights for minorities, and, until 1938, a Democrat.  He was a strong critic of the New Deal. As a recent Democrat, the president of a major utility holding corporation, and someone with no political experience, Willkie was unique as a Republican candidate.  He lost the 1940 election to the incumbent, President Roosevelt.

Willkie vigorously supported the provision of aid to the Allies in Europe, which earned him the displeasure of the Republicans in Congress.  He worked consistently for a more liberal Republican party and for Republication commitment to a post-war international organisation.  Following America’s entry into World War Two, he travelled around the world, with President Roosevelt’s approval, visiting battlefields and war time leaders.  On his return he wrote One World, describing his travels and meetings with Allies heads of state, ordinary citizens and soldiers, and making a plea for international understanding and cooperation.  It sold more than a million copies.  Willkie’s liberalism saw him losing ground in the Republican Party.  In 1944 he lost the Republication presidential nomination to Thomas E Dewey.  In August of that year he suffered a heart attack and died two months later.  While he never held political office, he did exercise notable influence on American policy and ideology during this period.