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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Death of President Roosevelt Stuns University

    April 13, 1945

    Memorial Service Held At 4 O’clock Today

    A stunned campus took stock of itself today following the death of President Franklin Roosevelt yesterday afternoon at Warm Springs, Ga.

    First announcement to the campus community of death by cerebral hemorrhage at 3:35 p.m., C.S.T., came through those whose radios were tuned in to nation-wide networks. Word spread rapidly of the loss which has been felt throughout the nation and the world.

    Programs Postponed

    First official campus reaction was from the office of the president of then university as the national flag was lowered to half mast on the flagpole, and all week-end social functions and last night’s artist series program were postponed and cancelled.

    A brief memorial service was conducted at 4 o’clock this afternoon in the auditorium. James P. Boyle, Tucson attorney, delivered the chief address. Members of the fine arts faculty, town and campus people offered other portions of the program.

    No classes will be held tomorrow due to closing of state institutions in observance of funeral services conducted at the White House in Washington D.C.

    Nation-wide and world-wide gloom occasioned by the early afternoon announcement was reflected on the campus as classroom procedure halted with the news. Faculty and students discussed the death of President Roosevelt and the prospects of the man who was catapulted into the presidency, Vice-President Harry S. Truman.

    Comment was heightened as the radio told of Ninth Army troops within 30 miles of Berlin, and commentators predicted a showdown in Germany in a matter of days.

    Two impressions

    Reaction from university square to college dormitories and faculty offices was twofold. The first was general recognition of the severe crisis death of President Roosevelt at this time brings to the nation. The second was consideration of President Truman.

    General feeling voiced pessimistic opinions concerning President Truman’s ability to carry on in world affairs. Opinions of the carious members of the history and political science department pointed out that Truman was probably picked for office on purely a political basis, but pointed out a possible parallel in the death of Garfield. Arthur, who became president upon Garfield’s assassination, was a machine politician and party tool. But he became an independently thinking president when the responsibility was placed upon him, said O. H. Wedel, professor of history.

    Opinion varied from the student exclamation that, “”Oh it’s a mess,”” to serious consideration of what the next four years may be under President Truman.

    Question of Peace

    Feeling was uppermost that death of President Roosevelt came at one of the worst possible times. General consensus was that the military phase of the war would take care of itself. The loss of President Roosevelt around the diplomatic peace tables, was the stunning blow.

    “”Anybody who undertook to say how the death of Roosevelt will effect the country would be rash. When a country loses its chief executive at a time like this, a chief executive who was as potent and powerful a force as he, it is a very bad situation and brings international and domestically a real crisis, said Dr. Neal D. Houghton, professor of political science.

    Dr. Howard A. Hubbard, head of the history department, felt that it is impossible to say now what effect the death of the president will have on the peace conferences. “”We must wait and see who will attend … in Roosevelt’s place. It may not be Truman.””

    He believes changes in the stock market reports will indicate trends of public thinking. George F. Herrick, associate professor of business administration, does not forecast a drop in the stock market at this time, however. He does not believe the effect on the country can be forcast.

    Psychological Result

    Effects downtown were retold by O. A. Simley, of the psychology department, who was in the audience at the Rialto theatre at the time. Several screams and the immediate leaving of the theatre by a number of the audience met the first announcement. Something like a gasp swept the theatre, he said.

    From the psychological angle, Dr. Simley does not believe the death of the president will make much difference to the war. “”I don’t think the enemy is capable of much reaction at this point because the change of leadership won’t change the prosecution of the war.””

    Dr. Simley’s colleague, Dr. M. R. Schneck, said … “”In my opinion one of the greatest presidents of all time has gone. He has made a change in the American scheme of things that is certainly for the better, and I believe this change will never be erased.””

    On the other hand, Frank Robertson, instructor in history and political science, believes it may be good psychologically for the enemy, and may make them brave for a few months, by the doesn’t believe it will lengthen the war.


    Student Reaction

    Reactions on the square at 4:30 came after the news had had some chance to sink in. Loie Young, Chi Omega, felt that more than ever a powerful group will be needed to guide the country, as it has lost a powerful leader. “”We’re going to have to forget our quibblings.””

    John H. Rapp, special student, saw two points in the situation. “”The nation was in more of a mess than most people realized even if President Roosevelt had not died.”” He feels the crux of the situation is in the type of men Truman will select to advise him.

    Phi Delt Harry Bagnell believes that very few people will think beyond the present weeks to the years when Truman will be president. He considered the men in the government now, and believes Sumner Welles ought to be in the state department.

    Little serious studying was chalked up last night, as students gathered for serious bull sessions.

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