February 15, 1933 - President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt is shot by Giuseppe Zangara in Miami, Florida while shaking hands with Mayor Cermak.
March - Roosevelt dies of his wounds, exascerbated by his polio, at the Walter Reed General Hospital. President Hoover retains his office until the Inauguration Day, at which time Vice-President-elect John Nance Garner will be sworn in. In the meantime, the Democratic Party convenes to choose a new Vice-Presidential candidate. With no precedent to follow, it is determined.
On March 4 Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes swears in John Nance Garner as the 32nd President. Garner announced earlier that he would choose Senator Cordell Hull of Tennessee as his Secretary of State (first in line for presidential succession).
Seeking to build on the promises that he and Roosevelt had made during the election, Garner begins to push several reforms that had been considered being called the "New Deal" (in honor of Roosevelt's cousin Teddy's "Square Deal"). This was dropped and they were called the "Roosevelt Reforms" in hopes of gaining support in honor of the slain President-elect.
March-May - The nadir of the Depression hits as banks across the country are kept closed by their governors to avoid "bank runs". President Garner attempts to pass a Federal Insurance System for the banks, guaranteeing their assets against failure. He gets it but with a much smaller amount insured that was originally hoped for. Public mistrust of banks continues for many years, thus preventing capitalization as well as mortgage and other loans.
The Federal Securities Act fails to pass, however Garner is able to pass the Tennessee Valley Authority Act with help from Secretary of State Hull.
May-December 1933 - Further recovery programs from President Garner are stalled or lightly funded. Opposition even comes from his own party, with Democrats like Al Smith and his "American Liberty League" joining with the Republicans to stall many of the "planned economy" measures that Garner is trying to pass.
Garner fails to pass the Civil Works Administration with the funding he requests. He gets about half. He does get the National Industrial Recovery Act passed. Meanwhile in mid-November, the first major Dust Bowl storm hits.
May - The worst Dust Bowl storm yet hits the Great Plains. President Garner finally gets the Securities Act passed, but it doesn't cover trading on the secondary market. The Depression drags on with only slight up-ticks in the indices.
April - Another great dust storm hits, primarily in the southwest US. Garner creates the "National Works Program" (OTL's WPA) by Executive Order, but again receives only half the funding he requests when Congress allocates funds for it.
In the Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States case, the US Supreme Court rules the National Industrial Recovery Act un-Constitutional. This is a serious blow to the Garner Administration and supporters of the "Roosevelt Reforms". Garner's acceptance of the exclusion of "union protection" had made the bill weak to begin with, and the USSC ruling killing it, ends most pro-union activity by the Federal Government for years to come.
The nascent Gallup Polling service shows President Garner at a 47% approval rating across the country, but still at 52% in the Democratic South. His GOP opponent will be Governor Alf Landon. Hull will be his running mate.
May - The Remington Rand Strike begins. President Garner's Administration offers only tacit support to the AFL, leading the fight, and the "Mohawk Valley Formula" tactics of strike-breaking, eventually causes the strike to collapse. Attempts by Congress to investigate stall and the NLRB deadlocks on Remington Rand's culpability in breaking the strike.
November - Landon, a poor campaigner, loses the election but by a much smaller percentage than in OTL, only two million votes and 25 Electoral College votes.
December - The Flint Sit-down Strike begins. In February 1937, it ends with a victory for the UAW. That union gains new power and credibility, giving a minor boost to the union movement in the United States.
The National Labor Relations Board is ruled Constitutional by the Supreme Court, another victory for the victory-deficit Garner Administration. President Garner gives a short speech in Chicago on the dangers posed by "aggressor nations" (in response to Italian and Japanese moves in Ethiopia and China), but makes the case that it should be handled by the League of Nations collectively, without US leadership.
March - Garner re-vows to increase Government aid and promises more "Roosevelt Reforms" (though this term slowly falls out of favour as memories of the slain President-elect fade).
February - The rape or massacre of Nanking occurs. There is outrage at the atrocities committed, but President Garner refuses calls for embargoes or punitive actions against Japan, and merely calls for a League of Nation's statement to be signed by all members. It never occurs. (Note: Due to nothing but the "complexity theory" of an alternate timeline, the "Allison Incident", in which a Japanese soldier strikes Ambassador John Allison in Nanking, and its subsequent help in turning American public opinion against Japan, never occurs).
The New York Stock Exchange creates new protections, to help boost investor confidence. After many battles, President Garner finally gets the Fair Labor Standards Act passed, with a minimum wage of 25 cents an hour. Meanwhile the AFL and CIO began to fight, and President Garner (no fan of unions) told them both that he "didn't care if they both went the way of the Tasmanian Tiger" (the last of which had recently died in Australia). This ruins labor's relations with the Democratic Party.
The Democrats fare poorly in the 1938 mid-term Congressional elections. "Roosevelt Reform" Democrats lose primary bids, as conservative Southern Democrats re-assert themselves. Republicans, under Robert Taft, come within 12 seats of winning control of the House of Representatives. Taft Republicans soon form a conservative coalition with the conservative Democrats after the election and halt all of President Garner's domestic agenda in his lame duck years.
Stalled on the domestic front, Garner concentrated on foreign affairs. A supporter of Wilsonian neutrality, he heartily supported the Neutrality Act with a large majority of Republicans and conservative Democrats and stated "America has no interest in another European war." The message clearly sent to England and France was that the U.S. wouldn't support any moves against Hitler.
Negotiations with Japan continued, with American business interests back home blunting any moves to restrict trade with Tokyo.
There are minor upticks in the economy, but the chances of the Democrats seem poor for the Presidential election next year. Taft and Richard Russell of Georgia again keep Garner from passing any new reforms or domestic programs.
August Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard write a letter to President Garner warning him that Germany may be working on an atomic bomb. Garner, while respecting both men, especially Einstein, wasn't particularly worried about it. He promised to have the War Department investigate the phenomenon of "nuclear fission" and "potential bombs."
September On the 2nd Germany invades Poland, and Great Britain and France declare war. President Garner addresses the nation to state that America "has no interests in a 'Second World War' and WILL remain neutral in this conflict." The public supports him, as do most Republicans and conservative Democrats.
June France has fallen. President Garner gets defense spending increased, including a plan for 25,000 new aircraft for the Army Air Corps (one-half of OTL) and 10% increases in tonnage for the US Navy (slightly less than in OTL).
"Lend-Lease" never appears, neither does the "Destroyers For Bases" agreement. Isolationism rules, both in Congress and in the country, and though sympathetic to the plight of Britain, Garner as a lame duck has little influence. Churchill is desperate as U-Boats threaten to cut-off England's food and resources and despite the success of the "Battle for Britain" air war, things look bleak for the island nation after France falls - as well as Denmark and Norway.
The scrap metal and oil embargoes of OTL against Japan, never appear. Garner attempts, via Vice-President Hull, to get American companies to voluntarily reduce supplies to Japan (keeping the government's fingerprints off it, but trying to weaken the Empire of Japan nonetheless), but they are only marginally successful.
Per tradition, President Garner does not seek a third term. It is felt early on that his Vice-President, Cordell Hull, has the best shot at the nomination, but the unpopularity of the Garner Administration dampens that. At the convention other contenders arose, from Postmaster General James Farley to Senator Richard Russell to Senator Millard Tydings. Russell and Hull eventually came down to the fifth ballot, with Hull winning the nomination by only a dozen votes. It was generally felt that Hull emerged weak from the Convention. He chose Farley as his Vice-Presidential nominee.
Meanwhile, the Republicans had their split. Between NY Governor Thomas Dewey, Senator Robert Taft and Senator Arthur Vandenberg. The isolationist wing had taken a hit, due to the Nazi blitzkrieg in the Spring and Summer of 1940 sweeping into the Netherlands and France, but remained strong thanks to little influence from the interventionists (either in the GOP or from the Garner-led Democrats) and eventually Dewey won. He further secured the nomination by picking Taft as his running mate.
November - The election is close, but the Chicago Tribune calls it correctly with their morning edition headline: "Dewey Defeats Hull!". The NY Governor carries the election by a mere 750,000 votes and 12 Electoral College votes, but he returns Republicans to the White House. His "coat tails" give the Republicans a majority of the seats of the House by a 219-213 margin, however Democrats maintain their majorities in the Senate.
January - Just after the Dewey Inaugural, on the 23rd, aviator Charles Lindbergh testifies before the U.S. Congress and recommends that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler. He receives a rousing ovation and Dewey follows up on Lindbergh's speech, with one of his own on February 2nd in which he states among other things "the United States, no friend of Germany, is not its enemy either."
May - The bombing of Parliament occurs, along with the "Hess Affair". Rudolf Hess, Deputy Führer, successfully contacts the Duke of Hamilton at his home near Glasgow. Unlike OTL, Hess is not injured and finds his way to Hamilton without being hospitalized and then turned in by Hamilton.
The Blitz is going very badly for England, and with little or no help from the United States seeming likely (in fact, given Lindbergh's vehement and Dewey's tacit isolationism, even possible), many in England are starting to re-consider Hitler's previous opening for peace terms. Hamilton, at first concerned at being charged a traitor, hears Hess out and hides him in his home for two weeks, under the name "Albert Horn", a supposed German refugee.
Hamilton then returns to London and meets with several other "pro-peace" MPs and members of the House of Lords.
On the 27th, Hess is brought forward without arrest to the House of Commons to speak to the House. Churchill is outraged and sends the military in to arrest Hess before he can speak. Hamilton and several other MPs block their way and there is a stand-off. Eventually, Churchill calls the troops back and Hess proceeds to speak to the HC. His speech is simple but direct and though receiving no applause, he leaves with Hamilton to a home in downtown London.
On the 29th, a resolution is voted on and passed by Parliament, calling on Lord Halifax, Foreign Affairs Secretary, to open negotiations with the Germans. Churchill swears he will resign, if the resolution passes, but his threat is ignored. He does resign and almost immediately a vote is taken, making Anthony Eden the Prime Minister. Within 48 hours, negotiations have begun, with Rudolf Hess acting as head of the German team in Bristol and the Duke of Hamilton acting as the head of the British team.
June On the 8th, 1941, a peace treaty is signed between the British Empire and the Third Reich. The British retain all their imperial holdings except for Hong Kong (ceded to the Japanese) and Malta (ceded to the Italians). Germany keeps northern France as a part of the Reich and the Vichy remain allies.
In the United States the end of the war boosts the political fortunes of the isolationists (including President Dewey) and leaves the interventionists (mostly liberal Democrats) scrambling against the obvious question of "Why did you want to involve us in a war, when even England didn't want to fight it?"
Charles Lindbergh especially was honored for his part in "keeping America out of a losing war" and was elected to the US Senate as a Republican from New Jersey later in 1942.
Meanwhile, only two weeks passed, and the Nazis launched their attack on the Soviet Union. Neither side were surprised that war would eventually come; the Molotov-von Ribbentrop Pact was considered "temporary" at best. But the Germans were surprised at the ease of their invasion against the Russians.
July - By mid-month, the Germans were to Kiev. Free to pull troops from France, even Norway (given no threat from England), they were able to re-inforce what was already a huge force against the Russians.
August - By late month Leningrad was taken.
September - On the 10th the "Immolation of Leningrad" happened (It was enabled by a slightly advanced timeline of Barbarossa).
October - Immediately the push for Moscow began, with Panzers pulled from the north after the fall of Leningrad, Hitler's forces were able to plow into Moscow. By the 15th (again advanced from our timeline), the Germans had hit the "Mozhaisk line" of defense and given it was not as complete, pushed through to Moscow.
As in OTL for Leningrad, the Soviets put up a huge defense and it slowed the German advance once they reached the city. Unlike OTL, it was not enough. Stalin ordered the evacuation of the Communist Party much later than our timeline, for the equivalent point in the Battle of Moscow and when the civilian evacuation occurred, it was even more of a panic. Thousands died as they tried to flee eastward with Luftwaffe planes bombing. Stalin and about half the Politburo made it to Nizhniy Novograd.
November - Finally on the 17th, despite nearly 100,000 fresh Russian troops nearly to the city, the Kremlin fell. The world was stunned and Stalin, nearly hysterical, tried to broadcast a message of revenge and hope to the Soviet people.
The Russian re-inforcements attempted to re-take the city, but by then the Germans had established their defenses and Luftwaffe planes were operating out of Moscow airfields. They pulled back to Novgorod to re-group.
In the south, the push had slowed, but not much and Odessa had easily fallen and the Germans were much closer to the Caucacus and Stalingrad than in OTL by the time winter set in in late 1941.
Meanwhile, in Asia, the Sino-Japanese War raged on. Further atrocities by the Japanese, notably the Bombing of Chongqing, finally forced President Dewey and the Congress to cancel aircraft contracts with Tokyo. A push for an oil embargo was squelched, though.
February - Japan launches the "Massacre of Chogsa", a "re-creation" of Nanking.
March - On the 5th, in response to Chogsa, the USA starts a oil and scrap metal embargo.
May - The Spring Offensive of '42 begins in Russia as the Soviets attempt to retake Moscow with fresh troops from Siberia . Given a winter to dig in, the Germans are prepared for them, both with fresh troops and armor, and with well-established air bases west of Moscow.
June - The Moscow retaking is stalled, with the Russians losing 13,000 troops for the effort.
July - Meanwhile a push by the Germans starts towards Voronezh (it falls nearly three weeks earlier than OTL) in the south and the oil fields of the Caucuses. Grozny fell by the end of the month. General Zhukov is ordered by Marshall Timoshenko to pull troops from the failed Moscow offensive and rushes them south.
Japan attacks Borneo, declaring war on the British and Dutch to seize Singapore, Malaysia and the East Indies, while Germany makes it known that it will enter if Britain puts up too much of a fight.
August - On the 2nd, the German 4th Panzer took Stalingrad before Marshall Timoshenko could get his defenders there. Another blow to both ego (Stalin's) and Russian morale. Baku, the largest city in the Soviet Azerbaijan, falls on the 12th and the Caucasus oil fields become property of the Reich. Fighting continues throughout the summer and fall of 1942. The Battle of Nizhniy Novgorod occurs in the late month with a new push from the Germans eastward. Stalin falls back again and re-establishes his capital in Novosibirsk, deep in the heart of Russia.
September - By now the Japanese have attacked Java and on the 22nd they take Singapore
November - In the 1942 mid-term elections Republican isolationists won 232 seats in the House of Representatives and 48 seats in the Senate gaining control of both houses for the first time since 1930.
The Spring Offensive of '43 begins for the Germans as the Soviets are pushed further and further back into Siberia.
March - The Japanese Fifteenth Army, under Lieutenant General Shojiro Iida, takes Burma and moves to the Indian frontier. The British re-inforce Calcutta and Dhaka. British naval vessels engage in a terse battle in the Java Sea with Imperial Japanese navy forces. The battle, fought almost exclusively with aircraft carrier forces, is a stalemate, with the British withdrawing to the Port of Calcutta. They remain there briefly, but the danger of Japanese bombing proves to great, and they move to Visakhapatnam.
June - By now the Aral Sea coasts are in German hands and they capture Kazakh oil fields, one of the last the Soviets still held.
September - By now winter is in sight, but the Germans are now past the Urals in the north and Stalin has once again re-located his "temporary capital" to Yakutsk. He swears on (what is left of) Soviet radio, that "there will be no more retreats ... the counter-offensive begins at Yakutsk", though few believe him. The Japanese return to Singapore, but finish securing their holdings in Malaysia and the Dutch East Indies, and move in on New Guinea.
October - By early month Japan has taken the western half of New Guinea. German troops push eastward again, stopping only after taking Novosibirsk and Omsk in the late month as winter sets in again. Meanwhile, a new German tank, the "Panther" is being introduced into the field. The Soviets with virtually no fuel oil, haven't launched a tank offensive since the Battle of Nizhniy Novgorod. Supplies of anti-tank artillery ammunition and rockets are drying up as well. Most analysts in the US, the UK and of course Germany, feel that the next spring offensive in '44, will finally crush the Soviets. ANZAC forces fortify Papua and come under constant bombardment all through the fall of 1943.
Meanwhile in the United States, sentiments about the war are changing. As the Germans apparently prepare to finish off the Russians, and the Japanese seem close to not only taking China and South East Asia, but perhaps Australia as well, many isolationists, including Dewey, begin to worry that American neutrality might prove suicidal.
Lindbergh, too, has lessened his fervor about neutrality, though mostly he directs that to the Japanese. Racism surely plays a part, but fear of domination of the entire world by Fascism also plays a part. But now the question becomes "What to do?"