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VIRTUAL TALK: “The Second Most Powerful Man in the World” with Phillips Payson O’Brien
April 26, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm$10.00
THE SECOND MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD
The Life of Admiral William D. Leahy, Roosevelt’s Chief of Staff
The second most powerful man in the world was Admiral William D. Leahy. Aside from FDR, no American did more to shape World War II. Not Douglas MacArthur. Not Dwight Eisenhower. Not even the legendary George Marshall. Over four decades, the stern-faced, salty sailor had earned the president’s friendship, respect and blind trust. In a time of titanic personalities, Leahy regularly downplayed his influence, preferring the substance of power to the style. But, as Chief of Staff, he was constantly at the president’s side, influencing the most crucial and transformative decisions of WWII and the early Cold War. Tehran. Yalta. Potsdam. In the iconic photographs, Leahy stands out in full uniform just behind the Big Three. From the invasions of North Africa, Sicily and France, to the allocation of resources to fight Japan, America’s war largely unfolded according to the Admiral’s vision. Research also reveals that while FDR’s health failed, Leahy became almost a de facto president, making decisions while FDR was too ill to work. And, later, much of the Admiral’s influence carried over to another White House–Truman’s.
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