Born on February 18, 1892, Wendell Willkie was an American lawyer and corporate executive who is perhaps best known for being the 1940 Republican nominee for President. Campaigning against President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Willkie actively campaigned against Roosevelt's New Deal policy as well as for a more active role for the United States in World War II. On election day, President Roosevelt received twenty-seven million votes to Willkie's twenty-two million, and also held a substantial lead in the Electoral College with four hundred and forty-nine to Willkie's eighty-two.
Despite his loss, Willkie, to the surprise of many in his party, became an unlikely ally to the President. Between 1941 and 1943, Willkie embarked on numerous trips abroad, acting as the President's informal envoy. Willkie actively pushed for the United States to provide unlimited aid to Britain in their struggle against Nazi Germany. After returning to campaign once more for President in 1944, Willkie suffered a series of heart attacks, forcing him to leave the campaign. Willkie finally succumbed to a heart attack and died in 1944 at the age of fifty-two. Willkie is remembered and hailed for providing President Roosevelt with political assistance that proved vital to helping America's allies during World War II. Click here to see an alernate version of this button.