Staff, 2023-01-13 13:30:00,
Exactly 80 years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first American head of state to travel on official business by airplane. The 32nd President of the United States flew across the Atlantic for a secret meeting between himself and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
The meeting discussed Allied strategy and the possible opening of a new front in Europe. Joseph Stalin apologized, saying he could not attend as the battle between the Soviets and Germans in Stalingrad required him to remain in the USSR. The meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill resulted in the “Casablanca Declaration,” stating that, for the war to end, the Axis powers must surrender unconditionally.
A flight to Morocco because of German submarines
President Roosevelt’s advisors did not want him to fly to the meeting. Still, they concluded that the German U-boat operations in the Atlantic made it dangerous for the President to travel to North Africa by ship. At 22:00 on January 9, 1943, the President and his entourage left the White House for Washington, D.C.s Union Station.
From there, they boarded a train for the long ride down to Miami, Florida. On January 11, 1943, at 06:00, the President boarded Pan American Airways “Dixie Clipper” Boeing 314 flying boat for the Atlantic crossing. Over the next several days, the plane stopped in Trinidad and Belém, Brazil, for refueling before flying over the…
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