Forced Rejuvenation of Supreme US Justice and "Voluntary" Physical Training of British Public

Newly re-elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt began to put some flesh on the bones of his scheme to expand executive power at the expense of the judiciary in the form of a proposal to change the membership of the Supreme Court, which had acted as a major brake on his early reforms. Once a Justice had reached the age of 70, this would create space for anew Justice to be nominated. In theory this could have expanded the Supreme Court to 15 Justices. In practice it was intended to dilute the opposition to Roosevelt of the mainly elderly Justices then sitting. Scenting a major Constitutional conflict in the offing, Wall Street fell sharply.

The British government published a White Paper on a scheme to promote a national scheme of physical education. It was the brainchild of Neville Chamberlain, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was almost certain to succeed Stanley Baldwin as Prime Minister in a few months. It was but a pale shadow of Nazi Germany’s Kraft durch Freude movement. It declaimed any aspiration to compulsory status, although it was clearly presented as something that was highly desirable, worthy of “widespread” adoption.

Another piece of the jigsaw of British appeasement fell in place as Sir Neville Henderson was designated as ambassador to Berlin in succession to Sir Eric Phipps, who was being transferred to the notionally more important post as ambassador to France. Phipps was tough and experienced and had not in any way been deluded as to the character of the Nazi regime or the threats that it posed. By contrast Henderson had held two relatively minor posts (Yugoslavia and Argentina), spoke no German and, most important, deeply concerned to follow the direction of his political masters. Over the next two and a half years, Henderson strove vigorously to execute Chamberlain’s goal of appeasing Hitler.


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