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Harry Hopkins Biography


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Harry Lloyd Hopkins (August 17 1890 – January 29 1946) was one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's closest advisors. He was one of the architects of the New Deal, especially the relief programs of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which he directed and built into the largest employer in the country. In World War II he was Roosevelt's chief diplomatic advisor and troubleshooter and was a key policy maker in the $50 billion Lend Lease program that sent aid to the allies.
Social work

Harry Hopkins was born in Sioux City, Iowa, the fourth child of David Aldona and Anna Pickett Hopkins. He attended Grinnell College and soon after his graduation in 1912 took a job with Christodora House, a social settlement in New York City's Lower East Side ghetto. In the spring of 1913 he accepted a position with the New York Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor (AICP) as "friendly visitor" and superintendent of the Employment Bureau. In October 1913, Harry Hopkins married Ethel Gross and the couple eventually had three sons: David (1914-1980), Robert (1921-) and Stephen (1925-1944). In 1915, New York City Mayor John Purroy Mitchel appointed Hopkins executive secretary of the Bureau of Child Welfare which administered pensions to mothers with dependent children. With America's entrance into World War I, Hopkins moved his family to New Orleans, Louisiana where he worked for the American Red Cross as director of Civilian Relief, Gulf Division. Eventually, the Gulf Division of the Red Cross merged with the Southwestern Division and Hopkins, headquartered now in Atlanta, Georgia, was appointed general manager in 1921. Hopkins helped draft a charter for the American Association of Social Workers (AASW) and was elected its president in 1923. In 1922, Hopkins returned to New York City where he became general director of the New York Tuberculosis Association. During his tenure, the agency grew enormously and absorbed the New York Heart Association. When the Great Depression hit, New York State Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt called on Hopkins to run the first state relief organization in the nation – the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration (TERA). Hopkins and Eleanor Roosevelt began a long friendship, which strengthened his role in relief programs.
New Deal

In March 1933 Roosevelt summoned Hopkins to Washington as federal relief administrator. Convinced that paid work was psychologically more valuable than cash handouts (the "dole"), Hopkins sought to continue and expand the Hoover administrations' work-relief programs, especially FERA. He supervised the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), and the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Over 90% of the people employed by the Hopkins programs were unemployed or on relief. He feuded with Harold L. Ickes, who ran a rival program the PWA which also created jobs but did not require applicants be unemployed or on relief. FERA, the largest program from 1933-35, was a continuation of Hoover's relief program and involved giving money to localities to operate work relief. CWA was similar, but focused on short-term projects (like maintenance work) that left little visible impact. The WPA was dramatically new because it operated on its own. It selected projects with the cooperation of local and state government but operated them with its own staff and budget. Hopkins started programs for youth (National Youth Administration) and for artists and writers (Federal One). He and Eleanor Roosevelt worked together to publicize and defend New Deal relief programs. He was concerned with rural areas but more and more focused on Cities in the great depression. Critics charged that his WPA, with 2 million men employed, who voted 90% Democratic, was the first national political machine. If Hopkins had plans for becoming president they were shattered in 1940 by the Hatch Act which made it illegal to use the WPA for political purposes.
World War II

During the war years, Hopkins acted as FDR's unofficial emissary to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. He had a major voice in making policy for the vast $50 billion Lend-Lease program, especially regarding supplies for Britain and Russia. Hopkins promoted an aggressive war against Germany and successfully urged Roosevelt to use the Navy to protect convoys before the US entered the war in December 1941. Roosevelt brought him along as advisor at the Big Three conferences at Cairo Conference, Tehran Conference and Casablanca Conference (1943) in 1942-43. He was a firm supporter of China, which received Lend lease aid for its military and air force. Hopkins wielded more diplomatic power than the entire State Department. Hopkins helped identify and sponsor numerous potential leaders, including Dwight D. Eisenhower. He continued to live in the White House and saw the president more often than any other advisor. Although Hopkins' health --always poor--was steadily declining, Roosevelt sent him on additional trips to Europe in 1945; he attended the Yalta conference in February 1945. He tried to resign after Roosevelt died but President Harry S. Truman, recognizing the value of his services, sent him on one more mission to Moscow. Hopkins died in New York City in January 1946, succumbing to a long and debilitating battle with stomach cancer. There is a house on the Grinnell College campus named after him.

Courtesy of: http://www.wikipedia.org/

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