The Franklin D. Roosevelt Spanish Flu Casualty

Presidential History Blog

The young Roosevelt family.

One of the serious casualties of the great Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-9, was the marriage of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Franklin Roosevelt In Europe

Asst. Sec. of the Navy, FDR

In mid-1918, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, was sent to Europe to inspect Naval installations, meet with French officials, and visit the “front-lines” of the troops. He had no idea that a virulent influenza had begun to decimate millions of Europeans, already seriously weakened by the devastation of the Great War. Eventually the “flu” claimed more lives than the war itself.

He returned on the USS Leviathan, unaware that many passengers and crew were already sickened by the pandemic. Several died before the ship landed in the US. Franklin Roosevelt not only was violently stricken, but the flu was complicated by double pneumonia. When the ship docked in Hoboken, NJ he…

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