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Island at WarPuerto Rico in the Crucible of the Second World War$
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Jorge Rodríguez "Beruff and José L. Bolivar "Fresneda

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781628461640

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2016

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628461640.001.0001

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War and Political Transition in Puerto Rico, 1939–1940

War and Political Transition in Puerto Rico, 1939–1940

(p.61) War and Political Transition in Puerto Rico, 1939–1940
Island at War

Jorge Rodríguez Beruff

University Press of Mississippi

Rodriguez Beruff analyzes the political dynamics of the prewar period. It traces the transition from the stormy Puerto Rican governorship of General Blanton Winship to that of the far more able Admiral William D. Leahy during the opening days of the war. Given the economic uncertainties of the island, powerful political and economic interests, particularly those linked to the sugar industry, demanded that strong handed governor be named to replace Gore. James Beverley, Gore´s predecessor, explicitly recommended a former military officer and mentioned retired General Blanton Winship. It was in this context of a perceived breakdown of order in Puerto Rico that Winship, a former Judge Advocate General of the Army, was named governor in late 1934. However, by 1939, he was substituted by Roosevelt´s closest naval advisor, Admiral William D. Leahy. This constituted not merely a change of functionaries, but was part of a broader redefinition of Washington´s approach to Puerto Rico which created conditions for major political changes in the island´s politics.

Keywords:   Admiral William D. Leahy, General Blanton Winship, Fleet Problem XX, FDR, Puerto Rico

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