Found in the Archives

FDR’s Bedside Note

In the early morning hours of September 1, 1939, President Roosevelt was awakened in his bedroom at the White House by a telephone call from his Ambassador in Paris, William C. Bullitt, who advised the President that Germany had invaded Poland and that several Polish cities were being bombed. After FDR gave orders that all Army commands and Navy ships be notified at once, the President wrote this unique “bedside note” documenting for posterity how and when he had received the news of the outbreak of World War II.

This document is also part of our Significant Documents Collection – a selection of documents from across the holdings of the FDR Library that contains some of the most historically significant documents in our collection. This collection of documents is now available on our website as well! You can find more about the collection as well as links to the finding aid and the documents here: