1933: A New Found Hope

Ashley Johnson, guest writer

This is Jonathan Williams for the Washington Post, “It was March 4, 1933, and Americans were finally beginning to see a small glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel of the Great Depression. It all started with the election of Democratic Party nominee Franklin Delano Roosevelt . Just in the first one hundred days of his presidency and during his Inaugural Address, President Roosevelt, was already vividly exhibiting his plans on reconstructing the American economy and bringing the Great Depression to an end.

Ever since Jonathan was a young child, he had a dream to work for an extensively well-known press company. However, it was not until his late adolescent, early adulthood years that his aim was starting to play out.  Jonathan enrolled at the University of Virginia. Thought it was not a university that promoted the importance and benefits of religion, he was still able to find those who also believed as-well-as he did. While he was enrolled, he majored in political science, literature, and journalism. He was fascinated with the political system and the way it operated. As a career, he wanted to inform people of events that were happening in real time. He wanted to share the absolute truth. After graduating from the university in 1927, Jonathan began considering his options on where he wanted to start his life.

It was not until 1929, two years after he graduated that Jonathan finally began exploring and deciding on an irreproachable press company to someday write for and work within. He soon discovered the love he had for the city of Washington D.C. He only knew of one person who currently lived near Washington, his life-long friend Oliver Thomas. Jonathan had known Oliver practically since birth. They attended the same grade school, church school, and were together almost every day after school. They were considered brothers; both of their parents would say this because they were at times inseparable. But it was not until they finished grade school and went off to college, that they split ways for the first time. It was not until Jonathan decided to move to Washington and start pursuing his career that he came back into contact with Oliver.

When Jonathan discovered and exposed to the published works of the Washington Post, he was mesmerized by the literature they were producing and the areas it was reaching. He was fascinated and determined to work there. But due to the escalating problems associated with the depression in America, his plan for working there was at a stalemate. It was 1933, and the depression was it its all-time peak. It was not only hard to find enough food to consume on a daily basis, but it was also immensely hard to obtain a job that would provide a constant steady income during this time of desperation.

He vigorously began writing short articles to all the local press companies hoping that his work would one day make it to the Washington Post. He started writing about what was going in Washington and the country as a whole. In his weekly articles, he would express what was honestly going on, Jonathan reported, “President Franklin Roosevelt continually emphasizes the importance of staying confident in that the depression will resolve soon. This prediction is due to the extensive and impressive work that the president has already accomplished. It is also thought-provoking that he vividly speaks to the American people directly through the radio, which he calls ‘Fireside chats.’ He often converses about what he and his administration are continuously doing to end this seemingly never-ending depression. He also speaks about events that are globally happening. For instance, he talked about Wiley Post, an American born aviator who flew solo around the world in just eight and a half days.

He wanted his talks not just to be solely about the depression he aspired to be a being light into this exceedingly dark time. During an interview with President Roosevelt, he exclaimed, “Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our natural resources” (News). No other president in history had brought about this before he unceasingly extended reassuring and hopeful remarks to the American people, “In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice… the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love toward our fellow man. Let us not be afraid to help each other-let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a president and senators an congressmen and government officials but the voters of this country” (Biography).

When the day finally came that the Washington Post somehow got ahold of one of his articles, they immediately reached out to recruit him to work for them saying his work was “eye-opening, incredibly engaging, and filled with the truth people want to hear.” At this time most people working for the company were only writing about current events like Jonathan, but none were writing with the passion that he was portraying in his work. Jonathan was a passionate writer who loved giving his audience an inside scoop. He always took his writing to the next level and invariably sharing the raw truth.

Jonathan was a fortunate writer, not only because he was so successful off the bat, but because he had an extensive branch of acquaintances that held high positions in the government. One of which was his life-long friend Oliver Thomas. Oliver was a White House informant. He never directly worked one-on-one with President Roosevelt, but he knew every little detail about the administration and knew what was regularly going on in Washington and around the world.

This advantage gave Jonathan the ability to get information that others may not be able to obtain. It also gave Jonathan more to write about in his articles that would give his audience the truth about what was currently going on in Washington and around the world. Yes, Jonathan sometimes got overly involved in an article. But the threat of him losing his job overexpressing the truth about what was exactly going on in Washington and the world did not faze him one bit. He took great pride in his work, and he always emphasized the importance of being transparent and real in his writing. But writing about every little-known truth was not perpetually in his best interest. You see some of those working in and around the White House did not always want specific information getting out to the public.

It all started one day. . . Jonathan had published an article pertaining information about the crippling depression and the possible rumors of a war in Europe. Jonathan expressed in his article, “the White House was not being one-hundred percent honest with the American people about what was going on outside of the United States. And the White House was trying to conceal the realization that with Adolf Hitler in power was a possible reality in the future.” When this was released, an invisible cloud of panic swept through the White House after this article circulated. The Washington Post received harsh backlash from the Presidents administration and other important officials in Washington, calling this article “a leak of classified information, that should have never gotten acceptance to be released to the public due to the terror and uproar it would bring to the already battered country.” How was this information released some people asked, and what more information would be released?

The White House was on the edge they did not know if the leak had come directly from the inside, or if it was from someone on the outside. They immediately began an investigation, questioning everyone who had security clearance and everyone who had access to the President. When it finally came time to interview Oliver, he was forced to speak the truth. He explained, “I released the information. Am I proud of the outcome? No. But someone needed to expose the American people to the truth. And I had to do what I had to do.” Because he was honest and told the truth, the investigators promised that even though he would be going to jail, that his sentence would be immensely shortened. Jonathan was furious; he believed that he deserved punishment because Oliver was placed in jail. But the investigators explained, “because you did not directly leak the information, you obtained it from a private source; you will not be found guilty of any crime.”

Works Cited

Franklin D. Roosevelt.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, www.biography.com/people/             franklin-d-roosevelt-9463381. 24 Aug, 2017

Shaw, Jerry. “Franklin Roosevelt Inaugural Address Highlights: 8 Quotes From Speech.”                                                Newsmax Inc., 25 Feb. 2015, www.newsmax.com/fastfeatures/franklin-roosevelt-                                      inaugural-speech-highlights-quotes/2015/02/25/id/626855/. Web. DOA.


Polenberg, Richard. The Era of Franklin D. Roosevelt 1933-1945. Bedford/St. Martins, 2000.                             Print.

Young, Williams, and Nancy Young. The 1930’s. Greenwood Press, 2002. Print.

FDR’s First Inaugural Address Declaring ‘War’ on the Great Depression.” National Archives and                                    Records Administration, National Archives and Records Administration,                                                        www.archives.gov/education/lessons/fdr-inaugural. N.D. Web. DOA.

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “New Deal.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia                              Britannica, Inc., 25 Jan. 2018, www.britannica.com/event/New-Deal. Web. DOA.