In the midst of history’s greatest war, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and died just 11 weeks into his fourth term. "To the Best of My Ability" is a nine-part podcast series that examines what happens in the wake of his death, pulling directly from the newly sworn-in President Harry S. Truman’s diaries, oral histories from the men and women who lived through it, and more. Join The National WWII Museum as we explore the tragedies, triumphs, and difficult choices made by one of history’s most unexpected leaders.
"To the Best of My Ability" is available on all major platforms.
World War II had been so horrible that the victorious powers decided that nothing like it must ever happen again. President Roosevelt’s dream had been to establish a “United Nations” (UN) organization, in which the peace-loving nations of the world would settle disputes and intervene to punish aggression, but it was Truman who saw it through.
Kristen Burton, PhD
Kristen Burton, PhD is the Teacher Programs and Curriculum Specialist at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA. She received her PhD in Transatlantic History from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2015 and taught history courses at universities in Texas and Louisiana, as well as online. Burton currently authors curricular resources featuring the Museum’s extensive collection from the era of World War II. She also works with teachers across the United States through professional development workshops designed to support them in expanding their knowledge and pedagogical approaches to the history of World War II.
Gemma R. Birnbaum
Gemma Birnbaum holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in the History of Modern War and Genocide from New York University, and a Master’s Degree in the History of Twentieth Century Labor & Industrialization from Tulane University. Birnbaum has been with the Museum since 2010, and as the current Associate Vice President of the WWII Media and Education Center, she oversees media production, distance learning, K-16 and community engagement programs, and interpretation. She also serves as administrator of the Museum’s online Master’s Degree in World War II Studies with Arizona State University. Prior to The National WWII Museum, Birnbaum held education positions at Heifer International and the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, where she first got her start in museums.
Rob Citino, PhD
Robert Citino, PhD, is Executive Director of The National WWII Museum’s Institute for the Study of War and Democracy and the institution’s Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian. Citino is an award-winning military historian and scholar who has published 10 books including The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943, Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942, and The German Way of War: From the Thirty Years’ War to the Third Reich and numerous articles covering World War II and 20th century military history. He speaks widely and contributes regularly to general readership magazines such as World War II. Citino enjoys close ties with the US military, and taught one year at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and two years at the U.S. Army War College. He currently teachers for the Museum’s online master’s degree program with Arizona State University.
Ed Lengel, PhD
Edward G. Lengel is Senior Director of Programs for The National WWII Museum’s Institute for the Study of War and Democracy. He received his PhD from the University of Virginia, where he was a full professor and directed the Washington Papers Project for many years. He then served as Chief Historian of the White House Historical Association, and wrote the new history of Colonial Williamsburg as a “Revolutionary in Residence.” Also a professional author, speaker and battlefield tour guide, Lengel has written 14 books on American history, including To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918 and Never in Finer Company: The Men of the Great War’s Lost Battalion. Lengel is a co-recipient of the National Humanities Medal and has won two writing awards from the Army Historical Foundation. He has made frequent television and radio appearances on The History Channel, Fox News, SiriusXM, National Public Radio, and the World War I Centennial Commission’s weekly podcast.
"To the Best of My Ability" is part of an ongoing series commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II made possible by The Nierenberg Family and Bank of America.