Teddy Roosevelt Nearly Died in a Cavalry Charge Against German Machine Guns in WW1
Teddy Roosevelt faced many challenges at the end of his life. Racked by rheumatism, a ticking embolism, pathogens in his blood, a bad leg from an accident, and a bullet in his chest from an assassination attempt. But none of that stopped Roosevelt from attempting to reassemble the Rough Riders for a final charge against the Germans in World War One, pushing them into a likely suicide mission of a cavalry attack against 50 caliber machine guns.
Suffering from grief and guilt, marginalized by world events, the great glow that had been his life was now but a dimming lantern. But TR’s final years were productive ones as well: he churned out several “instant” books that promoted U.S. entry into the Great War, and he was making plans for another run at the Presidency in 1920 at the time of his death. Indeed, his political influence was so great that his opposition to the policies of Woodrow Wilson helped the Republican Party take back the Congress in 1918. To look at Roosevelt’s final years, Scott Rank, host of History Unplugged, speaks with Bill Hazelgrove, author of “The Last Charge of the Rough Rider.” It was Roosevelt’s quest for the “vigorous life” that, ironically, may have led to his early demise at the age of sixty. "The Old Lion is dead,” TR’s son Archie cabled his brother on January 6, 1919, and so, too, ended a historic era in American life and politics.
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