The "fireside chats" were messages to the American people that President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945) broadcast on the radio. He began making the informal addresses on March 12, 1933, during the Great Depression (1929–40; a period of national economic hardship). Sometimes beginning his talks with "My friends," Roosevelt urged listeners to have faith in the banks and to support his New Deal measures (a government program of economic recovery and reform). The "fireside chats" were enormously successful and even attracted more listeners than the most popular radio shows during this "Golden Age of Radio." Roosevelt continued his broadcasts into the 1940s, as Americans turned their attention to World War II (1939–45).
Further Information: Bunite, Russell D., and David W. Levy, eds. FDR's Fireside Chats. Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992; Fireside Chats of Franklin D. Roosevelt. [Online] Available http://www.mhrcc.org/fdr/fdr.html, October 26, 2000; Franklin D. Roosevelt: Our Handicaps Exist Only in the Mind. [Online] Available http://www.usdreams.com/RooseveltF24.html, October 26, 2000.