A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 15, 2012
“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens you can bet it was planned that way.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) is often credited for saying, “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens you can bet it was planned that way.” However, there is no evidence that Roosevelt ever said it.

Gary Allen, a political journalist, wrote in Richard Nixon: The Man Behind the Mask (1971): “FDR, who said, ‘Nothing just happens in politics. If something happens you can be sure it was planned that way.’” Allen wrote in None Dare Call It Conspiracy (1971): “FDR once said ‘In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.’”

Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. (1888-1969) said the similar phrase of “There are no accidents in politics” in 1960, just after the presidential election of his son, John F. Kennedy.


Wikipedia: Gary Allen
Gary Allen (August 2, 1936 – November 29, 1986) was an American conservative journalist and sociopolitical researcher.

Background
As a student, Allen majored in history at Stanford University and studied at California State University, Long Beach. He was a prominent member of the John Birch Society, of which he was a spokesman. He contributed to magazines such as Conservative Digest and American Opinion since 1964.

Wikiquote: Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (30 January 1882 – 12 April 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States. Elected to four terms in office, he served from 1933 to 1945, and is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms. He was married to Eleanor Roosevelt.
(...)
Misattributed
In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens you can bet it was planned that way.
. There are no records of Roosevelt having made such a statement, and this is most likely a misquotation of the widely reported comment he made in a speech at the Citadel (23 October 1935):
.. Yes. we are on the way back — not by mere chance, not by a turn of the cycle. We are coming back more soundly than ever before because we planned it that way, and don’t let anybody tell you differently.

The American Presidency Project
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
XXXII President of the United States, 1933-1945
165 - Remarks at the Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina.
October 23, 1935
(...)
Today, on landing, I am told the same story about South Carolina. Yes, we are on our way back— not just by pure chance, my friends, not just by a turn of the wheel, of the cycle. We are coming back more soundly than ever before because we are planning it that way. Don’t let anybody tell you differently.

Google Books
Richard Nixon:
The Man Behind the Mask

By Gary Allen
Boston, MA: Western Islands
1971
Pg. 67:
... alists” — those who hold the “conspiracy theory of history” — agree with FDR, who said, “Nothing just happens in politics. If something happens you can be sure it was planned that way.”

Google Books
None Dare Call It Conspiracy
By Gary Allen
Rossmoor, CA: Concord Press
1972, ©1971
Pg. 8:
FDR once said “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” He was in a good position to know. We believe that many of the major world events that are shaping our destinies occur because somebody or somebodies have planned them that way.
Pg. 24:
Every conspirator has two things in common with every other conspirator. He must be an accomplished liar and a far-seeing planner. Whether you are studying Hitler, Alcibiades, Julius Caesar or some of our contemporary conspirators, you will find that their patient planning is almost overwhelming. We repeat FDR’s statement: “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

2 February 1972, The Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell, MT), “Our Readers Sound Off,” pg. 3, col. 2:
Remember Franklin Roosevelt once said “Nothing ever just happens in politics—it was planned that way.”
(...)
Gretchen Noffsinger Ogden
Lakeside

24 November 1972, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Letters,” pg. D2, col. 6:
FDR said, “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it as planned that way.”
(...)
WARREN R. DONWORTH,
Littlefield, Texas.

Google News Archive
7 January 1974, Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA and East Dubuque, IL), “Letters to the Editor,” pg. 4, col. 5:
I repeat FDR’s statement: “In politics, nothing happens by accident; if it happens, you can bet that it was planned that way.”
(Written by Bill Bohr—ed.)

28 September 1976, Boston (MA) Herald American, “Mailbag,” pg. 26, col. 3:
F.D.R. once said, “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”
Robert A. Buckman
Dover, N.H.

21 December 1978, Omaha (NE) World-Herald, “The Public Pulse,” pg. 18, col. 5:
Editorial Easy on Carter.
Omaha.
The Dec. 17 editorial deploring Carter’s inconsistent China Policy is charitable. F. D. Roosevelt said: “There are no accidents in politics. If it happened, you can bet it was planned that way.”
(...)
Daniel R. Schenck.

LorenCollins.com
FDR did NOT say “In politics, nothing happens by accident.”
By lorencollins on Sep 21, 2009 in Uncategorized
(...)
Research into uses of the statement or variations thereof don’t immediately produce any instances prior to the 1970s. Not a good sign for a quote attributed to a man who died in 1945. Rather, the earliest use is found in the 1971 conspiracy theory book None Dare Call it Conspiracy, by Gary Allen and Larry Abraham.

From the second page of Chapter 1:

FDR once said “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” He was in a good position to know. We believe that many of the major world events that are shaping our destinies occur because somebody or , somebodies have planned them that way.

And from Chapter 2:

Every conspirator has two things in common with every other conspirator. He must be an accomplished liar and a far-seeing planner. Whether you are studying Hitler, Alcibiades, Julius Caesar or some of our contemporary conspirators, you will find that their patient planning is almost overwhelming. We repeat FDR’s statement: “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

Neither usage is sourced or footnoted. And with no earlier usage located thus far, it is curiously convenient that the first appearance of a conspiracy-endorsing statement attributed to FDR should have been in a conspiracy-endorsing book. As such, the evidence strongly suggests that this quote’s attribution to Franklin Delano Roosevelt is bogus.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Saturday, December 15, 2012 • Permalink