After his inauguration as president in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt began to address the nation with a series of informal speeches over radio known as "fireside chats." Americans from across the country gathered around their radios, listened to the president, and felt as if he were sitting by their fireplace and talking to them personally. Roosevelt, who was one of the first presidents to use mass communication so successfully, at first used these "chats" to explain the principles of his New Deal programs. Later, as World War II approached, he used them to explain his views on foreign policy and to update Americans on the progress of the war.
Roosevelt Delivering a Fireside Chat, 1935. Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Digital Archives.