James Forrestal
James Forrestal
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 1892
Date of Death: 1949
Cause of Death: Fall from a window (under suspicious circumstances)
Religion: Catholicism
Occupation: Fighter pilot, Sailor, Politician
Spouse: Josephine Stovall
Children: Michael, Peter
Military Branch: United States Navy
(World War I)
Political Party: Democratic Party
Turtledove Appearances:
The Man With the Iron Heart
POD: May 29, 1942;
Relevant POD: May, 1945
Type of Appearance: Oblique contemporary reference
James Vincent Forrestal (February 15, 1892 – May 22, 1949) was the United States Secretary of the Navy from 1944-1947, and the first United States Secretary of Defense from 1947 until his death. He led the Navy through World War II, and implemented a policy of racial integration. His death, a fall from a hospital window, has been the center of much speculation.

James Forrestal in The Man With the Iron HeartEdit

By 1947, the Secretary of the Navy was growing very anxious about the possibility of the German Freedom Front introducing a radium bomb into the United States via freighter. This concern was shared by the senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee. Committee member Jerry Duncan (R-Indiana) discounted these concerns.[1]

Literary commentEdit

James Forrestal was not named as the Secretary of the Navy, but the Point of Divergence does not appear to have impacted cabinet positions by this point in the novel.


Political offices
Preceded by
Frank Knox
United States Secretary of the Navy
Succeeded by
John L. Sullivan
Preceded by
None, Newly Created Office
United States Secretary of Defense
Succeeded by
Louis A. Johnson

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