In 1940, as World War II tore through Europe, Dalí and Gala retreated to the United States, where they lived for eight years splitting their time between New York and Monterey, California. They were able to escape because on June 20, 1940, they were issued visas by Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Portuguese consul in Bordeaux, France. Salvador and Gala Dalí crossed into Portugal and subsequently sailed on the Excambion from Lisbon to New York in August 1940.
The 1940 United States presidential election was the 39th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 5, 1940. The election was contested in the shadow of World War II in Europe, as the United States was emerging from the Great Depression. Incumbent Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Republican businessman Wendell Willkie to be reelected for an unprecedented third term in office.