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Which U.S. President Gave Captain America His Shield?

Captain America has been representing American ideals for more than 80 years. The super-soldier started appearing on comic book stands back in 1941, with "Captain America Comics #1." The superhero's introduction sees him punching Adolf Hitler on the cover of that first comic, echoing the time period in which the title was published. From there, he began battling evildoers throughout (and outside of) history, defeating the likes of Red Skull and taking Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier, under his wings. And he's done it all in a star-spangled uniform.

Of course, the red, white, and blue suit is a tribute to America's flag, but it's Captain America's shield that usually stands out to graphic novel readers and movie-goers. While younger audiences know Captain America for his iconic round shield, it hasn't been around since his inception. The shield wasn't presented to The First Avenger until 40 years into his crime-fighting adventures — and one pretty famous person got to do the honors.

The presidential presentation

Like many superheroes, Captain America's look has evolved through the decades. The cover of 1941's "Captain America Comics" #1 shows Steve Rogers holding a different type of shield, one with more of a triangular shape decorated with patriotic stripes and three stars at the top. It was not until 1981's Captain America #255 (a retcon of Cap's inception) that he was presented with the iconic vibranium shield by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

While the use of vibranium allows Captain America's story to add a plug for Wakanda, it also may have been a choice that ties back to World War II itself. According to the Library of Congress, many Americans were using their resources to help U.S. soldiers fight in World War II, and that included the gathering of scrap metal by the population. Since much of the steel supply was being sent to the war, there might not have been enough steel alone to make a new shield, forcing its creators to resort to experimentation. The shield was ultimately constructed from a mix of steel alloy and vibranium, the latter of which made it stronger and more lethal in battle.

The connection to history

The historical events of the 1940s remain a centerpiece of Captain America's storyline eight decades after he debuted on comic book stands. Steve Rogers is introduced as a kid from Brooklyn who joins Project Rebirth in order to aid the military as America ramps up its war efforts. During the early days of Captain America's comics, he and Bucky Barnes fight the Axis Powers. Fast-forward to the MCU's Captain America: The First Avenger and Steve Rogers is shown selling war bonds in the vintage costume that he was first wearing on the cover of Captain America Comic #1.

Captain America was introduced during the Golden Age of Comics and grew in popularity as World War II continued. According to Free Comic Book Day, comic sales started to tank at the end of the war, closing the first chapter of Captain America's legacy. Cap and Bucky would be reunited for a short time in the 1950s, but it wasn't until the 1960s that the deep freeze storyline was introduced in Avengers (1963) #4. His decades-long freeze is a storyline retold in the MCU, and just like in the comics, it's used to reintroduce the super-soldier just when the world needs him once again.