Forged in War: Roosevelt, Churchill and the Second World War

Forged in War: Roosevelt, Churchill and the Second World War

by Warren F. Kimball
     
 

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An authoritative and entertaining portrait of the fateful friendship that was destined to save Western civilization. Drawing extensively on his intimate knowledge of the two men's correspondence, Mr. Kimball shows beyond all doubt how critical their combined leadership was to the eventual Allied victory and how it laid the groundwork for the peace that followed. "A

Overview

An authoritative and entertaining portrait of the fateful friendship that was destined to save Western civilization. Drawing extensively on his intimate knowledge of the two men's correspondence, Mr. Kimball shows beyond all doubt how critical their combined leadership was to the eventual Allied victory and how it laid the groundwork for the peace that followed. "A compelling account, as penetrating as it is lively."—Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

Editorial Reviews

Wwii History
Penetrating dual portrait. . . . Literate, lively, and informed. . . . Immensely documented, balanced, and intelligent, this is a most rewarding study.
— Michael D. Hull
World War II History
Penetrating dual portrait. . . . Literate, lively, and informed. . . . Immensely documented, balanced, and intelligent, this is a most rewarding study.
— Michael D. Hull
World War II History - Michael D. Hull
Penetrating dual portrait. . . . Literate, lively, and informed. . . . Immensely documented, balanced, and intelligent, this is a most rewarding study.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kimball (The Juggler: Franklin Roosevelt as Wartime Statesman) is a rigorous scholar who can tell a story well. Here, he displays his talents as he demonstrates the central role of personal leadership in the Anglo-American alliance of WWII. Without Roosevelt and Churchill, Kimball explains, the alliance would have been similar to that between the Western allies and the Soviet Union: a tenuous coalition sustained by the negative imperative of a common enemy. Recent writing on the U.S.-U.K. alliance has emphasized wartime differences between the English-speaking powers. Kimball, in contrast, stresses the consistent willingness of the two nations' leaders to seek common ground on vital issues. This willingness was, he shows, crucial to an Allied victory that was by no means inevitable. Kimball's spirited narrative establishes the central significance of American support for Britain's holding action until the last half of 1941 brought the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. openly into the war. Roosevelt's implementation of a "Germany first" strategy, even after Pearl Harbor focused America's attention on the Pacific, was matched by Churchill's eventual acceptance of a cross-channel assault that meant the commitment of an exhausted Britain's final resources. Kimball also stresses Churchill's and Roosevelt's efforts to develop long-term cooperation with the Soviet Union. Ironically, their failure to do so was in part due to Stalin's suspicion of a "special relationship" whose success was, as Kimball so expertly argues here, the product less of common national values than of the determination of two great men. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
From Kimball (History/Rutgers Univ.), who edited the collected correspondence of FDR and Winston Churchill, another look at the fateful partnership that helped win the Second World War.

FDR and Churchill first met in London in 1918, when the American was a visiting assistant secretary of the navy and Churchill a famous member of Britain's war cabinet. It was not, apparently, an auspicious meeting: Churchill offended Roosevelt years later by telling him he did not remember the encounter. Also, Churchill's attempts to cultivate political contact with Roosevelt when he was governor of New York and later president were unsuccessful, until WW II intervened. However, once the correspondence between the two finally began (even while Churchill was still a member of Neville Chamberlain's cabinet), the tone was set for the "special relationship" that ultimately resulted in the Atlantic Alliance. In sketching the personalities of the two partners, Kimball draws parallels and contrasts: Both were flamboyant speakers and masters of dramatic language, both generated intense personal loyalty, both were idealists with a pragmatic bent. Churchill was a master of detail who micromanaged, while Roosevelt left most of the details to subordinates. Kimball records the years of America's pro-British neutrality, in which the US supported Britain through lend-lease aid and assistance of an increasingly military nature, and the intensification of the relationship between the two leaders as the US and the Soviet Union entered the war. The Churchill-Roosevelt friendship set the tone for the sometimes tense, sometimes warm Anglo-American relationship, which Kimball follows through its high points and its lows (like the Yalta Conference, in which Roosevelt joined forces with Stalin in opposing some of Churchill's ideas). Ultimately, Kimball points out, the relationship played a crucial role in creating the "Holy Alliance" against fascism that ended the war and created the postwar world.

An absorbing examination of one of modern history's most dynamic friendships and its military consequences.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781566634847
Publisher:
Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
Publication date:
01/15/2003
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
1,168,312
Product dimensions:
5.54(w) x 8.46(h) x 1.15(d)

Read an Excerpt

Never were there two less likely-looking warriors. Winston Spencer Churchill was, to be candid, short and fat; "very pink and cuddly," commented one journalist's wife upon her first close encounter. His round red cheeks invariably prompted the description "cherubic," though nothing could be further from the truth. He waddled rather than walked and lectured rather than listened, talking endlessly about everything, the opposite of the virile, strong, silent leader that fiction idealized and John Wayne and Hollywood popularized. Much of his working time was spent lying abed, and when he did get up, it was often to prance around in soft slippers and pink bathrobe or his "siren suit" (designed to be pulled on easily in the event of an air raid), getups that brought derision from more than a few diarists. "A marvellous garment [Churchill's dressing gown], rather like Joseph's many-coloured robe," General Alan Brooke, the chief of the Imperial General Staff, acidly commented, going on to describe a typical evening's work with the prime minister.

"Finally at 2:15 A.M. he suggested we should proceed to the hall to have some sandwiches, and I hoped this might at least mean bed. But, no! We went on till ten to three before he made a move for bed. He had the gramophone turned on, and in the many-coloured dressing gown, with a sandwich in one hand and watercress in the other, he trotted round and round the hall, giving occasional little skips to the tune of the gramophone.
On each lap near the fireplace he stopped to release some priceless quotation or thought. For instance he quoted a saying that a man's life is similar to a walk down a long passage with closed windows on either side.As you reach each window, an unknown hand opens it and the light it lets in only increases by contrast the darkness at the end of the passage."

That image of English eccentricity must be balanced against the description of Churchill from a soldier in the ranks during a formal inspection: "He's a pugnacious looking b[astard]." But as Adolf Hitler found out, it was more than just looks.

What People are saying about this

MICHAEL D. HULL
Penetrating dual portrait...Literate, lively, and informed...Immensely documented, balanced, and intelligent, this is a most rewarding study.
in WWII HISTORY

Meet the Author

Warren F. Kimball is the Robert Treat Professor of History at Rutgers University and editor of the acclaimed three-volume correspondence of Roosevelt and Churchill.

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