A brilliant reinterpretation of the negotiations between Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin that divided Europe and laid the foundations for the cold war. Gardner argues that the quest for territorial agreements began at Munich and culminated at Yalta, and that FDR ultimately settled for them to maintain Allied unity in forging the peace. A tour de force [by] one of America's most distinguished diplomatic historians....This is excellent history. —Stephen E. Ambrose, Foreign ...
A brilliant reinterpretation of the negotiations between Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin that divided Europe and laid the foundations for the cold war. Gardner argues that the quest for territorial agreements began at Munich and culminated at Yalta, and that FDR ultimately settled for them to maintain Allied unity in forging the peace. A tour de force [by] one of America's most distinguished diplomatic historians....This is excellent history. —Stephen E. Ambrose, Foreign Affairs
Provocative and insightful...brilliantly executed...an outstanding contribution to World War II scholarship.
— Russell D. Buhite
New York Times
Stimulating and provocative...anyone who wishes to understand the origins of the Cold War will profit from this account.
— Nye, Joseph S., Jr.
- Publisher's Weekly
Comparing Russian- and English-language minutes of the Big Three meetings, Gardner calls for a reassessment of the criticism that Franklin Roosevelt's shallow grasp of Stalin's motives resulted in the ``giveaway'' of Eastern Europe at the end of WW II. Gardner highlights the American president's early opposition to Churchill's acquiescence to Soviet demands for the Baltic states as well as Roosevelt's reluctant concessions on Polish issues in the territorial agreements at the 1945 Yalta Conference. Gardner ( Approaching Vietnam ) argues that Roosevelt settled for the ``spheres of influence'' pattern to keep the Grand Alliance viable, and maintains--with hindsight that does not allow for other possibilities--that a divided Europe and the Cold War were preferable to another world war which was thus avoided. (May)
The ethnic and social unrest once again asserting itself in Central and Eastern Europe mimics in many respects the interwar period 1920-1939. Noted historian Gardner takes a fresh look at the negotiations among the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union that partitioned Europe. Gardner traces the roots of the Yalta agreement to British attempts to appease Hitler in 1938. It was here that the British indicated that Eastern Europe could be sacrificed in order to avoid war. American reluctance to assert Roosevelt's desire for a free Europe also expressed the concern felt by all that continued war would be catastrophic. The spheres of influence affirmed at Yalta resulted in the Cold War, which, despite its cost, brought a kind of temporary security through threat of annihilation. Gardner uses new material available from Russian archives to document this period and to illuminate the personalities involved. Highly recommended for public and school libraries.-- C. Christopher Pavek, Putnam, Hayes & Bartlett, Inc. Information Ctr . , Washington, D.C.
So controversial among historians has been the Yalta conference of 1945 that one sometimes wonders if they work from the same materials. Despite all the criticism heaped on that meeting, Gardner comes down on the side that concludes it, or rather the division of Europe it came to symbolize, was not a "sell-out" to Stalin, but rather a continuation, in outline to be sure, of Neville Chamberlain's appeasement strategems. That is, the view that territorial rearrangements, not quasi-Wilsonian principles, are the key to a durable peace worked its way into Allied councils despite the resistance of American diplomats. Gardner explores the dense detail of this development revealed by the negotiating milestones of the era--Munich, the Hitler-Stalin pact (whose territorial changes still stand, except for the independence of the Baltic states), the Atlantic Charter, and so on. Diligently footnoted, this presentation lends itself to minor readjustments of the veracity of usual sources. Churchill's war memoirs, for example, conceal his willingness (in other documents) to compromise with Stalin for balance-of-power reasons, reasons Roosevelt abhorred in his procrastinating style. A worthy supplement for libraries holding the best recent work on Allied diplomacy, Edmond's "Big Three".