The Barnes & Noble Review
Armed with information gleaned from newly opened archives, popular historian Michael Beschloss has penned a fascinating look at how Franklin D. Roosevelt arrived at, and Harry Truman instituted, a plan for the reconstruction of postwar Germany.
Bechloss breathes new life into this well-known history. He shows how Roosevelt evolved from embracing the Morgenthau Plan, which called for the reduction of Germany to a pastoral country devoid of industry, to accepting British prime minister Winston Churchill's desire for a revived but divided Germany. He also provides fascinating insight into Roosevelt's style, depicting the ever-astute president playing members of his cabinet against one another as they presented various visions of a post-Hitler Germany.
Beschloss recounts the conferences of the Big Three -- Roosevelt, Churchill, and Soviet premier Josef Stalin -- revealing how these leaders used the German question in their maneuvering for power in the postwar world. He also shows that after FDR's death, Truman assumed the presidency with little knowledge of the issue, because FDR had kept him at arm's length through the great deliberations. Nevertheless, Truman was able to successfully assert his authority at the Potsdam Conference because he was the only world leader whose nation possessed an atomic bomb.
Beschloss has given us an enthralling work that illuminates this amazing period of history. With keen observation and graceful prose, he shows how FDR and Truman made it possible for Germany to rise from the ashes and become a peaceful and democratic country. Glenn Speer
Read an Excerpt
From one of America's most respected historians, The Conquerors reveals one of the most important stories of World War II. As Allied soldiers fought the Nazis, Franklin Roosevelt and, later Harry Truman fought in private with Churchill and Stalin over how to ensure that Germany could never threaten the world again.
Eleven years in the writing, drawing on newly opened American, Soviet, and British documents as well as private diaries, letters and secret audio recordings, this audiobook let us eavesdrop on private conversations and telephone calls among a cast of historical giants. The Conquerors casts new light upon Roosevelt's concealment of what America knew about Hitler's war against the Jews and his foot-dragging on saving refugees; FDR's actions so shocked his closest friend in the Cabinet, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., that Morgenthau risked their friendship by accusing the President of "acquiescence" in the "murder of the Jews."
The Conquerors explores suspicions that Soviet secret agents manipulated Roosevelt and his official to do Stalin's bidding on Germany. It reveals new information on FDR's hidden illnesses and how they affected his leadership and his private talk about quitting his job during his fourth term and letting Henry Truman become President. Finally it shows how unprepared new President Truman managed to pick up the piecesand push Stalin and Churchill to accede to a bargain that would let the Anglo-Americans block Soviet threats against Western Europe and ensure that the world would not have to fear another Adolf Hitler.