Roosevelt and Churchill, Their Secret Wartime Correspondence By: Francis Loewenheim,

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Roosevelt and Churchill, Their Secret Wartime Correspondence By: Francis Loewenheim, Harold Langley and Manfred Jonas Pages: 3-103 This book (based on the Roosevelt/Churchill correspondence) speaks of the personal, military, political and diplomatic relationship between Roosevelt and Churchill in pages 3 through 76. Then it introduces in five parts the actual personal messages and notes spanning from September 1939 through April of 1945. This report focuses on the relationship of the two men (based on the author's research and assumptions) and the first dozen or so of their 'messages and notes'.

The two men met once in 1918, with no great impressions made, and had no direct contact for the next 20 years. In the 5 ½ years from 1939 until Roosevelt's death in 1945 the two men exchanged more than 1700 letters, telegrams and messages, over 700 from Roosevelt and over 1000 from Churchill. Some of the correspondence were one line notes while others were many pages.

It is believed that Churchill personally dictated or drafted the majority of his correspondence. It appears that during Roosevelt's final three years his assistants were drafting his correspondence but it is evident that he edited most of them.

Roosevelt and Churchill shared the "Anglo-American" unity stance. The men's personal relationship did play a large part in the success of the two countries in WWII. They were both intensely strong leaders, both wanting superiority for their own countries. However, they both were not so headstrong as to not realize a certain amount of dependency on each other's strength. Their ability to speak frankly to each other and their underlying fondness and respect for each other allowed them to communicate effectively. The relationship was a political one and their meetings were usually centered around the politics and strategy of the war. But there were many instances both observed and in their writings, that showed the personal side of their friendship. Both men brought insight from experiences in WWI. Churchill, learning from his defeat at Gallipoli as First Lord of the Admiralty, and from the tremendous blood shed of the British soldiers in the trenches. Roosevelt seemed to have a knack for strategy and forethought during his service in the Navy in WWI. He also brought insight into the region having traveled through Western Europe on a bicycle while younger and from his interest in geography and his love and studies of the sea.

Roosevelt and Churchill both had good tactical military skills. The two men worked very differently. Churchill was known for brainstorming well into the wee hours whereas Roosevelt was a day timer. Churchill was more ordered where Roosevelt took a more haphazard approach. Often the two men differed greatly on how things should be accomplished, but they seemed always to be able to work their differences out. The fear that is associated with mistrust, didn't seem to be evident between Churchill and Roosevelt, but was definitely something they both felt in their dealings with Stalin.

There was much disagreement as to Roosevelt's motives with regard to his diplomatic policy. Most of the disclosed communications between Roosevelt and Churchill fail to substantiate and actually refute isolationist critics of Roosevelt's motives with regard to United States assistance to Great Britain in WWII. Even though the two men agreed on most things their largest difference lay in the diplomatic arena. There were several occasions when Churchill got his knickers in a bunch because he believed Roosevelt would and should have backed him up and Roosevelt did not or could not.

Some of their strongest disagreements were over Poland, and yet some of their truest agreements were of how to handle the fate of Poland. True to their military 'styles' Churchill continued his conservative orderly ways, conferring with his Foreign Secretary and Cabinet on diplomatic matters, and Roosevelt (true to form) continued acting on his own (shooting from the hip). These strategies worked well for both men militarily but didn't seem to be productive when it came to foresight in diplomatic policy (more so in Roosevelt's case than in Churchill's). But even as much as they mistrusted Stalin, both men gravely underestimated this man's intentions.

These men were heads of two giant military powers at a time when it may have well been a fortunate circumstance that they also became friends. Their styles complimented one another and they seemed as different as they were alike.

I enjoyed reading this book and going through some of their personal correspondence. It was at times heart warming to see the personal (feelings) side of two men who were more than just instrumental in shaping the fate of the world we live in today.



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