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The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany,… (2002)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684810271, Hardcover)Long before an Allied victory was assured during World War II, the Big Three--Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin--began discussing how to prevent Germany from ever again threatening the world. The fact that Germany today is a peaceful, democratic ally of the U.S. is "one of America's great twentieth-century international achievements," writes esteemed historian Michael Beschloss. How such a transformation was accomplished is the subject of The Conquerors.
Drawing on thousands of previously unreleased documents, secret audio recordings, private diaries, and other information recently made available, Beschloss details the complex diplomacy between the Allied leaders, including their differences over whether to demand Germany's unconditional surrender; how, if at all, to divide Germany after the war; and how to effectively punish Germany without creating the kind of resentment that led to the rise of Hitler. The relationship between the three leaders, and later, Truman, is fascinating, as Beschloss reveals private conversations, ulterior motives, and numerous back-channel deals that took place. Of particular interest is the maneuvering of Roosevelt and Churchill, who were both concerned that the Soviets would attempt a postwar power grab in Western Europe if given the chance. The book also deals with Roosevelt's reluctance to deal with Germany's systematic extermination of the Jews, and the role that his old friend and Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., played in pushing the President into action. After learning of the Holocaust, Morgenthau became obsessed with punishing Germany severely, drafting a plan that called for the complete destruction of their mines and factories as a way of forcing Germany into subsistence farming--ideas that put him at odds with Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and many others in the administration.
The Conquerors is a superbly written, if brief, treatment of the political events leading up to the defeat of Germany, with the main players brought vividly to life by Beschloss's keen eye for detail and his ability to expose the human strengths and weaknesses of the participants. --Shawn Carkonen
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:20 -0400)
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, Michael Beschloss's gripping narrative lets us eavesdrop on private conversations and telephone calls among a cast of historical giants. The book 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." After the Normandy invasion, "obsessed" by what he had learned about the Nazis and the Holocaust, Morgenthau drew up a secret blueprint for the Allies to crush Germany by destroying German mines and factories after the European victory. As The conquerors shows, FDR endorsed most of Morgenthau's plan, and privately pressured a reluctant Churchill to concur. Horrified, Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Secretary of War Henry Stimson leaked the plan to the press at the zenith of the 1944 campaign. Hitler's propagandist Joseph Goebbels denounced the Roosevelt-Churchill "Jewish murder plan" and claimed it would kill forty-three million Germans. Republican presidential candidate Thomas Dewey charged that by stiffening German resistance, publicity about Morgenthau's plan had cost many U.S. soldiers' lives. The conquerors explores suspicions that Soviet secret agents manipulated Roosevelt and his officials 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 Harry Truman become President. It shows us FDR's final dinner, in April 1945, in Warm Springs, Georgia, at which the President and Morgenthau were still arguing over postwar Germany. Finally it shows how the unprepared new President Truman managed to pick up the pieces and 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.
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