Churchill Archive Platform - The Birth of the Anglo-American Special R

Documents from the Archive

  • Letter from Henry Morgenthau, Jr. to Churchill, 23 October 1929, CHAR 1/208/92.
  • Roosevelt to Churchill, 11 September 1939, CHAR 20/15/13.
  • Churchill to the House of Commons, 4 June 1940, CHAR 9/140A/9-28.
  • Churchill to the House of Commons, 20 August 1940, CHAR 9/141A/37-68.
  • Churchill to Roosevelt, 8 December 1940, CHAR 23/4/11.
  • Roosevelt to Churchill, 20 January 1941. Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill Additional Papers, WCHL 13/1.
  • Churchill to Roosevelt, 28 January 1941, CHAR 20/49.
  • Churchill Broadcast, 9 February 1941, CHAR 9/150A/52-75.
  • Churchill to Foreign Office, 11-12 August 1941, CHAR 20/48/8-10 on Discussions with Franklin Roosevelt at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.
  • Churchill to Lord Privy Seal, 14 August 1941, CHAR 20/48/18-19, on the Atlantic Charter Joint Declaration.
  • Churchill to Roosevelt, 20 February 1942, CHAR 20/70/79-80, Churchill says he is under great personal stress.
  • Churchill to Roosevelt, 30 January 1942, CHAR 20/69A/65.
  • Roosevelt to Churchill, 5 February 1942, on help for the Lend-Lease Agreement, CHAR 20/69B/127-128.
  • Roosevelt to Churchill, 11 April-4 May 1942, CHAR 20/52/30-73, on joint policy and invasion plans for 1942.
  • Churchill to Roosevelt, 31 December 1942, CHAR 20/85/90-91, gives Churchill's thoughts on present situation in North Africa.
  • Churchill to Stalin, 20 June 1943, CHAR 20/113/65-67, Churchill explains risks of attempting to invade Europe too soon and benefits of Allied operations in North Africa.
  • Churchill to Sir John Dill, 24 October 1943, CHAR 20/122/23, expresses hope that Roosevelt has shown Dill Churchill's message on Overlord.
  • Churchill to Roosevelt, 19 November 1944, Churchill expresses sorrow at delay in organizing a meeting of Big Three, CHAR 20/175/47-48.
  • Churchill to Roosevelt, 11 October 1944, CHAR 20/173/30-31, Churchill states good atmosphere in Moscow and notes that he and Stalin have reached agreement on Balkans.
  • Churchill to Roosevelt, 18 October 1944, CHAR 20/173/53-54, on Tolstoy Conversations over Poland.
  • Churchill to Roosevelt, 31 December 1944, CHAR 20/178/74, Churchill expresses satisfaction that he and Roosevelt seem to be in agreement about Greece.
  • Churchill to the House of Commons, 17 April 1945, CHAR 9/167/206-207.

Further Reading

  • Richard Aldous Reagan and Thatcher: A Difficult Relationship. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012.

  • Richard Aldrich 'British Intelligence and the Anglo-American "Special Relationship" during the Cold War.' Review of International Studies 24 (1998).

  • Anthony Badger The New Deal: The Depression Years, 1933-1940. Chicago: Ivan Dee, 1989.

  • David Bercuson One Christmas in Washington: The Secret Meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill that Changed the World. Toronto: McArthur & Company, 2005.

  • Michael Beschloss Kennedy and Roosevelt. New York: HarperCollins, 1987.

  • Conrad Black Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom. New York: Public Affairs, 2005.

  • John Blum Roosevelt and Morgenthau: A Revision and Condensation of From the Morgenthau Diaries. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970.

  • George Burns Roosevelt, 1940-1945: The Soldier of Freedom. New York: Harcourt, 1970.

  • Winston Churchill 'Roosevelt from Afar', in Winston Churchill, Great Contemporaries. London, Thorton Butterworth Ltd., 1938.

  • Winston Churchill The Second World War (Six Volumes), Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1976.

  • Wayne Cole Roosevelt and the Isolationists, 1932-1945. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983.

  • Robert Dallek Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

  • Kenneth Davis FDR: Into the Storm, 1937-1940. New York: Random House, 1993.

  • Kenneth Davis FDR: The War President, 1940-1943. New York: Random House, 2000.

  • Robert Divine Roosevelt and World War II. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1969.

  • Alan Dobson US Wartime Aid to Britain, 1940-1946. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1986.

  • John Dumbrell A Special Relationship: Anglo-American Relations from the Cold War to Iraq. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

  • Robin Edmonds The Big Three: Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin in Peace and War. London: Penguin, 1992.

  • Herbert Feis Churchill-Roosevelt-Stalin: The War they Waged and the Peace they Sought. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957.

  • Frank Freidel Franklin D. Roosevelt, A Rendezvous with Destiny. New York: Little, Brown, 1990.

  • Lloyd Gardner Spheres of Influence: The Great Powers and the Partition of Europe from Munich to Yalta. Chicago: Ivan Dee, 1994.

  • Martin Gilbert Finest Hour, Winston S. Churchill, 1939-1941. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1983.

  • Martin Gilbert Road to Victory: Winston S. Churchill, 1941-1945. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1986.

  • Waldo Heinrichs Threshold of War: Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Entry into World War II. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.

  • Robert James ed. The Complete Speeches of Winston Churchill 1897-1963, Vol. VI, 1935-1942. London: Chelsea House, 1974.

  • Roy Jenkins Churchill: A Biography. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001.

  • David Kennedy Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

  • Warren Kimball Churchill and Roosevelt: The Complete Correspondence, 3 volumes: 'Alliance Emerging', 674 pp.; 'Alliance Forged', 773 pp.; 'Alliance Declining', 742 pp., London: Collins, 1984.

  • Warren Kimball The Juggler: Franklin Roosevelt as Wartime Statesman. New York: Princeton University Press, 1984.

  • Warren Kimball Forged In War: Roosevelt, Churchill and the Second World War. New York: William Morrow, 1997.

  • Eric Larabee Commander in Chief: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, His Lieutenants, and Their War. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987.

  • Joseph Lash Roosevelt and Churchill, 1939-1941, The Partnership That Saved the West. New York: W.W. Norton, 1980.

  • David Lilienthal The Journals of David E. Lilienthal, Volume 1, The TVA Years, 1939-1945. New York: Harper & Row.

  • William Louis Imperialism at Bay: The United States and the Decolonization of the British Empire, 1941-1945. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977.

  • Frederick Marks Winds over Sands. Athens and London: University of Georgia Press, 1988.

  • Anne McCormick'The Lessons for Our Parties in the Fall of France', New York Times, 24 June, 1940.

  • B.J.C. McKercher Transition of Power: Britain's Loss of Global Pre-eminence to the United States, 1930-1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

  • Jon Meacham Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship. New York: Random House, 2004.

  • Thomas Parrish Roosevelt and Marshall: Partners in Politics and War. New York: William Morrow, 1989.

  • David Reynolds The Creation of the Anglo-American Alliance, 1937-41: A Study in Competitive Cooperation. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1982.

  • David Reynolds From Munich to Pearl Harbor: Roosevelt's America and the Origins of the Second World War. Chicago: Ivan Dee, 2001.

  • David Reynolds Summits: Six Meetings that Shaped the Twentieth Century. London: Allen Lane, 2007.

  • Andrew Roberts Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 1941-1945. London: Allen Lane, 2008.

  • Robert Sherwood E. Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948.

  • David Stafford Roosevelt & Churchill: Men of Secrets. New York: Overlook Press, 2000.

  • Mark Stoler The Politics of the Second Front: American Military Planning and Diplomacy in Coalition Warfare, 1941-1943. Westport Conn: Greenwood, 1977.

  • Mark Stoler Allies and Adversaries: The Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Grand Alliance and U.S. Strategy in World War Two. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.

  • Mark Stoler Allies in War: Britain and America against the Axis Powers, 1940-1945. New York: Bloomsbury, 2007.

  • Christopher Thorne Allies of a Kind: The United States, Britain and the War against Japan, 1941-1945. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1978.

  • Richard Toye Churchill's Empire: The World That Made Him and the World he Made. New York: Henry Holt, 2010.

  • Jonathan Utley Going to War with Japan, 1937-1941. New York: Fordham University Press, 2005.

  • Milton Viorst Hostile Allies, FDR and Charles de Gaulle. New York: Macmillan, 1964.

  • Randall Woods A Changing of the Guard: Anglo-American Relations, 1941-1946. Chapel Hill, 1990.

  • David Woolner, Warren Kimball and David Reynolds eds. The Second Quebec Conference Revisited: Waging War, Formulating Peace: Canada, Great Britain, and the United States in 1944-1945. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.

  • David Woolner, Warren Kimball and David Reynolds eds. FDR's World: War, Peace and Legacies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.


The political relationship between Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt is one of the most celebrated in British and American history. The two men are widely credited with crafting the Anglo-American 'special relationship' that helped propel the Allies to victory during the Second World War. Yet, as this article shows, the relationship between the two men - and their two nations - was not without its difficulties. There were tensions; tensions over a host of issues from wartime strategy to the make-up of the post-war economic order. Nor did the two men always see eye to eye on the question of how best to deal with the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, the bonds that were established between Churchill and Roosevelt would not only survive the stress of war, but also lay the basis for the strong ties that still exist between the British and American people.

I come here today to reaffirm one of the oldest and strongest alliances the world has ever known. It has long been said that the United States and the United Kingdom share a special relationship... The reason for this close friendship doesn't just have to do with our shared history and heritage; our ties of language and culture; or even the strong partnership between our governments. Our relationship is special because of the values and beliefs that have united our people through the ages.

Barack Obama, Address to the British Parliament, 25 May 2011
Nearly 50 years ago Winston Churchill told our two countries that together there is no problem we cannot solve... Together let us prove him right.

Margaret Thatcher to Ronald Reagan, 26 February 1981

The bond of friendship between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill remains one of the most celebrated - perhaps the most celebrated - political relationships in modern history. Forged in the dark days of the Second World War, when the two men led the American and British people to victory in their desperate struggle against the 'monstrous tyranny' of fascism, their friendship would eventually epitomize what became known as the 'special relationship' between Great Britain and the United States.

As numerous Presidents and Prime Ministers have acknowledged since then, there is much to celebrate in the special bond that emerged between the two countries during these difficult days. Still, thanks in part to the somewhat romanticised view of the Churchill-Roosevelt friendship found in the former's war memoirs, the true nature of the ties between the two men - and the larger Anglo-American alliance - has not always been fully apparent. For much of the public, in fact, the wartime relationship between the two leaders - like the relationship between their respective governments - seems devoid of serious controversy. Yet, as we know from the exhaustive research and analysis of such historians as Warren F. Kimball, David Reynolds, Alan Dobson and others, there were tensions in the alliance; tensions over a host of issues from military strategy to the nature of the economic structure of the post-war world; tensions that sometimes became so intense as to threaten a breach not only between Churchill and Roosevelt, but also between London and Washington. This is not to say that these two remarkable personalities did not enjoy each other's company - each most certainly shared the sentiment once expressed by President Roosevelt that it was 'fun to be in the same decade' with the other. [ 1 ] But in spite of their strong ties, and equally strong desire for Anglo-American cooperation, neither man could entirely escape the maxim uttered by Lord Palmerston roughly a century earlier that nations don't have permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests.

The much celebrated correspondence upon which the Churchill-Roosevelt friendship was built began in 1939. The two had met briefly, once before, in September 1918, when Roosevelt was in London following his tour of the Western Front as Under-Secretary of the Navy in the Wilson Administration. Although Churchill, much to Roosevelt's chagrin, did not recall this meeting, he certainly came to recognize Roosevelt's importance on the American political stage well before the latter became President and on at least one occasion tried to set up a meeting with Roosevelt while visiting New York when the latter was Governor of the state. Churchill also sent the newly-elected President a copy of his biography of Marlborough in October 1933 with a personal inscription. But it would not be until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, and Churchill's return to government as First Lord of the Admiralty, that the two men would begin their famous correspondence. [ 2 ]

This time it was Roosevelt who first reached out to Churchill, sending him a letter that was penned less than two weeks after the German attack on Poland. Here, Roosevelt indicated that he wanted the First Lord and Prime Minister Chamberlain to know he would 'at all times welcome it if you will keep me in touch personally with anything you want me to know about', suggesting at the same time that Churchill could 'always send sealed letters' to him via diplomatic bag. [ 3 ]

Roosevelt's decision to reach out directly to Churchill was not all that unusual; the President often bypassed normal diplomatic channels in an effort to gain information from key posts abroad. Nor was it unusual for Roosevelt to request such information. As a man who from the age of thirty-nine had been unable to walk or stand unaided, Roosevelt frequently reached out to others to provide him with a picture of what was going on outside of the White House. What was unusual was that the President had initiated such an exchange with a cabinet minister in a foreign government. Indeed, although he was careful to mention the British Prime Minister in his letter, the fact that Roosevelt reached out at this moment to Churchill - and not Chamberlain - is revealing. It reinforces the notion that Roosevelt never really trusted Chamberlain; that he did not possess a great deal of confidence in the latter's ability to carry on as Britain's war leader; and that he suspected, correctly, that Churchill would replace Chamberlain at some point in the near future. [ 4 ] Roosevelt, like Churchill, also possessed a great interest in and love for the navy, and as he considered the naval balance of power critical to America's interests and had spent the last war serving as Wilson's Under-Secretary of the Navy, it was perhaps natural for him to reach out to the First Sea Lord.

Churchill responded to Roosevelt's initiative with alacrity and immediately sought Chamberlain's approval to open a personal line of communication with the President. Long convinced that Great Britain would need America's help in any showdown with the Nazis, Churchill quickly recognized the advantages that such an exchange might provide in developing closer Anglo-American ties. Churchill also relished the chance to cultivate a personal relationship with the President and over the course of the next eight months 'the Naval Person', as he called himself, would send Roosevelt about a dozen messages, mostly to do with naval matters that Churchill suspected would be of great interest to him. At this point the correspondence between the two men, though cordial, had not as yet taken on its much celebrated weight. But all this would change dramatically with Churchill's assumption of power on 10 May 1940, and the sudden, catastrophic fall of France a mere six weeks later.

It is difficult for today's generation to grasp the profound sense of trepidation that came with the news that one of Europe's leading democracies had fallen under the yoke of Nazi rule. Writing in the New York Times, in the wake of the French defeat, Anne O'Hare McCormick observed that Americans in June 1940 suddenly woke up to the fact that 'Government of, by and for the people actually is being banished from the earth'. [ 5 ] For many, the Nazi war machine seemed unstoppable; the fear now was that England would be next, and should Hitler gain access to the British and French fleets as a consequence of his military prowess, the Atlantic would prove small comfort to an unprepared and under-armed America.

In Washington, Roosevelt's military advisors now issued an urgent demand for the build- up of America's land, sea and air forces so that the United States - whose army, smaller than Romania's and ranked 18th in the world - could prepare for the defence of the Western Hemisphere. Roosevelt shared this view, but he also held out the hope - soon to turn to conviction - that Great Britain would be able to hang on against any Nazi onslaught. In London, meanwhile, the fall of France meant that there was an urgent need for two critical commodities: the war materiél needed to re-equip the British Army that had been clutched from the jaws of defeat at Dunkirk; and - far more important - the courage to carry on the fight against all odds. Not everyone in Whitehall, however, was prepared to embrace the valour required to meet the Nazi challenge. Some members of the British cabinet, fearing that all was lost, began to advocate a negotiated settlement with Hitler. But Churchill would have none of this and in a series of the most important orations of the twentieth century 'armed' the British - and American - people with the power of his words. Here, he insisted that even though 'large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule', the British people would 'not flag or fail', but would 'fight on the beaches... fight on the landing grounds... fight in the fields and in the streets... fight in the hills'; and would 'never surrender'. [ 6 ]

The world would soon learn that Churchill was prepared to stand by his conviction to go to whatever lengths necessary to defend his beloved island when the Royal Navy, under his orders, launched an operation to seize a number of powerful French warships stationed in French North Africa to prevent them from falling into German hands. At one installation near Oran, after the French commander refused the British demand that he scuttle or surrender his ships, the British Admiral on the scene opened fire, killing 1,297 French sailors. It was a brutal decision, and one that led to enormous strains between Britain and the recently established Vichy French regime, but it drove home the point that Churchill's government was determined to carry on the war even to the point of launching an attack on its erstwhile ally. [ 7 ]

Churchill's cold but courageous move greatly impressed Roosevelt, who informed the British Ambassador in Washington, Lord Lothian, of his view that the attack was justified under the circumstances. [ 8 ] It also helped bolster the President's belief that Great Britain would survive. In response to a series of urgent pleas Roosevelt had already received from the 'Former Naval Person', as Churchill now called himself, Roosevelt had ordered his service chiefs to make 'surplus' rifles, ammunition, field guns and aircraft available for purchase for the British war effort. Churchill had also asked for 'the loan of forty or fifty of your older destroyers' to bridge the gap between what Great Britain had in hand and the large new construction that had been put in place at the start of the war. [ 9 ] Roosevelt was unsure whether he could make such a transfer without Congressional approval, but by August had come up with the idea that in exchange for the warships, the British might provide the Americans with the gift of two naval bases in Newfoundland and Bermuda as well as long term leases on other territory in the British Caribbean. Under these terms, the President could make the argument that he was making the transfer as part of his effort to bolster hemisphere security, thus avoiding a statutory prohibition on the release of military equipment deemed vital for national defence. [ 10 ] Strengthened, as such, in his desire to avoid a showdown with Congress on the question, Roosevelt decided to proceed with the swap on his own authority, via an exchange of diplomatic notes and an Executive Agreement that allowed the destroyer deal to be consummated on 2 September 1940, even though, as he said to one aid, he 'might get impeached'. [ 11 ]

Roosevelt's decision to sign the destroyers-for-bases deal and provide materiél support for the British war effort in the summer of 1940 was - like Churchill's order to seize the French fleet - a bold move. To insist on such a policy in the face of opposition from his own Chiefs of Staff and at the height of his campaign for an unprecedented third term showed real courage and leadership. So too did Roosevelt's decision to press ahead with the Selective Service Act that passed through Congress at roughly the same time. [ 12 ] But as Roosevelt and Churchill both realised, the summer of 1940 was one of the most critical moments of the war, not merely from a materiél point of view, but also from a psychological point of view. In the wake of the French defeat it was vital that the last two major democracies left on the planet demonstrate their resolve not to give in to defeatism. And even though few of the destroyers would be ready in time to take part in the defence of the United Kingdom at this decisive moment and it would take the full scale Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to ultimately bring the United States into the war, Roosevelt's decision to move ahead with the destroyers-for-bases deal served as the first major public indication that the United States had begun to throw its weight behind Great Britain. As Churchill later wrote, this was the first in a long succession of 'decidedly un-neutral Acts' that Roosevelt would carry out over the next fifteen months that would prove of great benefit to the survival of Britain and the future of the world. [ 13 ]

By September 1940, then, it was clear that the Roosevelt Administration had embarked on a wartime policy that was increasingly built around continued British belligerence. But we must remember that under the terms of US neutrality laws all of the provisions that the British obtained from the US - with the exception of the destroyers-for-bases deal - had to be acquired on a cash and carry basis. This placed a tremendous strain on British finances and by the end of 1940, after fifteen months of total war, the British Treasury no longer had the gold or dollar reserves to sustain the purchases needed to carry on the war - a fact somewhat casually though shockingly admitted when Ambassador Lothian informed the American press on 9 December that Great Britain was 'broke'. [ 14 ] The next day, Roosevelt, vacationing in the Caribbean aboard the USS Tuscaloosa in the wake of his 1940 election victory, received what Churchill described as 'one of the most important' letters he had ever written. In it the Prime Minister (with the help of officials from the British Treasury, Foreign, and War Offices) laid out in brutal detail the 'mortal danger' in which His Majesty's Government now found itself. Simply put, the cash and carry provisions of the US aid to Britain policy were no longer sustainable; in the first place because of the increased shipping losses in the Atlantic, where, if current loss rates continued, Churchill wrote, the results would be 'fatal'; and in the second place because the moment had finally arrived when the British Government 'no longer was able to pay cash for shipping and other supplies'. [ 15 ]

Although Roosevelt never issued a direct reply to this letter, his response - articulated over the next few weeks to the press, public and Congress in some of his most memorable statements of the war - was vintage Roosevelt. At a 17 December press conference, for example, after alluding obliquely to the fact that Great Britain no longer had the means to continue its purchases of US war materiél, Roosevelt took note of the fact that

... In the present world situation ... there is absolutely no doubt in the mind of a very overwhelming number of Americans that the best immediate defense of the United States is the success of Great Britain in defending itself; and that, therefore ... it is equally important from a selfish point of view ... that we should do everything to help the British Empire... [ 16 ]

The dilemma was how to accomplish this without reverting to the accumulation of the controversial war debts that so plagued the world's economy in the wake of the First World War. One way, Roosevelt insisted, would be 'for the United States to take over British orders, and ... turn them into American orders. And thereupon ... either lease or sell the materials, subject to mortgage, to the people on the other side'; based on the 'general theory that ... these materials would be more useful to the defense of the United States if they were used in Great Britain...' This way, Roosevelt said, it would be possible 'to get rid of the silly, foolish, old dollar sign'. [ 17 ]

He then offered a famous illustration to make his point, made all the more poignant by the images of burning buildings in the London Blitz so many Americans had seen of late in photographs and in news reels. If 'my neighbor's house catches fire', the President said, and that neighbour comes to me to ask 'for a length of garden hose' to put it out, you are not going to quibble about the price, or refuse him; you would loan him the hose, knowing that you may not get it back in perfect condition, but that your neighbour would replace it if it were 'all smashed up'. In the same spirit, the President went on, the United States should supply Great Britain with the supplies it needs to carry on the war 'with the understanding that when the war was over we would get paid sometime in kind, thereby leaving out the dollar mark in the form of a dollar debt and substituting for it a gentleman's obligation to repay in kind...' [ 18 ]

It was out of this basic idea that the policy of Lend-Lease was born. Under its terms, the President was granted the authority to sell, transfer, lend or lease 'any defense article' to 'any country whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States'. To make Lend-Lease possible, however, the President would need to convince both the Congress and the American people that the sacrifices needed to make the United States 'the great arsenal of democracy' were necessary. Hence, on 6 January 1941, at a time when Hitler had just declared the establishment of a 'new order' in Europe, Roosevelt went before the Congress and the people to issue a call not only for their support of the legislation needed to make Lend-Lease a reality, but also to offer a fundamental definition of the ethical purposes that stood behind what Churchill called this 'most unsordid Act'. [ 19 ] The ultimate goal, Roosevelt insisted, was the establishment of a world that represented the 'very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny' that the dictators sought to create in Europe. Instead, Roosevelt proposed 'a greater conception' - a 'moral order' - founded on four fundamental human freedoms: freedom of speech and expression; freedom of worship; freedom from want; and freedom from fear - 'everywhere in the world'. [ 20 ] In articulating this vision, Roosevelt confirmed that the political and religious freedoms widely recognized as fundamental to democracy were no longer enough; equally important was the need to protect a suffering humanity from the economic depravity that had so plagued the world in the Great Depression and in turn helped give rise to fascism. These simple yet eloquent expressions of fundamental human rights became the war aims of the United States; war aims that inspired a generation not only to 'win through to absolute victory' but also to commit themselves to the establishment of a more prosperous and peaceful world once the guns fell silent. [ 21 ]

As the year 1941 progressed, Churchill continued to hope for and urge a US declaration of war against the Nazis. But even though the year was punctuated by increasing US involvement in the war effort - through the passage of the Lend-Lease bill in March; the extension of 'naval patrols' to the mid Atlantic in June; the occupation of Iceland by US troops in July; and the much celebrated 'first summit' meeting between the two leaders at the Atlantic Charter conference in August - no declaration of war was forthcoming. The best Roosevelt could do was issue his famous shoot-on-sight order in September, when, following the USS Greer's engagement with a German U-boat in the mid Atlantic, the President finally authorised American warships to escort foreign shipping between the United States and Iceland. [ 22 ]

In the meantime, the German attack on Russia on 22 June 1941 meant that Great Britain - and her Commonwealth - no longer had to face the Nazi menace alone. Churchill and Roosevelt were relieved by the news of the attack and in an early sign of what was to come (the extension of Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union) Roosevelt indicated in a press conference two days later that the United States would give all possible aid to Russia. Over the course of the summer and autumn of that year, however, the German assault on the Red Army seemed to portend another great victory for the Wehrmacht. Moreover, 1941 also brought heightened concerns about Japan, which took advantage of its traditional enemy's preoccupation with the German attack - and the fall of France a year before - to move troops into Indochina, threatening British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies. [ 23 ] Japan's increasingly aggressive posture led the Roosevelt Administration to take measures to try to deter Japan from taking further action through the stationing of the US fleet at Pearl Harbor; an embargo on the sale of high octane a viation fuel; the freezing of Japanese assets; and eventually a de facto oil embargo. For some time, Churchill had also been pressing Roosevelt to send a US naval squadron to the Far East as a show of American force, but convinced that the Atlantic remained the decisive theatre, Roosevelt steadfastly refused to do so - agreeing instead to the reinforcement of the US naval position in the Atlantic so that the British might then send their own naval reinforcements to the Pacific. All of these manoeuvres were rendered moot, of course, by the sudden overwhelming Japanese attack of 7 December 1941 - Roosevelt's famous date of infamy - which left much of Pearl Harbor in ruins, along with the attacks on Hong Kong, Guam, Wake Island, and the Philippines. [ 24 ]

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor ushered in a new phase in the Churchill-Roosevelt relationship. Tied together by the urgent demands of what had truly become a 'world war', it was during the period of the next eighteen months that the relationship between the two men reached its zenith. It began with Churchill's much celebrated visit to the White House over the Christmas holidays in December 1941 and would last until the middle of 1943, when the superiority of American military power and the need for the United States to establish closer ties with the Soviet Union rendered the relationship between Britain and America less vital than it had been in early stages of the conflict. Nevertheless, the level of trust between Churchill and Roosevelt and the degree of cooperation that was established between Britain and the United States during this period is unique in the annals of history. Witness, for example, the creation of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, which was established to set overall strategy for the war and which controlled not only British and American forces but also troops drawn from many other countries in all theatres of operation. Witness also the extraordinarily high level of Anglo- American intelligence sharing, and the combined effort to develop the atomic bomb under the auspices of the Manhattan Project. [ 25 ]

It is also during this period that we see numerous manifestations of the friendship and affection that had developed between the two men - and the two peoples - including the warm reception Churchill received when addressing a joint session of Congress; the free access that Churchill had to Roosevelt while staying in the White House (including the famous 'bath incident', when a startled Roosevelt wheeling himself into Churchill's bedroom encountered the naked Prime Minister, who, emerging from his bath, is reported to have exclaimed that he had 'nothing to hide' from the President of the United States!); and the swapping of jokes and stories during Roosevelt's 'children's hour' - the daily 5.00 p.m. break where policy discussion was forbidden and where the President would mix and serve his famous (or infamous) cocktails that Churchill found so abhorrent! [ 26 ]

Churchill's purpose in coming to Washington so soon after the Japanese attack stemmed in large part from his desire to place a British stamp on the future direction of the war. His primary concern was to ensure that the US adhered to the Germany first strategy that had been agreed to roughly a year earlier in the so-called ABC 1 talks - the secret staff conversations that took place between American, British and Canadian officials in Washington over the potential approach the allies would take if and when America entered the war. [ 27 ] Much to Churchill's relief, he soon discovered that Roosevelt and his military chiefs - with the possible exception of Admiral King - were in broad agreement about the need to hold fast to the Germany first approach, even though war was raging in the Pacific. But as the weeks and months progressed, the question of how best to carry out the Germany first strategy led to some sharp differences of opinion. On the one hand, Roosevelt's Army Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall, argued that the best way to defeat Germany was to land a large army in France as soon as possible. Thanks to the need for an American build-up, however, such a move was highly unlikely until sometime in 1943. As an alternative, both Churchill and Roosevelt suggested an invasion of North Africa in 1942 - though for different reasons. Churchill saw such a move as a means to defeat General Rommel and clear the Mediterranean as part of his 'closing the ring' strategy; Roosevelt saw it as a means to engage the American public in the Atlantic - as opposed to Pacific - theatre and also as a means to meet his 'second front in 1942' promise to the Russians.

Concerns over the ability and willingness of the Russians to carry on the war were of course upmost in Roosevelt's mind when he made the pledge about a second front in 1942 to Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov during the latter's visit to Washington in May of that year. [ 28 ] Equally important, however, was Roosevelt's strong desire to establish a special relationship with the Soviet leadership - especially Joseph Stalin. Indeed, as the war progressed, and the relationship between the Anglo-Americans and the Soviets became more complex - and more important - Roosevelt began to seek out an opportunity to meet Stalin one-on-one. Roosevelt, like Churchill, was a great believer in personal diplomacy (especially personal diplomacy carried out by him), and he firmly believed that he would have more success than Churchill in dealing with Stalin on both wartime and post-war issues. Roosevelt was also wary of British wartime motives. He had no desire to see the British Empire restored after the war and like his crusading Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, preferred to seek a post-war world based on freer trade and open access to raw materials, all of which would require an end to colonialism and the closed spheres of influence - including the British system of Imperial Preference - that had so hampered the global economic recovery during the Great Depression. [ 29 ] Roosevelt saw US- Soviet cooperation as a vital component of this effort and he was most anxious to impress this view upon his Soviet counterpart. Churchill, however, was adamantly opposed to a Roosevelt- Stalin tête-à-tête, and his opposition to such a meeting - and his frustration over the growing realization that Great Britain was becoming very much the junior partner in the Anglo-American alliance - led to real tensions between him and the President. [ 30 ]

In the end, Churchill got his way, and Roosevelt dropped his plans for a private summit with the Soviet leader. In lieu of this, however, Roosevelt made it a point to show his independence from Churchill when the 'Big Three' finally did meet at the Teheran Conference near the end of 1943. Here, the three leaders reached general understandings about such issues as the future borders of Poland, the establishment of a European Advisory Commission to produce plans for the occupation of Germany, and support for the Yugoslav partisans. But Roosevelt's behaviour both before and during the conference made it clear that his relationship with Churchill - like the relationship between London and Washington - was undergoing a change. The President, for example, refused Churchill's repeated requests for a pre-Teheran discussion to develop an Anglo-American approach to the summit when the two men were in Cairo prior to travelling to the Iranian capital. Moreover, once at Teheran, Roosevelt avoided long meetings with Churchill, while seeking out private conversations with Stalin. During the tripartite discussions, Roosevelt also refused to back Churchill's ardent desire to maintain and enhance Anglo-America operations then underway in Italy and the Eastern Mediterranean (off-shoots of the North African invasion) and instead agreed with Stalin that the focus of the Anglo-American war effort must now be geared towards the long-awaited landings in France - including a landing in southern France that would ultimately render any expansion of the Mediterranean campaign impossible. The imperative, in short, was Operation Overlord (the Normandy invasion) which Stalin insisted had to occur no later than May 1944.

As Warren Kimball notes in his magisterial work on the Churchill-Roosevelt correspondence, following the Tehran Conference we see another subtle-yet-important indication of the change in the personal relationship between the President and the Prime Minister: the cessation of the two men's use of the moniker 'Former Naval Person'. [ 31 ] Perhaps they had simply grown tired of this form of address, but it is interesting to note that their shift to more formal language coincides with the heightened state of tension that had crept into the Anglo-American alliance as the end of the war drew nearer. Here, questions over the continuation of Lend-Lease, the post-war structure of the world's economic system, the future of Greece, and how best to settle the political make-up of liberated Poland and other territories in Eastern and Central Europe all created their own set of challenges. So too did the question of how best to prosecute the war in the Far East.

Given Churchill's concern over the diminution of British power within the 'Grand Alliance', and the potential loss of British influence that would result as a consequence, it is perhaps not surprising that the Anglo-American victories in France in the summer of 1944 tended to increase - rather than diminish - his anxiety about the shape of the post-war world. It was this anxiety that led to his insistence on a meeting with Roosevelt in Quebec in September 1944 and with Stalin a month later. [ 32 ] Here, Churchill did his best to hammer out understandings with Roosevelt over the British and American zones of occupation in defeated Germany; the continuation of Lend-Lease beyond the achievement of victory in Europe; participation of the Royal Navy in the final push against Japan; and adherence to the ill-fated Morgenthau Plan. [ 33 ] Churchill also secured Roosevelt's support for the possible expansion of the British-led Mediterranean campaign through a potential landing on the Istrian Peninsula at the head of the Adriatic. [ 34 ] In Moscow, Churchill sought to further secure the British position in the Eastern Mediterranean through the negotiation of the so-called percentages agreement, by which Stalin and Churchill approved a formula that gave Britain the upper hand in Greece, split British and Russian influence in Yugoslavia and Hungary, and ceded Russian preponderance in Romania and Bulgaria. [ 35 ]

Churchill kept Roosevelt informed about his activities in Moscow, but like Roosevelt's decision to distance himself from the Prime Minister in his negotiations with Stalin at Teheran, what emerges from all of this activity is the clear sense that Churchill had reached the point in the war where he was determined to do what he could to assert British interests. [ 36 ] Given Roosevelt and Stalin's tendency to do the same, Churchill's efforts in this regard are certainly understandable. Yet it is important to remember that he pursued these aims within the context of the wartime alliance, as did his Russian and American counterparts. Indeed, it is this often overlooked determination to keep the alliance together that is perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the relationship between not only Churchill and Roosevelt, but also between the two of them and Stalin.

This brings us to the last of the 'Big Three' summit meetings attended by Roosevelt - the Yalta Conference of February 1945. Of all the wartime conferences, Yalta remains the most prominent - and controversial - in the public's mind. The truth, however, is that much of what took place at Yalta merely represented putting the final touches on what was already agreed to at Teheran over a year earlier. We must also remember that the hard reality that the Soviet regime would hold a predominate position in Eastern Europe following the war was decided not at Yalta, but long before: on the battlefields of Russia in 1942-43 and by the Allied failure to land in France until June 1944. [ 37 ] Both Roosevelt and Churchill recognized this, and as such, what the two men sought to accomplish at Yalta was not the elimination of Soviet influence in Eastern Europe, but rather its amelioration. It was for this reason that they worked to secure Stalin's signature on the Declaration of Liberated Europe and the Declaration of Poland, both of which called for adherence to the right of all people to choose the form of government under which they will live and which, in the case of Poland, specifically called for 'the holding of free and unfettered elections as soon as possible on the basis of universal suffrage and secret ballot'. [ 38 ] Roosevelt was also anxious to confirm Stalin's earlier promise to commit Russian forces to the war against Japan, as well as to secure Soviet participation in the United Nations Organization, both of which were accomplished. Most important, of course, was the continuation of wartime cooperation, which Roosevelt in particular saw as critical to future peace and to the success of the new world organization that he and his administration had worked so hard to achieve.

Sadly, Franklin Roosevelt would not live to see either the end of the war or the birth of the U.N. He died at his Warm Springs cottage on 12 April 1945 while resting up from the physical exhaustion that was brought on in part by the demands of the Yalta Conference. The news of his death sent shock waves right around the world, especially for the more than 15 million Americans who served in the US Armed Forces during the war. Churchill described the news as a 'physical blow' and in a letter to King George V observed that with Roosevelt gone, 'ties have been torn asunder which years have woven'. [ 39 ] Churchill also delivered a moving eulogy to Roosevelt in the House of Commons where he recounted not only their mutual friendship, but also Roosevelt's determination to help Great Britain at its critical hour, inspired by 'the beatings of that generous heart which was always stirred to anger and to action by spectacles of aggression and oppression by the strong against the weak'. [ 40 ]
In the same address, Churchill also took rare note of Roosevelt's struggle with polio, observing that the President's 'physical affliction lay heavily upon him'. It was, he said,

... a marvel that he bore up against it through all the many years of tumult and storm. Not one man in ten millions, stricken and crippled as he was, would have attempted to plunge into a life of physical and mental exertion and of hard, ceaseless political controversy. Not one in ten millions would have tried, not one in a generation would have succeeded, not only in entering this sphere, not only in acting vehemently in it, but in becoming indisputable master of the scene. [ 41 ]

And so, with Roosevelt's death, one of the most remarkable political relationships in history came to an end. Between its inception, in September 1939, and its close, in April 1945, the two men would exchange nearly two thousand written messages and would meet no less than eleven times. When one adds telephone conversations and third party indirect exchanges to this mix, it seems reasonable to argue that the two leaders were in almost constant contact. Given the size of the task at hand - the defeat of Axis forces on a global scale - and the degree to which the two men had engineered an alliance in which both sides were, as Churchill once said, all 'mixed up together', the differences and disagreements highlighted here seem, if not natural, at least understandable. [ 42 ]

Perhaps the true nature of their friendship can be found in Roosevelt's taking the time to write out and send a line of verse by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that he thought might serve as inspiration for Churchill and for the British and American peoples at one of the bleakest moments of the war - January 1941, when Great Britain was desperate for supplies and the battle of the Atlantic raged. Well aware of this, and having witnessed the London Blitz and just received intelligence indicating that a German invasion of England might be attempted in the near future, Roosevelt wrote to Churchill that he thought 'this verse applies to you people as it does to us':

Sail on, Oh Ship of State
Sail on, Oh Union strong and great.
Humanity with all its fears
With all thy hope of future years
Is hanging breathless on thy fate. [ 43 ]

Churchill was deeply moved by his gesture and in response told the President that he was going to have the verse framed 'as a mark of our friendly relations which have been built up telegraphically but also telepathically' under all the stresses of war. [ 44 ]

He also took to the airwaves to deliver Roosevelt's message to the British people, and to ask, after reading the verse aloud, 'what answer' he should give, in the name of the people of the British Commonwealth, 'to this great man, the thrice-chosen head of a nation of a hundred and thirty millions?'

Here is the answer which I will give to President Roosevelt: Put your confidence in us. Give us your faith and your blessing, and, under Providence, all will be well. We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle, nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools, and we will finish the job. [ 45 ]

It would take many years, and the joint effort of the British, American and Russian peoples and their allies to 'finish the job' of which Churchill spoke. But without the support of Franklin Roosevelt at this critical moment, when the world watched with baited breath as Great Britain stood alone against the Nazi fury, and many doubted her ability to survive, it is hard to see how ultimate victory could have been achieved had not this remarkable leader been at the helm of the American Government.

Churchill, as promised, soon had the Longfellow inscription from Roosevelt framed and hung on the wall of his beloved country home at Chartwell where it would remain until his death in 1965.

David Woolner, Roosevelt Institute

David B. Woolner is Senior Fellow and Hyde Park Resident Historian of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, and Associate Professor of History at Marist College, USA. He is the co- editor with Warren Kimball and David Reynolds of FDR's World: War, Peace and Legacies (Palgrave, 2008); with Henry Henderson of FDR and the Environment (Palgrave, 2005); and with Richard Kurial of FDR, the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church in America, 1933-1945 (Palgrave, 2003). He is the editor of The Second Quebec Conference Revisited (St. Martin's Press, 1998), and is the author of a book entitled Cordell Hull, Anthony Eden and the Search for Anglo- American Cooperation, 1933-1938 (forthcoming from Praeger Press).

He has been Visiting Associate Professor of History at Bard College, USA, and remains a member of the faculty of the Bard Prison Initiative. He serves on the Editorial Board of the International History Review, and in the autumn of 2010 held the Fulbright Distinguished Research Chair at the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, the Netherlands. He is also a recipient of a Churchill Archives By-Fellowship at Churchill College, Cambridge University, UK.

Dr. Woolner holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in history from McGill University, Canada, and a B.A. summa cum laude in English Literature and History from the University of Minnesota, USA.


  1. 1. Churchill to Roosevelt, 30 January 1942, CHAR 20/69A/65.
  2. 2. Letter from Henry Morgenthau, Jr. to Churchill, 23 October 1929, CHAR 1/208/92; Churchill, Winston S. 'Roosevelt from Afar', 1933 Draft, CHAR 8/338; Jenkins, Roy. Churchill: A Biography. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001, p. 427.
  3. 3. Roosevelt to Churchill, 11 September 1939, CHAR 20/15/13.
  4. 4. As Roosevelt noted to Joseph Kennedy, in December 1939, he wanted to get his 'hand in now', because there is 'a strong possibility that he [Churchill] will become the Prime Minister...' Beschloss, Michael. Kennedy and Roosevelt. New York: HarperCollins, 1987, p. 200.
  5. 5. McCormick, Anne O'Hare. 'The Lessons for Our Parties in the Fall of France', New York Times, 24 June, 1940: A14.
  6. 6. Churchill to the House of Commons, 4 June 1940, CHAR 9/140A/9-28.
  7. 7. On 22 June 1940, France signed an Armistice Agreement with Germany, bringing the fighting in France to an end and dividing the country into two zones: a German occupation zone which included the north and west of the country, including the entire Atlantic seaboard, and an unoccupied zone in the south of France where a newly established government was formed in the French city of Vichy. The Vichy Government also controlled French North Africa and other French colonial possessions around the world, including Indochina. Under the terms of the Armistice, the French fleet, then scattered in various ports around the world, was to sail home to metropolitan France for the duration of the war, with the understanding that French warships would remain out of action except for coastal patrols and mine sweeping. Not willing to risk the possibility of the French fleet falling into German hands, Churchill issued an ordered for its seizure, Operation Catapult, on 3 July 1940. See the printed copies of personal telegrams from Churchill, May to December 1940, CHAR 23/4/11.
  8. 8. Kimball, Warren F. Churchill and Roosevelt: The Complete Correspondence, Volume I, Alliance Emerging. London: Collins, 1984, p. 56.
  9. 9. Kimball, Warren F. Churchill and Roosevelt: The Complete Correspondence, Volume I, Alliance Emerging. London: Collins, 1984, p. 88; Churchill to Roosevelt, 8 December 1940, CHAR 23/4/11.
  10. 10. Kennedy, David M. Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 460.
  11. 11. Lilienthal, David. The Journals of David E. Lilienthal, Volume 1, The TVA Years, 1939-1945. New York: Harper & Row, p. 209.
  12. 12. The Selective Training and Service Act, which was signed into law by the President on 16 September 1940, represented the first peace-time draft in US history. Although the idea was endorsed by the Republican Presidential nominee, Wendell Willkie, it nevertheless aroused considerable opposition from a number of leading isolationists and non-interventionists. For more on this and on the narrow passage of the extension of the law in 1941, see Cole, Wayne S. Roosevelt and the Isolationists, 1932-1945. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983, p. 375-79.
  13. 13. Churchill, Winston S. The Second World War, Volume 2, Their Finest Hour. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1949, p. 404.
  14. 14. Churchill, Winston S. The Second World War, Volume 2, Their Finest Hour. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1949, p. 558.
  15. 15. Churchill to Roosevelt, 8 December 1940, CHAR 23/4/11.
  16. 16. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Presidential Press Conference, 17 December 1940, President's Personal File 1-P: Franklin D. Roosevelt Press Conferences, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, New York.
  17. 17. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Presidential Press Conference, 17 December 1940, President's Personal File 1-P: Franklin D. Roosevelt Press Conferences, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, New York.
  18. 18. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Presidential Press Conference, 17 December 1940, President's Personal File 1-P: Franklin D. Roosevelt Press Conferences, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, New York. Senator Robert Taft, who opposed Lend-Lease in the Senate, offered Roosevelt the rejoinder that 'lending war equipment is a good deal like lending chewing gum. You don't want it back!'
  19. 19. Churchill, Winston, S. The Second World War, Volume 2, Their Finest Hour. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1949, p. 569. See also Churchill to the House of Commons, 12 March 1941. James, Robert Rhodes, ed. The Complete Speeches of Winston Churchill 1897-1963, Vol. VI, 1935-1942. London: Chelsea House, 1974, p. 6,360.
  20. 20. Franklin D. Roosevelt, State of the Union Address, 6 January 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt Master Speech File, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, New York.
  21. 21. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Address to Congress, 8 December 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt Master Speech File, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, New York.
  22. 22. Kimball, Warren F. Churchill and Roosevelt: The Complete Correspondence, Vol. 1, London: Collins, p. 236. The USS Greer was an American destroyer that, while on a mail run to Iceland, was alerted to the presence of a German submarine by a British patrol plane. The Greer tracked the U-boat, which eventually came under attack from the British plane and in response fired a brace of torpedoes at the Greer, which responded with depth charges. Neither ship was hit in the engagement.
  23. 23. In the summer of 1940 the Japanese took advantage of the fall of France to move troops into Northern French Indochina. In September Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Italy and Germany and roughly a year later they moved troops into Southern Indochina. All of these moves were viewed with alarm by the Roosevelt Administration which in response slapped an embargo on the sale of scrap iron and high octane aviation fuel to Japan in August 1940 and an oil embargo a year later. For more on US-Japanese relations in the prewar period, see Utley, Jonathan G. Going to War with Japan, 1937-1941. New York: Fordham University Press, 2005.
  24. 24. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Address to Congress, 8 December 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt Master Speech File, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, New York.
  25. 25. The Manhattan Project was the US-led effort to develop the atomic bomb. The close relationship between the British, Canadian and American intelligence communities continues to this day. See, for example, Aldrich, Richard J. 'British Intelligence and the Anglo-American "Special Relationship" during the Cold War.' Review of International Studies 24 (1998): 331-351.
  26. 26. Kimball, Warren F. Forged in War: Roosevelt, Churchill, and The Second World War. New York: William & Morrow, 1997, p. 131-32. Gilbert, Martin. Road to Victory, Winston S. Churchill, 1941-1945. London: Minerva, 1986, p. 28.
  27. 27. The American-British-Canadian secret staff conversations took place in Washington from January to March 1941. See Reynolds, David. The Creation of the AngloAmerican Alliance, 1937-41: A Study in Competitive Cooperation. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1982, pp. 182-85.
  28. 28. Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov visited London and then Washington in May and June 1942. One of the chief fears of Roosevelt and Churchill was the possibility that Stalin might conclude a separate peace with Hitler as he had in the August 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact. For more on this, see Stoler, Mark A. The Politics of the Second Front: American Military Planning in Coalition Warfare, 1941-1943. Westport Conn: Greenwood, 1977.
  29. 29. The British system of Imperial Preference drastically reduced tariffs and other impediments to trade within the British Empire. The system was set up in part as a reaction to the establishment in 1930 of the US Smooth Hawley Tariff, the highest tariff in American history. Roosevelt's Secretary of State was adamantly opposed to both the Smooth Hawley Tariff and the British System of Imperial Preference and would use Lend-Lease and Britain's dependence on US aid as a lever by which he hoped to convince the British to abandon the system. For more on this, see Woods, Randall B. 'FDR and the New Economic Order', in FDR's World: War, Peace and Legacies. Woolner, David B., Warren F. Kimball and David Reynolds, eds. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
  30. 30. As early as 25 June 1943 Churchill informed Roosevelt that a meeting between the President and Stalin 'with the British Commonwealth and Empire excluded' would be 'serious and vexatious, and many would be bewildered and alarmed thereby' (CHAR 20/113/119-120).
  31. 31. Kimball, Warren F. Churchill and Roosevelt: Complete Correspondence, London: Collins, 1984, p. 17.
  32. 32. For more on this, see Woolner, David B., Warren F. Kimball and David Reynolds, eds. The Second Quebec Conference Revisited: Waging War, Formulating Peace: Canada, Great Britain, and the United States in 1944-1945. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.
  33. 33. At the Second Quebec Conference, U.S. Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., put forward a plan calling for the pastoralization of Germany. For more on this, see Woolner, David B. 'Coming to Grips with the German Problem', in Woolner, David B., Warren F. Kimball and David Reynolds, eds. The Second Quebec Conference Revisited: Waging War, Formulating Peace: Canada, Great Britain, and the United States in 1944-1945. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998, pp. 65-101.
  34. 34. This operation never took place.
  35. 35. Churchill, Winston, S. The Second World War, Vol. 6, Triumph and Tragedy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1976, p. 227.
  36. 36. Churchill to Roosevelt, 11 October 1944, CHAR 20/173/30-31.
  37. 37. Reynolds, David. Summits: Six Meetings that Shaped the Twentieth Century. London: Allen Lane, 2007, pp. 148-50.
  38. 38. The United States Department of State. Foreign Relations of the United States, Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945. Washington: Government Printing Office (GPO), 1955, p. 973.
  39. 39. Woolner, David B. 'Epilogue: Reflections on Legacy and Leadership - the View from 2008', in Woolner, David B., Warren F. Kimball and David Reynolds, eds. FDR's World: War, Peace and Legacies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, p. 227.
  40. 40. Churchill to the House of Commons, 17 April 1945, CHAR 9/167/206-207.
  41. 41. Churchill to the House of Commons, 17 April 1945, CHAR 9/167/206-207.
  42. 42. Churchill to the House of Commons, 20 August 1940, CHAR 9/141A/37-68.
  43. 43. Roosevelt to Churchill, 20 January 1941. Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill Additional Papers, WCHL 13/1.
  44. 44. Churchill to Roosevelt, 28 January 1941, CHAR 20/49/10.
  45. 45. Churchill Broadcast, 9 February 1941, CHAR 9/150A/52-75.

(c) 2012 David B. Woolner