Thursday, March 2, 2017

Nigel Hamilton

Nigel Hamilton's latest book is Commander in Chief: FDR's Battle with Churchill, 1943.

From the transcript of Hamilton's Q&A with Fareed Zakaria:

HAMILTON: [E]ven though [FDR] admired Churchill very much as a leader and a spokesman for democracy and principles of freedom, freedom of speech, nevertheless, he really -- he and Churchill were at opposite poles in terms of how they viewed the future.

ZAKARIA: Big differences; as you point out, Churchill lived to write his memoirs, in which he presented his version of everything, including World War II. He pretended he was in favor of the Normandy invasion, when you point out he was opposed. But Franklin Roosevelt never got to write his memoirs. And it's really strange to me that, until your project, we have not really had Roosevelt's view of -- of World War II.

HAMILTON: I think that's a tragedy. I mean, part of the problem, of course, is that Churchill was a brilliant writer. He wrote six volumes about how he won World War II, and it was so wonderfully written that it won him the Nobel Prize for Literature. Well, that is very difficult for most historians to combat, and it was very much how Churchill saw his own -- the way he considered himself to be the mastermind, the architect of the winning of World War II.

What I'd like to do is to change history, if history is the way we look at the past, by showing how, at every step in World War II, it was the president of the United States who was directing the war, not just in terms of vision and diplomacy but in terms of the military, the strategy for defeating first Nazi Germany and then the empire of Japan.

ZAKARIA: And you point out that, almost always, Roosevelt was right and Churchill was wrong. Roosevelt was vindicated by history.

But I'm going to leave it to people -- they
...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue