Synopses & Reviews
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, 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.
About the Author
has been called by Newsweek
"the nation's leading Presidential historian." Author of six previous books on the history of American Presidents and global affairs, including Mayday
(1986), The Crisis Years
(1991) and the first two volumes of a trilogy on the Lyndon Johnson tapes, he is a frequent lecturer and regular commentator on ABC News and PBS's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
Born in Chicago, he is a trustee of the White House Historical Association, the National Archives Foundation, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs. He lives with his wife and their two sons in Washington, D.C.
Table of Contents
The Plot to Murder Hitler
"Fifty Thousand Germans Must Be Shot!"
"On the Back of an Envelope"
The Terrible Silence
The "One Hundred Percent American"
"Oppressor of the Jews"
"We Will Have to Get Awfully Busy"
"Not Nearly as Bad as Sending Them to Gas Chambers"
"Somebody's Got to Take the Lead"
"Christianity and Kindness"
"It Is Very, Very Necessary"
"Do You Want Me to Beg Like Fala?"
"A Hell of a Hubbub"
"As Useful as Ten Fresh German Divisions"
"Lord Give the President Strength"
"The Only Bond Is Their Common Hate"
"Arguing About the Future of the World"
"No Earthly Powers Can Keep Him Here"
"What Will We Make of It?"
"I Was Never in Favor of That Crazy Plan"
"You and I Will Have to Bear Great Responsibility"
"How I Hate This Trip!"
"We Are Drifting Toward a Line Down the Center of Germany"
"The Spirit and Soul of a People Reborn"
AUTHOR'S NOTE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS