Winston Churchill

Ike’s son, historian John Eisenhower, recalls attending meetings with the British wartime leader and reflects on his character and accomplishments.

The world-shaping relationship between these two giants got off to a rocky start

Often it is said that vast long-range economic and social forces, not the efforts of leading individuals alone, make history. The course of World War II denies this seemingly rational thesis. Read more >>

One Man’s March

I long thought that my husband, Forrest, should write his story for this column, but since he passed away recently, the task falls to me. I’ll try to tell his story and a little bit of my own. Read more >>

An Exception to the Rule

Lost Opportunity Through the Front Door Read more >>

A cameraman at Yalta tells what it was like to spend a few days in claustrophobic luxury with Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt— and to be offered a job by Joseph Stalin

The campaign to revise Hitler’s reputation has gone on for 50 years, but there’s another strategy now. Some of it is built on the work of the head of the Gestapo—who may have enjoyed a comfortable retirement in America.

RECENTLY, ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS, the American public has been made aware of evidence of plagiarism practiced, alas, by celebrated American historians. This is regrettable, but nothing new. All kinds of writers have borrowed and, worse, stolen from others through the ages. Read more >>

The United States and FDR watched the extermination of the Jews with such total indifference that they were actually accomplices— or so says a growing number of historians. Is this true?

It was Winston Churchill’s judgment that the Holocaust “was probably the greatest and most terrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world.” The Holocaust, of course, was part of a colossal struggle in which fifty-three million people were killed, where nations Read more >>

In 1943 Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Britain’s poorest, most dismal African colony, and what he saw there fired him with a fervor that helped found the United Nations

President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not look favorably on European colonialism. Like most Americans, he believed that the self-determination clause of the 1941 Atlantic Charter should apply to all peoples, not just Europeans. Read more >>

Of all the Allied leaders, argues FDR's biographer, only Roosevelt saw clearly the shape of the new world they were fighting to create

AFTER HALF A CENTURY IT IS HARD TO APPROACH FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT EXCEPT through a minefield of clichés. Theories of FDR, running the gamut from artlessness to mystification, have long paraded before our eyes. Read more >>

In 1941 the President understood better than many Americans the man who was running Germany, and Hitler understood Roosevelt and his country better than we knew

In the summer of 1940 the fate of the world depended on the duel between two men: Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill. It was a duel of nerves, and of wills. Churchill carried it off, because Hitler finally chose not to invade Britain. Read more >>

The American army that beat Hitler was thoroughly professional, but it didn’t start out that way. North Africa was where it learned the hard lessons—none harder than the disaster at Kasserine. This was the campaign that taught us how to fight a war.

There was no light. Most of the soldiers in the boats couldn’t see anything, but they knew they must be close because the wind offshore brought the smell of charcoal smoke and dry grass. The first assault troops landed sometime after eight bells. Read more >>

An outstanding American historian follows Winston Churchill through a typical day during his political exile in the 1930s and uses that single twenty-four-hour period to reveal the character of the century’s greatest Englishman in all its complexity. See Churchill lay bricks, paint a landscape, tease his dinner guests, badger his secretaries, dictate a history, make up a speech, write an article (that’s how he earns his living), refuse his breakfast because the jam has been left off the tray, refight the Battle of Bull Run, feed his fish, drink his brandy, fashion a “bellyband” to retrieve a particularly decrepit cigar, recite all of “Horatius at the Bridge,” take two baths—and await with noisy fortitude the day when he will save the world.

THE GREAT SANCTUARY Read more >>

For a few weeks Hitler came close to winning World War II. Then came a train of events that doomed him. An eloquent historian reminds us that however unsatisfactory our world may be today, it almost was unimaginably worse.

In the summer of 1940 Adolf Hitler could have won the Second World War. He came close to that. Had he won, we would be living in a world so different as to be hardly imaginable. So let us contemplate that dangerous summer. Read more >>

In a conflict that saw saturation bombing, Auschwitz, and the atom bomb, poison gas was never used in the field. What prevented it?

Forty years ago, on August 6 and 9, 1945, American B-29s dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, killing at least 110,000 and possibly 250,000 Japanese and speeding that nation’s surrender. Read more >>

In 1938 the European correspondent for CBS was in Austria when the Nazis marched in. He wanted to tell the world about it—but first he had to help invent a whole new kind of broadcasting.

I FIRST MET ED MURROW at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin on Friday, August 27, 1937, He had sent me a telegram three days earlier inviting me to dinner. I was not in the best of moods. Read more >>
The scene is not America, it is London. It is late evening of December 7, 1941, and Winston Churchill has just heard the news of Pearl Harbor. Read more >>

The great man’s daughter-in-law draws a portrait of the statesman at the top of his career and at the bottom

FOR A SHORT, fierce time during the war, I knew Winston Churchill very well. After the war and until his death, I saw him less often. But my memories of him at the height of his power have never left me. Read more >>

Fifty years after FDR first took office, a British statesman and historian evaluates the President’s role in the twentieth century’s most important partnership

Franklin Roosevelt was, and remains, a hero to the British. During his rise to power we were detached from and ignorant of American internal politics to an extent that is not easily imaginable today. The Atlantic in the twenties and thirties was still very wide. Read more >>

Conjectural or speculative history can be a silly game, as in “What if the Roman legions had machine guns?” But this historian argues that to enlarge our knowledge and understanding it sometimes makes very good sense to ask …

What if any of the pre-Civil War Presidents had gone mad? What if Andrew Johnson had been successfully impeached? What if William McKinley had not been assassinated? Read more >>

His newly discovered diary reveals how the President saw the conference that ushered in the Cold War

For the past year and a half, Robert H. Ferrell, a diplomatic historian at Indiana University, has been at work among President Harry S. Truman’s newly opened private papers at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri. Early last year, working with Erwin J. Read more >>

to Joseph P. Lash for Roosevelt and Churchill, 1939–1941: The Partnership That Saved the West

If Joseph P. Lash had decided, back in 1942, to write a book on the wartime friendship between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, he would have been off to a lucky start. Read more >>

The United States remained officially neutral, but many Americans fought alongside both opposing armies and several became legendary heroes

“I have been absorbed in interest in the Boer War,” wrote Theodore Roosevelt to his friend Cecil Spring Rice in 1899. He was not alone. Most Americans took a keen interest in this remote conflict. Read more >>

FOR SEVEN DECADES OUR EBULLIENT COUSIN INSTRUCTED US ON EVERYTHING: THE BOERS, PROHIBITION, HITLER, CHARLIE CHAPLIN’S FEET, AND THE COMMON CAUSE OF THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING PEOPLES

As our image of Winston Churchill slides back into history—his hundredth birthday comes next November 30—the fine lines of his portrait begin to fade, and he is remembered by a new generation mainly as the wartime leader who intoned of blood, toil, tears, and sweat and prodded Read more >>
At 4:30 A.M. on a cold, drizzly day in the spring of 1944, there came a knock on the guarded door of the top-secret White House Map Room. Read more >>

Vodka at breakfast was only one of the minor problems when Russians entertained Americans

It was 5 P.M. on Sunday, the fourth of February, 1945. After seven months of dispatches and a month of frantic preparation by the Soviets, the Big Three conference at Yalta on the Black Sea was about to commence. Read more >>

Discreet helpers have worked on the speeches and papers of many Presidents, but a nation in a time of trial will respond best “to the Great Man himself, standing alone”

In the summer of 1918, with Russia removed from World War I as a result of the Bolshevik Revolution, the United States sent troops into Russia at two points. It did so only after the greatest soul-searching on the part of President Wilson, who had said that “the treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations … will be the acid test of their good will …” Two factors influenced the decision. In the Far East, Japan had made a move to occupy Siberia, apparently threatening America’s “open door” policy for China. In North Russia, English and French leaders had hopes of reviving the eastern front against Germany. In addition, large stores of Allied war supplies had been left at the port of Archangel. The expedition to North Russia resulted in fierce combat between American and Soviet soldiers and throws significant light on the forty years of difficult relations between the United States and the Soviet Union that were to follow.   Read more >>