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Paperback The Conquerors : Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945 Book

ISBN: 0743244540

ISBN13: 9780743244541

The Conquerors : Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945

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Book Overview

A New York Times bestseller, The Conquerors reveals how Franklin Roosevelt's and Harry Truman's private struggles with their aides and Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin affected the unfolding of the Holocaust and the fate of vanquished Nazi Germany. With monumental fairness and balance, The Conquerors shows how Roosevelt privately refused desperate pleas to speak out directly against the Holocaust, to save Jewish refugees and to explore the possible...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

History with style!

Michael Beschloss has not only added a great deal to the study of World War II and the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, he has given us a clear picture of how FDR and Truman laid the groundwork for America's victory in the Cold War. It seems that even though FDR has been raked over the coals for years for not taking a stronger stand against Stalin, he did in fact know what he was doing. This book shows just what FDR was up to in wonderfully interesting detail. Beschloss manages to draw the reader into the story almost as if it were a classic novel. He never assumes the reader will know all about Henry Morgenthau, Cordell Hull, or Henry Stimson. Instead he gives even the most novice reader of World War II material enough background to help explain their respective positions, both in relation to FDR and on policy. There are some very troubling things about FDR however that one learns in this book. It is fairly well known that he didn't keep Truman up to date on anything, but in this book one finds that no one seemed to know what FDR wanted or intended to do about almost everything. His ego seemed to tell him that he didn't really need anyone else, or even if he did, he wasn't going to let anyone but himself get the credit for any administration accomplishment. To keep everyone in line he played little games with people's minds and played one department head off against another. That in itself explains why he let Morgenthau run amuck for so long. Unfortunately, it also seems that FDR himself may not have known what he wanted to do with a defeated Germany and may have actually leaned toward Morgenthau's plan for a while. When one considers just how sick FDR was, and that he may have actually been considering turning the Presidency over to Truman, the mass chaos he fostered in his administration was really inexcusable. Most damaging of all to FDR's place in history is that it was he who refused to allow the bombing of the Nazi death camps. There were several in his administration who argued against the bombings using rather flimsy arguments. No matter whether FDR chose to accept any of those arguments, or just decided it was bad politics, it is a black mark in American history that will never go away. Truth be told, I can understand Morgenthau's frustration and desire to make Germany pay for her sins.Truman only comes into play toward the last of the book. Fortunately, the new President had a clear head and a keen mind, so that he was able to step into the mess he inherited. The fact that Henry Wallace or Jimmy Byrnes might well have been in Truman's place is indeed scary. Finally, there is a lot of new material in this book. As new records in the U.S., Britain, and Russia come open, many a new surprise may await us. Beschloss has already uncovered a few and in fact put off finishing this book until some files he needed were available to him. In short, there is a lot of new knowledge to be gained by reading this book, and there i

The story of how our world was saved--magnificent!

One way of looking at a book is how important the subject was. And this book shows how we were saved from the danger of having to fight Germany again. The credit goes to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman and this history shows how they managed to do that. I now understand what these people were like in private and how they dealt with people like Churchill and Joseph Stalin. The Conquerors brought all that to life for me. And another thing that a history book should do is show how certain things and people were more important than we realized. That is obviously why the author tells us who Henry Morgenthau was and why he had such influence on Franklin Roosevelt, his closest friend, when he tried to fight the Holocaust and get Roosevelt to make sure that postwar Germany did not grow another Hitler and wage another war. Sometimes some people get unsettled when they read a book like this one that shatters old cliches in other books published before. I now see that Morgenthau should have been a much more important character in earlier biographies and histories of FDR and HST and World War Two. This is a book that I am proud to own and have been talking to all my friends about since reading it.

Should be required reading...

Fascinating account of the personal and professional relationships between President Roosevelt and his Cabinet, and how FDR's policies affected world history. Beschloss says "Roosevelt's silence may have emboldened Nazis to pursue the Jews of Europe with greater vigor, presuming that they would have to pay no special postwar penalty for their offense in case the Allies won." A harsh indictment. This book is a must read for anyone wanting to understand WWII, Roosevelt, Truman, the history of Europe in the 20th century, and the Holocaust. Readers should keep in mind that it is one scholar's opinion.

Fascinating story--I had no idea that this really happened

I first heard about this book when I read an excerpt from it it Newsweek Magazine in October. The excerpt's big story was that Franklin D. Roosevelt was asked to bomb Auschwitz and other death camps to stop the Holocaust and refused -- almost without thinking about it. I have read many books about this and never knew that he made that decision himself. The book reports why Roosevelt said he would not bomb.When I bought this book, I could not stop reading it. This book shows a whole new view of how World War 2 was fought against Germany -- why Roosevelt made Stalin and Churchill go for unconditional surrender, even though that strategy ended up killing many more British and American soldiers. This book shows how for most of the war, Roosevelt resisted pleas to do something to try to save Jewish refugees and stop the killing of the Jews. I heard the author on TV or radio saying that Roosevelt said that the U.S. is a Protestant country and that the Catholics and Jews were only here because they were tolerated. There is a lot of that in the book, as well as Roosevelt saying that if there was a U.S. demagogue who went against the Jews, more blood would flow through New York City's streets than Berlin. The book also shows how sick FDR was at the end of the war, even forgetting that he had signed certain documents and then asserting that he had not signed them. The book says that when Roosevelt died, he was planning to quit being President and give the job to Harry Truman and then become secretary of the U.N.It also shows Roosevelt's antipathy toward the Germans, saying that they all should be castrated at the end of the war or that 50 or 100 thousand German officers should be murdered at the end of World War II. The book tells all about what Roosevelt and Churchill and Stalin really said to each other in secret about Hitler and the Nazis and the Jews, and makes you feel as if you are sitting with them and listening to what they are saying. Beschloss got tapes of President Roosevelt's conversations with people around him and makes these talks sound as if they happened today. Roosevelt was oftentimes a cruel man in fighting with his employees and making them fight with each other, but we have to also remember and never forget he was the one who won the war.This book is more interesting than any recent novel I have read and is really the way people should write history. I had read a lot of World War 2 books before (my wife thinks I have read every book on World War 2 that has ever been printed) and did not understand that, before reading this book, I understood as little as I did about that war. When I got to the end of the book, I was sorry that it ended.

WWII Revisted Yet Again

World War II has been one of the most popular subjects in book publishing in the last few years. But much of those books like Tom Brokaw's Greatest Generation series and the late Stephen Ambrose's books focused on the average foot soldier's experiences. Presidential historian Michael Beschloss' The Conquerors looks at the men at the highest ranking of power, most notably Franklin D. Roosevelt. Mr. Beschloss is an obvious devotee to FDR and he considers him the most important world leader of the 20th century, but the book is even-handed in its assessment of FDR's handling of the war and post war Germany. Most notable is FDR's take on the Holocaust and his Treasury secretary Henry Morgenthau's efforts to convince FDR to take a more active role in stopping the concentration camps. The fact that FDR was reflecting the views of day toward Judaism is not an excuse in Mr. Beschloss' mind for his passive attitude towards dealing with that most harrowing of situations. Though much of the subject matter has been recounted in far too many other books to note, Mr. Beschloss' writing style is more entertaining than most. While he deals with high-minded subject matter, he presents it in an intelligent, yet ease to digest manner.
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