Six Months in 1945

Six Months in 1945

FDR, Stalin, Churchill, Truman-- From World War to Cold War

Book - 2012
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From the author of the best-selling One Minute to Midnight , a riveting account of the pivotal six-month period spanning the end of World War II, the dawn of the nuclear age, and the beginning of the Cold War.

When Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill met in Yalta in February 1945, Hitler's armies were on the run and victory was imminent.  The Big Three wanted to draft a blueprint for a lasting peace--but instead set the stage for a forty-four-year division of Europe into Soviet and western spheres of influence. After fighting side by side for nearly four years, their political alliance was rapidly fracturing. By the time the leaders met again in Potsdam in July 1945, Russians and Americans were squabbling over the future of Germany and Churchill was warning about an "iron curtain" being drawn down over the Continent.

These six months witnessed some of the most dramatic moments of the twentieth century: the cataclysmic battle for Berlin, the death of Franklin Roosevelt, the discovery of the Nazi concentration camps, Churchill's electoral defeat, and the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan. While their armies linked up in the heart of Europe, the political leaders maneuvered for leverage: Stalin using his nation's wartime sacrifices to claim spoils, Churchill doing his best to halt Britain's waning influence, FDR trying to charm Stalin, Truman determined to stand up to an increasingly assertive Soviet superpower.

Six Months in 1945 brilliantly captures this momentous historical turning point, chronicling the geopolitical twists behind the descent of the iron curtain, while illuminating the aims and personalities of larger-than-life political giants. It is a vividly rendered story of individual and national interests in fierce competition at a seminal moment in history.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2012.
ISBN: 9780307271655
Characteristics: xvi, 418 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill., maps ;,25 cm.

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AQUILEA777
Feb 16, 2015

Cinematic treatment of key scenes, eg FDR, Churchill and Stalin trying to fool one another at Yalta. Russians and Americans wanted to control the world for their own ends, masked in benign rationalizations. Churchill wanted the small states of Europe free and independent, while maintaining Britain's hold on the Empire. The author treats "Wilsonian idealism" as genuine, not hypocritical posturing. He seems to believe the Cold War resulted from unfortunate misunderstandings, not the inherent rapacity of two voracious rival systems. The West had feared Bolshevism before the War; why would these old antagonists continue to cooperate once Hitler was gone? Mischaracterizes Theresienstadt as a transit camp to Auschwitz; it was a livable ghetto with many refinements added by the residents, several of whom later wrote of their positive experiences there.

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