5.0 out of 5 stars The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hit
Creating government policy is not easy. Decisions result from consideration of many shifting factors and many different perspectives. Beschloss has written a superb account of the creation of one of the decisive US government policies of the 20th century--what to do with Hitler's Germany after WW II. The author traces the evolution of Roosevelt's thought, the intricate...
Published on April 19 2004 by B. Viberg
3.0 out of 5 stars From a GI Who Was There
I found this to be just one more book written about the events of this era. It is well written and very readable but I have my doubts about some of the contents. When he uses the letters, etc. of the characters, he doesn't (except in rare footnotes)tell us that perhaps the records left behind were selfserving and even greatly at odds with the facts. As a GI who earned...
Published on Oct. 27 2003 by Gilbert Ec ht
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2.0 out of 5 stars not as good as I had hoped for or expected,
This review is from: The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945 (Paperback)I was disappointed with this book which I thought had much more promise than I think was delivered. The writing was tedious from my perspective. Also, Truman, and his relationship with FDR and other world leaders in the first few months of his presidency is almost non existent as is, for the most part, Churchill's personal relationship with FDR, about which other books have been written but it seems to me is impossible to not include if the subject is the allied approach to the war. This is essentially a book about Morganthau and his relationship with FDR and FDR's approach to power. It shows how FDR had everyone in his administration wrapped around his little finger, which each subordinate thinking they alone had FDR's private ear, when in reality no one did. FDR kept his own counsel. The relationship between FDR and Morganthau comes off as a little pathetic with Morganthau desparate to get FDR's approval like an apprentice to a mentor. Roosevelt is supportive when it suits his fancy and non supportive when it does not suit his fancy. In that regard and among all participants "loyalty" is a relative concept in the FDR administration. Reminds me a little of the description of David McCullough about the Adams/Jefferson correspondence at the end of their lives--one in which Adams letters to Jefferson were like 4:1 compared to Jefferson's to Adams. I had the feeling that Adams needed this relationship much more than did Jefferson who had many other interests at the end of his life and appeared to answer Adams when he found the time. Adams, on the other hand, struck me as a fellow for whom a letter from TJ was the highpoint of his day.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hit,
This review is from: The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman, And The Destruction Of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945. (Hardcover)Creating government policy is not easy. Decisions result from consideration of many shifting factors and many different perspectives. Beschloss has written a superb account of the creation of one of the decisive US government policies of the 20th century--what to do with Hitler's Germany after WW II. The author traces the evolution of Roosevelt's thought, the intricate trail of policy input resulting from Roosevelt's chaotic management of his staff, the massive effort made by Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau to impose a harsh peace, the president's interplay with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin, and the effects of FDR's flagging mental and physical abilities on eventual decisions. Beschloss also recounts Harry Truman's efforts to master large amounts of information about formal and informal agreements among the Big Three allies when he suddenly became president upon Roosevelt's death. The final chapter assesses the result of Roosevelt's and Truman's policies, concluding that their decisions to rebuild Germany as a strong pro-democracy bulwark in the heart of Europe affected the history of the Cold War, and indeed the contemporary world.
2.0 out of 5 stars Book about Henry Morgenthau,
This review is from: The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman, And The Destruction Of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945. (Hardcover)This is a book about Henry Morgenthau and his plan to make Germany an agricultural country after the war, and to take away all German industry.
It is also about Morgenthau and his conversion from an accounting type to one that wanted to help his fellow Jews after he found out about the German death camps.
Roosevelt and Truman are included as supporting actors in this book about Morgenthau.
2.0 out of 5 stars Bait and Switch,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945 (Paperback)Despite the title, this isn't a story about the destruction of Hitler's Germany. It's not about FDR. It's not about President Truman. It's really about Henry Morgenthau, the Secretary of the Treasury during World War II. It mostly details his thoughts that the Germans should really be punished after the war. It says very little about how the Marshall plan eventually won out.
All in all, an unimportant book primarily about a figure of no lasting historical significance. The title is shamefully misleading.
3.0 out of 5 stars From a GI Who Was There,
This review is from: The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman, And The Destruction Of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945. (Hardcover)I found this to be just one more book written about the events of this era. It is well written and very readable but I have my doubts about some of the contents. When he uses the letters, etc. of the characters, he doesn't (except in rare footnotes)tell us that perhaps the records left behind were selfserving and even greatly at odds with the facts. As a GI who earned his battle stars in the Battle of the Bulge and crossing the Rhine I greatly resent the photo titled "British soldiers cheer...". These are American GI's of MY unit.
3.0 out of 5 stars Disjointed, but informative,
This review is from: The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945 (Audio CD)"The Conquerors", author Michael Beschloss' account of how the Roosevelt and Truman administrations handled the execution of World War II and the decisions over how to handle postwar Germany, should be a better book than it is. It is not a bad book and, therefore, still worthy of a three-star rating, but it ultimately feels disjointed and rambling. There's an intangible piece to "The Conquerors" that seems to be missing. In the final chapter, when Beschloss summarizes the final decisions and events that took place in the aftermath of World War II, one can't help but think that these summaries don't seem to be relevant to the rest of the text in the book.
The bulk of "The Conquerors" focuses on the relationship between President Franklin Roosevelt and Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau. Morgenthau was a long time friend and confidant of the President from his pre-White House days. Morgenthau, though Jewish by heritage, was anything but an ardent Jew. During the era he grew up in, Jewish-ness was something to try and conceal or deny. Morgenthau did so by proclaiming himself to be "100% American". Yet, when word of the atrocities committed by Hitler's Nazi regime against the European Jews began to make its way around the world, that news, along with guilt and pressure applied by prominent American Jews, prompted Morgenthau to do an about-face and embrace his Jewish heritage and seek strong retribution against Germany for their actions. His "Morgenthau Plan" called for the destruction of all German industry, which would regress the country to an agrarian state where its existence would be dependent strictly on its farming ability. While many in the Roosevelt administration (Roosevelt included) favored harsh penalties against Germany, the "Morgenthau Plan" created an uproar and caused somewhat of an embarrassment to the administration. The administration had to consider the practicality of such a plan given the predicted struggle with Russia over German territory and also didn't want to seem to be kowtowing to issues important only to the Jewish population, which was still viewed as 'persona non grata' at the time.
"The Conquerors" also spends a great deal of time reveling in the political games that Roosevelt played within his own administration and forced to use with his other Big 3 allies, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin. He teamed with Stalin to goad Churchill into supporting stronger retribution against Germany, while he (and Truman) teamed with Churchill to plan ways to mute the Russian grab for land and influence in postwar Europe because they foresaw the potential chilling of relations with the Soviet Union. The political games are fascinating and they tie back into the furor over the Morgenthau plan on some level. However, the overall problem seems to be that there is no focus for all the disjointed anecdotes that Beschloss writes about. As mentioned earlier, the conclusions that Beschloss arrives at in his book seem to have very little to do with his previous narrative. While the information revealed throughout the book is intriguing, the overall quality is disappointing. Still, it is worth a look.
4.0 out of 5 stars What is going to happen after the Allies conquer Germany?,
I shudder to think if we had heeded Morgenthau on Germany. The rest of Europe would have become Communist. Fortunately, Morgenthau failed and Truman got him to resign. This book details the policy battles between the State, Treasury, and War Departments about the fate of Germany.
Beschloss does a good job detailing the policy battles between the departments and differences with the British and Soviets. This book was very readable, and not difficult to go through. I have some of Beschloss's other books, which I haven't read and this will spur me to read these. This was a pretty good read, especially for a policy book.
4.0 out of 5 stars The older I get, the more iconoclastic I become�,
Mr. Beschloss does a great job weaving what could be a fine novel... With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, coupled with recent revelations regarding the deep penetration of Soviet sympathizers throughout our government, much of the wrangling and ultimate decisions made eminent sense, at least logically if not in substance. Another source of amazement comes from consideration of how different life might be... Truman returned from Potsdam with the full knowledge and realization that it (could) have been Washington DC lying in blackened ruins instead of Berlin... Berlin was eventually rebuilt as the democratic capital of a free Germany - DC would have been rebuilt as a totally different city.
Read this book if you want an unvarnished view of the most important period of history in the last 100 years.
3.0 out of 5 stars choppy narrative,
But for sheer pleasure of reading, the book doesn't quite make the grade. Beschloss, apparently, began and nearly completed the book some ten years ago and then set it aside to await the release of confidential documents, finally completing it in 2002. Whether it is a function of the ten-year gap or of Beschloss's style (this is the first of his works I have read), I'm not certain, but the book is extremely choppy. He breaks the story into episodes, some as long as pages, others only a paragraph. The narrative thus has no flow to it, and while the technique may illuminate certain characteristics of the leading figures (such as Roosevelt or Morgenthau or Truman), it detracts from the book's overall effect.
Given the parallels to current events, The Conquerors is worth reading--but only if you can endure a jarring, halting read.
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasing writing style, informative,
Beschloss spends considerably less time on Truman and the well-known facts about the plain from Missouri are repeated: he knew virtually nothing about FDR's war plans in 1945, nothing about the atom bomb and his knowledge of Churchill and Stalin was minimal, to say the least. FDR kept Truman in the dark as Vice President and the two had only met together several times prior to Roosevelt's death in Warm Spring in April, 1945.
A weakness of book is undoubtedly Beschloss' lengthy segments on the Morgenthau plan. Though this is important in the scheme of things, it doesn't make for interesting reading. Much stronger are his personal references to the main characters. He includes some little-known facts about FDR's dying moments, including some interesting tid-bits about his cousin, Mrs. Suckley, Eleanor and his mistress from the WWI era, Lucy Mercer. This is an excellent book, sure to please any World War II or FDR buff.
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The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman, And The Destruction Of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945. by Michael R. Beschloss (Hardcover - 2002)
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