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Best leader of WW2

LAURENCE REES: And the single best leader in the Second World War?

ANITA PRAŻMOWSKA: I found Sikorski an interesting man. He was really up against it. Obviously I came to know him and I felt that this man really was trying to be far sighted, and he not only is dealing with the British who he knows are playing their own game, but he knows what he’s up against with Stalin too. He knows it’s going to be a difficult time. When he went to America he just detected that the Americans were going to be fickle allies.

But one of the things that hurts him terribly is the fact that he cannot bring his own men behind him. He has to try to sign agreements which in the long term would consolidate whatever influence Britain is going to have with the British, but he knows that his own commanders are effectively betraying his trust. People like Anders disagreed with him, and it hurt him terribly. So he’s an interesting man in that respect.

But the other person is De Gaulle. We forget that there was Little France virtually here [in Britain] - and we think of the Italian presence in prisoners of war - but there was something that looked like part of the French Republic in Britain, and De Gaulle is another interesting man of that time, a lot of fireworks and a lot of very, very difficult decisions to be made.