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Churchill and Roosevelt

: From the propaganda of the time it's clear that there was an effort to show that the relationship between Roosevelt and Churchill was incredibly close, but it wasn’t as simple as that was it?


LAURENCE REES: So, for example, Roosevelt, before dealing with Churchill in the war, was not personally involved with Churchill at all, was he?

ROBERT DALLEK: No they really didn’t have any significant relationship, and what operated with both men was national interest, not friendship or love of each other, though of course they came to have a great regard for each other, but their primary concern was to assure the safety, the security and the well-being of their respective nations. And, of course, this is demonstrated by the fact that Churchill has in New York an operation which, by this man Stevenson, who heads it, issues propaganda, to promote pro-British feeling in the United States. Because what we have to remember is that this was a time of intense isolationism in America and the last thing that Roosevelt was able to do was to go to the country and say we’ve got to rescue Britain and we’ve got to stand with them. He couldn’t say that. What he could say was we need to help Britain so that they will defeat the Nazis so that the Nazis won’t represent a threat to us. That was one thing that was clear, that Americans were not neutral in that war and Roosevelt was not neutral. They saw Britain as really their natural ally in that conflict so there was very little sympathy for Nazi Germany in the United States and a great eagerness to see Britain win the war. So to that extent Roosevelt could exploit the public sentiment to provide the destroyer bases deal and to continue with the cash and carry programme to provide Britain with, supposedly, the wherewithal to fight the Nazis.