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The best decision of the war

LAURENCE REES: And the single best decision of the war?

ROBERT SERVICE: The single best decision of the war? The single best decision of the war was for the three allies to get together. It could have been more difficult than it actually was, but Churchill had always had a pro-Soviet leaning in the 1930s, seeing the Soviet Union as a possible ally against Germany. Previously, of course, in 1918 and 1919 he’d been talking about the communists as baboons and he wanted Bolshevism to be a baby that would be strangled in its cradle. But by the 1930s he was making overtures to Soviet diplomats over here. And Roosevelt had the sense to do the same in making overtures to the Soviet Union. There was a possibility that the alliance wouldn’t gel, but it, in fact, gelled immediately. After Pearl Harbour the three of them were moving more or less in the same direction of policy, consulting with each other, supplying each other, co-ordinating with each other, and I think we take the formation of the grand alliance for granted. But it could have got drawn out if Churchill and Roosevelt had not been so able as politicians in making their overtures to Stalin.