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Best decision in WW2

LAURENCE REES: And what was the single best decision of important consequence taken in the Second World War?

WILLIAM HITCHCOCK: I think one could point to two different types of decisions if I’m allowed to do that. One is the larger strategic choice that is taken quite early on in the war. It’s not a terribly difficult decision but in  December 1941 there’s a lot of pressure on getting back at the Japanese quickly in the United States, and it’s Roosevelt and his lieutenants as well as the British who realise that the real fight’s going to be in Europe and that the real danger is that Germany might actually overwhelm Britain and that Britain in its moment of grave danger has to be aided quickly and decisively. So the Germany first choice I think is a critical one and a very courageous one given the political pressures on Roosevelt.

In a much more narrow sense I do think that Eisenhower deserves a fair amount of credit for his courageous June 5 decision to go on June 6 despite a thousand worries about the weather in the Channel and so forth. He says we’ve got to do it because if we miss that opportunity it’ll be another month and who knows where we’ll be then, and he takes the burden of decision on himself. It’s a moment of real courage, real guts, and of real leadership.