Roosevelt and Hopkins, An Intimate History

By Robert E. Sherwood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV
The Drive to the East

Early in June, 1941, Ambassador Winant returned to Washington to report and Averell Harriman started off from London on a flight to the Middle East to study supply problems at first hand. It was a brief period of suspension between crises when these harassed men could leave their posts. Hopkins was interested in an appreciation of the situation, brought to him by Winant, written by an American Army observer in London:

The Imperial situation, as a whole, seems to be deteriorating. The forces which Germany can exert are too enormous to be halted at once. At the same time, like lava, I am confident that as they spread further from the volcano's mouth, they will cool and slow down. It would be unfortunate if the Middle East fell, but if it absorbs the German effort all summer it will be worth while.

I still believe the British can resist invasion. It will be a hard, bloody business, but what has occurred so far in Crete does not alter my opinion. By some error of judgment or lack of imagination, the R.A.F. withdrew all its planes. Even a few fighters would have wrought havoc amongst the German troop carriers at the outset and would have been well expended. There is likely to be serious criticism of this decision and technical reasons will not serve to quell it.

At the same time I have never believed and cannot see how the British Empire can defeat Germany without the help of God or Uncle Sam. Perhaps it will take both. God has undoubtedly been on the side of the big battalions so far, but may change sides. The equation at present is too unbalanced: 80,000,000 Germans in one lump+the labor of n slaves+8 years of intense rearming and organization+ frenzied fanaticism versus 70,000,000, British in 4 continents+zero slaves+only 3 years of real rearmament and no industrial mobilization+dogged determination.

It is another example of the old prize ring rule, "A good big man will beat a good little man every time."

-301-

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