The primary objective of American diplomacy during the Second World War was victory. This one goal allowed American leaders to focus on the task of amassing and maintaining Allied support in the war against Hitler and Imperial Japan. This one idea is what created the necessary blinders in an alliance of an unlikely trio of countries—a Soviet dictatorship, a democratic republic, and a constitutional monarchy—that carried the primary burdens of the war. The singular purpose also established the foundation for the many unresolved problems that would beleaguer the Allies once the war was over.
To accomplish the tasks necessary for victory, diplomats attempted to reconcile strategic planning with military realities. American, British, and Soviet officials argued, sometimes bitterly, over the creation of a “second front” in western Europe, balancing Stalin's relentless demands for help with the problems of mobilizing an invasion force on the British home island, and early tactical failures such as the Dieppe landings of August 1942. 1 It was not until the Teheran Summit of November 1943 that the Allies agreed on the creation of a second front by the spring of 1944.
Throughout the war, compromise defined the American approach to its relations with the Allies. Roosevelt's decision to include the Soviet Union in the March 1941 Lend Lease Act was an expedient to bolstering a potential ally in the war against fascism and an attempt to reconstruct a working relationship with Moscow, a path he pursued throughout his three terms. His first act as president in 1933 was to revoke the official U.S. policy of nonrecognition regarding the Soviet Union that had been in place since the first Russian Revolution. 2 Roosevelt clearly saw wartime diplomacy as an opportunity to construct additional bridges to his new partner against Hitler.
Compromise was equally apparent in Roosevelt's handling of policy regarding the status of European colonies. Initially, the president endorsed the idea of trusteeship as a means to encourage the separation of colonies from their Eur-