Upstairs at the Roosevelts: Growing Up with Franklin and Eleanor

By Curtis Roosevelt | Go to book overview

15
Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill

No, it’s not revisionist history. It is a choice. Was it or wasn’t it? Was it for real or not? Were Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill really attracted to each other as friends? Or was it simply a grand performance by two old political pros? It is, after all, important to choose between the two views, for it changes dramatically the background to how we see the unfolding of the events of World War II.

Was the personal rapport between FDR and Churchill special, transcending the bond that one might expect from two government leaders allied against the juggernaut of Nazi Germany? Speaking of a “personal relationship” raises the question: Was there a genuine friendship between the two legendary leaders?

Most historians, especially from Britain, conclude that the relationship was perceived through the cosmetic strategies of public relations efforts, at the time exactly what was needed for these men’s political roles. Such historians believe that FDR and Churchill were two heads of government who got along well together—most of the time—but really simply smiled for the photographers. The prolific British author Max Hastings has called it “a friendship of state.” He dismisses Randolph Churchill recording his father telling him that he and Roosevelt had made “a deep and intimate con-

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