Roosevelt and Churchill: Their Secret Wartime Correspondence

By Franklin Delano Roosevelt; Winston Churchill et al. | Go to book overview

Introduction to Part I

"Today all of us are in the same boat. . . ."

ON September 1, 1939, Hitler's forces invaded Poland. On September 3 Great Britain and France declared war on Germany, thus effectively turning the invasion into a world war.

On September 5 Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed American neutrality. But only six days later, in an extraordinary and virtually unprecedented move, the President of the neutral United States invited Winston Churchill, recently appointed First Lord of the Admiralty and thus a subordinate official of a foreign belligerent, to enter into direct correspondence with him.

Churchill took up the invitation and began to provide Roosevelt with explanations of British naval policy and actions, particularly with regard to the South Atlantic. At the same time, he sought to foster a feeling of trust and a sense of common purpose. Roosevelt at first replied only on rare occasions. In a memorandum to Secretary of State Cordell Hull he referred to a brief telegram of March 6, 1940, as "one of the few which I sent to Churchill when he was First Lord of the Admiralty," hastening to add that "[all] such messages obviously were related to naval matters."

In fact, very little of the friction that developed between the United States and Great Britain during the winter of 1939-1940 showed in the leaders' correspondence, in spite of their differences over such questions as the inspection of American merchant vessels, British interference with overseas mail, and the curtailment of agricultural imports from the United States. Sumner Welles' controversial peace mission to Rome, Berlin, Paris, and London, which the Undersecretary of State

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Roosevelt and Churchill: Their Secret Wartime Correspondence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents xi
  • List of Illustrations xiii
  • Preface xv
  • General Introduction 1
  • Part I - September 1939 To October 1942 77
  • Introduction to Part I 79
  • Messages and Notes 89
  • Part II - November 1942 To December 1943 265
  • Introduction to Part II 267
  • Messages and Notes 278
  • Part III - January 1944 To June 1944 401
  • Introduction to Part III 403
  • Messages and Notes 410
  • Part IV - June 1944 To April 1945 505
  • Introduction to Part IV 507
  • Messages and Notes 521
  • Chronology 711
  • Maps 739
  • Bibliogaphy (of Works Cited) 749
  • Index 761
  • The Editors 807
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