The 7 December 1941, Japan attacked the American fleet in Pearl Harbor. From then on, the war is no more only European but officially global. The next day, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, president of the United States, declared war on Japan. With the coming into play of the American giant, the conflict acquired a new dimension, and it's Winston Churchill, the British prime minister, who got first the extent of it, declaring "We are all in the same boat now" . The "Special Relationship" is birth, and the Churchill-Roosevelt story will influence the History. Yet, at the beginning, the two protagonists really seemed to be poles apart. The relation they'll develop will mix different feelings in a specific context: the one of Second World War.
Associates, partners, friends? The particular link that united the two men seems to be difficult to get and to understand, all the more because it developed and changed between 1941 (date of the end of the American isolationism) and 1945 (a full of events' year: Yalta conference, German capitulation, Roosevelt's death). To what extent did the privileged link which united the two politicians reveal its complexity, at the same time as it decided on the end of the war and the reconstruction of the world? Roosevelt and Churchill developed throughout these years a relation based on confidence and solidarity. But it seemed to hide rifts, which tended to reveal themselves more and more. Whereas their friendship seemed to be both personal and political, differences began to emerge and the relation progressively changed.
[...] A beginning friendship While the Second World War was getting worse and was spreading beyond the European theatre, two men got at the head of their respective countries: Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president of the United States since 1932, and was re-elected for the third time in 1940, and Winston Churchill became prime minister of Great Britain the 10 May 1940. They were both important players in the conflict which was unfolding and the relation they could weave would be really decisive for the future of the world. [...]
[...] Roosevelt knew exactly during his four terms of office how to be in favour with the public opinion, sometimes acting by himself, and sometimes getting closer to his British allies. Moreover, the Congress itself was Anglophobe. On the other side, the British public opinion was also rather unfavourable to the Americans. The British people developed anti-Americanism during the war, because they thought “they are over paid, over sexed, and over here”. Furthermore, the two men were from different political environment and had various influences. [...]
[...] Kimball, Forged in war : Churchill, Roosevelt and the Second World War, Londres, HarperCollinsPublishers p. - Winston Churchill, Mémoires sur la deuxième guerre mondiale, Tome III La Grande Alliance Paris, Plon - Joseph P. Lash, Roosevelt and Churchill 1939-1941, The Partnership That Saved the West, New York p. - http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/churchill/interactive/_html/0_00_00.html : Churchill and the great Republic To go further - Winston Churchill et Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Churchill and Roosevelt : The complete correspondence vol., édité avec les commentaires de Warren F. [...]
[...] Shared values Churchill and Roosevelt shared common values they claimed the 12 august 1941 in the Atlantic Charter (cf doc even before the entry of the United States into the Second World War. This solemn declaration marked the first meeting of the two men, and allowed to declare the solidarity between London and Washington. The main values that were claimed were mainly the condemnation of territorial annexation, the right for people to choose their government and regime, commercial liberty, security and disarmament. [...]
[...] Roosevelt had always claimed that he didn't want an exclusive special relationship with the British Prime Minister. He had always avoided to go to London and “doing anything which might allow Churchill to claim that he had an entrée to the President.” Actually, he wanted to keep this non- egalitarian situation between them and pertinently knew that his own country's interests differed from the one of Britain. Moreover, he hated some facets of Churchill's personality, and notably his conservatism, which was far from his new deal (consisting in intervening in the economy to help the poorer sections of society). [...]
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