The Lost Peace: Leadership in a Time of Horror and Hope, 1945-1953

The Lost Peace: Leadership in a Time of Horror and Hope, 1945-1953

Robert Dallek

Language: English

Pages: 307

ISBN: 0061628662

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


"Robert Dallek brings to this majestic work a profound understanding of history, a deep engagement in foreign policy, and a lifetime of studying leadership. The story of what went wrong during the postwar period…has never been more intelligently explored." —Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Team of Rivals

Robert Dalleck follows his bestselling Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power and An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 with this masterful account of the crucial period that shaped the postwar world. As the Obama Administration struggles to define its strategy for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Dallek's critical and compelling look at Truman, Churchill, Stalin, and other world leaders in the wake of World War II not only offers important historical perspective but provides timely insight on America's course into the future.

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positions would result in terrible casualties and little gain. He concluded that “small attacks on small hills would not end this war.” Eisenhower did not see a major offensive with nuclear weapons as the right answer either. MacArthur urged him to drive the Chinese and North Korean troops off the peninsula with atomic bombs and then threaten China with a bombing campaign if it refused to abandon its war of “aggression.” Some in the Republican Party, who believed their own rhetoric about

Policy, 175–77; Ulam, Expansion and Coexistence, 436–40. 251 At the same time, Truman: Daniel Yergin, Shattered Peace: The Origins of the Cold War and the National Security State (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1977), 327–29, 339–41. 252 George Marshall: Quoted in Cray, General of the Army, 591. 252 Instead, Marshall asked: Kennan, Memoirs, 378–79; Taubman, Stalin’s American Policy, 170; Offner, Another Such Victory, 233. 253 As for Germany: Cray, General of the Army, 638–43; Leffler,

territories such as Dakar in West Africa and Indochina as a way to assure U.S. national security and international stability. Despite their differences over France’s future, Churchill and Roosevelt agreed that managing relations with Russia formed their greatest wartime and potential postwar challenges. In the summer of 1943, after the defeat of Nazi forces at Stalingrad earlier in the year, the Soviets began a series of successful offensives against the Germans. Coupled with the conquest of

was dropped on Nagasaki, where seventy thousand Japanese lost their lives. Although both cities were described as military targets, it was mainly civilians who died. Were the atomic bombings necessary? Would Japan have surrendered without them before an invasion that was planned for November 1? A debate has raged in recent years over the answer to this question. In 1946 journalist John Hersey’s description of the horrors caused by the Hiroshima bombing provoked national and international

China, Kennan observed. In time, Russia would come to the same pass: once the Communists took over the country, they would act with scant regard for Moscow’s wishes. In the climate of suspicion in the United States about communism, which had been muted by the war and had resurfaced forcefully in 1945, however, it was all but impossible for Kennan’s doubts to be heard, let alone acted upon. Unlike his February 1946 “Long Telegram” on Soviet behavior, Kennan’s prescience about Mao’s tensions with

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