Read Roosevelt and Stalin: Portrait of a Partnership by Susan Butler Online


A hugely important book that solely and fully explores for the first time the complex partnership during World War II between FDR and Stalin, by the editor of My Dear Mr. Stalin: The Complete Correspondence of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph V. Stalin (“History owes a debt to Susan Butler for the collection and annotation of these exchanges”—Arthur Schlesinger, Jr).MakingA hugely important book that solely and fully explores for the first time the complex partnership during World War II between FDR and Stalin, by the editor of My Dear Mr. Stalin: The Complete Correspondence of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph V. Stalin (“History owes a debt to Susan Butler for the collection and annotation of these exchanges”—Arthur Schlesinger, Jr).Making use of previously classified materials from the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History, and the Archive of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation, as well as the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and three hundred hot war messages between Roosevelt and Stalin, Butler tells the story of how the leader of the capitalist world and the leader of the Communist world became more than allies of convenience during World War II. Butler reassess in-depth how the two men became partners, how they shared the same outlook for the postwar world, and how they formed an uneasy but deep friendship, shaping the world’s political stage from the war to the decades leading up to and into the new century.Roosevelt and Stalin tells of the first face-to-face meetings of the two leaders over four days in December 1943 at Tehran, in which the Allies focused on the next phases of the war against the Axis Powers in Europe and Asia; of Stalin’s agreement to launch another major offensive on the Eastern Front; and of his agreement to declare war against Japan following the Allied victory over Germany. Butler writes of the weeklong meeting at Yalta in February of 1945, two months before Roosevelt’s death, where the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany was agreed on and postwar Europe was reorganized, and where Stalin agreed to participate in Roosevelt’s vision of the United Nations.The book makes clear that Roosevelt worked hard to win Stalin over, pursuing the Russian leader, always holding out the promise that Roosevelt’s own ideas were the best bet for the future peace and security of Russia; however, Stalin was not at all sure that Roosevelt’s concept of a world organization, even with police powers, would be enough to keep Germany from starting a third world war, but we see how Stalin’s view of Roosevelt evolved, how he began to see FDR as the key to a peaceful world.  Butler’s book is the first to show how FDR pushed Stalin to reinstate religion in the Soviet Union, which he did in 1943; how J. Edgar Hoover derailed the U.S.-planned establishment of an OSS intelligence mission in Moscow and a Soviet counterpart in America before the 1944 election; and that Roosevelt had wanted to involve Stalin in the testing of the atomic bomb at Alamogardo, New Mexico.We see how Roosevelt’s death deeply affected Stalin. Averell Harriman, American ambassador to the Soviet Union, reported that the Russian premier was “more disturbed than I had ever seen him,” and said to Harriman, “President Roosevelt has died but his cause must live on. We shall support President Truman with all our forces and all our will.” And the author explores how Churchill’s—and Truman’s—mutual mistrust and provocation of Stalin resulted in the Cold War.A fascinating, revelatory portrait of this crucial, world-changing partnership....

Title : Roosevelt and Stalin: Portrait of a Partnership
Author :
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ISBN : 9780307594853
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 608 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Roosevelt and Stalin: Portrait of a Partnership Reviews

  • Tina Tamman
    2019-02-15 05:24

    I have taken absolute ages to read this book. It's nearly 600 pages and mine is some pre-publication copy that slows down the simple act of turning the pages (makes flicking through the pages impossible). However, it doesn't fully explain why it has taken so long.The first 200 pages read like a thriller: it's an excellent start to the important subject of meetings between Roosevelt and Stalin. And Tehran (1943) was their first face-to-face meeting. There are good descriptions, good explanation of who's who - I really enjoyed that part.I got stuck, however, when we moved back in time to 1941 and Russia's involvement in the war. Roosevelt sort of disappeared. He did reappear in the later chapter on the atomic bomb, but that part didn't include much Stalin. And so the middle part of the book was not really about the partnership between these two greats; it was just to explain the background. I thought a few judicious editorial cuts would have helped. As it was, my attention kept wondering; there was hardly anything new there.The Yalta chapter (1945) improved things but only marginally. There was too much detail about the daily meetings. Both Roosevelt and Stalin had brought their foreign ministers and other staff, so there were more discussions than in Tehran and many more names (lots of wives and daughters). Even the fact that the final dinner given by Churchill was described in great detail didn't have the charm of similar menus in Tehran.The final 50 pages picked up again, with Roosevelt dying. There were fascinating details about US-Soviet meetings after his death, a reminder to today's leaders to seek face-to-face meetings. All in all, I think the book is too long and somewhat confused. I have read criticism that Roosevelt comes out rather too well in the book, but this didn't worry me. I think that any author has the right to make his/her preferences known. Susan Butler obviously admires Roosevelt. What to make of the 'portait of a partnership' is harder to say. Maybe not the best title. I did, however, enjoy some parts of the book enormously and gained plenty of insights.

  • Socraticgadfly
    2019-02-16 09:17

    Butler does a yeoman's job of having gathered together all the Roosevelt-Stalin correspondence, then, here, putting it together in a coherent framework.I learned a few things from the book, and it was somewhat worth the read. But not totally.Beyond some facts, and a bit of framing, my biggest other learning was perhaps that Butler has a high naivete level and can engage in simplistic analysis.Yes, Churchill may have been a racist. But, what about FDR's race-based stereotyping comments about the Vietnamese, quoted in this book? No such analysis from Butler. What about his paternalistic attitude toward China, which is what it was? Again, no analysis.And, outside this, Roosevelt's saying, shortly before the start of WWII that Italians were good for nothing but opera singers, being ready to castrate Germans, and, not only passively signing off on but actively supporting the war-duration detention of Japanese Americans. All this eventually got this book knocked down another star. Goes to credibility on her part, and she loses that much.And, if Butler thinks that every change Stalin made in Soviet society that FDR hinted at, like freedom of religion, was solely in response to FDR, then I have tickets to an unpoliced rally by a modern Russian democratic opposition to sell her.Again, it's somewhat worth a read, but not that much. I hope that somebody else builds on her previous book about the full correspondence between the two, and writes about their relationship with a little less naivete.

  • Kenneth Barber
    2019-02-09 01:23

    This book details the diplomacy between FDR and Stalin. From the beginning when FDR recognized the communist government in 1933 till his death in April,1945, he had extensive dealings with Stalin. When the war broke out FDR worked to aid Russia through lend-lease despite public and congressional dislike of communism. Then during the war, FDR worked on such issues as the second front, the formation of a world organization after the war and the Polish question. FDR felt that he could work with Stalin towards winning the war and setting up the United Nations. The issue of the atomic bomb was also a big part of dealings between the two leaders. FDR probably would have shared the secret of the bomb to avoid an arms race and to ensure that the alliance would continue to defeat Japan and into the postwar world.

  • Julian Douglass
    2019-01-30 05:27

    This book is a story of how Roosevelt and Stalin, both leaders of two vastly different countries, tried to create a better postwar world. This portrayed the difficulties, issues, and all of the relationship building that needed to happen to create a more peaceful world. The argument going into the book was that if it wasn't due to Churchill's and Truman's meddling and distrust of the USSR, the framework that was set up wold have lastedFrom reading this book, I think that no amount of FDR charm could have changed Stalin's mind on any of the issues that were brought up in the book. For starters, Stalin was really upset that there was no second front on the western front until 1944. Because of that, he was going to get whatever he wanted out of the concessions because of that. Second, Churchill was in no mood to comproise, just like Stalin, and while he wanted a unified Europe to settle out their own affairs, he was not willing to include America or the rest of the world in deciding the fate of, in his mind, the dismantling of the British Empire. Because of the fact that FDR was dealing with two stubborn leaders, he had to have somewhat known that he wasn't going to get his ideal situation. I think FDR's biggest mistake was keeping Truman at arms length during these negotiations, and she briefly mentions that it would be a good idea to include him in what he was doing because FDR did have plans to step down in the middle of his fourth term and should have had a more concise plan in place. I think Ms. Butler does a good job in setting the scene and detailing the negotiations down to the very fine points. I think that she paints Stalin in a glowing light and paints Churchill and the entire British command as bumbling idiots. Overall, its an interesting book to look at how the world we live in today was shaped and how it got there.

  • Greg
    2019-01-28 07:22

    Roosevelt and Stalin: Portrait of a PartnershipBy Susan ButlerReviewed by Greg CusackAugust 27, 2015One of the foundational myths of the far Right’s worldview is that the Cold War was a direct result of how an overly trusting president Franklin Roosevelt was thoroughly “taken in” by the Soviet Union’s Marshal Stalin, falsely believing that they had reached an “understanding” for a peaceful postwar world. One fateful consequence of Roosevelt’s delusion, this false narrative continues, was that – at the critical Yalta Conference of early 1945 – Roosevelt succumbed to Stalin’s wiliness by agreeing to the Soviet Union’s postwar domination of vast portions of central and eastern Europe.Susan Butler’s excellent work deftly cuts through this fog of misrepresentation by revealing a far richer and more nuanced reality to the relationship between President Roosevelt and Marshal Stalin. From studying the correspondence, conversations and meetings between them, she concludes that they had succeeded in forging a vital working partnership, not only in waging war against the Germans, but also in envisioning an effective, postwar world body intended to ward off future conflicts. Despite the considerable history of mistrust between United States and the Soviet Union, this happened because each man truly needed the other’s assistance. Stalin, for example, knew that the Soviet Union’s survival depended upon two things that only the United States could provide: massive amounts of desperately needed military supplies to assist the Soviet Union’s besieged armed forces, and the initiation of a second front on Germany’s west. For his part, Roosevelt needed the Soviet Union to remain in the war and also play a vital postwar role in maintaining the peace. He believed that World War II would permanently alter the power realities throughout greater Eurasia, allowing both the Soviet Union and China to assume critical leadership roles. The complicating role of British Prime Minister ChurchillThe path towards forging this partnership was rocky, however. Not only did they have to overcome their reservations about each other, but they also had to deal with another key player: Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain. Churchill, who deeply disliked and mistrusted the Russians, not only was intent upon preserving the British Empire (a goal not shared by Roosevelt), but also sought to restrict Soviet power in the postwar world.By the time Stalin and Roosevelt first met, the president had been working closely with Churchill for several years. With England desperately resisting repeated German bombing raids – isolated and alone after Germany’s lightning conquest of all of Europe – Churchill requested financial loans and military arms from the United States. Roosevelt, recognizing that England’s survival was necessary if he were to have the time he needed to ready the United States for a war with Germany that he regarded as unavoidable, managed to funnel military supplies and other needed provisions to her, even though the majority of Congress and the people wanted nothing to do with the war. A Turning PointNonetheless, despite subsequent U.S. assistance, England was in dire shape by 1941 as her cargo ships and fighter planes were being destroyed faster than they could be replaced. Had Hitler persevered just a little longer, England might well have succumbed. Instead, he made a critical blunder to invade the Soviet Union. In so doing, he not only pushed the Soviet Union and United States into each other’s arms, but also exposed Germany’s western flank to a two-front war. These two factors spelled certain defeat for the Nazis. Nonetheless, in the early months after invading Russia the Germans seemed unstoppable, inflicting millions of casualties, ravaging crops and fields, and destroying hundreds of villages. In desperation, Stalin appealed to the United States for the material and provisions necessary for the Red Army to fight on. Roosevelt, continuing to face Congressional and public resistance, nonetheless sent many tens of thousands of trucks, jeeps, ships, planes, howitzers, and tanks to Russia, a flow that continued until war’s end.Winning the War, Creating the Peace From the beginning, Roosevelt looked beyond the war’s end to the conundrum that his predecessor Wilson failed to solve: ensuring postwar peace. As Assistant Secretary of the Navy during World War I, Roosevelt had sadly watched the unraveling of Woodrow Wilson’s dream for a strong and united League of Nations. It was, he concluded, the U.S. Senate’s failure to ratify the peace treaty that fatally weakened the League. Without the U.S.’s participation, the League had neither the unity of will – nor the necessary power – to deter the rising Japanese and German militarism of the 1930s. Accordingly, Roosevelt was determined that World War II’s Russian, American and British wartime alliance continue after the war, as it was the only means of preventing the grim pattern of the ‘30s from reoccurring. Further, determined to avoid what he saw as Wilson’s key tactical mistakes, Roosevelt assiduously courted key members of the Senate in order to secure support for his vision of an effective post-war world body. He also shunned the kind of inter-state negotiations, so integral to the maneuverings of the 1919 Versailles Conference, that had forced Wilson into having to support the Allies’ carving up the former Austro-Hungarian, Turkish, and Russian Empires for their own colonial interests. What were the major issues Stalin and Roosevelt confronted together?1. Initiating a second front Stalin, seeking to relieve the German pressure on his troops, consistently pressed for an early invasion of France. Although Roosevelt agreed with him, he required sufficient time to get the required ships, planes, and troops in place, a matter complicated by desperate efforts to rebuild America’s Pacific fleet that had been badly shattered by the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. But Churchill, in his concern over Russia’s postwar ambitions, consistently argued for delaying any invasion, countering that he preferred an attack from the south. Neither Roosevelt nor Stalin agreed with him. 2. Crafting The United Nations: At first cool to Roosevelt’s conception of a “united nations,” Stalin eventually embraced it, believing that Roosevelt’s proposal that “The Big Four” (the Soviet Union, the United States, Great Britain and China) must continue to work closely together to ensure the maintenance of world peace would not only allow the Soviet Union to survive and thrive, but also to be recognized as a world power. In this kind of world Russia would at last be secure.3. The future of Germany: Stalin had two over-riding goals: to keep Germany permanently weakened so it could never again threaten Russia, and to ensure that the states on its western borders were “friendly.” Roosevelt was in total agreement with him about Germany, but he struggled with Stalin’s vision of a Soviet “sphere of influence.” Roosevelt, however, was also a realist. However much he desired more politically free states throughout Europe, the reality was that Soviet troops – as a consequence of their relentless westward drive toward Germany – already occupied those very lands. He knew that any attempt to expel them out would mean war. However, from his experience in working with Stalin, Roosevelt was confident that, over time, as the Soviets became more comfortable with its collaborative postwar partnership with the United States, the Soviet Union would come to feel less threatened about allowing an expanded range of political representation along her western borders.4. The atom bomb: Because Roosevelt wanted to be certain that the atomic bomb actually worked before divulging information about it to the Allies, he did not tell Stalin about the secret project before his own untimely death (although Stalin knew of it through his extensive spy network). The collapse of the partnership Unfortunately, Roosevelt’s death shortly after the Yalta Conference left the decision about the bomb in the hands of his uninformed, and more conservative successor, Vice-President Truman. Personally suspicious of the Russians, Truman heeded the hardline minority of his advisors and concluded that information about the bomb should not be shared. He saw it as a means of “insurance” against future Soviet aggression. Stalin interpreted this decision as proof that the United States was now turning away from the partnership Roosevelt had forged with him. Other subsequent events – the halting of promised relief supplies to Russia, the “Marshall Plan” for the rebuilding of war-torn countries that was restricted to Western Europe, and the maneuvering to “contain” the Soviet Union – only served to reinforce this conclusion. The result was the unnecessary Cold War.Ms. Butler’s fine book reminds us that once we had the kind of leaders who, despite having multiple reasons to suspect and distrust each other, nonetheless decided to reach across the chasm in order to foster mutual understanding, determine important goals held in common, and develop cooperative agreements for implementing them. In this they not only achieved many successes, but also vitalized a vision for a more peaceful world.May we see a return to those days and such leaders soon!

  • Donna Herrick
    2019-01-27 06:28

    Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes. Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it. Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them. - George Santayana.The relationship of the US and Russia is much in the news today. Many of us grew up during the Cold War, most of us have lived during the time of the United Nations (UN). So, you, as did I, learned during US History class that the United Nations was started after World War II, and that Roosevelt met with Stalin at Yalta to divide up the world after the war, and that Truman met with Stalin after Germany surrendered to divide up Germany. All true, but such a limited part of the story of the relationship of Roosevelt and Stalin, the US and the USSR. It turns out that Roosevelt was convinced that (a) without Russia fighting the Nazis that Hitler was unbeatable, (b) that the best way to corral the USSR after the war was to recognize it's strength and to invite it to play a large role in his plans for the United Nations that he hoped would prevent war for a generation or two, (c) the best way to get cooperation from Stalin was to earn his trust so that tough, frank negotiations could take place. Roosevelt was attempting to build a functioning United Nations even before Germany invaded Czechoslovakia and Poland. In fact Roosevelt was very successful in this endeavor.But, despite Truman's desire to follow through on Roosevelt's policies for peace, he was suspicious of Stalin, the USSR, and Communism and he surrounded himself with a cabinet that was even more so. This lack of trust lead to a renewal of suspicion on the part of Stalin and the USSR. Thus, the Cold War was started.Is it so wrong for President Trump to want to build better relations with Russia? No. But, I think that Trump is as avaricious as Putin is, I am afraid that his motive for improving relationships with Russia to to enhance his own fortunes. Trump has offered as a foreign policy that rejects cooperation for mutual benefit and asks that other countries either comply with US wishes or we will hurt them financially. Roosevelt saw colonialism,oligarchy, and tyranny as those forces that lead to social upheaval and sought ways to allow the peoples of the nations of our world to achieve freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

  • Natylie Baldwin
    2019-01-30 02:24

    Academic Susan Butler’s Roosevelt and Stalin: Portrait of a Partnership is dense, covering a lot of historical background on how the Allies worked together and prevailed in WWII, the groundwork laid for the United Nations, and the origins of the Cold War and how it possibly could have been avoided had FDR lived another year or longer. But it’s also a compelling read – I often had trouble putting it down and often found myself wanting to quickly pick it back up to find out what came next.The overriding theme of the book is Roosevelt’s deliberate and painstaking efforts to win Stalin’s trust in order to not only achieve victory in the war but to implement his vision of a post-war world order in which the UN would mediate international conflicts to prevent war and eventually facilitate disarmament.Roosevelt was under no illusions that Stalin or the Soviet Union would become the U.S.’s friends, but that the world’s other emerging superpower needed incentive to cooperate with his post-war vision in which all nations could be reined in.In order to achieve his goals, however, FDR would have to navigate a potential minefield of distrust between Britain and Russia as historic imperial rivals, as well as the personal dislike between their leaders. FDR was confident in his ability to serve as a mediator between the two and his confidence turned out to be well-placed.According to observers, FDR was by turns charming, audacious and used subterfuge in order to gain Stalin’s trust and keep Churchill at bay:“FDR was a master manipulator of people. He instinctively knew how to keep Stalin and Churchill working together…Roosevelt was brilliant at sizing people up. He could intuit other people’s views of reality and appeal to them. He could lay out a path that made sense from where other people stood; in the process of understanding, he could lead them forward to accept his goals as theirs.” (p. 324)Continue reading this review here:

  • Joris Reijnierse
    2019-02-02 09:23

    Long, but vert interesting outling aan exceptional relationship

  • Russell Macphail
    2019-02-02 08:35

    very good book

  • Robert
    2019-02-01 01:15

    Roosevelt and Stalin: Portrait of a Partnership is a disappointing examination of the actions between the two most powerful men in the 20th Century.Butler's work is well-written, well-researched, and is a thorough examination of the actions of Roosevelt and Stalin throughout their active adult lives. Unfortunately, the book is slightly misleading as the portrait (over 600 pages!) is a examination of the two's actions that is largely separate and where they end up coinciding.The most arguably disappointing part of Portrait of a Partnership is Butler falling into the trap of bringing down FDR's partnership with Churchill in order to heighten his one with Stalin. Churchill comes off as a crude, racist, and all around boar throughout the book while good ol "Uncle Joe" is seen as a clever foil to the dumb British oaf. Butler simultaneously entertains the notions that there are different dimensions to the Roosevelt/Churchill partnership but not so with the Roosevelt/Stalin partnership.Butler also arguably gives Stalin too much credit, particularly with FDR's influence on the man. Furthermore, all but completely blaming the Allies (Truman & Churchill) for the destruction of the Post WWII Allies partnership is a shockingly almost naive view considering the amount of research that has been done for this book.The book's mileage may vary ultimately based on what you draw from Butler's conclusions. Unfortunately, the book doesn't get very far for me.

  • Paul
    2019-02-06 01:22

    Glowing review of Roosevelt and Stalin; Churchill, not so much. I've always read that in small groups Stalin was a pretty nice guy. Roosevelt, the consummate politician, known and respected by just about all the rest of the world; the author is a bit effusive in her praise. Another reviewer calls her "naive." I don't think that's it, she did the book on Roosevelt/Stalin letters, but it sums it up.Lots of details that were new to me. Reads well. Recommended, understanding there is some bias.

  • Mary
    2019-02-04 01:15

    Excellent book! Covering from 1943 to the end of WWII, the author emphasizes Roosevelt's desire to bring Stalin and the USSR into the community of nations, and his strong desire since 1939 to create the United Nations. Different take on history than we were taught in school. It makes you wonder how different the world may have been had Roosevelt not died when he did. Strongly recommend.

  • Michelle
    2019-01-29 06:33

    What a powerful book- though I only gave it a 4 star because sometimes the author got bogged down in details that slowed the book down. I had always thought that Roosevelt and Churchill saw eye to eye when instead they did not. Roosevelt really was the consummate politician indeed. Not sure if Stalin deserved the whitewash he gets in this book but certainly he deserves a re evaluation .

  • Ashley
    2019-02-10 05:22

    great so far