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However much Americans may have credited FDR for his New Deal policies, the two-term “tradition” and voter fatigue would likely have prevented him from running for third term in office—had the world remained at peace.
From the outset, they understood that the full defeat of Hitler required the Red Army, a reality that gave Stalin bargaining leverage.
Moreover, they recognized that victory would make the Soviet Union a major player in the postwar world.
secret) “pouch.” While agreeing that Churchill might keep in touch, Chamberlain himself did not open a correspondence.
His own relationship with FDR was ambiguous, having bottomed in early 1938, when Roosevelt had offered to mediate a European settlement and was pointedly rejected.
The destroyers-for-bases arrangement (August 1940), by which Britain got some outmoded World War I ships in return for leases to British bases in the Western Hemisphere, was more important symbolically than militarily.
Even then, it became possible after Churchill reluctantly (lest it seem defeatist) agreed to send the British Fleet to North America (presumably Halifax, Nova Scotia) if defeat or negotiations with Hitler were imminent.
Speaking of their relationship after the war he said: “No lover ever studied every whim of his mistress as I did those of President Roosevelt.” While Roosevelt condemned Hitler’s excesses, entering what seemed to Americans to be just another European conflict was not on the table.
By autumn 1941, after his hopeful meeting with FDR in Newfoundland in August, Churchill’s deepest fear was that the Americans would not come to Britain’s aid in time to avert Britain’s slow strangulation, what with Hitler’s U-boats taking a deadly toll on British shipping, and the Wehrmacht rolling back Soviet forces in Russia.
In hindsight, it is clear that Britain and its Dominions survived the first eighteen months of the war largely alone, Canada, New Zealand and Australia contributing more than their share.
What the United States contributed, at Roosevelt’s behest, was hope—the possibility that the Americans would one day enter full-fledged and turn the tide.