The Rise of the Windsor Dynasty Richard J. Garfunkel September 10, 2022

Windsor Castle was originally built by William the Conqueror in the decade after the Norman Conquest of 1066. William established a defensive ring of motte and bailey castles around London; each was a day’s march – about 20 miles– from the City and from the next castle, allowing for easy reinforcements in a crisis. Windsor Castle, one of this ring of fortifications, was strategically important because of its proximity to both the River Thames, a key medieval route into London, and Windsor Forest, a royal hunting preserve previously used by the Saxon kings

Windsor is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The Windsor family lived in Berkshire, at Windsor Castle. Interestingly, “The Stanwell family claim descent from Walter Fitz-Other (fl. 1087), who held that manor at the time of Domesday Book and was warder of Windsor Castle, whence he derived the name Windsor This was not the only time a family would assume the name of the castle as in 1917, the present Royal family would do the same.

How Did the Royal Family Become the Windsor’s?

The Hanoverians ruled Britain from 1714 through basically through 1837. After the end of the Commonwealth, which ceased in 1659, with the death of Oliver Cromwell’s son Richard, there was a restoration of the Stuart Kings: Charles II and James II. The Stuart Dynasty ended badly in 1688 after the Glorious Revolution. William of Orange had invaded Britain over the continuing conflict, regarding not only succession, but the religious politics regarding the attempted restoration of Catholicism. The attempt to restore the Catholic Church to religious primacy was actuated by the arrest and trial of the Archbishop of Canterbury and six of his Bishops. When they were acquitted, James II attempted to flee Britain, was captured and forced off the throne. He later died in 1701.

His removal brought on the era of the Dutch Reign with the dual monarchy of William and Mary (1689-94) and eventually that of their unmarried daughter Anne (1702-1714). In between, there was the short reign of Mary II another Stuart. With her death brought on the end of the Stuart Line and the three Georges from Hanover, Germany.

The sons of George III were, according to the Duke of Wellington, were “millstones around the neck of any government that can be imagined.” George III lived to age 81 and died blind and deaf on January 29, 1820. Before his death, he had been rumored to be delusional or insane. His eldest son, George Augustus Frederick, was known of the “Prince of Pleasure,” and became the Regent while his father, George III was incapacitated.

His title was conferred by the Regency Act on February 5, 1811. Subject to certain limitations for a period, the prince regent was able to exercise the full powers of the King. The precedent of the Regency Crisis of 1788 (from which George III recovered before it was necessary to appoint a regent) was followed. The Prince of Wales continued as regent until his father’s death in 1820, when he became George IV. This period would be later known as “The Regency,” a period of style, clothing, architecture, excessive spending, and debt. The Regent never deprived himself anything. He fell in love in 1784 with a Roman Catholic widow, Maria Fitzherbert and married her.

Though the ceremony was illegal, and the Prince disclaimed it, the affair shocked the public and infuriated his father George III. Eventually, he was forced to marry Princess Caroline of Brunswick and his private life went from bad to worse. Their relationship was impossible and in fact, he despised her. Eventually, after two weeks she left him for Italy. When the King George III finally died in 1820, she returned to claim her rights as Queen. After divorce proceedings and the efforts of Parliament to deprive her of any claims, the Privy Council decreed that she had no rights to her title. Amazingly, she died two weeks later, and the problem was resolved. George IV never remarried, had no children, but a number of mistresses. Over the next years, his health deteriorated along with his grotesque bulk. In 1830, he suffered a number of strokes and died. Most of his subjects would have agreed with Horace Walpole’s (The youngest son of the first British Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Oxford,) view was that “he was a bad son, a bad husband, a bad father, a bad subject, a bad monarch and a bad friend.”

George IV’s only legitimate child Charlotte, died in childbirth in 1817, thirteen years before his death in 1830. There were no younger Hanoverians left in direct line to the throne. His second brother, William, Duke of Clarence, abandoned his mistress of twenty years and the mother of his ten children. After several rebuffs he was accepted by Amelia Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, a minor German principality. Though there was rapid births, two daughters died in infancy and there were still born twins, there were never any heirs. The third brother, Edward, Duke of Kent, gave up his French mistress of 25 years and married Victoria of Leiningen. In 1819 they had a daughter, the future Queen Victoria, The fourth brother was Ernest, Duke of Cumberland, was an unpleasant, sexual pervert, already married to a German princess, who was rumored to have murdered her two previous husbands. With all the other siblings, there was no other available heir. Thus, with the death of George IV and the succession of his 75 year old brother, William, the reputation of the monarchy was at a low ebb, and he did little to revive it. There were many struggles with Parliament, the question of a Reform Bill and the problems in Ireland. He dismissed the Prime Minister Lord Melbourne, the last time a monarch was able to do that act, and Robert Peel, became Prime Minister. Peel found he couldn’t govern without a coalition, and William was reluctantly forced reappoint Melbourne. Aside from his gruff and blunt manner, he was regarded with a certain amount of affection, though combined, at times, with a lack of respect, bordering on contempt. He died in 1837 after a bout of pneumonia. The British crown went to his niece Victoria, and the crown of Hanover, barred to women by Salic Law, went to his brother, Ernest Duke of Cumberland.

As Victoria succeeded to the throne, which had been occupied by the three German Kings, known in the words of Sir Sidney Lea, “An imbecile, a profligate, and a buffoon!” Meanwhile, she had been brought up in a cloistered atmosphere by her controlling mother, the Duchess of Kent, who was under total influence of Sir John Conroy, the Comptroller of the Household. Her mother assumed that she would serve as Regent for her young daughter, who she saw as a pliant tool in their hands. Victoria had a strong sense of what she wanted, and was able to break away from her mother’s control and domination. After a period of leaning on dominant men, she met and married, at age 20, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, another German. He was bright, innovative, and he guided her skillfully until his death from typhoid in 1861. She entered a prolonged period of mourning as she retreated to her homes in Balmoral. Windsor and Osborn. She would remain out of sight for years, until her Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli was able to convince Parliament, against great opposition, to make her Empress of India in 1876. Eventually, in 1887, she celebrated her Golden Jubilee, regained a great deal of popularity and that popularity grew until her Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

She had become a great symbol for Britain, and had rescued the monarchy from the disasters of the Hanoverians and her own retreat from the face of her people. When she died in old age in 1901, there was a definite sense of loss and the end of an era. Her daughter lamented of an England without the Queen’s presence.

It was in 1901, the line of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (itself a cadet branch of the House of Wettin) succeeded the House of Hanover to the British monarchy, with the accession of King Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. In 1917, the name of the British royal house was changed from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the English Windsor because of anti-German sentiment in the United Kingdom during the First World War.

Victoria’s son, who would become Edward VII, was born Albert Edward. As the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cornwall, among his numerous titles, was known as Bertie to his family. He was trained by tutors from the age of three to be intellectually disciplined. He married Princess Alexandra of Denmark at age of 22. Victoria never expected much of her son, and she may have been correct. He lived a profligate life and was cited often in divorce proceedings. He was helped by his wife’s “blind” eye to his numerous dalliances. In fact, he had an insatiable appetite for wine, women, song, gluttony and gambling. When he became King, in 1901, after a very long wait until the age 60, he had been given few royal responsibilities .As King, his conduct didn’t improve, it may have worsened. But, he actually was quite popular, and after the austere period of the Victorian Age, his lifestyle and the wealth of Britain opened up a new era, called the Edwardian Age, He had high marks for his ability to influence foreign diplomacy. But his lifestyle caught up with him and after a series of heart attacks, he died on May 6, 1910, only nine years into his reign.

George V was the second son of Edward VII. His older brother Albert was groomed for the crown, but died of pneumonia in 1892. George not only took his older brother’s place, but his fiancée, May of Teck, known later as Queen Mary. After he had become king, following the death of his father Edward VII, the country was in the midst of a dual crisis regarding the limiting of the power of the House of Lords, and a very critical Home Rule Bill. After the war with Germany broke out in 1914, he became a great symbol of patriotism with his visits to the front and his curtailing of royal expenses. Generally, for a quiet and unassuming man, he remained popular, and highly admired. He certainly was not an intellect or terribly educated. His reign was plagued with post WWI problems, a general strike in 1926, and the onset of the Great Depression. During World War, George V declared the following:

Now, therefore, We, out of Our Royal Will and Authority, do hereby declare and announce that as from the date of this Our Royal Proclamation Our House and Family shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that all the descendants in the male line of Our said Grandmother Queen Victoria who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry or may have married, shall bear the said Name of Windsor….

The name had a long association with monarchy in Britain, through the town of Windsor, Berkshire, and Windsor Castle; the link is alluded to in the Round Tower of Windsor Castle being the basis of the badge of the House of Windsor. It was suggested by Arthur Bigge, 1st Baron Stamfordham. Upon hearing that his cousin had changed the name of the British royal house to Windsor and in reference to Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, German Emperor Wilhelm II remarked jokingly that he planned to see “The Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha”.

He had four children, was a stern, unfeeling, distracted and uninvolved parent, as was his wife, Queen Mary. His eldest son, who become Edward VIII, had his own problems. George V was so concerned about his conduct and his shirking of responsibilities that he confessed to a friend, “After I am gone, the boy will ruin himself in twelve months.” But, by 1935, the economy seemed to be improving, he celebrated 25 years on the throne, but his health started to deteriorate from chronic bronchitis. He passed away in January of 1936.

As the monarchy passed to his son Edward, it seemed that his father’s prediction had come true. Edward VIII was a 41 year old bachelor and had been a restless soul, mostly interested in a very fast set and married women. His social proclivities were not covered in the press and he was quite handsome and popular. But, beneath the outward glamour, he was seen, by people who knew him, as lonely and insecure. He had met many women in his years as Prince of Wales, but nothing came close to a suitable marriage. Eventually, he came in contact with the married, and once-divorced American, Wallis Warfield Simpson. Eventually after her 2nd divorce, in October of 1936, he wanted to marry her. A constitutional crisis arose, and since he was head of the Church of England, a marriage to a divorced woman was basically illegal. Thus, the conflict could not be resolved in his favor. He abdicated in 1936 for his brother, George, who was hardly prepared for the role, could not speak well at all, had a horrible speech impediment, but at least had very smart and strong wife. Edward VIII, lived out his life as an exile, spent the war in Bermuda, visited the United States often, and died in 1972. Over the years his reputation has taken a mighty hit, especially regarding his fascist leanings, his visits to the 3rd Reich before the war, and the theories that if Britain was forced to make peace on Nazi Germany’s terms, he would be placed back on the throne.

George VI was a very reluctant king, shy, introspective and the father of two young daughters. In a sense, his eldest daughter Elizabeth was the heir presumptive, assuming Edward VIII had remained king and never had children or her father never had a third child, who was a son. As a young boy he was never strong, had an uneasy relationship with his father and was highly strung. As a child he had developed a stammer. With the help and guidance of his wife, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and a speech therapist Lionel Logue, he eventually mastered his stammer. He had been active in WWI, served in the Navy and the Air Force, and became the first member of the Royal family to obtain a pilot’s license. His reign was dominated with the tensions that led to WWII, the war itself, and the difficult recovery Britain suffered through in post war period. He and his wife Elizabeth tirelessly toured the bombed out areas of London and made a narrow escape when Buckingham Palace was bombed. He announced that he was prepared to die there fighting. The King and Queen became incredibly popular, as with his two daughters.

He certainly was worn down by the war, but the worry didn’t kill him, but, for sure, his incessant smoking led to his lung cancer and death in 1952. Of course, that would lead to his daughter Elizabeth ascending the throne, and the rest is history.

As for the Windsor Dynasty- There have been five British monarchs of the House of Windsor since 1917: George V, Edward VIII, George VI, Elizabeth II, and Charles III.




Love? Love is Bullsh*t, Business and Business: A Lesson from Long Ago! Richard J. Garfunkel October 24, 2022

Long ago, and faraway, back in 1964, in another city and state, I was looking for a summer job. For some reason, and I have no clue why, my cousin, Adrienne Wolman’s husband, Buddy (who passed away a number of years ago at age 95) got me a job working for a construction company, Hughes and Hughes, which was located in Scarsdale, NY. It seems that Buddy had a construction supply company, which leased gas-powered, mobile compressors that supplied power for jack hammers, which bore holes in rock. Thus, I wound up at their key location, Murdock Woods, right off Griffin Road at the border of Scarsdale and Mamaroneck. Murdock Woods is situated right in the middle of the confluence of three very nice golf courses, the world famous Winged Foot, where I caddied in the US Open, in 1959, Bonnie Briar and Quaker Ridge.  By the time I got there, about 50% of the lots had been completed. The houses sold in those long ago days for between $50 and $75,000. The houses have been expanded since that day, it seems, and I just looked up the prices on Zillow and they range from $2.5 to $3 million!

But, be that as it may, that is a story for another day. My boss was a fellow named Lee Hall, who must have been around 36 years old. He was a wiry and ruggedly handsome fellow and from Day One, we got along quite well. My basic job was to be a “gofer” for Lee. In other words, if Lee needed something, I would go get it. Often I would drive to places like Mahwah, NJ or Bensonhurst, (Brooklyn), NY to deposit money. They were always transferring money here and there.  I would also pick up plumbing supplies. Sometimes it would be a needed hydrant to connect to the water main or parts for a sink. I would get in my 1957 Chevy and drive into Port Chester, where there was a plumbing supply outlet, next to the old Lifesaver Building, which was on North Main Street and had been built in 1920. (By the way it is still there and is now the home to condos.) Every time I drove down that street, I could smell the Lifesavers.

Life Savers Building is a historic commercial and industrial building located on North Main Street between Horton and Wilkins Avenues at Port Chester, Westchester County, New York. It was built in 1920 and expanded in 1948–1949. It served as a manufacturing facility and headquarters of the Life Savers Candy Company until 1984. It is five stories high and constructed of reinforced concrete, brick, and terra cotta. It features larger-than-life replicas of Life Savers rolls at the foundation line.[2] During its peak period of production in the 1960s, as many as 616 million rolls of Life Savers candy were produced each year in the facility. It was converted into a condominium complex in 1989. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

When I wasn’t running errands, I was working with the roofers, the carpenters, the masons and the demolition folks. I never helped the plumbers or the electricians. These guys were all old, experienced and weather-beaten. They didn’t suffer fools gladly. I just helped where I could, and kept my mouth shut. They sort of left me alone, maybe because I reported to Lee Hall. One thing sticks out glaringly in my mine was carrying up roofing tiles that weighed 67 pounds (each package) apiece on both shoulders. That was exceedingly dumb. Most of the time it was one package. I had quickly learned the folly of my ways.

Speaking of Buddy’s compressors, I actually worked with one of those jack hammers. They weighed at least 100 pounds, and the men who worked them, all had huge frames and big stomachs, and would add “bits” to the end of the main drill as the hole got deeper. Sometimes the extension on the jack hammer drill-bit would reach down 5 or more feet. There was a lot of glacial rock in Westchester that had to be blasted. After the hole was deep enough, the demolition experts would step in and take a stick of dynamite, divide it into quarter pieces, wire each piece, and lower the charges into the drilled hole. Once the charges were set, a back hoe would lift and lower a large, incredibly heavy, iron mesh, blanket on top of the area to contain the blast. It did. But the blast would lift the mesh up a few feet. One never should ever look directly at the blast, for often pebbles do escape and they can be deadly. Once in while one would fly out and break a window 1000 feet away.

Meanwhile, while I was sitting in the office, I picked up the ringing phone. It was a woman who lived in one of the newly occupied houses and wanted to speak to Lee. She was complaining that he had promised for weeks, or maybe months, to fix her driveway. Interestingly, Lee had a way with women, and he called her back and sweet talked her for 10 minutes or so. He said he would get up there as soon as possible. I listened to this interchange and wondered whether he was actually sincere. Right after he got off the phone, he said I’ll tell you a story!

He started to tell me that he had volunteered for the Merchant Marine, during WWII when he was 16, and found his way to Paris after it was liberated in late August of 1944. Sometime later, while in Paris, with tens of thousands of other Allied soldiers and personnel, he went into one of their large bars, which were populated with countless “working” women. Lee happened to sit down next to a very attractive young woman, and within a short time, he was quite enamored with her (on shipboard there are no women) and started to profess his love! Not long after he expressed his emotional interest. She answered, and I quote, “Love is bullsh*t, business is business.” Thus, each time an issue came up with Lee, he said to me, “Remember Paris, Love is bullsh*t, business is business.” I never forgot those sage words.


Problems in America, Debt, the Roots of Poverty, and Some Solutions! Richard J. Garfunkel 12-5-2022

Meanwhile, the greatest threats to our Democracy is the concentration of the wealth in the hands of the few, the growing gap between the upper and lower middle class, the ignorance, know-nothing thinking, greed and the venality of Trump and his legion of haters, bigots, and flat-earthers!.  The increase in poverty is related to many factors. The first factor has been the decline of the middle class as our economic society has changed from diamond shape with a large middle class and small levels of the very poor and the very rich and the top and bottoms of the diamond to an hourglass with a small middle class at the pinch of the hourglass along with a large lower middle class and poor on the bottom and with a growing number of upper middle class and rich at the top.

Since Reagan resources have been flowing to the rich through fiscal policies regarding taxation and spending. In 1980, there were 12 billionaires, today there are over 735. The wealth of America has flowed from the large middle class to 735 families which control over $4.7 trillion of America’s wealth, and the 3-4% (12-5 million) who control another $5-2 trillion. The six Walmart heirs, who control $150 billion, have more wealth than the bottom 40% of the American population. This trend was accelerated in the four years of the Trump Administration. In 2016, there were 525 Billionaires and by December of 2022, that number grew to 735 and increase of 40%. Currently Elon Musk’s net worth is estimated to be $219 billion. (who knows now?)

Under Nixon and other presidents there was revenue-sharing to the states, but that has declined. This revenue funded infrastructure projects which created domestic jobs. Under Republican Administrations there has been a trend towards corporate conglomeration, the rise of giant box stores and marginalization of labor. As the influence of trade unions has declined, real wages have not kept up with inflation. Corporate compensation for high paid executives accelerated dramatically from 1970 through 2000, with a 3500% increase in Fortune 500 CEO pay as their wages went from a ratio of 37 to one over their average employee to over 1000 to one. In the same vein they received a tax cut from the Kennedy top bracket of 70% to Reagan’s 28%. The average worker in these companies saw his real wages go up, after discounting inflation, less than 10%. In 2017, US Corporations paid a smaller percentage into the Federal Treasury than at any time since the Federal Income Tax (FIT) was established in 1916.

In 2019, the Federal Reserve published its 40 year (since 1980) evaluation of Asset Allocation. In those 40 years, $21 trillion went to the 1% and $900 billion was lost by the bottom 50%! If one added $4 trillion that was also transferred to the next 3-4% of the top earners, the total transference would be about $25 trillion. As anyone can see, $25 trillion is a lot of money! It basically reflects the Republican incurred deficits (Recessions and recoveries) since the end of Bill Clinton’s 2nd term, when the National Debt stood at $5 trillion. It is now about $30 trillion,

Many on the right complain about the National Debt and its threat to our economic stability, but few are being realistic about what can be done. The Debt cannot be balanced on the backs of people who least can afford to pay or afford to lose vital services. That is a formula for social upheaval and revolution. Again, the National Debt on September 30, 2017, the end of the fiscal year, was $20.4 trillion. On September 30, 2021 the National Debt was $30 trillion. Obama added $6.9 trillion to the Debt in eight years following the Great Recession, the worst economic period we endured since the Great Depression.

In four years, from the end of the Fiscal Year in 2017 until September 30, 2021 the Debt increased $9.6 trillion in just four years. At the end of the Fiscal Year, the National Debt was at $30.9 trillion. If one counts the increase in Debt from January 20, 2017 to January 20, 2021, the debt increased from $19.9 trillion to $27.8 trillion, or $7.9 trillion. Of course, this includes the huge deficits caused by Trump Administration, reflective of tax cuts, an economy that never grew above 3% for the first 18 months of the Trump and ministration and was under 2% for the 15 months before the last quarter of 2019. It also includes the expensive rollout of vaccines, the cost of the recovery, not unlike what faced the Obama Administration from 2009 through 2011.

How to reduce the National Debt:

1. Bring back the Kennedy Era top tax bracket of 70% of incomes over $2 million.
2. Have a minimum tax on all income above $15,000, even with deductions
3. Eliminate the mortgage deduction over $750K
4. Eliminate all generation skipping trusts
5. Cap yearly contributions for the wealthy into IRAs or 401ks
6. Eliminate all overseas tax shelters
7. Raise the Corporation tax back to Clinton Era 39%
8. Eliminate all corporate stock options for executive pay
9. Tax corporate Golden Parachutes at their full value as soon as they are given.
10. Tax corporate health insurance as income for anyone making over $1 million per year
11. Force repatriation of all overseas sheltered income
12. Cut and cap the sale tax in every state to 5% and add a 1% Federal sale tax
13. Cap the property tax, in every state, to 3% with a Homestead rule, limiting any yearly increase.
14. Raise the state income tax to make up the loss on property taxes and fund the public schools statewide.
15. Reinstate the draft for the Army and maintain as a volunteer force the Air Force, Navy and Marines
16. Cut farm subsidies, currently $5 billion, the annual cost for all farm support is between $15 and $35 billion annually.

Causes for poverty

1, Generational poverty, passed from parent to child
2. Failure to take advantage of education, bad parenting
3. Single parent homes and illegitimacy
4. Ignorance resulting from a lack of an education
5. Lack of vocational schools, inability to hold a job
6. Not teaching financial fundamentals to children
7. Poor savings habits, most Americans do not save
8. Excessive credit card debt, inability to manage a personal budget
9. Conspicuous consumption, buying what is not needed
10. The excessive cost of higher education,
11. Endemic regional unemployment, the rise of the Big Box store
12. Lack of Federal revenue-sharing to low income areas
13. The high cost of housing, the lack of federally subsidized housing
14. Lack of workforce housing
15. Healthcare needs, and the lack of insurance
16. Too low of a minimum wage

Illegitimacy has become endemic and it is one of the leading causes of poverty:

By the way, no matter what one’s social proclivity is: illegitimacy is over 50% in America. Today the overwhelming majority of black children are raised in single female-headed families. As early as the 1880s, three-quarters of black families were two-parent. In 1925 New York City, 85 percent of black families were two-parent. One study of 19th-century slave families found that in up to three-fourths of the families, all the children had the same mother and father.

Today’s black illegitimacy rate of nearly 75 percent is also entirely new. In 1940, black illegitimacy stood at 14 percent. It had risen to 25 percent by 1965, when Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action” and was widely condemned as a racist. By 1980, the black illegitimacy rate had more than doubled, to 56 percent, and it has been growing since. Both during slavery and as late as 1920, a teenage girl raising a child without a man present was rare among blacks. In 2012 29.1% of Hispanic children were born out of wedlock. In that same year, non-Hispanic white illegitimacy was 17.2%. Has it changed in ten years for all groups? Yes, it has gotten worse.

Have Illegitimate Births Reached Crisis Levels?

  • The median age for a woman to become a mother: 25.7 years.
  • Living the Middle Class lifestyle means needing more education than ever before, which is causing couples to put off getting married more often.
  • Cohabiting couples are less likely to have job prospects or economic stability.
  • Only 38% of American women will be married by the time they reach the median age of motherhood.
  • For women who have a high school diploma and some college, 58% of the births to this group are considered illegitimate children.
  • If a couple is living together when they have a child, but not married, then there is a 39% chance of the family unit disintegrating. It’s just 13% for a married couple.





The Finding of Tutankhamun and the Myth of the Curse of the Pharaohs Richard J, Garfunkel March 12, 2023

On October 28, 1922 Howard Carter announced to the foreman of his Egyptian excavation crew that he wanted to continue work immediately in his search for the tomb of King Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings.

Archeologists only worked a short season in the valley, because by early spring it turned that desolate area into a virtual furnace until late October. Also the tourists would start to arrive in droves in mid-December to visit the burial sites of the pharaohs. Another problem existed, because their current dig blocked the entrance of the tomb of Ramesses VI, which was one of the most popular attractions in the Valley of the Kings. Carter was very concerned after this short season of 1922, that it would be his last effort in the valley. He had just returned from a meeting in England with the Earl of Carnarvon, who had been bear the cost of this excavation for the past 15 years.

Carter was looking for a big prize, the tomb of the young King Tutankhamun, whose short reign had ended around 3200 years earlier. For centuries, few people wandered into this section that was rife with bandits and marauding gangs. It was so dangerous that only in the 19th Century did archeologists venture there.

The Valley of the Kings, the royal burial grounds had been part of the ancient Thebes – the capital of the Egyptian Empire. The valley itself was only a few miles from the West Bank of the Nile – not far from Karnak and Luxor and more than 400 miles south of modern Cairo.

By that time, at least 33 royal tombs had been found on the site’s bedrock, but everyone had been pillaged long before by professional thieves. When something was found by European excavators, it was basically worthless. There were some beautiful objects, but they hardly justified the effort. With all that effort in mind, local experts believed that there was little left to find. But for Carter, who had been exploring that region for 30 years, there were some interesting clues, including a cup with King Tut’s name on it. There was also a cache of jars, with the King’s seal on them with contained some ancient linen wrappings that were used for mummification. The original finder of these artifacts was Theodore M. Davis, a rich, elderly American. He had claimed that King Tut’s tomb could be found, reflected of the evidence of the linen and jars. He was so derided for this thoughts, that he felt chastised and he set aside his discoveries as mostly a failure and worthless. Others, including HE Winlock, director of the Metropolitan Museum, thought otherwise and told Howard Carter his conclusions.

Meanwhile, to avoid conflicts over the rights to excavate, the Egyptian government granted exclusive concessions each year. Davis relinquished his concession in 1914 and Carter persuaded Lord Carnarvon to take it over. Carter devised a theory of where he thought the tomb could be located. His research indicated that only a small area had not been crisscrossed with excavation trenches into the bedrock. There was a small areas bounded by the tombs of Ramesses VI, Merneptah and Ramesses II. One reason this area had been ignored was that it was piled high with rubble, rocks, and sand form the excavation of the tomb of Rameses the VI, who had lived 200 years after Tutankhamun. It had been postulated that King Tut had ascended the throne in 1334 BCE, during the 18th Dynasty, at the age of around nine years. It was also understood that he had reigned for only nine years. During that period it was an era of prosperity, but some religious confusion and fervor.

At this juncture, Carter had returned to England to confer with Carnarvon. Carter, who was a bachelor, had been in Egypt since 1890. He started as a draughtsman and eventually became an inspector for the Egyptian government’s Department of Antiquities. Upon his return, the digging continued as a trench was created. After a few days flint chips were uncovered. This was a mildly encouraging discovery, because rocks like these had been discovered blocking other graves. The next morning, Carter returned, and he noticed a solemn silence all around, which was caused by the stoppage of work, In Carter’s word, “I guessed that something usual had occurred!”: His foreman (a reis) was most excited and said, confidentially that he felt that a beginning of a staircase had been located. Working under Carter’s watchful eye, the workers began the arduous job of clearing the stairs. The top of a doorway came into sight and on the plaster covering that sealed the door were affixed the royal seals of a necropolis – the jackal god, Arubis, above nine defeated foes. It was a thrilling moment for Carter in that valley of deafening silence. Carter was in awe as after decades of work he could be on the very brink of a major discovery. He ordered the stairway filled in again, posted guards around the site and hurried to Luxor to send a cable to Lord Carnarvon. It read, “At last have made wonderful discovery in Valley: a magnificent tomb – with seals intact. Re-covered same for your arrival: congratulations!”

Carnarvon replied that he would arrive in Alexandria with his daughter Lady Evelyn Herbert on November 20th. In those days one took a ferry across the channel to France, a train southward to Marseilles and by ship to Alexandria. From there it was a train ride to Luxor. By the 26th of November, Carnarvon and his daughter were there when more tunnels were found, opened and another sealed door twenty five feet from the first was located. With Carnarvon, his daughter and his assistant AR Callender, he drilled a small hole in the upper left hand corner. They widened the hole a bit. Carter later wrote, “I inserted a candle and peered in! At first I could see nothing as the hot air escaping from the chamber caused the flame to flicker. But, presently as my eyes got accustomed to the light, the details of the room emerged. Slowly from the midst, strange animals, statues and gold everywhere. Everywhere was the glint of gold!”

After their remarkable discovery the grave was blocked by two heavy wooden doors that had been earlier prepared. The next day a portable electric lighting system was set up. The room was packed to the ceiling with countless items. It was filled with items Tutankhamun would need on his journey through infinity. By Christmas, seven weeks later, all the items had been removed to an empty nearby tombs that was set up as storage area and a laboratory.

In the midst of the excavation process inspired speculation that the tomb was cursed. One of the reasons for this myth was the untimely death of Carter’s patron, Lord Carnarvon. He had died of the result of a mosquito bite that had been nicked by a shaving blade of a barber. His health was never robust, the bite became infected and he developed pneumonia and died. Therefore from th day of the discovery of the tomb, gossip abounded that there was a curse on anyone who violated the tomb. (by the way, Carter lived until age 66 in 1939, after a life filled with honors and fame. Arthur Roberts Callender, Carter’s assistant died in 1936 at age 61. Lady Evelyn Herbert, who was born in in 1901 lived to 1980. Lady Evelyn attended the opening of the Tutankhamun 50th anniversary celebrations in 1972, including the Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibition at the British Museum, London, where she was presented to the Queen who was there to open the exhibition.)

Meanwhile, the discovery produced only limited evidence about the history of Tutankhamun’s reign and the Amarna Period that preceded it, but it provided insight into the material culture of wealthy ancient Egyptians as well as patterns of ancient tomb robbery. Tutankhamun became one of the best-known pharaohs, and some artefacts from his tomb, such as his golden funerary mask, are among the best-known artworks from ancient Egypt. Most of the tomb’s goods were sent to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and are now in the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, although Tutankhamun’s mummy and sarcophagus are still on display in the tomb. Flooding and heavy tourist traffic have inflicted damage on the tomb since its discovery, and a replica of the burial chamber has been constructed nearby to reduce tourist pressure on the original tomb.

Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb revived popular interest in Ancient Egypt – ‘Egyptomania‘ – and created “Tutmania”, which influenced popular song and fashion. Carter used this heightened interest to promote his books on the discovery and his lecture tours in Britain, America and Europe. While interest had waned by the mid-1930s,[67] from the early 1970s touring exhibitions of the tomb’s artefacts led to a sustained rise in popularity. This has been reflected in TV dramas, films and books, with Carter’s quest and discovery of the tomb portrayed with varying levels of accuracy. One common element in popular representations of the excavation is the idea of a ‘curse‘. Carter consistently dismissed the suggestion as ‘tommy-rot’, commenting that “the sentiment of the Egyptologist … is not one of fear, but of respect and awe … entirely opposed to foolish superstitions”

The excavations carried out under Davis’s sponsorship are among the most important ever undertaken in the Valley of the Kings: in the course of 12 years about 30 tombs were discovered and/or cleared in his name, the best known among them are KV46 (tomb of Yuya and Tjuyu), KV55 (the Amarna cache), KV57 (tomb of Horemheb) and KV54 (Tutankhamun embalming cache). Most of the objects discovered went to Cairo Museum, where they were displayed in a gallery named ‘Salle Theodore Davis’, with further items presented to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other American museums. He also published seven volumes laying out his finds.

With Carter’s discovery of KV62, Tutankhamun’s tomb, in 1922, Davis’s opinion that the “valley had been exhausted” was proved wrong. Burton later recalled that when Davis terminated his last excavation in the valley, out of fear of undercutting nearby tombs and pathways, he was only two metres away from discovering the entrance to KV62.

In Luxor, fellow Rhode Islander Charles Wilbour introduced Davis to antiquities dealer Muhammad Mohassib on their first trip up the Nile in 1890. Wilbour had bought from Mohassib for years, and he became a trusted dealer for Davis. Many people bought a number of important pieces from him over the years.

He was an English peer and aristocrat best known as the financial backer of the search for and excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

In 1907, Lord Carnarvon undertook to sponsor the excavation of nobles’ tombs in Deir el-Bahri, near Thebes. He employed Howard Carter to undertake the work, on the recommendation of Gaston Maspero, director of the Egyptian Antiquities Department. In 1912, Carnarvon published Five Years’ Exploration at Thebes, co-written with Carter, describing their excavations.

In 1914, Lord Carnarvon received the concession to dig in the Valley of the Kings, replacing Theodore Davis who had resigned. Carter again led the work, undertaking a systematic search of the Valley for any tombs missed by previous expeditions, in particular that of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun. Excavations were interrupted during the First World War, but resumed in late 1917.] By 1922, little of significance had been found and Lord Carnarvon decided this would be the final year he would fund the work.

His country houseHighclere Castle, serves as the exterior and upstairs filming location of the ITV/PBS television series Downton Abbey. The below-stairs scenes were filmed on a set in London, as Highclere’s basement is the home of Carnarvon’s Egyptian collection. Highclere is owned by the present earl.

He was British archaeologist and Egyptologist who discovered the intact tomb of the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Tutankhamun in November 1922, the best-preserved pharaonic tomb ever found in the Valley of the Kings.

Howard Carter was born in Kensington on 9 May 1874, the youngest child (of eleven) of artist and illustrator Samuel John Carter and Martha Joyce Carter (née Sands). His father helped train and develop his artistic talents.

Carter spent much of his childhood with relatives in the Norfolk market town of Swaffham, the birthplace of both his parents. Receiving only limited formal education at Swaffham, he showed talent as an artist. The nearby mansion of the Amherst family, Didlington Hall, contained a sizable collection of Egyptian antiques, which sparked Carter’s interest in that subject. Lady Amherst was impressed by his artistic skills, and in 1891 she prompted the Egypt Exploration Fund (EEF) to send Carter to assist an Amherst family friend, Percy Newberry, in the excavation and recording of Middle Kingdom tombs at Beni Hasan.

Although only 17, Carter was innovative in improving the methods of copying tomb decoration. In 1892, he worked under the tutelage of Flinders Petrie for one season at Amarna, the capital founded by the pharaoh Akhenaten. From 1894 to 1899, he worked with Édouard Naville at Deir el-Bahari, where he recorded the wall reliefs in the temple of Hatshepsut.


FDR, Assimilation and Revisionist Thinking and the Holocaust. February 13, 2023 Richard J. Garfunkel

Let me make this clear, it was the Nazis who killed 6 million Jews and caused the death of maybe another 20 million people, directly or indirectly. The American people were against going to war or fighting to save Europe. The American Jewish Community was severely divided about immigration, especially with regards to Eastern European Jews, who had no direct access of escape from the ravages of WWII. The American movie industry, except for Warner Brothers, which was dominated by Jewish interests, refused to discuss Jewish problems in Germany or confront the Nazi treatment of the Jews. Winston Churchill did not save the Western World. The leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt, his creation of the Arsenal of Democracy, millions of American forces and Russian blood on the Eastern front saved the world from the Nazi Hordes.

Over time, and even now, there have been a series of unfounded accusations, from a number of sources that accuse Franklin Delano Roosevelt of being anti-Semitic and not doing enough for the Jews of Europe, who became victims of the Nazi-inspired and initiated Holocaust. In truth, those accusations are, on their face, a blood libel, hysterical, simplistic, unfounded, historically flawed, and basically ridiculous. Every once in a while, some divisive, provocateur, like Rafael Medoff, publishes another screed trying to prove that FDR was a closet, or an overt anti-Semite.

Over the decades, I have answered his attacks, but basically, hardly anyone really reads Medoff, except people who have had this idea already planted in their minds. Medoff reflects the need of many Jews to explain the Holocaust with the idea that everyone was complicit. Of course, he ignores the fact that many American Jews opposed unlimited or even some Jewish immigration into the United States for a number of reasons: fear of more anti-Semitism, the desire for Jews to go to Palestine to eventually create a Jewish State, or even the idea that they didn’t want any more Eastern European Jews. Yes, there were many American Jews who wanted an “open door” policy on immigration. But, then as today, immigration has always been the 3rd rail of American politics. Since the early 1920s, there were very strict immigration laws passed in conservative Republican Administrations that restricted Eastern Europeans, especially Jews, Catholics from the Mediterranean Basin, Asians and people from the Middle East. In fact, those laws were on the books until the Kennedy Administration. They were based on the Census of 1890, which basically created quotas reflective of the American demographics that existed before the massive immigration that came to America before 1890. The 1921 Immigration Act created the Quota System and the 1924 National Origins Act made it permanent. Therefore, no president was able to change that policy, no matter what trauma existed with regards to international conditions especially any that involved Jews.

Over the decades, many people have asked me about these charges, and I have answered them in detail. But, in fact, what does it really matter? FDR is a hero to countless millions here and abroad. His record of remarkable accomplishments is quite secure.

In the hurly-burly world of politics, one could cite his failed plan for court re-organization, known as “Court Packing” or even his inability to rid the Democratic Party of its right-wing troglodytes in the Midterm elections of 1938, known as the “Purge!” One author, Warren Kimball, in his book, “The Juggler,” has written about FDR’s skills as a wartime statesman. Others have termed him the Sphinx. No matter how he was characterized, FDR was certainly the most guarded and secretive person ever to hold high office in American history. But, let us not forget, that after 1938, the New Deal was dead, and it was buried by the coalition of Southern Democratic reactionaries and northern Republics opposed to any expansion of the rights of minorities, the Labor movement, or the continuance of regulation on big business or the markets. These same people were the core of isolationism in America.

When FDR made his famous Quarantine Speech in October of 1937, he never mentioned Hitler or Mussolini or any other dictator by name, but talked of isolating these countries. He hoped that the storm isolationists created would fade away and allow the general public to become educated and even active in international policy. However, this was not the response that grew over time. In fact, it ended up intensifying isolationism views in more Americans. Roosevelt even mentioned in two personal letters written on October 16, 1937, that “he was ‘fighting against a public psychology which comes very close to saying “peace at any price.” In fact, hundreds of newspapers, especially ones owned by the Hearst and McCormick syndicates, editorialized calling for his impeachment.

Over the years, as we have become more sensitive to minorities in the United States, Japanese Internment, and its justification, have been questioned by many. There were many arguments then, and later, over that action. At the time, supporters of the Internment cited Japanese barbarism in China, which eventually, with almost unprecedented brutality, including germ warfare and poison gas, would cause the death of 20 million Chinese. No one could discount the Japanese surprise attacks on Russia in 1904 and at Pearl Harbor in 1941. In reality, there was acute racism in California towards Japanese, exacerbated by their cultural and social isolation from the mainstream of American life in both California and Hawaii. There was also the legitimate concern among many fair-minded Californians about the fear for the lives of many of these Japanese citizens and resident aliens. But, be that as it may, only one Japanese internee died in the internment camps, but more than 65 million died during WWII, which was caused by German aggression in Europe and Japanese bellicosity in the Pacific. Isn’t that really the bigger story?

Over the decades, we had strict immigration laws in America prohibiting the immigration of the Chinese and Japanese from 1882 and 1907. There was the rise of anti-Semitism in America with the Depression, and therefore, endemic opposition to the immigration of Jews, and other Eastern Europeans, or non-Western European peoples. But, with all that in mind, over 150,000 Jews were able to get into America between 1933 and the beginning of the war, more than the entire world combined. This occurred despite a State Department dominated by conservative Republicans and southern Democrats. The people hardly wanted any immigration into America, no less Jews. One Gallup Poll in 1937 reflected that 77% of the public did not want one more German Jew to come into the country. Of course, the other failed efforts to enlarge the Immigration Quotas, or even to consider the bill to bring in refugee (Jewish) children was certainly not the fault of the Roosevelt Administration, whose allies in Congress proposed these efforts (Senator Robert F. Wagner, Sr, of NY, and Reps Emanuel Cellar, NY and Adolph Sabath of Illinois.). In fact, when it came to enlarging the German Quota of 27,000 immigrants, the Southern element of the Members of Congress, who were Democrats, were opposed 223 to 0. But, when it came to the controversial Lend Lease Program to aid beleaguered Britain, these same Members of Congress were in favor of it  223-0. Even after the merger of Austria into Germany, there were efforts were made to expand the quota, reflective of the added Austrians to the German Reich, but it was tabled, and thus disapproved.

Years ago, the public started to hear and read about FDR and the Holocaust, along with the specious claims that he was anti-Semitic. Many started to wonder why, that decades after the war this issue arose. Books from Arthur Morse, “While Six Million Died,” (1967) and David Wyman, “The Abandonment of the Jews,” (1984), questioned the motives of our State Department and explored the source and rationale of American anti-Semitism, which included voices like; Father Coughlin, Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh and countless others. But, why at this moment in the mid-1980s, did this issue begin to take hold? Was it because of new information, which previously hadn’t been available? Was it because Jews were more prosperous and felt freer to voice their bottled up angst over the anti-Semitism which dominated America in the Depression and pre-WWII years? Or was it over the idea of assimilation and their understanding that it was a great threat to the future of the Jewish people in America? In 1960, only 4% of the Jews intermarried in America. By 1984, when Wyman’s book came out, intermarriage had reached 50%. From many pulpits in America, conservative Rabbis railed against social and political liberalism, which seemed to justify intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews. Their target in 1984, was the greatest social liberal in our political history. Is it any surprise that it was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who led us out of the Depression and our potential social collapse? Thus, Franklin Roosevelt became the target of Jewish revisionism, as social liberalism and inclusiveness grew in modern day America. Let us also remember, that in 1930, Jews made up about 3% of the American population, and today the percentage has shrunk. In fact, regarding best estimates, Jews today account for about 1.6% of the general population. Maybe the people who warned of the threat to the Jewish people, regarding assimilation, were right. Therefore, why not attack the great symbol of liberalism?

In “A Life in the 20th Century, (1917-1950) by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr, (written in 2000), this quote is on page 307. “In the Eighties and Nineties, a furious controversy erupted over the supposed failure of the American and British governments to do more to save the Jews of Europe. Again, one wonders why this controversy suddenly exploded so many years after the fact. The word ‘holocaust’ was not even applied to Hitler’s extermination of the Jews until the Sixties; it did not acquire a capital letter until the Seventies.”

Schlesinger continues, “Very likely, as the historian Peter Novick suggests in, ‘The Holocaust in American Life,’ it was because of the decline of anti-Semitism and the rise of intermarriage in the United States came to be seen in some Jewish circles as a threat to the very survival of an American-Jewish community. Those seeking to repel the menace of assimilation seized on the Holocaust as the last bond holding Jews together and the vital means of restoring a sense of Jewishness. The Holocaust became, in Novick’s words, ‘virtually the only common denominator of American Jewish identity in the late 20th century.’ ”

Frankly, many were saying this long before Peter Novick (1934-2012) expressed these thoughts in his book written in 1999. Years before, when he expressed these same thoughts, he was excoriated for those views. In fact, he was called a self-hating Jew!

In truth, the Holocaust and its implications were not even perceived in 1939. Schlesinger writes, “Yet the American and British governments had intimations of the Final Solution as early as August 1942.” That November, after confirmation of dread reports by Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, Rabbi Stephen Wise went public in a dramatic press conference. WISE SAYS HITLER HAS ORDERED 4 MILLION JEWS SLAIN IN 1942, was the headline in the “New York Herald Tribune.” As a result, in December, both Roosevelt and Churchill issued a joint statement condemning, “the bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination!” Interestingly, to these same revisionists, Rabbi Stephen Wise is now an excoriated co-conspirator with FDR in the effort to keep Jews out of America. Nothing could be further from the truth! How come this story wasn’t on the front page of the “NY Times,” but buried deep inside a paper owned by Jews?

But, how often did I hear the specious, “Fake News” that FDR never had a Jew to the White House or that he never said anything about the killing of Jews. These baseless attacks, from my perspective, were an effort by a consortium of conservative Jews, anti-assimilationists and other Roosevelt haters to promote the idea that the Roosevelt Administration kept all Jews out of the United States. They cited the case of the “Saint Louis” as proof, as if that issue was almost as large as the Holocaust. In the same way, the Japanese Internment, to some, dwarfed the totality of WWII and the war crimes of the Japanese, which easily equaled Germany’s and had started years earlier.

The German ship, “Saint Louis” was one of three ships that brought passengers, including Jews, to Cuba at that time. Cuba, in 1939, because of the influence of local Nazis, was putting onerous restrictions on Jewish immigration. Already 6,000 Jewish immigrants were living in Cuba, most without legal documentation. Also a house-to-house check was being made to locate all German refugees, and there was great fear from the Joint Distribution Committee in the United States that a pogrom was being planned if more Jews were granted asylum. When a $500 cash bond was put up for each passenger, amounting to $500,000, the Cubans refused. There were definitive conflicts between Batista and Manuel Benitez, who was receiving bribes for each illegal alien allowed into Cuba. Strongman Colonel Fulgencio Bastista wanted his “cut” or would end the practice. Two other ships had already just arrived, the British ship “Orduna” and the French ship, “Flanders.”  Within a twenty-four hour period more than 1200 refugees had arrived from three European ports. The Cubans had just passed a law limiting the number of immigrants to 1500 who could be yearly allowed to land. Eventually, after a collapse in negotiations, the ship left port and while off Florida, on June 4, the figurehead President Bru relented and said that they could land for $650 per head. The Joint Committee (Jewish Agency) refused to pay the extra $150 per person. They thought there would be more ships and the price would continue to escalate. The “Saint Louis,” amidst the negotiation with Cuban and the American officials, who were trying to get around our strict immigration laws, turned towards Europe. The JDC was besieged with criticism from the American Jewish community and its friends, but felt they were being blackmailed by the Cubans. It has been erroneously reported that the passengers were “returned to Germany and certain death for all abroad.”  Of the 936 Jews on board who had left Hamburg, 29 disembarked in Havana, 907 sailed back to Europe; 288 disembarked in England and lived through the Holocaust. The remaining 619 went to France, Belgium and Holland. The 392 of 619 who had disembarked at Antwerp, survived the war. The remaining 227 were murdered by the Nazis. The US Holocaust Museum estimates more than two-thirds of the passengers survived the war. Also, in June of 1939, it certainly was not yet the Holocaust. War had not been declared.   Over 75% of the Jews living in Germany, at the time of Hitler’s ascendancy to power, had either voluntarily emigrated from Germany or had been forced out. German policy was “Judenrein” not extermination.

Again, to reiterate, up until Kristalnacht, under 1000 Jews had been killed in Germany from 1933 until late 1938. Even up until the war, which started on September 3, 1939, a relatively small percentage of the remaining Jews from the 1930 population of 500,000 had been killed. In June of 1939, few in Europe really believed there would be a “real” war, no less a World War. Few Jews, outside of Germany, thought their lives were imminently at risk, and the Low Countries and France were not invaded until the spring of 1940. Most Jews believed that Germany only was interested in ridding itself of Jews. But, it is true, that many Jews wished fervently to get out of Europe. These are incontrovertible facts reported in numerous histories of that era. This intense climate of persecution started to cause voluntary and forced Jewish emigration out of Germany. By the start of World War II almost 75% of all German Jews had left the country.

In truth, as it is part of the public record, most Americans opposed being involved in both world wars. In the last Gallup Poll of November, 1941, not long before the Pearl Harbor attack, about 90% of the responders to the pollsters stated that they did not want to go to war to save Great Britain.

Again, Jews made up 3% of the population in the 1930’s. The New Deal, called the “Jew Deal” by anti-Semites, who often referred to FDR as that Jew “Rosenfelt.”  After all, Jews made up 15% of his administration. (FDR was elected with approximately 70% of the Jewish vote in 1932, and by 1944 he received over 93% of that vote.) FDR appointed, cumulatively, more Jews to office than all the previous 31 administrations and all that followed until the Clinton Administration!

With regards to foreign policy, as it related to Jews, Roosevelt quite often leaned upon his personal relationship with Rabbi Stephen Wise. Wise brought up the subject of Jewish immigration with FDR as early as 1933 and the unfilled immigration quotas. But, why was the German quota virtually unfilled in 1933 and 1934? Basically, Germans weren’t coming to the US in those years. They were very happy with Hitler. As for Jews in Germany, most believed before the horrid Nuremberg Laws of 1935, that the anti-Semitism of Hitler’s rhetoric would be ameliorated or even disappear. Many Jews thought they were too important to the economy and the social and cultural structure and fabric of Germany. They felt they weathered other terrible storms. As Hitler consolidated his power in Germany, more and more anti-Semitic legislation (the aforementioned Nuremberg Laws) was drafted and passed in their Reichstag (the so-called German parliament).

Let us understand that in 1930, Americans of German descent were the largest group in the United States (some estimates that 30% of the American population had German roots). In 1940, over 1.2 million Americans had been born in Germany and even today the largest European ethnic group in America is German, with over 17% of the population or 56 million people. Many Germans in America were enthusiastic over the recovery of Germany from the ravages of the Versailles Treaty, they believed that the Jews were the cause of all their post war problems and the failure of the Weimar Government. They were highly influenced by the large trade with the “new” Germany and a great many Germans who traveled to America to visit their relatives talked of the success and order brought to Germany by Hitler and the Nazis. In the period of the middle to late 1930s, we saw the rise of the German-American Bund.

Therefore, with all that in mind, is it not hard to imagine that there was tremendous pressure in the United States, crossing all ethnic and political differences, including the American Labor movement that opposed more immigration, especially of Jews. There was still significant unemployment, anti-Semitism had risen during the Depression, and it was aided and abetted by German-Americans, happy with Hitler.

Thus the issue of Jewish immigrations was not solely in the hands of President Roosevelt or his administration. Even among his “Kitchen Cabinet” of Jewish advisers: Morgenthau, Rosenman, Rabbi Wise, Benjamin V. Cohen and a number of others there was no definitive consensus on what action could be taken. Even former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, who headed a 1984 commission on this subject, came to the conclusion that American Jewish groups did not do enough. Though there was controversy over the harshness of the report, the final report, approved by the commission and written by Professor Seymour Finger, Head of International Studies at CCNY 1972-81, former diplomat, a Senior Fellow at the Ralph Bunche Institute, and the author of “American Jewry in the Holocaust,” concluded that the failure of Jewish organizations was a result of disunity, under-financing, and lack of political influence. Moreover, their leaders were afraid of stirring up anti-Semitism in the United States and impeding the Allied war effort. Ambassador Goldberg said, “That the failure to act forcefully hurt most in the years between Hitler’s ascent to power and America’s entry into WWII.” Again this was a consequence that resulted from a “divided” Jewish community.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that if FDR had not been re-elected in 1940, and aid was not extended to Britain, a peace party would have emerged in that country to compromise with Germany. If that peace was actuated, one could conclude that the continued resistance by the Soviet Union could have easily ended with a defeat or a brokered peace. Obviously, with Germany ruling Europe and an entente cordiale with Britain and the British Empire, the future of the world would have been different, and the survival of Jews in America would have been in doubt. Why would their future be in doubt? The pressure from German-Americans, other traditional anti-Semites, isolation from the rest of the world, trade embargoes, Nazi propaganda flooding the country’s non-Jewish media, would have caused a severe reaction against Jewish owned business, Jewish cultural interests, the media (Hollywood, the theater) which they were deeply involved and with the businesses that they excelled in and led.






FDR and Churchill Their Political and Military Legacy An Update By Richard J. Garfunkel September 21, 2022

With regards to Winston Churchill, the political role of the American system is much different then Britain. Churchill never had to really stand for election as leader and was never really trusted with “domestic” responsibilities. He was much more of a “loose cannon” and never really felt comfortable working with others. He was certainly a remarkable talent, but had too many inner doubts to be completely confident with himself. His “black” moods and depression limited his ability to have the confidence to “rule.” He had too many opinions that limited his ability to make political alliances. He was a man of action and not a calculating “planner.” He never understood the need to build organizations of political support. He was basically a talented loner. His forte was more foreign policy and the Empire. He had cabinet level domestic responsibilities early in his career, but his name and fortune was linked with the British Navy when he was First Lord of the Admiralty. Of course, because Britain was primarily a naval power since the time of Drake and through Nelson, therefore, with vast overseas interests, it had to dominate the seas. Thus, the post of First Lord of the Admiralty had great cachet for Churchill. With all that in mind, the Churchill, who is known and revered today, is a result of his leadership in the days after the collapse of the Chamberlain government, which was seen as a failure. Chamberlain had become the symbol of appeasement, specifically with ill-fated Munich Agreement, which surrendered the Sudetenland (the industrial part of Czechoslovakia) to Nazi Germany, his failure to take action against Germany when they invaded Poland, and finally with the collapse of Norway on April. Let us not forget that at the same time Churchill was named Prime Minister, May 10, 1940, the Low Countries were successfully invaded, quickly conquered and the Battle of France would commence. The disastrous, forced evacuation of British Forces along with some of the allied troops at Dunkerque, and the eventual collapse and surrender of France, on June 25, 1940, would happen while Churchill was Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.

But, with regard to pre-WWII British preparedness, let us not forget some other realities; the coastline radar stations were created, built, and installed by the Chamberlain government, as were the designs and production of the Hurricanes and Spitfires that won the Battle of Britain, along with the British heavy bombers, the Lancasters and Wellingtons which brought the war to Germany. Churchill was not part of the government in those days, but had warned of the threat of Nazi Germany, especially with regards to their military buildup and strength.

Churchill was not willing to sublimate himself to the will of others, and never could pose, or participate as a team player. Later on, after the WWII victory, he wasn’t prepared for the 1945 elections that swamped him and his government. The Conservatives suffered their greatest parliamentary loss since 1806. His campaign was terrible and he did not have a “clue” what the public was thinking about, or its needs. On one hand, he was still a captive of the upper classes that dominated British life. He seemed unaware and unconcerned, regarding how the MacDonald-Baldwin-Chamberlain governments ignored the working classes that suffered throughout the Depression. Of course, British politics were divided between the “plutocrats” and the “aristocrats” and Churchill never seemed to know where he fit. He was not keen on real reform that would have worked to restructure the critically unbalanced British economic and social landscape along with its aging infrastructure.  He never understood the moribund future of colonialism, and his attitude towards India was foolish and archaic. His political philosophy was inconstant and vacillating. Both sides of the British ideological divide constantly mistrusted him.

He was not able to dominate either party, and was perceived by the public as a political outsider with no place to “hang his hat.” His strategy as First Lord of the Admiralty, in the First World War, was badly criticized after the disaster of Gallipoli. His “snafu” was actuated more by logistical insanity then strategic miscalculation. All in all, it was a costly failure in blood and material, and therefore his career suffered terribly. As a so-called military “genius,” let us also not forget his very controversial role in the WWI defense of Antwerp, Belgium and the rightwing, revisionist attempt to exculpate him from the collapse of that city to the German army.

With regards to WW II his strategy was basically no better than Chamberlain’s. Under his watch the British experienced disasters with the navy in Norway, the 8th Army in North Africa and its collapse at Tobruk, the insane and huge defeat and disaster in Singapore, (the worst and most costly British defeat in history), the disaster at Dunkerque, the catastrophic losses of the HMS Repulse and Prince of Wales off Hainan Island, near the Chinese mainland, the abandonment of Greece and Crete, the ill-fated attack at Dieppe, the alienation of the French and the subsequent defection of the French fleet, causing the need for it to be crippled by British naval action along with many others. He and Britain were fortunate that the Nazis re-directed the Luftwaffe to bomb British cities and not go after their radar early warning stations, their aerodromes, and the British fighter defense. A smartly delivered strategy against these targets would have reduced the British to a position where their air cover became hopeless.

Under his watch, the British Navy allowed the German battlecruisers, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau to steam through the Channel to the Atlantic where they sunk 22 ships amounting to 116,000 tons. Eventually, those two ships and the Prince Eugen were docked at the occupied French port of Brest. Later, they made their historic dash back across the English Channel. The Channel Dash had cost the Germans 17 aircraft shot down, while the Luftwaffe lost 11 men and the Kriegsmarine two. Additionally, two torpedo boats were damaged, and the two battlecruisers had suffered damage below the waterline.

But the Nazis were quick to take advantage of the remarkable victory, their propaganda machine going into overdrive. Hitler basked in the glory of being proved right. Admiral Ciliax and Kapitan Hoffmann each received the Knights Cross. In Britain, there was a national outcry at the perceived incompetence. The Times lambasted the inept performance of the armed forces, saying that Admiral Ciliax had “succeeded where the Duke of Medina-Sidonia failed.” The Duke had commanded the Spanish Armada in 1588. “Nothing more mortifying to the pride of our sea power had happened since the seventeenth century.”

This embarrassment was quickly followed on February 15 when Singapore fell and Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his government came under scathing attack from all sides. Against his better judgment, Churchill ordered an inquiry into what became known as The Battle of the Narrow Seas, which he considered of “minor importance.” The findings of the inquiry were handed into the prime minister in early March, but for security reasons they were not published until after the war. Of course, in the context of WWII, this is a minor episode, but Churchill was also the Minister of Defense!

Basically US Lend-Lease, the US Navy and the convoy system, the undeclared US naval war in the North Atlantic against the Nazi submarine wolf packs, and the attacks by Germany on Yugoslavia and Greece, culminating with the postponed late spring, early summer invasion of Russia helped Britain survive. Churchill’s strong vocal leadership rallied Britain and the free world, but without Roosevelt and the power that he formulated by creating the “Arsenal of Democracy,” Britain would have eventually been beaten despite the flawed Hitlerian strategy. If the US had not helped Britain with our fleet, the fifty-destroyer exchange and Lend-Lease for Russia, (10% of their logistical needs were provided by America, along with over 400,000 trucks) the Soviets probably would have been neutralized and the further European resistance would have ceased. Greece and Yugoslavia were basically beaten, and the rest of the Eastern Europe, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania were German allies. Turkey was in Germany’s camp and would have remained an associated “player” looking to reclaim their former Ottoman Empire.

Churchill did have many successes aside from American help. Their combined naval/air victory at Taranto that devastated the Italian fleet, the sinking of the Graf Spee, the hunting down of the Bismarck, the destruction of the 10 German destroyers off Norway, his policy supporting Orde Wingate and the Chindits in Burma, his mobilizing massive bombing raids over Germany, the destruction of the French dry docks at Saint Nazaire, and his selection of Montgomery to head the British 8th along with his subsequent victory at El Alemain were strong plusses. But, even with the entrance of America into the war, the later British strategy with Churchill’s blessing and interference, led to the huge loses in Holland with the ill-fated Market-Garden assault on the Dutch bridges. Montgomery, Churchill’s greatest choice for leadership squandered his opportunity to cross the Rhine with his constant demands for more men and material, was one upped by the American capture of the Ludendorf Bridge at Remagen. That single event, reflective of intrepid opportunism by American forces, dealt a huge blow to German resistance on the Western front. While Montgomery was accumulating landing craft, the US Army was surging over the Rhine with men and armor, creating an unassailable bridgehead, and trapping German forces on the wrong side of the River.

FDR, on the other hand, mobilized the American economy in an unprecedented way, fought an effective two ocean war, selected and appointed excellent overall leadership with his Joint Chiefs lead by Admiral William D. Leahy, who coordinated the activities of Generals Marshall and Arnold along with Admiral King. FDR’s selections, in all of the theaters of his responsibility, of MacArthur,

Nimitz, Eisenhower, reflected excellent carefully thought out judgment. Their choices of subordinates that included Bedell-Smith, Clark, Bradley, Patton, Hodges, Simpson, Eaker, Doolittle, Stillwell, Halsey, Spruance, Vandergrift, Smith, Lemay and many others spelled eventual success. His speeches, and cool leadership gave the people confidence after Pearl Harbor and the loss of the Philippines. FDR’s leadership of the wartime conferences at Argentia Bay, Quebec, Casablanca, Teheran and Yalta were the driving force behind victory and the post-war dominance of the West. His sponsoring of the Bretton Woods Conference had the most lasting effect on the future world’s economies vis-à-vis monetary stability. All in all FDR’s domestic leadership before and during the war were unprecedented. The late President, the architect of victory, won a hard earned election in 1944, with excellent majorities in Congress, even with his health suffering from advance heart disease and arterial sclerosis. He was able to maintain his majorities in Congress all through his tenure in office, and even though the Democrats narrowly lost Congress in 1946, they quickly recovered their majorities until the Eisenhower landslide of 1952. But from 1954 until the 1980’s the FDR-New Deal coalition of Democrats maintained Congressional hegemony.

Churchill, as a man, was bold, talented and basically remarkable. He was a brilliant speaker, a marvelous writer, a brave soldier, a reporter, a painter, a magnificent Parliamentarian, a cabinet official, a Prime Minister, and most importantly a beloved wartime leader. He embodied what was great about Britain. But he was a failure as a politician, lacked excellent judgment went it came to strategy and suffered from great insecurities. His terrible childhood and education plagued him with self-doubts, depression and lack of direction. Churchill spent a lifetime comparing himself to his father Randolph who had a meteoric political career but eventually became a miserable failure. Churchill, like Roosevelt, became much more a product of his mother. Overall he was able to overcome all of those limitations. Churchill was still, at heart, part of the “ruling class” that dominated Britain. He was still part of the Imperialist mindset, and he was still sadly lacking, with regards, to what the average “Brit” needed. He never built a political base, and when the post-war choices were made he was cast aside with little regret from the British people. His return to office in 1951 was no great success and he was too, too old to be a major factor in re-shaping Britain after years of war and social reform.

FDR was not the writer that Churchill was, but as an orator he was certainly quite capable, but few were in Churchill’s league. He was determined and self-confident. His childhood was one of nurtured success and happiness. He was beloved by his adoring parents.  He was self-educated to age fourteen and went on to the best schools where he achieved moderate success. In a dissimilar way, FDR’s father, whom he adored and respected, died when he was eighteen while he was a freshman at Harvard. Unlike Churchill’s father who was much younger, James Roosevelt was intimately interested in his second son. His first son, a product of his earlier marriage to Rebecca Howland, who died, was 29 years older and his contact with him was not well known. But even with his loss, FDR had looked up to his father and respected his judgment and memory. James Roosevelt was not a politician like Randolph Churchill, and with his death FDR was able to transform his need for a psychological mentor to his 5th cousin Theodore Roosevelt.

Unlike Churchill, FDR was the single greatest elected politician in modern history and was able to overcome the devastating physical challenge of Polio. He was a vigorous man who overcame a lifetime of sickness. He had wonderful mentors, Theodore Roosevelt, Al Smith, and Woodrow Wilson. He took something from all of them, and was smart enough to avoid the problems they all experienced. He shaped his own destiny, built the new Democratic Party, reversed the effects of the Great Depression, rallied the public, instilled great respect from the world at large, inspired great enemies and opposition, took on the Fascists when America wanted no part of that fight, built the “Arsenal of Democracy” and through his actions at the Atlantic Conference in Argentia Bay, put forth his vision of the world based on the “Four Freedoms.” Eventually, in the midst of the war he coined the name United Nations and would work to establish that body at the Yalta Conference, where he received the agreement of Churchill and Stalin.

His vision is the vision of the modern world; the vision of the world community pulling together for the common good. Not unlike Churchill, who was one of the lone voices protesting against “appeasement,” FDR had withstood an “America First” isolationism that cut across almost all social and political barriers and demographics. FDR had to use his unequalled mastery of the America political landscape to on one hand re-arm America and on the other hand battle the limitations of our Neutrality Laws and the passion of people like Charles Lindbergh, who were his most vocal critics. He was also strongly elected to office an unprecedented four times. Churchill was never elected to national leadership in 1940. He was appointed by the King after the forced resignation of Chamberlain. After five years in the leadership of Great Britain, hi ruling Conservatives Party suffered its greatest defeat since 1806, when the national vote was finally counted in 1945, while he was attending the Potsdam Conference in July.

Churchill mishandled the election campaign by resorting to party politics and trying to denigrate Labour. On 4 June 4th, he committed a serious political gaffe by saying in a radio broadcast that a Labour government would require “some form of Gestapo” to enforce its agenda. It backfired badly and Attlee made political capital by saying in his reply broadcast next day: “The voice we heard last night was that of Mr Churchill, but the mind was that of Lord Beaverbrook”. Churchill was not prepared politically to run a national campaign and the results bore that out historically. Many reasons have been given for Churchill’s defeat, key among them being that a desire for post-war reform was widespread amongst the population and that the man who had led Britain in war was not seen as the man to lead the nation in peace. He was forced to leave the conference to his successor, the new Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

When he was again appointed Prime Minister again in 1951 by King George VI, after the new election in 1951, his party had actually received less votes than the losing Labor Party, with only a 17 seat majority. In fact, he served a lack-luster 3.5 years until April of 1955 when he was finally forced by health issues to resign. Churchill was nearly 77 when he took office and was not in good health following several minor strokes. By December, 1951, George VI had become concerned about Churchill’s decline and intended asking him to stand down in favor of Eden, but the King had his own serious health issues and died on February 6, 1952, without making the request. Churchill developed a close friendship with Elizabeth II. It was widely expected that he would retire after her Coronation in May 1953 but, after Eden became seriously ill, Churchill increased his own responsibilities by taking over at the Foreign Office. Eden was incapacitated until the end of the year and was never completely well again.

On the evening of 23 June 1953, Churchill suffered a serious stroke and became partially paralyzed down one side. Had Eden been well, Churchill’s premiership would most likely have been over. The matter was kept secret and Churchill went home to Chartwell to recuperate. He had fully recovered by November. He retired as Prime Minister in April 1955 and was succeeded by Eden.

One of the most tragic issues before WWII in Europe was the Nazi treatment of the Jews of Germany. During and after the war the evidence of their atrocities towards the Jews and other minorities was fully exposed. As for the punishment of Nazi Germany, regarding their conduct during the war, Churchill initialed the Morgenthau Plan proposed by US Secretary of Treasury, Henry J. Morgenthau Jr.) for post-war Germany, which called for the breakup of Germany and its de-industrialization. When the news of the Quebec Conference reached Germany, Propaganda Minister Goebbels claimed, “Roosevelt and Churchill agreed to the Jewish murder plan.” German radio announced that Roosevelt’s “bosom” friend Henry Morgenthau, the “spokesman of world Judaism” was singing the same song as the Jews in the Kremlin,”- dismember Germany, destroy its industry and “exterminate forty-three million Germans.” Interestingly, across the Atlantic, another democratic leader seems to have concurred with the blame-the-Jews theory. Also, let us not forget that Churchill signed on to many agreements that came out of WWII meetings, and later either ignored, denied or opposed these same agreements.

With regards to Churchill’s real feelings, an unpublished article by Winston Churchill, written in 1937 and discovered in the Churchill archives by Cambridge University historian Richard Toye in 2007, claimed that Jews were “partly responsible” for the mistreatment that they suffered. Churchill denounced the “cruel and relentless” persecution of the Jews but then criticized German Jewish refugees in England for their willingness to work for less pay than non-Jewish laborers, which — he claimed — caused antisemitism. Some of Churchill’s earlier statements about Jews and communism indulged in anti-Semitic stereotypes, such as referring to the Russian Bolshevik leadership as “Semitic conspirators” and “Jew Commissars.” Of course, anti-Semitism was rife through Europe, especially Eastern Europe and in Russia, before and after the Russian Revolution which eventually saw the triumph of the Bolsheviks and the rise of the Soviet Union. As for Britain, Jews were expelled in 1290 and only by 1655 were a small group of Sephardic Jews were allowed to stay. Over the next two hundred years Jews existed in Britain with a number of restrictions. True emancipation for them as a religious group came somewhat between 1829 or 1858. Before WWII over 500,000 European Jews sought asylum in Britain, only 70,000 were allowed to stay.

In the United States, though there was discrimination against Jews, Catholics, Asians, Blacks and Latinos, Jews were never restricted from immigration. Even with the very restrictive immigration laws of 1921 and 1924, which was based on National Origin demographics in 1890, which limited basically Jews and Catholics from the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe with quotas, Jews always immigrated to the United States. From 1933 through the beginning of WWII, despite obstacles from the American Department of State, mostly dominated by Republican appointees from the previous twelve years of Republican Administrations and Southern Democrats, over 150,000 Jews were allowed into the States. During the Depression and the immediate pre-war period, there was the rise of more virulent anti-Semitism in the United States. Most of that rise was surely fomented and encouraged by the large and significant German-American minority who bought into the rise of German nationalism. The rise of the German-American Bund was paid for and strongly supported by the Nazi Party in Germany.

As with of emergence of the Roosevelt Administration in 1933, FDR called upon Felix Frankfurter, of the Harvard Law School to start sending young lawyers down to Washington to staff the emerging New Deal. The Roosevelt administration employed many young Jewish lawyers, labor leaders and intellectuals to help rescue our society from the social and economic ravages of the Great Depression. FDR also leaned on his strong relationship with Jews throughout his whole political life: Bernard Baruch, Henry Morgenthau, his Secretary of Treasury, David Niles, Anna Rosenberg, Herbert Lehman, Governor of New York, later US Senator, along with the aforementioned Frankfurter, Ben Cohen, and his lawyer and chief writer, Judge Rosenman. With regards to his associations with Jews, they were novel and advanced for the period. Again, he had an “open” friendship with Henry Morgenthau who served in his cabinet for 12 years. Eleanor Roosevelt was also quite close to Elinor Morgenthau, the Secretary of Treasury’s wife.

FDR appointed many, many Jews to high office, and had a comfortable, but distant relationship with most of his contemporaries.

Jews made up 3% of the American population in the 1930’s but the New Deal, called the “Jew Deal” by anti-Semites, who often referred to FDR as that Jew “Rosenfelt,” but made up 15% of his administration. FDR was elected with approximately 70% of the Jewish vote in 1932, and by 1944 he received over 93% of that vote. FDR appointed, cumulatively, more Jews to office than all the previous 31 administrations and all that followed until the Clinton Administration!

In retrospect Churchill really left no governmental legacy. He really never governed. FDR’s legacy was one of not only unprecedented leadership, but of government innovation, reform and restructuring.

History has favored Winston Churchill for many reasons, which include his lonely pre-war opposition to the rise of Hitler and the threat of Nazism. He battled against both the appeasers and the pro-fascist elements in Britain. He also stood head and shoulders above his rivals, like Lord Halifax, who wanted to succeed the failed Neville Chamberlain. Let us not forget, that Roosevelt also warned of the threat of rise of the dictators with his “Quarantine Speech” which was universally excoriated by the conservatives and isolationists, who refused to see the worldwide threat of the Nazis and Fascists.

Churchill was always given exceptionally high marks as an inspiring and eloquent orator before the war and during it. His ability to lead a beleaguered nation in its darkest hours can never be underrated. With that in mind, he has been awarded high marks for standing alone during the Blitz (German air attacks) and keeping up British morale despite the nightly bombings, the massive destruction and the battlefield reversals. He certainly deserved criticism for his endless micro-managing policy, interference with his generals, reversals in strategy and poor choice in military appointments.

He even was very critical of his “star” appointment of General Montgomery. The victor at Alamein. Ironically, Montgomery wasn’t his first choice to command the 8th Army in Egypt.

His first selection was Lt. General William Gott, who killed in a plane crash. According to many of the veterans of that campaign, who were familiar with both men, they felt that Gott certainly would have lost the battle for control of Egypt, the Suez Canal and the oilfields of the Middle East. Churchill certainly opposed Operation Torch and wanted American men and material supporting Montgomery, was against Operation Anvil-Dragoon, the August, 1944 invasion of Southern France, in the days after the Normandy Invasion and the breakout into France.

On the other hand, Churchill and the British leadership understood FDR’s problems and political skills. FDR’s promises on the mobilization of American’s war industry were incredibly exceeded and he for sure delivered on America being the “Arsenal of Democracy.” FDR’s strategic vision reached much farther and more accurately than Churchill’s FDR understood the emergence of Russia and China as world powers, and he pressed for the Unconditional Surrender, to avoid the postwar disaster that followed the end of WWI. He also knew that the Allies had to secure the peace, and that was why he worked so hard to create the United Nations. Churchill vision was most often limited to the sustaining of the British Empire.

Also, let us not forget many of the leaders of the Western Alliance during WWII and their generals were no raving successes, As for The United States, out of the fifty-six Lt. Generals, who were appointed during the war from December 1941 through March of 1945, about 45 of those served overseas, seven were recalled for incompetence or other reasons. As for the top leadership, Secretary of State Hull was not well and often ignored completely and had little to do with any decision regarding the prosecution of the war. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, a great patriot, a Republican and a former Secretary of War and State was consistently wrong. Even the sainted Chief of Staff of the Army George C. Marshall was also wrong regarding North Africa and the call for a cross Channel invasion of France in both 1942 and 1943, as was the head of the Naval Admiral Ernest King.

As for General MacArthur, his failures in the Philippines were outrageous and many called for his removal and to be court marshalled. Admiral Robert L. Ghormley who was in charge of the naval operations around Guadalcanal and Tulagi was replaced by Admiral William F. Halsey because of lack-luster performance and incompetence. As for the heroic Halsey, his “Bull’s Run” and indecision around the Leyte Gulf Invasion almost created a disaster for American landing force. Also, his command in the following days after Typhoon Cobra bordered on incompetence and criminal conduct. Following the typhoon a Navy court of inquiry was convened on board USS Cascade in the naval base at Ulithi. Admiral Nimitz, CINCPAC, was in attendance at the court, Vice Admiral John H. Hoover presided the Court with admirals George D. Murray and Glenn B. Davis as associate judges. Forty-three-year-old Captain Herbert K. Gates was the Judge Advocate. The inquiry found that though Halsey had committed an error of judgement in sailing the Third Fleet into the heart of the typhoon, it stopped short of unambiguously recommending sanction. The events surrounding Typhoon Cobra were similar to those the Japanese navy had faced some nine years earlier in what they termed “The Fourth Fleet Incident.”

General Joseph Stillwell, the veteran of the China-Burma-India Theater and the military liaison to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek had to be removed because of insubordination and downright idiocy. In Sicily, Lt. General Patton had to be relieved of his command for foolish incidents regarding the slapping of two “wounded” soldiers. He was regarded as a racist, a bigot, and an anti-Semite among his other attributes. General Mark Clark, the leader of the 5th Army in Italy had many detractors.

But both he and Patton, who despised him because his mother was Jewish were liked by FDR.  They both succeeded, despite intense criticism during and after the war.

As for French; the only two Generals who were not coopted by the Germans and dragooned into the Vichy Government were Henry Giraud, a total incompetent and Charles De Gaulle, a vain pompous ass. This famous quote was attributed to Churchill- “The hardest cross I have to bear is the Cross of Lorraine.” This remark referring to Charles de Gaulle was actually made by General Louis Spears, Churchill’s envoy to France. Film producer Alexander Korda asked Churchill in 1948 if he had made the remark, he replied, “No, I didn’t say it; but I’m sorry I didn’t, because it was quite witty … and so true!”

As for the British, aside from Churchill, they had really no leadership after Chamberlain, but another appeaser, Lord Halifax, who actually disliked America and Americans and was ironically made Britain’s Ambassador to the United States. Others like Beaverbrook were for sure not up to the task. With regards for the British Imperial Staff, no one would regard Field Marshall Alan Brooke as a far-ranging thinker.

FDR and Churchill and WWII Strategy!

Churchill attempted to direct and control President Roosevelt with regards to the direction of their joint effort. As Christmas approached, the United States was facing the unpleasant reality that the Philippines and MacArthur’s American and Filipino Forces on Bataan and Corregidor, were doomed to destruction as were the British possessions of Hong Kong, Malaya and their Singapore fortress. The Americans, with their Filipino allies, fought a delaying action in the Philippines, while a mixed American, British, Dutch, and Australian (ABDA) naval structure was set up to operate from Java in an attempt to hold the Japanese at the Malay Barrier. Given command of ABDA naval forces, Admiral Thomas Hart directed part of this defense into mid-February 1942.Eventually it had become quite evident that despite the brave ABDA sailors, the Japanese were not to be denied. The Japanese Navy was able to literally destroy the remaining Allied naval assets in, and around, the Java Sea and the India Ocean.

Therefore, as India was being threatened by massive Japanese naval assets in the Indian Ocean, two realities emerged. There were not enough Allied ships to counter their strength and India soldiers had almost no enthusiasm to defend India and their colonial status from the potential of a Japanese invasion. In fact, the British were seeing more and more evidence that their colonial armies were not willing to fight for the British Empire.  FDR, a confirmed anti-colonialist understood this reality, despite Churchill’s inability to face the reality of the deteriorating situation in both the Middle and the Far East. FDR urged Churchill to promise India eventual self-rule or even the commonwealth status of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Churchill hated this option, danced around it, and delayed making a decision, until he almost was backed into a corner. He certainly was opposed to giving up any sovereignty in India, as he claimed that the subcontinent was not really a country, but a collection of princely states and contentious religions bodies: Hindus, Moslems and Sikhs among hundreds of others sects, who spoke many hundreds of dialects.

With that in mind, along with the existential threat to India, the British were apoplectic and were trying to insist that American intervene in the Indian Ocean. Of course, Americans did not have the assets to counter the Japanese. But, FDR initiated a bold plan that would eventually produce a remarkable chain of events. He wanted to strike back at the Japanese and change the whole defeatist attitude that was threatening to become pervasive in the post-Pearl Harbor America, and with our British allies. Roosevelt authorized the famed Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. The raid was planned, led by and named after Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle of the United States Army Air Forces. FDR was able to turn the corner of defeat with one bold stroke.

It was also the first time, in more than a thousand years, that the Japanese home islands were attacked. It demonstrated that the Japanese mainland was vulnerable to American air attack, served as retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor, and provided an important boost to American morale. Even though the results were almost miniscule, the political and strategic fallout was immense. The Japanese had never been attacked on their home islands, and with the knowledge that their air defenses were almost non-existent, they therefore, in an almost panic withdrew much of their naval assets from the Indian Ocean, to protect the Home Islands. The next consequence of this action was to assemble a massive fleet to strike back at America. Their aim was Midway Island. If they destroyed the American assets and presence on Midway, and occupied the island as a base, both the West Coast of America and Hawaii would be threatened. The Japanese never knew that American cryptographers had broken their naval and diplomatic codes (the Purple Codes) years before. When the speculation that Midway was confirmed as the target (the famous water desalination plant ruse) of this large Japanese force, of which some headed north to the Aleutian Islands, an American naval trap northeast of Midway was set. Of course, the rest is history.

With regards to WW II, Churchill’s strategy was basically no better than Chamberlain’s. Under his watch the British experienced disasters with the navy in Norway, the 8th Army in North Africa and its collapse at Tobruk, the insane and huge defeat and disaster in Singapore, (the worst and most costly British defeat in history), the disaster at Dunkerque, the catastrophic losses of the HMS Repulse and Prince of Wales off Hainan Island, near the Chinese mainland, the abandonment of Greece and Crete, the ill-fated attack at Dieppe, the alienation of the French and the subsequent defection of the French fleet, causing the need for it to be crippled by British naval action along with many others. He was lucky that the Nazis re-directed the Luftwaffe to bomb British cities and not go after their radar early warning stations, their aerodromes, and the British fighter defense. A smartly delivered strategy against these targets would have reduced the British to a position where their air cover became hopeless. One could say that Churchill’s greatest failure was his ego, his idea that he was a military expert, and his ability to choose the right people, for the right task.


With historical concern regarding Egypt and the Middle Eastern Command, Generals Claude Auchinleck and Archibald Wavell (both later appointed Field Marshalls) both failed miserably in North Africa, as did Wavell, who subsequently failed in Burma. General Bernard Law Montgomery (also later appointed a a Field Marshall) and the victor in the 2nd Battle of El Alamain, did not earn high marks for the slowness of his march up the Eastern side of Sicily, along with his command of British forces on the Adriatic side of Italy. Again, his failure at Market-Garden has been well-documented. His later inability to cross the Rhine River was exposed as a fruitless effort when the American Army took the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen and crossed the Rhine.

Let us not forget Lord Louis Mountbatten planned disaster at Dieppe, which cause the Canadians thousands of casualties. Also let us not forget the folly of British Lt. General Neil Ritchie, “Tobruk ist gafallen!” The surrender of the British outpost, with 30,000 men, of Tobruk in Libya with nary a shot fired. Also in 1942 the surrender of the large garrison in Singapore by Lt. General Arthur Percival to a Japanese force less than one-half the size of his 80,000 man force. This was the largest surrender of British-led forces in history.

In retrospect, as the war would move on to its successful conclusion, Churchill did have some tactical and strategic successes aside from direct American help. Their victory at Taranto that devastated the Italian fleet, the sinking of the Graf Spee, the hunting down of the Bismarck, the destruction of ten German destroyers off Norway, his later policy supporting Orde Wingate and the Chindits in Burma, his mobilizing massive bombing raids over Germany, the destruction of the French dry docks at Saint Nazaire, and his selection of Montgomery to head the British 8th along with his subsequent victory at El Alamain were strong plusses. But even with the entrance of America into the war, later British strategy with Churchill’s blessing and interference led to the huge loses in Holland with the ill-fated Market-Garden assault on the Dutch bridges. Montgomery, Churchill’s greatest choice for leadership squandered his opportunity to cross the Rhine and was trumped by the American capture of the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen.

That single event of intrepid work by American forces dealt a huge blow to German resistance on the Western front. While Montgomery was accumulating landing craft, the US Army was surging over the Rhine with men and armor, creating an unassailable bridgehead, and trapping German forces on the wrong side of the River.

Churchill was always given exceptionally high marks as an inspiring and eloquent orator before the war and during it. His ability to lead a beleaguered nation in its darkest hours can never be underrated. With that in mind, he has been awarded high marks for standing alone during the Blitz (German air attacks) and keeping up British morale despite the nightly bombings, the massive destruction and the battlefield reversals. He certainly deserved criticism for his endless micro-managing policy, interference with his generals, reversals in strategy and poor choice in military appointments. He even was very critical of his “star” appointment of General Montgomery. The victor at Alamein. Ironically, Montgomery wasn’t his first choice to command the 8th Army in Egypt.

His first selection was Lt. General Richard Gott, who killed in a plane crash. According to many of the veterans of that campaign, who were familiar with both men, they felt that Gott certainly would have lost the battle for control of Egypt, the Suez Canal and the oilfields of the Middle East. Churchill certainly opposed Operation Torch and wanted American men and material supporting Montgomery, was against Operation Anvil-Dragoon, the August, 1944 invasion of Southern France, in the days after the Normandy Invasion and the breakout into France.


The Prime Minister began to recognize the criticality and enormity of this undertaking, (the invasion of France) with regards to a complete recasting of the Allied war strategy, barely six months before the agreed launch date of Overlord. What a dilemma for Churchill and the whole Allied effort – months earlier, before the Quebec Conference (Quadrant)  – the British were talking about the invasion of Northern France sometime in 1945 or even 1946! Even though the date for the invasion was tentatively established for May 1, 1944, in Churchill’s mind it was just a “scrap of paper.” He saw, if possible, the task of the Soviets would be of defeating the Nazis, without much contribution of the Western Allies. Where that would leave Europe seems to be an unanswerable question. But, of course, Churchill imagined the Allies would go north from the Aegean into Eastern Europe and defeat the Germans in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, before the Soviets even reached Poland.  The realism of this incredible, fantasied, gambit was never in American consideration. Again, in Churchill’s mind, right up to Tehran, the agreement was nothing more than a piece of “lawyer’s paper” – as he put it, “a contract which Britain could simply decline to observe, or keep asking to defer, each moment, until the bill came due!” This was the existential problem that FDR and the American Joint Chiefs faced as their ship advanced on North Africa. But, in fact, they had no real clue to Churchill’s obstructionism, as they had no idea what was on his mind. Why liberate the Allies of Nazi Germany?

Of course, if FDR accepted Churchill’s “option” and the Soviets felt betrayed about a “real” Second Front, and worked out a separate peace, an entente-cordial, with Hitler, as opposed to more countless casualties, the US military was between a rock and a hard place –  with no obvious way of breaking the deadlock.

This is what would face FDR and his advisors as they approached the landing at Oran and his flights to Cairo and Tehran. On the HMS Renown, Churchill bounced his theories, disappointments, and angst off the very receptive Harold MacMillan (a future British Prime Minister), who was serving as the British political advisor to General Eisenhower. Churchill complained that no one listened to him and that his “military genius” was restrained by the Americans, almost like a “man whose hands were tied behind his back” Of course, as many historians have reported, his own Imperial War Staff, led by General (later Field Marshall) Alan Brooke, had grave doubts about his judgment and were constantly offended, and put out with his interference on matters of tactics. His judgement regarding commanders was also questionable. In fact, up to this time he had made numerous mistakes in personnel, dividing his forces, and not judging the strength of the enemy opposition in| the Far East, Burma and the Indian border, the Indian Ocean, ate Aegean, Dieppe, etc.

The British considered the Mediterranean as their sea, in the words of Mussolini and the old Roman adage, “Mere Nostrum!” thus as the HMS Renown safely reached Malta, where Churchill had a meeting with Lt. General Bedell Smith, Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff, one could readily see that he had no real clue what he wanted to do, and General Alan Brooke, the head of the Imperial War Staff disagreed with almost all of his decisions, his blurred vision, and his mixed messages to Anthony Eden, his Foreign Minister, to Marshall Stalin and to the Americans.

Churchill was, on the surface, quite confidant in the upcoming preliminary meeting in Cairo – codenamed Sextant, which would include Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek. Roosevelt, after making a dangerous and heroic trip across the Atlantic, was able to land safely in Dakar and eventually fly to Tunis and then to Cairo. He met with Chiang Kai-Shek, made commitments to help China so they could fight the Japanese who controlled the whole East coast of China, cooperate with our American general Joseph Stillwell, and have the huge Chinese army trained and better armed. The British objected to this meeting. They assumed when the Japanese were beaten, the French would go right back to ruling their Indochinese colonies. Churchill never wanted the precedent of de-colonization to start with removal of the decadent French, who after 100 years of rule, left that forlorn part of the world, worse than when they occupied it. He saw the eventual loss of Hong Kong, Malaya, and India as a disaster that he would do all to prevent. Well it eventually happened and will the British ever fight for Hong King? Never!

This meeting would eventually accomplish very little, Churchill was very bitter at the scheduling of the meeting with the Chinese leader, because he felt China had nothing to do with the defeat of Germany. In fact, all the promises that Churchill grudgingly made with Roosevelt would eventually be reversed by Churchill. This duplicity promulgated by the British, would later reverberate with disastrous consequences. With the ultimate failure of Sextant and Churchill’s continual disappointment with the American position on OVERLORD.

Churchill had been vacillating over OVERLORD for months, as he found excuses to pursue his unsupported adventures in the Aegean.  As for Churchill’s hopes for a quick advance to Rome, Pisa and the Tuscan Mountains they were running into tough opposition. Eventually as the Allies bogged down on the road to Rome, he grudgingly admitted things were not going his way, and he took no responsibility nor any shame at ignoring the difficulties of fighting in the mountainous eastern Mediterranean, where island by island German forces were methodically liquidating the surviving meager British forces that landed in the Aegean. It was the disastrous Battle of Crete, which the British had ignominiously lost in 1941, all over again. It seemed the Prime Minister never could re-learn the same lesson. He continued was pressuring President Roosevelt and his staff, including Eisenhower to postpone OVERLORD, and its timetable would hamstring the war in the Mediterranean and deprive the Allies of “great prizes!”

What great prizes? What and how could more adventures in the Eastern Mediterranean be sustained? Where were the supplies to come from?  In fact, barely six months from the invasion of Northern France, the whole OVERLORD concept was a theoretical undertaking in Churchill’s vision, while the Mediterranean Theater was real. He warned the President to put all of the Allied eggs in the Italian basket, not the cross-Channel gambit. One can understand without too much more explanation the angst the Field Marshall Brooke felt. He even wanted all the landing craft currently being moved to Britain for OVERLORD to be transferred to southern Italy. Aside from the Americans being astounded and alarmed, so was the British High Command.

Eventually, FDR finally was able to get his meeting with Stalin scheduled in Tehran the capital of Iran. Franklin D. Roosevelt finally gets the meeting he wants with Churchill and Stalin- the Big Three. He starts his incredible secret journey aboard the USS Iowa, our newest “super” battleship, captained by his former naval aid, Captain John McCrea. It will be a dangerous voyage in the South Atlantic crossing to Africa with all the members of the president’s top military staff, including General Marshall, the US Army Chief of Staff, Admiral Ernest King, Chief of Naval Operations, his own head of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral William Leahy, General Henry Arnold, head of the US Army Air Force and many others.

Of course, as it has been noted numerous times, the voyage was dangerous. There was always the threat regarding secrecy and security, regarding news leaks, the threat of land-based German long-range planes, new U-Boats which much more sophisticated weaponry, which had been updated by greater underwater staying power (the snorkel) and their highly secret new “smart” torpedoes. Ironically, during a ocean training session, a torpedo from an American vessel was launched by accident and headed dangerously close to the USS Iowa, where FDR and the American chiefs were traveling to the Mediterranean.

But, in reality what was really happening, was that after three days at sea, and in the “wake” of the missed torpedo, launched by an American escort, there was still the strategic crisis over the British attempt to insist on a long-delay of the proposed cross-channel (OVERLORD) invasion of Northern France. It seemed it was always about Churchill’s desire to redress his WWI failure at Gallipoli, which was an immense military disaster and cost him his job as First Lord of the Admiralty and his reputation for almost two decades, aside from his well-known failures as battlefield commander on the Western Front.

So, where was the world in November of 1943? FDR, finally, after one year of trying, was able to establish the critical meeting with Stalin, who before would never leave the Soviet Union for a number of reasons. He claimed, as the chief of their armed forces, he could never leave his direct command, he was extremely paranoid, possibly about assassination, had severe fear of flying any distance, among other personal excuses directed back to the president. The Allies were incredibly fearful about a separate German-Soviet peace. The British wanted to preserve their overseas empire, with American assistance (which was opposed by a vast majority of the American public and its leadership.) They certainly wanted to maintain their Mediterranean hegemony from Gibraltar in the West to Crete and Palestine in the East, Egypt in North Africa, with the Suez Canal, with its critical passageway to India, and their political influence over Greece and the Aegean.

As the Iowa headed for Oran, in North Africa, Churchill and his staff are heading from Britain on the HMS Renown, a World War I dreadnaught, to a similar port of call at Malta. The Prime Minister began to recognize the criticality and enormity of this undertaking, with regards to a complete recasting of the Allied war strategy, barely six months before the agreed launch date of OVERLORD. What a dilemma for Churchill and the whole Allied effort – months earlier, before the Quebec Conference (Quadrant)  – the British were talking about the invasion of Northern France sometime in 1945 or even 1946! Even though the date for the invasion was tentatively established for May 1, 1944, in Churchill’s mind it was just a “scrap of paper.” He saw, if possible, the task of the Soviets would be of defeating the Nazis, without much contribution of the Western Allies. Where that would leave Europe seems to be an unanswerable question. But, of course, Churchill imagined the Allies would go north from the Aegean into Eastern Europe and defeat the Germans in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, before the Soviets even reached Poland.  The realism of this incredible, fantasied, gambit was never in American consideration. Again in Churchill’s mind, right up to Tehran, the agreement was nothing more than a piece of “lawyer’s paper” – as he put it, “a contract which Britain could simply decline to observe, or keep asking to defer, each moment, until the bill came due!” This was the existential problem that FDR and the American Joint Chiefs faced as their ship advanced on North Africa. But, in fact, they had no real clue to Churchill’s obstructionism, as they had no idea what was on his mind.

In fact, what was on Churchill’s mind was his secret attempt to sabotage the whole cross Channel operation, known as OVERLORD, which was planned for May 1, 1944. He was plotting with his chiefs of staffs to subvert the agreements made two months earlier in Quebec. He later would totally omit this from six volume history of the war. Distinguished Cambridge historian, David Reynolds said that this was “one of the most blatant pieces of distortion in his six volume memoirs.” He constantly talked about invading the Dodecanese Islands, bringing Turkey into the war, dominating the Aegean Islands, and being then able to enter the Black Sea with the British Fleet and the aid of the Russians in all their recovery of the northern coast, the Crimea, etc. Of course, this was farcical on its face, and very close to re-living the disaster at Gallipoli in 1915.Of course, when he wasn’t getting his own way with his own staff, he threatened to resign on October 29, 1943.General Alan Brook noted in his diary, “had he gone mad!”

The question that FDR put to his advisors on November 15, 1943, – “aware that at the end of the day, there was no way to enforce the Quebec Agreement, if Churchill resigned (as he threatened to do before) or withdrew the British commitment to the military partnership for the May, of 1944 cross channel endeavor, the war against Hitler would be effectively lost. Of course, if FDR accepted Churchill’s “option” and the Soviets felt betrayed about a “real” Second Front, and worked out a separate peace, an entente-cordial, with Hitler, as opposed to more countless casualties, the US military was between a rock and a hard place –  with no obvious way of breaking the deadlock. This is what would face FDR and his advisors as they approached the landing at Oran and his flights to Cairo and Tehran. On the HMS Renown, Churchill bounced his theories, disappointments, and angst off the very receptive Harold MacMillan (a future British Prime Minister), who was serving as the British political advisor to General Eisenhower.

Churchill complained that no one listened to him and that his “military genius” was restrained by the Americans, almost like a “man whose hands were tied behind his back” Of course, as many historians have reported, his own Imperial War Staff, led by General (later Field Marshall) Alan Brooke, had grave doubts about his judgment and were constantly offended, and put out with his interference on matters of tactics. His judgement regarding commanders was also questionable. In fact, up to this time he had made numerous mistakes in personnel, dividing his forces, and not judging the strength of the enemy opposition in| the Far East, Burma and the Indian border, the Indian Ocean, ate Aegean, Dieppe, etc.

Macmillan was a perfect sounding board for Churchill, he was classically educated, a bon vivant and an English social and intellectual snob, with his Eton and Oxford education. He by nature looked down his nose at the Americans and had seemingly forgotten the many failures the British had endured, and “began to feel not gratitude for the way the US had helped save Britain in 1942 for mounting Torch (the invasion of North Africa),” but instead a discernible resentment at the growing American economy and military might in the Mediterranean.  Of course, the British considered the Mediterranean as their sea, in the words of Mussolini and the old Roman adage, “Mere Nostrum!” thus as the HMS Renown safely reached Malta, where Churchill had a meeting with Lt. General Bedell Smith, Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff, one could readily see that he had no real clue what he wanted to do, and General Alan Brooke, the head of the Imperial War Staff disagreed with almost all of his decisions, his blurred vision, and his mixed messages to Anthony Eden, his Foreign Minister, to Marshall Stalin and to the Americans.

Churchill was, on the surface, quite confidant in the upcoming preliminary meeting in Cairo – codenamed Sextant, which would include Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek. Roosevelt, after making a dangerous and heroic trip across the Atlantic, was able to land safely in Dakar and eventually fly to Tunis and then to Cairo. He met with Chiang Kai-Shek, made commitments to help China so they could fight the Japanese who controlled the whole East coast of China, cooperate with our American general Joseph Stillwell, and have the huge Chinese army trained and better armed. The British objected to this meeting. They assumed when the Japanese were beaten, the French would go right back to ruling their Indochinese colonies. Churchill never wanted the precedent of de-colonization to start with removal of the decadent French, who after 100 years of rule, left that forlorn part of the world, worse than when they occupied it. He saw the eventual loss of Hong Kong, Malaya, and India as a disaster that he would do all to prevent. Well it eventually happened and would the British ever fight for Hong King? Never!

This meeting would eventually accomplish very little. In fact, Churchill was very bitter at the scheduling of the meeting with the Chinese leader, because he felt China had nothing to do with the defeat of Germany. Realistically, all the promises that Churchill grudgingly made with Roosevelt would eventually be reversed by Churchill. This duplicity promulgated by the British, would later reverberate with disastrous consequences. With the ultimate failure of Sextant and Churchill’s continual disappointment with the American position on OVERLORD.

Here in Tehran, the capital Iran, the most important conference of the 2nd World War, certainly of the first half of the 20th Century and possibly, the whole 20th Century, until our time, the fate of Europe and the world was decided by the Big Three. Led by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who initiated this meeting and who led each session, Marshal Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union and commander of their armies and Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain and their Minister of Defense, would decide the strategy that would either win the war, prolong it, or even be forced to “broker” a peace.

In this meeting, Churchill, who objected to American command of Europe even though we were supplying two thirds to three quarters of the men and material to the Western effort! Though we were also supporting the Soviet armies with 10 to 15% of their trucks (400,000), planes, ammunition, guns, and equipment via Lend Lease through a land route using Iran as a marshalling base and the deadly North Sea route to Murmansk and Archangel, Churchill still had to be convinced that the correct path to victory over Nazi Germany was through Northern France.


Churchill seemed to have no interest in that effort, may have actually believed that the Soviets and the Nazis would bleed each other to death, wanted to preserve the British Empire at all costs, and continued to have operations in the Aegean Sea, the Dodecanese Islands, Rhodes, and points east to actuate an invasion of the Dardanelles, with the dream of enticing Turkey into the war on the Allied side. This was almost dissolution, bordering on irrational. He never abandoned the pipe dream of an effort to surge northward to liberate Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria from whom, I ask? They were allies of Germany!

They needed liberation? What about the western democracies under the thumb of four years of Nazi occupation, featuring; looting, slave labor, tyranny and murder?

What was his purpose to fight in the mountainous terrain of Yugoslavia, and divert attention away from Overlord, the invasion of France? He even opposed the invasion of Southern France, planned under the code name Anvil. Later, when he was convinced of the need for the invasion of Southern France, at Marseilles, he had the code name changed to Anvil-Dragoon, because he was “dragooned” into the controversial, but most successful operation. Later, after D-Day, in August of 1944, naval operation and its subsequent landings would move the American armies up through the Rhone River Valley, under the overall command of Admiral Kent Hewitt and General Jacob Devers. The US Army’s VI Corps, led by Major General Lucian Truscott, would carry out the initial landing and be followed by the French Army B under command of Général Jean de Lattre de Tassigny. Accompanying the operation was a fully mobilized separate detachment called “Task Force Butler”, consisting of the bulk of the Allied tanks, tank destroyers, and mechanized infantry. Regarding the immensely successful invasion of Southern France and despite Hitler’s personal order that vital coastal enclaves were to be defended to the last man, reason started to penetrate into the minds of the German defenders. The main ground force for the operation was the US Seventh Army commanded by Lt. General Alexander Patch. At that critical juncture in the Southern France Campaign (Anvil), the German High Command began to re-evaluate its entire position in the west. By August 16, with many of their divisions in danger of annihilation, the German leaders elected to order a general withdrawal from France. German General Johannes Blaskowitz was to leave strong garrisons at Toulon, Marseille, and several key Atlantic ports. Those actions only served incrementally to delay the Allied advance.. Marseille fell in less than a week. This mission of the VII Corps, strongly aided and abetted by Free French resistant forces, started to move northward. Though their supply lines were being stretched thin, all Allied Anvil commanders nevertheless agreed that keeping the initiative was paramount. Allied forces, under General Jacob Dever’s 6th Army, part of the VII Corps continued to surge northward on the heels of the retreating Germans. Eventually they would link up with Eisenhower’s forces that were sweeping south in a wide arc to encircle German forces in the Falaise Gap — the hammer striking the anvil — to finally drive the Germans out of France. Despite Churchill’s  fears, opposition and fruitless demands, the Anvil Forces overwhelmed the light German forces in what had been Vichy France, as it was then able to liberate most of Southern France.

This was another case of superior American strategy over Churchill’s continued expression of his self-importance regarding overall theories of the conduct of the war.

With regards to more of Churchill’s mistakes and his obsession with the Balkans, eventually, the Germans were driven out of Yugoslavia, with the help of the Allies, Tito and his Red-Star hatted Communists. They were triumphant as the (pro-American) Chetniks were defeated and their leader, Draz Mihailovich became a hunted man, with a price on his head.  The Allies soon recognized their colossal error, with regards to Tito, but the main burden for that failed policy fell into the laps of the British and Churchill, who later admitted it was his greatest mistake. Frankly, he made many mistakes. The Soviets through their spies in Britain, later known as the Cambridge Five, were able to convince the Brits that the Chetniks were really pro- German and that Tito and his partisans were the force to completely support. After the war, eventually after 18 months or so, on the run, Draza Mihailovich was captured. He had many opportunities to escape, but seemed to be resigned to his fate. Maybe he felt that as long as he remained at-large in Yugoslavia, there was resistance to the Communists. He was captured, indicted and tried for treason and eventually executed.

Sunny Italy turns into Bloody Italy as the Churchillian Gambit turns sour!

 Let all of us understand that the Italian Theater of combat came about for various reasons. One was that the Allies, assuredly America was not prepared for a cross-channel attack in 1942 or 1943, envisioned by American planners, like General Albert Wedemeyer, and foolishly agreed upon by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, Chief of Staff of the Army, General George C. Marshall, and head of the Navy Admiral Ernest King. Not only was America not logistically prepared, but its armies were not battle tested and they wouldn’t be until the hard fought campaign in North Africa, from the landings during Operation Torch through the defeat at the Kasserine Pass by the Afrika Korps to the final victory in Tunisia. The 2nd reason was that after the successful liberation of North Africa by the combined forces of Britain’s 8th Army, under the command of General Bernard Law Montgomery, which drove from Egypt and America’s VII Corps, commanded by General Eisenhower and spearheaded by Lt. General George C. Patton which drove from Morocco and Algiers eastward into Tunisia, there was no other choice that was sensible. Therefore, the next logical target was Sicily and the combined forces under Patton and Montgomery quickly secured the island after their successful landings, beachheads, and thrusts northward. Prime Minister Churchill, acting also as Britain’s Defense Minister even wanted invasions of Corsica and Sardinia, which were totally unnecessary. The British, with Churchill at the lead, never wanted a cross-Channel invasion and as I have demonstrated would rather have ventured further east into Rhodes and Greece. Generally speaking, it was finally agreed upon to invade Italy from the south with Montgomery crossing the straits of Messina and the American 5th Army, under Lt. General Mark Clark invading at Salerno, not far from Naples. Thus, this satisfied Churchill’s quest to attack the soft-belly of the Axis somewhere. Unfortunately, from then on almost all went wrong. The soft-belly of Italy was not soft, and British gambits in the Eastern Mediterranean were a disaster.

This set the stage for another Churchill gambit. He desperately wanted to concentrate on capturing Rome and to surge northward with an idea that he could circumvent the Alps to invade Germany, which no one in history was ever to accomplish. Did he care about the hundreds of thousands of allied causalities in the mountainous territory of Italy? Were his arguments ever sincere? That is the question. Of course, he wrote the history (a six volume set, winning himself the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953) and said he “would bury his mistakes,’ which were legion! In fact, his history was forced by law to omit the reality of ULTRA, the breaking of the German Code, and his omissions of critical issues were historically insincere and frankly terribly inaccurate.

But, what of that gambit? In truth, the disaster of Italy could be summed up in one word, “Anzio, – Operation “Shingle.” It proved as General Eisenhower and Secretary Stimson had predicted and feared, a calamity. The 43,000 Allied casualties on the beaches of Anzio and the surrounding hills, over the next 4.5 months, included over 7000 who died there would be a terrible indictment of General Brooke’s support of the latest Churchill flawed strategy, but most of all his impetuosity and shallowness. In reality, Churchill’s autocratic and often wild behavior seemed to General Brooke to be substantially worse than ever in November, 1943, when Brooke had despaired of having to work with such an impossible Commander in Chief. As of mid-January, 1944, Brooke wrote in his diary that he could not “stand more of it, ”After 4 hours of meetings with Churchill.. “In all his plans he lives hand to mouth, he can never grasp a whole plan, either in its width or its depth.” He added, “His method is entirely opportunistic, gathering one flower her another there! My God how tired I am of working with him.”

The campaign in Italy went from bad to worse- no less than three bloody battle were fought at the foothills of Monte Cassino, with little or no results as the stranded forces at Anzio could not linkup with General Clark’s forces. Italy was, as Admiral William Leahy, FDR’s person Chief of Staff had predicted, a disaster. This was the “soft under-belly of the Axis?” Anzio was, in short, a mess, a catastrophe as Rome was still as far away as ever. This caused the shaken Prime Minister to plead for an emergency meeting with the President and the American chiefs of staff in the United States of the Bahamas. Because Roosevelt’s lingering bronchitis, it would never happen.

More problems would ensue between Churchill and the British chiefs of staff. In fact it would get much worse. By March of 1944, the entire British Chiefs were on the point of resignation! To Brooke, Churchill “has lost all balance and is in a very dangerous mood!”

Aside from the immediate problems caused by Churchill and the British command of the Mediterranean Theater, President Roosevelt, who received tremendous support from Marshall Stalin, felt that Stalin knew for sure more about military strategy than Churchill. FDR pointed out all the pitfalls regarding Turkey, the Aegean and the so-called worthlessness of attacking the so-called “soft under belly” of the Axis. For sure again, Italy was no “soft belly!” Why was the attack and occupation of Rhodes so important to Churchill? Where would that lead? In fact, the British were just thrown out of that region by strong German defenses and counter attacks. He seemed to have forgotten the British failures in Crete, Greece including 1940 and the later ones in 1943, in the Peloponnese, the Dodecanese region, along with the islands of Leros and Rhodes. And the question remains, what was Churchill’s ideas and was he even sincere about invading France even in 1945 or 1946?

Roosevelt was insisting on the American command of the cross channel invasion of France. He intimated that it would be the well-respected General George C, Marshall, the current US Chief of Staff. This was approved by Stalin and Churchill, but the British Prime Minister, who wanted British command of all of Europe, insisted that if the Americans commanded the Overlord Operation the British would command the Mediterranean. Of course, this would be his chance to divert forces back to the Aegean. This compromise, would lead to the backtracking of aid to China, a cancelling of Operation Buccaneer, the invasion of Andaman Islands, which caused the Chinese leadership to lose faith in American and allied support. The Nationalist Chinese thus focused their forces on the communists and Mao Zedong, who controlled northwest China. This turned out to be long-term disaster for China, Indochina, and the immediate postwar future of Southern Asia.

In the end, it was not Marshall who would command SHAEF and OVERLORD. It would be Eisenhower. The conventional wisdom was that Marshall would go to London and Eisenhower to the Pentagon as the new Chief of Staff. Of course, for many reasons this was never going to happen. FDR never really wanted Marshall out of Washington and the United States. Harry Hopkins, as FDR’s emissary, asked Marshall which he wanted, to remain Chief of Staff or the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force?

Marshall answered that he would serve the President in any role, with cheerful enthusiasm that the President wished. This was typical of Marshal and FDR saw that he would not make a “personal” commitment!” No one knows what was on FDR’s mind about Marshall’s future role. But, this enabled him to choose Eisenhower. He finessed Britain with the specter of Marshall as the Supreme Commander and he finally choose the most experienced officer in the field, General Eisenhower, who commanded American troops in North Africa and Sicily! In fact, FDR had consulted the aged General John J. Pershing, who knew and respected Marshall, but warned against his appointment.

Churchill, in the continued wake of his disappointments after the conferences at Casablanca, Quebec, etc., continued to fester over the thwarting of his desires to attack, up and through, the Aegean area all the way to the Dardanelles. He never seemed to come to the realization that these adventures were to never happen, no less succeed. In the meantime, the campaign in Italy had slowed down dramatically, the difficult terrain benefitted the defending German army, and the casualties were mounting at an alarming rate. The American command, and especially, FDR never saw the conquest of Italy as a strategic lynch pin for success. They were happy to have German divisions diverted from the Eastern Front with the Soviets and, thus have their manpower and supplies drained. For sure, the liberation of Rome was not a strategic objective, needed at all costs. Almost immediately, as Eisenhower relinquished command of the Mediterranean sector to the British, Churchill pushed for another invasion, up the boot of Italy at Anzio, which turned out to be another military quagmire, with the great loss of both American and British lives.

As Eisenhower was later to recall, “It was difficult to escape the feeling that Mr. Churchill’s views were colored” by considerations “outside the scope of the immediate military problem,” that the Prime Minister was all too, interested in personal objectives, and happy to disregard the military challenges involved, when it suited him. It seemed to Eisenhower that Churchill preferred to focus on British political needs, even personal prizes of low-hanging “fruits” dangling before him in his capacious mind. When “fired up about a strategic project, logistics (maybe reality) did not exist for him. Eisenhower reflected, about Churchill that “Combat troops just floated forward and around obstacles – nothing was difficult.”

Once again, Churchill’s interference with the goals of Tehran proved costly to allied efforts with regards to blood and treasure. Eventually, with the August invasion of Marseilles, in the Anvil-Dragoon Operation, Churchill was proven quite incorrect. He, even in one of his more lucid moments, admitted it was his greatest mistakes. Unfortunately, throughout the war, there were many, “greatest mistakes” from Norway, to Singapore, to Tobruk, to Anzio, and his operation to the southern invasion of France.

The most remarkable consequence of his actions was that General Brooke, Chief of the Imperial Army and his staff didn’t resign en masse regarding Churchill’s interference, inconstancies, casting of blame, and ranting diatribes, In fact, after the war all of their diaries supported their concerns about Churchill’s stability. Did this ever happen with Roosevelt, his staff, his war cabinet or anyone around him? No!

The End Game, OVERLORD and the Long Sought and Anticipated Invasion of Northern France!

Of course, on D-Day, June 6, 1944, all the arguments ended, the hand-wringing and doubts were superfluous. The beachhead was secured, eventually there was the anticipated Breakout and the earlier mentioned invasion of Southern France, Operation Anvil-Dragoon, proved a brilliant success. Roosevelt and the American planners were right. The VII Corps and the 6th and 7th US Armies moved up the Loire Valley, cut through Vichy, France and eventually linked up with General Patton’s 3rd Army as the Germans were in a general retreat from France.

The question over Churchill’s competence echoed through the British Imperial War Staff. Churchill was not immune to the stress and ravages of age and his consumption of copious amounts of alcohol. After Tehran, Churchill had collapsed in Tunis and reports had surfaced that he had died. Of course, the reports were unfounded, but he was seriously ill. But, with that reality in mind, many were speculating whether he could continue to serve as Prime Minister.

Churchill had suffered other health setbacks, including mild heart attacks and bout with the flu and pneumonia, including in the days after his late December, 1941, visit to the White House. In the midst of FDR’s latest health crisis, Churchill rapidly recovered from pneumonia and atrial fibrillation.

Therefore, by September of 1944, another meeting between FDR and Churchill had become superfluous and redundant. There was no way that the ailing President Roosevelt was going to meet Churchill in Scotland or almost anywhere else, except in North America, especially in the midst of the presidential campaign.  As the time for the next Quebec Conference approached, both western leaders were seriously ill. On the voyage west to meet with their American colleagues on the Combined Chiefs of Staff committee, at the Chateau de Frontenac, Churchill was quite impossible to argue with. Field Marshall Brooke later recalled, “It was a ghastly time which I carried away the bitterest of memories!” Churchill felt the same about his top two commanders, Brooke and Admiral Andrew Cunningham.

Thus, to sum up the Quebec Conference with regards to Churchill’s speech to the gathered fourteen chiefs and their staffs, his objectives regarding Vienna and Singapore were totally dismissed out of hand, as FDR punctured all of his trial balloons. FDR doubted that the Germans or the Japanese were about to fold.

The Japanese were beyond fanatical and suicidal on Saipan and the Germans eventually would retreat behind the wide Rhine River. He also predicted that there would be another huge German offensive in the West. Eventually he was proven right as the Germans attacked in the Ardennes, known historically as the Battle of the Bulge. As for fortress Singapore, FDR for sure didn’t want to attack fortified positions with the high resultant casualties, unless the position had strategic importance. Singapore had no strategic importance and he recommended that it be isolated from the north with an effort in the Malay Peninsula.

Churchill still wanted to reach Vienna from the Adriatic and he was coming to Quebec, with hat in hand, to solely obtain 20 landing ships to carry out an operation against Istria (a peninsular in the Adriatic) to seize Trieste. No matter what the British Staff reacted up against Churchill’s futile protestations, their objections went to “dead and deaf” ears! “Was Churchill then mad,” Brooke wondered or “perhaps ill?”

The next day of the voyage, Churchill’s fever increased and he became increasingly worse. Field Marshal Brooke recorded in his diary. “He knows no details, has only half the picture in his mind, talks absurdities and makes my blood boil to listen to his nonsense!”


Brooke also wrote, “I find it hard to remain civil,” and he continued, “The wonderful thing is that three-quarters of the population of the world imagines that Winston Churchill is one of the great strategists of history, a second Marlborough and the other one-quarter have no conception what a public menace he is and has been throughout the war!” Of course, FDR, in the midst of the presidential campaign, was a shadow of his former self, who was trying to end the war without more unnecessary, further bloodshed. He wasn’t looking for more “side shows” or gambits to satiate more imperial desires of Churchill. His objective was to defeat Germany, get the United Nations concept in place, and secure the peace.

Therefore, the critical Big Three meeting, known as the Yalta Conference was scheduled for the Crimea. The USS Quincy, a heavy cruiser, and a sister ship to the USS Baltimore, carried FDR on his last overseas odyssey to Yalta. He was accompanied by his daughter Anna, and a small entourage on board, which included his Chief of Staff Admiral Leahy, his Director of War Mobilization, former US Supreme Court Justice James (Jimmy) F. Byrnes, his Press Secretary Steve Early, his political advisor Ed Flynn, from the Bronx, his naval and military aides, his two doctors and three officers from the White House map room.

On January 31, 1945 as they passed into the Mediterranean through the Straits of Gibraltar, they celebrated FDR’s 63rd birthday, one day earlier. On February 2nd they entered into the Grand Harbor at Valletta, Malta and disembarked. All of bomb ravaged Malta was out to greet him along with Ambassador Harriman, Harry Hopkins, his personal assistant, and Anthony Eden. Ed Flynn remarked, “It was quite an emotional moment!” One could just imagine how this small island, which endured 1000 air raids welcomed this great leader of the United Nations and the Western Allies.

After their stay in Malta, he and his intimate team, bordered a newly furbished C-54, the latest, newly equipped version of his plane, the “Sacred Cow.” (An early version of Air Force One). The plane was screened by six fighter planes and escorted to Russia.

Churchill, from his perspective, according to Harry Hopkins, dreaded the conference and despised the location. But, since Churchill had flown to meet personally with Stalin in Moscow, he wasn’t going to be left out of this conference. As damaged as Yalta was by the Nazis invaders and looters, who even took out the piping in most of the buildings, including the summer residence of the former Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II. The Livadia Palace, was meticulously restored and rehabilitated by the Russians. Frankly, it was in excellent condition.

In the last few months of his life FDR struggled to balance the interests of the West, the special relationship with Great Britain, and the criticality of building trust with the Soviet Union and their leader Josef Stalin. He understood the anxiety of the Russians; their fear of the rise of German militarism in the future, and he also knew that the Soviets feared a united Western Alliance, bent on their destruction. He envisioned a Big Four, comprised of the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the emerging China, which would keep the peace, work for decolonization, and build understanding between competing economic and social systems. He understood the dynamic of nationalism and he also understood clearly that the Soviet Union was in control of Eastern Europe and that they would not easily give up their hard earned, with blood and treasure, buffer. He certainly didn’t believe it was in America’s interest to fight a 3rd World War over Poland’s sovereignty. Despite the opinion of his conservative critics, FDR was quite aware of what he was doing at Yalta. He tried to build confidence in Stalin, by showing him that the West was not in monolithic lockstep. He did annoy Churchill, who couldn’t understand his tactic, and it was basically the British who criticized his health and attentiveness. Almost all the others did not see FDR as the “weak sister” of the conference. He was for sure the leader of the Big Three and he also understood the reality of “Russian boots on the ground.” During his later address to a Joint Session of Congress he addressed that reality. There were few who could disagree with his evaluation.

But, in truth, it was only FDR who could have handled the post-war dilemma regarding peace or potential Cold War. As for Yalta, FDR comported himself quite well, and all the revisionist right-wing fiction can’t change the facts.

We could not have won the war without Stalin or the Soviet Red Army. They had 10+ million soldiers on the Eastern Front, they distrusted the Western Allies’ sincerity, especially Churchill, who had little clue how to lead a peace-time nation. The Soviets feared a resurrected Germany, and its partition was well justified. Unfortunately, because of the ensuing Cold War, Germany escaped greater and more deserved draconian punishment. At least in the Soviet Zone they suffered more deservedly then in the three Western Occupation Zones.

The great reason for the failed peace was the death of FDR, because he was the only one with the skills and prestige to lead the West and insure the peace. Truman did as best as he could, considering his inexperience and poor advice. As to the West, its fear of communism obfuscated the crimes of the Fascists, Nazis and the other Eastern European strongmen, who brutalized Germany, Italy and all the countries east of the Oder-Neisse. The dictators of Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania were not democratically inclined and Poland was run by a military junta. FDR was not going to commit the US to go to war over Poland and he had stated that the Russians and Poles had hated each other for centuries and they both had blood on their hands. Poland was the “trip wire” with regards to Britain and France. They had no special allegiance to Poland and their treaties were signed to draw the line, with regards to German aggression. As for the Soviet Union, they were making geo political deals to survive no differently than the West. With Stalin, he was just another in a long line of oligarchs who had run Russia forever. The crimes of the Romanov’s, which had lasted 400 years, were not much different than the Bourbons of France and the other royal dynasties that disappeared in Austria and Spain. As Napoleon sagely said, “The victors write the history.” In the same sense, that the Soviets and the Russian people, after hundreds of years of oppression, turned to another system and, for better or worse, supported it. Was Churchill more aware of the threat of the Soviet Union than Roosevelt, or was a healthy FDR much more capable of handling Stalin, the Soviet Union, and encouraging their trust in the West? That is the eternal question.

For sure, Churchill’s vast mistakes in strategy were mostly a consequence of an inflated ego and a self-belief that he was an unequalled military genius, a mid-2th Century Carl von Clausewitz.

Churchill was a great man, with unparalleled oratorical skills, a polished writer, a wonderful artist, but understandably was most interested in preserving the British Empire. He stated it! Long-time, Canadian Prime Minister MacKenzie King, when comparing President Roosevelt and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, he wrote in his dairy, “Churchill has been raised up to meet the need of the day in the realm of war, to fight, with the power of the sword, the brute beasts that would devour their fellow men in the lust for power.” He also added, “Roosevelt might not be a greater man as an orator, or military ‘genius’; nevertheless he was a greater man!”



Of course, Prime Minister King was a dear friend of FDR, and he stated, “The President has overtaxed his strengths in other ways (than Churchill’s drinking). His fight for the people has made him many and bitter enemies!” As a consequence of his long political leadership from being the Governor of New York during the early days of the Great Depression, along with his long social, economic and political leadership of America from 1933 through the attack on Pearl Harbor, “he has been sincere in his determination to better the conditions of the masses, he is more human than Churchill!”

FDR never anticipated his own death and no matter how much he would have brought Vice-President Truman into the councils of his own thoughts and strategy, he could not guide Truman’s hand from the grave. Truman, with all of his limitations, turned out to be a strong and resolute chief executive. Of course, Averill Harriman and the other “Cold Warrior” hardliners won the day, but ironically both he and George Kennan reversed their thinking on reengaging with the Moscow.

In the words of Professor Frank Costigliola, author of FDR and the Lost Alliances, “It was Harriman, who had worked most tirelessly to distort and undo Roosevelt’s vision, who later paid the most poignant testimony to his wartime boss.  Harriman later stated, “FDR was basically right in thinking he could make progress by personal relations with Stalin… The Russians were utterly convinced that the change came as result of the shift from Roosevelt to Truman.”  Harriman added, “If Roosevelt had lived with full vigor, it’s very hard to say what could have happened because – Roosevelt could lead the world.”

Of course FDR’s death, like Lincoln’s almost exactly eighty years earlier had proven to be a disaster for America. Great leadership is not easy to develop. Truman, though an excellent president, who history has treated quite kindly, could not fill the Seven League boots of his great predecessor.

Palestine Postscript:

FDR Report to Congress

In his report to Congress on March 1, 1945, Roosevelt declared that he had learned “more about the “Moslem problem, the Jewish problem, by talking with Ibn Sa’ud for five minutes” than he had ever known before. This statement and its meaning have been debated for generations and many have shaped their own interpretation. FDR, who was fighting exhaustion along with his hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and advanced heart disease, was not in any condition to over-explain the meaning of his words. But, according to many interpreters of his remarks, what he basically said; was that he learned that the Saudis were adamantly against any Jewish State, they would never make a deal, and any compromise that the Zionists assumed could happen, was not to be accomplished. Therefore, what he was responding to was, that all the “dreams” of a Zionist State would not happen with Arab consent, and they were not going to consent. Of course, in the last few months of his life, FDR did assure both the Zionists in America of his continued support and the British and the Arabs that he would not unilaterally force a Zionist state on them without their consent. This dualism is not easily answered. In a sense FDR was continuing his balancing act with his British Allies. He understood their deep reliance on both India, with their large Muslim population and their long relationship with the Arabs. Certainly he did want not to threaten their unity with extraneous issues not related to winning the war in both Europe and Japan. He was unaware that the Atomic Bomb would be successfully tested in the coming months, and therefore he looked forward to a long bitter and bloody struggle to subdue and conquer Japan. Again, Roosevelt was also exhausted by his 12,000+ mile trip back and forth to Yalta.

Geoffrey Wheatcroft excoriates Churchill, in “Churchill’s Shadow.”

In his historiography at the end, Geoffrey Wheatcroft gives Andrew Roberts, author of “Walking with Destiny,” the long, well researched, and received, one-volume history of Winston Churchill, credit for writing such a splendid book. But he dismisses it as not only hagiography at its finest, but part of the whole unsettling problem of not being honest about this iconic man and the price we have paid for this dishonesty. Wheatcroft has a point … in fact, many points. A truly well-regarded journalist, a direct and deeply informed contrarian, Wheatcroft succeeded in returning Churchill to the position he had devolved to in the years after his second try as Prime Minister. Churchill, of course, wrote his very well-received and Nobel Prize winning (1953) History of World War II, which seemed to reflect the words of Napoleon, “The victors write the history!” He wrote the history according to his own ego and seemed to ignore the myriad of mistakes and misjudgments that were rife with his leadership.

Meanwhile, aside from the war, Wheatcroft excoriates Churchill from the Boer War onward regarding many aspects of his life, including; his spending, debt, drinking and writing. He criticizes his use of a large staff to write his books, the use of ghost writers for many of his columns, and his taking of official documents for his own use. Unfortunately, truth be known, most of the books were written by a committee of researchers and writers, who often plagiarized other works, including large tracts about the Pacific War, especially from Samuel Eliot Morrison’s 15 volume, history of the US Navy operations during World War II. In fact, Churchill, who made his living writing struggled with publishers over the various rights he agreed to over the years. Often there were competing claims, that if it had been anyone else, there would have been embarrassing litigation.

He criticizes his attitude on race and empire. He criticizes him on his flip-flops on all sorts of issues, regarding the bombing of Germany, especially Dresden, (I personally couldn’t have cared less if they destroyed every German city), Stalin, Mussolini, Turkey, the Middle East, etc. He is very critical of his relationships with Beaverbrook, Bracken and a number of others who he considers brigands and exploiters. He certainly does not ignore his drinking and his tax problems, nor his abject failure with his children, especially his loutish son, Randolph. Wheatcroft is a conservative, Tory and he certainly goes after him on his leadership of the party in the post war period.

In 1945, the British public hardly rewarded their hero. In the general election of that year, his party was given its worse defeat since 1806. Churchill had failed often in his roles in domestic, British governance before WWI. For these failures, aside from his disastrous role in the WWI catastrophe at Gallipoli, he was out of the Tory leadership for years.

After his lack-luster, health-hindered, second try as Prime Minister, Churchill’s reputation withered in the decade before his death in 1965, and declined even more in the years that followed. Churchill’s reputation was rekindled by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, who both needed a “conservative” hero. In fact, he was more popular here than in Britain. But, of recent date, British historian Nigel Hamilton, brutalized Churchill’s role in WWII as one of ineptitude, failure and interference in his monumental trilogy, “FDR at War.” No doubt he rallied the British people in their “Darkest Hour,” in 1940, but he went severely downhill from there with mistakes and misjudgment after mistake.

By the way, Wheatcroft comes from impeccable Tory credentials, so this is not a partisan or ideological fight. Rather, he is quite literally trying to set the record straight and if those stupid blurbs on Amazon are any indication, he has upset a lot of people. In truth, Churchill, even according to Andrew Roberts, who I greatly respect, and who I interviewed twice on my radio show, The Advocates, conceded that Churchill was always great “theater” and entertainment in Parliament, but with hardly any followers. The basic reason was that few trusted him, and his actions in WWII made even his intimates and his Imperial Military Staff wary of his judgment. Even FDR, who had fabulous patience was frustrated by his great western ally and partner.

All in all, revisionism is a fact of life, and though out the ages all the notables have been reviewed, at one time or another, often with pointed criticism. Some of it sticks, most of it doesn’t. Remember, no biographer knows the whole truth (except maybe Robert Caro) and no autobiographer tells the whole truth (even if they did, no one would really believe it). As for his literary contribution, Churchill’s greatest vulnerability, to me, is his six volume “History of the 2nd World War.” Most modern day critics, disagree with a great deal of his telling of his role.






Alonzo Hamby’s “Man of Destine, FDR, a Political Life,” and Robert Dallek’s “FDR, a Political Life.” Richard J. Garfunkel 1-8-23

History, they say, is the greatest teacher. Unfortunately, in this generation, most are guilt about not reading the lessons of the past. As usual, I am reading two more books on FDR, basically with a focus on his political life- Alonzo Hamby’s “Man of Destine, FDR, a Political Life,” and Robert Dallek’s  “FDR, a Political Life.”  In truth nothing has changed in the last 100 years. There is no real need to go back too much further, because America was much more rural, with a completely different set of economic dynamics. The same forces of economic imperative, culture, race, greed and fear existed and it was worse.

One thing for sure that hasn’t changed is the “cult of the personality!” In a sense, all the good meaning and the important achievements of the New Deal (with its failures) would never have worked politically without the immense personal popularity of FDR. In the same sense he faced massive opposition even in the heart of the Depression and the recovery. Let us not forget that in 1932, after three years of the Depression, with possibly 1/3 of the country out of work, Hoover still received 39% of the vote against a very popular governor of NY, who in the last election, won by 725,000 votes, more than twice the record margin that had achieved in any state in history, in any state or federal election (Al Smith won in 1922 as governor with 325,000 or so votes), a man with a famous name, a successful governor and a person, who was thought of as conquering polio. In fact, in FDR’s life up to 1928, when he first ran for governor, he would have been famous for his charitable work, especially at Warm Springs. Let us not forget, that the millions who voted for Hoover in 1932, most often voted for Landon in 1936 and for sure Nixon and Goldwater. The 21 year old’s would be in their 50’s.

In the same sense we face the same dynamic with Trump, just like the country faced with Huey Long, Father Coughlin, Charles Lindbergh, etc. It is all reflective of a hero who (supposedly) represents what a segment of the population wants. There are great rational and irrational fears in America regarding the border, libertarian freedoms of the far left and the right, the widening gap between the rich and poor, the changing racial demographics, the high cost of housing, education and healthcare and the culture itself. Many American young people are reflective of the film ,”The Last Picture Show.” They have no clue what they can do, where they will live, they are not getting married, children aren’t being born and there are two distinct Americas: one where people can raise their family, educate them, send them to camp, with specialty programs with social and physical enrichment, along with the proper connections and all the rest. Just look at the rural South and  West from the Mississippi to the Rockies in the 20’s and 30’s and today.  No matter what all of us know, we are part of the elite that at another time, folks looked up to and aspired to be part of. That has changed dramatically, and the illusion of Andy Hardy and Ozzie and Harriet (which had some rationale) has disappeared forever! Interestingly, it disappeared with Ricky (Rick) Nelson who became a rock and roll star and whose life spiraled far away from the life he was raised.

In the last week or so, as I scrolled through the television, I noticed at least 6-8 college basketball teams and all the players on both sides of the court, from different sections of the country were non-white (Black). Their hair, their tattoos and their style of playing was incredibly foreign to me. Did I care? Not that much since I haven’t watch any basketball since the end of Larry Bird’s career. But to many middle (aged and in the flyover states) Americans, I am sure they wondered why there was not one white player on the courts. One can see the same in the NBA, and it is reaching close to that in the NFL. In baseball, without Latino/Hispanics, half the teams, or more, would be gone. The commercials and the sitcoms represent a different racial America, reflective of the younger elements of the population, which is the audience the advertisers want to see. In Britain, there is a popular program, “Midsomer Murders,” which is in its 23rd season and we have seen all of the 120+ shows. It is set in very, well-off British exurbia. For the first 18 seasons it was lily white to the nth degree. Now each episode has Blacks integrated into every aspect of the plot. But, in fact, there are virtually no Blacks who live in this area and the idea of inter-marriage is absurd. In fact, that characters are Black is completely ignored, so after social criticism of the program’s make up, they made the changes. But, I am sure older folks are bewildered by the casting.

Thus, this divide transcends politics. It is something engrained in people.  Therefore, others like the wealthy Liberty League in the 30’s (Long, Father Coughlin, Gerald Lk Smith) or FOX Noise today (or the Klan, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the Michigan Militia, etc), cater to the disenchanted. They keep on telling their audience that someone else is getting all the benefits of our society. In other words your legacy along with the country and the social order you love is being stolen!



MARILYN MONROE-Film Icon Richard J. Garfunkel 11-22-2022

Marilyn Monroe remains a film and American con, not unlike others that died young, starting with Jeanne Eagles, a star of the 1920s, who died of drugs and alcoholism at age 39. Others, like Jean Harlow, the first blond bombshell, Judy Garland, and James Dean followed that same path to fan immortality. Aside from Monroe, there were many other great women stars, and the critics knew talent when they saw it: Greta Garbo, Bette Davis, Mary Astor, Greer Garson, Meryl Streep, Claudette Colbert, Vivian Leigh, Barbara Stanwyck, Katherine Hepburn, Jean Arthur, Susan Hayworth, Deborah Kerr, Audrey Hepburn and Ginger Rogers among many others. By the way, they were all attractive. If not, they could never have made it in the Golden Age of Hollywood.

As for blond bombshells there have been many that followed Jean Harlow, like, Virginia Mayo and Carol Landis. But no one could capture to her electricity. Others, like; Lana Turner, Betty Grable and ultimately Marilyn Monroe were the heirs to Harlow. Monroe certainly created a new look that brought on her own imitators, like Jayne Mansfield, Diana Dors, Joi Lansing, and Carol Wayne, who was an almost a regular on the Johnny Carson Show.

With Marilyn, no one could deny her sex appeal and film charisma. But, In fact, I would judge Jean Harlow to be miles ahead of Monroe in talent. She also had her problems with her mother and her home life, like Mary Astor and many others. Throughout Hollywood history a number of husbands exploited their working wives, but in fact, neither Jim Daugherty, baseball super star, Joe DiMaggio nor famed playwright Arthur Miller exploited her. She dumped first husband Jim Daugherty, DiMaggio was a misogynist and had no clue regarding social graces, and Miller dumped his first wife for her. What else is new? Nothing can be deprecated regarding her strong sex-appeal. But this is nothing new in the world of Hollywood. In fact, the original “It Girl,” was Clara Bow. There were many, many others like, Lauren Bacall, Ava Gardner, Hedy LaMarr and Rita Hayworth, who many fans often call great actresses. They were far from it. Some have had more talent than others, but they would hardly be compared with other stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood: Greta Garbo, Bette Davis, Greer Garson, Joan Crawford, Ida Lupino, Claudette Colbert, Rosalind Russell, Vivien Leigh, Irene Dunne, and Barbara Stanwyck

For sure, not every evaluation is based on sex or sexism. Not every man is a male chauvinist, and there have been countless women who have taken advantage of their good looks to climb up the ladder of fame, success and fortune. I believe, and know, that Monroe had enough talent to come off the pages of the fan magazine, pass a screen text, and be shaped by the body and face sculptors of Hollywood. After that re-make effort, one must really judge her body of work, not just her body! Frankly, I have always liked her in pretty much whatever she did. But, whom am I, but another red-blooded American boy!

Obviously there are film buffs, critics, casual fans and others who buy into “the cult of the personality.” In reading various comments on Marilyn Monroe, one finds two overwhelming dynamics: one an over-analysis of all of her films as some critics and fans try to find the secret to her electricity, allure, and as Billy Wilder said, “flesh appeal” and the other, a more detailed look at what she really accomplished, the depth of her roles, her actual skills and how they evolved.


Band of Brothers- Another Perspective Richard J. Garfunkel July 20, 2022 (78th Anniversary of the Plot to kill Hitler and 53rd Anniversary of Mankind’s Landing on the Moon)

The title of the book and series comes from the St Crispin’s Day Speech in William Shakespeare‘s play Henry V, delivered by King Henry before the Battle of Agincourt.

“From this day to the ending of the World,…we in it shall be remembered…we band of brothers.”

 David Kenyon Webster was a very well-educated, privileged child of a well-off Republican family from Bronxville, NY, who was the author of Parachute Infantry, a memoir written not long after the war, but rejected by the publishers, He had a number of articles published in the Saturday Evening Post in the 1950s. This book was first published in 1994, decades after his death in 1961.

For people who are unaware of the Village of Bronxville, it is small community, one square mile wide, is part of the town of Eastchester, NY and its population in 1940 was 6,888 and today it is 6,656. It is a very wealthy community with the average household income of over $340,000 in 2020.  The demographics today are 87.5% white, 1% African –American and 7% Asian. The rest are mostly Hispanic or Latino. Today it is moderately liberal, but in 1940 it was 100% white and the registration was probably close to 100% Republican. In 1940, it was most probably 100% white and 100% Christian. In the election of 1940, FDR defeated Willkie in the State of NY by: 51.5 to 48%. In Westchester County, Willkie won with 62.3% and in Bronxville, I am sure Willkie was the overwhelming winner. That was the nature of Webster’s hometown in 1940.

In fact, there was a time in the post war years where Bronxville was known as a restricted community and no Jews or Blacks lived there. It was the home of the rich and famous, whose business and social interests were in NYC.  Joseph P. Kennedy moved there with his family in 1927, which included his 2nd son Jack, who become the 33rd President of the United States. It was there that most of the children were raised until the onset of WWII.

After the war, Webster wrote a long account of his time with Easy Company, but his book, Parachute Infantry, was never published until decades after his untimely death in 1961. The essence of this story is about his time with the 506th Regiment along with many of his deeply interesting and revealing letters he sent home to his family.

Webster attended Harvard University and was an English Literature major. He volunteered for the Airborne Paratroopers and was trained in Taccoa, GA with the rest of the Easy Company, the 506th Regiment, of the 2nd Battalion, of the legendary 101st Airborne Division. Easy Company and their exploits were the subject of Band of Brothers, which Stephen Ambrose wrote his well- received book. Eight years later, in 2000, it was made into a very popular and honored, 10-part production by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, which was presented on HBO. Webster was the only Harvard man in the 101st who was an English literature major. In fact, he may have been the only Harvard man in that unit. After training in Taccoa, Georgia, he arrived in England in 1944, and continued his and the 101st Division’s preparation for the D-Day invasion.  On June 6th 1944, with the 101st Airborne Division, he jumped at midnight with his company and the 101st Airborne, hours before the planned invasion and miles behind the beaches onto the Normandy Peninsular.

There, amongst the chaos of the nighttime jump, the scattered men finally coalesced into fighting units and inflicted considerable damage on the confused Nazi forces, which were billeted miles from the beachheads. As for Webster, he landed off-course, nearly alone, and almost drowned in the flooded fields behind Utah Beach. He was wounded a few days later in a firefight and was evacuated back to England. It was not a serious wound, but he never discusses why his rehabilitation took so long.

This action was covered extensively in the HBO production and Webster’s departure for England was noted. A few months later, he rejoined the 506th in England and he parachuted into the Netherlands as part of Operation Market-Garden. During Market-Garden, the company advanced towards the last bridge over the River Nederrijn (the lower Rhine River) near Arnhem that would lead into Germany. While participating in an attack in the no-man’s land, called “the Island” (also referred to as “The Crossroads”), he was wounded in the leg by machine gun fire. He was evacuated to a hospital and spent the next several months recuperating in England. The last bridge was never taken, the attack to circumvent the Siegfried Line and go straight into the heart of Germany was a colossal failure, with immense Allied casualties.

In, Parachute Infantry, along his very detailed letters, he relates an accurate and personal memoir of his experience in combat. He never refers to his training in Taccoa, GA or England. He never discusses his time recovering from his two non-life threatening battle wounds,  but he describes intimately how the war affects him, his buddies and the immediate action, deprivation, fear, and losses of the men around him.

What is most interesting is that Ambrose’s book is mostly a fictional re-creation of the real events involving Easy Company from Normandy, to the taking of the Carentan on the Cotentin Peninsular, to their deployment back to England, their parachuting into Holland as part of the massive British-planned Market-Garden Operation, their trial at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, the attacks on Foy and Haguenau, the liberation of concentration camps, and eventually their reaching Hitler’s mountain top home, the Eagle’s Nest in Berchtesgaden, where all the top Nazis had homes.

Band of Brothers, which was written in 1992, featured a number of the accounts of the still-alive veterans of Easy Company. Of course, it included many others; including Colonel Robert Sink their regimental commander, their early Company Commander, Captain Herbert Sobel, who was the much disliked Jewish martinet, who trained them at Taccoa, Captain Ronald Speirs, who was a very tough and heroic officer, and Captain Lewis Nixon, a Yale College graduate and a very well-off, son of a rich family, who was a very close compatriot of Captain Richard Winters. Captain Winters was the featured individual in the series and the commander in charge of Easy Company until Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge. He is eventually promoted to Major and elevated to command the 2nd Battalion. There are a number of others that are widely mentioned, like Private Joe Liegott, all the non-commissioned officers (Sergeants) as well as Webster, Lipton, Malarkey, Powers, Toye, Muck, Hoobler, Guarnere, and Compton.

What fascinated me most was that where I could compare the detail regarding events involving Webster and his company, his accounts differed wildly from the HBO productions. The main differences were, of course, the disaster at Market-Garden, the famous problem of “a bridge too far” and the ensuing disaster at Arnhem. But, of course, Webster had a very small role and a limited knowledge of what transpired. When it came to the long vigil and the raid on the town of Haguenau, France, along with the taking of the ruined Eagle’s Nest (Hitler’s home and mountain retreat,) above the town of Berchtesgaden, there hardly were any similarities. In fact, there seemed to be very little connection between their billet in Austria after the German surrender and the events portrayed in the HBO production.

As the war in Europe started to reach its last phase, there was the presidential election in November of 1944, approximately six months before Hitler’s death and the surrender of Nazi Germany. Webster wanted to vote and he walked over two miles to cast his ballot. He wrote, “That made me happy. I had to walk almost two miles to cast my ballot. But I would have walked ten, if necessary, because it was my first vote – I was 22 in June – and I had always wanted to cast it for Roosevelt, the greatest President we had ever had and the only one who ever gave the working man a break.”

Webster went on, “Roosevelt had faced and overcame the two greatest crisis America had suffered: the worst depression in history and the world’s biggest war. He was a politician, as crafty and conniving as any, for politics is a cesspool of lying lawyers, but his work was greater than the man, and the country was better for it. The rich Republicans hated Roosevelt for helping the working man for encouraging the labor unions to wringing a fair day’s wages for a fair day’s work out of employers who had never heard of such a thing before and for putting fair-employment practice that had been considered outrageously Socialistic. Roosevelt helped the unemployed when Herbert Hoover, the last Republican, an engineer who never quite understood humanity, had said, “Let every man help is brother,’ when he knew perfectly well that that the rich weren’t about to help the poor, never had and never would. I (Webster) had grown up with Republicans and gone to school and college with them and was sickened by their selfishness and their cold avarice and lofty contempt for the common people. I had sworn to vote for the Democrats, who for all their rotten political faults, were more concerned with the welfare of the country as a whole.”

Meanwhile, it seems that decades after the end of WWII, the reputation of Easy Company intrigued the historian Stephen Ambrose, and he decided to interview all of the surviving members of the unit he could find. He found the survivors, interviewed many of them, listened to their accounts of what happened, compared their different perspectives on these specific events, along with their personal experiences. With this information, he recreated the “company’s” actions, taking into account their casualties, their reflections, and the results. But, of course, this information was culled from accounts that were over forty years later. Obviously, no one could accurately remember conversations and individual actions, reflective of the fog of war, the confusion in the field, and the ongoing fears that all of the men harbored. The men interviewed for Ambrose’s book and those who were featured on the HBO series eight or so years later, were giving their perspectives on their experiences, but few day to day details. Few men in the field know what is going on, except to their direct right or left or what was up in front of them. Interestingly, much of that information came from Webster’s unpublished book and letters.

Wherein, Webster’s book was written almost right after the war, as he was a gifted and trained writer, who was very much attuned to detail. Of course, it wasn’t detailed history, but a memoir of personal experience. He never volunteered for anything, he kept his head down, was very critical of his officers, and he painted strong and vivid pictures of the men who he fought with. Not only were there many casualties amongst the original men from Toccoa, but his contact with many of the key figures in Ambrose’s “Band of Brothers,” and the ensuing HBO production, was incredibly slight, in fact he never spent any time with any of the principle characters. Captain Winters, a larger than life and heroic figure, in the book and the production was barely mentioned until one-third of the book. Without seeing the HBO production, no one would have thought twice about the featured officers; Captains, Winters, Speirs or Nixon. They really had nothing to do with Webster’s life in the field or what he saw and experienced. His relationship was with the men he ate with, shared a trench or fox hole, or fought with. In fact, Webster was so sick of his company commander, a Lt. Thomas Peacock that he fantasized about shooting him. He got to hate most of the officers and the “Mickey Mouse” details after the fighting ended, He, and all the others, would turn to any alcohol they could find, and most were bored stiff.  Almost of the soldiers were counting up their “points” which would lead to their discharge. One needed at least “85” points, which counted length of service, overseas deployment, combat duty and parenthood. Meanwhile, after the German surrendered and weeks turned into months, morale declined markedly. There was drunkenness, violence, killings, auto accidents and illegal fraternization.  Many men were very fearful and depressed about being transferred to the Pacific and the talked about invasion of Japan.

Eventually, Webster who had only “81” points regarding his time in the service, his Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, etc, was finally discharged after Japan surrendered. Before he departed, he went to Company Headquarters to see and thank Captain Speirs, a man who had a very fierce reputation about his actions in the field.

Webster said, “I want to thank you Captain.” Speirs frowned, “For what?” Webster said, “For giving me a break…!” Speirs answered.” Well, hell Webster, I tried to make a soldier out of you!”  Webster grinned and said. It couldn’t be done sir!” They shook hands and said goodbye and wished each other luck. He saluted Captain Speirs for the last time.

At the end Webster reflected, “I felt a temporary rush of nostalgia for the outfit and the life that it led. It was my outfit, the 506th, the only outfit I had ever been in. I had cursed it steadily for three years, had avoided duty whenever possible, had prayed for light wounds every day, in combat, and yet now that I was finally leaving, I was almost sorry to say goodbye. Nothing I had had ever done before could compare with the feeling of belonging that I had had with the 506th. A job was a job, usually at somebody else’s price, and school and college were prolonged adolescence. Only an adolescent could get excited about anything as juvenile and exclusive as a fraternity. The paratroopers were life itself, on the edge of life and death along with the thrill of jumping from an airplane. It was the wild excitement as I went out the door of the plane and fell a hundred feet before my chute opened.” Of course, Webster, along with many other “high-point” soldiers was now going home. As he reflected, “Now that the war was over and all the purpose had been lost, the 506th was just another training camp now, and I hated training as much as guard duty.”

Webster was pretty worldly for his years and throughout his memoir he reflected some interesting perspectives. He hated Britain and the weather, thought the people were quaint, but dull and he disliked the class system. As for the Dutch, he loved Holland and the people. When it came to Germany, he despised them for starting the war and the chaos and destruction it had brought. He really wanted to kill and German that came his way, He had a burning hatred that was made even worse when he was part of a squad that came across a concentration camp. But, after being billeted in Austria and Germany at the war’s conclusion, he began to respect the Germans for their ability to work hard, be very clean and educated, and their willingness to re-build their destroyed towns and cities. He wrote, “In, Germany, everyone goes out and works, unlike the French, who do not seem inclined to lift a finger to help themselves. As for the Germans, “They fill up the trenches the soldiers have dug in their fields. They are cleaner, more progressive and more ambitious than either the English or the French.” He loved Dutch more, because they were a lot more peaceful than the Germans. As for the French, he despised them. He thought of them as lazy, ungrateful and unwilling to extend themselves for the Americans who liberated their country. Webster hated the army, he hated its “chicken-shit” ways, its bumbling bureaucracy, the privileges for the officers, and their contempt for the enlisted man. I am sure that many others thought as Webster did. Many of the men who returned from WWII took decades to speak of their time overseas. Many just wanted to forget.

The featured Players:

Colonel Robert Sink (1905-1965), Commander of the 506th Regiment, the 101st Airborne, ret. Lt. Gen.

Major Richard Winters (1918-2011) Commander of Easy Company, recalled for the Korean War

Captain Lewis Nixon (1918-1995) worked for his family business

Captain Ronald Speirs (1920-2007) retired as a Lt. Colonel

Lt. Thomas Peacock (1920-1948) died in an automobile accident

Private David Kenyon Webster (1922-1961) killed in a boating incident off Catalina

And the men of Easy Company who lived, fought and died with the other heroes of WWII.


Trump Lies- A Reminder 2-14-2023

Donald Trump has returned to the news cycle amid a deluge of stories about a dinner meeting he hosted with a white supremacist and Ye, the rapper previously known as Kanye West.

It’s a reminder of the chaotic years of his presidency, as well as a foreboding ― though hopefully instructive ― warning about how he would wield power if elected again.

If past is prologue, let’s take a moment to remember just how unsettling things got during the Trump administration, with this not-even-remotely-exhaustive list of weird and bad stuff he attempted while in office:

  • Tried to buy Greenland.
  • Wanted to nuke hurricanes.
  • Doctored a hurricane forecast map with a Sharpie.
  • Attempted a coup to stay in power.
  • Absconded with thousands of classified documents, lied about it and refused to give them back when the feds asked nicely.
  • Sent unidentified federal officers to Portland, Oregon, to abduct protesters and spark a conflagration that could be used as a pretense for implementing martial law.
  • Ordered peaceful protesters tear-gassed so he could pose for a photo-op with a Bible outside a church.
  • Tried to blackmail Ukraine into manufacturing dirt for his 2020 campaign.
  • Asked Russia for help in his 2016 campaign — and got it.
  • Had a weird affinity for Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Remember the Helsinki summit?)
  • Invited Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to an in-person meeting in the Oval Office, where he accidentally revealed top-secret intelligence.
  • Wanted to withdraw the U.S. from NATO.
  • Separated migrant parents from their children, locked the kids in cages and then failed to reunite them.
  • Insisted that “raking” would prevent forest fires because “you’ve got to take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forest, very important.”
  • Covered for Saudi Arabia after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the gruesome murder and dismemberment of a U.S. journalist with a bone saw. (Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, owes Saudi Arabia $2 billion, and the crown prince has reportedly bragged about having Kushner “in his pocket.”)
  • Intervened to get Kushner top-secret clearance after he was denied over concerns about foreign influence.
  • Put Kushner in charge of Middle East peace.
  • Embraced rampant nepotism.
  • Touted injecting disinfectant as a COVID-19 cure.
  • Touted ultraviolet light as a COVID-19 cure.
  • Touted hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 cure.
  • Touted ivermectin as a COVID-19 cure.
  • Told people not to wear face masks to cut down the spread of COVID-19, even though they work.
  • Actively discouraged COVID-19 testing.
  • Refused to send federal aid to New York City amid the first COVID-19 wave because the virus was hitting Democratic-voting states hardest.
  • “Jokingly” said on multiple occasions that he deserved to be president for more than two terms.
  • Thought climate change was a Chinese hoax.
  • Built an incomplete border wall that doesn’t work, wasn’t needed and wasn’t paid for by Mexico.
  • Started a trade war with China that mainly hurt U.S. consumers.
  • Threw food when angry.
  • Saw no problem with his vice president potentially being hanged by a violent mob he’d summoned and sent to the U.S. Capitol to disrupt the peaceful transition of power.
  • Stared directly at the sun.
  • Started his presidency with an easily disproved lie about the crowd size at his inauguration.
  • Thought people needed an ID to buy cereal.
  • Fired James Comey as FBI director because he didn’t like the bureau investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election. (Later, it was revealed that Trump’s campaign manager gave detailed internal polling data to a Russian intelligence agent.)
  • Was a “fucking moron,” according to Rex Tillerson, his secretary of state.
  • Fired the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s China-based pandemic response team — and then when a pandemic happened years later, said, “I don’t take responsibility at all” for COVID-19.
  • Repeatedly embraced racism.
  • Thought repeating “person, woman, man, camera, TV” would assure Americans of his mental stability.
  • Tweeted literal gibberish — a lot.
  • Lied all the time. (And still does.)
  • Openly embraced and amplified QAnon conspiracy theories.
  • Got impeached twice.
  • Passed huge tax cuts for wealthy corporations ― and massively grew the national debt.
  • Flip-flopped on whether the White House had ordered the USS John McCain be hidden so he wouldn’t get mad. (It did.)
  • Called American military members who died in the line of duty “losers” and “suckers.”
  • Claimed to have bone spurs to get out of military service.
  • Binge-watched Fox News when he should have been working.
  • Played so, so much golf.
  • Raked in cash from foreign interests at his Washington hotel in an operation sometimes described as the “epicenter” of a corrupt presidency.
  • Held a rally that may have led to the death of Herman Cain.
  • Allegedly directed his lawyer to commit campaign fraud to cover up that Trump cheated on his wife after she had recently given birth.
  • Was accused of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen women.
  • Dismissed any bad news about himself as “fake.”
  • Lied about voluntarily turning over his tax returns.
  • Ate well-done steak — with ketchup.
  • Described white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, as “very fine people.”
  • Grossly abused the presidential pardon on his way out the door.
  • Used private communication services extensively after arguing that Hillary Clinton should be jailed for having a private email server.
  • Refused to release White House visitor logs.
  • Went to Puerto Rico and threw paper towels at people desperate for actual hurricane aid.
  • Discouraged exercise because he believes bodies are like batteries, with a finite amount of energy.