It is often said that the special bond between Britain and the USA was forged in war between Roosevelt and Churchill. But the closer link in many ways was that between Churchill and Eisenhower, since it existed both in wartime 1941-1945 but also again in very different circumstances between 1951 and 1955, when Churchill was Prime Minister and Eisenhower was briefly the first Supreme Allied Commander NATO before going back to the USA to win the 1952 Presidential race and overlap in the White House with Churchill’s peacetime premiership from 1953-1955. And in 1945-1951 Churchill by his speeches and Eisenhower by his tenure as first ever Supreme Allied Commander Europe were continuing to create the new and stable global world order that held until now.
In other words theirs was a much longer relationship than that between FDR and Churchill, and spanning peace as well as war. And it was the Eisenhower and Churchill relationship that essentially created the world order that lasted down until current times.
Churchill and Eisenhower can also be seen as a passing of the baton, from Britain as the fading superpower to the dynamic new world of the USA. Churchill’s relationship with Eisenhower spans this transition perfectly and is the ideal prism through which to witness this change, in terms of how the balance between the UK and USA altered both as countries and in personal terms between the two men themselves.
Christopher Catherwood is an historian and Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (now renamed Churchill Fellowship) Fellow since 2010. He has been one of the very few people ever to be elected an Archives By-Fellow, Churchill College Cambridge twice, with the award of his medal in 2014. He remains as an SCR Associate of the College. He has supervised modern British history for several colleges at Cambridge University. His Churchill Fellowship enabled him to study at the University of Virginia Alderman Library and the OSS Archives at the National Archives in Washington DC, and in 2001 he was a Rockefeller Fellow at the University of Virginia .He was the Crosby Kemper Memorial Lecturer, Westminster College, Fulton MO for 2008 and at the George C Marshall Center, Virginia Military Institute, 2009; and was the Peple Lecturer at the University of Richmond VA in 2011. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and has degrees from Oxford, Cambridge and East Anglia universities. He is the Academic Director for the Wake Forest University Cambridge program, for which he has taught for over two decades. He lives in Cambridge, England.
Praise for Churchill’s Folly:
“This compelling volume raises eerie echoes of present-day Iraq. In the aftermath of WWI, France and Britain competed for the Mideastern leftovers of the Ottoman Empire… Catherwood… sees contemporary parallels in the unlearned lessons of ‘imperial overreach.’ Unwanted paternalistic protectorates have a way of imploding, Catherwood notes. Churchill conceded wryly that Britain was spending millions ‘for the privilege of living on an ungrateful volcano out of which we are in no circumstances to get anything worth having.’ In a readable historical essay stretched into a short book, Catherwood demonstrates yet again that one generation's pragmatism can be a later generation's tragedy.”-- Publishers Weekly
“How did things get so messy in Mesopotamia? In part, because of Iraq's founding at the hands Winston Churchill, ‘undoubtedly brilliant but utterly lacking in any kind of judgment.’ An impressive study on the making of modern Iraq, with all its crises and catastrophes.”-- Kirkus Reviews
“Catherwood is an excellent guide at cutting through the mythology that surrounds this subject.”—The Guardian
NetGalley Review: 5 stars
Last updated on 03 Sep 2022
" I found this a very interesting and enjoyable book to read. Of course, everyone in the English- speaking world for sure knows Winston Churchill and his major role in the middle of the 20th Century. Less is known about David Eisenhower and his relationship with Churchill that goes back to 1941 and the planning for the invasion of Europe. This is a book not only about these two gentlemen but also the evolving relationship between the US and the UK. As Mr. Catherwood clearly points out the concept of a “Special Relationship” if it existed at all changed from 1941 when the UK was on top to 1943 when already the US was the leader. This gap grew with the war as well as afterwards. But there were still times when Britain acted as a break on US adventures to the good of both countries. As an example, Eisenhower wanted a coalition to fight in Vietnam in 1954 but the British refused and this was at least for a while a benefit to the West. There are many stories that illustrate the give and take between the two leaders and countries that were new to me. As an example, the US were keen to advance on Germany across the Channel in 1943 but the British prevailed and instead the Allied forces went into N. Africa and Italy delaying the advance into Germany until the actual D-Day in 1944. Did this matter? Mr. Catherwood makes a very clear timeline of the difference of one year. Would the Allies have been all the way to Poland meaning much of Central Europe would not have been under Soviet rule for 40 years. Was it wise to have let The Soviets take Berlin? They suffered over 340,000 casualties taken Berlin which was far greater than the US and the UK suffered in the entire war. The Cold War era and the H-Bomb also were major issues. Churchill was desperate to find a way for himself and the UK to be relevant in bringing peace to Europe especially after Stalin’s death. Eisenhower, correctly felt this was not the time and suggested Churchill could enhance his legacy if he focused on ending Colonialism. Shockingly at least to me we see bigotry and backwardness of Churchill who still saw the colonies as jungles and filled with Hottentots ! Mr. Catherwood is English but his wife was an American which gave him I believe a more fair and balanced view of these two leaders. I have read enough about Churchill but from this book I now need to read more about David Eisenhower. I highly recommend this book."—Mike Hassel Shearer, consumer reviewer