Miller Center

Of Love and War: Roosevelt, Churchill and the Way We Live Now

Jon B Meacham Jon B Meacham

Speaker: Jon B Meacham
Date: December 19, 2003

Jon Meacham, a best-selling author of Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship (2003), gives a Forum on Roosevelt and Churchill's relationship. He starts by discussing the famous "stab in the back" speech given at the University of Virginia, which initiated a closer chapter stage of their relationship. Meacham explains that initially FDR held himself aloof from Churchill but as the America became more involved in the war effort their relationship warmed. He suggests that their friendship was both political and personal. Both men had deep similarities in family legacies, personal interests and sense of historical importance. Contrarily, both men had very different upbringings, Churchill's being very isolated and difficult while Roosevelt's was very warm and social. Meacham suggests that their upbringing developed very different personalities, the former very forgiving the latter very secretive. He addresses their turbulent friendship at Tehran and Yalta that had grown more familiar. He stresses that their unique relationship created an equality that both men shared with no one else. Meacham concludes that Churchill always had faith that he would gain Roosevelt's support eventually. Following the lecture, questions are raised concerning FDR's polio, Lord Halifax, and Stalin.

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