Summary and book reviews of The Conquerors by Michael Beschloss

The Conquerors

Roosevelt, Truman and The Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945

By Michael Beschloss

The Conquerors
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Nov 2002,
    400 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2003,
    432 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

From one of America's most respected historians, The Conquerors reveals one of the most important stories of World War II. As Allied soldiers fought the Nazis, Franklin Roosevelt and, later, Harry Truman fought in private with Churchill and Stalin over how to ensure that Germany could never threaten the world again.

Eleven years in the writing, drawing on newly opened American, Soviet and British documents as well as private diaries, letters and secret audio recordings, Michael Beschloss's gripping narrative lets us eavesdrop on private conversations and telephone calls among a cast of historical giants. The book casts new light upon Roosevelt's concealment of what America knew about Hitler's war against the Jews and his foot-dragging on saving refugees; FDR's actions so shocked his closest friend in the Cabinet, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., that Morgenthau risked their friendship by accusing the President of "acquiescence" in the "murder of the Jews."

After the Normandy invasion, "obsessed" by what he had learned about the Nazis and the Holocaust, Morgenthau drew up a secret blueprint for the Allies to crush Germany by destroying German mines and factories after the European victory. As The Conquerors shows, FDR endorsed most of Morgenthau's plan, and privately pressured a reluctant Churchill to concur. Horrified, Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Secretary of War Henry Stimson leaked the plan to the press at the zenith of the 1944 campaign. Hitler's propagandist Joseph Goebbels denounced the Roosevelt-Churchill "Jewish murder plan" and claimed it would kill forty-three million Germans. Republican presidential candidate Thomas Dewey charged that by stiffening German resistance, publicity about Morgenthau's plan had cost many U.S. soldiers' lives.

The Conquerors explores suspicions that Soviet secret agents manipulated Roosevelt and his officials to do Stalin's bidding on Germany. It reveals new information on FDR's hidden illnesses and how they affected his leadership -- and his private talk about quitting his job during his fourth term and letting Harry Truman become President. It shows us FDR's final dinner, in April 1945, in Warm Springs, Georgia, at which the President and Morgenthau were still arguing over postwar Germany. Finally it shows how the unprepared new President Truman managed to pick up the pieces and push Stalin and Churchill to accede to a bargain that would let the Anglo-Americans block Soviet threats against Western Europe and ensure that the world would not have to fear another Adolf Hitler.

Contents

PREFACE
Chapter 1 : The Plot to Murder Hitler
Chapter 2 : "Unconditional Surrender"
Chapter 3 : "Fifty Thousand Germans Must Be Shot!"
Chapter 4 : "On the Back of an Envelope"
Chapter 5 : The Terrible Silence
Chapter 6 : The "One Hundred Percent American"
Chapter 7 : "Oppressor of the Jews"
Chapter 8 : "We Will Have to Get Awfully Busy"
Chapter 9 : "Not Nearly as Bad as Sending Them to Gas Chambers"
Chapter 10 : "Somebody's Got to Take the Lead"
Chapter 11 : "Christianity and Kindness"
Chapter 12 : "It Is Very, Very Necessary"
Chapter 13 : "Do You Want Me to Beg Like Fala?"
Chapter 14 : "A Hell of a Hubbub"
Chapter 15 : "As Useful as Ten Fresh German Divisions"
Chapter 16 : "Lord Give the President Strength"
Chapter 17 : "The Only Bond Is Their Common Hate"
Chapter 18 : "Arguing About the Future of the World"
Chapter 19 : "No Earthly Powers Can Keep Him Here" ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

Although breaking no new ground, this book by noted presidential historian Beschloss will fill the bill for those who need a readable account of how American officials and their Allied counterparts came to draw the map of postwar Europe.

Kirkus Reviews

A lucid study of how FDR's evolving vision of postwar Europe, enacted by Truman, prevented a recapitulation of Versailles and allowed for the rise of a prosperous, democratic, peaceable Germany.... An altogether valuable addition to the historical literature.

Booklist - Gilbert Taylor

Beschloss' comprehensive research and narration into every nuance opens a significant perspective on bureaucratic politics' effect on the Germany that eventually formed in the early cold war.

Reader Reviews
Anonymous

A wate of time!

Edward Tan

Michael Beschloss has produced his usual good work in "The Conquerors". However, it is surprising that no mention was made of the Harrison Report (August 1945) and President Truman's effort in causing Prime Minister Attlee to allow the ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Conquerors, try these:

  • Citizen Soldiers jacket

    Citizen Soldiers

    by Stephen Ambrose

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Once again, Stephen E. Ambrose shows that free men fight better than slaves, that the sons of democracy proved to be better soldiers than the sons of Nazi Germany.

  • Ghost Soldiers jacket

    Ghost Soldiers

    by Hampton Sides

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Utterly compelling and impressively detailed - dramatically recounts the story behind the Bataan Death March and the realities of survival in a Japanese prison camp. A true-to-life narrative as intelligently orchestrated and satisfying as the raid that ultimately liberated these men."

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...
  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and amibtious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.