Roosevelt, Churchill, de Gaulle and Stalin....

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Lucky13, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Why didn't Roosevelt and Churchill fully trust de Gaulle, I remember something about Churchill calling de Gaulle a mischief-maker, among other things in a letter to Roosevelt, any idea why?
    Why did Roosevelt try to get rid of de Gaulle? Wouldn't they had a better chance to spot Stalin, if they had got along better? :lol:
     
  2. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Strange considering Churchill was a Francophile. De Gaulle was a very difficult character. He considered himself to personally embody free France at a time when no part of mainland France was free.This appeared arrogant and certainly rubbed many in the British government up the wrong way. Both Churchill and Roosevelt found it difficult to work with him later in the war,he always had his own agenda and seemed incapable of compromise. This certainly applied in France's North African colonies. This seemed to the Anglo-American leadership both arrogant and,frankly,ungrateful. He once said "a great country worthy of the name does not have any friends". But France,during the war,sure as hell needed friends.She was,after all,utterly defeated.
    He continued this in his later carreer famously reducing the British prime minister MacMillan to tears during "negotiations" for the U.K's entry to the common market (E.U.now). His famous 1967 "vive Le Quebec Libre" speach,in Montreal,somehow implying Quebec was not free, didn't exactly endear him to Anglophones.
    He is seen,probably rightly,as a great Frenchman in France but has few fans here in Britain.
    I am a French speaking Englishmen who spent five years of his life working in France,a country for which I have a lot of affection,but De Gaulle? Let's just say my French friends and I sometimes agreed to differ,something De Gaulle was incapable of.
    Steve
     
  3. Arsenal VG-33

    Arsenal VG-33 Member

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    I'm at work at this moment so I can't answer as there are many misunderstood complexities concerning the relationship among these men. The Churchill-De Gaulle relationship was like a roller coaster, and though WC would get annoyed with CdG, he would never abandon him as FDR would have wished because Churchill at least understood CdG more, not only in terms of war time interests, but the two men also shared a fear of postwar communism that FDR may not have taken into account. FDR's dislike for CdG in the least very irrational, bordering on paranoia. His incredibly moronic Sec. of State Cordell Hull only worsened FDR's perception of CdG. De Gaulle is convinced that had FDR survived the war and gotten to know him better, that they could have had a meeting of mind of sorts. I disagree.

    I'll come out and say it; I'm a huge admirer of CdG, and while I disagree with some of his postwar policies during his presidency, during the war he was right on. I'm convinced no other person could have led the Free French or it's provisional government in exile.

    So until later this evening when I'm home, I strongly recommend read "Allies at War" by Simon Bertheon......meeting to attend to now.
     
  4. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Much appreciated guys! :thumbright:
     
  5. mudpuppy

    mudpuppy Member

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    I'm glad you posted this question; I've only seen a few historical references about how the allied leaders got along. to be honest, they tend to paint DeGaulle in a less than favorable light. I'll have to look for this book you mentioned, ArsenalVG33.
    Regards, Derek
     
  6. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Somebody made a good point about DeGaulle being an anti-communist. He was and that probably endeared him to Churchill. It is unfortunate but true that the most effective partisans in France tended to be the Communist. Further, they pretty much stayed out of it until the Soviet Union was attacked. The Commitern was pretty well established in France before the war and with a decent crowd of sypathizers and members. After Hitler went into Russia, a war that Communist ideology previously had said was a capitalist devouring each other became a threat to International Communism. Groups that were indifferent or worked to keep the war between the capitalist (an approximation, to be sure) threw their political support behind the effort against Germany. It had a lot to do with WW2 being "the good War". There were few groups against it, on the allied side.

    DeGaulle had to tread a thin line between being allied with the Anglo effort and also being independent enough to earn and keep the respect of his countrymen. Otherwise, what happened after the war in Greece, Yugoslavia and other parts of Europe could have happened in France. It didn't and DeGaulle had a lot to do with that.
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    De Gaulle was indeed anti communist, but so were other allied leaders.They found themeselves in a tricky position as the Soviet Union went about winning WWII in Europe. Roosevelt was the only one who appears to have suffered a sort of voluntary blindness to true Soviet intentions as the war came to a close.
    The French have a love/hate relationship with what they would call anglo-saxon culture. To be slightly facetious they love a cowboy or Elvis but despise a McDonalds. Doesn't stop them eating them though.I think De Gaulle was worried that the non soviet bloc of western Europe would be totally dominated by the anglophonic alliance and that France would be marginalised. He had some justification for this. It led later to France's withdrawal from NATO in 1966.
    War time leaders do not always make good peace time leaders. Look what happened to Churchill in the post war election!
     
  8. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    You bet ! The following day, Prime Minsiter Lester B. Pearson broadcasted a message on the CBC that was basically telling De Gaulle to get the f*ck out of Canada. And it worked... The SOAB was supposed to go to Ottawa but rather decided to turn around and head straight back to Paris. Good ridance.

    Personnally, I think De Gaulle is an @sshole. He is the guy who put pressure on High Command to "test German defences" in France... Leading to the disaster of Dieppe.

    The worst part is that he must have somehow knew about the upcoming failure as there was not a single damned soldier from the Free French Forces asigned to the assault.

    "Do as I say but I won't do anything" must be De Gaulle's motto.
     
  9. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a big fan either but I don't have any idea what he did or didn't know about the Dieppe "raid". The responsibility for the fiasco ultimately must rest with Mountbatten and the combined chiefs of staff. It was a hell of a way,particularly for the Canadians,to show that you couldn't capture a well defended port intact.
    On a lighter note I was not aware of the then Canadian PM's response to De Gaulle's trouble making. Well done him. De Gaulle was acting as if the seven years war(not sure what you call it in Canada) had just finished,Wolfe and Montcalm had been dead for 200 odd years!
     
  10. Arsenal VG-33

    Arsenal VG-33 Member

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    He may have overstepped his boundaries with that speech, but it doesn't justify the below revisionism to history -

    There were A LOT of people wanting to test the German defenses, but they didn't launch the idea of Dieppe just because De Gaulle said so. De Gaulle had no part in the planning whatsoever, and probably didn't even know about until it was actually happening. Canadians may be bitter about Dieppe, but blaming De Gaulle is pure crockery. Point the finger at Mountbatten instead.

    Absurd....How on earth could CdG speculate on the result of something he barely knew about, if at all?
    Lastly, there were French forces there: Aboard the HMS Alresford, 15 Free French troops from 10 commando (Inter-allied) were attached to 4th Commando, and helped lead the only succesful operation of the entire raid. Two of them were captured, one of which was executed on the spot. The other escaped a POW train and made his way back to England in 1943. A third French commando was awarded the Military Medal for his actions that day.

    lieutenant Françis VOURCH
    quartier-maitre Georges ROPERT
    matelot Gabriel LOVERINI
    quartier-maître Maurice CESAR (POW - Escaped)
    second maître Serge MOUTAILLIER (Executed)
    second-maitre Raymond de WANDELAER
    second-maitre Raymond DUMANOIR
    matelot Jean SIMON
    matelot Georges JEAN
    quartier-maitre Jean ERRARD
    quartier maître René RABOUHANS
    matelot Pierre TANNIOU
    matelot Ange BORRETINI
    quartier maitre René TAVERNE
    second maître Francis BALOCHE (Military Medal)
     
  11. Maximowitz

    Maximowitz Active Member

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    Let's put it like this.

    The sea between the UK and France is called the English Channel for a reason.

    :lol:
     
  12. Arsenal VG-33

    Arsenal VG-33 Member

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    Tim, that is an excellent point. The communists were indeed a force to reckon with in France, many of them in the Resistance. They were always suspicious of CdG and preferred to rely on party orders which was often laced with Soviet-syled propaganda. Even before the war, the Non-Agression pact signed between Germany and Russia was a factor in many communist sympathizers doing next to nothing during the 1940 invasion of France. There were also several recorded instances of communist suspected sabotage in several defense industries.

    It's no surprise that as towns and cities were liberated in France, De Gaulle had hand picked associates install themselves into local goverment, not only to boot out the Vichy people but also to make sure the communists didn't take the area under their control. This was a very important reason as well why De Gaulle wanted to get into Paris quickly. By that time he knew fully well what the communists could be capable of if they captured and took over key government buildings and began placing their people in power. Another decision he took which caused resentment among the communists was in Sept. 1944, when he ordered that all FFI unit and resistance organizations in liberated areas be disbanded. This was done for two reason: 1 - integrate the ex-FFI members into the new French Army and have them continue the fighting, and 2 - it would also get rid of communist elements and disarm them, since if they refused to do so they would be regarded as outlaws. CdG was very succesful in doing these things, and I'm convinced it prevented a potential civil war in France between political parties, which would have created absolute havoc for Allied logistical planning.
     
  13. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Arsenal is correct, De Gaulle was not responsible for Dieppe.

    Churchill's admiration for De Gaulle in 1940 had nothing to do with anti-Communism, as a military commander CdG's political views were not known.

    Churchill respected CdG because he refused to surrender to the Axis, and insisted on continuing the fight.

    Remember, at this time Churchill was trying to persuade France to retreat to N. Africa with it's considerable fleet, and as much of the army could be removed. Instead te cabinet decided to lay down their arms.

    FDR and the Americans were annoyed by CDG because the US recognised the Vichy government, and having the UK support CdG was an embarrassment, as he kept taking over Vichy territory
     
  14. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    Did know about Mountbatten... But I always thought that De Gaulle had something to do with Dieppe... Guess not.

    Concerning the Pearson/De Gaulle event, here is a quote from Wikipedia...

    In other words, if De Gaulle had kept his big mouth shut, the separatist movement would have died in 1980, after the first failed referendum.
     
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