The Iron Curtain: Churchill, America, and the Origins of the Cold War
By Fraser J. Harbutt
Oxford, 1986, 370 pp.
Co-Operation With Like-Minded Peoples: British Influences on American Security Policy, 1945-1949
By Richard A. Best, Jr.
Greenwood Press, 1986, 226 pp.
In the present age it is easy to forget (or never to have known) how important British views and policies were for the United States in the early postwar years. These well-researched books, using British and American unpublished sources, help remedy that failure of memory. Mr. Harbutt deplores the fact that the U.S. government during 1946 came to define its security interests in terms very similar to the message Churchill was preaching. As left-wing critics used to say at the time: "Churchill was willing to fight the Soviets to the last drop of American blood." But coincidence of perceptions does not prove cause and effect; had Churchill died immediately after Yalta in 1945, it seems likely that U.S. responses to the Soviet Union would have been no different. In contrast, Mr. Best celebrates Anglo-American cooperation and what he considers the altogether positive way the British trained American leaders in the substance and organizational requirements of cold war strategy. His book should get a prize from the English-Speaking Union.