In This Review

Churchill's Cold War: The Politics of Personal Diplomacy
Churchill's Cold War: The Politics of Personal Diplomacy
By Klaus Larres
Yale University Press, 2002, 592 pp

Larres has produced a volume almost three times the length of Keegan's, focusing on Churchill's attempts at personal diplomacy in 1945-55. This enormous volume by an erudite diplomatic historian boasts almost 200 pages of notes and bibliography. It is the most thorough examination of Churchill's attempts at opening a dialogue with Moscow after Stalin's death in the hope of putting an end to the Cold War. Like Lukacs, he shows how much resistance Churchill met in Washington but also in his own cabinet (several of whose members were eager to see him retire). We will probably never know whether Churchill's hopes would have been fulfilled if he had not been kept on a leash by the Eisenhower administration. Is there anything still left unclear in this turbulent life? The elusive relationship with Europe after 1945 needs a volume of its own, as Larres recognizes. What is clear is that Churchill was no integrationist, although he was not hostile to the continent's attempt at forming a union. Like the two books above, this work is also a counterattack against the revisionists who accuse Churchill of having left an impoverished United Kingdom as a satellite of Washington, thanks to his hatred of Hitler and dislike for Germany. But can anyone really believe that the United Kingdom would have remained a power if Hitler had won?