Clearing the Decks by Steve Payne
says: what if FDR inherited Churchill's worst fears after the Fall of
Britain? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not
necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
In 1940, on this day bitter
recriminations were exchanged between President Roosevelt and Viscount
Halifax just twenty-four hours after his Peace Government accepted
overlordship and protection from Nazi Germany.
Throughout the summer, Winston Churchill (pictured) had warned that "the
British Fleet would be the solid contribution with which [a] Peace
Government would buy terms".
After some internal debate, he says, he decided to join. A year later, at
Hitler's behest, Drexler changed the name of the Party to the National
Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche
Arbiterpartei or NSDAP).
And despite the expectation that a defeated Britain and France would
continue the fight from their respective Empires, Churchill had already
informed the Canadian Ambassador that "There is no question to make a
bargain with the United States .. our despatch of the Fleet across the
Atlantic should the Mother Country be defeated..I shall myself never entry
into any peace negotiation with Hitler, but obviously I cannot bind a
future Government, which if we were deserted by the United States and
beaten down here, might very easily be ready to accept German overlordship
Matters came to a head when the British Army capitulated at Dunkirk.
Between May 24 and 28th, British Ministers were locked in a closed session
during whilst Churchill and Halifax struggled for control of events.
Backed by King Edward VIII, Halifax would emerge as the victor by using
the familiar language of appeasement to convince the Cabinet that the
British Government should at least ascertain what Hitler might be willing
to offer Britain if they sued for terms. Recognising the inevitable
trajectory of such a next step, and having set his face against
negotiation, Churchill had no choice but to resign. British capitulation
was complete after a humiliatingly short period of armed struggle against
By theatrically raging against the British Peace Government, Roosevelt had
to shore up his own crumbling position ahead of the 1940 Presidential
election. And the threat from individuals such as Herbert Hoover, Charles
Lindbergh and Joseph Kennedy who favoured the establishment of a similiar
administration in Washington.
Yet in the midst of this struggle, emerged a third group who had shared
Churchill's view that America would stand alone against a Nazified "United
States of Europe". Their immediate concern was the threat posed by a
combination British and French Fleet in Nazi Hands, albeit deployed around
the world. And the nightmarish possibility of the need for a pre-emptive
cowardly strike by the US Navy on the moored fleets of her former allies..
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