FDR's Ambassadors and the Diplomacy of Crisis

FDR's Ambassadors and the Diplomacy of Crisis : From the Rise of Hitler to the End of World War II

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What effect did personality and circumstance have on US foreign policy during World War II? This incisive account of US envoys residing in the major belligerent countries - Japan, Germany, Italy, China, France, Great Britain, USSR - highlights the fascinating role played by such diplomats as Joseph Grew, William Dodd, William Bullitt, Joseph Kennedy and W. Averell Harriman. Between Hitler's 1933 ascent to power and the 1945 bombing of Nagasaki, US ambassadors sculpted formal policy - occasionally deliberately, other times inadvertently - giving shape and meaning not always intended by Franklin D. Roosevelt or predicted by his principal advisors. From appeasement to the Holocaust and the onset of the Cold War, David Mayers examines the complicated interaction between policy, as conceived in Washington, and implementation on the ground in Europe and Asia. By so doing, he also sheds needed light on the fragility, ambiguities and enduring urgency of diplomacy and its crucial function in international politics.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 12 b/w illus.
  • 113984850X
  • 9781139848503

Table of contents

Introduction; Part I. Axis: 1. Rising sun; 2. Third Reich; 3. New Roman Empire; Part II. Victims: 4. Middle Kingdom; 5. France Agonistes; Part III. Victors: 6. Britannia; 7. Great Patriotic War; 8. Conclusions: US diplomacy and war; Bibliography.
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Review quote

'David Mayers' FDR's Ambassadors and the Diplomacy of Crisis marks an outstanding contribution to the scholarship on Franklin Roosevelt. Mayers provides critical new insight by focusing upon a cast of characters; the nation's wartime Ambassadors, whose relationship with the 32nd President was by nature episodic and distant.' J. Simon Rofe, author of Franklin Roosevelt's Foreign Policy and the Welles Mission 'Despite the many shelves of books published on Franklin D. Roosevelt's diplomacy, no study has thus far examined FDR's ambassadors with the extensive research, discerning analysis, and global perspective displayed in David Mayers' significant new book. Readers will find incisive portraits and new evidence about the famous and the not so well-known diplomats who tried to carry out FDR's policies. Mayers demonstrates that while Roosevelt largely ignored the state department, he did pay attention to the reports sent by many of his ambassadors. This book is essential for understanding U.S. foreign relations in the era of Franklin Roosevelt.' Frank Costigliola, author of Roosevelt's Lost Alliances: How Personal Politics Helped Start the Cold War 'Powerful presidents conceive foreign policies, but individuals working for empowered bureaucracies like the State Department often deflect and subtly shift the trajectories of those policies - particularly with FDR, whose long-term goals were consistent, but frequently ambiguously presented. David Mayers' finely tuned, readable history explains how diplomats in the field understood and misunderstood what their bosses in Washington wanted them to do. Mayers provides a fascinating context for the personal diplomacy that helped determine the end results.' Warren F. Kimball, author of Forged in War: Churchill, Roosevelt and the Second World War '... [a] masterful study ...' H-Diplo 'The book's organization should be appealing to anyone who is interested in the history of ambassadorships in a particular country.' Darlene J. Sadlier, The Journal of American History '... a must-read for students of America;'s wartime diplomacy ...' Journal of American Studies '... a fascinating perspective on a crucial moment in time. Yet, arguably the bigger contribution is his innovative approach to diplomatic history, examining it 'as a whole', and, in the process, offering a new and more complete picture of a President's foreign policy. He has led the way with a method we should all hope will be applied to other presidents and events so as to properly mine available material for deeper insights as to the relationship of structure and agency, executive and diplomat, theory and practice.' International History Review
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About David Mayers

David Mayers teaches at Boston University, where he holds a joint professorship in the History and Political Science departments. His previous books include Cracking the Monolith: US Policy Against the Sino-Soviet Alliance, 1949-1955 (1986), George Kennan and the Dilemmas of US Foreign Policy (1988), The Ambassadors and America's Soviet Policy (1995), Wars and Peace: The Future Americans Envisioned, 1861-1991 (1998) and Dissenting Voices in America's Rise to Power (Cambridge University Press, 2007).
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