Franklin Roosevelt’s Wartime Policy Successes and Failures

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s war policy had many achievements and failures. His policy was success because it led to the end of the war with Germany and Japan. It failed, however, in that his actions led to a general mistrust of Russia and Stalin and the post-war conflict that became known as the Cold War. Roosevelt saw no way to stop the Russians from dominating Europe. His “4 policemen” strategy envisioned that colonial societies, not ready for full independence, would act as trustees, and the great powers would be the only ones who could “keep order” in Europe after the war. Roosevelt was determined that “something ‘great’ will come out of this war; a new heaven and a new earth”.

He was convinced that only the United States could offer any innovative intervention thinking. He assumed that the Soviet Union’s need for post-war financial aid would give the United States further leverage. Although he did not take into account the Soviet Union’s industrial performance. He also failed to find a way to stop the Russians from dominating Eastern Europe in the aftermath of the war.

The only thing all three powers agreed on was that they would not accept the unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan. Roosevelt steered clear of specifics about what reparations would be applied to postwar Germany because he was not sure what to do. His strategy in his dealings with Stalin was to avoid tension and confrontation. As a result, the Yalta Peace Conference created an era of peace that lasted for the next 50 years. That is why his foreign policy is considered successful. Many view FDR’s policies are a failure.

His ideal post-war Europe was a fragmented continent divided between Great Britain and the Soviet Union. His secret dealings with Churchill demonstrated his lack of trust for Stalin. While in reality, Churchill and Roosevelt weren’t as close as they appeared to be. In addition, there was a lot of confusion surrounding the 4 policemen and their decision making capabilities. Also, his decision to not inform Stalin of the atomic bomb further demonstrates his mistrust of the Soviet Union. In actuality, FDR wanted the United States to have the monopoly in the atomic bomb knowledge. It was this mistrust and lack of cooperation that led to the confusion that turned into the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

I think Roosevelt was smart in that he was able to keep the peace with his actions during the Summits and his policies. However, I believe that the lack of trust that Roosevelt had in Stalin had more severe repercussions. Though the war against Germany and Japan ended because of their actions. The bigger conflict, the Cold War, began with the lack of trust and misunderstandings that arose between the United States and the Soviet Union.

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