Roosevelt’s Road to Russia

Randolph Bourne, one of the critical commentators of the Woodrow Wilson period, once wrote that war is like a wild elephant: it carries the rider where it desires, not where he may desire. Perhaps the historian predilected to spare Franklin D. Roosevelt an unfavorable judgment at the bar of history will find in this simile his best expedient for divesting Roosevelt of responsibility for the tragic epilogue which followed World War II. By conjuring up the vision of the savage beast uncontrollable by the man, one can reduce to irrelevancy the qualities of the man. In the psychological climate thus engendered, a bald assumption that the man’s intentions were virtuous, his motives pure, and his competence abundant becomes easy to propagate. History bows to a legend.


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