Road to Victory
takes up the story of "Churchill's War" at the moment where Finest Hour
ended, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and carries it on to the triumph of VE Day, May 8, 1945, the end of the war in Europe.
Within a week of Pearl Harbor, Hitler and Mussolini had declared war on the United States. Thus Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin were now leaders of the great alliance which held the assurance of ultimate victory. But in 1942, the first year of the new alliance, the war went badly for the Big Three on every front, and Churchill faced serious criticism.
The prime minister's war direction had to encompass not only a dismal succession of setbacks and surrenders but also the conflicting ambitions and divergent strategies of Russia and America: states whose leaders were quick to recognize, even before Hitler was defeated, that they had the power to back their strategic and political demands.
In Road to Victory
Martin Glbert charts Churchill's tortuous course through the storms of Anglo-American and Anglo-Soviet suspicion and rivalry and between the clashing priorities and ambitions of other forces embattled against the common enemy: between General de Gaulle and his compatriots in France and the French Empire; between Tito and other Yugoslav leaders; between the Greek communists and monarchists; between the Polish government exiled in London and the Soviet-controlled "Lublin" Poles.
Amid all these cares and dangers Churchill had to find the course of prudence, of British national interest, and, above all, of the earliest possible victory over Nazism. In doing so he was guided by the most secret sources of British Intelligence: the daily interception of the messages of the German High Command. These pages reveal, as never before, the links between this secret information and the resulting moves and successes achieved by the Allies. As official biographer, Martin Gilbert has been granted unique access to the vast corpus of Churchill's own private papers. He has also drawn on he correspondence and files in the Government archives in London, Washington, and Moscow--documents bearing on every aspect of war policy.
The private diaries and letters of members of Churchill's secretariat and the recollections of others who worked with him are also woven into the narrative, making this the most personal and penetrating study of a war leader ever written. In an unique exercise Martin Gilbert has used Churchill's daily engagement diaries and the visitors books at 10 Downing Street and Chequers to trace hundreds of individuals who came into personal contact with Churchill at each of the critical moments of the war. Their recollections, most of them published here for the first time, add to the vivid and compelling portrait of a man of enormous capacity struggling to achieve an almost superhuman task.
This therefore is a book filled not only with the grand themes of war and the destiny of nations but also with the many-sided humanity--the flashes of anger and humor, of impatience and calm, despair, determination, and colossal energy--of the man at the helm.