Harry Hopkins, FDR's Envoy to Churchill and Stalin. By Christopher D. O'Sullivan. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015. 197pp.
Christopher D. O'Sullivan offers an excellent assessment of the actions undertaken by Harry Hopkins on behalf of President Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) to win the Second World War and shape the postwar future. Winston Churchill described Harry Hopkins as the greatest American statesman serving President Roosevelt. The author provides extensive evidence to support this assertion. Hopkins was the key intermediary within America's civilian and military leadership, and he was special envoy to the leaders of Great Britain, the Soviet Union, China, and France. He consistently adhered to FDR's ultimate strategy of defeating Germany and Japan as quickly as possible with the fewest American casualties and to securing a future world based on political and economic freedom, human rights, and the self-determination of peoples. Churchill described Harry Hopkins as Lord Root of the Matter. Christopher O'Sullivan adopts a similar approach to research and its evidentiary conclusions. This study offers an invaluable and perceptive analysis of Harry Hopkins and his efforts to achieve the strategic grand design of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
A career in public service prepared Harry Hopkins for the future. The author associates the actions of Hopkins to achieve social justice, economic freedom, and individual security during the Depression to his determination to defeat German and Japanese imperialism. Freedom from oppression, fear, and want motivated Hopkins throughout his life. Grinnell College, the Social Progressive movement, and his mother Ann's Methodist convictions encouraged Hopkins to devote his energies to fulfilling the needs of others in his work in the Red Cross, Tuberculosis and Health Association, Temporary Emergency Relief Administration, Federal Emergency Relief Administration, Civil Works Administration, Works Progress Administration, and as Commerce Secretary. He used this experience while a member of the War Production Board, supervisor of Lend-Lease, and chair of the Munitions Assignment Board. He told his son Robert, graduating from high school in 1940, that father and son must decide that these freedoms were worth dying for in the days ahead. Stephen, one of three sons serving in World War II, was killed fighting Japanese forces on Kwajalein.
The author describes the personality of Harry Hopkins as pragmatic...