Glantz, Mary E.
Glantz, Mary E.
Daughter of David J. (a historian and journal editor) and Mary Ann Glantz.
Writer, historian, government employee, and foreign service officer. U.S. Department of State, foreign service officer.
FDR and the Soviet Union: The President's Battles over Foreign Policy, University Press of Kansas (Lawrence, KS), 2005.
Mary E. Glantz is a historian as well as a foreign service officer in the U.S. Department of State. She is the author of FDR and the Soviet Union: The President's Battles over Foreign Policy. In the book, she addresses recent criticism by writers and historians who assert that Franklin Roosevelt's allegedly "naive policies toward the Soviet Union during World War II facilitated and emboldened Stalinist expansionism," reported David S. Foglesong, writing in the Historian. Instead, Glantz "argues that FDR had a wise policy to ensure victory over Nazi Germany and to establish a foundation for postwar cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union," Foglesong continued. Roosevelt, far from being uninformed or naive, recognized that Stalin was purely a dictator, but FDR also knew that it was in America's greater interest to collaborate with the Russians in defeating the German Wehrmacht and military forces.
Drawing on numerous documentary resources and primary sources, Glantz reports on how FDR's policies were obstructed or otherwise interfered with by diplomats, military officers, and government officials who were solidly anticommunist and who felt the Russians should be forced to make extra concessions in return for lend-lease aid, Foglesong noted. Roosevelt did not agree with this attitude, and felt that the Russians qualified for and deserved aid for no other reason than they were fighting against the Nazis. The president tried to alleviate the problem through personnel changes and bureaucratic restructuring, but his need to rely on diplomats, many of whom expressed strong anti-Soviet sentiment, left vulnerabilities in his stance toward Russia. Upon Roosevelt's unexpected death in 1945, his policies were reversed and anti-Russian elements in the government sought to influence the new president, Harry S Truman. Glantz notes that FDR could have been clearer and more decisive in his policies, in providing guidance for ambassadors and other representatives, and in defining the responsibilities of important government organizations such as the War Department and the State Department. However, she reserves the greater part of her criticism for Roosevelt's opponents and the harm their attitudes and actions did to U.S-Soviet relations.
"For those who like good, old-fashioned diplomatic history this book will be a pleasure to read," commented Curt Michael Cardwell on the H-Net Reviews Web site. "It is a straightforward foray into diplomatic correspondence, memoranda, intelligence files, and the personal papers of key figures. The sources are accepted virtually without question," Cardwell continued. Foglesong found the book to be a "valuable corrective" to ideologically based critics of Roosevelt's wartime policies and decisions. Cardwell concluded, "Foreign relations specialists, FDR and World War II aficionados, and students of the policymaking process (undergraduate, graduate, and professional) will find the book of interest."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, December, 2006, Christine White, review of FDR and the Soviet Union: The President's Battles over Foreign Policy, p. 1544.
Choice, November, 2005, J.B. Lane, review of FDR and the Soviet Union, p. 557.
Historian, summer, 2006, David S. Foglesong, review of FDR and the Soviet Union, p. 346.
Journal of American History, March, 2006, Peter G. Boyle, review of FDR and the Soviet Union, p. 1487.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, autumn, 2006, Patrick J. Maney, review of FDR and the Soviet Union, p. 319.
Journal of Military History, October, 2005, Walter C. Uhler, review of FDR and the Soviet Union, p. 1250.
Slavic Review, spring, 2006, David C. Engerman, review of FDR and the Soviet Union, p. 194.
Slavonic and East European Review, April, 2007, Brian Holden Reid, review of FDR and the Soviet Union, p. 362.
H-Net Reviews,http://www.h-net.org/ (April 10, 2008), Curt Michael Cardwell, review of FDR and the Soviet Union.