I’ve recently read two books relating to World War II. The first was Ike: An American Hero, a biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower by Michael Korda, which is a near idolizing tale of Ike, in which the man can seemingly do no wrong. The other is saga of Winston Churchill’s life, starting from the day he becomes Prime Minister in 1940. This is the third of The Last Lion trilogy by William Manchester. These are two very different perspectives on how WWII was won.
In the case of Churchill, Manchester describes his Mediterranean strategy as somewhere between nibbling around the edges, a war of opportunity, or an attempt to coax Turkey into the melée, while at the same time placing blame on Americans for delaying the end of the war, first by not entering it earlier, and second by not being more aggressive in the taking of Italy.
On the other side, Korda points out that Eisenhower took his strategy directly from Grant, which was to destroy the enemy’s ability to make war. That necessitated the destruction of all German armies the hard way, under the belief that so long as they had armies that could fight, they would fight.
What is stunning about the difference in points of view is that neither seems to acknowledge the others at all. As an American I found Manchester’s book helpful to understand the British perceptions of history, while at the same time having some understanding of the history of the Americans involved.