A Time of Decisions: Roosevelt, Truman, and unconditional surrender

by Michael Bahr
Faculty advisor: Dr. William Feis

During World War II both Franklin Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman faced a critical decision that would not only have lasting impact in creating a stable, democratic Germany but would have far-reaching consequences for American foreign policy. In this project, the “life” of the policy of unconditional surrender is examined from its development, implementation by Roosevelt and Truman, to its implications. This policy revealed not only American politicians and leaders, but the world community that the only way to truly win the Second World War and defeat the Nazi regime, would be to defeat them “unconditionally” and “absolutely.” It was this policy decision of both Roosevelt and carried through Harry Truman, at times with great difficulty, that not only brought victory in the war, but brought an evil ideology to its demise, and brought a lasting peace to a waiting world.