About the Speakers:

Frank Costigliola received his Ph.D. from Cornell University and is Professor of History at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of Awkward Dominion: American Political, Economic and Cultural Relations with Europe, 1919-1933 (1984); France and the United States: The Cold Alliance (1992); and nearly 40 articles. His most recent publication is Roosevelt’s Lost Alliances: How Personal Politics Helped Start the Cold War (Princeton, 2012). Costigliola has been awarded fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEH, the Norwegian Nobel Institute, and the American Philosophical Society. He is a former president of the Society for the History of American Foreign Relations.

Jonathan Rosenberg teaches U.S. history at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His research focuses on the history of the United States in a global context. His current project, From the New World: International Politics and Classical Music in Twentieth-Century America, examines how classical musicians, composers, and performing organizations in the United States understood and responded to international developments from the First World War to the Cold War. Rosenberg is the author of How Far the Promised Land?: World Affairs and the American Civil Rights Movement from the First World War to Vietnam (Princeton University Press, 2006). He is the co-author of Kennedy, Johnson, and the Quest for Justice: The Civil Rights Tapes (W.W. Norton, 2003); and he co-edited Cold War Statesmen Confront the Bomb: Nuclear Diplomacy Since 1945 (Oxford University Press, 1999). In addition to contributing articles and reviews to a variety of scholarly publications, Rosenberg has written for The Christian Science Monitor, The Wilson Quarterly, and The Washington Post.

About the Book:

In the spring of 1945, as the Allied victory in Europe was approaching, the shape of the postwar world hinged on the personal politics and flawed personalities of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. Roosevelt’s Lost Alliances captures this moment and shows how FDR crafted a winning coalition by overcoming the different habits, upbringings, sympathies, and past experiences of the three leaders. In particular, Roosevelt trained his famous charm on Stalin, lavishing respect on him, salving his insecurities, and rendering him more amenable to compromise on some matters.

Yet, even as he pursued a lasting peace, FDR was alienating his own intimate circle of advisers and becoming dangerously isolated. After his death, postwar cooperation depended on Harry Truman, who, with very different sensibilities, heeded the embittered “Soviet experts” his predecessor had kept distant. A Grand Alliance was painstakingly built and carelessly lost. The Cold War was by no means inevitable.

This landmark study brings to light key overlooked documents, such as the Yalta diary of Roosevelt’s daughter Anna; the intimate letters of Roosevelt’s de facto chief of staff, Missy LeHand; and the wiretap transcripts of estranged adviser Harry Hopkins. With a gripping narrative and subtle analysis, Roosevelt’s Lost Alliances lays out a new approach to foreign relations history.  Costigliola highlights the interplay between national political interests and more contingent factors, such as the personalities of leaders and the culturally conditioned emotions forming their perceptions and driving their actions. Foreign relations flowed from personal politics–a lesson pertinent to historians, diplomats, and citizens alike.




Roosevelt’s Lost Alliances: Author Frank Costigliola in conversation with Jonathan Rosenberg | Posted on May 3rd, 2012 | Faculty Associates News, Public Programs