tv Catherine Grace Katz The Daughters of Yalta CSPAN January 14, 2021 9:04pm-10:16pm EST
good evening. i have the privilege of serving as director of the roosevelt house, and on behalf of hunter college i want to welcome you to another online roosevelt house presentation. during this particularly dramatic period in our country it is especially troubling that we cannot gather in our historic house on 61st street to process recent events together in the roosevelt house tradition of civic engagement and discussion. in fact in the auditorium where we would have done this meeting, the images on the wall about the
audiences face feature photographs from the very conference at the heart of tonight's conversation arguably the most important and perhaps most consequential in world history. i'm so pleased as we all are that we can continue online programs that span past and present from discussions and public policy to considerations of the history that has helped to shape the circumstances of the present day and i want to thank those of you that have responded to the recent appeals for support. more than ever it is crucial to have your backing as we plan on a spring semester of programming online. we would be very grateful for the continued generous support and i urge you to have a look at the messaging of the company's invitations. returning to tonight's program,
it reaches back to another of our most flawed moments when the direction of the country and the globe was being decided not to byan election or even by the war but by the world leaders who gathered to attend the yalta conference in february 1945 to make a plan for post world war ii piece. there, the tensions among roosevelt, winston churchill and joseph stalin strained the foundation of the alliance that really won the war and peace depended. we spoke for american interest without the energy that animated the leadership during the war itself. so, who helped fdr and the other leaders at yalta?
i could not be more pleased to welcome someone with in an an entirelynew and original take grace discussing her new and it also happens to be her first book the daughters of yalta, churchill, roosevelt and a story of love and war. in it she tells for the first time an eye-opening story of the three intelligent and glamorous young women who accompanied their famous fathers to yalta. the daughter of the u.s. ambassador to the soviet union, future governor of new york, sarah churchill, daughter of the british minister, and franklin and eleanor's only daughter. through the eyes of these loyal and politically savvy women, readers are given a fresh inside perspective of the drama of the
conference as well as its reverberations during the final days of world war ii. catherine is not only a scholar with degrees in history from harvard and cambridge but also pursuing her jd at harvard law school. like roosevelt house itself that is where it is abridged past and present. i'm also delighted to welcome back to the roosevelt house albeit virtually my friend affectionately who will conduct the conversation. amanda tormented a biographer, historian and author whose prize-winning bestsellers include duchess of devon shire and a world on fire the history of two nations divided and in the administration's relationships with european powers during the civil war. a great book.
also a columnist at "the wall street journal" and writer and host of a groundbreaking new documentary series the assent of women. her next book is scheduled to be published penguin random house. the last time we had the pleasure of welcoming her it was to discuss another important book about a powerful female leader, the reprint of eleanor roosevelt it's up to the women. joining that night was jill lepore who'd written the introduction and katrina, who along with her father, the beloved board of advisor member, with us tonight. so a special welcome to you both. others to whom i want to extend a special greeting our members toby roosevelt, davidand also kd
mortimer. we are very happy to have you with us. it is an honor because it helps us make a direct connection even in these remote times to the subject of tonight's conversation. before we begin, let me mention a few housekeeping details. we aim to create the audience q and a that always characterizes our in person events. online we do the same and ask you to use the q-and-a button on the bottom of your screen to input your questions at any time during the program. at the end, there will be fielded and directed to the guests in a moderated q-and-a hosted by the roosevelt house curator, so get your questions in. and to obtain a copy of the book, the daughters of yalta
complete with an autographed roosevelt house bookplate autographed by the author please keep an eye on the chat function for the link to purchase a copy with a bookplate exclusively from the bookstore shakespeare and company. we call it the next best thing to a reception and signing. i want to add a couple of acknowledgments before we begin. doctor steven is here who's written extensively about roosevelt's final year, including the state of his health at yalta and also he's contributed many artworks to the roosevelt house collection so thank you for being here. the great biographer of eleanor roosevelt and a woman who wanted to go to yalta but didn't. she had many other things to do in her own right.
welcome. dorothy, the member of the board of advisors, is here and we welcome her and last but not least, i'm thrilled that my friend kate whitney is here. she's been important to me and my family for half a century. she is a granddaughter of franklin and eleanor roosevelt and it is a pleasure to welcome kate as well. now please join me in welcoming catherine grace and amanda. >> hello, and thank you, harold, for that lovely introduction. it is my great pleasure to be able to introduce kathleen. welcome, catherine and i just want to say that i can't remember the last time that i had so much pleasure in reading a book such as yours. it really is an absolute triumph and i am thrilled to have the opportunity to talk with you about it today. >> that means a great deal
coming from you. thank you so much for joining me this evening. and thank you to the roosevelt house for having me. this is great fun and even though we cannot meet in person, this is the next best thing and i'm glad we are all gathered together this evening so thank you, everyone. as mentioned, you have an interesting bio. you were at harvard, then cambridge and now you are back at harvard but born in chicago. can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to have this education? >> i've loved history from the time i was a little girl. every night some of her favorite books were british soldiers classics and it just sparked a
love of british culture and history at a young age and i can't remember i think i was about 5-years-old and the idea of maybe someday going to oxford or cambridge. [inaudible] >> under the supervision and looking at the origins of the practices as they emerged during the first world war. >> so this has been a great love for you for many years. >> it is great fun to explore these academically but also to
bring it to an audience in the form of a book. >> what made you think about turning the lens of history the other way. how did you come across these three women? >> there were various coincidences that collided and churchill i studied accidentally as i mentioned in grad school and others about his own escape from the pow camp and jumpstarted the political career at the age of 24 and so after i graduated from cambridge, i decided i think this is the smart thing and i should work in finance in new york but by sheer coincidence in my office there was a bookstore named after
churchill's country home and it was after many visits to the bookstore and i needed a break i was introduced to the churchill society and the family and it was around this time that they were opening up for the first time and asked if i would be interested in writing an article about that and of course i said yes. i always wanted to be a writer and 24, 25-years-old i didn't know how i would do that so i came to write an article about the papers and through the course of researching about her life, i became so fascinated by her experience. i knew a little bit about her as an actress before this and again, coincidentally every summer since i was a little girl my family had gone to georgia and there is a photograph of
sarah on her wedding day in 1949. she had eloped with her second husband so i had these childhood memories and now this chance to learn about the remarkable experience in world war ii and especially her work as her father's aid i found this completely fascinating and i didn't realize on the numerous occasions in school there had been these conferences inspired in part by the remarkable value in tehran. >> the conference is like a kind of snapshot because by the time you get to, everything has
changed. churchill is about to be pushed out. in writing about yalta, you are capturing a moment in time. >> yes. a great photograph with churchill, fdr and stalin together in the courtyard taken on february 8th, 1945 and you can see there was a grim look on their faces, five years at war and what it took to get there and what was playing on them at this conference. more specific, it's far from over so they gathered to discuss the four main topics. first is what to do about germany in the post world war should it be one nation or
broken into policies in the hopes that it does not rise again and there's a matter of independence and sovereignty and churchill doesn't want to walk away from the conference. they've been in exile since the beginning of the war and since they were not able to succeed, they set out to accomplish at the very beginning roosevelt important issue is how to bring the soviet. they don't yet know if it will be a success so there is the chance of the japanese home islands that can lead to the 200,000 soldiers in exchange for territory to save american lives and finally where woodrow wilson has failed us it is possible to
achieve peace in europe. we also see it as a way to bring the soviet union and after they've been defeated and so these are the issues that are weighing on them and you can see in their faces there's another photograph taken from a slightly different perspective you can see them off to the side of course sarah was 30, kathleen was 27 and anna was 38 and it's remarkable to think that these women were there and as struck by the presence and what that meant about the relationship with their father that was so important that of all people they could have chosen, they chose to bring their daughters at this incredibly important moment between the world war and cold war so you have these women
you see sarah in her uniform and anna and the metal in a uniform. it was incredible to think about and also what did it feel like to have these people be put on a pedestal, think of them to be just dad and the same age these women were at the conference and to be writing about their lives because it is a remarkable opportunity. >> what do you mean by diplomat. it is an evocative phrase i love it and it reminds me of another phrase but throughout history, daughters that played this role
where they are the eyes and ears of the home team as they go off to the cause. they are negotiators, conduits and they play an important role in history. so, when you say diplomatic daughters, give your sense of what that is going to entail. >> there are members of the delegation. they are not there speaking for the government per se and they are not in the plenary sessions debating on the issues that are at stake, but they are able to go and have conversations and deliver messages to people that an official representative of the government might not be able to do and similarly, they are able to collect information from the conversations and bring it back to report on the certain
nuances that are extremely important in the world of diplomacy where the feelings matter and small gestures are incredibly important and so because they occupy this role, they are able to go places where others can't. and that because i official status they speak not for the government but the force of their fathers behind them is extremely valuable to each of their fathers at this conference. >> let's drill down into each of these women. let's start with kathleen. twenty-seven at the time. give the sense of who was her father, the fourth richest man in the united states, what does that mean? >> he was one of the founders to
encourage americans to use the western railroad giving a glamorous destination and his engineers at union pacific. remember that next time you go skiing. he ran a business like his father but had a commitment and this is something that his family shared. the daughter of the junior league and so it was through her example and inspiration that he was ahead of his time wanting to involve his daughters in his professional world to the extent they wanted to be. he and his daughter were not especially close when she was a little girl her parents divorced when she was ten and it wasn't until her mother died that they found their way together through
a shared love of adventure. she was an incredibly accomplished and a terrific skier in fact, so she and her father shared this bond and she spent her holidays with him working alongside him. before they entered the war he thought it would be a wonderful idea to have the experience to go with him and he arranged it was there that they became close friends with the churchill family. >> was she and experienced writer? she hadn't really ever written before. >> she does some pr
communications but this is a bit of a trial by fire doing stories like the left spirit but before long covering things like the pilots that were shut down and burned in their rehabilitations and covering things like conferences with the exile european polish government and so it's a bear that she becomes very skeptical when her father becomes the ambassador in 1943, she goes with him and learns russian for both of them and becomes the assistant ambassador. >> next, let's move on to sarah churchill. tell us about her.
>> some people may know about the end of her life where she was a moderately successful actress. >> let's not get ahead of ourselves. >> it is exciting and incredible. i'm thrilled to be able to share with people the perspective on her life. she and her father were close when she was a little girl. she was the middle child and has a special bond since she was young and felt even if she was shy she understood the way that his brain worked so they spent long hours together engaged in one of his favorite activities so they would spend these hours together but also wanted to make her own way in the world and for
her class and generation there were not many careers open to her so she decided to become an actress and ends up running away with the start of her show who was older than she was and was an austrian citizen and ultimately the marriage didn't survive but when the war broke out she wanted to do her part for the country as well, so she became an officer in the women's branch where she was involved in the aerial reconnaissance analysis and she knew the details and to collect information behind the scenes from the memoir that they would later write and there was a
great gift of language between the experience and her writing ability and astute understanding of her father's mind she was the perfect person to accompany him. >> what is the state of her marriage at this point? they had been putting it off to avoid any scandals so she is separated but has struck up an attachment with somebody that is at yalta in spirit as the american ambassador. >> so they are separated and now anna roosevelt, tell us about her. >> the only mother of the three daughters. she's 38, so she's the oldest and she and her father were very close when she was a little girl and had a shared passion and
would spend long hours together and she dreamed someday she would join him at hyde park. she went to the outside looking in as she was surrounded by doctors and nurses and the political colleagues that had to come to him so she was sent to school and became a debutante much to her chagrin think people like eleanor roosevelt and she ends up rebelling she has two children in this marriage and then fell in love with a republican journalist they do fall in love and overcome
political differences and get married and have a child and move and become the editors. when her husband joins in 1943, she returns home for christmas and essentially decides to stay at the white house after that point in part because she knows that something is wrong with her father. she's staring off into space for long periods of time, isn't sharing details, she thinks that it's very auto. her mother doesn't seem to have noticed so she insisted he has a comprehensive medical examination that revealed he had congestive heart failure and he's dying and there is no cure. fdr doesn't want to know what's wrong with him and never asks the doctor. so, it falls on her to carry the secret and try to make his life as free a burden as possible and so she becomes the gatekeeper
helping decide who needs an audience and who can meet with someone else sometimes even going to the inbox at night and distributing it to others so when it comes time he senses that she's protecting him in some way and says to churchill if you are thinking of bringing sarah i'm thinking of bringing my daughter, so she has the chance to fulfill this lifelong dream of being indispensable to him and she's thrilled to join him for what she knows will be one of the most consequential times in the century. >> but she also has a dark secret in her own marriage. what's going on with her marriage to john. there is a very dark secret there that she knows about. >> one of the things we know
much better today became even more affected by the experience during the war so there's some problems at home she's trying to do her best to overlook and not knowing quite what to do i don't want to give too much away but she's keeping many secrets and keeping secrets from herself about her own life and marriage so she carries an enormous burden and of course can't tell anyone about what is happening. >> so, these three women all with tricky lives arrive at yalta. it's always been this kind of village that looks fine on the outside but you go into one of these great buildings.
so what is it like, how do they make life comfortable for their three charges? >> in many ways it has no relationship to the reality and yalta itself is almost like a character in the story because of the setting and the chaos that is being swept under the rug while they are there. it's also important to understand what it even took to get to yalta. it shows how far it was so they had to fly from london and they've been traveling through but they are still finding boats
and they meet and have to fly up over any occupied territory flying at a low altitude. one of the planes gets shot at and then they land six hours away from their destination and they drive all the way down to the coast which is beautiful and the summer home so it is a beautiful building but until recently it had been the headquarters the soviets recently pushed them out and found their way and they took with them everything they could
carry. three weeks after they signed where the conference is going to be held and the day that they arrived and everything that they need and they went a thousand miles south and then they had everyday items like coat hangers and ashtrays that had been completely destroyed by the war and one of those things where if you peek behind the curtain, it isn't what it appears to be on the surface. there's a lot of texture in the scenery. you laid out what is at stake.
let's delve into some of the personal aspects at stake because the relationship that you describe everyone -- we've got churchill and roosevelt and on and on. can you just give us a map of the secret affairs going on at the same time? >> the only person was churchill. [laughter] that is the most famous is of course the relationship between churchill's daughter-in-law they had a turbulent marriage from the start and sees herself as a great person and wants to use this to increase her power in london so they begin a
relationship before arriving in london in 1941. she agrees to cover up for it. they break off the affair in the soviet union. the relationship is interesting almost like colleagues or business partners so the affair is over for now but she's writing as the friend. other people are also writing including peter was deeply enamored and writes a 30 page letter to show off everything in the conference and having a relationship with fred anderson
so everybody is involved in these rich letters. of course there is a relationship with the american ambassador to the uk who had been left out of the conference because of his local views when it is advocating. then fdr, his relationship with lucy mercer was ongoing and at this point it's an emotional affair and one that he asks his daughter to keep from eleanor and she's torn about this because she sees that her father is dying and she is desperate to
get him some measure of peace and relaxation and comfort in these last days of the war so she agrees to keep the secret which is a horrible position for any child to have to be in. >> wasn't there also an affair between anna roosevelt's brother -- >> there were some letters on some of the transatlantic trips between washington and london. >> this is an amazing world where everyone seems to know each other and how much do you think that knowledge of how things to progress also in
danger? >> it's one of the moments where politics is intimately personal. you cannot take them apart. they are balanced together there there's the official american photographer and there's a soviet child there as well, not svetlana but he doesn't allow her to interact with foreigners, but the head brought his son to part of the secret eavesdropping team for the british and americans and so his son is listening in and there's all these other multi generational aspects to the story taking place in the background as well but i think it's also fdr and churchill have this close relationship throughout and special relationships built on
their bond. but at this point, things are breaking down because he can see the shifting balance of power and britain is weaker. when sarah arrives with her father at the rendezvous where they see fdr for the first time she senses that something changed about him she said also perhaps he's moved away a little from us and this is very difficult for churchill to accept. he wants to have a private meeting before they meet with stalin. fdr doesn't want to do this and allows anna to run interference.
to make the personal appeal and connection to secure the postwar international order. >> of course as we all know there's multiple game playing going on and the way you would detail the intelligence operations and the covert actions happening throughout the entire conference and it is quite telling. one of my favorite scenes in the book is when the soviets tried to blackmail by in playing they had compromised materials on his daughter. kind of go into that a little bit. >> before the conference, there is a meeting with somebody from
stalin's government and in moscow they are having tea. they are there to discuss the relationship and make sure everything is in order but as they try to imply they had a relationship with some russian man which is definitely not true, harriman knows this is in the case of he dismisses the man much to stalin and his inner circle chagrin. he is not easily manipulated like that and it's kind of funny to see the gamesmanship very overtly but it's one of those things that hasn't really changed over time. it required a healthy imagination of what they might do because sometimes it is disguised as what rational people or interactions between the companies might be to the level of a james bond villain
but they go to the length to not only did the private quarters but they anticipate that they will go outside and they deliberately clear a path in the garden to make it easier for fdr to move around in his wheelchair and they bugged the pathways to listen. he also sends doctors to the airfield where they first land in crimea to observe from afar because he has been hearing rumors and wants an assessment from the doctors. the length they go are incredible and at the same time being remarkably generous and gracious hosts they go to great lengths to showcase these multicourse meals with the luxurious no one would expect in a war zone.
they don't know where it's come from but there it is nonetheless. so it's kind of this weird combination of the subtle intrigue and espionage but sometimes being put to use the variously and other times in order to be more gracious hosts, which is flawed and there were moments i didn't expect myself to be chuckling. >> one is the dinner party scene that you described the eighth of february and it is that
particular dinner everyone is present and there's lots of drinking and toasts. if you could try to give us a flavor of the kind of incredible luxury and danger and intention that's going on at the same time. they take a moment to shine and be the gracious hosts that they pride themselves on being. the three daughters as they are known of the conference are invited to attend but some of the military leaders were not invited which is odd and so they arrive at stalin's villa which i think not accidentally was the home of the mastermind behind
the murder and stalin made a point of that for his conference they had a grand banquet and he was someone no one had met him and when he appeared he asked him who he is and it is alarming because the president wouldn't know absolutely everyone who is at a conference for security reasons at least at that level and so stalin turns to him and says [inaudible] which is uncomfortable to say the least meanwhile kind of glaring at the daughters and she has an audit interaction which she plays off and it's very useful for diplomacy. anna outsmart him by swapping out her vodka for water but the
whole thing is audit and then kathleen is put on the spot to give a toast and on behalf of the three women thinking what it would be like to be that age or 27 when i was writing it, to be that age and be asked to give a toast like that and that soft diplomacy that is important to a meeting like this. >> ending with that marvelous toast when he says you have nothing to lose but your audience and it's just absolutely hilarious. you also described and it's so clever to save the reputation of the three women and was it a high point for her do you think? >> the chance to go to yalta and
see the person who was invaluable at their father's side and these great moments is something that they each carried as a lifelong dream they wanted to be that person and their father's lives and they know that the end of the war has given them an opportunity that were it not available to them they would be three daughters but also it's a limited opportunity and it was closing so they want to make the most of it while they have the opportunity but they recognize it as one chapter of many in their lives and so certainly it is a high point in the system and they didn't have very fulfilling lives. it's the culmination of the partnerships that she dealt with with her father when she went to work in 1941. his views diverged so much and
he isn't free to expect those as his own accord. at this point it's to hold a bit and by having her there who can speak russian, through her he is able to exert his own influence and establish his own voice and power at the conference in very subtle and nuanced ways but it isn't lost to the people around them. >> that is so interesting. >> do you have a favorite? >> there are a few where they see some carnage for the
democracy versus the soviet collective and the way that she is very astute and has a knack for the political understanding. there's many moments where it leads to some humor including dashing out of the conference room to find a toilet and his guards don't know that he's done that and they think there was a kidnapping stunt. it's very entertaining. >> you write about the time these members play an important
role and it has to do with the nature of being willing. they have a kind of privileged access. one, this is an aspect of women and women's history that is kind of unique. second thing it is strange to be celebrating these unelected family members in their role. is there or should there be a place for these family members hanging around. >> very familiar with women and inunique roles and a political
situation while they are the people making the decision of the table many conversations have occurred before that. women have had a unique roles in the political process for centuries. to not have a seat at the table but we should expand our mind is a bit to think about the different kind of power women have had especially in politics such as these three women very active at this time. eleanor roosevelt and thank god they now have a seat at the table on the foreign policy, but they were not without power
entirely and they were more creative and in these roles that were exciting to be able to shine a light on in the story. this is certainly another question where families have become part of the political conversation more than any other time in history perhaps. i kind of think of it in this way when you marry someone you married their family and to some extent we have accepted to some degree that the spouse would have the official role in the administration but we haven't defined the appropriate role for the children and so that when we had to think about for some time because they had younger children in the white house, adult children being involved in policies and things contended with the last few years. historically there was an acceptance dating back but it's
that logistical role. it isn't a sufficient credential to being at the table. these three daughters are not in the conference room they were not actively taking part in the negotiations themselves but it's different where she was taking meetings with other world leaders and so where that kind of line is between someone like
this role in the actual policymaking process. >> fascinating. thank you. we have a few minutes left over to open up the floor to questions. you have so many fascinating and interested to know. >> this has been fantastic. there are questions from the audience that i will pose to you now. considering how difficult it was to get to yalta, why did they agree to that particular location? >> at this point, they recognize the balance of power has shifted so his western allies need him more than he needs them. he has boots on the ground across eastern europe. they are looking to him for cooperation on things like polish sovereignty and like an entry into the war in the pacific and so he holds more cards. he is afraid to leave the soviet
union because of the security apparatus and fear of flying so he tells roosevelt the doctors advised against him traveling and meanwhile, fdr is dying and so there's some irony there but it's important to have this meeting in person. fdr trying to build on this relationship that he thinks he can forge and he was a great advocate for meeting in person and they can carry the holy trinity and they said he must be then because he flies around so much. they had this meeting and they were able to go into this inhospitable location but also out of power that was held. >> nancy webster asks do they have an impact in changing their father's mind about these important issues? >> so, the role they were less
about advocating for certain policy decisions and more about kind of being a person who could help this emotionally charged time and channel those thoughts into the productive line of reasoning to put your best foot forward in the conferences. but her relationship this capacity there's this sentiment not because they don't like him personally but because they sacrificed so much and they just
want a little bit of recognition for that sacrifice to make life a little bit easier after the war. so her political sound and understanding of the feelings of the domestic population are valuable to him. .. this really personally and to feel like what it would be like to be in her footsteps. sarah should be my job easier than anyone because she was such a beautiful writer as we mentioned before and so i had great respect for her
observation and the way she expressed them. and how that has made us see a much more human side of the development side and my heart really broke for her more than anyone. she was put in such a difficult position, mostly thanks to her father who asked her to do something that i just don't think that's fair for a parent ask a child. and yet, even if she did make the right decision every time, and perhaps sometimes running interference on his behalf sometimes tampered it with the intention of getting criticism. he allowed her to be in that position you know. so their relationship is very complicated and nuanced. as well have an enormous respect from as a president, i think that there are more
interesting and thought-provoking questions about his relationship with his family. and i think you see that through the eyes of his daughter through a very complicated time that they're doing things they might otherwise be willing to do. >> thank you for the wonderful talk and does catherine know if the dock daughter has kept in touch they maintain their friendship? >> so i would like to say that they walked away all being the best of friends. i think the relationship really did ebb and flow with and among their father. and his father is a representative and their loyalties lie with him. sarah and kathy were very good friends before, they spent a lot of time together in london. they were actually celebrating kathleen's 24th birthday the night of pearl harbor, and these two can with together
throughout the war. years later when april re- handled her romance. and when kathlyn's long-time best friend becomes her stepmother, and her and her children still remain intertwined for many years. sarah and anna, they didn't maintain a regular friendship, but they did experience some some moments after the war. each of these daughters and their husbands were deeply affected by the war. and for example if we knew more than about mental health perhaps that might not have been the case, but there's is very touching moment after sears husband dies and anna has experienced a thing very similar. she writes to sir expressing what she knows about being someone in that position where your life is constantly under the scrutiny of the public while you're grieving. they are the best of friends but they definitely have a
shared experience which is very meaningful to all of them which reappears during certain homes of your life. >> grace asks, how did you learn that she likes brooklyn with the cover knowledge? >> he wrote a wonderful book called painting as a pastime which is one of his many favorite pastimes and many of churchill's and disease will recognize that. there's many pictures of him with sarah as his aid and his youngest daughter mirus is mary assisting him. he was avid about painting. he is well-known about this with his contemporaries and as we know today. >> let's see, nancy webster asks if you're working on a new book? yes, so the paradox and irony of covid is that it has given as perhaps the more time that we may be thought we would have. but the frustrating thing for an historian is that many
things remain closed and then it's tough to travel to them. every idea what i would like to write next but i can't get into the archives to see the primary sources and anton able to do that, it's also on a bias myself what will be there and what the story would be but i can't say for sure enticing the sources. because my writing of this book i thought it was going to be a biography for sarah churchill when i started and then i learned more about her work experience and the fact that the other two have been at yalta had pivoted. so i want to not close off my mind from something like that, perhaps revealing itself to me going again to the archives but i don't mean to be coy but it's a frustrating moment right now and for many others. mac i'm going to follow up on a question from nancy, would you care to tell us a subject? or would you prefer not to. >> will keep it to myself for now.
anonymous question and is ask what is the biggest challenge of writing this book? one of the greatest challenges about writing about world war ii or these figures, is that there such a body of work were to writing and can feel it readily overwhelming. as you looking into this expanse of the secondary literature and primary literature that exists i think we enter the bright auger fee of churchill last year, his was the 1,010 biography of churchill. so that is set thing that is certainly an undertaking and no one can ever read every book that's ever been written about the time. the figures in their lifetime. and for me it was way helpful to focus on this week in particular. and of course the stories in the lives of these individuals extends beyond this week but i do reveal about the book. but with that focus it helped to streamline the research and
also focusing on primary sources and things that have been and figures have been written contemporaneously and were so valuable. and so almost all of the research from in this book was from primary sources. it is very fortunate that money and my thesis and dissertation involved overlapping themes so i was familiar with a great deal of the secondary literature when a service project. but is certainly overwhelming and i think it's one of those things that is a most best if this was my first book and i didn't know what to expect so i didn't have as much knowledge about how overwhelming it could be when or until i was in the thick of it. >> do you have time for just a couple more thoughts are with you? so teeth pierce asks by the end of the conference did they believe that stalin would follow through on his promises concerning poland? >> there's a lot of doublespeak and wish will
think that emerges out of yalta. including from, from churchill to fdr and they are very optimistic about the development and redevelopment in the agreements, and some of this is signaling confidence they don't half entirely. and specially churchill, and you can see in his conversation with sarah, revealing more of his true state and apprehension about what he's saying publicly. especially when he goes to report to the house of commons. after he returned to the conference. in the case of anna i think that she shared much of her father's hope that stalin would be a man of his word. and that, and that the bond fdr had bond formed with stolen and that would convince him to keep his word. which is tricky. there is some wonderful writings around the time this conference were he and another
man would go on to be quite the pair in this cold war. and there's something among them and nothing they could agree on then would make a difference. as well as. [inaudible] you can see the writing on the wall and i do think that stalin did like roosevelt personally and respected him and are mostly especially given that he was and had to respect and admiration of the american public. but even if stalin liked him personally he's not going to act different from the interest of the soviet union. i think perhaps anna, she had a rosier view as did fdr, about the commitment of the soviet union. but she was also the most
experience of the $3 to foreign policy, and i think some of that life's experience shows there. while the other two daughters or more skeptical about the agreement. >> did kathy and anna have letters or diaries about it? >> yes i mention sarah's letters and kathleen wrote many letters to her sister and former governess during the war as well as pamela churchill when she moved to moscow. and i'm so grateful to her family for allowing me to see these, she passed away in 2011 and she never really had smoke about the war in her remarkable time in london and moscow. like so many members of this generation she didn't think anything that she did was anymore portraits of anyone else but she did not learn or lead on for review that she had. and it wasn't until she died that her family discovered that she has letters on the
war. you can see that she was a young woman coming to age during the tumultuous time. i'm very grateful to the family for allowing me to see those. and anna has many letters that she wrote to her husband, and her husband, and her children. and there at the fdr library which is a fantastic place if you have the opportunity to research there i would highly recommend it. as well as the churchill archives in cambridge in the uk. the animals they keep a diary which is a bit of an aberration from what she normally did because she moved to the white house she agreed that into her father that she would not keep a diary and everything would remain confidential between them. she did not have any interest or writing a tell all after the war, but she did what to record things in greater detail washes of the conference because she know she was living through such a significant moment in history. not to keep a diary suck but the layers that relate to shared it with her family and to preserve for her own family history for years to come. >> lastly, this and make a
wonderful historical miniseries are there any plans for that? >> i am very fortunate that the book has been optioned by producer amy pascal, who did little women last year. and so i hope that we will see the daughters of the screen, big or small in the near future. that's excellent. >> this is been wonderful thank you so much, thank you for anyone who joined. before we signed off for the evening to either of you have any final words? >> i just want to say thank you so much for joining this evening and thank you for hosting this is been great fun and i hope that i can visit you in person someday soon. and thanks to for reading the book and having this conversation this evening. i've had to my disrespect field for so many years this is been at great personal goal for me to have a conversation with you this evening. thank you. >> every member of the audience should by kaplan's book explains quite a fantastic ring.