Re [OT!] Most influential civilian in WW2 ?
Russell McMahon email (remove spam text)
I asked a while ago who people thought the most influential civilian in
World War 2 was. I defined people like FDR, Churchill and Stalin as
"military" as they were Commander in Chief of their countries.
Here is a collation of the responses I received.
My nomination and reason why is at the end
In terms of funds expended and controlled, influence with ALL current world
leaders, and subject of conspiracy theorists he seems (to me) to be hard to
beat. Bbob will disagree :-)
There are some good thoughts here and each of these had a greater or lesser
effect on the war.
I realise that what I had in mind by the term "influential" is different
than what others may mean.
Bbob complained about my definition (of course :-) ).
Gavin said "Mrs Churchill".
(Her name was Clementine).
Probably Alan Turing and the rest of the Bletchley Park crew. Also, I would
have to credit the French, Polish and German (the disgruntled guy who sold
an Enigma machine to the French) involvement (esp the Polish) in arguably
shortening the war by several years.
Turing (Enigma) or Robert Watson-Watt (radar)
[[I pointed out that the first version of RADAR was patented by a German in
19004 and that if everyone had kept on with it then it would have been in
use in WW1 ! The British developed it much more thoroughly from the late
30's and the german's also did very extensive RADAR development during the
Paul Mc said:
The dude who was mostly responsible for cracking ENIGMA! (Paul)
Ian Y said:
Gavin B said:
That French guy....the leader of the Resistance Monsieur L.ukky
My guess is that the person had the public's ear and following before the
radio news commentator ,perhaps. Lowell Thomas or Walter Winchell maybe. I
I'm leaving someone out. Who was it that made all of those news reports from
London in the dark days? I am going to discount any religious leaders, as"
CIVILIAN" seems to exclude them. I think that the "radio media" is the best
source for a candidate." Tokyo Rose"...Naaa.
I think that I was right to search for a "media" personality, but I
forgot about the film industry. Howabout Humphrey Bogart or John Wayne?
Wanna do some stirring? Put a film hero in peril.
I have finally realised that you're mind works in ways that only you are
convinced are valid.
Here are my recent guesses.
Tim P said:
Problem is, I don't know all of the civilians who were influential in WW 2.
As far a public figure who has had an ongoing influence, I would say Corrie
Ten Boom, since her
story is still being told, and her example is still influencing lives.
Jeanette G said:
Dietrich Bonhöeffer is my hero but I guess his overall influence wasn't that
great. Perhaps if you count SINCE the war as well, his influence would be a
continuing one 'cos he wrote good books.
Bela I said
Ed Teller, Leo Szilard, John Neumann together.
They did nothing important, just the 'A' bomb for the USA ...
They're named "The Martians" by Leon Lederman, "because they cannot
learn english without a foreign accent, they speak a strange foreign
language in between them that cannot be learnt by anyone else, they said
they were the students of the same secondary school, they said their
teacher of physics were the same, and all these things happened in such
a small country, that it isn't visible on the largest map... Oooh,
that's not true, they're simply martians ...." sais Lederman, a US
Gary C said:
Henry J. Kaiser
27% of total WWII shipping was done in Liberty Ships.
2710 were built; 200 were lost.
One was built in less than 5 days.
Kaiser was also largely responsible for the Casablanca Class aircraft
carrier (CVE), also known unofficially as the Kaiser Class. Kaiser
shipyards built 50 of them during 1943-1944.
My man's name leaves a complete blank with most people.
He was named Harry Hopkins (HH)
He personally masterminded and then implemented and authorised and
controlled the expenditure of, (according to some reports) hundreds of
billions of dollars of funds in 1940 dollars on the war effort. (Lend Lease)
He was utterly trusted by FDR (the US President) and was his top advisor.
Churchill considered him a close friend and would send him information to
give to FDR and discuss what he was trying to achieve so that HH could
present it as favourably as possible.
He is said by many to have effectively been the assistant US President (even
though he was not elected).
HH was sent to represent FDR to, amongst other places, England (numerous
times), Egypt, Teheran, Moscow, and more.
HH was invariably present at top level military conferences in the US and
elsewhere representing and/or accompanying FDR.
FDR consulted him and took his advice on matters of ALL types including
FDR wrote a paper on the future of the war prior to major US involvement in
Europe when the UK was still fighting Rommel and was in trouble. Churchill
said that this was the most masterful and incisive paper that the President
ever wrote. He asked for the recipients to analyse and comment on the
consequences of UK loss in Africa. It was a precursor to a major UK/US
conference and was addressed to General Marshall, (chief of staff, Marshall
plan & FDR's top military man) Admiral King and (of course) HH.
He is said by his detractors (soon after the war and still now) to have been
a Soviet agent.
I don't think he was - rather a child of his times when the reality of what
Russia was doing in WW2, had done by the end of WW2 and could do were much
more real and relevant than appreciated by those smaller men who come after.
As master of lend lease he approved and expedited transfer of material of
all sorts to Russia and UK. He leant very heavily towards keeping the flow
going when there were problems. The Russians understood he was on their
Major Johnson diaries make interesting reading (sound slike a commie spy to
me ! :-) )
He is said to have personally approved and expedited the supply of TONS
(literally) of Uranium to Russia up to 1943, also Cadmium, Graphite,
Aluminium tube, Heavy Water and more. All apparently for engineering use.
What do you think the Russians really did with this material? :-) .
Documents indicated now that HH had intimate knowledge of the work in the
"Manhattan Engineering District" (aka the Manhattan project, and the
Trinity project from the earliest stages that the work was known about by
government and was kept up to date.
He is also said to have personally authorised the transfer of technical
information on the US A bomb project to the Soviets.
None of which makes him a Soviet agent. Some of which will be false. But the
influence, accessibility and power needed to make these stories true point
to a degree of power unknown to most.
He is also said to have personally connived to allow Pearl Harbour to
happen. And so is FDR.
None of which may be true, but again it points to where HH stood in the
At the infamous Yalta conference, now much maligned by many who were not
then even born and who find it easier to be wiser than our forbears, the US,
UK and Russia set the arrangements for post-war Europe. FDR died part way
through Yalta. Churchill was defeated at the polls (job done, throw him out
in gratitude). Truman took over as President. Anthony Eden as Prime
minister. Continuity was achieved with HH who attended throughout.
HH became Truman's right hand man as he had been FDR's. Truman sent him to
Moscow to talk to Stalin over the treatment of Poland and sticking to his
agreements. Some hope. Stalin was a man of capabilities and willingness's to
do whatever he wished that we find it hard viewing him through modern eyes.
As a mass murderer of his own people and anyone else he could get his hands
on he has almost no equal. (Mao MAY exceed him but that's another story. ).
Enough from me - search web for Harry Hopkins and be surprised.
Interesting to try combinations of his name plus -
Roosevelt Churchill FDR Stalin Soviet spy agent traitor lend-lease
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