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Introduction: The Strange Twilight that Was Neither War nor Peace

  • E. Bruce Geelhoed
  • Anthony O. Edmonds
Chapter

Abstract

On 10 January 1957, Harold Macmillan became the prime minister of Great Britain, following the resignation of Anthony Eden on 9 January. Eden had been, in effect, forced from office by a combination of the overwhelming political pressure brought upon him and his government by the Suez crisis, then in its sixth month, as well as his own serious health problems. On the same day, 10 January, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the thirty-fourth president of the United States, wrote a congratulatory message to Macmillan. The tone of Eisenhower’s letter underscored the friendship which existed between the two men, a relationship which originally began during World War II in the North Africa campaign when Eisenhower was the Supreme Allied Commander of the combined British-American troops, and Macmillan was Britain’s Minister Resident in Algiers, the personal representative of Prime Minister Winston Churchill to Eisenhower’s staff. “Dear Harold,” Eisenhower wrote,

The purpose of this note is to welcome you to your new headaches. The only real fun you will have is to see just how far you can keep on going with everybody chopping at you with every conceivable kind of weapon. Knowing you so long and well I predict that your journey will be a great one. But you must remember the old adage, “Now abideth faith, hope, and charity — and greater than these is a sense of humor.”1

Keywords

Prime Minister Garden City Suez Canal National Leader North Atlantic Treaty Organization 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Eisenhower to Macmillan, 10 January 1957, Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Papers as President, Ann Whitman File, International Series, Box 22, “Harold Macmillan,” folder 7. Hereafter cited as EL, WFIS, and box. Box 22 contains folders which include letters exchanged between Macmillan and Eisenhower for the period from 10 January 1957 to 24 May 1957.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Harold Macmillan, Riding the Storm: 1956–1959 (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), 258.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    Carlo D’Este, Eisenhower: a Soldiers Life (New York: Henry Holt, 2002), 307.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    George Hutchinson, The Last Edwardian at No. 10 (London: Quartet Books, 1980), 52.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    See Robert Ferrell (ed.), The Eisenhower Diaries (New York: W.W. Norton, 1981); Harold Macmillan, War Diaries: Politics and War in the Mediterranean (New York:Google Scholar
  6. St. Martin’s, 1984), and Peter Catterall (ed.), The Macmillan Diaries: The Cabinet Years, 1950–1957 (London: Macmillan, 2003).Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    See Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe (New York: Doubleday, 1948); Mandate for Change: White House Years, 1953–1956 (Garden City: Doubleday, 1963); Waging Peace: White House Years, 1956–1961 (Garden City: Doubleday, 1965); At Ease: Stories I Tell To Friends (Garden City: Doubleday, 1967). For Harold Macmillan, see Macmillan’s memoirs, Winds of Change, 1914–1939 (New York: Harper and Row, 1966), The Blast of War, 1939–1945 (New York: Harper and Row, 1968), Tides of Fortune, 1945–1955 (New York: Harper and Row, 1969), Riding the Storm, 1956–1959 (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), Pointing the Way, 1959–1961 (London: Macmillan, 1972), and At the End of the Day (London: Macmillan, 1973).Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    Macmillan to Eisenhower, 2 January 1958, EL, WFIS, Box 23, “Macmillan-President,” Dec. 1, 1957-May 30, 1958, folder 2. Box 23 contains files which include letters exchanged between Macmillan and Eisenhower for three separate time periods, 23 May 1957–30 November 1957, 23–25 October 1957, and 1 December 1957–23 May 1958.Google Scholar
  9. 13.
    Macmillan to Eisenhower, 5 May 1959, EL, WFIS, Box 25(a), “Macmillan, 3/23/59–6/30/59,” folder 2. Box 25(a) contains folders which include letters exchanged between Macmillan and Eisenhower for two separate time periods, 23 March 1959–30 June 1959, and 1 July 1959–31 December 1959.Google Scholar
  10. 14.
    See Eisenhower, At Ease, 31–8, for a profile of the family. Ike had two older brothers, Arthur and Edgar, and three younger brothers, Roy, Earl, and Milton. Another brother, Paul, died in infancy. See also D’Este, Eisenhower, 30, 33.Google Scholar
  11. 15.
    Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower were grief-stricken over the death of Icky. See D’Este, Eisenhower, 156. In D’Este’s biography, he spells Doud Dwight’s nickname, “Ikky.” In At Ease, Eisenhower gave the nickname as “Icky,” the spelling which we use.Google Scholar
  12. 16.
    David Kennedy, Freedom from Fear: the American People in Depression and War, 1930–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 688.Google Scholar
  13. 17.
    See D’Este, Eisenhower, 284–303, for an explanation of Eisenhower’s rapid rise to command authority as well as his fears about the possibility that he might once again be overlooked for a command assignment.Google Scholar
  14. 18.
    Richard Aldous and Sabine Lee, “Staying in the Game: Harold Macmillan and Britain’s World Role,” in Richard Aldous and Sabine Lee (eds), Harold Macmillan and Britains World Role (London: Macmillan Press, 1995), 158.Google Scholar
  15. 19.
    Robert Murphy, DiplomatAmong Warriors (Garden City: Doubleday, 1964), 163–4.Google Scholar
  16. 23.
    Ibid., 194. See also Rick Atkinson, An Army At Dawn (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2002), 270.Google Scholar
  17. 25.
    Alexander Macmillan, interview with Bruce Geelhoed, 8 May 1987. See also Macmillan, The Blast of War, 195, and Geelhoed and Edmonds, Eisenhower, Macmillan and Allied Unity, xxii.Google Scholar
  18. 26.
    Harold Macmillan, interview with Robert McKenzie, British Broadcasting Corporation, regarding his book, Pointing the Way, 1972, Conservative Central Office Papers, Correspondence with the Party Leader (and ex-leader), Macmillan, 1963–64, 20/8/6, 14, Bodleian Library, Oxford, UK. See also Geelhoed and Edmonds, Eisenhower, Macmillan and Allied Unity, xxii.Google Scholar
  19. 27.
    Alistair Horne, Macmillan, Vol. I: 1894–1956 (London: Macmillan, 1988), 286–7.Google Scholar
  20. 28.
    See Steve Neal, Harry and Ike: the Partnership That Remade the Postwar World (New York: Scribner’s, 2001), 124–203, for a helpful discussion of Eisenhower’s life between 1945 and 1952.Google Scholar
  21. 29.
    Lester M. Hunt, “Nasser Called World Peril,” Indianapolis Star, 23 September 1956, 1, 16.Google Scholar
  22. 30.
    For a brief discussion of this highly complicated international crisis, see Robert A. Divine, Eisenhower and the Cold War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), 79–92.Google Scholar
  23. 32.
    Robert Rhodes James, “Harold Macmillan: an Introduction,” in Aldous and Lee (eds), Harold Macmillan and Britains World Role, 3.Google Scholar
  24. 34.
    Winthrop Aldrich, “The Suez Crisis: A Footnote to History,” Foreign Affairs, vol. 45, no. 3 (April 1967), 548.Google Scholar
  25. 35.
    Peter G. Boyle (ed.), The Churchill-Eisenhower Correspondence, 1953–1955 (Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 1990). Peter G. Boyle (ed), The Eden-Eisenhower Correspondence, 1955–1957 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, forthcoming).Google Scholar
  26. 37.
    James C. Humes, Eisenhower and Churchill: the Partnership that Saved the World (Roseville, CA: Prime Publishing Company, a division of Random House, 2001), 167–8.Google Scholar
  27. 42.
    Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower, Vol. II: the President (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), 261–7.Google Scholar
  28. 43.
    Address by Harold Macmillan at a Special Convocation, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, 22 September 1956, Indiana University Library.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© E. Bruce Geelhoed and Anthony O. Edmonds 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Bruce Geelhoed
  • Anthony O. Edmonds

There are no affiliations available

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