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Why England Slept
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Why England Slept cover
Why England Slept (ISBN 0-313-22874-4) is the published version of a thesis written by John F. Kennedy while in his senior year at Harvard College. Published in 1940, the book examines the failures of theBritish government to take steps to prevent World War II and is notable for its uncommon stance of not castigating the appeasement policy of the British government at the time, instead suggesting that an earlier confrontation between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany could well have been more disastrous in the long run. One could consider these to be bold words given that at the time of writing the German army was sweeping across Europe and appeared nearly invincible.
The book was originally intended to be no more than a college thesis – it was rated as a magna cum laude by Professor Henry A. Yeomans and as a cum laude plus by Professor Carl J. Friedrich. However, Kennedy's father, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., always keen to elevate his sons' reputation, helped polish the book and bring it to publication.
As ambassador to Britain, the elder Kennedy supported Prime MinisterNeville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement during the late 1930s. Kennedy lived with his father in Britain at that time and witnessed the Luftwaffe's bombings of Britain first-hand.
After publication in 1940, the book sold 80,000 copies in the United Kingdom and the United States, collecting US$40,000 in royalties for Kennedy; those from the English sales were donated to Plymouth, England, recently bombed by the Luftwaffe, while Kennedy bought a green Buick convertible with the American income.