Lanham, Lexington Books, 2015, ISBN: 9780739199954; 252pp.; Price: £60.00
Date accessed: 26 September, 2023
In 1899, before Theodore Roosevelt ran for national office, Secretary of State John Hay orchestrated an international agreement with six imperial powers to collectively guarantee the maintenance of free trade in Chinese ports, a potentially lucrative market for American goods and a primary cause of friction among covetous foreign traders. The idea was simple: if world powers could trade freely and grow rich without impediment, they would not seek territorial aggrandizement that often led to war. The policy – styled as the ‘open door’ to China – soon proved faulty. In 1900, the Boxer Rebellion, a nationalist Chinese uprising intent on dispelling foreigners, reached a crescendo when Peking was overrun by revolutionary violence. Foreign powers ordered an inter-imperial intervention to suppress the Boxers that ended with Russian troops occupying part of Manchuria, a prostrate Chinese state, and foreign expeditionary forces in several major cities for more than a year. The Boxers actually stoked long-standing territorial disputes among foreign powers and, after the rebellion, Hay proposed that the imperial powers who favored open door trade also respect China’s territorial integrity and the sovereignty of the Chinese state. Despite all six imperial countries agreeing to these tenets, the collective guarantee failed to keep the peace. Japan went to war with Russia in 1904, China’s internal sovereignty remained tenuous for a generation, and commercial imbalances accompanied informal spheres of imperial interest. Theodore Roosevelt argued that the open door policy ‘completely disappears as soon as a powerful nation determines to disregard it, and is willing to run the risk of war rather than forego its intention’. Roosevelt inherited the open door idea from his predecessor William McKinley, just as he inherited Hay as secretary of state, and although he observed the policy’s defects, he accepted it as the basis for American relations in the Far East.
Some scholars, particularly those of the Wisconsin School, maintain that Roosevelt expanded the open door, creating an ideology of economic expansion that acted as a general foreign policy capable of perpetuating American power through the competition for international markets. Others, like cold warrior George Kennan, believed the open door had no ‘clear applicability to actual situations in China’, that it merely allowed the United States to attach its policies to a convenient metaphor. Regardless of intent or utility, the open door is without question an idea that continues to inspire attention, and Gregory Moore’s Defining and Defending the Open Door Policy is the latest book to consider its impact on immigration, nationalism, foreign investment, and labor relations. What Moore promises is ‘a third approach’ to understanding United States foreign policy in the Far East, one between the narrow examinations of a singular issue or a broad survey of the US-Sino relations. What he delivers is an assessment of ‘the overall success or failure of the [Roosevelt] administration’s China policy’ told in a traditional account of foreign relations that nicely condenses and synthesizes previous scholarship. It is not, however, a drastic recalibration. Defining and Defending the Open Door Policy settles for sustained coverage of ‘a specific issue in Sino-American relations’ during Theodore Roosevelt’s tenure, namely that of global imperialism, to determine the success or failure of American statecraft. In this regard it is similar to studies of Roosevelt’s China policy by authors like Raymond Esthus, Charles Neu, Thomas McCormick, Joseph Fry, and Howard Beale.
Moore sets out to study Roosevelt specifically, an approach that runs contrary to the most recent scholarship on Roosevelt’s foreign policy that puts others in a position of power when Roosevelt comes to office. John Taliaferro’s biography of John Hay makes a compelling case for Hay’s dominance until 1904, and other McKinley administration officials like Elihu Root who played a key role in Roosevelt’s education. Roosevelt certainly blustered about a large policy in the years preceding war with Spain; he also discussed foreign relations with luminaries of his time, but he came to office entirely inexperienced in statecraft and was quickly confronted with the Philippine atrocities scandal until 1902. He did not begin to captain Far East policy until Hay’s death in 1905. Indeed, Roosevelt features sporadically as the central figure of Moore’s book until the Russo-Japanese War when Hay’s health declined irretrievably. Moore also promises to pay greater attention to the historical context, but omits reference to many leading historiographical accounts that have shed light on the period. Fewer than a dozen books in his bibliography can be classed as new scholarship (less than five years old), and despite his focus on Roosevelt, when Moore visited Harvard to read the William W. Rockhill Papers he seems to have overlooked the expansive Theodore Roosevelt Collection. Much of the analysis in Defining and Defending the Open Door Policy is drawn from official documents, and particularly State Department papers, a rare methodology in the contemporary field of diplomatic history that has ‘turned’ to cultural and transnational approaches. Moore makes reference to the Japanese and European imperialists, and explains the importance of international perceptions of the United States and the agency of the Chinese, yet there is a noticeable absence of Chinese sources, few references to non-American open door advocates like British Admiral Charles Beresford, and no archival work in foreign libraries.
Where Defining and Defending the Open Door Policy best negotiates the history of US-Sino relations is around Russian interpretations of the open door idea, and the Tsar’s attempt to monopolize commerce in Manchuria. Moore adds valuable insight into how the Roosevelt administration made decisions by showing how obscure events led diplomatic negotiations. The effect of an individual consul, a minor clash between sailors, dock construction, telegraph closures, and press speculation illustrate the number of moving parts in play. Moore also does an outstanding job explaining Hay’s contradictory statements about the open door policy, clarifying that the secretary of state sought assurances from world powers, not obligations, and makes the point that without firm commitments to protect an open door system the policy was entirely toothless.
The first four chapters will please readers with little knowledge about American Far East policy, and frustrate those with greater understanding. Moore chose to provide, or perhaps the publisher requested, an entire chapter on Chinese history with the West. The stage is set as far back as the 15th century, and Moore dedicates more than 20 pages to background that could have been summed up in a few paragraphs. He could have used the space to add context to parts of the book in need of greater explanation. For example, how did Roosevelt’s racial ideology affect policy? This aspect of the president’s character receives short treatment and does not expand on the existing scholarship. Indeed, Moore’s chapter on ‘Attitudes and perceptions’ makes no mention of Paul Kramer’s thesis that America practiced a race war in the Far East, Frank Ninkovich’s theory that Roosevelt’s ideology was tied to Anglo-Saxon notions of civilization, or contemporary arguments that Roosevelt’s immigration policy was more closely related to ideas of class than race. Defining and Defending the Open Door Policy rather fixates on the discriminatory insults that Roosevelt and others in his administration make, leaving aside the nuanced intellectual arguments of the day and the rationale behind the uneven treatment of diverse Asian populations. Other events that get brief mention are the emission of the Boxer indemnity, the Chinese exchange programme, Japanese negotiations with Russia before the outbreak of war (a seven-month period condensed into two sentences), and Roosevelt’s negotiation of the Portsmouth Treaty. On the last, Moore insists the ‘efforts to bring about peace have been well chronicled elsewhere’, and cites Tyler Dennett’s Roosevelt and the Russo-Japanese War, a book published in 1925. Yet when summing up China’s history from the 15th century – an entire chapter of analysis – Moore cites several contemporary sources.
Where the book makes its most significant contribution is on the Taft-Katsura memo and Root-Takahira agreement. Moore does well exhibiting the historiographical debates over the informal/formal nature of the Taft-Katsura memo. He provides a contextualized and balanced view of the American-Japanese relations, and illustrates the diplomacy of Root in 1908 with State Department sources that add to our knowledge of the Takahira agreement. I once complained in a review of James Bradley’s Imperial Cruise, a book that preposterously claimed that Roosevelt’s statecraft caused the onset of the Second World War and the rise of Mao Zedong, that no stand-out analysis of Taft’s trip to Asia in 1905 or Root’s diplomacy with Japan in 1908 existed. I take it back. Moore’s final chapter of Defining and Defending the Open Door Policy does a remarkable job of detailing the purpose of Taft’s trip, the outcome, and the purpose of the memo. He also demonstrates an intricate analysis of the Root-Takahira exchange that led to a copper-fastening of the open door idea, and particularly of the complicated defense of Chinese integrity that simultaneously overlooked Japanese expansion in the region.
Moore concludes that Theodore Roosevelt’s China policy was a failure, that he left the White House in 1909 with China in a position almost identical as he found it in 1901, and that the imperial world powers remained ensconced in the region with spheres of influence that necessarily imposed upon China’s integrity. He also chastises Roosevelt for doing little to solve China’s problems, and claims the president did ‘nothing concrete … to alleviate or remove the causes of ill feeling’ between the nations (p. 200). While Moore recognizes the underlying problem for Roosevelt was the inter-imperial rivalry of European and Japanese states, he does not forgive this context. The United States favored an open door for commerce over an open door that maintained Chinese integrity because they could not achieve the latter, a fact that Moore concedes while complaining that Roosevelt could have done more to protect China from foreigners and domestic zealots that eventually contributed to the Qing Dynasty’s downfall. Ultimately, Moore writes, Roosevelt ‘did nothing truly inventive in [his] dealings with China as it pursued a reactive rather than a proactive foreign policy in Asia’ (p. 207).
And yet the reader can scan the preceding chapters and find several moments in which Roosevelt proved his inventiveness and acted to protect Chinese integrity – while protecting American interests, of course. The mediation of the Russo-Japanese War, for which Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize, undoubtedly ceded Chinese sovereignty to foreign imperialists, but it also ended a conflict that threatened to spill deeper into Chinese territory previously unthreatened by world powers. The Treaty of Portsmouth balanced the ambitions of Russia and Japan so effectively that it would be another decade before further expansion would occur, and only then after the tumult of two Russian revolutions and a World War. Roosevelt and Hay ignored contradictions in the open door policy to achieve peace in the Far East without committing the United States militarily, an act that increased American power in the region, and Roosevelt’s unsavory racial stereotyping of the Chinese aside, he encouraged foreign powers to forego the Boxer indemnity and used the indemnity to create a student exchange program that was arguably the most far-sighted attempt at Chinese cultural awareness of any chief executive of the era. It is a truism to say Roosevelt wanted it both ways; he sought to prevent China’s dismemberment through balance of power politics while achieving American objectives of commercial expansion. Moore sees this as hubris, and calls for a ‘new realism’ that is ‘built around the recognition and acceptance that the United States cannot dictate solutions to the problems of the world, and that it might not be possible to achieve all of its policy goals’ (p. 212). But can we blame Roosevelt, a chief executive entrenched in his era, for trying? The perils of intervention, the growth of the American empire, and the fatigue of constant vigilance did not reverberate as a foreign policy tocsin the early 20th century. It is only with hindsight from the 21st century that Moore can make this conclusion. Within two years of Roosevelt’s departure from the White House, the Qing government would be toppled, and during the Second World War the Japanese capitalized on German and Russian weakness to expand its empire in China. No ‘careful diplomacy, strategic planning’ or understanding of cultural differences between China and the United States could have changed this. Moreover, examining the past through the lens of the present assumes certain predestination between Roosevelt’s administration and later years, stripping agency from the Chinese nationalists, Japanese imperialists, and successive US administrations.
Defining and Defending the Open Door Policy in parts demonstrates the chaos of geopolitics and how local, seemingly unimportant, events shape policy. These are the most interesting and affirming parts. Frustratingly, it also applies a top-down analysis of Theodore Roosevelt’s influence within the longue durée of US-Sino relations that is sweeping in its conclusions. It does offer an in-depth study of United States relations with China, but does so from the State Department’s perspective. For a book that concludes that we must consider the cultural differences between nations, it does not heed its own advice.
I would like to extend my thanks to Danny Millium and Reviews in History for the opportunity to respond to Michael Patrick Cullinane’s review of my book, Defining and Defending the Open Door Policy: Theodore Roosevelt and China, 1901–1909. I appreciate Professor Cullinane’s comments, but I should like to address a few things.
To begin, Cullinane notes that the first chapter of the book spends what he seems to consider an inordinate amount of time on China’s history with the West prior to Roosevelt’s accession to the presidency, suggesting that this material could have been covered in a few paragraphs. In the original draft of the book I did discuss the background in a broader, more generalized manner. However, outside readers expressed an opinion that the presentation of the early contacts between China and the West needed more detail than I had originally intended. After some consideration, I followed their advice and rewrote the chapter. I had thought to eliminate the chapter but came to the conclusion that some discussion of the background of Sino-Western relations was essential especially for those readers unfamiliar with the development of the West’s relations with China prior to the Roosevelt Administration. In that regard I felt the rewrite was justified.
Regarding TR’s views about the Chinese, I argue that his prejudices, which were stereotypical and generally representative of American attitudes toward China, were based less on race than on cultural differences and his own personal values. These were certainly reflective of ‘Anglo-Saxon notions of civilization’. TR was clearly contemptuous of the Chinese inability, as he saw it, to defend themselves from foreign predators, a clear sign of the type of weakness he despised. He used Chinese weakness as an object lesson to justify building American strength and preparedness to meet any eventual threat, noting that failing to do so might one day condemn the American nation to a similar fate. At the same time, he viewed what he perceived as China’s lack of interaction in world affairs and a loss of what he termed the ‘manly and adventurous qualities’ as a cause of China’s decline. As a result, China was viewed entirely through American eyes, resulting in a paternalistic policy based to some extent upon contempt for a Chinese civilization viewed as weak, decadent and needing salvation. That salvation, of course, would be based on conformation to American values and desires, whether or not the Chinese wanted to accept them. At one point, reflecting the ‘yellow peril’ paranoia of the day and future ‘clash of civilizations’ theory, TR went so far as to call for the planting of Western ideals in China in order to preclude a ‘future clash’ between East and West. This motive to westernize China, even though Chinese wishes were not considered, was a driving force in the policy of Roosevelt’s Administration toward China, and reflective of the attitudes of American missionaries and educators in particular. What was missing, however, was any real understanding of the internal forces that were operating in China at that time. The lack of, or misinterpretation of, knowledge about what was transpiring in China internally led to a contemptuous, paternalistic and bullying overtone that resulted in the treatment of the Chinese as if they were recalcitrant children. Ultimately, Roosevelt and his advisers appear to have applied a sort of cultural racism to American relations with the Chinese and Japanese. Simply put, the Japanese were ‘good’ because they had adopted Western principles and had demonstrated the ability and willingness to fight in order to assert and defend their interests in Asia; the Chinese had failed to do so and were therefore, in simple terms, ‘bad’.
While a sense of fair play could be found in some aspects of Roosevelt’s China policy, such as in the return of the Boxer Uprising indemnity and the establishment of a scholarship fund for Chinese students, there was also an aspect of bullying in American relations with China. The return of Boxer Indemnity monies, as one example, was based upon American insistence that the funds be used for educating Chinese students; the Chinese would have preferred to use the money in other ways but were forced to accede to the American demand in order to get the remittance. The creation of the student exchange program that resulted may well have been far-sighted, but this was a decision the Chinese were compelled to accept in place of their preference to invest the money in a railroad project in Manchuria as part of a scheme to retain as much of their sovereignty there as possible. The paternalism of Roosevelt and his advisers was noticeably evident here, as they made it clear that the monies would not be returned unless they, and not the Chinese, would determine how the funds were to be allocated.
While other issues in Sino-American relations receive some attention, the focal point is the Open Door Policy – something Cullinane does not adequately address in his review. Having inherited both John Hay and the Open Door notes from McKinley, Roosevelt and the State Department had to determine how to define and implement this new policy. While all of the powers seeking opportunity in China had reasons to ignore the Open Door notes when it suited them to do so, the primary culprits were Russia and Japan, both of whom had designs on Manchuria. It was that region of China more than any other that would determine how the Open Door would be defined and, if possible, defended. The choice, which reflected a limited American interest in China, commercially and otherwise, was to emphasize the first Open Door note that called for equal opportunity for all nations to conduct trading activities in China over the second note’s plea for the preservation of Chinese territorial integrity. The primary goal was to secure the chance to develop the China market for American enterprise; the acceptance of spheres of influence held by the other powers operating in China is clearly indicative of that fact.
I don’t deny that Roosevelt acted to preserve China’s territorial integrity, however. He did what was possible given the minimal American interest in China, the limited nature of American commerce and the lack of a significant military presence there. In fact, in dealing with both Russian and Japanese threats to Chinese sovereignty, the Roosevelt Administration often acted as if China was unimportant. While offering minimal support to China against foreign threats to the Open Door, Roosevelt also relied on support from other nations, notably Great Britain, in an effort to pressure the offending countries into backing down. The Chinese were usually caught in the middle of these disputes. China was given support, but the empire was also expected to act on its own to protect foreign interests within the empire, which it could not do. At the same time, the United States alone could not defend Chinese sovereignty. Ultimately, from the perspective of the Roosevelt Administration, striking a balance between Russian and Japanese ambitions in Manchuria proved to be the most workable approach. Roosevelt may have been inventive in this regard, yet he was also true to his pragmatic nature. Either way, Chinese sovereignty over Manchuria was still compromised.
Roosevelt’s mediation of the Russo-Japanese War did end the conflict, at a cost to his popularity in Japan, but it is questionable as to whether the war would have moved deeper into Chinese territory. The Japanese were broaching the idea of a peace conference in January 1905; the Russians made peace overtures in April. Internal unrest in Russia, including within the military, suggest that the war with Japan would come to an end sooner, rather than later, and the disaster at Tshushima made continuing the war almost impossible for Russia. While the Portsmouth Treaty ended the war, the peace came with the price of establishing Japan in southern Manchuria and the cession of Chinese sovereignty there, in practice, if not in name, to both powers. From Roosevelt’s standpoint, the treaty established a balance of power in that part of China that might protect the empire from further incursions at least in the short run. It was a pragmatic decision, and Roosevelt thought that Japan would have to adhere to the principles of the Open Door in order to assure continued American and British support. Nonetheless, just as the Russians had done earlier, Japanese actions in Manchuria after the war threatened both parts of the Open Door Policy. Eventually, Roosevelt would accept the Japanese promise to respect Chinese ‘integrity’ in the Root-Takahira Agreement, which notably omitted the word ‘territorial’ from the text and left the situation in Manchuria essentially unchanged.
The assertion that avoiding the commitment of American military forces to help maintain peace increased American power in the region is an interesting one, although I find it difficult to see how this was so. While the voyage of the Great White Fleet demonstrated the global reach of the United States, Roosevelt’s efforts to avoid a military confrontation with Japan reflected a pragmatic assessment of the American position in East Asia. The American people would likely not be supportive of a war in the region and, beyond defending the Philippines and a limited commercial interest in China, there was little to justify a military confrontation with any power. The Japanese and the other powers competing for influence and more in China were almost certainly aware of this.
Strategically, in Roosevelt’s mind and in terms of American interests, the Western Hemisphere was more important than East Asia. His diplomacy was directed toward balancing power in China, even if that meant sacrificing Chinese territorial integrity in Manchuria. Roosevelt certainly believed that the United States should have its share of the China market, and that the nation should play an important role in bringing the benefits of American civilization and culture to the Chinese. But, at this point in time, war over the potential economic benefits of trade and investment in China simply wasn’t an option. Cullinane notes that the ‘perils of intervention, the growth of the American empire and the fatigue of constant vigilance did not reverberate as a foreign policy tocsin in the early 20th century’. Perhaps not, but Roosevelt was certainly well aware of the risks of war, especially against a power such as Japan that had demonstrated a notable military and naval capability. He also appears to have had a strong sense of what he perceived to be in the national interest, and fighting a war to preserve the Open Door was not in the nation’s best interest. While he was confident the United States could defeat Japan if it came to war, he respected the Japanese enough to find other ways to resolve the issues that arose between them. In terms of hard power, Roosevelt’s policy did not enhance American strength in East Asia; perhaps in terms of soft power the position of the United States was increased somewhat, but even that seems doubtful.
On the other hand, I am especially pleased to see that Cullinane found my assessment of the Taft-Katsura memorandum and the Root-Takahira Agreement to be significant. His description of Bradley’s Imperial Cruise as ‘preposterous’ says all that needs to be said in regard to that writer’s arguments. While much written about these two diplomatic forays has focused on US-Japanese relations, both were crucial to the development of the Open Door policy during Roosevelt’s tenure. The issues were complex and both the memorandum and agreement clearly affected the Administration’s interpretation of the Open Door, solidifying the emphasis on preserving commercial opportunity while compromising China’s territorial integrity, at least in Manchuria. I am hopeful that my conclusions in this regard will stand up against future scrutiny.
I do think Professor Cullinane overstates my conclusion about the failure of Roosevelt’s China policy, and I also disagree that I ‘chastise’ TR for not doing more to solve China’s problems. There was nothing the United States could do to help the Qing deal with its internal issues, and Roosevelt did what he could to protect Chinese integrity given its limited importance to American national interests at that time. While an international conference that might have led to a formal agreement accepting the principles of the Open Door was most likely out of the question, Roosevelt might have pressed the Russians and Japanese, as well as the other powers, harder for an accord on the Hay notes. He probably would have failed, but the effort could have been made. Ultimately, though, Roosevelt accepted what he knew he could get and that might have been the best he could do. My view is simply that he could have tried harder to get more than grudging and vague assurances regarding the Open Door.
The real failure of Roosevelt and his advisers, however, was to ignore the growing internal unrest in China and to recognize how that contributed to the increasing weakness and ineffectiveness of the Qing. Expressions of Chinese nationalism, for example, such as the Anti-American boycott were viewed as precursors to violence comparable to the Boxer Uprising, which might again threaten foreigners in China. And so, holding to a stereotyped view of China’s weakness that was based upon a lack of Western values, the Roosevelt Administration’s China policy was less open-minded and more restrictive than it might have been. Would a more open-minded and less restrictive policy have prevented the downfall of the Qing? Certainly not. But a better understanding in regard to how the Chinese viewed the world and how their cultural values helped to shape that worldview might have led to a greater sensitivity regarding the internal changes taking place in China and how they affected Sino-American relations. At least in part, due to this, American policy toward China was reactive, not proactive.
Cullinane appears to misread my conclusion’s call for a ‘new realism’ in American foreign policy. My argument is that the time has come to balance the prevailing Wilsonian idealism that is a prevalent aspect of foreign policy thinking today with a realistic assessment of the global policies and interests of other nations. Roosevelt’s pragmatism, despite the flaws in his China policy, should serve as a lesson for today’s policy makers. One of Roosevelt’s strengths was strategic thinking; something I think has been lacking in recent foreign policy decisions dating back at least to the Vietnam era. The lack of consideration about what peace would look like in recent American wars, particularly the war in Iraq, is indicative of this deficiency in the conduct of American foreign policy
Moreover, today, a primary question for the United States is whether or not to recognize that other powers have specific areas and regions of interest. Cullinane refers to George Kennan’s questioning of the Open Door’s applicability to China, but Kennan also warned about the dangers of conducting foreign policy on the basis of assumptions, and what he saw as an American tendency to search for a ‘single, external center of evil’ upon which the nation’s foreign policy troubles can be blamed. It is in these areas that a greater understanding and appreciation of cultural differences is most necessary. The tendency toward ‘mirror imaging’ – assuming those in other cultures think like us and will reach the same conclusions as we do – is a dangerous element that can only be remedied by enhancing our understanding of those cultures that are most unlike our own. Today, as it has reasserted itself as a significant world power, China is an object of fascination for many Americans. This has led to the expression of concerns, some of an alarmist nature, regarding whether or not that country may surpass the United States as the dominant global power. The fears expressed today mirror, to some extent, those expressed in Roosevelt’s time. However, today’s China is stronger and more confident than the China of the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Now, more than ever, the need to reduce the potential for misunderstanding and misperceptions that can affect both nations as they determine how they will conduct their relations in the present century is critical.
While there are definite threats facing the American nation today, our leaders, both current and future, must make realistic assessments about their nature and the best course of action for dealing with them. Simplistic views about spreading democracy through regime change and the efficacy of intervention to further the self-interest of the United States are not the answer to today’s foreign policy complexities. The recognition that other nations have their own interests and goals that may conflict with those of the United States is paramount and there will be times when it may be wiser to seek a balancing of interests than to oppose them, especially with interventionist policies or the threat of force. Roosevelt understood this, and in defending the Open Door he sought to work with those nations whose interests in China were greater than those of the United States in order to at least preserve the Open Door in some form. With the reemergence of China, Vladimir Putin’s determination to restore Russian influence in the world, a rising India and the potential emergence of other powers to positions of significance, Roosevelt’s balance of power policy in East Asia may serve as a lesson for dealing with the changes in the global power structure that are likely to take place in the 21st century.
I will conclude by noting Cullinane’s comments about hindsight, which is the primary lens that the historian has to work with. We deal with the past and that means that hindsight is an essential aspect of our work. What I think Cullinane is trying to say here is that the historian’s hindsight is affected by his or her experiences, beliefs, values, philosophies of life and so forth; if so, I would agree with him. Having lived through slightly more than the last half of the 20th century to the present, my views about history and my interpretations of the past have undoubtedly been influenced by my life’s experiences. However, I disagree that hindsight can encompass a sense of predestination as an explanation for the outcomes of the past and their influence on the present. I think the role of predestination, if such a thing exists, is best left to the theologians; as historians, we are challenged to make the best judgments about the past that we can, while recognizing that there will always be a certain aspect of subjectivity in our interpretations of the past, reflective of our own beliefs, experiences, values and prejudices. That is what I have tried to do in this book; I stand by my conclusions and accept full responsibility for any shortcomings that may exist.