Why England Slept - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


** /Why England Slept/ **

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cover of paperback edition

/*Why England Slept*/ is the published version of a thesis written by John
F. Kennedy while in his senior year at Harvard College. Its title was an
allusion to Winston Churchill's 1938 book /While England Slept/, which also
examined the buildup of German power. Published in 1940,^[1] the book
examines the failures of the British 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.

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. Kennedy's father, Joseph
P. Kennedy, Sr., always keen to elevate his son's reputation, helped bring
the book to publication.^[2]

As ambassador to Britain, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. supported Prime Minister
Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement during the late 1930s. John F.
Kennedy lived with his father in Britain at that time and witnessed the
Luftwaffe's bombings of Britain first-hand.

The book's introduction was written by Henry R. Luce. Joseph Kennedy had
initially approached Harold Laski to write the introduction but Laski
declined, feeling that it was "the book of an immature mind; that if it
hadn't been written by the son of a very rich man, he wouldn't have found a
publisher." ^[3]


After publication in 1940, the book sold 80,000 copies in

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_England_Slept

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