Brooke, Field Marshal Sir Alan, 1883-1963

Brooke was sent to France in May 1940 to command the British II Corps and carried out the evacuation from Dunkirk with great skill. At the end of 1941 he was appointed Chief of General Staff, replacing General DILL, at a particularly low point in the war for the British. Brooke was ideally suited to the job because he presented Churchill with a calm and competent exterior, keeping for his Diary his fears and frustrations. He recognized CHURCHILL’s virtues as a war leader but was equally conscious of his faults, namely that Churchill could not see ‘a whole strategical problem at once. His gaze always settles upon some part of the canvas and the rest of the picture is lost.’ He had an excellent grasp of strategy and was able to turn many of Churchill’s ideas into practical military operations. He maintained good relations with the US but was a little disappointed when he was not made Supreme Commander of Overlord. His diaries The Turn of the Tide and Triumph in the West are an invaluable source on the British conduct of the war.

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