I mentioned in my earlier post on Greatness that although I have read a number of books about Reagan and Churchill, there was much in this little book that I had not previously seen. Hayward provides one interesting vignette that links the two together symbolically (leaving aside the substantive fairness or accuracy of the comparison), involving an umbrella (p. 145-46):
Continued Under Hidden Text
In his drive to the presidency in the late 1970s--a period that might be regarded as Reagan's own "wilderness years"--Reagan drew an explicit parallel between the climate of appeasement in the 1930s and the decay of detente in the 1970s. After President Jimmy Carter announced the completely of the SALT II treaty in 1979, Reagan said, "Heard in the background music to that speech [was] the sorry tapping of Neville Chamberlain's umbrella on the cobblestones of Munich. He, too, talked of peace in our time."
Hayward then adds in a footnote to that text that elaborates on the symbolism of the umbrella:
Ironically, Carter was highly conscious of the potential comparison. According to Carter's chief of staff Hamilton Jordan, Carter refused to use an umbrella in the rain in Vienna after meeting Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and signing an arms control treaty for fear it would summon images of Neville Chamberlain's appeasement. The irony of this circumstance is that Carter read Churchill's The Gathering Storm around the time of the Soviet invation of Afghanistan, and remarked to Time magazine's Hugh Sidey, "Nobody sent a clear signal to Hitler. War became inevitable. We are not going to let that happen."
One needn't agree with the substantive comparison drawn between Cold War arms control and pre-WWII appeasement (obviously Hayward believes it apt and Carter wouldn't) to be intrigued by the symbolic images being conjured up by both Reagan and Carter here.
I seem to recall a more recent, and happier, image of an umbrella that I associate with US-Soviet relations. My recollection is of an image of Gorbachev holding an umbrella and greeting Reagan as he emerged from a car at Reykjavik in the rain at that famous summit meeting that led to the historic breakthrough on weapons reduction. I can't seem to locate the image though. Is my memory correct?