Chapter II
The Requirement

"The Army used to have all the time in the world and no money; now we've got all the money and no time."

General George C. Marshall
January 1942

When Albert Wedemeyer took up his duties on the War Department General Staff on 26 April 1941,1 he found an extraordinarily tense situation in which public opinion and domestic politics dramatically affected military planning. The German artillery barrage that fell on Polish positions on the morning of 1 September 1939 had shattered more than the uneasy peace that Edward Hallet Carr termed the "Twenty Years' Crisis."2 Thousands of miles away in the united States it had also shattered any residual possibility of a consensus on foreign policy and aggravated old and acrimonious debates about America's role in European wars.

As the nation entered the summer of 1941, it was precariously balanced on the edge of impending political crisis. The international situation was grim and public fears and apprehensions inflamed domestic politics. At issue was the role of the United States in the world. Isolationists saw the country as a regional power with regional interests. President Franklin Roosevelt, on the other hand, conceived of the United States as a world power with attendant great power responsibilities. Until the country resolved that debate, it could not react with common cause to the emergency created by German aggression.

By 1941, most Americans were beginning to realize that the country would have to face another war, although most still hoped to avoid it. public sentiment favoured rearming the United States,


particularly after the fall of France in 1940, but even though more than 80 percent of the people expected to be involved in war, a like number still opposed any immediate American entry into the fighting. Despite considerable shifts in public opinion because of the increasingly dangerous international situation, Americans still hoped for peace and did not welcome the suggestion, particularly from public officials, that the United States should fight in Europe's latest war.3 Government officials had to shape their policy toward the warring powers, taking account of that great public sensitivity. It was thus politically dangerous to speak too definitely about national policy, particularly as applied to the European crisis.

The United States Army, a prospective instrument of national policy, had no voice in the diplomatic and political decisions that eventually led the nation into the war, but quite naturally took an enlightened interest in them. Indeed, the political context in which the Army had to operate, quite as much as contemporary military realities, shaped the kinds of decisions it could make about preparing itself for war. The plain fact was that the armed forces could not prepare for the future unless they had some idea what the future held. But at a time when substantive military plans and preparations were most needed, conflicting signals and contradictory public statements hamstrung military planners. In the end, they could only assume what the national policy might be and guess at the intentions of their own government. The commander in chief was unable, for excellent political reasons, to tell his Army and Navy staffs to prepare for the global war he foresaw. Lacking specific guidance, military and naval staff officers made informed surmises, often bases upon what they read in the newspapers, about the direction the country would take politically and diplomatically, as well as militarily, in the months ahead. Military planners worked without clear, unambiguous direction.

There was good reason for this, if that direction involved preparation for another European war. the electorate had been disappointed by the "War to End Wars," the ineptitude of the League of Nations, and the general failure of collective security.4 The effects


of the Great Depression exacerbated voters' disinterest in European problems and concentrated their concerns on domestic issues. Americans generally resisted the notion that the government should spend money in the interests of an activist foreign policy, rather than on needed social programs. Isolationist spokesmen argued volubly and persuasively that America had no legitimate interests to pursue in Europe, holding that her former allies had cold-bloodedly exploited America's idealism to involve the nation in their last war. The United States, they believed, had been drawn into the war chiefly through the machinations of the clever propagandists of England and France and in the interests of the rapacious international bankers and munitions makers. Socialist rhetoric of the decades of the 1920s and 1930s reinforced tha latter point, finding a particularly receptive audience among the working classes upon which the burden of military service was most likely to fall.5

Regardless of the reasons for American participation in the world war, many Americans came to believe that it had been a horrible mistake. They coupled that belief with a growing pacifist sentiment fueled by the literature and cinema of the interwar period, both of which were rife with pacifism and depicted war as a pointless horror. The emotional impact of popular literature and drama thus gained a measure of acceptance for the isolationist arguments that could never have been attained through logic alone.6

Domestic politics of the interwar years reflected such themes, and many Americans believed that strict neutrality offered the United States the best insurance against exploitation by belligerents. In Congress in 1934, the Nye Committee began to probe the question of the relationship between manufacturers of armaments and war. even granting that the drive for profits by the"Merchants of death" did not increase the risk of war, legislators were persuaded by the argument that it was trade with the warring nations that had eventually brought the country into the First World War. Responding to that conclusion, they passed the Neutrality Act in 1935. that legislation prohibited the sale of military matériel to any belligerent power, and the Congress was so satisfied with the stance that it


renewed and extended the act in 1935, 1936, and 1937. Public revulsion to war as an instrument of national policy found a dramatic expression in 1937, when Congress considered the "Ludlow Resolution for a National Referendum on a Declaration of War." Had it passed, the Ludlow Resolution would have prevented even the Congress from declaring war and required that the question be put to the nation in the form of a national referendum--except in response to a direct attack.7

In such an atmosphere, arguments for a purely hemispheric national defense appealed to Americans on several grounds. They conformed to the country's traditional bias against a large, standing, professional army; they justified opposition to public spending for defense; and they coincided with isolationist contentions that the United States had no vital interests to protect outside of the Americas.8

The rise of the fascist dictatorships in Germany and Italy sounded a clear danger signal to the president, but he found that the nation did not generally share his alarm. Roosevelt believed that the continued existence of Great Britain as a world power was in the interests of the United States, and that the aggressive foreign policies of Italy and Germany threatened Great britain. He also believed that the nation should do what was morally right not just what its self-interest dictated.9 Accordingly, he took every opportunity to express his support for the European democracies, although such support remained a personal matter, unconfirmed by the Congress and bereft of practical measures to aid those nations. Still, the president's views, taken together with the outbreak of war in Europe in September 1939, frightened many Americans and lowered the isolationist-interventionist argument from the realms of philosophy to those of immediate politics.

Determined men took up the argument on each side of the issue. Many Americans believed that war was an epidemic disease of distinctly European origin, against which the Neutrality Act and similar isolationist actions were the best remedy. All agreed that


quarantine was the answer, but opinions differed about whom to place in quarantine. Isolationists wanted to quarantine the United States, in order to protect it from the source of infection. Roosevelt wanted to place the aggressor nations in quarantine, so as to protect all law-abiding nations. When he suggested that idea in a speech in Chicago in October 1937, however, the press, much in line with national sentiment, rejected it.10

President Roosevelt thus faced the dual problem of convincing a skeptical electorate that America should intervene in a European war and of building up, almost from scratch, the military wherewithal to make such an intervention possible. Roosevelt was fortunate enough, however, to find staunch political allies who shared his point of view and who were willing to help him transform his goals into realities. One of those was the man he chose to be his secretary of war.

Henry L. Stimson, a prominent Republican and former secretary of state and secretary of war, believed the United States could be attacked by the fascists at almost any moment. American safety depended in large part on the security of the two peace-loving nations in Europe, Britain and france. Only one course of action, he believed, could save western civilization and guarantee American welfare. That course was actively to aid Britain and France. Stimson considered that the continued existence of Great britain was essential to the security of the United States because it was British naval power that secured the Atlantic frontier. Should britain be overcome by Germany, her fleet could no longer fulfill that function; worse, the fleet might even fall into German hands. It was therefore, not just a matter of taking the course of right and honor in international affairs, although he firmly believed that the nation could not and should not pursue peace in preference to right. So Stimson also had his eye on the maintenance of British military power.11

The fall of France in May 1940 made the international situation more desperate. Americans regarded France fondly and saw the


French armed forces as among the most powerful in the world.12 When French arms collapsed, the reaction in the United States was both dramatic and immediate.13 With so strong a bulwark gone, there was almost unanimous agreement that the United States had to build a powerful Army and Navy--and Congress hurriedly appropriated the funds to do so. At that point, however, agreement ceased and the isolationist-interventionist debate was renewed in all its old vigor. Isolationists agreed that a powerful military was necessary for the United States to secure the western hemisphere against the belligerents. Still, the European war, however, it might affect the Americas, was only another European war in which America's interests were not engaged. Interventionists knew that the British needed American help more now than ever and insisted that the war against Hitler was, or ought to be, an American war. When, on 19 June 1940, President Roosevelt appointed Stimson to be secretary of war, he both underscored the bipartisan nature of the national emergency and tacitly announced his intention of helping the British and French.

Upon taking office, Stimson immediately began to prepare the Army for the war he foresaw. He thought it necessary immediately to increase military appropriations and to install a system of universal military training. Very little time was available to build up the Army and the national spirit. To secure some of that time, Stimson argued on behalf of sustaining the British fleet. After his confirmation as secretary of war, and after repeal of the Neutrality Act, Stimson began immediately to implement that program. With the energetic cooperation of treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Stimson presided over extensive sales of American military equipment to the British as the War Department took on the task of supplying the armies arrayed against Hitler. Throughout the late summer and fall of 1940, Assistant Secretary (later Under Secretary) of War Robert Patterson administered procurement of weapons and munitions for Britain at the same time that he regulated purchases for the growing United States Army.


Eventually, the British reached the limits of their financial resources and had no more foreign exchange with which to buy matériel of war--this despite the most creative financial arrangements that Secretary Morgenthau could devise. roosevelt, undeterred by such problems, announced on 17 December 1940 his "determination to insure all-out aid to Great Britain," and on 29 December made his famous "Arsenal of Democracy" speech. Two months later, after great public debate, the Congress passed the Lend Lease Act, which gave the president the authority to supply defense matériel to such governments as he deemed vital to the defense of the United States. Although the government eventually spent much more, the act initially authorized $7 billion for lend lease. Stimson called this a "declaration of economic war."

Indeed, by December 1940l, Stimson believed that the country would eventually be at war in Europe. After a meeting with Secretary of the Navy Frank Know, General Marshall, and Admiral harold Stark on the 16th, he confided to his diary that "there was basic agreement among us all. . . . All four agreed that this emergency could hardly be passed over without this country being drawn into the war eventually."14 The nation's foreign policy certainly pointed in that direction, as the president moved the nation, if not closer to an alliance with Britain and France, certainly further away from neutrality.

Roosevelt's executive policy commitments to cooperate with the British began as early as January of 1938, when he permitted Anglo-American naval conversations. Although he gave no guidance or explicit approval, the president also permitted the War and Navy Departments to write new war plans--the RAINBOW plans--that envisioned war against the Axis powers. American officers conducted further discussions in London in August and September of 1940, and the work of that Anglo-American Standardization Committee established closer ties and the habit of consultation that culminated in American-British Staff Conversations in 1941, and the subsequent exchange of liaison officers.15 The secret but informal American-British (ABC) conversations conducted between the British and American staffs between January and March of 1941


went further still. It was in those conversations that American military authorities agreed that Germany was the primary enemy in case of American intervention and that any eventual coalition would direct its efforts mainly against Germany with the goal of unconditional surrender. As a corollary, the United States necessarily accepted the fact that it would have to contain the Japanese, should a two-front war develop, until the principal enemy was defeated. Such a strategy was the only one that could guarantee the survival of Great Britain, a cornerstone of Roosevelt's policy.16

In the months that followed March of 1941, the United States began to look less and less like a neutral power. The sale of surplus infantry weapons to England in June of 1940 was the modest prelude to the "destroyer deal" of September 1940. The Battle of the Atlantic had claimed many British escort vessels, and the Royal Navy was desperately looking for enough warships to shepherd convoys to English ports. If it was in American interests that the germans not win control of the Atlantic, then the United States had only two choices: give material aid to the British or take an active part in the antisubmarine patrols. Roosevelt decided to do both.

On 3 September, he concluded the deal through which the British got fifty old destroyers of the Clemson and similar classes, obsolescent if not actually obsolete, in return to 99-year leases for bases on six british Atlantic possessions. Those old flush-decked, four stack warships had been built between 1917 and 1921, and the Navy had already begun retiring them from active service in 1929. Replying to his congressional critics, President Roosevelt explained that he had given away ships valued at only 44,000 or $5,000 each, all of them destined for the scrapheap. In return, he had obtained naval and air bases in Newfoundland, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad, and British Guiana. He made the deal more palatable by suggesting that those bases made it possible for the Navy and Air Corps to do an effective job of ensuring defense of the western hemisphere. Critics had long argued that modern ships and modern weapons made it impossible for the United States to enforce the Monroe Doctrine unless it had the bases to operate farther out into the ocean. The destroyer deal solved that problem.


The president confided to Congress that the possible German response should not enter into the decision about the destroyers for bases deal, because, as he explained, to Senator David I. Walsch, a Massachusetts Democrat who chaired the Naval Affairs Committee and opposed the deal,

In regard to German retaliation, I think you can rest quietly on that score. If Germany, at the conclusion of this war or before that, wants to fight us, Germany will do so on any number of trumped-up charges. . . . I am absolutely certain that this particular deal will not get us into war and, incidentally, that we are not going into war anyway unless germany wishes to attack us.17

Germany certainly had plenty of opportunity to make such an attack, for the president shortly authorized the Navy to extend its patrols into the war zone in what he called "neutrality parols." Increasingly, American warships involved themselves in belligerent affairs, to the point of escorting convoys out of American waters and firing on attackers.

Soon after the patrols began on 16 April 1941, an undeclared naval war began to develop. As American warships ranged farther out into the Atlantic, they began to come into contact with units of the German navy. Inevitably, errors in identification occurred, for the U.S. navy continued to use destroyers of the same class as those transferred to England. Just after Labor Day, a German submarine fired at, but missed, the destroyer Greer. The president responded by giving the Navy orders to "shoot on sight." On 17 October, the destroyer Kearny, patrolling in the North Atlantic war zone, was hit by a torpedo but did not sink. Finally, at the end of October, the destroyer Reuben James was sunk. Cool heads prevailed, both in Washington and in Berlin, but Americans were fighting and dying in the North Atlantic.

Still, many of the president's commitments remained tacit, and he gave no explicit guidance to the military staffs. As the crisis developed, military planners continued to know little more about the nation's ultimate goals than did the public. Having no instructions to the contrary, they continued to work on the assumption that national policy aimed at defense of the western hemisphere, not participation in a global war. Such a set of circumstances severely


limited the utility of the work the staffs could do. But if the political situation limited the range of options available to staff planners, the sorry state of the Army limited them even more.

The Military in 1941

The condition of the armed forces provides a reasonably accurate means to assess the direction of public policy between 1919 and 1939, since the government should logically authorize appropriations to build an army and a navy proportionate to the tasks set by the political leadership of the nation.18 Seen from that perspective, it is clear that the United States neither expected nor desired foreign military adventures, because the military was simply not up to the task. In fact, the Army of the interwar years was one of the least capable in the history of the United States, lacking even the ability to wage a limited, counterguerrilla war, as it had done in the Philippines at the turn of the century and on the frontier after the Civil War.19 General Peyton C. March, Chief of Staff of the Army at the end of World War I, went so far as to declare that the United States had voluntarily made itself even weaker than the Versailles Treaty had made Germany and spoke of the nation as being militarily "impotent."20

On paper, of course, the nation had a sufficiently strong Army. the National defense Act of 4 June 1920 set out a method for mobilizing an Army of the United States from regular and reserve components, as well as from conscripted manpower. In time of peace, it provided for an Army of nine regular divisions, eighteen National Guard divisions, and twenty-seven Organized Reserve divisions, all organized into nine corps area commands subordinate to three field armies. The regulars were expected to train the reserve component formations in their corps areas, but were so constituted that they formed complete military units that could respond immediately in a military emergency. It was, however, one


thing to design such a force, but another thing entirely to execute the design.

In the interests of budgetary restraint, Congress almost immediately began to pare down military appropriations and reduced the regular force to less than 140,000 by 1927. The Army had to declare surplus and discharge many regular officers, and it never organized the regular divisions the 1920 act envisioned. Congress also authorized little money for drill pay, so the National Guard never exceeded a strength of around 200,000, about half of the force authorized in 1920. For reservists, the picture was even more bleak. The Enlisted Reserve Corps was so small as to be insignificant, and the 100,000 officers of the Officers' Reserve Corps rarely trained because money was lacking.21

Even had Congress agreed to support Britain and France when war broke out, it is doubtful that much could have been done to help ion any practical way. In 1939 the United States Army was still a tiny force of 187,893 men, of whom only 13,039 were officers. By the standards of force in being, even little Belgium with its seventeen divisions and 650,000 men under arms was a more desirable ally.22 Nor could the United States have offered much in the way of military matériel in 1939, since the existing defense industrial base was minuscule.23

Interventionists, justifiably disappointed with the military means at hand, found that the corpus of strategic war plans offered


even less reassurance. Lacking the force to execute them, American military plans could hardly be anything more than theoretical constructs. The great wars of the previous seventy-five years had taught European armies that operational plans and mobilization plans had to be integrated very carefully, because speed of mobilization offered the opportunity to begin military operations with a distinct advantage.24 Americans were innocent of such considerations, however, because the nation's favorable geographical position made rapid mobilization unnecessary. Were the United States to become involved in a major international war, the Navy could control the broad ocean frontiers to hold off an enemy long enough for the Army to accumulate the men and matériel it needed to prosecute the war on the ground. American planners also lacked the sense of urgency that drove Europeans to elaborate mobilization plans because the United States had a remarkably limited range of potential enemies, most of them rather feeble by European standards.

The upshot of America's favorable strategic position in the world was that American mobilization planning, like American strategic planning in general, did not have to be very complex in the years before World War II. Americans tended to think of strategy in purely military terms--Clausewitz was not generally read, even among soldier,s until well into the twentieth century. Furthermore, the Allied victory over the Central Powers in 1918 left the United States with no prospective enemy except Japan. American war plans of the 1920sx and 1930s, the, tended to be highly theoretical, with the exception of the ORANGE plans that considered war with Japan. the general staff drafted the remainder of its plan with military factors uppermost in their minds and in the absence of any real a threat against which to weigh alternatives. In many ways, war plans were really just a set of strategic exercises for planners. In addition, the only realistic war plan, Plan ORANGE against Japan, was almost exclusively a Navy operation that required little form the Army except defense of the Philippines.25


By late 1939, the Joint Planning Committee of the Joint Army Navy board began to revise all of the old "color" plans. The committee authored five major planning directives, each of which considered different military and political problems. the military staffs began to write plans in response to those directive,s eventually producing the five RAINBOW plans, four of which still concerned themselves largely with defense of the western hemisphere. RAINBOW 5, while concerned with preventing violations of the Monroe Doctrine, was also an aggressive defensive plan that extended American security frontiers far beyond the continental limits of the united States and envisioned sending task forces overseas to cooperate with Britian and France in a war against Germany and Italy.26

While planning had improved, the Army still lacked forces to execute any of the RAINBOW options. between late 1939 and early 1941, however, Congress authorized the Army to make serious preparations for war. In May 1940, the Army was permitted to expand its regular strength to 375,000 athough the medium of voluntary enlistments. But the service could not attract enough young men, and the scarcity of volunteers led the Congress on 27 August 1940 to pass a joint resolution authorizing the president to call up the National Guard and Organized reserves. On 16 September, Congress also passed the Selective Training and Service Act with surprisingly little opposition. At the same time, the Army organized an Officer Candidate School system, began construction of training camps, and procured the supplies and equipment it would need for expansion.27


Despite the undeniable progress, General George C. Marshall, the Army chief of staff, still regarded the whole situation as unsatisfactory. Marshall had seen the chaos that resulted when the Army tried to mobilize for World War I and was determined that nothing of the like was going to happen again. While the Army was getting more money and had been given permission to expand in size, Marshall worried that the development of the force was proceeding in a helter-skelter, almost frenzied fashion. Above all, he wanted a clear, orderly plan for the Army to follow in the months ahead.28

The Army might seem to have had just such a plan in the protective Mobilization Plan and its supporting Industrial Mobilization Plan of 1939. The Industrial Mobilization Plan had received considerable attention in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of War, chiefly because the Army had known for many years that it would have to procure its equipment after a war started. Few defense industries functioned in time of peace, and the small Army of the 1920s and 1930s could only own a limited amount of equipment. Further, the general strategic plans through the late 1930s primarily envisioned a naval war against Japan. Since the Army would have little part in such a war, the general staff tended to think of economic mobilization as being of much more interest that strategic plans.29

However, good the Industrial Mobilization Plan was--and it had its deficiencies--the entire scheme was a dead letter b y 1941. Ther Protective Mobilization Plan (PMP) was seriously outdated and unable to provide any more than the most general framework for building a large army. The plan provided for a moderate, balanced force consisting of a nucleus of 80,000 Regular Army soldiers and 180,000 National guardsmen on the first day of mobilization, to be augmented within a month by 300,000 to 400,000 volunteers. By the 240th day of mobilization, the Army was to reach a programmed size of 1,150,000 men, while the Industrial Mobilization Plan was to provide full equipment and support for such an Army.30


The Army of the PMP of 1939 was intended for defense of the territory of the United States, for which purpose it was perfectly adequate.31 by the beginning of 1941, however, Marshall could already foresee that the country required a very large ground army if, as appeared likely, the United States went to war with the Axis.32 An army mobilization premised on hemispheric defense would never be adequate for the task Marshall saw looming ahead.

By 1941, the Protective Mobilization Plan was so disjointed that it could no longer be implemented as a coherent plan. The PMP assumed an "M-Day," a day on which hostilities would begin and on which all of the provisions of the plan would begin to work. But such a specific demarcation between peace and war never came, and the War Department implemented the PMP in bits and pieces throughout 1940 and 1941. Selective use of the plan threw into disarray all of the careful calculations about allocation of equipment, personnel, and money. The United States approached national defense on an ad hoc basis, for the PMP had never visualized the possibility of peacetime mobilization.33

The PMP, for example, called for induction of reservists on M-Day. As of M-Day, the nation would presumably be at war, and there could be no objection to calling up men established in their professions. Turmoil in the civilian economy was the necessary concomitant of a nation at war, hence acceptable. It was not acceptable, however, to call up the same professional men in time of peace. Consequently, there was no way to put the manpower provisions of the Protective Mobilization Plan into effect from 1939 through 1941.

The president's decisions after declaring a state of national emergency on 8 September 1939 had equally damaging impacts on the PMP. during 1940, Roosevelt insisted the Army Air Corps be expanded at the expense of the Army ground forces. Simultaneously, sales of military equipment to Britain and France, and the president's insistence that rearming of American forces not interfere with the Lend Lease program, made it very difficult to


equip new units and train them with proper weaponry, even if they could be raised.34

Other flaws in the PMP appeared once the general staff began to analyze the plan in the light of then-current mobilization needs. By May of 1940, the Army was already discussing expanding the force beyond the PMP limits. Yet the existing mobilization plan did not provide for enough physical installations to house and train, nor did it include enough service units to support, such a larger army.35 To compound the problem, in the fall of that year, President Roosevelt seriously considered a decrease in the size of the Army, in the interests of other priorities.36 Not only did the Army appear to be growing beyond the size the PMP envisioned, but it was also in grave danger of shrinking to less than PMP size by December 1941. No mobilization plan could survive such wild swings of direction, even if it had been written with the contemporary contingency in mind, as the PMP had not. The consequence was that the Army needed new planning to take account of the political and military circumstances that affected the course of public policy.

Marshall Orders a New Plan

By the spring of 1941, General Marshall was convinced that the time for improvisation was past. While he was not certain what the future might hold for the United States, he knew that existing plans and organizations would not suffice if war came. the Protective Mobilization Plan of 1939 could not cope with the existing problems, and the demands of Lend Lease had totally disrupted the Army's procurement programs. Before expanding the Army, Marshall wanted clear, well-defined requirements with which to work. Consequently, he asked his staff for a "more clear-cut strategic estimate of our situation" upon which to base the expansion program.37


He gave the task to Brigadier General Leonard T. Gerow, chief of the War Plans Division (WPD), the chief of staff's planning agency withh the specific duty to formulate long-range strategic plans. WPD drafted and distributed such plans to other Army agencies, which then implemented them. It also represented the Army in joint Army-Navy planning board sessions and, in time of war, was intended to become the nucleus of the General Headquarters of the Army, working directly for the chief of staff.38 The WPD had just begun to work on the problem when other inquiries enlarged the task. Under Secretary of War Robert Patterson, responsible for Army procurement as well as for managing Lend Lease, was concerned about sufficient industrial production to meet both needs. He had, however, no clear idea of how much was enough, nor how large the Army was likely to become. On 18 April 1941, he asked Secretary of War Stimson for guidance and, through the G-4 of the Army, forwarded his inquiry to the general staff. How much production was necessary to ensure victory if the United States went to war, he wondered, keeping in mind "probable enemies, and friends and theaters of operations"?39 Patterson's question was one with which officers on the staff of the G-4 and War Plans division had particular sympathy. On the basis of long years of reviewing industrial mobilization plans, Army staffers understood that industrial production was intimately related to organization, and, by extension,


to tactics. They also knew that accurate estimates of needs would result in more efficient production of war matériel. Ten thousand tanks could be produced almost as quickly as four thousand, for example, if industry were given definite requirements for the higher figure before factories laid out their production lines.40

Almost immediately, President roosevelt asked a similar question. On 9 July he sent a request to the secretaries of war and the Navy, asking them jointly to determine the ultimate production requirements for the United States to defeat all of its potential enemies, if it should go to war.41 On 30 August, he repeated his request, adding the requirement that the estimates include Lend Lease in calculating production requirements. He also asked for the final answer by 10 September.42 Roosevelt's requirement reached the desks of War Plans division and swallowed up the questions raised by Under Secretary of War Patterson and General Marshall.

These high-level requests stimulated discussion of the matériel question that had been percolating about War Plans Division for some time. As early as May, Lieutenant Colonel C.W. Bundy had suggested that the programming of armaments production was so basic to all American war planning that key decisions had to be reached at once. "Confusion will reign," Bundy wrote, "until an agency for formulating a policy based on all strategic plans is designated."43 General Gerow, chief of War Plans division, agreed with Colonel Bundy and forwarded Bundy's recommendation both to General Marshall and to Marshall's opposite number on the Navy staff in early June.44 When, therefore, the president's request for


information arrived at the War Department, a similar staff action was already in progress.

Marshall was satisfied to combine all of the tasks and directed the WPD to make a rough, strategic estimate that would include the nation's munitions requirements, not only for its own forces, but also for the almost insatiable demands of Lend Lease:

We are continually receiving suggestions as to increases and changes in armament, bombers, etc., along with suggestions of a more far-reaching nature. top provide a base of departure for meeting these proposals we should have a more clearcut strategic estimate of our situation form a ground, air, and naval viewpoint. With such an estimate kept up to date, the various organizational, tactical and strategical questions which are constantly arising could be answered with more consistency that at present. . . .

Please contact other divisons of the WDGS and take the necessary steps to have an estimate prepared to be submitted to me in the rough. It should be brief.45

There was a problem of balance, from Marshall's point of view. "We must not create the situation that a year form now possible shortages will exist and we will find it necessary to say that we were sorry that we did not anticipate the true situation."46 by the same token, Marshall did not want to forward impossible demands to the Office of Production management. He warned WPD that "We must not get a pile of stuff which is not only obsolescent but blocks other things more essential."47

The guidance was sufficiently explicit, and the rest of the general staff was fully prepared to help WPD with the project. the only problem that remained was to find the right planner to do the job in the brief time available. Eventually, the task fell to an obscure infantry major by the name of Albert Wedemeyer.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (1) * Next Chapter (3)


1. Master Personnel List, Arrivals and Departures, War Plans Division. USACMH Historical Services Division file HRC 321, War Plans Division, 228.03.

2. Edward Hallet Carr, The Twenty Years' Crisis 1919-1939. An Introduction to the Study of International Relations (New York: Harper, 1964 reprint of 1939 edition).

3. See Thomas A. Bailey, The Man in the Street (New York: Macmillan, 1964 reprint of 1948 edition), and other works cited in the bibliography.

4. On American attitudes and influences on those attitudes, see Robert Dallek, Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979); Eric Larrabee, Commander in Chief. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, His Lieutenants, and Their War (New York, Harper, 1987).

5. See Wayne Cole, Roosevelt and the Isolationists (Omaha: University of Nebraska Press, 1983).

6. See Robert Wohl, The Generation of 1914 (Cambridge; Harvard University Press, 1979).

7. See Helmuth C. Engelbrecht and Frank C. Hanighen, Merchants of Death (New York: Garland, 1934).

8. On American opposition to the standing military and overseas warfare, see Walter Millis, Arms and Men: A Study in American Military History (New York: G.P. Putnam, 1956).

9. See William L. Langer and everett gleason The Challenge to Isolation: The World Crisis of 1937-1940 and American Foreign POlicy (New York: Harper, 1964 reprint of 1952 edition).

10. dorothy Berg, "Notes on Roosevelt's 'Quarantine' Speech," Political Science Quarterly 72:3 (1957), 405-33; John McVickar Haight, Jr. "Roosevelt and the Aftermath of the Quarantine Speech," Review of Politics 24:2 (1962), 233-59; and Travis b. Jacobs, "Roosevelt's 'Quarantine Speech,'" Historian 24:4 (1962), 483-502.

11. Letter, H.L. Stimson to Editor, New York Times, 6 March 1939. On Stimson's viewpoint, see Henry L. Stimson, with McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York: Harper, 1947).

12. The French Army was indeed powerful in 1940, and it had been assiduously preparing for twenty years to fight Germany. that it lost the war was not the result of deficiencies in military strength, but in the French doctrine for battle. See Robert A. Doughty, The Seeds of Disaster. The Development of French Army Doctrine 1919-1939 (Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1985).

13. On the shifting views in 1940, see Waldo Heinrichs, Threshold of War: Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Entry into World War II (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988).

14. Stimson, On Active Service in Peace and War, p. 366.

15. See Marvin A. Kreidberg and Merton G. Henry, History of Military Mobilization in the United States Army 1775-1945 (Washington: Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-212, June 1955), pp. 560-61, for a useful summary of these actions.

16. On American intention and early cooperation with the British, see Kent Roberts Greenfield, American Strategy in World War II: A Reconsideration (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1963), p. 5, and other works cited in the bibliography.

17. Letter, F.D. Roosevelt to Sen. David I. Walsh, 22 August 1940, in Elliott Roosevelt (ed.), F.D.R. His Personal Letters, 1928-1945 (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1950), Vol. 2, pp. 1056-457.

18. For a discussion of the relationship between public policy and the structure of military institutions, see Allan R. Millett and Williamson Murray (eds.), Military Effectiveness (Winchester, Mass.: Unwin Hyam, 1988), 3 vols. Volume 2 deals with the interwar period.

19. This is the judgment of Russell RF. Weigley, in History of the United States Army (New York: Macmillan, 1967), pp. 402-03.

20. Peyton C. March, The Nation at War (Garden City, N.J.: Doubleday, 1932), p. 341 et. seq.

21. For an assessment of 1920 National Defense Act by one of its principal authors, see John McAuley Palmer, America in Arms (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1941).

22. Marvin A. Kreidberg and merton G. Henry, History of Military Mobilization in the United States Army 1775-1945 (Washington: Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-212, June 1955), p. 549. there are various sources of comparative strength figures for the armies involved in World War II. See memorandum, "Mobilization and Military Expenditures 1939-1940," in Center of Military History Historical Services Branch file Misc 370.01, Mobilization experiences.

23. For discussions of the industrial base and considerations of industrial and economic mobilization for war, see: Byron Fairchild and Jonathan Grossman, The Army and Industrial Manpower, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1959); Richard M. Leighton and Robert W. Coakley, Global Logistics and Strategy 1940-1943, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1955); R . Elberton Smith, The Army and Economic Mobilization, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1959); Kreidberg and henry, History of Military Mobilization; and David f. Trask (ed.), "Historical Survey of U.S. Mobilization: Eight Topical Studies of the Twentieth Century" (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Army Center of Military History, n.d., typescript).

24. There is a vast literature on this subject. For a sampling, begin with Gerhard Ritter, The Schlieffen Plan: Critique of a Myth (London: Oswald Wolff, 1958); and Hajo Holborn, "The Prusso-German School: Moltke and the Rise of the General Staff" in Peter Paret (ed), Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986).

25. On the restricted scope of American prewar planning and narrow definition of strategy, see: Maurice Matloff, "The American Approach to War, 1919-1945," in Michael Howard (ed.), The Theory and practice of War (London: Cassell, 1965), pp. 213-43, and the same author's "Prewar Military Plans and Preparations, 1939-1941," in United States Naval Institute Proceedings, 79 (July, 1953), 741-48; Ray S. Cline, Washington Command Post: The Operations Division, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1951), pp. 34-37; Louis Morton, "Germany First: The Basic Concept of Allied Strategy in World War II," in Kent Roberts Greenfield (ed.), Command Decisions (Washington: Chief of Military History, 1984), pp. 10-47; Russell F. Weigley, The American Way of War. A History of United States Strategy and Policy (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1977).

26. Louis Morton discusses the development of the RAINBOW series of plans in Command Decisions (Washington: Chief of Military History, 1984). Also see Kreidberg and Henry, History of Military Mobilization, p. 558.

27. For summaries of this, see Stimson, On Active Service pp. 346-55. Also see the collected reports of General George C. Marshall: Report on the Army. July 1, 1939 to June 30, 1943. Biennial Reports of General george C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the United States Army to The Secretary of War (Washington: The Infantry Journal, 1943), which covers the period of mobilization.

28. Forrest C. Pogue, George C. Marshall: Ordeal and Hope. 1939-1942 (New York: The Viking Press, 1966), p. 139.

29. Weigley, American Way of War, p. 208. The only significant Army role in War Plan ORANGE was in the Philippines, where the Army maintained only one Regular Army infantry division and a small Air Corps contingent. Within the Philippines Division, there was only one U.S. infantry regiment; the remaining regiments were Philippines Scouts.

30. Stetson Conn, "Highlights of Mobilization," pp. 1-5. Also, Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-42, chapter 2.

31. Kreidberg and Henry, History of Military Mobilization, pp. 480, 486.

32. Pogue, Marshall, p. 144.

33. Memorandum, Brig. Gen. Edwin W. Chamberlain, 7 June 1945, "History of Mobilization," (typescript, 50 pp.), George C. Marshall Papers, box 77, folder 1, George C. Marshall Library, Lexington, Virginia, p. 1. Chamberlain served in the War Department G-3.

34. Memorandum, Franklin D. Roosevelt to Secretary of War Harry K. Woodring and Chief of Staff, 24 May 1940, F.D.RF. His Personal Letters, Vol. II, pp. 1030-31. FDR was concerned that American rearmament not be carried out at the expense of the immediate needs of Britain and France.

35. Kreidberg and Henry, History of Mobilization, pp. 567-73.

36. Ibid., p. 624.

37. Pogue, Marshall, p. 140.

38. Duties of War Plans Division are set forth in Army Regulation 10-15, 18 August 1936, Section I, 12. For elaboration, see Memorandum, Colonel War, Secretary of the General Staff, for Assistant Secretary of War, 8 November 1940, copy filed with War Plans Division Memorandum, 24 October 1936, Subj: Duties of WPD of the War Department General Staff in War, NARA RG 165, File WPD 1199-211. Also see the introduction to Reel 18, Gp. M-1080, general Correspondence of the War Plans Division (WPD), January 1921-March 1942, in NARA RG 165. On 23 March 1942, Gen. Marshall reorganized the headquarters and redesignated the WPD the Operations Division (OPD). In peacetime, the WPD had additional functions: it prepared studies for use at international conferences on limitation of armaments; it established and armed inland and coastal fortifications; and it ran practice maneuvers. For a thorough discussion of WPD duties, see Cline, Washington Command Post.

39. Memorandum, Under Secretary of War Patterson to secretary of War Stimson, 18 April 1941, Subj: Ultimate Munitions Production Essential to the Safety of America. NARA RG 165, File WPD 4494 and 4321-12. Pogue, Marshall, p. 140. Existing goals for production of munitions were neither sufficiently precise nor sufficiently long range to suit the needs of Patterson, the G-, and the Office of Production Management. The intermediate goals had been established for munitions to support an army of 2 million men at once and an ultimate force of 4 million (Munitions Program of 30 June 1940). But the end was not in sight, and procurement planners needed some sort of final target with which to work.

40. For example, an internal WPD memorandum prepared for, but never submitted tol, the Chief of Staff expressed those concerns. See Memorandum, gerow for Chief of Staff, 10 August 1941, Subj: Evaluation of Modern Combat Forces. NARA RG 165, File WPD 3674-52.

41. Letter, President to The Secretary of War, 9 July 1941. Entry 234, Box 498, Director of SS & P, G-4. NARA RG 165, Numerical file 1921-March 1942, Document #33473.

42. Memorandum, President for the Secretary of War, 30 August 1941. NARA RG 165, Entry 234, Box 498, Director of SS & P, G-4 Numerical file 1921-March 1942, Document #33473

43. Memorandum, Lieut. Col. C.W. Bundy for Acting Assistant Chief of Staff, War Plans Division, 20 May 1941, Subj: Coordination of Planning and Supply. NARA RG 165, File WPD 4321-12.

44. Memorandum, Acting Assistant CHief of Staff War Plans Division, for Chief of Staff, 7 June 1941, Subj: Ultimate Munitions Production Essential to the Safety of America. NARA RG 165, File WPD 4494. Also see Memorandum, Gen. Gerow for Director, War Plans Division, OpNav, 27 May 1941. NARA RG 165, File WPD 4321-12.

45. Quoted in Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and Preparations, pp. 335-36; also see Kreidberg and Henry, History of Military Mobilization, p. 620.

46. Quoted in Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and Preparations, pp 336.

47. Ibid.

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation