An Unknown Future and A Doubtful Present:
Writing the Victory Plan of 1941

Charles E. Kirkpatrick

Center of Military History
United States Army
Washington, D.C., 1992


  Foreword v
  The Author


  Introduction 1
Chapter     Page
I. The Planner 5
  The Development of a Strategic Thinker 6
  Student of Applied Strategy: The Reading Program of a Professional Officer 14
II. The Requirement 35
  The Military in 1941 44
  Marshall Orders a New Plan 50
III. Strategic Estimates 55
  The First Steps: Outlining the Problem 59
  Question One: The National Objective 61
  Question Two: The Military Strategy 63
  Question Three: The Military Forces 77
IV. Detailed Planning 81
  At Issue: How Many Divisions? 81
  Structure of the Division: Planning Considerations 84
  Organizing the Force: Influence of the War Plan 91
  Mission One: Hemisphere Defense 92
  Mission Two: Defend the Outlying Possessions 93
  Mission Three: Overseas Task Forces 95
  Recapitulation 100
V. Assessments 103
  Limitations of the Plan--Total Divisions 103
  Limitations of the Plan--Type Divisions 107
  Limitations of the Plan--Replacement Problem 111
  Successes of the Plan--Total Army Strength 114
  Successes of the Plan--Operational Fit 115
  Successes of the Plan--Political and Military Reality 116
  Successes of the Plan--The Planning Process 118
  Successes of the Plan--Competence in Planning 120
  What Was the Victory Plan? 121
APPENDIX: The Army Portion of the Victory Plan 125
Bibliography 139
Index 153
General Albert C. Wedemeyer frontispiece
Grant Hall, Command and General Staff School 15
Early Construction at Fort Benning 15
Brig. Gen. Paul Malone 16
Maj. Gen. Stanley D. Embick 16
German Attaché Friedrich von Boetticher 17
Captain Wedemeyer at the Kriegsakademie 17
Mothballed Destroyers 67
Chief of Staff George C. Marshall and Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson 67
Under Secretary of War Robert Patterson 68
The Munitions Building 68
Brig. Gen. Leonard Gerow 69
Princpal Staff of the War Plans Division, 1941 69
Col. Truman Smith 70
General Thomas T. Handy 70
Brig. Gen. Leven C. Allen 70

Transcribed and formatted by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation