This volume is a study of the evolution of American strategy before and during the first year of American participation in World War II. It is the story of planning by the War Department during that early and significant period in which the foundations of the strategy for the conduct of the war were established. The authors not only present the problems of the Chief of Staff of the U. S. Army and of his principal plans and operations officers, but also emphasize joint and combined problems-the reconciliation of the Army views on strategy with those of the Navy and the integration of American and British views and their adjustment to the military policies of other associated powers, notably the Soviet Union.
It may seem to the reader that controversy and differences of opinion are stressed and that agreement and co-operative endeavor are slighted. Since planners are occupied with unsettled problems, their work necessarily involves differences of opinion. It is only when all sides of an issue are forcefully presented and the various solutions thereof closely scrutinized that the final plan has any validity. The reader must bear in mind that the differences related herein are those among comrades in arms who in the end always made the adjustments required of the members of a team engaged in a common enterprise. The execution of strategic decisions-the end result of debates, negotiations, and compromises set forth in the book-is narrated in the combat volumes of this series.
Mr. Maurice Matloff and Mr. Edwin M. Snell collaborated in writing this volume. Mr. Snell was formerly an instructor in English at Harvard University and Mr. Matloff an instructor in History at Brooklyn College. Mr. Snell served in the Army and Mr. Matloff in the Army Air Forces during World War II. Both joined the Operations Division historical project of the War Department General Staff in 1946. Mr. Matloff is now the Chief, Strategic Plans Section, Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army.
Maj. Gen., U.S.A.
Chief of Military History
5 June 1952
[B L A N K]
This volume is a contribution to the study of national planning in the field of military strategy. National planning in this field extends from the simple statement of risks and choices to the full analysis of an immense undertaking. Strategic decisions are rarely made and military operations are rarely conducted precisely in the terms worked out by the planning staffs in the national capital. But the planning, which may at times seem superficial and futile even to the staffs, is the principal instrument by which political leadership arrives at an accommodation between the compulsions of politics and the realities of war, exercises control over military operations, and allocates the means necessary to support them.
This volume is the history of plans affecting the missions and dispositions of the U. S. Army during the early part of World War II, when it was quite uncertain how the military planning of the United States would be brought into keeping with the requirements of a world-wide war between two coalitions. The volume deals briefly with the joint war plans of the Army and Navy up to the fall of 1938, when the planners first explicitly took into account the possibility that the United States might be drawn into a war of this kind. From the fall of 1938, it follows the story of plans, as they directly concerned the Army, until the beginning of 1943. From that point in World War II, conveniently marked by the Casablanca Conference in January 1943, the role of the Army in strategic planning changed; it will be the subject of further treatment in this series.
The purpose of this volume is to increase and organize the information available for the study of national strategic planning. Much of what has been written about the United States in World War II contains information about strategy. Some of it has been exceedingly useful in writing this volume. But the information is generally given in passing, in accounts of great decisions or particular military operations. Anyone that writes on the subject of strategic planning itself is. venturing into territory generally familiar only to a few professional officers, and to them mainly through oral tradition and their own experience. Most of the choices the authors of this volume have had to make in research and writing they have therefore resolved, sometimes reluctantly, in favor of readers in need of organized information on the subject-specifically staff officers, civil officials, diplomatic historians, and political scientists.
The present volume is a product of co-operative effort. It is an outgrowth of a study of the history of the Operations Division of the War Department General Staff, undertaken in 1946 by a group of associated historians, organized
by Dr. Ray S. Cline. The Operations Division represented the Chief of Staff of the U. S. Army in national and international planning for military operations in World War II, and the history of the plans and operations is interwoven with the history of that division. Dr. Cline undertook to write the history of the division itself, ,in a volume published in this series, with the title: Washington Command Post: The Operations Division. The study of the plans and their execution, continued and amplified by his former associates, became the basis of the present work.
The text of this volume was drafted in two main sections, one tracing the conflicts in plans for the employment of U. S. Army forces, from their appearance to their first resolution in 1942 (Snell), and the other dealing with the primary effects of the resolution of these conflicts on plans for carrying the war to the enemy (Matloff). In the process the authors drew on each other's ideas, basic research, and writing. Each of the author worked at length on the volume as a whole, one in the course of original planning and composition (Snell), and the other in the course of final preparation and revision (Matloff). The text as it stands represents a joint responsibility.
The present volume owes a great deal to Dr. Cline, and to Lt. Col. Darrie H. Richards, who worked on the project as associate historian for more than two years. Both contributed in many ways to the general stock of ideas and information that the authors had in mind in undertaking this volume and left the authors several fully documented studies in manuscript. This volume draws on Dr. Cline's studies of staff work on strategy in the early months of the war, and the authors have made extensive use of a narrative by Colonel Richards that follows the history of strategy in the Pacific into midwar.
In writing and rewriting the text, the authors had the help of Mrs. Evelyn Cooper, who assembled and analyzed much of the statistical information used, and of Mrs. Helen McShane Bailey, who drafted or reviewed for the authors countless passages and references. Nearly every page in the volume bears some mark of Mrs. Bailey's wide knowledge and exact understanding of the records kept by the War Department.
Various people helped to smooth the way for the preparation of the volume. Miss Alice M. Miller initiated the authors and their colleagues, as she had for years been initiating staff officers, in the mysteries of interservice and international planning. For making it possible to use great numbers of important documents at their convenience, the authors wish to thank Mr. Joseph Russell, Mrs. Mary Margaret Gansz Greathouse, Mr. Robert Greathouse, and Mrs. Clayde Hillyer Christian, and Mr. Israel Wice and his assistants. Miss Grace Waibel made a preliminary survey of records for one part of the volume. Credit for maintaining a correct text of the manuscript through repeated revisions is due to a series of secretaries, Mr. William Oswald, Mr. Martin Chudy, Miss Marcelle Raczkowski, Mrs. Virginia Bosse. and Mrs. Ella May Ablahat.
The authors are greatly obliged to several other members of the Office of the Chief of Military History to Dr. Kent Roberts Greenfield, Chief Historian of the Office and the first and most attentive critic of this volume, who suggested a great mane improvements; to Cols. John M. Kemper, Allison R. Hartman, and Edward M. Harris, who early interested themselves in this work; to Cols. Thomas J. Sands and George G. O'Connor. who were helpful in the final stages of the work; to Dr. Stetson Conn, Acting Chief Historian in the summer of 1949 during Dr. Greenfield's absence, and Dr. Louis Morton (Acting Deputy Chief Historian), who encouraged this work; and to Drs. Richard M. Leighton and Robert W. Coakley, for their special knowledge. Dr. Conn gave many valuable suggestions in the final revision of the manuscript.
We are also obliged to Miss Mary Ann Bacon, who gave the volume a thoughtful and watchful final editing. The pictures were selected by Capt. Kenneth E. Hunter; the outline maps were prepared by Mr. Wsevolod Aglaimoff. Copy editing was done by Mr. Ronald Sher, indexing by Mrs. Bailey, and the painstaking job of final typing for the printer by Mrs. Ablahat and Miss Norma F. Faust.
The authors are also obliged to those others that read all or parts of the text in manuscript--to Capt. Tracy B. Kittredge, USNR, and Lt. Grace Persons Haves, USN, of the Historical Section of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: to Dr. Wesley F. Craven of Princeton University, co-editor of the series, THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II; to Professors William I. Langer and Samuel Eliot Morison of Harvard University; to Brig. Gen. Frank N. Roberts, Cols. William W. Bessell, Jr., and George A. Lincoln, and Lt. Col. William H. Balmier; and to other officers that figured, some of them conspicuously, in the events recounted in the pages that follow.
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