Chapter 1
Casablanca--Beginning of an Era: January 1943

In 1943 the debate over European strategy entered a new stage. Though the strategic ideas of each partner in the Allied coalition remained essentially the same as in 1942, the circumstances of their application changed. The midwar period--roughly from January 1943 to the establishment of a foothold in Normandy in the summer of 1944--was the period of increasing plenty. The power to call the turn on strategy and to choose the time and place to do battle passed to the Allies. The United States, along with its partners, had to come to grins with the offensive phase of the coalition war. U.S. troops and supplies flowed out in ever-increasing numbers, and the full impact of American mobilization and production was felt not only in the theaters but also in Allied councils. Similarly, the ability of the Russians not only to survive the German assault but also to launch a series of counteroffensives lent weight to Soviet ideas on Allied strategy. The balance of power within the coalition steadily shifted to the United States and the Soviet Union.

As the new year opened, the Western Powers and the Soviet Union were still linked by the bond of danger, but had not yet found a common ground of agreement. Between the United States and the United Kingdom, fundamental war strategy and planning for the immediate future were unsettled. Into this vacuum and state of uncertainty the President, at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943, introduced the principle of unconditional surrender--a concept that was to have important consequences for the Allied coalition as well as for the American military staff for the remainder of the war.

The War Against Germany

The President took off on 11 January from Miami, Florida, for his fourth official meeting with Prime Minister Churchill and the first of a series of great midwar international conferences. It was a historic occasion, marking a double first for the President: the first time that a U.S. president had flown while in office and the first time that a U.S. president had left the country in time of war. Roosevelt's departure and his destination were carefully guarded secrets. The scene of the conference lay 5,000 miles across the hazardous Atlantic at the North African port of Casablanca. There, on the outskirts, in a large hotel on a villa-studded hill overlooking the ocean, the President and his military advisers


THE ANFA HOTEL ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF CASABLANCA, site of the first midwar international conference.

met with Mr. Churchill and the British military staff. General Marshall and his staff, Admiral King, and General Arnold had arrived ahead of the President. They had been quartered at the Anfa Hotel with the other members of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Surrounded by palm trees, bougainvillaea, and orange groves and with sunny skies overhead, the ten-day conference opened on 14 January. That the palm trees were protected by barbed wire entanglements, that heavily armed infantrymen and Secret Service men roamed constantly among the bougainvillaea and orange groves, and that the blue skies were filled by patrolling fighter squadrons did not seem incongruous in the wartime atmosphere.

In this lush but martial atmosphere, the British and American leaders convened to review questions at issue in global strategy and to find a new basis of agreement. Over luncheon and dinner tables they carried on informal discussions that sometimes lasted into the early hours of the morning. In addition, there were several plenary meetings and a series of Combined Chiefs of Staff conferences. In the absence of Admiral Leahy, who had become ill en route, General Marshall, Admiral King, and Lt. Gen. Henry H. Arnold represented the joint Chiefs of Staff. Their British counterparts, Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound, First Sea Lord, and Air Chief


Marshal Sir Charles F.A. Portal, Chief of the Air Staff, were ably assisted by Field Marshal Sir John Dill, Chief of the British Joint Staff Mission in Washington.1 On the fringes of the conference hovered the two contending leaders of the French, General Henri Giraud, High Commissioner of French Africa, and General Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Fighting French forces. Generalissimo Stalin had turned down the Anglo-American invitation to participate on the ground that the critical situation at Stalingrad demanded his full attention.2

What to do after completing the conquest of North Africa was the crucial question in Allied strategy. Any plans for post-TORCH operations were directly related to the course of the African campaign. The practical reason for meeting at Casablanca was to provide an opportunity to canvass possibilities directly with the commanders. British and American hopes for a quick victory in the North African campaign had been disappointed. Though most of North Africa already had been won, a hard struggle for Tunisia loomed ahead, and the uncertainty as to when the campaign would end complicated and unsettled all British-American military planning for the future.

The uncertainty was reflected in the intelligence estimates drawn up by the British and Americans before the conference. Both agreed that the Soviet Union would be the chief preoccupation of Germany in the months ahead though Hitler would do his utmost to intensify the war upon Allied shipping. There was also agreement that Germany would do its best to maintain its foothold in North Africa and to keep Italy in the war. On the other hand, the British felt that if Italy collapsed, the Germans would concentrate on the Balkans and leave Italy to its fate, while the Americans predicted that Hitler would step in if Italy showed signs of collapse and would defend the Italian peninsula. The Americans were also less sanguine than their British colleagues over the prospects of German collapse in the near future. The Americans believed that, despite severe losses to the armies and air forces, the German armed forces were still formidable and that German morale and economic position, through deteriorating, showed no conclusive signs of impending collapse.3

While British and American strategy had had much in common since early in the war, the question of next moves was susceptible to very different answers. On the answer given would very largely depend the disposition of British and American forces in 1943. The Prime Minister had no doubt what the correct course of Allied action for 1943 should be. In November 1942 he had cabled the President that the "paramount task" before the United States and the United Kingdom was, first, to conquer North


Africa and open the Mediterranean to military traffic and, second, to use the bases on the African shore "to strike at the underbelly of the Axis . . . in the shortest time."4 This remained Churchill's opinion in January 1943. As he saw it, it was the obvious immediate objective for consideration at the conference.

The British brought to the conference a full staff and carefully prepared plans and positions. The Americans came with a small staff and with preparations incomplete.5 Before the conference an unsatisfactory exchange of views had taken place between the American and British staffs. Neither the U.S. and British Chiefs of Staff nor their planners had been able to agree on a course of action subsequent to TORCH. Nor was there complete agreement or understanding between the JCS and their planners or between the President and his military staff. General Marshall's own planning staff had at first been so reluctant to accept the TORCH concept and had afterwards been so engrossed in carrying out the decision that they had had only a few weeks in which to face the situation it had created. On the eve of Casablanca the President's attitude on the critical issue of cross-Channel versus Mediterranean operations was to wait and see. He favored building up U.S. forces in both the United Kingdom and North Africa and postponing a decision for a month or two. Such circumstances hardly offered encouragement to General Marshall to try at once to unite the U.S. representatives on a revised version of the plan to concentrate forces in the British Isles, but Marshall did feel obliged to fight a strong rear-guard action in defense of the plan. His course would serve notice on all that concentrating for a major cross-Channel operation was still a cardinal objective in American strategic planning.

Cross-Channel Versus Mediterranean

At the conference General Marshall led the JCS in a last stand for a major cross-Channel operation in 1943. Early in the conference he stated that the basic question was the extent to which the associated powers had to adhere to the general concept embodied in the BOLERO plan and the extent to which they could undertake diversions to help the USSR, improve the shipping situation, and maintain the momentum against the Axis.6 It was extremely important for the American and British leaders to decide on the "main plot." "Every diversion or side issue from the main plot," he added, "acts as a 'suction pump.'" 7 The previous shifts from GYMNAST to BOLERO and from BOLERO to TORCH had, he observed, complicated U.S. programs of production and troop mobilization.8 American naval construction schedules in particular had been upset by the necessity of producing landing craft for BOLERO. It was Marshall's belief that in the diversion to TORCH the United States and Great Britain had been "abnormally


Seated: President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill.
Standing from left: Lt. Gen. Henry H. Arnold, Admiral Ernest J. King,
General George C. Marshall, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound,
Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, and Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles F.A. Portal.

fortunate." He still favored a main British-American effort against Germany in the form of a cross-Channel operation aimed at northern France.

Reviewing all the old arguments the American staff had advanced since the spring of 1942 in defense of the BOLERO-ROUNDUP plan, he added some variations. Any operations in the Mediterranean would definitely retard the concentration of U.S. troops in the United Kingdom. The associated powers should not become committed to "interminable" operations in the Mediterranean. On the other hand, a large Army force should not be immobilized in the United Kingdom awaiting a hypothetical German collapse. A simultaneous extension of operations in the Mediterranean and concentration of forces in the United Kingdom would probably preclude all operations in the Pacific and in Burma. The American staff was concerned as to whether further operations in the Mediterranean would bring advantages proportionate to the hazards involved. Any Mediterranean undertaking projected for 1943 should be weighed in terms of


its effects on the already critical shipping situation and the build-up of forces in the United Kingdom, and of its role in over-all planning for the defeat of the Axis Powers. 9

Sir Alan Brooke, replying for the British Chiefs of Staff, took the position that the British and Americans could not land on the Continent in force until Germany definitely weakened. In no case could a cross-Channel operation against northern France be undertaken until late in the summer of 1943. Even then, the number of troops that could be put into France would be severely limited by the lack of landing craft and of logistical facilities in France. Only from twenty-one to twenty-three divisions could be made available for a cross Channel operation by 15 September 1943. If the Allies prepared for that operation, no support could be given to the USSR throughout the summer. Sir Alan then went on to say the British and Americans should definitely count on entering the Continent in force in 1944. Until Germany weakened, they should try to make Germany disperse its forces as much as possible. In 1943 the best way to do this was to threaten Germany everywhere in the Mediterranean, try to knock Italy out of the war, and try to bring Turkey in. Intensifying British-American air attacks would also force Germany to scatter its air resources. Mediterranean operations, especially against Italy, would result in a considerable diversion of troops from the Soviet front. Pending the deterioration of Germany, the British called for a continued build-up of British-American forces in the United Kingdom in preparation for an invasion of the Continent.10

The arguments of the British Chiefs of Staff for action in the Mediterranean in 1941 were reinforced by the eloquent appeals of the Prime Minister. To disperse German forces, he argued, a series of feints against Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, the Dodecanese Islands, and the coasts of Italy and Greece should be made before any Mediterranean operations were launched. He was attracted by the possibility of eliminating Italy from the war. The Germans would then have to take over the defense of Italy and the Italian commitments for the defense of the Balkans. He was particularly interested in drawing Turkey into the war. Turkey might then serve as a base for attacks on the Rumanian oil fields and for opening the Black Sea route to the USSR. With respect to cross-Channel undertakings for 1943, he appeared, like his military staff, to be thinking purely in terms of a SLEDGEHAMMER operation. 11

In addition to the British arguments, General Marshall had to face the fact that the President was not disinclined toward further Mediterranean action.12 The President continued to occupy a middle-of-the-road position between Marshall and Churchill. He apparently wanted U.S. troops to continue in action and was attracted by the possibility of a


quick, cheap victory in the Mediterranean after the windup of the North African operation--especially one that might lead to the elimination of Italy. He was undoubtedly interested in demonstrating to the Russians the Anglo-American intention of relieving German pressure on them. He may have been influenced at this time in favor of a Mediterranean strategy not only by the British-American impasse over ROUNDUP but also over Burma operations. In any event, the Mediterranean appeared to be the most logical place for the next British-American operation against Germany, and a decision on a planned large-scale operation on the Continent might be postponed until somewhat later. Meanwhile, the President agreed with the Prime Minister, the two countries should build up forces in the United Kingdom that would be prepared to launch an emergency operation in 1943 across the Channel if the Germans showed signs of deterioration. 13

Aside from strong arguments advanced by the British and the predilections of the President and Prime Minister, the Chief of Staff had to recognize that certain other critical factors also cast doubt on the possibility of a 1943 ROUNDUP. Chief among these was training for amphibious operations. Thus Marshall called to the attention of the President and the JCS, in a special session held during the conference, Lt. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's current belief that an invasion of the Continent would require a minimum of twelve divisions, twice the force General Eisenhower had originally thought necessary. Moreover, General Eisenhower now felt that many more landing craft than originally estimated would be necessary.14 These revised calculations reflected a change in General Eisenhower's thinking resulting from his experience with amphibious operations following his early association with planning for BOLERO-ROUNDUP in Washington and London in the spring and summer of 1942. Other limiting factors, the Chief of Staff recognized, would be the submarine menace and delivery of supplies to the USSR.

Though other members of the JCS followed the Chief of Staff's lead in advocating ROUNDUP, they could not fail to be attracted by some aspects of Mediterranean undertakings. As a sea power man, Admiral King was impressed with the argument that opening the Mediterranean would result in a tremendous saving in Allied shipping. On the airpower side, General Arnold saw advantages in the possibility of securing air bases in the Mediterranean to strike at Germany from the south.

In the end General Marshall had to yield. The major grounds on which he conceded the argument were the effects on the saving in shipping, the safety of the line of communications to the Mediterranean, and the large number of veteran troops that would be available in the Mediterranean after the African campaign was over. If these forces could be employed without having to be transported to the United Kingdom, the critical Allied shipping situation in the Atlantic would not be aggravated. Economy of tonnage--especially in view of the ever present U-boat menace in the Atlantic--was, Marshall saw, the "major


consideration." Between the two most feasible Mediterranean operations, Sicily or Sardinia, he felt, along with the rest of the U.S. delegation, that an invasion of Sicily would be the more profitable. With the north coast of Africa and all of Sicily in Allied hands, he stated, approximately 225 vessels could be released for operations in Burma, the Middle East, and the Pacific. The added pressure on Italy, moreover, might lead to its withdrawal from the war, forcing Germany to take over Italian commitments. After the British settled their internal differences over Sicily versus Sardinia--the Prime Minister holding out strongly at this point for Sicily--the British and U.S. Chiefs of Staff agreed to undertake an operation against Sicily during 1943.15 In yielding, Marshall made it clear that the U.S. Chiefs of Staff were accepting the Mediterranean operation only as an expedient action dictated by current circumstances. He was opposed as much as ever to interminable operations in the Mediterranean. He still wished to make the main effort against Germany across the Channel. At the same time, he also conceded the importance of persuading Turkey to resist Axis aggression and to permit the associated powers to use its airfields. 16

In the vital matter of sustaining the flow of lend-lease shipments to the USSR, Marshall's position hewed closely to the British line. There was general agreement that all possible aid should be given to the Russians in order to absorb German strength, but the question of how far to go in sending convoys over the northern route to Murmansk aroused some discussion. The Chief of Staff felt that the heavy losses of 1942 must not be repeated; they might cripple the entire offensive effort against the enemy. The Allies should not set about "destroying" themselves, simply to get ships to Murmansk or to placate Stalin. On the other hand, Marshall did feel that the Russians should be informed of any decision to cancel the convoys during the invasion of Sicily, if this proved necessary. Admiral King, while maintaining that every effort should be made to get the tools of war into Soviet hands, agreed with Marshall that it would not be wise to continue the Murmansk convoys if the losses became prohibitive.17

Evidently the President, who had always been a firm exponent of aid to tile USSR and who had been willing to have Marshall go to the Soviet Union to discuss mutual problems after Casablanca, 18 was inclined to agree. At any rate, he offered no opposition to the adoption of the proviso that "supplies to Russia shall not be continued at prohibitive cost to the United Nations effort."19 No attempt


was made to define just what would constitute "prohibitive cost." The very flexibility of the term indicated that the over-all shipping situation plus the rate of shipping losses in the months before the invasion of Sicily might be the determining factors in carrying through or canceling the Arctic convoys.

The conferees agreed that the attack on Sicily be made with "the favorable July moon" as the target date, or sooner if possible. The stated objectives were: (1) to make the Mediterranean line of communications more secure, (2) to divert German pressure from the Soviet front, and (3) to intensify pressure on Italy. General Eisenhower was designated Supreme Commander. When the British Eighth Army, driving from the east, crossed the Tunisian frontier, General Sir Harold R.L.G. Alexander would become Deputy Commander in Chief to General Eisenhower and command the Allied forces on the Tunisian front. After the conclusion of the operations in Tunisia, General Alexander was to take direct charge of executing the Sicily (code name HUSKY) operation. Planning and preparations in the theater for HUSKY were to begin at once. On the other side of the Mediterranean, operations in support of Turkey--in accord with an agreement between the President and Prime Minister--were to be left as a British responsibility. The defeat of the U-boat menace was accepted by the delegates as a primary charge on the resources of the associated powers.20

Vague as their conclusions were on ultimate ground operations against Germany, the conferees did call for the establishment of a combined command and planning staff to plan for a return to the Continent under certain conditions. This return might take the form of small-scale raids, an emergency operation in 1943 in the event of a sudden German collapse, a limited operation in 1943 to secure a bridgehead on the Continent for later exploitation, or "an invasion in force in 1944."21 For the present they decided it would be sufficient to select a combined planning staff and a British chief of staff.22 A supreme commander for a 1944 ROUNDUP could be appointed later. Meanwhile, subject to the higher requirements for planned operations in the Mediterranean and elsewhere, U.S. forces would continue to assemble in the United Kingdom (a modified BOLERO).23 Casablanca had opened with the hopes of the U.S. staff centered on an invasion of the Continent in force in 1943. It was obvious from the discussions that such an invasion was not to take place, but Sir Alan Brooke reassured


the Americans, "we should definitely count on reentering the Continent in 1944 on a large scale."24

Combined Bomber Offensive

The debate over basic strategy against Germany inevitably raised fundamental questions pertaining to the use of U.S. airpower. Both sides agreed that the original basis on which a combined bomber offensive from the United Kingdom had been conceived was still sound. To defeat Germany, it would be necessary to invade the European continent with large forces. Before the final assault could be launched, it would be necessary to bomb Festung Europa vigorously. Therefore, a combined bomber offensive remained a prerequisite to any major ground operations against Germany. But the U.S. Chiefs at Casablanca were urging the concentration of Allied forces, ground as well as air, for an invasion of the Continent in 1943. The British Chiefs, preferring Mediterranean action in 1943, simply pressed for maximum application of strategic airpower against Germany. What then was to be the place of the bomber offensive in Allied strategic plans? What would be its objectives? Specifically, how should American concepts of air tactics and command be accommodated to the fluctuations in combined strategic thinking?

The Army Air Forces was, of course, directly interested. So was General Marshall. He and his planning staff in the War Department had long worked closely with the Air staff and had steadily supported the developing U.S. Air program. During the debate over a major cross-Channel operation, in fact, General Marshall tried to bridge the gap between the American and British thinking on timing by using an argument based on airpower. Inferiority in numbers of ground forces landed in north France in 1943, he maintained, might be offset by "greatly superior" air forces operating from the United Kingdom. On this basis, he implied, the twenty-odd divisions available for cross-Channel operations in mid-September 1943 would be as effective as the forty-eight anticipated in the ROUNDUP plan.25

The decision in favor of HUSKY clearly made uncertain an all-out invasion of the Continent in 1943. General Arnold supported the views General Marshall advanced on ROUNDUP at the conference. Yet, as chief spokesman for the AAF, Arnold could not fail to be impressed with certain advantages to U.S. airpower in the postponement of that planned invasion. More time would become available to prove the effectiveness of a systematic strategic air bombardment. That bomber offensive would perforce become a more independent operation, in the prestige of which the autonomy-minded AAF would share. A larger force of heavy bombers could be assembled in the United Kingdom than if forces and means were concentrated to build up for an early continental invasion.

The postponement of the continental invasion fitted current AAF strategic planning. The AAF policy had been clearly set forth in a document issued by the Air planners on 9 September 1942 and known as AWPD-42.26 In it the planners had argued that it would not


be possible to conduct an air offensive simultaneously against both Germany and Japan with the resources available. Between Germany and Japan, Germany was still favored as the primary objective. The sources of German military strength were more easily and directly accessible to Allied airpower. Until the Allies were ready to open the second front against Germany, they would have to rely upon their numerically superior air forces. For 1943 and the beginning Of 1944, therefore, priority should be given to an air offensive against Germany designed to weaken German airpower and the economic basis of German ground strength. That operation could be successfully executed by mid-1944 if over-all requirements of approximately 63,000 combat aircraft for 1943 were met. In AWPD-42, production schedules, priorities and allocations for aircraft, and training and deployment programs were pegged on the mid-1944 date. By that time it would be feasible to launch a combined land offensive against Germany. A similar strategic air offensive could then or somewhat later be launched against Japan. The contemplated air offensive against Germany was to take the form of a combined strategic bomber offensive such as British and U.S. airmen had been envisaging since the entry of the United States into the war. The U.S. air forces in the European theater would concentrate on the destruction of selected vital parts of the German military and industrial machine through precision daylight bombing. The Royal Air Force (RAF) would concentrate upon mass night attacks on industrial areas.

Running through all AAF thinking was the fear that its troops and planes would be scattered to all parts of the globe with no reference to a basic strategic plan, for, like the Army staff, the Air planners believed wholeheartedly in the doctrine of concentration of force. The Combined Bomber Offensive (CBO) from the United Kingdom presented a concrete means of applying that doctrine. However disappointed the Americans were over the decision in favor of a Mediterranean operation, the AAF could therefore take comfort in the concurrent decision to mount "the heaviest possible bomber offensive against the German war effort."27 The ultimate goal of that air offensive was "the progressive destruction and dislocation of the German military, industrial and economic system, and the undermining of the morale of the German people to a point where their capacity for armed resistance is fatally weakened."28 For the time being, the following order of priority for bombing objectives was set up: (a) submarine construction yards, (b) the German aircraft industry, (c) transportation, (d) oil plants, and (e) other war industry targets. The program provided also for drawing German fighter strength away from the USSR and Mediterranean theaters.

General Marshall willingly accepted the program of the Air leaders for the progressive weakening of Germany through air bombardment. But, in line with his operations staff's long-held concept


of a cross-Channel air-ground operation, he called for definitely linking that program to the eventual invasion of the Continent. He was reassured by Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal that the Air program would provide for this contingency. Whenever such an invasion became an immediate prospect, Portal stated, attacks on long-term targets would give way to the support of ground operations.29

No less important than air strategy were the related problems of tactics and command. The skepticism expressed in certain British quarters over the AAF's daylight precision bombing methods came to a head at Casablanca.30 The British advanced forceful arguments to demonstrate the superiority of their concept of mass night bombing. General Arnold enlisted the support of Maj. Gen. Ira C. Eaker, the U.S. Eighth Air Force commander, to present the case for the as yet relatively untried and unproven AAF tactical doctrine.31 For a number of reasons--poor weather conditions, inexperienced crews, lack of long-range fighter escorts, improved German fighter tactics and antiaircraft fire, the requirements of the Pacific and TORCH--the U.S. program of bombardment had been delayed. A year after Pearl Harbor, Germany had still not felt the pressure of U.S. airpower. Marshall felt the U.S. Air planners deserved a chance to prove their case in the air. Churchill's sympathies were finally won over to the American cause, and the British decided to let the Americans employ their own methods. With evident pride, Churchill has since recorded his satisfaction in the tribute later paid to him by U.S. Air leaders for saving their daylight bombing program at Casablanca.32

It was one thing for the Americans to win acceptance for AAF air tactics; it was another to insure full control by the U.S. commander over the bombing methods employed by his force. General Marshall, speaking for the JCS, argued that a British command would be logical until the U.S. air forces had clearly demonstrated the efficacy of their methods and until they outnumbered the British in the United Kingdom.33 The control of U.S. bombers operating from England should therefore be put in the hands of the British, but, Marshall insisted, the bombing methods and techniques of the U.S. air forces should be the responsibility of U.S. commanders. General priorities should be prescribed by the CCS. The British gave their assent to this arrangement.

The Casablanca Conference marked a strategic milestone in assigning airpower a definite place in Allied planning against Germany. However, its contribution on the use of airpower was more in the nature of general policy and guiding principles than specific plans. Even the target priority list of the combined bomber offensive was only tentative. It became the task in succeeding months to translate general decisions into specific and concrete commitments and objectives.


Old Versus New Choices

The inability of the American and British delegations to work out a definite plan for defeating Germany left the U.S. military staff still confronted with the most critical problem in Allied strategy, the cross-Channel-Mediterranean issue. The acceptance of the Mediterranean offensive--against Sicily--the continuation of a modified BOLERO, and the agreement on a round-the-clock combined bomber offensive from the United Kingdom, left undecided the more complex question whether the main effort would be made from the United Kingdom or in the Mediterranean. The U.S. and British staffs remained agreed on the necessity of an eventual cross-Channel operation but the questions of timing, method, and extent of subsidiary operations had not been settled. The stake for operational strategy in the debate over further Mediterranean operations would continue to be whether the cross-Channel operation would be a ROUNDUP type, desired by General Marshall and the U.S. staff, or a coup de grace administered to an enemy critically weakened in a war of attrition, favored by the British Prime Minister. In and out of a series of international conferences in midwar the two staffs would seek final resolution of the issue.

Though Casablanca produced no definitive solution of the cross-Channel-Mediterranean issue, it did represent the last real fling of the "either-or" school of thought in American strategic thinking. Hereafter, the U.S. staff would increasingly have to recognize that a new period of complex choices had been ushered in one that was to characterize strategic planning for the remainder of the war. "Combinations and permutations"--involving the combined air offensive, Mediterranean, and cross-Channel undertakings--would henceforth be the substance of U.S. strategic planning. The outstanding questions in European strategy down to the actual landings in Normandy in the late spring of 1944 were no longer to be phrased simply in terms of either a Mediterranean or a cross-Channel operation but in terms of defining the precise relationships among a number of possible alternatives in such a way as to preserve the primacy of the effort launched from the United Kingdom. The problem would no longer simply be either this or that undertaking, but rather this and that.

The War Against Japan

Clear-cut as the differences were between American and British approaches to a strategy for Europe, an even sharper divergence of opinion emerged at the Casablanca Conference over the relation of the war against Japan to the war as a whole. As long as plans for defeating Hitler first remained indeterminate, the precise place of the China-Burma-India and Pacific theaters in the over-all strategy of the war remained uncertain. Fear that the war would drag on for years weighed heavily on the U.S. staff. Their anxiety over the indefiniteness of final strategy against Germany was all the greater since the Americans had early assumed the major burden of the war against Japan. It was a serious question whether the American people and the Army could stand the effects of the exhausting, long, drawn-out fight the war with Japan might well become.

Divergency of views had been foreshadowed


in the exchange of opinions between the military staffs before the conference. The JCS had then informed the British that they still regarded as basically sound the accepted principle of British-American strategy: "To conduct the strategic offensive with maximum forces in the Atlantic-Western European theater at the earliest practicable date, and to maintain the strategic defensive in other theaters with appropriate forces."34 At the same time the JCS prepared a modified version that gave notice of their intention to develop offensive and defensive operations against Japan parallel with operations in the Mediterranean. The U.S. Chiefs took more seriously than apparently did the British the consequences of giving the Japanese time to consolidate their conquests in the Pacific. Admiral King was especially anxious to counteract what he believed to be an underestimation--by the British--of Japanese capabilities. In Admiral King's opinion, the whole Allied cause would be jeopardized unless constant pressure were maintained to prevent the Japanese from consolidating their conquests.35 The British held the more optimistic view that the Japanese war effort was incapable of much further expansion, provided communications with Germany were kept severed.36 The two staffs seemed to be in general agreement as to the need to reopen the Burma Road, but the U.S. Chiefs dwelt more on the urgency of doing it

Pacific Operations

At the conference the U.S. and British Chiefs elaborated on these positions. Each time the British brought up the question of all-out measures in the Mediterranean, the Americans would counter with the question of operations in the Pacific. The Americans advanced a number of arguments to justify the importance of the Pacific effort. To bring the war to an end as quickly as possible was the main goal of the Allies. It was vitally necessary for the United States to hold on to the newly won initiative in the Pacific so that preparations could be made for coming to grips with Japan. It was also essential that the large fleet, air, and ground forces present in the theater not be permitted to become inactive or stagnant. As General Marshall put it, the JCS had greater peace of mind about Japan than a year ago. The Japanese were now on the defensive. However, the Americans had still to worry about the threat of raids from Japanese aircraft carriers against U.S. lines of communications to the Pacific and against the American west coast. The Japanese must be permitted no pause. Experience had shown that the Japanese fought with no idea of surrendering and would continue to be aggressive until defeated by attrition.37

At the very first meeting of the CCS at Casablanca General Marshall made the first patent move to secure a definite division


of Allied resources between the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. He proposed the adoption of the concept that 70 percent go to the Atlantic theater and 30 percent to the Pacific.38 King, who had made the same suggestion in a meeting of the JCS with the President in Washington before Casablanca, backed him vigorously, estimating that only 15 percent of Allied resources were then engaged against the Japanese. Marshall specifically warned that sufficient resources would have to be kept in the Pacific.39 Insufficient resources in the Pacific in 1942, he pointed out, had, in fact, jeopardized the concept of defeating Germany first. King emphasized that operations in the Solomons had been hampered from the start by lack of resources and that the demands of TORCH had made further advances impossible.40 This arithmetical approach to the longstanding question of how to balance Allied effort between the Atlantic and the Pacific, suggested by Marshall and King, was passed over as the British Chiefs turned the discussion back to the immediate needs in the European-Mediterranean area.

To allay American concern for the Pacific, Churchill promised that, after the defeat of Hitler, he would turn all British resources to the defeat of Japan. He went so far as to offer to enter into a special treaty with the United States Government to this effect. The President brushed Churchill's offer aside, replying that his word was enough. The President did suggest, however, that they should try to secure a definite "engagement" from the Soviet Union to join in the fight against Japan once Germany was out of the war.41

The British Chiefs voiced the fear that operations against Japan would become too extended and lead to an all-out war. The result would be to drain British-American resources and make their efforts against the principal enemy, Germany, unsuccessful. They preferred to see the Allies stand firm upon a more or less fixed line and repel Japanese attacks. Sir Dudley Pound even suggested that it might be a good idea to let the Japanese dig in and disperse their forces, since it would be impossible to capture the Philippines until after the defeat of Germany.42

The U.S. and British staff planners were as far apart in their views as their chiefs. To maintain the initiative against Japan, the U.S. planners reasoned, the Allies would have to apply constant pressure upon the Japanese. Such an exertion of force would not only prevent the foe from digging in but would also lessen the size of the Allied effort needed to keep the Pacific islands secure. Since a static defense would be uneconomical in forces, they recommended the continuation of a series of limited offensives aimed at seizing the Solomons-eastern New Guinea-Rabaul area; capturing Kiska and Agattu Islands in the Aleutians; beginning operations against the Gilberts, Marshalls, and Carolines up to and including Truk, after the fall of Rabaul; and extending the occupation of New Guinea tip to the Dutch border.43

On the other hand, the British planners


argued that the most effective way of bringing the war to a swift conclusion was to concentrate everything on defeating Germany and then to devote all possible resources against Japan. While Germany was being worn down, only such pressure as was necessary to prevent Japan from damaging Allied interests and from consolidating its conquests should be applied. Offensive undertakings in 1943 should be limited simply to continuing the current Solomons-New Guinea-Rabaul campaign .44

The British Chiefs took up this theme and protested that before setting out to defeat Japan the British and Americans should first defeat Germany. To Marshall the question was whether to keep a large force dormant in the United Kingdom waiting for Germany to crack or to keep a force engaged in an active offense in the Pacific. Marshall and King denied that the proposed Pacific operations would interfere with plans for the build-up in Europe or for Mediterranean operations. King emphasized that the United States had often been close to the brink of disaster in the Pacific. It was not the intention of the United States to plan beyond gaining positions for the final offensive against Japan. In the meantime, steps must be taken to weaken Japan. Marshall added that a hand-to-mouth policy--as in the past--was very uneconomical and that it was necessary to get a secure position in order to know where the Allies stood in the Pacific.45

Although the official declarations of the CCS were hedged by conditions and safeguards to protect the primacy of the European theater, a modus vivendi was worked out whereby the United States could use its forces in the Pacific for operations to retain the initiative against Japan. The JCS put "on the books" not only the continuation of the advance in the South-Southwest Pacific--with Rabaul as the main target--but also the beginning of a Central Pacific offensive. Admiral King presented the U.S. Navy's classic case for a Central Pacific drive to the Philippines via the Marshalls and Truk. General Marshall lent his support to a drive through the Central Pacific after the capture of Rabaul. In any choice between Truk and Burma, however, Marshall favored operations against Burma.46

Operations in the China-Burma-India Theater

The British were as unenthusiastic about extensive commitments for pursuing the initiative against Japan in Burma as in the Pacific. A number of reasons--political and military--accounted for their position. Intent on further Mediterranean advances, they opposed any drain of Allied strength and means from the war against Germany. Their primary concern in the Far East lay, naturally, with the recovery of their imperial territories in southeast Asia, and they feared possible repercussions of Burma operations on the fate of India. In addition, they tended to minimize the importance of China to the Allied war effort.

On the American side there was a long history of favorable relations with China,


and much sympathy for it in the conflict with the common enemy, Japan. Military as well as political reasons combined in the support of China. On the military side, the U.S. Chiefs hoped--as they had from early in the war--that the manpower and strategic location of China might somehow be utilized in the struggle with Japan. In that case China might eventually serve the Allied cause in a position somewhat analogous to that of the USSR in the war against Germany. At Casablanca Admiral King expressed the view that: "In the European theater Russia, was most advantageously placed for dealing with Germany in view of her geographical position and manpower; in the Pacific, China bore a similar relation to the Japanese. It should be our basic policy to provide the manpower resources of Russia and China with the necessary equipment to enable them to fight."47 On the political side there was the President's predilection for treating China as a great power--an ally to be built up for war and postwar purposes. As a friendly power that had fallen on hard times, China was therefore to be treated with dignity and its morale raised. Despite the U.S. military policy of "keeping China in the war," the President and his staff did not always see eye to eye on the extent or manner of Allied help. That policy, moreover, had thus far succeeded in eliciting only very limited collaboration from either the Chinese or the British.

By the beginning of 1943 large Japanese ground forces were still in China, and the country had been all but isolated from the rest of the Allied world. To make more use of Chinese bases and manpower, it was obvious that China's troops would have to be armed and its bases equipped with supplies from the United States and Great Britain on a much greater scale than in 1942, when only a trickle of supplies had reached China, carried by a few transport planes from India over the Hump. Throughout 1942, Allied leaders and strategists had remained in general agreement that they must keep China in the war and appeared to agree that the best way to do it was to reopen land communications through Burma. In the words of the JCS, on the eve of Casablanca, U.S.-British military policy for the Far East for 1943 should be:

Conduct offensive operations in Burma with a view to reopening the supply routes to China, thereby encouraging China, and supplying her with munitions to continue her war effort and maintain, available to us, bases essential for eventual offensive operations against Japan proper.48

The negotiations at Casablanca testified to the difficulties encountered by General Marshall and the rest of the U.S. staff in dealing with the China problem. When the conferees assembled, the British and Chinese had reached an impasse over proposed limited operations against Burma. The British were already engaged in the ill-fated Akyab offensive (code name CANNIBAL) but planned a very modest advance to the banks of the Chindwin River (code name RAVENOUS). In conjunction with this move, Chinese troops from Yunnan were to enter north Burma to exert pressure on the Japanese. In the eyes of the Chinese, however, the agreement was conditional upon the presence of British Fleet units in the Bay


of Bengal, in order to ensure naval supremacy and prevent the Japanese from reinforcing north Burma. Chiang Kai-shek also maintained that the British had promised to make seven divisions available for the ground operations, but now planned to use only three. Since the British Eastern Fleet had neither capital ships nor destroyers to screen them, the British refused to provide any naval demonstration in the Bay of Bengal. The Chinese, in turn, stated that without such a show of force they would not attack.

Throughout the meetings at Casablanca, the U.S. Chiefs tried to convince the British of the importance of the RAVENOUS and ANAKIM (capture of Burma) operations. The British admitted that naval supremacy in the Bay of Bengal would be necessary before any conquest of Burma could be carried out, but pointed to the depleted condition of their Eastern Fleet. 49 Admiral King was willing to send six submarines to help the British out.50 The execution of RAVENOUS, he observed, would help secure the air supply route from India to China.

Not only would the north Burma operation (RAVENOUS) help Chinese morale, the JCS argued, it would also be of value to the Pacific. Marshall stressed the eventual economy in tonnage that would result from the lessening of Japanese pressure in the Southwest Pacific. He pointed to the sacrifice that the United States had made in order to provide Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell with the necessary troops. Shipping vitally needed for Alaska, Hawaii, and the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) had been drawn off to move 6,000 men to Stilwell.51 The Chief of Staff's efforts to convince the British met a sharp setback on 16 January when Chiang, pointing to the lack of British naval forces, communicated to the President his refusal to support RAVENOUS.52

As the possibilities for RAVENOUS became remote, the JCS turned their attention to the more distant and more important ANAKIM operation, projected for late 1943. Admiral King opposed the British assertion that landing craft and naval cover would be the chief obstacles. He pointed out that ANAKIM was still some ten months away and that by that time the destroyer and landing craft situations might be vastly improved. If the Burma Road were opened, he argued, it would not only bolster the Chinese but also permit increased air efforts against Japan and Japanese shipping. Then, striking a note that was to become quite familiar in later Anglo-American military negotiations, Marshall warned that, unless ANAKIM were undertaken, a situation might arise in the Pacific at any time that would "necessitate the United States regretfully withdrawing from the commitments in the European theater."53 In effect he served notice that the United States would not jeopardize its Pacific responsibilities if a major cross-Channel operation were indefinitely postponed. 54 King's offer to supply the deficiencies in landing craft and naval cover from U.S. production and by diversion from the


Pacific--if necessary--deprived the British of their chief reasons for objecting to ANAKIM. The British Chiefs agreed that plans and preparations for staging the operation in 1943 should be carried out, but final approval would be withheld until summer, when an estimate of the over-all situation could be made.55 Operation RAVENOUS would be undertaken even though the Chinese advance from Yunnan had been called off.56

The Prime Minister and the President agreed that the U.S. air force in China should be reinforced as far as practicable. The President estimated that 200 to 250 planes should be sent, including heavy bombers, which could be based in India. The effect on China of such aid would, in the President's opinion, be "largely political" but it would also hurt Japan. He believed that aircraft based in India could hit Japanese shipping as well as conduct raids over Japan proper. Marshall carefully pointed out that any increase in bombers or transports would be a very expensive move since the planes, especially the transports, could be used to better advantage in other theaters.57

Old Concepts and New Keynotes

The upshot of the discussions on the Pacific-Far East operations at Casablanca was a series of limited and contingent agreements. The United States was to conduct a two-way advance in the Pacific through the Central and South-Southwest Pacific. Plans and preparations were to be made for the recapture of Burma in 1943, but final decision on the operation was to be postponed until the summer of 1943. Increased aid to China in the way of air forces and transports would be provided by the United States. The delegates agreed that the Pacific-Far East operations for 1943 were to be aimed at maintaining pressure on Japan, holding the initiative, and attaining positions of readiness for a full-scale offensive against Japan immediately upon the defeat of Germany.58

No real over-all plan for the defeat of Japan emerged from Casablanca. The U.S. Chiefs were still thinking, to a considerable degree, in terms of meeting current threats to Allied positions in the Pacific and particularly of protecting the sea and air routes to Australia--reminiscent of 1942 defensive, opportunistic strategy. They were still thinking largely in abstract terms of the eventual utilization of the manpower and geography of China. Even the United States-United Kingdom understanding on the Pacific advances was essentially an agreement "in principle" of the 1942 variety--with method, timing, means, and ultimate objectives left largely undefined. Measures to be used in the defeat of Japan were vaguely defined in general terms--blockade, bombing, and assault or attack by sea. It was apparent that the Allies would continue, in the foreseeable future, to go farther in the Pacific as well as in the Mediterranean.

Nevertheless, the U.S. staff sounded significant keynotes at Casablanca for its subsequent dealings with the British in


planning the war against Japan. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff served notice on the British that henceforth more attention would have to be given by the Allies to the question of the strategic offensive against Japan. General Marshall, in effect, notified the British that continued Mediterranean advances would have to be balanced with an enlargement of the scope of operations in the Pacific. His presentation implied that if there were to be no large-scale cross-Channel operation in 1943, the Americans would proceed further in the Pacific--an advance that the U.S. Navy and General Douglas MacArthur in particular would welcome.59 In this modified form the "Pacific Alternative" emerged as a possible lever for balancing forces and means among diversionary operations in the highly operational stage of the war and for paving the way for a return to the principle of concentration for the cross Channel effort. The Chief of Staff's advocacy of large-scale operations in Burma, moreover, focused attention on another possible counterpoise to extending operations in the Mediterranean. Both of these restrictive factors were to figure prominently in the play of subsequent British-American negotiations, compromise, and agreement over final strategy against Germany. In Short, Casablanca foreshadowed the larger role that thinking and planning for the strategic offensive against Japan would come to play in Allied strategic councils, both in terms of fixing European strategy and in accomplishing, ultimately, the defeat of Japan itself.

The "Unconditional Surrender" Announcement

On 24 January the President and the Prime Minister held a press conference on the lawn of the President's villa. Hatless in the bright sunlight and carrying the familiar long cigarette holder, the President sat beside Churchill, who was puffing on one of his omnipresent big cigars. In the course of giving the Reporters his comments on the work of the conference, Roosevelt surprised Mr. Churchill by enunciating his now-famous unconditional surrender formula for the defeat of the Axis Powers. By unconditional surrender, the President explained with emphasis, he did not mean the destruction of the peoples of Germany, Italy, and Japan, but the destruction of the evil philosophies that had taken hold in those lands. Although the matter had been discussed during the conference by the two leaders, Churchill had made some reservations on the application of the formula to Italy. The British War Cabinet, however, had no such qualms and recommended that it apply to all three Axis Powers. The Prime Minister evidently had been given no forewarning by the President that the announcement was to be released to the press at this time, but despite his astonishment Churchill recovered quickly and gave the concept his full support.60 At the earnest request of the President and the Prime Minister, Generals Giraud and de Gaulle managed to shake hands for the benefit of the photographers


GENERALS HENRI GIRAUD AND CHARLES DE GAULLE shaking hands for the photographers.
GENERALS HENRI GIRAUD AND CHARLES DE GAULLE shaking hands for the photographers.

and pledged their determination to liberate France and to defeat the enemy.

Following the conference, the President and the Prime Minister motored together to Marrakech, the "Paris of the Sahara," whence Roosevelt enplaned for his return trip to Washington. En route, he made stopovers in Liberia, Brazil, and the West Indies, arriving safely in Miami on 31 January. Marshall returned to the United States after visiting the North African front, while King made several calls at naval installations on the way back. Arnold set off for Chungking, where he, Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, the Army Service Forces chief, and Sir John Dill were to inform Chiang Kai-shek of the outcome of the conference.61

Casablanca in Retrospect

It appeared at the time to the American staff that the thoroughness of British preparations and the long experience of the British in international negotiations had a decisive influence at the conference. 62 In retrospect, the pains taken by the British seem to have been somewhat unnecessary, given the uncertainties of the situation and the un-reconciled views on the American side. Despite his forceful presentation of the American military case, General Marshall succeeded in making no real change in the direction Allied strategy had taken in the second half of 1942. The Casablanca Conference merely recognized that the initiative would be maintained by the Allies both in the Pacific and in the Mediterranean, and defined short-range objectives in those areas in terms of operations in the South-Southwest Pacific and against Sicily. No real long-range plans for the defeat of the Axis Powers emerged. The questions of Asiatic and cross-Channel operations were simply left open for future negotiation. Agreement on a round-the-clock combined bomber offensive was reached but it was not tied in precisely with Mediterranean or cross-Channel operations. Nor were the relationships among these operations and Pacific and Asiatic undertakings clearly defined.

The Casablanca Conference was thus indecisive on basic strategic issues. The indecisiveness appeared to the U.S. staff to be a victory for the British. If Casablanca marked essentially the reaffirmation


of the old in strategic planning, it was also a foreshadowing of the new. The simple terms in which War Department planners had tried to solve the problem of limiting operations in subsidiary theaters had failed. The problem had become so complex--in the new phase of the war--that they would have to start out all over again and find new formulas. However far apart the two nations appeared to be on operational strategy, there was a hopeful sign for the future in the staffs' agreement at last on a general system of command to govern combined British and U.S. operations.63 The Americans, especially, could take comfort from the incorporation in the set of guiding principles adopted of the conception of unified command--under a supreme commander--that Marshall and his staff had been urging from early in the war.

Significant portents emerged in the American staff's stress on enlarging the scope of the war against Japan and, above all, in the President's announcement of the unconditional surrender concept. So important did the President regard this statement of purpose that he suggested to the correspondents that they might call the Casablanca Conference the "'Unconditional Surrender' Meeting."64 In the final analysis, his announcement of the unconditional surrender formula was the most significant contribution of the conference--one that, for better or worse, was to have profound influence on the subsequent conduct of the war.

The President had actually informed the JCS of his intention to support this concept as the basic Allied aim in the war in a meeting at the White House on 7 January, one week before the conference. No study of the meaning of this formula for the conduct of the war was made by either the Army or the Joint Staff before or during the conferences striking illustration of the want of understanding between the White House and the military staffs.65 Nor did the Combined Chiefs of Staff discuss the significance of the concept to which the President and Prime Minister committed themselves publicly at Casablanca and thereby raised issues long to be debated in the war and postwar periods.66


Leaving aside its external effects, this principle was to have important internal consequences for the coalition. It is significant that the President did not set forth as his war aim the objective of restoring the European or Asian balance of power--although, to some observers at least, the United States had been drawn into the global and coalition struggle because the balance of power on the opposite shores of both the Atlantic and the Pacific had been upset.67 Nor was his concern here with the terms of settlement. What the President appeared to be offering at the time was a simple formula of common and resolute purpose--a slogan that would rally the Allies for victory and drive home to friend and foe alike that this time there would be no negotiated peace and no "escape clauses" offered by another Fourteen Points. In particular, it might serve to reassure the Russians--who were bound to be disappointed by the continued failure of the Western Powers to open the second front in Europe--of the uncompromising determination of the Western Powers to wage a fight to the finish with Germany. It was vague enough to permit general agreement on the planning for the defeat of Germany and yet specific enough to prevent internal dissension over the terms of surrender. But, in retrospect, this concept, which the other partners came to accept, served to conceal the divergent national objectives back of the common strategy eventually worked out by the Western Powers with the Soviet ally. It is, of course, still a moot point whether anything more or less than the single-track idea of unconditional surrender would have succeeded in this "strange alliance."

For American staff planning, the President's announcement was to prove no less important. To date the President had asserted control over the U.S. military strategy on grounds of policy. The specific objectives of the President, for which he was prepared to run serious political and military risks, even against the better judgment of his military advisers, were the traditional defensive objectives of U.S. policy--essentially the security of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. These were all reflected in the politico-military policies he had actively supported in 1942--establishing the line Australia-Hawaii, keeping China in the war, maintaining the lines of communication to the United Kingdom, invading North Africa. Beyond these limits the United States had no well-defined objectives. It may be conjectured that at this point in the war, when these objectives were secured, the President passed at once in his mind, impatiently, to the peace conferences that would follow a clear-cut victory, at which he could appear--uncommitted and disinterested--to emulate the purposes, while avoiding the mistakes, of President Wilson. Indeed, from the beginning of the war he had shown a strong disposition to postpone territorial and political settlements


until after the war.68 Whatever he may have thought, his apparent reluctance to spell out his political objectives discouraged, though it did not entirely prevent the U.S. military authorities from expecting and requesting guidance on the questions of national policy that would in fact be influenced--or simply settled--by future operations.

The strategic planners, who had been concerned in 1940, 1941, and 1942 over the President's apparent indifference to military expediency, were doubtless pleased to have a freer hand to work out their problems in strictly military terms. But it was by no means a coincidence that, as the war progressed, they would begin to note, and even to insist, that there were really no "strictly military" problems in grand strategy and to keep closer relations with the White House and the State Department in the hope of getting guidance (and, doubtless, of exercising some influence) on the "political" decisions.

Indeed, the principal political decisions that the President made during the midwar years with reference to military operations were made by default. For this reason, of course, they cannot be documented and dated in the same way that active decisions can be documented. This fact is all the more true because the CCS and the JCS, the only bodies that had any standing on military operations, were reluctant to raise political questions.

For the U.S. military staff, unconditional surrender was to serve essentially as a military objective, reinforcing their own notions of a concentrated, decisive war. To them unconditional surrender provided a definable goal that was to be attained as expeditiously as possible. Winning the war decisively would obtain top priority, just as it had in the war games held in peacetime. A convenient handle had thus been provided to the military that could be used in formulating their plans. Henceforth the basic premise of all planning to defeat Germany and Japan would be the accomplishment of unconditional surrender.

At the same time, the formula complicated the task of the U.S. military staff in midwar. It meant that they would now--largely without consistent Presidential guidance--have to work out the precise terms of the offensive phase of the war through negotiation with the Allies. The President's concern in 1943-44 would be primarily that of meeting the contractual relations with the Allies. With the British, the close partner, this would mean seeing to it that somehow their notion of a cross-Channel operation was reconciled with the American. With the Russians, with whom relations were not so close, it signified continuing to bolster the Soviet war effort with lend-lease and the earliest possible establishment of a second front in Europe. In the President's view, a firm alliance with the USSR and Great Britain must be sedulously cultivated. He himself would be serving as a mediator


among the Allies--essentially a Wilsonian position.

The great debate on European strategy between the Americans and the British--opened by the decision for TORCH--endured down to the summer of 1944. It is not surprising that the American strategists, left largely on their own to resolve the problems of offensive warfare with the Allied staffs, should take refuge in their conventional view of war as a big engagement. But only gradually did the Americans--with Marshall as the foremost spokesman--win their way back to the notion of waging a war of mass and concentration on the Continent. Their task was to secure agreement of the President, the British, and eventually the Russians. In the debate with the Allies, the trump card held by the U.S. staff was the fresh, flexible military power of the United States--the forces it had built up and still had not committed. The series of decisions reached at the great international conferences of 1943 and 1944--from Casablanca through the Second Quebec--reflect the compromises worked out by the British and Americans-between the principles of opportunism and long-range commitments, between a war of attrition and a war of mass and concentration. In the meantime, old fronts were being expanded and new fronts were being opened all over the world. Significant as the signs and portents of Casablanca proved to be in the final analysis, more significant for the immediate future was the prospect that the advances already begun in the Mediterranean and the Pacific would be carried on in the two areas in which U.S. deployment had been especially heavy in 1942.


Table of Contents
Introduction * Next Chapter (2)


1. General Brooke had commanded the British 2 Corps in France in 1940; he became commander of the British Home Forces in 1940 and Chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1941. Admiral Pound was named First Sea Lord and chief of the British naval staff in May 1939 and became Admiral of the Fleet in July 1939. Air Chief Marshal Portal had served on the Air Council and as Air Officer, Commanding-in-Chief, Bomber Command; he was appointed Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force, in October 1940.

2. Churchill, Hinge of Fate, pp. 662ff.

3. (1) Report by JIC Sub-committee (Br), S Dec 42, title: German Strategy in 1941. (2) Comments by G-2 WDGS, on Br JIC paper--German Strategy, 1943, n. d. Both in Casablanca Books, Vol. I (1 May 43), Exec 6.

4. (1) Msg, Prime Minister to President, 18 Nov 42, No. 195. (No copy in WD files.) This message was circulated as JCS 153, 18 Nov 42, title: Plans and Operations in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Near East. (2) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 674.

5. For a description of the American staff preparations, see: (1) Cline, Washington Command Post, pp. 215-17; and (2) Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning: 1941-42, Ch. XVII.

6. Min, 55th mtg CCS, 14 Jan 43.

7. Min, 58th mtg CCS, 16 Jan 43.

8. GYMNAST was the code name for an operation against North Africa under British and American consideration in late 1941 and early 1942.

9. (1) Min, 55th mtg CCS, 14 Jan 43. (2) Min, 58th mtg CCS. 16 Jan 43. (3) Min, 60th mtg CCS, 18 Jan 43.

10. (1) Min, 57th mtg CCS, 15 Jan 43. (2) Min, 58th mtg CCS, 16 Jan 43.

11. (1) Min, 2d Anfa mtg, 18 Jan 43, Official Casablanca Conf Book. (2) Gordon Harrison, Cross Channel Attack, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1951), p. 41.

12. (1) Msg, Prime Minister to President, 18 Nov 42, No. 195. The message refers to a Presidential message about Mediterranean possibilities. (2) Churchill, Hinge of Fate, p. 676. (3) See also Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, p. 425.

13. Min, 2d Anfa mtg, 18 Jan 43, Official Casablanca Conf Book.

14. (1) Min, sp mtg JCS and President, 16 Jan 13. Official Casablanca Conf Book. (2) Min, 52d mtg JCS, 16 Jan 43.

15. For references to internal British divergences see: (1) min, sp mtg JCS and President, 15 Jan 43, Official Casablanca Conf Book; and (2) Churchill, Hinge of Fate, p. 678.

For a discussion of Mediterranean alternatives in Allied strategy and the final compromise on Sicily at Casablanca, see H.M. Smyth, The Sicilian Campaign and the Surrender of Italy, MS, Ch. I, OCMH files.

16. For the summary of Marshall's arguments, see especially: (1) min, 2d Anfa mtg, 18 Jan 43, Official Casablanca Conf Book; (2) min, 60th mtg CCS, 18 Jan 43; (3) min, sp mtg JCS and President, 15 Jan 43, Official Casablanca Conf Book; and (4) min, 58th mtg CCS, 16 Jan 43.

17. (1) Min, Goth mtg CCS, 18 Jan 43. (2) Min, 2d Anfa mtg, 18 Jan 43. (3) Min, 55th mtg JCS, Jan 43. (4) Min, 56th mtg JCS, 20 Jan 43. (5) History of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, MS, Sec. II B, Procurement and Allocation of Material Means, Pt. III, Sharing With Allies: Pangs of Coalition Warfare, Ch. IV, "The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Aid to Russia, 1942-43," by Capt Ernesto Giusti.

18. See Ch. XIII, below.

19. CCS 170/2, 23 Jan 43, title: Final Rpt to the President and Prime Minister Summarizing Decisions by the CCS. See also min, 56th mtg JCS, 20 Jan 43.

20. (1) CCS 155/1, 19 Jan 43, title: Conduct of the War in 1943- (2) 170/2. 23 Jan 43, title: Final Rpt to the President and Prime Minister Summarizing. Decisions by the CCS. (3) Min, 66th mtg CCS, 22 Jan 43.

21. CCS 169, 22 Jan 43, title: Organization of Command, Control, Planning and Training for Cross-Channel Operations.

22. Out of these tentative beginnings was to come the COSSAC (Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (designate)) staff, which wrote the OVERLORD plan and became the nucleus of SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force). See Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, pp. 44-45.

23. On the basis of the calculations of the shipping experts, it was estimated that the rate of troop build-up in the United Kingdom for 1943 could reach 80,000 in the first quarter, 169,000 in the second 375,000 in the third, and 359,000 in the fourth--a total of 983,000. The grand total of accumulated strength in the United Kingdom was estimated at 1,118,000 by 31 December 1943. CCS 172, 22 Jan 43, title: Shipping Capabilities for BOLERO Buildup.

24. Min, 58th mtg CCS, 16 Jan 43.

25. Min, 58th mtg CCS, 16 Jan 41.

26. A full discussion of AWPD-42, essentially a reaffirmation of AWPD-42 is contained in Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II, II, Europe--TORCH to POINTBLANK--August 1942 to December 1943 (Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 1949) hereafter cited as Craven and Cate, AAF II), pp. 277-79, 288-90, 292-93, 301.

27. (1) CCS 155/1,19 Jan 43, title: Conduct of the War in 1943. (2) See also Craven and Cate, AAF II, p. 301.

28. CCS 166/1/D, 21 Jan 43, title: The Bomber Offensive From the United Kingdom.

29. Min, 65th mtg CCS, 21 Jan 43.

30. For a discussion of area versus precision bombing, see Craven and Cate, AAF II, pp. 212-13, 227-29, 296-302.

31. Henry H. Arnold, Global Mission (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1949), pp. 261, 375, 393.

In January 1942 Faker had organized the VIII Bomber Command in England, and in December 1942 he became Commanding General, Eighth Air Force.

32. Churchill, Hinge of Fate, pp. 678-80.

33. (1) Min, 56th mtg JCS, 20 Jan 43. (2) Min, 65th mtg CCS, 21 Jan 43.

34. The summary of JCS views was contained in JCS 167/2, 23 Dec 42, title: Basic Strategic Concept for 1943, circulated as CCS 135 on 26 Dec 42 for consideration of the CCS. The JCS paper followed largely the line of thought developed in joint Strategic Survey Committee (JSSC) studies. See: (1) JSSC 1, 11 Dec 42, title: Basic Strategic Concept for 1943; (2) JCS 167, 11 Dec 42, title: Basic Strategic Concept for 1943; and (3) JCS 167/1, 20 Dec 42, title: Basic Strategic Concept for 1943.

35. Min, 49th mtg JCS, 5 Jan 43.

36. CCS 135/2, 3 Jan 43, title: American-British Strategy in 1943. The paper contains a memo by British Chiefs of Staff.

37. Min, ,6th mtg CCS, 14 Jan 43.

38. Min, 55th mtg CCS, 14 Jan 43.

39. Min, 59th mtg CCS, 17 Jan 43.

40. Min, 56th mtg CCS, 14 Jan 43.

41. Min, 2d Anfa mtg, 18 Jan 43, Official Casablanca Conf Book.

42. Min, 56th mtg CCS, 14 Jan 43.

43. CCS 153, 17 Jan 43, title: Situation To Be Created in the Eastern Theater (Pacific and Burma) in 1943.

44. CCS 153/1, 17 Jan 43, title: Situation To Be Created in Eastern Theater.

45. Min, 60th mtg CCS, 18 Jan .43.

46. For a summary of the discussion on Pacific strategy at the conference, see John Miller, jr., "The Casablanca Conference and Pacific Strategy, "Military Affairs, Vol. XIII, No. 4 (Winter 1949).

47. Min, 58th mtg CCS, 16 Jan 43.

48. CCS 135, 26 Dec 42, title: Strategic Concept for 1943.

49. Min, 55th mtg CCS, 14 Jan 43.

50. Min, 51st mtg JCS, 14 Jan 43.

51. (1) Min, 55th mtg CCS, 14 Jan 43. (2) Min, 56th mtg CCS, 14 Jan 43.

52. Min, mtg JCS and President, 16 Jan 43.

53. Min, 59th mtg CCS, 17 Jan 43.

54. See Charles F. Romanus and Riley Sunderland, Stilwell's Mission to China, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington Government Printing Office, 1953), Ch. VII, which contains a brief discussion of the issues relating to the CBI theater before and during Casablanca.

55. Min, 60th mtg, CCS-18 Jan 43.

56. Min, 2d Anfa mtg, 18 Jan 43, Official Casablanca Conf Book.

57. (1) Min, 2d Anfa mtg , 18 Jan 43, Official Casablanca Conf Book. (2) Min, 54th mtg JCS, 18 Jan 43. (3) Churchill, Hinge of Fate, p. 693.

58. For Casablanca decisions pertaining to the Far East, see especially: (1) CCS 155/1, 19 Jan 43, title: Conduct of the War in 1943; and (2) CCS 170/2, 23 Jan 43, title: Final Rpt to the President and Prime Minister Summarizing Decisions by the CCS.

59. General MacArthur had served as Chief of Staff in 1930-35 and then had become Military Advisor to the Commonwealth of the Philippines. In July 1941 he was appointed Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces in the Far East. In April 1942 he was ordered from the Philippines to Australia and became Supreme Commander, Southwest Pacific Area.

60. Churchill, Hinge of Fate, pp. 686-87.

61. General Somervell had been Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, in 1941 and the following year became Commanding General, Services of Supply, predecessor of Army Service Forces.

62. Pers ltr, Brig Gen Albert C. Wedemeyer to Gen Handy, 22 Jan 43, Paper 5, Item la, Exec 3.

63. (1) Min, 67th mtg CCS, 22 Jan 43. (2) CCS 75/3. 22 Jan 43, title: System of Comd for Combined U.S.-British Operations.

64. The London Times, January 27, 1943.

65. In late 1942 a State Department subcommittee on security problems, which included Army and Navy representatives, had come to the conclusion that unconditional surrender should be imposed upon Germany and Japan, though negotiations might be carried on with Italy. Norman Davis, chairman of the subcommittee, informally imparted the early conclusions of this group to the President, but the subcommittee never made a formal recommendation. The effect of the informal recommendation on the President's thinking and announcement is a moot point. See Department of State, Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation: 1939-1945, General Foreign Policy Series 15, released February 1950 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1949), p. 127.

66. For a description of the background of the President's announcement, see: Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 695-97, 972-74; and Churchill, Hinge of Fate, pp. 684-688. Apparently the only body that discussed the unconditional surrender policy formally at the time of Casablanca was the British War Cabinet.

For a provocative discussion, based largely upon circumstantial evidence, of the background of the enunciation of the concept, see Guenther Moltmann, "Die Genesis der Unconditional-Surrender Forderung,"in Wehrwissenschlaftliche Rundschau, Vols. 3 and 4 (March and April 1956).

The postwar debate over unconditional surrender may be traced in a number of accounts. For arguments against the concept see: (1) J. F. C. Fuller, "The Lost Peace: An Analysis of the European Strategy of World War II," Army Ordnance, XXXI, No. 161 (March-April 1947), 413-16; (2) Hanson W. Baldwin, Great Mistakes of the War (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1949), pp.14ff.; (3) Wilmot, Struggle for Europe, pp. 123, 166, 382, 477, 549-51, 713-14; (4) Russell Grenfell, Unconditional Hatred (New York, Devin-Adair Company, 1953), pp, 204, 240-42. For more favorably inclined accounts see: (1) Churchill, Hinge of Fate, pp. 685, 688-90; (2) Wallace Carroll, Persuade or Perish (Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1948), pp. 306ff; (3) Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., "Wilmot's War or Churchill Was Right," in The Reporter, Vol. 6, No. 9 (April 29, 1952), pp. 38-39; (4) John Ehrman, Grand Strategy, VI, October 1944-August 1945 (London, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1956), pp. 4-6.

67. Actually the Joint Board had recommended as a national objective the eventual restoration of the balance of power in Europe and Asia in its report to the President on the Victory Program in September 1941. See Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning: 1941-42, p. 60n.

68. In May 1942--less than eight months before the Casablanca Conference--President Roosevelt had intervened in Anglo-American treaty negotiations to oppose a guarantee of territorial concessions to the Soviet Union, even though Churchill had indicated his willingness to accede to the Soviet desire. See Cordell Hull, The Memoirs of Cordell Hull (New York, The Macmillan Company,1948), 2 vols., II, pp. 1170-74. See also Sumner Welles, Seven Decisions That Shaped History (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1950) Ch. V, "The Decision to Postpone Political and Territorial Decisions until after the War."

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation