Self-preservation and military measures to insure the territory of the United States against violation by foreign powers--the subject of this book--ceased to be of serious concern to the United States Government and nation during the nineteenth century. In World War I, the Americans concentrated on the offensive. In World War II, as the authors of this book remark in their Preface, we passed to the offensive so soon and with such force after the United States became engaged that the military provisions for defense have been obscured from view. Other volumes in the present series sketch these defensive plans and preparations in their general context; this and a succeeding volume by the same authors focus on these measures and relate them to the evolution of American foreign policy in the period 1938-41. The experience acquired in preparing for defense when the danger of direct attack was regarded as constituting a state of emergency is one of great interest in our present state of danger when deterrence has become the policy of the nation and its armed forces.

Washington, D.C.
6 June 1958
Maj. Gen., U.S.A.
Chief of Military History


The Authors

Stetson Conn received his Ph.D. degree in history from Yale University and has taught history at Yale, Amherst College, and The George Washington University. He joined the Office of the Chief of Military History in 1946. In OCMH he has served in the capacities of a senior editor; Acting Chief Historian; Chief, Western Hemisphere Section; and Deputy Chief Historian. His previous publications include Gibraltar in British Diplomacy in the Eighteenth Century, a volume in the Yale Historical Series. He is also one of the authors of the forthcoming Guarding the United States and Its Outposts, the second volume of this subseries.

Byron Fairchild received his Ph.D. degree in history from Princeton University and has taught at the University of Maine, Amherst College, and the Munson Institute of Maritime History. He is the author of Messrs. William Pepperrell, which in 1954 received the Carnegie Revolving Fund Award of the American Historical Association for the outstanding manuscript in any field of history. A member of the OCMH staff since 1949, Dr. Fairchild is coauthor of three volumes in the World War II series: The Army and Industrial Manpower, and, with Dr. Conn, the two volumes of The Western Hemisphere subseries. He is currently writing a volume on the Army and the Military Assistance Program in the post-World War II period.



This is the first of two volumes on the plans made and measures taken by the Army to protect the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere against military attack by the Axis Powers before and during World War II. The global character of American participation in the war, described in the many volumes of this series, tends to obscure the primary and basic concern of the United States Government, and consequently of the Army, for the safety of the continental United States. When in the late 1930's the coalition of aggressor nations foreshadowed a new world war that would inevitably involve the security of the United States, Army and Navy planning officers concluded that the continental United States could not be threatened seriously by either air or surface attack unless a hostile power first secured a lodgment elsewhere within the Western Hemisphere. To prevent that from happening, the United States adopted a new national policy of hemisphere defense. Between 1939 and 1942 the Army played a key role in executing this policy. The achievement of substantial security within the hemisphere permitted the United States to concentrate on the offensive soon after the Japanese attacks on Oahu and Luzon plunged the nation into open war in December 1941.

The first seven chapters of this volume describe the evolution of the policy of hemisphere defense in the three years before Pearl Harbor, the gradual merger of that policy into a broader national defense policy of opposing Germany and Japan by all-out aid to nations that were fighting them, and the quick transition in December 1941 to offensive plans and preparations for the defeat of those powers. These chapters have been designed to introduce not only the rest of this volume but also the second one being prepared for this subseries. Chapters VIII through XV of the present volume describe the military relationships of the United States with the other American nations in support of plans and preparations for continental and hemisphere defense, and Army ground and air action outside the continental United States not involving bases under exclusive American military command. Three of these chapters narrate the military relations of a general character with the Latin American nations, and five discuss in greater detail military, cooperation with Brazil, Mexico, and Canada.


The second volume will proceed to a description of measures taken for the defense of the continental United States itself, emphasizing air and coastal defenses, the organization of Army forces for protecting the nation before and during the war, and the threats to continental security after Pearl Harbor. A section on Hawaii will be focused on preparations for the defense of Oahu and the Army's part in resistance to the Japanese attack and in securing the islands against invasion in the months thereafter. A separate chapter will discuss the part played by the War Department and by Army commanders in planning the evacuation of American citizens and residents of Japanese descent from exposed areas. Then each of the other major outpost areas will be treated in turn. The Alaska story will describe defense preparations and then deal briefly with the Aleutian Islands Campaign, the only major ground operation to occur within the Western Hemisphere during the war. Several chapters will describe the system of Army defenses for the protection of the Panama Canal and the Caribbean area, erected within the framework of military cooperation with the Latin American nations discussed in this volume. Finally, the second volume will take up Army defenses in the Atlantic bases acquired from Great Britain in the destroyer exchange of 1940, the extension of Army operations to Greenland and Iceland during 1941 and 1942, and the wartime role of the chain of bases along the Atlantic front.

The opening chapters of this volume cover substantially the same time span as the volume by Mark Skinner Watson in this series, Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and Preparations, and the two volumes by William L. Langer and S. Everett Gleason on The World Crisis and American Foreign Policy. Two other volumes in the Army series parallel these introductory chapters in lesser degree, those by Maurice Matloff and Edwin M. Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-1942, and by Richard M. Leighton and Robert W. Coakley, Global Logistics and Strategy, 1940-1943. In these books the authors are primarily concerned with the evolution of the offensive strategy adopted as the conflict with the Axis Powers developed. In our work, repeating factual details already published only when necessary, we have tried to offer a fresh approach to the prewar and wartime history of the Army by focusing on continental and hemisphere defense and by using Army records that are essential to a full exposition of this story. A description of the sources and secondary narratives used in the preparation of this volume will be found in the Bibliographical Note.

This is a work of joint authorship and endeavor. The first twelve chapters and the conclusion are primarily the handiwork of Conn, the chapters on Mexico and Canada, of Fairchild. We gratefully acknowledge the very


material contribution to this work of our professional associate, Dr. Rose C. Engelman, who is a coauthor of the second volume. We are also deeply indebted to Mrs. Virginia D. Bosse for her careful checking and typing of the final draft, as well as for assistance in research. The authors and their associates have profited immensely from participation in a large collaborative history program, in which almost every aspect of the Army's activity before and during the nation's participation in World War II has been under scrutiny. Without the free interchange of information and criticism that such a program makes possible, the research and writing for this volume would have been much more difficult and we would have presented our story with much less confidence.

In particular we are indebted to Dr. Kent Roberts Greenfield, Chief Historian of the Office of the Chief of Military History, whose encouragement, guidance, and careful criticism have been invaluable assets to our volume since its inception. Within the Office also Drs. Louis Morton, Richard M. Leighton, Maurice Matloff, and Robert W. Coakley, and Mr. Detmar H. Finke read all or parts of the text and gave us the benefit of their specialized knowledge. Maj. Gen. Orlando Ward, former Chief of Military History under whom work on the volume was begun, and Brig. Gen. Paul McD. Robinett, former Chief of the Special Studies Division, gave expert and very helpful criticism to the opening chapters; and Col. Ridgway P. Smith, Jr., Chief of the War Histories Division, reviewed the whole work with his usual conscientiousness.

We are deeply obliged to many outside the Office of the Chief of Military History who have given freely of their time, knowledge, and wisdom in providing us with comment and criticism. As members of the review panel, Professor Samuel F. Bemis and former Chief of Military History Maj. Gen. Harry J. Malony read and commented on the whole manuscript with great care, and Maj. Gen. Robert L. Walsh and Col. John C. Mullenix were particularly helpful in commenting on the chapters dealing with Latin American military relations. The account of defense activities involving the United States and Canada owes much to the penetrating comments of Col. Charles P. Stacey, Director of the Canadian Army's Historical Section. We, like so many other historians, owe a substantial debt to the late Capt. Tracy B. Kittredge, USNR, not only for use of his invaluable manuscript history of Anglo-American naval cooperation before Pearl Harbor but also for a detailed commentary on the opening chapters of our work. We also received very substantial benefit from access to manuscripts by Drs. William L. Langer and S. Everett Gleason before their publication as The Challenge


to Isolation and The Undeclared War, and much helpful criticism from them on our own work.

Our effort in research has been facilitated first of all by the unfailingly cheerful and helpful assistance of Mr. Israel Wice, Chief of the OCMH General Reference Office, and of his staff. We are similarly indebted to staffs of depositories of Army records; though space does not permit our expression of thanks to all of them, we acknowledge in particular the assistance of Mr. Wilbur J. Nigh and Mrs. Hazel E. Ward of the Departmental Records Branch. We also record our appreciation to Dr. Herman Kahn, Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, and to members of his staff, for access to and friendly guidance into the President's papers; and to Professor McGeorge Bundy of Harvard University for access to the diary of Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson.

Lastly, we wish to express our appreciation to Miss Mary Ann Bacon for her thoughtful and considerate final editing of the volume; to Mrs. Bosse and to Mrs. Marion P. Grimes for careful copy editing; and to Virginia C. Leighton for the Index.

These acknowledgments of assistance are in no way delegation of responsibility for the contents of the volume. The presentation and interpretation of events it contains are the authors' own, and we alone are responsible for faults of commission or omission.

Washington, D.C.
6 June 1958


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