RichardAnderson wrote:So now the claim is the "US strategy during 1942 was to pivot to Asia if Russia collapsed"? A notion apparently derived from Eisenhower's 17 July 1942 memo objecting to SLEDGEHAMMER? Mind you, the contretemps following Marshall's and King's memo of 10 July 1942 would be a better reference...if you never mind that Roosevelt finally quashed the notion on 14 July 1942 and the issues with the British were finally resolved in London on 22 July 1942. So the "strategy" claimed by TMP had an actual lifespan of less than two weeks. See Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, Vol. I, pp. 267-278.
The full text of Roosevelt's July 22, 1942 directive to
Marshall regarding strategic planning meeting with UK does not say "No pivot to Asia
in the event of Russian collapse." Rather, it states:
4. You will, with the British authorities, investigate the courses of action open to us in the event of a Russian collapse.
In this investigation, and in the recommendations you make as to
the course to be pursued, you will be guided by the following
a. Our aim must continue to be the complete defeat of
the Axis powers. There can be no compromise on this point.
b. We should concentrate our efforts and avoid dispersion.
c. Effective coordinated use of British and American
forces should be sought.
d. Available U.S. and British forces should be brought
into action as quickly as they can be profitably used. It
is very important that U.S. ground troops are brought into
action against the enemy in 1942.
e. Any course of action adopted should include support
of an air offensive from the British Isles by strong U.S. air
forces and the assurance of the security of that base for
operations against Germany by U.S. ground reinforcements.
5. The subjects listed below are considered as appropriate
for discussion with the British in arriving at our course of action
in case of Russian collapse. Your discussion will not necessarily
be restricted to these subjects. The United States will not be
committed to a course of action to be followed in the event of
Russian collapse without my specific approval.
a. A continental invasion in 1943. This course of
action may be impracticable unless strong German forces
are contained on the Russian front. However, it should be
b. All-out effort in the Pacific against Japan with
the view to her defeat as quickly as possible.
c. Operations in the Middle East with U.S. air forces
now planned, with such ground forces as can be reasonably
sustained, while at the same time using the bulk of our
strength against Japan. The purposes of the Middle East
operation would be to secure the area; to protect vital oil
resources and to cover the Russian flank (if any remains).
6. You will take note that the state of Russia in the spring
of 1943 may be such as to make ROUNDUP impracticable, by reason of
the resistance that Germany can then bring to bear in France. It
is this possibility that emphasizes the urgent necessity to do
SLEDGEHAMMER this year when it is certain that Germany's effort
against Russia will afford the best opportunity that can be expected
to do any part of BOLERO.
Full text of Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, Vol. I is available here: https://history.army.mil/html/books/001 ... ub_1-3.pdf
Roosevelt's omission of Eisenhower/JCS's "Asia pivot
" in the event of Russian collapse was a bar on stating this course of action to the British during meetings with them - a wise political choice but only a political choice.
The military professionals had no delusions about the ability to
fight on the continent in the event of Russian collapse or military impotence. Roosevelt's memo is replete with references to
the need for Russia to
occupy German forces as a precondition of any continental incursion. In case of Russian collapse, section 5 of the memo mentions only "investigating" a return to
Europe absent a strong Eastern Front, while giving Asian and Middle Eastern options. Section 6 prohibits the generals from committing the US to
a course of action in case of Russian collapse.
It takes a marked credulity, unbecoming of a historian/analyst, to
credit as authoritative strategic judgment the instructions of one politician on what his generals should say to
another politician. In the event of Russian collapse, Roosevelt would have had to
acknowledge the reality that all U.S. military professionals recognized: there was no near-term prospect of returning to
Two pages after your cite (pp.280), the text quotes a July 28, 1942 memo from Marshall and crew to
Roosevelt (i.e. 14 days after Roosevelt's supposed "quashing" of a defensive stance against Germany):
collapse this Fall or a termination of the
present campaign leaving Russia relatively
impotent and incapable of offensive action
would, however, make the objective of a continental operation in 1943 impossible of attainment. In this event the United Nations
are forced to a defensive, encircling line of
action against Germany for the coming year
unless a crackup in German morale, of which
there is no present indication, should occur
unexpectedly. Combined operations against
the West and Northwest Coasts of Africa for
the purpose indicated above is the logical line
of action in this alternative
Regardless of what Roosevelt allowed his generals to
tell the British, when speaking among themselves the Americans knew the score. Richard would like us to
believe that "Don't tell the British we're pivoting to Asia
if Russia goes under" is the same as "We're not pivoting to Asia
if Russia goes under." I'd like to
think most folks on this forum are better at reading history than that.
I should repeat what I said earlier: that I believe the Anglosphere could have beaten Germany even after defeat of the SU, assuming sufficient political will. I simply doubt the requisite political will could have been summoned. I'm open to
being convinced otherwise, as this is at the far end of my ATL and an element to
which I've devoted less attention so far than preceding elements.