Tom from Cornwall wrote: ↑
09 May 2020 09:06
Aber wrote: ↑
09 May 2020 07:37
OK, so why the flip from Europe First
to Germany First
A subtle change, perhaps better phrased as Why (and when) did the US become Mediterranean-phobic?
That's exactly my point. Why flip to Germany first in the early spring of 1942, especially given the constant hammer blows the Anglo-Americans were suffering during this point. It almost seems that as the news got worst the urge to take the most appalling strategic risk became more attractive to those sitting behind their desks in the War Plans Division in Washington.
To keep the SU in the war. That was the entire rationale behind Sledgehammer. Here's Eisenhower in early '42:
https://history.army.mil/html/books/001 ... ub_1-3.pdf
On 19 February he listed priorities for use
of American shipping in the war effort.
The first priority was: "Maintenance of
existing garrisons. Defense aid to Russia.
Essential supplies to UK and critical items,
only, to China." Second priority was for
approved reinforcements to the Southwest
Pacific, this to include approved new garrisons not adjacent to the lines of communica- tion, and possible items of lend-lease for the
Netherlands Indies. Third, came approved
units and material reinforcements for
Hawaii; fourth, for Panama and Alaska
So already aid to Russia was placed on par with "essential supplies" to the UK and ahead of reinforcements to the Pacific in shipping resources.
Ike further stated:
We've got to go to Europe and fight—and
we've got to quit wasting resources all over
the world—and still worse—wasting time. If
we're to keep Russia in, save the Middle East,
India and Burma; we've got to begin slugging
with air at West Europe; to be followed by a
land attack as soon as possible
One can't emphasize enough how fundamental this strategic picture is from the one that informed plans during '41 when it looked like Russia would be defeated/impotent by the time the U.S. entered the war.
Ike and FDR also deserve praise for immediately recognizing this strategic opportunity and being prepared to do everything possible to exploit it.
TheMarcksPlan wrote: ↑
08 May 2020 22:01
given Wallied strategic goals (to win the war cheapest as opposed to quickest).
TMP, you've state this as gospel a multitude of times now, do you have a source for this or is it simply your opinion?
For a long time, Britain's strategic goal was simply to survive until something (Hitler's stupidity fortunately) came along.
I don't know of any source that reaches my conclusion in quite the way I am phrasing it. So sure, you can call it my opinion.
It's based on my judgment about the American/British priorities in war investment and statements such as the one from Leahy (re "Big armies are a thing of the past") quoted upthread.
It's also based on my judgement about "things that it wouldn't do to say" but which everyone at a certain level of power knows. It wouldn't do to say, "we want to beat Hitler, but it's not worth millions of American dead," or "we want to beat Hitler but we'd prefer that the Russians do most of the bleeding." Yet those were almost certainly the operating preferences of American/British policy makers in the war.
It's obvious to me that the Wallies could have won the war earlier by invading Europe earlier. It can't have escaped the attention of contemporary leaders that this was true. If everything I've said is true, we would not expect to find it stated in a single primary source because it wouldn't do to say so, even if everyone thought so. We have to use judgment.
And that's not even a definite moral critique of the Wallies. I'm agnostic on the ultimate moral duty of Nation X to accept more deaths so that Nation Y (here occupied Europe) suffers less overall and has fewer deaths, even if total world deaths are increased by Nation X's refusal to accept more deaths.
The reason I'm adamant about it is that WW2 is still used in American discourse about the need to Fight Evil. While I'm all for Fighting Evil, the discourse of Fighting Evil is often used in America as cover to "Fight for Other People's Oil," "Fight Against a Noncompliant Government," or to "Fight for the President's Approval Rating." A more realistic view of the realpolitik that informed WW2 grand strategy might temper some American bellicosity.