American Patriots Against
The British Imperialists
by Dean Andromidas
Mark Perry's Partners in Command is, above all, a study of the exercise of cooperative leadership between Generals George C. Marshall and Dwight D. Eisenhower, during World War II and through the Truman Presidency. Perry draws on official documents, and especially the correspondence between the two generals, elucidating their exercise of leadership, and adding a sense of drama not often seen in books of this nature. (See a review of this book.)
Asserting that one principle of war they shared was, "Never fight unless you have to, never fight alone, and never fight for long, Perry shows how both men served that principle. He also documents the struggle between the American high command and that of the British, especially over the schemes of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
For Perry, the root of this conflict lay in two very different conceptions of how to win the war. On the one side, was Marshall's plan to launch a direct assault on Germany through a cross-Channel invasion of France. This would serve as the left-wing pincer of a double envelopment, where the Soviet Army, attacking from the East, would be the right-wing pincer. For Marshall, the assault should have taken place by the end of 1942, a full two years before it finally occurred.
Churchill, however, had an "indirect approach," which involved strategic bombing of German cities and limited attacks on the periphery of Axis-occupied Europe. Churchill's various schemes included the conquest of Italy and an attack through the Balkans, the "soft underbelly of Europe," all at the expense of the cross-Channel invasion. Marshall opposed these schemes, knowing they would prolong the war, while providing little support for the Soviet Union, which had been struggling against the full power of Germany's war machine.
The purpose of this article is to serve as an addendum to Perry's work, covering ground he does not cover. The Anglo-American conflict was not only over how the war should be fought, but one of fundamental principle, between the republican idea at the foundation of the United States, and the imperialist or Anglo-Dutch oligarchical principle of the British Empire. Both Marshall and Eisenhower were aware of this conflict from the very beginning of their Army careers, from their own experience in the First World War and the inter-war period. Scrutiny of this matter can contribute to a deeper appreciation of the struggle Perry documents during the later war.
Alliance With Our Potential Enemy
At the center of Perry's book is the U.S. alliance with Great Britain. But what was the nature of that alliance? It was not actually an alliance with a nation called Great Britain, but rather with His Majesty's British Empire—a tyrannical empire that, under different circumstances, would have been every bit as much an enemy of the United States as the tyrannical Axis powers became. Britain was our enemy in 1776, and again in 1812; it supported the Confederacy during the Civil War, and, despite the fact that we were allies in World War I, when the United States, at the cost of tens of thousands of American lives and much treasure saved their empire, the Imperial General Staff maintained war plans against the United States that envisioned building international alliances with Japan, France, Mexico, and other Latin American countries. This was clearly laid out in 1921 in Defense Scheme No. 1, drafted by the Royal Canadian General Staff, a sub-division of the Imperial General Staff. This plan called explicitly for a pre-emptive strike against the United States.
While revisionist historians dismiss these plans as worst-case scenarios concocted by General Staff officers keeping themselves busy in peacetime, the U.S. military, especially the Navy, which found itself, as a result of the naval treaties of 1922, out-gunned by Japan and Great Britain, took this threat deadly seriously; this might explain Adm. Ernest King's "Anglophobia," as documented by Perry. In the 1920s and 1930s, the U.S. Army and Navy drafted their own series of color-coded war plans. War Plan Red was for potential war against the British Empire (there were others for Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India). War Plan Orange was for war with Japan; and Red-Orange, one of the most detailed and thoroughly exercised, was for war against a coalition of the Japanese and British empires, since the two had an official naval alliance until 1923. There were war plans against France, Spain, and Portugal, since these could potentially join in an alliance with Britain or Germany; yet there seems to have been no war plan for the Soviet Union. Significant updates of these plans were drafted during Gen. Douglas MacArthur's term as Chief of the General Staff, at a time when Eisenhower was his executive assistant. These war plans were all kept up-to-date, until they were withdrawn in 1939, at the point that it was clear the next war would be with Germany, Japan, and other Axis powers.
The British vs. the American Military System
Britain's entire political-military structure and doctrine reflected its imperial nature. Winston Churchill was the quintessential imperialist. FDR was forever denouncing Churchill's "18th-Century methods." As in the 18th Century, British military doctrine in the 20th Century was one of Cabinet warfare, a routine instrument for maintaining and expanding the Empire. "Winning" a war, even one as global and catastrophic as World War II, did not have as its purpose, laying the basis to end such wars. Indeed, World War I was just as catastrophic as the second would be, yet the Anglo-French-dominated Versailles Treaty assured that its sequel would follow, a fact that was broadly discussed within the U.S. military in the inter-war period. The danger of Churchill laying the foundations for a Third World War was keenly understood by both Marshall and Eisenhower.
The British Empire's military doctrine in the 20th Century was "set-piece warfare." Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery was a prime example of this way of thinking in the British Army. The British Army of the 20th Century was a very curious phenomenon. At the lower echelons, owing to the requirements of modern weaponry, the British Army, on the surface, was not so different from that of the United States, except of course for its traditional regimental systems, such as the Scots Guards and Welsh Guards, who were and still are sponsored by members of the Royal Family, and membership in which was coveted by an officer, not only for career advancement, but for social advancement into the higher levels of aristocracy as well. But the General Staff reflected the oligarchical structure, in which warfare was conducted by a committee system.
The chief of the Imperial Staff, much like a prime minister, was only first among equals, and the service chiefs held almost equal powers. In contrast to Marshall's concept of Unity of Command, the British concept of high command was that of a committee, not much different than the British Cabinet. In any given theater of war, the various service chiefs were co-equals, and in place of a commander in chief, the war would be prosecuted by a committee, which in turn was supervised from London.
Committees proliferated at every echelon. Eisenhower and Marshall, who had nothing but disdain for this system, were wrestled constantly with it throughout the war. Perry asserts that Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke and other British commanders feared a frontal attack on Germany, because of harsh memories of the brutal and bloody trench warfare of the First World War. But the only fair conclusion one can come to from reading Perry's documentation of how Alanbrooke, Montgomery, and Harold Alexander worked tirelessly to undermine Marshall and Eisenhower, is that they were nothing more than Churchill's lackeys, working to further the latter's schemes to maintain the British Empire at the expense of his allies, notably the United States and the Soviet Union. If these schemes meant prolonging the war into the 1950s, so be it.
Lyndon LaRouche, in his recent statements on the need for unity of action by the world's four key powers—the United States, Russia, China, and India—has defined such an alliance as the British Empire's worst nightmare.
This statement held true during the war as much as it does now, and could be seen in Churchill's dislike of Roosevelt's support for China as one of the great Allied powers. Churchill wanted to assure a weak post-war China, for fear that a strong China, closely allied with the United States, would be a threat to Britain's Asian "possessions"—not as a military threat, but because it would spark the national aspirations of the British and French colonies, especially India. The latter would especially look towards the United States as its natural ally in its struggle for independence. Indeed India's first post-independence prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Eisenhower, after the latter became President, had a special relationship characterized by warm mutual respect and admiration.
The constant British sabotage of opening a second front against the Axis powers in Europe (the cross-Channel invasion), thereby weakening the Soviet Union, was key to implementing the above strategy. While realizing that the Soviet Union would not collapse as a result of this war, Churchill was determined to prevent a U.S.-Soviet alliance, which would endure not only through the war, but the peace as well—had Roosevelt lived.
In his memoirs, Eisenhower comments that Churchill "was quite personal in his relations with field commanders and never hesitated to suggest, from a location hundreds of miles from the scene of action, detailed plans of action; of course, he did not couch these messages in the form of orders, except when a major decision was required. He would send telegrams into the field, asking questions about the whereabouts and actions of particular regiments with which he was well acquainted. One evening I met him as he was drafting a message to a British Mid-East commander. It dealt with specific items of a tactical plan; when he had finished he handed it to me for comment. After reading it I told him that I was not familiar with the details and even if I were I would not send such a message to a field commander. Why? He wanted to know. I replied that obviously the man in the field knew more about the detailed situation than anyone sitting in London. American practice was to give the commander a mission, and the means to carry it out, without interferences from superiors. Washington, of course, kept in touch with the situation, and sent such directions as were necessary concerning logistic support or changes in major programs. But so far as operations were concerned, our tendency was either to decorate a man or relieve him, depending upon success or failure. When he pressed me on the matter of his particular communication, I said, 'If as an American commander I received such a message from the President of the United States, he would expect my resignation to be on his desk tomorrow morning—and I would make sure that it would be there.' The incident was an illustration of the great differences between his and the American system of command."
Eisenhower was even less generous to Churchill's chief lackey Montgomery, and in 1963 told author Cornelius Ryan, "First of all he's a psychopath. Don't forget that."
Here we see Eisenhower's clear perception of the difference between the method of the British Empire's Cabinet and set-piece warfare, and the American tradition of "mission tactics"—our own version of the German Auftragstaktik. By contrast to Cabinet warfare, our military commanders are not expected to be the king's first minister's lackey, but are entrusted with a mission for which they have full responsibility, and the authority for its successful implementation.
This concept of "mission" and "authority" with "responsibility" lies at the core of American military tradition, where the soldier and officer is not simply part of a polity called a "democracy," but a sovereign citizen of a republic, unique in that it is dedicated to the universal principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. War can only be accepted as an act of God when war is thrown upon the nation, as the British threw it upon the American colonies in 1776, and upon the United States in 1812 and 1861. If one is dedicated to the defense of these universal principles for one's own nation, one must defend them for all nations. Our nation's philosophical foundation draws a direct line to Plato, the Renaissance, Leibniz, and the philosophical foundation of the Treaty of Westphalia, whereby the Thirty Years War was resolved by a treaty that dedicated the former belligerents to the welfare and happiness of the other. Our military tradition draws not from the traditions of Great Britain, but from those of France's École Polytechnique and Lazare Carnot, and the German General Staff (not that of Friedrich the Great, but of the Prussian Reformers, Scharnhorst, Clausewitz, and vom Stein, who were inspired by Germany's poet of freedom, Friedrich Schiller).
Britain's Royal Military Academy Sandhurst was merely a two-year officers training school, capable of turning out officers credibly proficient for leading troops in times of war, and the Empire's mercenaries in time of "peace." But the U.S.A.'s West Point was modeled on the École Polytechnique, and became one of the foremost engineering schools in the world. In times of peace, its graduates provided the engineers who built the canals, roads, and railroads that would create the most economically powerful nation in the world, which, under the leadership of Commander in Chief Roosevelt, won World War II.
Perry draws a comparison of the relationship between Marshall and Eisenhower with that between Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson; this author would rather point to that between U.S. Grant and William Sherman. One reason is the actual military tradition, in that under Grant, Sherman, and Philip Sheridan, the German General Staff tradition anchored in "mission tactics" was developed, which was later to transform U.S. military into the victorious army of World War II. A close study would show a direct link from especially Marshall to the successors of Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan, such as Arthur Wagner, Eben Swift, Generals Arthur MacArthur, Franklin Bell, Tasker Bliss, and others who would establish and develop the great service schools, including the Infantry School, where Marshall, as assistant commandant, Perry writes, would fill his little black book with names of promising officers who would later become the senior commanders of World War II. This is a history in which Marshall and Eisenhower were at the center. It cannot be detailed here, but it deepens the importance of the mentoring provided to Eisenhower and Marshall by Fox Conner, John Pershing, and Arthur MacArthur, as Perry points out.
What Conner Told Marshall and Eisenhower
Identifying the crucial role of Gen. Fox Conner as a mentor to Marshall and Eisenhower, in the preparation for the war Conner knew would occur, is one of the strongest points in Perry's book. It is Conner to whom Perry attributes the principle, "Never fight unless you have to, never fight alone, and never fight for long."
The role of Conner as mentor is a story told many times by many authors. Eisenhower himself, in a lecture at the National War College, said, "There was a very wise soldier under whom I served for a number of years—in my opinion the greatest military philosopher and thinker I have known—Fox Conner...." A gentleman officer from Mississippi, highly respected, Conner was considered an awesome intellectual. His library of 4,000 volumes covered military history, philosophy, and great literary works. Through the help of another of his protégés, George Patton, Conner identified Eisenhower's potential for high command, shortly after the First World War. Engaging in one of those little conspiracies that would years later have such a profound impact on history, Conner secured Eisenhower a position as his executive officer, when he took command of the Panama Canal Zone in 1922. Eisenhower, who graduated as one of West Point's brightest stars, later wrote, "My tour of duty was one of the most interesting and constructive of my life. The main reason was the presence of one man, our brigade commander, General Fox Conner ... at home in the company of the most important people and with any of the men in the regiment. General Conner was a natural leader and something of a philosopher—he had an extraordinary library, especially in military affairs—the range and curiosity of his mind was not limited to military affairs. He quoted Shakespeare at length and he could relate his works to the war under discussion."
Calling this time his "great books" period, Eisenhower said that Conner, a demanding tutor, had him reading not only the great military works such as Clausewitz's On War, which Eisenhower read three times, but also the works of Plato, Cicero, and Shakespeare. Transforming his quarters into a small war room, complete with maps, Eisenhower conducted an intense study of the Civil War at this time. He would make a presentation on each battle to Conner, who would then ask searching questions, forcing his student to present his ideas in a forceful, effective manner.
Conner was not simply "mentoring" a young officer; he was, through Eisenhower, preparing the United States for a war that appeared inevitable. On those long evenings, Conner discussed how the foundations of a new war were being laid by the brutal conditions imposed on Germany by the Versailles Treaty, especially the impossible burden of reparations, and how revolution in Russia would doom Europe to yet another war. Moreover, there was the real threat that the British, French, and expanding Japanese empires posed to the United States.
Much has been written on how Conner tutored Eisenhower on how the U.S. would have to fight the next war with allies. But outside of asserting that fighting with allies would be difficult, few authors, including Perry, quote what Conner actually wrote on the problems of allied command.
Conner was much more than a brilliant intellectual; as Gen. John Pershing's Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations in the American Expeditionary Force during the First World War, he was among a handful of American senior officers who was at the center of all the war councils, both national and allied. In 1934, one year after Hitler took power, he gave a lecture to the Army War College, entitled "The Allied High Command and Allied Unity of Direction," which, although on the First World War, is representative of what he no doubt told Eisenhower and Marshall on the struggle they would face to establish "unity of command" with allies who could, under other circumstances, be their enemies.
For Conner, it was not "national pride" that prevented allied cooperation, but "ulterior motives"—a not-too-veiled reference to the imperial and other interests of Great Britain and France.
Conner said, "National pride plays some, though a small, part in preventing or postponing Unity of Direction and command.... The ulterior motives of the several members of a coalition form the principal obstacle to securing either Unity of Direction or Unity of Command.... With the exception of America ... all nations or rather the politicians of all Nations, in the World War were filled with ulterior motives, and with grandiose ideas of the 'compensations' they would obtain at the peace table. It is likely to be so again." With the exception of the United States, "all Nations were 'jockeying' for post-war positions," he said, adding, " 'Open covenants, openly arrived at' is beyond the realities of European statesmanship or politics."
As for establishing a unity of command among allies, "only an actual or a threatened catastrophe is likely to bring about anything approaching either Unity of Direction or Unity of Command.... In spite of the assertion just made, America should, if she ever indulges in the doubtful luxury of entering another coalition, advocate, coincident with entering a war with allies, the establishment of a Supreme War Council. Such an institution is primarily necessary to provide decent interment for 'fool schemes.' Unity of Command should be sought ... in matters of strategy only. It is quite hopeless to expect a worthwhile nation, unless it reaches the state of Austria in 1916 and 1917, to surrender the tactical command of its troops."
The dictum of fighting wars with allies, was no simple doctrine that Conner instilled in the younger officers, but a mission. That mission was to succeed where the U.S. had failed in World War I, not only in terms of military capabilities, but most emphatically in winning the peace.
Lessons of the First World War
FDR's own vision, or grand design, for the post-war world grew out of a reaction to the failure of the United States to win the peace after the First World War. It sought to suppress "ulterior motives" by transforming the coalition of allies that fought the war into the core of a coalition of sovereign nations, to be carved out of the 19th-Century colonial empires of Britain, France, the Netherlands, and others. The massive industrial and scientific power marshalled by Roosevelt to win the war, would be deployed to develop the world.
In the hands of Roosevelt, an enduring post-war alliance with the Soviet Union could serve as a counterweight to Great Britain, in achieving Roosevelt's vision of dismantling the European empires. Marshall and Eisenhower, in their own way, shared in that vision.
Roosevelt's vision appealed to a whole generation of Americans who had experienced the disillusionment of the First World War and its aftermath, and were committed to learning from its bitter lessons. This was especially true in the U.S. military, where a whole generation of young officers who had served in First World War, became the senior commanders in the Second, and developed a strong commitment not to repeat those mistakes. They built an army to win that war, so that a statesman like Roosevelt could win the peace.
Gen. Lucius Clay, in an interview in 1974 when he was asked to comment on rebuilding the U.S. Army after the disaster of the Vietnam War, replied:
"In World War I, we didn't do very well in my humble opinion. We were not a professional army, really, but the people who knew this were the people from the [West Point] classes of about '14, '15, '16. They had gone in as relatively junior officers. They had become field officers, but they realized the lack of tools, the lack of training manuals, the lack of even knowledge of how to build up and equip a force that we had to overcome in World War I. They came back and insisted on the Army schools being made into really worthwhile schools.... The army that went into World War II was infinitely more professional than the army that went into World War I, and it was because the junior officers who went into World War I came out of it determined to have a better army...."
There are important parallels between the U.S. military policy in the First and Second World Wars that are worth briefly reviewing.
On entering World War I, Pershing and the General Staff laid down three principles upon which the war would be prosecuted. The first was that the U.S. commanders emphatically rejected the British and French demand that the United States only provide soldiers that could be integrated into existing French and British units, thereby becoming more fresh meat for the British and French meat-grinders of static trench warfare. The second was for the United States to have its own unified command, responsible for its own front, while pushing for a unity of effort among the allies, so as to abandon the trenches and prosecute a war of movement and maneuver. With a commitment to eventually have a 5-million-man army on the continent, the United States would not only play a decisive role in defeating Germany, but would have the prestige and moral high ground at the peace table. The third principle was that the main, if not the only front, would be the Western Front to defeat Germany, whose aggression was the alleged reason for the war, as quickly and decisively as possible
These decisions were made explicitly to suppress British "fool schemes" aimed at expanding the war. As in World War II, these schemes were hatched most often by Churchill himself, who was a junior minister in the Lloyd George government. It was Churchill who conceived of the disastrous Gallipoli operation to capture the Bosporus, on the alleged pretext of aiding Russia's access to the Mediterranean. The fact that the operation coincided with the negotiation of the secret Anglo-French Sykes Picot Treaty, one of those "compensations" referred to by Conner, betrayed its real purpose as aiding the secret Anglo-French plan to carve up the Ottoman Empire between them. Churchill even had a "soft underbelly" strategy, whereby 500,000 Allied troops were deployed to Solonika, Greece for an attack on Romania and Bulgaria. This never actually came off, but the troops, despite being desperately needed on the Western Front, remained idle for most of the war. The Germans dubbed it their largest prisoner of war camp, created and guarded by the British themselves.
The U.S. entry into the war coincided with the March 17, 1917 revolution in Russia that overthrew the Czar, installing a Provisional Government (the Bolsheviks would in turn take power in November). Churchill saw the opportunity to dismember the Russian Empire once and for all. On the claim that the Eastern Front had to be reopened, Churchill laid the basis for the Allied intervention, which was dubbed "Churchill's War," and would last into 1920. In 1917, the British invited Japan to occupy Siberia up to the Urals, but was prevented from doing so by the outspoken advice of the U.S. military command.
The prioritizing of the Western Front determined the U.S. military command's policy towards revolutionary Russia. With an official policy of non-intervention, the U.S. military refused to be sucked into these schemes. Gen. Tasker Bliss, mentioned above, who served on the high allied military commission, opposed U.S. participation in the intervention, writing at the time, "It seems to me our Allies want the United States to commit ourselves to various places where, after the war, they alone will have special interests." He then lamented, "I have often thought that this war, instead of being the last one, may be only the breeder of still more."
Contrary to popular opinion, it was not the U.S. military that were anti-Bolshevik; in fact, the U.S. military attaché in St Petersburg, Col. William V. Judson, offered his government the recommendation that if the United States were serious about keeping Russia in the war, then the Bolshevik government should be supported. After meeting Trotsky in 1918, Judson was quickly recalled to Washington.
The Army was ordered by President Wilson to send two regiments into Russia, one to Siberia and a smaller one to Archangel—a move which U.S. Army Chief of Staff Payton C. March would later call a "military crime." The regiment deployed to Archangel, which was put under British command, got sucked into "Churchill's war," while the much larger regiment, deployed to Siberia under the command of Gen. William S. Graves, maintained a strict policy of non-intervention, as stipulated in his original orders. His memoir of that experience, written in 1931, was rich in denunciation of the British and Japanese, but also of the U.S. State Department. For Graves, and many other Americans who found themselves in revolutionary Russia, the anti-Bolshevik White Russians, so warmly supported by Churchill, were seen as war criminals. Graves' book was endorsed by Newton Baker, Secretary of War during the First World War, and by General March, as well as by Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxim Litvinov, who, in 1933, negotiated the opening of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Soviet Union. He praised Graves for his non-intervention policy and his attempt to respect the rights of the Russian people.
War in the Mideast
When the World War ended in Europe, it did not end in Russia, the Far East, or the Middle East for many more years, and bitterness engulfed the entire generation that fought it. A quote from a document called the King-Crane Commission Report captures this bitterness. This was the report of a U.S commission deployed in 1919 to review the situation in the former Ottoman Empire, to assess what role the United States should play in the mandate system that was being discussed at Versailles.
"[T]he drift toward selfish exploitation of the Turkish Empire has come about, there should be no mistake about the fact or its dangers," the commissioners wrote. "It needs to be said and heeded that Constantinople is once again the nest of selfish, suspicious hateful intrigue reaching out over the whole Empire, if not the world. What will it mean if this policy is allowed to prevail? ... the allies should bear clearly in mind that their fidelity to their announced aims in the war is here peculiarly to be tested, and that in the proportion in which the division of the Turkish Empire by the allies is made a division of spoils by victors, and is primarily determined by the selfish national and corporate interests of the Allies, in just that proportion will grave dangers arise."
The report went on to show the effects of this betrayal of these ideals on the U.S. veteran. "For example, no thoughtful man who had the opportunity of watching in France the stream of American officers and soldiers and of able men enlisted for various forms of service to the soldiers, as they came and went, could fail to see among those men, as the armistice went on, the spread, like a contagion, of depression and disillusionment as to the significance of the war aims, because of the selfish wrangling of nations.... The fact should be squarely faced that thousands of Americans who served in the war have gone home disillusioned, greatly fearing, if not convinced, that the Allies had not been true to their asserted war aims, and have been consequently driven to an almost cynical view of the entire conflict—cynicism that made them feel like withdrawing all further American help and henceforth washing their hands of the whole European imbroglio. This attitude has been reflected in many other American citizens who had been devoted supporters of the Allied cause. Now that is not a good result for America, for the Allied Powers or for the world."
Another report was released in 1920 entitled "Conditions in the Near East: Report of the American Military Mission to Armenia." While the King-Crane commission was led by Dr. Henry Churchill King, president of Oberlin College, and Charles R. Crane, scion of a wealthy Chicago family, and self-proclaimed international policymaker, the military mission was led by Gen. James G. Harbord and George van Horn Mosely, senior members of Pershing's General Staff, both of whom would become close colleagues of Marshall and Eisenhower. They came to surprisingly similar conclusions. They met Turkey's nationalist leader and future President, Mustapha Kemal Atatürk, praised the movement he was leading against the British- and French-backed government in Constantinople, and included a report by Atatürk as part of their documentation. They even called for the dissolution of the foreign-controlled council of administration of the Ottoman public debt, and its reduction, if not cancellation. While not advising directly on whether the U.S. should take a mandate in the area, the report concluded with a list of pros and cons on the issue, both sides of which were very critical of the British and French.
Geopolitics Leads to World War II
The following years saw the British playing the same geopolitical games that had led to the First World War; with full British backing, fascist governments were brought to power in Italy, Germany, and Spain, while Japan was given a free hand in its conquest of China.
By contrast, in 1935 the U.S. Congress, on the initiative of FDR, passed legislation that would lay the basis for granting the Philippines its full independence by 1946, a move that would have been unthinkable by the British, French, Dutch, and other colonial powers at that time. Congress mandated the organization of a Philippine army that could defend the future nation when it gained independence. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who had just finished his term as Chief of the General Staff, and his deputy, Maj. Dwight D. Eisenhower, were charged with the task and removed to the Philippines.
That same year, Japan completed its conquest of Manchuria, and on June 18, 1936 British Foreign Secretary Sir Samuel Hoare and Adolf Hitler's special envoy, Joachim von Ribbentrop, signed the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, in what Hitler reportedly said was the happiest day of his life. While British historians have painted this agreement as either an arms limitations agreement or appeasement of Hitler, it was in reality an alliance, modeled on the Anglo-Japanese naval alliance of 1902, and just as that alliance had put the world on the road to the First World War, so it would start the march to the Second.
In August 1933, shortly after the Anglo-Dutch financial interests, with help from their friends on Wall Street, put Hitler into power, the Royal Marines Gen. Sir Maurice Hankey, a British Cabinet secretary, was dispatched to Germany for the first of a series of talks that would end with the signing of the naval agreement. In his subsequent report, he assessed Hitler as follows: "Are we still dealing with the Hitler of Mein Kampf, lulling his opponents to sleep with fair words to gain time to arm his people, and looking always to the day when he can throw off the mask and attack Poland? Or is it a new Hitler, who discovered the burden of responsible days? That is the riddle that has to be solved."
In Mein Kampf, Hitler had renounced any ambition to challenge the British Empire's naval and colonial supremacy, and stated his intention to negotiate a "sea pact" with Britain. In a speech given on May 21, 1936, Hitler declared: "The German Reich government recognizes of itself the overwhelming importance for existence and thereby the justification of dominance at sea to protect the British Empire, just as on the other hand, we are determined to do everything necessary in protection of our own continental existence and freedom."
Despite whatever misgivings Hankey might have implied in his report of 1933, in 1936 Britain allowed Hitler to fulfill his intention.
The sophistry of British historians, writing how the alliance was either an arms control measure or appeasement does not square with the facts. The agreement, initiated by the British without informing either France or Italy, repudiated the arms limitation clauses of the Versailles Treaty, and gave Germany the full right of rearming itself. The agreement provided for a ratio of 35/100 between the German and British fleets; thus, for every 100,000 tons of Britain's naval vessels, Germany was allowed 35,000 tons. This would give Germany a fleet as large as that of France, and, as observers at the time wrote, parity with the British Atlantic Fleet. The anti-Soviet implications of the alliance were obvious, in that it ceded control of the Baltic Sea to a very powerful German Navy. The British withdrew completely from the Baltic, which, within a few years, would allow Germany to act freely in its invasion of Poland, and later Denmark and Norway.
Claims of arms limitation are absurd, since no sooner was the treaty signed, than Britain, despite the fact that it was still virtually bankrupt, embarked on a £1.5 trillion naval rearmament program, thereby initiating a naval arms race among all the major naval powers. Stalin launched the biggest naval rearmament program since Tsarist Russia. He even entered into negotiations with the United States for the construction of warships, including destroyers and battleships.
The Anglo-German naval pact was widely seen, especially in Berlin, as giving Germany a free hand to act on the continent. In 1938, at the infamous Munich conference, documents were signed reaffirming the agreement.
Although war broke out in Europe in 1939, it was not until the end of 1940 that the United States considered it essential to forge an alliance with Britain. One of the crucial military documents where this was discussed was "Plan Dog," a memorandum written in November 1940 by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Harold Betty Stark, for the Secretary of the Navy and President Roosevelt. While usually considered an unequivocal call for the United States to save the British Empire, if the U.S. wanted to win the war that in a year would be forced upon it, a close reading of the document does not reveal such a view. It is actually a careful assessment of the world strategic situation, in which the United States faced the very real possibility of fighting a war against the entire world, including Great Britain.
In the Fall of 1940, Hitler had overrun Western Europe and, faced with the collapse of its Anglo-German naval scheme of 1936, Britain found itself being pounded by the German Luftwaffe and under imminent threat of invasion. It was under attack in North Africa, facing the prospect of the fall of Egypt and the loss of the Suez Canal. With non-aggression pacts with both Germany and Japan, the Soviet Union had yet to enter the war.
Stark argued that the British were overly optimistic about their ability to resist Germany. Furthermore, a defeat of Britain in the Middle East, would hopelessly compromise neutral Turkey's military position, and "all hope of favorable Russian action would vanish"—i.e., Russia would continue to sit out the war.
He wrote that a war with Japan would more than likely bring on a war with the Axis powers in Europe. If this were to happen and "the British Isles then should fall, we would find ourselves acting alone, and at war against the world. To repeat, we would be thrown back on our haunches." He also warned: "It is a fundamental requirement of our military position that our homeland remain secure against successful attack. A very strong pillar of the defense structure of the Americans has, for many years, been the balance of power existing in Europe. The collapse of Great Britain or the destruction or surrender of the British Fleet will destroy this balance and will free European power for possible encroachment on this hemisphere."
It is not hard to imagine this as being a reference to the possibility of the pro-Hitler faction returning to power in London and the total collapse of Vichy France, with its powerful fleet joining an expanded Axis alliance that could deploy the combined fleets of Germany, France, Great Britain, and Japan against the United States.
The "Dog" in Plan Dog is military jargon for "D," and is a reference to the last of four options which Stark lays out, where "D" was his preferred option. It called for a "Europe first" policy, with a direct assault on Germany, as would become the cornerstone of Marshall's policy. In arguing this, Stark writes that if the U.S. did enter the war as an ally of Britain, the latter would most likely ask for naval assistance in securing the sea lanes between the U.S. and Britain, and assistance in the Mediterranean and Asia; he warned that such a strategy would "not assure final victory for Great Britain. Victory would probably depend upon her ability ultimately to make a land offensive against the Axis powers. For making a successful land offensive, British manpower was insufficient. Offensive troops from other nations will be required. I believed that the United States ... would also need to send large air and land forces to Europe ... to participate strongly in this land offensive." He concluded that the only way the Axis could be defeated, would be an assault on the continent for a direct attack on Germany.
Stark warned that waging war with Britain as an ally would only be possible "if we insist upon full equality in the political and military direction of the war." He concluded with a recommendation that U.S. and British military authorities begin exploratory talks "to reach agreements and lay down plans for promoting unity of allied effort should the United States find it necessary to enter the war...."
From his position as commander of U.S. naval forces in Europe, between 1942 and 1945, Stark was a close collaborator of both Marshall and Eisenhower, in fighting for U.S. interests at the war councils.
Making an Enemy Your Ally: Sir John Dill
Perry has documented how Marshall and Eisenhower interacted in their struggle to exert American policy over the machinations of Churchill and his commanders. Central to that policy was Marshall's conception of "Unity of Command," where one Allied commander would be named as commander of an entire theater, as Eisenhower would later become Supreme Allied Commander in the European theater. This conception was almost unheard of in Britain and the United States. Marshall himself best defined it at the Arcadia conference in Quebec, 1941-42:
"I express these as my personal views and not those as a result of consultation with the Navy or with my own War Plans Division. As a result of what I saw in France and from following our own experience, I feel very strongly that the most important consideration is the question of unity of command. The matters being settled here are mere details, which will continuously reoccur unless settled in a broader way. With differences between groups and between services, the situation is impossible unless we operate on a frank and direct basis. I am convinced that there must be one man in command of the entire theatre—air, ground, and ships. We cannot manage by cooperation. Human frailties are such that there would be emphatic unwillingness to place portions of troops under another service. If we make a plan for unified command now, it will solve nine-tenths of our troubles.
"There are difficulties in arriving at a single command, but they are much less than the hazards that must be faced if we do not achieve this. We never think alike—there are the opinions of those on this side of the table and of the people on the other side; but as for myself, I am willing to go the limit to accomplish this. We must decide on a line of action here and not expect it to be done out there. I favor one man being in control—but operating under a controlled directive from here. We had to come to this in the First World War, but it was not until 1918 that it was accomplished and much valuable time, blood, and treasure had been needlessly sacrificed. If we could decide on a unified command now, it would be a great advance over what was accomplished during the [First] World War."
While Eisenhower fully embraced Marshall's conception of Unity of Command, Churchill and his commanders did not; the implications of this are usefully presented by Perry.
But how did Marshall deal with an alliance with the British Empire, an historic and potential enemy? Marshall did this through seeking out, and finding, a British counterpart with whom he could deal on a "frank and direct basis," in other words, with a truthfulness and respect for the justifiable interest of both nations that would expedite the prosecution of the war for not only an early defeat of Germany, but also for a peace that would not lead to a World War III, as World War I had led to World War II. Crucial to that effect was to find a man who was not one of Churchill's lackeys; he found this man in the person of Sir John Dill, who, upon their first acquaintance, at the Atlantic Conference of 1941, was the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS). Like Marshall, he was a veteran of the First World War, and they struck up what would become a warm and trusting friendship unparalleled in Anglo-American military relations. Dill no doubt heartily agreed with Marshall's conception of Unity of Command. He earned the hatred of Churchill, who, in November 1941, had Dill "retired" as CIGS, effective Dec. 24.
Churchill wanted Dill removed to India to become governor of Bombay, as far from Marshall as he could get him. Nonetheless, in one of those little conspiracies that further the march of historic events, Marshall invited Dill to travel through the United States en route to his new assignment. By Christmas Day, Dill was celebrating his 60th birthday at Marshall's home. Dill never made it to Bombay—which was obviously Marshall's intention—and through the direct intervention of FDR himself and his emissary Harry Hopkins, Churchill's arm was given a hard twist, and Dill was named the head of the British Joint Staff Mission, which represented the Imperial General Staff in Washington, in dealings with the American General Staff.
Dill proved to be an asset for presenting, and in many cases fully supporting, the U.S. position to the British Chiefs. Marshall continually sought the "frank and direct" approach, looking for British allies to counter Churchill's constant scheming, especially at lower levels, among younger American and British officers who could be involved in joint planning.
In a memorandum for Adm. Ernest King, concerning such an arrangement on joint planning committees recommended by Dill, Marshall wrote:
"We should go at this business with extreme frankness and openness, which would be the case if on the Joint Planning Committees was a man from the other side. We are fighting battles all the time, notably in regard to the Balkans, and other places, and the more frankness there is in the business on the lower level, the better off I believe we are; particularly because it seems to me in a majority of cases the younger elements on the British side favor our conceptions rather that those of the Prime Minister for example, therefore our chances of avoiding too many rough spots are bettered by the presence of these men on the staffs."
Marshall noted the crucial role Dill played at the major conferences, especially Casablanca and Cairo; at the latter, he figured prominently in the final decision to go for Operation Overlord, the long-delayed cross-Channel invasion. Dill's positive role enraged Churchill, who by February 1944 began working for the general's recall to London. Marshall soon got wind of Churchill's intention and launched another of those little but crucial conspiracies that would deny Churchill his wish. Marshall wrote later: "There was a period commencing explosively at Cairo and more or less continuing up to the time of Dill's death, when the Prime Minister was antagonistic towards Dill. At Cairo in particular he was very emphatic in his expressions of disagreement and displeasure at Dill's forthright statements which bore on the Prime Minister's personal actions very directly. I am not familiar with the personal interchanges after that date but know that the Prime Minister was resentful of Dill's frank differences with him at a time when he, the Prime Minster, was heavily pressing his Chiefs of Staff.
"To offset ... this development, I undertook to have Dill honored in this country, and a regular campaign was mapped out, commencing with the award of the Howland Memorial Prize by Yale University, at which time the Secretary of War, the Assistant Secretary of War, Mr. McCloy, and I all made the trip with Dill to receive the medal, rather shocking the Yale faculty with the great deal of photography, not for the United States consumption but to be sent to England."
The same procedure was carried out by other universities. As Marshall writes, "the purpose of these moves was to impress on the British public and therefore the Prime Minister and the Cabinet the importance of the position Dill occupied in this country."
Dill was never recalled, but by November 1944 he was dead. A grief-stricken Marshall arranged for his funeral and interment in Arlington Cemetery, and had "every possible measure taken to dignify the occasion so as to leave a lasting memorial as a reminder of a perfect example by a British official of absolutely unselfish and objective dealings with British-American affairs." In addition to a joint resolution by Congress and other honors, Marshall, working closely with Dill's widow, established a foundation that eventually financed the erection of an equestrian stature at the grave.
In a personal message to Churchill thanking the latter for a letter of condolence upon Dill's death, Marshall was both "frank and personal," and betrayed an eye to the troubled future: "Few will ever realize the debt our countries owe him for his unique and profound influence toward the cooperation of our forces. To be very frank and personal, I doubt if you or your Cabinet associates fully realize the loss you have suffered, and the United States also has suffered for that matter, in purely post-war adjustments, by his death. I am hopeful that his interment in the American Valhalla of Arlington, where his services may be memorialized, will result in a continuation of his great and beneficent influence in the troubled years to come."
In London, at Eisenhower's headquarters, there were similar examples of British officers capable of being "absolutely unselfish and objective" in their dealings with the American commander. These officers all shared one thing in common: antipathy to Churchill and especially to Montgomery. One officer who was Eisenhower's deputy supreme commander, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, on many occasions joined Eisenhower in battling against Churchill and his lackeys, including putting forward his own recommendation to have Montgomery dismissed as commander of ground forces, as Eisenhower would himself demand.
Truman, Churchill's Lackey
Perry's treatment of the post-war Truman years, while continuing the careful documentation that characterizes this entire work, suffers by carrying forward the myth that Truman, as President, was anything other than an unmitigated disaster for the United States and the world. After the death of Roosevelt, Truman fully reversed the grand design of his predecessor and became an ardent follower of the anti-Soviet and preventive war policies of both Churchill and Bertrand Russell. The struggle that Marshall and Eisenhower waged against Churchill continued into the post-war years, right up to and through the Eisenhower Presidency.
Throughout the Truman years, the Eisenhower-Marshall circle clearly saw themselves serving a deeply flawed President in the thrall of the British. Their actions may very well have prevented the outbreak of another world war. On April 12, 1945, the very day that Roosevelt died, Churchill commissioned the Imperial General Staff to draft a war plan envisioning an Anglo-American attack on the Soviet Union. Entitled "Operation Unthinkable," it was completed and delivered to Churchill on May 22, 1945, two weeks after Germany surrendered, on May 7. This document envisioned an attack on Soviet forces through Poland, to commence on July 1, 1945. It lays out a scenario that reads like something from an H.G. Wells novel. Even Churchill's most enthusiastic lackeys expressed deep doubts about its success, and even deeper doubts that the United States would even think of participating in it. Churchill nonetheless presented this document for official review by the Anglo-American Joint Staff in the United States. To Churchill's disappointment, the plan was never implemented.
Truman's decision to play the tough guy with Stalin at the Potsdam conference, and to drop two atomic bombs on Japan, played directly into Churchill's hands. Although Marshall is mute on the question, Eisenhower and many of the senior commanders at the time bitterly opposed the decision to drop the bombs on Japan, as not only a inhuman act but as a clear provocation directed at the Soviet Union.
Within a few short months the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Churchill, on the invitation of Truman, delivered his infamous "Iron Curtain" speech, with its threat of war, in Fulton, Missouri. He was echoed by Bertrand Russell's call for preventive war against the Soviet Union, "The Atomic Bomb and the Prevention of War," in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Oct. 1, 1946.
Churchill's speech was not popular in the United States, especially in the Eisenhower-Marshall circles, who were committed to maintaining the trust with the Soviet Union which had existed during the war
There was opposition to Truman's decision to drop the bomb throughout the military establishment, including from Adm. William Leahy, chairman of the Joint Chiefs and principal military advisor to Roosevelt and then Truman; Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Adm. William Halsey, and even the Assistant Secretary of War, John J. McCloy. Eisenhower's memoirs, Mandate for Change, describe his reaction when told of Truman's intentions by Secretary of War Henry Stimson:
"During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save lives. It was my belief that Japan was at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of 'face'. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude, almost angrily refuting the reasons I gave for my quick conclusions...."
In Crusade Through Europe, Eisenhower discusses his relationship with his World War II Soviet counterpart, Marshal Grigori Zhukov. Between May 1945 and November 1945, the two men were military governors of their respective zones of occupation in Germany. Eisenhower writes of the very professional, and even warm relationship he enjoyed with Zhukov. He describes this relationship so as to present a hopeful outlook for continuing relations with the Soviet Union.
Just prior to the bombing of Japan, Eisenhower was invited by Zhukov to visit Moscow, where he also met Stalin. During that trip he told a reporter, "I see nothing in the future that would prevent Russia and the United States from being the closest possible friends."
A few weeks later, in August 1945, and after the bombs were dropped, Eisenhower told a reporter who asked if he still felt the same say, "Before the atom bomb I would have said yes. I was sure we could keep the peace with Russia. Now I don't know. I had hoped the bomb wouldn't figure in this war.... People are frightened and disturbed all over, everyone feels insecure again."
In the Autumn of 1945, Eisenhower returned to the United States for a visit. Speaking before a congressional committee, he made the following comment when asked about the possibility of good relations with the Soviet Union: "Russia has not the slightest thing to gain by a struggle with the United States. There is not one thing, I believe, that guides the policy of Russia more today than to keep friendship with the United States." Later in 1945, as Army Chief of Staff, Eisenhower tried to swim against the tide of Truman's Cold War. On June 11, a few months after Churchill's Iron Curtain speech, a meeting took place at the White House. Truman, Secretary of State Jimmy Byrnes, and the Joint Chiefs began discussing the possibility of a Soviet offensive in Europe. Eisenhower reportedly got angry at the very notion, saying that such an assessment had no basis in reality. "I don't believe the Reds want a war. What can they gain now by armed conflict? They've gained about all they can assimilate." He reportedly told Truman that the Soviets were not strong enough to launch an offensive. There was no evidence of any war preparations, no build up of supplies for such an effort.
Always the discreet gentleman with his deep sense of duty and loyalty, the historic record of criticism of Truman by Marshall is thin, but it does exist. In 1948, the British had orchestrated the first Arab-Israeli war. For Marshall, who was Secretary of State, the mission the United States was to use the power and prestige of the Presidency to seek an end to the war as quickly as possible and prevent it becoming a new world war. Truman played right into the hands of the British, recognizing Israel's declaration of independence, in an attempt to win Zionist support for his failing election campaign. It was the first time the U.S. had recognized a state that had yet to define its borders.
On May 12, a meeting took place in the White House where the recognition of Israel was to be debated. Truman's political advisor was Clark Clifford, who, for purely domestic political reasons, told Truman to recognize Israel.
Marshall, who attended this meeting, was enraged at this suggestion, and after the meeting put the following in the official record of the State Department:
"I remarked to the President that, speaking objectively, I could not help but think that suggestions made by Mr. Clifford were wrong. I thought that to adopt these suggestions would have precisely the opposite effect from that intended by him. The transparent dodge to win a few votes would not, in fact achieve this purpose. The great dignity of the office of the President would be seriously damaged. The counsel offered by Mr. Clifford's advice was based on domestic political considerations, while the problem confronting us was international. I stated bluntly that if the President were to follow Mr. Clifford's advice, and if I were to vote in the next election, I would vote against the President."
Marshall did not serve in the second Truman Administration, until the President blundered into the Korean War, during which he took on the thankless task of serving as Secretary of Defense.
Marshall and others of this circle, including Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, who served as Truman's Ambassador to Russia and director of the CIA, worked within the administration to prevent Truman from bringing the U.S. into yet a new war. Preemptive war plans and doctrines were being drafted in the basement of the Pentagon as soon as World War II ended, by circles that Eisenhower would later famously refer to as the "military-industrial complex": people such as Dillon Reed banker Paul Nitze. The drafting and implementation of National Security Council Directive NSC 68 by Nitze, which called for a massive offensive military buildup that could only be interpreted as an intention of conducting preemptive war, clearly contributed to the outbreak of the Korean War.
Parallel to this penetration of the institutions of the Presidency by the military-industrial complex, the wartime leaders, still loyal to FDR's foreign policy vision, were also striving to build up the institutions of the Presidency. Walter Bedell Smith, as CIA director, was exemplary of this process. But it was a hopeless struggle as long as Truman, or someone like him, held the Presidency. Therefore Eisenhower's decision to run for President was far more than a personal decision to seek the nation's highest office, but, like that of FDR, was intended to save the country from the road to disaster upon which Truman had put it.
Mark Perry, Partners in Command: George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace (New York: The Penguin Press, 2007), p. 46.
 Dwight D. Eisenhower, Mandate for Change, 1953-56: The White House Years (Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday and Co., 1963), pp. 30-31.
 "Bitter Rivalry of 'Dreadful Leader' and a 'Psychopath,' " The Times, Nov. 9, 2007.
 Dwight D. Eisenhower, Commander in War, National War College, Oct. 30, 1950; Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission.
 Dwight D. The Times, At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Co., 1967), p. 185.
 Fox Conner, "The Allied High Command and Allied Unity of Direction," delivered in Washington, D.C., Army War College, March 19, 1934; cited in William F. Aldrich, Fox Conner, Army War College, April 15, 1993.
 Senior Officers Debriefing Program, Conversations between General Lucius Clay and Colonel R. Joe Rogers, U.S. Army Military History Research Collection, Carlisle Barracks, Pa. 17013, pp. 37-38.
 Noel Monks, "After 24 Years: The Story of Another 'Forgotten Army,' " Daily Express, 1953.
 Richard Goldhurst, The Midnight War, The American Intervention in Russia, 1918-9120 (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1978), pp. 6, 10.
 William S. Graves, American's Siberian Adventure (1918-1920) (New York: Peter Smith Publishers, 1941),
 King-Crane Report on the Near East (New York, Editor & Publisher Co., 1922).
 Maj. Gen. James G. Harbard, Report of the American Mission to Armenia, 66th Congress 2nd Session, Document No. 266, April 13, 1920. Washington, Government Printing Office.
 Sir Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris (New York: Norton, 1998), p. 558.
 Document 181 C10156/2293/118, "Notes by Sir Maurice Hankey on Hitler's External Policy in Theory and Practice, October 24, 1933." From British Documents on Foreign Affairs Germany 1933, p. 339.
 Kershaw, op. cit., p. 556.
 I. Jerukhimovich, "The Anglo American Naval Pact," New International, Vol. 2 No. 5, pp. 156-158.
 Commander Russell Grenfell, Sea Power in the Next War (London: Geoffrey Bless, 1938), p. 46.
 Admiral Harold R. Stark, "Memorandum for the Secretary," Navy Department, Office of Naval Operations, Washington, Nov. 12, 1940, FDR Library.
 Alex Danchev, "Very Special Relationship: Field Marshal Sir John Dill and General George Marshall," www.marshallfoundation.org/pdfs/essays/Dill+Marshall.pdf.
 General George C. Marshall, Number 4-153, "Memorandum for Admiral King," Nov. 4, 1943, Washington, D.C., Marshall Foundations.
 General George C. Marshall, Number 5-009, "To John Winant," Jan. 5, 1945, Washington, D.C., Marshall Foundations.
 George C. Marshall, Number 4-570, "To Winston S. Churchill," Nov. 7, 1944, Washington, D.C. Marshall Foundations.
 War Cabinet, "Operation 'Unthinkable,' " Report by the Joint Planning Staff, May 22, 1945.
 Eisenhower, Mandate, op. cit., p. 380.
 See Edward Spannaus, "Henry Jackson: 'Scooping' Up After the British Empire," EIR, Feb. 16, 2007.