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Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Steve Cole's thoughts on the war going on behind the scenes during World War II. It seems all of the allies distrusted each other, most of them were out for their own post-war benefits, and most of them hated each other.
1. The Americans did not trust the British (who wanted to use US troops to secure the British political position in Greece and Yugoslavia). The British wanted to invade the Balkans to keep Stalin from grabbing them and hinted that the US was not taking seriously the threat posed by a post-war Stalin.
2. Stalin and the Russians were convinced that the British and Americans planned for the Russians and Germans to bleed each other white and then the British would walk in and take over all of Europe. Stalin was as concerned over how much of Europe he got to grab and keep when the war was over as he was with fighting the Nazis.
3. The British considered the Americans to be "colonial amateurs playing at war." The Americans considered the British to be afraid to fight (because of the massive losses suffered in World War I). Americans spoke often that "the British will fight to the last American." The Americans felt that Montgomery would never attack anything until he had built up so much power that he could not lose, but then, they also blame him for being rash in Market-Garden. The British wanted to keep fighting in Italy but the US considered the capture of Rome on 5 June 1944 to be the logical end of an Italian campaign that should have never been started. Whenever the Americans complained that the British weren't attacking enough, the British response was that the stupid Americans just didn't understand how war worked.
 4. The British hated Free French Leader de Gaulle (who used everything the British gave him to fight the French communists instead of the German Nazis). The French underground (which the Germans only barely noticed) spent most of its time fighting itself (de Gaullists vs. Communists). De Gaulle appointed himself President of France (with no legal authority whatsoever) and demanded that the Allies announce that fact to the French people on D-Day. The British and Americans instead announced that France could pick its own leader once it was free. At one point, de Gaulle's airplane was sabotaged (acid on the control rods) while on a British airfield and he always believed that the British tried to kill him. Probably, they did.
5. The Canadians are suspicious that Churchill threw away thousands of Canadian lives at Dieppe just to convince the Americans that invading France in 1942 or 1943 was a really dumb idea. Frankly, it would have been a really dumb idea to invade then.
6. Army Chief of Staff Marshal and Army Pacific commander MacArthur had hated each other since before World War I. During World War I, Marshal tried (and failed) to have MacArthur's division disbanded for replacements. Later in World War II, Marshal began to side with MacArthur against the Navy and Admiral King.
7. The US Army and Navy hated and distrusted each other. The Navy wanted a Pacific-first strategy, preferring to let Germany burn itself out while the US crushed Japan. The Army thought that the Navy was spending too much money on obsolete technology (battleships) and wanted to use Army divisions to seize islands so that Army aircraft could protect the Navy. During 1943 and the first half of 1944, the Army continually tried to get the Navy's fleet of landing craft moved from the Pacific to England for use in D-Day, and the Navy hid them to prevent this as without the landing craft there was nothing much they could do against Japan.
8. US Navy chief Admiral King (in Washington) hated MacArthur and did everything possible to cut off or steal any supplies crossing the Navy-controlled Pacific to reach MacArthur in Australia. The Navy invaded Guadalcanal partly because it was in MacArthur's territory and they wanted to push the dividing line a few hundred miles (or even better push MacArthur out of the Pacific entirely). The Navy decided that the way to advance was to grab Japanese fortress islands (at ferocious cost in Marine lives) so they could use the existing Japanese air bases. MacArthur and the Army thought the best plan was to bombard Japanese air bases and the land on some unoccupied nearby real estate and build a new airbase, leaving the Japanese base to starve. Both plans worked; MacArthur's cost far less blood.
9. The British and American bomber force commanders felt that Overlord was not necessary and that Germany would surrender as soon as the strategic bombing campaign could get some clear weather. The British and American Army people thought that strategic bombing was largely ineffective and cost too much money and too many lives, and that it would have been better to spend the money on more ground troops. After the war we found out that strategic bombing had little military effect and that German production of war material actually increased. The Germans didn't have fuel problems until the Russians overran their oil supply.
10. The two Chinese leaders (Mao and Chiang) hated, feared, and distrusted each other. Both did everything they could to keep their troops away from the Japanese. Chiang gathered up huge amounts of US weapons and ammunition, but stockpiled it for future use against Mao rather than attacking the Japanese. The Japanese were perfectly content to ignore China, launching a major operation there only when forced to capture American airfields in China in order to protect Taiwan and Japan.