Sunday, January 2, 2022

good morning jack



"What is clearer than that the framers meant the President

to be the chief executive in peace and in war the 

commander in chief?"

Franklin Roosevelt     (3 - p. ix)

Lend-Lease Bill Extends Wide

Powers of President

16 February, 1941  


The difficult passage of Roosevelt's Lend-Lease Bill through Congress 

prevents him from meeting with Prime Minister Churchill before the 

summer of 1941.


* provides munitions, aircraft and weapons to Britain on credit 

* General Arnold, U.S. Army Air Corps commander protested sale of planes

* Arnold argued the planes are needed for America's own security

* Roosevelt would have none of it.  Looking at Arnold he said:

  " There are places to which officers who do not 'play ball' might

     be sent - such as Guam."      (3 - p. 14)


Tripartite Pact - coalition of three military empires:

Hitler - Third Reich / Blitzkrieg 

Mussolini - Italian Empire / inept leadership 

Tojo - Empire of Japan / amphibious invasions 

Roosevelt believes:

* war inevitable and pushes Congress to expand Armed Forces

* Churchill is the political leader of a fading colonial power

* Roosevelt feels it imperative to protect Britain but 

  not Britain's Empire 

Roosevelt assessment of his military chiefs of staff:

* little to no faith in their military or political judgment 

* Respect them as service chiefs but subordinate to his judgment 

* Generals and Admirals may lack necessary initiative and drive

* Roosevelt willing to set aggressive goals - take risks

* Roosevelt's national strategy reflected political realities 

  (1 - p. 2) 

* War Department assessments counter to Roosevelt opinion:

* Germany would conquer Russia in a few weeks

* Roosevelt:  Russia shows stiff resistance - added to


* Britain should abandon their position in North Africa

* Roosevelt:  Mediterranean good starting point for

     confronting Nazis / Suez and oil worth


* U.S. Atlantic Fleet should have precedence over Pacific concerns

* Roosevelt:  Pacific Fleet must provide counter to Japan 

* U.S. forces should assault Nazi-held Europe in 1942 

* Roosevelt:  Suicide - North Africa is more appropriate

   objective for green American troops facing the

    Wehrmacht for first time     (3 - p. 8)

Wehrmacht - German armed forces

U-Boats Roam Sea 

with a New Fury

7 October 1941


Battle of Britain

* Hitler convinced England too strong to invade

* Britain's Royal Navy would prevent amphibious Channel assault

* Royal Air Force maintains tenuous control of the air

* Britain has world's most powerful navy to protect its sea lanes

* Island nation almost entirely dependent on seaborne commerce 

* British vulnerable to sea blockade 

* Germany turns to submarines, its U-boats

* submarines sink enough commerce and Britain loses the war 

* Britain's survival key to Germany's defeat     (5 - p. 205)


Battle of the Atlantic

 * Allies' first priority was victory in the Battle of the Atlantic

* U-boatunterseeboot - under-sea-boat

* able to approach surface target undetected 

* high-explosive torpedo blows open ship's side 

* slow, limited underwater endurance 

* limited battery endurance submarine's biggest weakness

* run diesel engines on surface to recharge batteries

  after only several hours underwater 

* speed underwater 7 knots versus 17 knots on surface 

* cramped, uncomfortable  

* crew of 50 


ASW - Anti-submarine Warfare 

* Convoy merchant ships - grouping ships for mutual protection 

* defended by escorting destroyers armed with depth charges

* convoy system improves chance of survival 

* Conforming to group movement wastes time, increases effort 

* ships sit in harbor waiting for convoy to assemble

* arriving all together creates congestion at destination port

* vigilance required to prevent merchant ships from colliding   

* Submarines vulnerable to aircraft

* speed and range of aircraft cover larger areas of patrol

  than ships 

* most of Atlantic out of range of land-based aircraft 

Roosevelt's Undeclared War

 * Roosevelt provides U.S. Navy escorts to protect British convoys

* U.S. policy violates international rules on neutrality

* Roosevelt takes advantage of Hitler's fear of war with the U.S.

* By September 1941 U.S. destroyers and German submarines 

   are in open conflict

* U.S.S. Reuben James sunk by German torpedo     (5 - p. 214)

Kiev Mopped Up

Nazis Announce 

21 September 1941


Barbarossa - invasion of Russia:  22 June 1940

* Shifting objectives due to dispute between Hitler and his generals

* Everyone believed the Soviet Army would quickly collapse

* making strategic goals unnecessary 

* Wehrmacht Generals wanted an armored drive to Moscow 

* Germany must have the war won by winter

* Germany wins using its advantages of armor:

* mobility

* tactics

* Germany loses when drawn into war of attrition 

* Third Reich loses in a war of resources with Russia 

* Hitler identified three strategic objectives to achieve before winter:

* Leningrad - uncertain as to reason

* Moscow - the heart of Soviet Union

* Kiev - Ukraine:  vast natural resources including access to oil

* 60% of Russia's coal

* 30% of Russia's iron

* 70% of Russia's oil - Caspian Sea

 * concentration of nation's industry - Donets River

* comparable to Ruhr industrial area of Germany 

* Hitler's goals resulted in an unwinnable dispersion of forces

* Only Hitler's army headed toward Moscow had the armor

   needed to achieve its goals

* Hitler diverted even this armor to aid his forces

  in battles around Kiev and Leningrad

* Moscow and Leningrad would never be taken

* Hitler never took control of Ukrainian resources 

(5 - p. 116) 


 Roosevelt thought Hitler's preoccupation with Russia provided

the Allies with opportunities to win contests against Nazi forces

in both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea / North Africa.


MacArthur Made Chief in Far East

27 July 1941


American interests in Asia were based upon trade and its protection.

United States obtains Navy bases throughout the Pacific to defend sea lanes

* used as coaling stations and anchorages  

* Midway, Alaska       - 1867

* Hawaii, Philippines - 1898 

* Samoa                    - 1900 

With the outbreak of war in 1914 Japan captures German islands in Pacific:

* Marianas

* Saipan 

* Carolines

* Truk 

* Marshals 

* Tarawa 

* Japan fortified these islands as relations with the U.S. deteriorated

* this chain of militarized islands crossing all sea lanes to the 

   Far East made U.S. defense of its Philippines possession

   extremely difficult if not impossible

* better having the American fleet sunk at Pearl Harbor

   where ships were salvageable as opposed to being lost

   to the depths of the Pacific thousands of miles away


24 July 1941 Japan militarily occupies French Indochina

* Germany's defeat of France makes the region a colonial orphan

* Japan's control of Hanoi cuts major supply line to hostile


* Roosevelt responds with an executive order:

* freezing Japanese assets in the United States

* restricting oil exports to Japan

* Japan has 18 months of oil reserve 

* placing an economic blockade on Japan

* Japan faces financial paralysis  

* U.S. insists Japan's aggression in China must end 

* No Japanese government would survive accepting

   these U.S. demands 


October 1941 General Hideki Tojo takes command of Tokyo government 

* Japan plans for:

* destruction of American fleet at Pearl Harbor

* expelling all white colonialist from the Far East     (4 - p. 7)

Republicans Nominate Wendell Willkie

for the Presidency

28 June 1940


Wendell Willkie, 48 years / Republican / winning personality / former Democrat

* Never held elective office

* supports Roosevelt's aid to Britain 

* Willkie's general domestic and foreign policies remain unclear  

Franklin Roosevelt, 58 years / Democrat / running for unprecedented 3rd term

 * health issues / high blood pressure / heavy smoker

* dumps his conservative vice president, John Garner, for

    Henry Wallace

* Roosevelt focus during campaign was on passing 2 defense measures: 

* providing Britain with World War I destroyers

* passing a draft law to expand the U.S. Army

 * bill limited service to 1 year

* draftees could not leave Western Hemisphere 

* Willkie endorsed bill as important for national security 

August 1940 - Gallup Poll:  66% Americans favor drafting men 20 to 31 years.

September 1940 - Gallup Poll:  52% Americans believe helping Britain win war

                                                   more important that staying out of the fighting

October 1940 - Gallup Poll:  Roosevelt leads Willkie 56% to 44%

When asked their preference were there no war in Europe 

 then voters preferred Willkie over Roosevelt 53% to 47%

The issues of war and peace were a clear advantage for Roosevelt as voters

wanted a president experienced in handling foreign affairs.     (2 - p. 396) 


Roosevelt Elected President

6 November 1940


Election night gave Roosevelt his win but he remained

wary of the nation's isolationist sentiments that persisted

as a potent political force until the morning of 7 December

1941.  Suddenly one Sunday, Americans find they've been

soundly beaten in the Pacific by a force that appeared

from nowhere.  Japanese forces seemed to be attacking

everywhere simultaneously, and winning - Malaysia,

Hong Kong, Java, the Philippines, New Guinea.

In short order, Hitler declares war on the U.S.

Roosevelt wanted this job, commander-in-chief,

despite his fears of what lie ahead. Now

it was left to him to bring together a war-winning

grand alliance of a Bolshevik, an Imperialist and

an elitist who saw himself born to be president.

Wide Acclaim Here

for 'Eight Points'

15 August 1941


9 August 1941 / Placentia Bay:  historic meeting - Roosevelt and Churchill

* Atlantic Charter

* January 1941 - Harry Hopkins proposes to Churchill a meeting 

with Roosevelt "to talk over the problem of the defeat of 

Germany" - Roosevelt's words.      (3 - p. 3)

* Roosevelt uses opportunity to declare his postwar global vision

 * based on his Four Freedoms:

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Worship

Freedom from Want

Freedom from Fear     (3 - p. 16) 

 * Roosevelt hopes a peace communique will quiet isolationists'

    fears / dealing with domestic political realities

* Roosevelt wanted to project strength to Germany and Japan

   attempting to mask his country's unpreparedness for war

* He needed to buy time to deal with Hitler, Tojo and

   Churchill - all while placating Congress and the public

 * Placentia Bay - protected gulf off Newfoundland coast, Canada

* Naval station at Argentia ceded to United States by British

in a quid pro quo deal of U.S. destroyers in exchange

for British bases.

* one of 8 bases acquired for 50 destroyers (WWI vintage) 

* Majority of American voters oppose being drawn into European war

* Public and Congress suspicious of Roosevelt-Churchill meeting

* In 1940 Presidential campaign Roosevelt assures voters:

   there is no secret agenda "to involve this nation in any war"     

    (3 - p. 5)

* Roosevelt has secretly corresponded with Churchill since Poland

was invaded in 1939

* U.S. Ambassador to London Joseph P. Kennedy left in the dark

* Kennedy was an isolationist and an appeaser / not trusted


U.S. military chiefs brought to Placentia Bay:

Marshall, George C. - General, Army Chief of Staff

* stern

complaint:   * Roosevelt makes all major military decisions

                                * Roosevelt does not allow Marshall to contest his decisions  

Roosevelt:   * Political leaders deferring to the military permitted

                        senseless battles of attrition in World War I

  * will not delegate world war to the "professionals"     

     (3 - p. x)

  * asserts his Constitutional authority as commander


Arnold, Henry "Hap" - General, Army Air Corps Chief 

Stark, Harold R. "Betty" - Admiral, Chief of Naval Operations

King, Ernest "Ernie" - Admiral, Atlantic Fleet Commander     (3 - p. 6)

Hopkins, Harry - Roosevelt's trusted personal emissary to:

* Churchill in London

* Stalin in Moscow 


Churchill, Winston - Prime Minister, Britain

* resolute resister of Nazi tyranny

* 19th Century Imperialist - defender of British Empire

* Roosevelt promotes post-imperial view of global relations

* US supplants United Kingdom as guardian of world's democracies     (3 - xii)

* Churchill wants an alliance with the U.S. because that is how the war is won

* Any foreign entanglement leading to war is politically toxic for Roosevelt 




©  Tom Taylor


1.  Commander in Chief 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, His Lieutenants, and their War

Larrabee, Eric


2.  Franklin D. Roosevelt / A Political Life

Dallek, Robert 


3.  The Mantle of Command / FDR at War 1941 - 1942

Hamilton, Nigel


4.  The Second World War / Asia and the Pacific

Dept. of History, West Point


5.  The Second World War / Europe and the Mediterranean

Dept. of History, West Point


*  *  *  *  *


No comments:

Post a Comment