Bibliographical Note and Guide to Footnotes
This history is based almost entirely on documentary source material. While research ranged into every major category of the official records of the Department of the Army, most of the documents cited in this volume are in the records of the War Plans Division and the Operations Division of the War Department General Staff accumulated between 1921 and 1945. At present these files are in the custody of the Departmental Records Branch, Adjutant General's Office. Permission to consult them must be secured from the G-3 Division, General Staff, U. S. Army (the present successor to OPD). The other main document collections used in writing this history were the files of the offices of the Secretary of War, the Assistant Secretary of War for Air, the Chief of Staff, the G-1, G-3, and G-4 Divisions of the General Staff, the Army Service Forces, the Army Air Forces, and The Adjutant General. All of them are in the custody of the Departmental Records Branch, Adjutant General's Office.
Very few histories or other secondary sources treat in detail any of the topics covered in this study. For this reason no formal bibliography of published materials or secondary sources is presented. Nevertheless, when such sources provide evidence missing in the official files, confirm points of general significance, or present background material of more than casual interest, they are cited in the footnotes. The most notable are three historical memoirs, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe (New York, 1948), Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and H opkins (New York, 1948), and Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York, 1947). Also very useful and frequently cited are four historical studies that present parallel treatments of some of the major developments discussed here: Maj. Gen. Otto L. Nelson, Jr., National Security and the General Staff (Washington, D. C., 1946); W. F. Craven and J. L. Cate, Plans and Early Operations, Vol. I of THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II (Chicago, 1948); and two volumes of the series U. S. ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, K. R. Greenfield, Robert R. Palmer, and Bell I. Wiley, The Organization of Ground Combat Troops (Washington, D. C., 1947); and Mark S. Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and Preparations (Washington, D. C., 1950).
The primary sources for this history, the records of the War Plans Division and the Operations Division, fall into six main categories: (1) the official central correspondence file of the War Plans Division; (2) the official central correspondence file of the Operations Division; (3) the WPD and OPD Message Center file; (4) the plans file of the Strategy & Policy Group of OPD; (5) the informal high-policy file of the Executive Office, OPD; and (6) the periodical reports file of the Current Group, OPD. The following paragraphs describe the nature and arrangement of these files:
(1) The War Plans Division file, containing documents of the 1921-42 period, is identified in footnotes by the symbol "WPD" followed by the numerical designation of the subject file in which a particular paper appears and-if there is one-by the case number indicating the position of the paper within that file. Papers are arranged in the WPD file according to a rather limited group of subject headings and within each subject file are roughly chronological. There is a detailed card index of subjects that can be trusted to provide initial leads and cross references to related files.
(2) The Operations Division file, containing documents of the 1942-45 period, is arranged in three subgroupings according to security classifications. Thus physically there is a Secret file, a Secret Security file, and a Top Secret file, and each must be consulted separately. Each of these OPD files is arranged by subject under the numerical headings of the War Department decimal system. An OPD file is identified by the symbol "OPD" followed first by a decimal number referring to the specific subject file and then by the case number within that file, as OPD 320, 2; OPD 320 See, 2; OPD 320 TS, 2 (second case of the Secret 320 file; the Secret Security 320 file; or the Top Secret 320 file, respectively). Each of the OPD decimal (subject) files contains a master list of the papers in it, and there is a separate cross reference file arranged by decimal (subject) designations. In the field of strategy and matters of high policy, the OPD file is the most important single collection of World War II documents in the custody of the Department of the Army.
(3) The WPD-OPD Message Center file begins 7 December 1941 and covers all of the World War II period. The WPD collection (December 1941-March 1942), very informal in organization, runs to about twenty volumes. The OPD message file, beginning in April 1942, is arranged according to the classified message (CM) number and the date, with incoming and outgoing message volumes in two separate files. The comparatively small number of messages that received special handling (Top Secret, Eyes Only, and BIGOT messages) are separated physically from the rest of the classified messages, and are also arranged in incoming and outgoing volumes. This message file is the most comprehensive collection of wartime radio messages outside the permanent file of the Staff Communication Office, Office of the Chief of Staff.
(4) In matters of joint or combined strategic planning and policy, the most important collection of World War II records in Washington (with the possible exception of the JCS records) is the Strategy & Policy Group file. Covering the 1942-46 period, it is identified by the symbol "ABC" (American-British Conversations) and is arranged by the War Department decimal system. This file contains virtually a complete set of the papers issued by or under the authority of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee. It is especially valuable because OPD drafts, comments, and related papers appear with the JCS, CCS, and SWNCC papers. Associated with the ABC file, though not actually a part of it, is the plans file maintained by the Army member of the Joint Planning Committee of the Joint Board. It is arranged by the serial numbers assigned by the Joint Board, which makes it roughly chronological. The bulk of the papers in it relate to the 1940-41 period, and it leads directly into the ABC file.
(5) The Executive Group file is an informal collection of papers compiled in the Executive office of the Operations Division, primarily for the use of the Assistant Chiefs of Staff (WPD and OPD). Because of the special, closely restricted use for which it was designed, and because many of the papers in it were considered too "hot" to go through the standard filing machinery, this file was neither arranged nor indexed in any systematic way. In order to make use of it and refer to it, the author arbitrarily divided these papers into ten major subject categories and assigned an arbitrary serial number to each item (Book, Folder, Envelope) in each category. Papers in this file are identified by the abbreviation "Exec," which appears in each citation of item number and category number, as Item 4, Exec 1, Book 2, Exec 8, etc.
(6) The Current Group file is a comparatively limited but frequently useful collection of the various periodical reports put out by OPD, including the complete file of the OPD Diary (March 1942 through 1945). It is located physically with the OPD official correspondence file in the Departmental Records Branch, Adjutant General's Office.
All of these file collections are in the physical possession of the Departmental Records Branch, Adjutant General's Office, with the exception of the early planning papers (Joint Planning Committee of Joint Board) and the Executive Group files, which are still in the possession of the G-3 Division, General Staff.
Citations contain references to four other files by designations which might not readily be understood if inquiry were addressed to the Department of the Army. First, formal strategic plans are Registered Documents of the G-3 Division, General Staff, and are identified as "Reg Doc." Such plans are physically in the possession of the G-3 Division unless they are formally declared obsolete, in which case they are physically in a special collection of the Classified Files, Adjutant General's Office. Second, a random collection of administrative notices, rosters, organization charts, and other ephemeral contemporary documents relating to the history of WPD and OPD was compiled by the author for his own use. Since the official files contained surprisingly little of this ephemeral material, this informal file became a useful reference and is cited as OPD History Unit file, with an item number referring to folder or volume, as item 2b, OPD Hist Unit file. Third, a few otherwise unsupported observations are documented in statements made by informed persons--mostly OPD officers--to the author and incorporated in letters or memoranda labelled as OPD History Unit "Interview file" or "Comments file." Fourth, certain topics treated briefly in this volume were based on such extensive research that meticulous documentation became far too lengthy for publication. In these cases, research studies with full documentation were organized into a special file and referred to as if they were primary sources. These research monographs are lettered serially and cited by name and appropriate letter, as OPD Hist Unit Study B. The OPD History Unit files referred to, including contemporary documents, inter- views, comments, and research studies, are now in the custody of the Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, but will be retired eventually to Departmental Records Branch, AGO.
The file reference, the last element of most citations, includes the symbol identifying the file series, the folder (or other in-
dividual file) number, and the case number, or other indication of where the particular document may be found. This is not necessarily a number that appears on the document itself, but is a number that appears on the individual file folder of the series in which the document is located. The symbols that appear in the file citations identifying the series by original custodial organization are OCS, OSW, G-1, G-3, G-4, and WPD for the prewar series, and WDCSA, OPD, etc., for the wartime period. Abbreviations used in the footnotes are explained in the glossary at the end of this volume.
The types of documents which appear in all files cited in this history include memoranda, letters, disposition forms, messages, informal notes prepared by staff officers for each other or for their superiors, and many rough drafts which, though not used officially, give a clear indication of staff thinking. There are also minutes of meetings, notes on conferences, and memoranda for record. In the annotation of sources the type of communication is always indicated and four other kinds of descriptive information is presented if available on the particular document cited--the originator, the addressee, the date, and the subject. The file reference normally is the last element in the citation.
A few special kinds of documents are cited by the identification that appears on the document itself and there is no reference to the file collection of any particular organization. AG letters can best be located by the Adjutant General's Office by the numbers on the letter; the classified messages can be located by classified message number and date in any of several file series; the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Combined Chiefs of Staff papers and minutes can be located by the numbers of the papers as assigned by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Combined Chiefs of Staff; and the Joint Board papers and minutes can be located by the Joint Board subject number and serial number. While the author almost invariably used the Strategy & Policy Group (OPD) records for these last two categories, they may readily be consulted elsewhere. The official file of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Combined Chiefs of Staff is under the control of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as is the official set of Joint Board papers.
All printed, widely distributed documents, such as Army Regulations, general orders, handbooks, annual reports, hearings, and board reports, are cited as simply as precision permits. They are available in the Army Library or have been preserved in Departmental Records Branch, AGO, as a part of the records of the agencies responsible for their issuance.
Return to the Table of Contents
Last updated 19 October 2004