Transition Into War

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor abruptly upset the uneasy balance which had kept the United States poised between peace and war. The carrier-based air raid on Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field on the morning of 7 December 1941 was a violent shock to the U. S. Army as well as to the nation. In a certain sense the Army, in view of the overwhelming evidence long available that the Japanese might open hostilities by launching such an assault against American positions in the Pacific, including Hawaii, and in view of the virtual certainty that they would gain some initial success, was prepared to be fatalistic about the initial onslaught. But neither the Army nor the Navy had concentrated its attention on Hawaii, and the extent of the damage done, particularly the crippling of the U. S. Pacific Fleet, seriously compromised U. S. Army and Navy plans for wartime operations in the Pacific.

The Failure of Follow-Up

The larger issues of national defense involved in the Pearl Harbor episode, as well as the immediate sequence of events leading up to the attack, have been thoroughly studied in a series of official investigations, and individual writers have discussed at length the blame initially fixed on the Army and Navy commanders in Hawaii and subsequently shared with members of the higher military staffs in Washington.1 Within the framework of the larger issues, Pearl Harbor had an aspect of special significance to the Chief of Staff and to the War Plans Division. In this vital instance the War Department General Staff failed to follow up and make sure of compliance with the Chief of Staff's operational instructions to the Army commander at the critical point, Hawaii.

The threat of a Japanese attack in the Pacific became increasingly apparent in the fall of 1941. It was imperative that, in threatened areas, the War Department keep commanders fully aware of the situation as it developed. The G-2 Division of the General Staff had the responsibility for dissemination


of intelligence about the enemy and for specific warnings against the danger of subversive activities. The more important function of assisting the Chief of Staff in preparing and dispatching to the field orders that translated the current diplomatic situation into instructions governing military dispositions was WPD's responsibility, insofar as the Pacific area was concerned. WPD was therefore intimately connected with the transmission of the war warnings and operational directives that were sent to the Pacific commanders in November 1941.

Of the several war warnings which went out over the Chief of Staff's signature concerning the possibility of a Japanese attack in the Pacific, the most important was a message dispatched on 27 November 1941 to several commanders, including the commanding general of the Hawaiian Department. Progress in the protracted negotiations then being conducted between Japanese diplomatic representatives and the U. S. Department of State came to an end as of 27 November. Although no one at the time could be sure Japan would not resume the conversations, Secretary of State Hull informed Secretary of War Stimson on the morning of 27 November that the memorandum given the Japanese representatives on the preceding day had "broken the whole matter off." The President himself told Secretary Stimson that the "talks had been called off." 2

Under these circumstances, it became necessary for the War Department to warn Pacific commands of the latest turn of diplomatic events. Secretary Stimson, in the temporary absence of General Marshall,3 discussed the problem with General Gerow and with the senior Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. William Bryden. General Gerow reported the results of this early morning meeting with Secretary Stimson: "The Secretary. . . told me he had telephoned both Mr. Hull and the President this morning. Mr. Hull stated the conversations had been terminated with barest possibility of resumption. The President wanted a warning message sent to the Philippines. I told him I would consult Admiral Stark and prepare an appropriate cablegram." Such a warning message for the Philippines, the most exposed Pacific outpost, was formulated and approved at a second meeting on 27 November at which the Secretary of War, the Secretary of Navy, Admiral Stark, and General Gerow were present.4 This draft "formed a basis for the preparation of other messages to the other three commanders in the Pacific area," that is, the Panama Canal Department, the Western Defense Command (which had responsibility for Alaska), and the Hawaiian Department. These three messages were drawn up in WPD, cleared with the Deputy Chief of Staff, and, together with the message for the Philippines, dispatched the same day over the name of General Marshall.5

The message which WPD thus came to prepare was carefully phrased to reflect the current diplomatic-military situation, and was intended to convey precise operational instructions based on a clear warning. This message (No. 472) read:

Negotiations with Japan appear to be terminated to all practical purposes with only the barest possibilities that the Japanese Government might come back and offer to continue.


Japanese future action unpredictable but hostile action possible at any moment. If hostilities cannot, repeat cannot, be avoided the United States desires that Japan commit the first overt act. This policy should not, repeat not, be construed as restricting you to a course of action that might jeopardize your defense. Prior to hostile Japanese action you are directed to undertake such reconnaissance and other measures as you deem necessary but these measures should be carried out so as not, repeat not, to alarm civil population or disclose intent. Report measures taken. Should hostilities occur you will carry out the tasks assigned in Rainbow Five so far as they pertain to Japan. Limit dissemination of this highly secret information to minimum essential officers. [Signed] MARSHALL.6

On the same day, 27 November, the G-2 Division sent a message (No. 473) to the G-2 of the Hawaiian Department, and to other Pacific and continental commands as well, which read:

Japanese negotiations have come to a practical stalemate. Hostilities may ensue. Subversive activities may be expected. Inform commanding general and Chief of Staff only.7

The warnings dispatched concerning the Japanese threat in the Pacific did not impress Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short, Commanding General, Hawaiian Department, sufficiently to induce his taking all the precautionary measures it was intended he should take. The nature of the measures that he did take was suggested if not clearly revealed in a report to the Chief of Staff sent in reply to the War Department's warning message No. 472, dated 27 November. It read: "Report Department alerted to prevent sabotage. Liaison with Navy reurad [Code: Reference your radio] 472 twenty-seventh. SHORT."8 When this message was received, it was transmitted along with other answers to the 27 November war warnings to the Office of the Chief of Staff. General Marshall probably saw it, and it was then passed on to Secretary of War Stimson, who certainly saw it. The message was then sent to WPD where, in accordance with normal procedure, it was first noted and initialed by Maj. Charles K. Gailey, Jr., the Division executive, and then shown to General Gerow, who also initialed it. Finally, General Short's message was referred to Colonel Bundy, chief of the Plans Group. During the following week General Gerow, as he subsequently testified, discussed it with no one, and there was no follow-up by WPD. The other commanders who received the 27 November warning message reported measures taken in sufficient detail to indicate clearly that they were complying fully with the intent of the order. Despite the marked contrast between General Short's reply and these other responses, it was not recognized at the time as inadequate by any one who saw it.9

The reasons for the failure of the War Department, and specifically of WPD, to recognize the inadequacy of General Short's reply of 27 November remain a matter of speculation. General Gerow subsequently testified that he had probably erroneously identified General Short's message as an answer to the G-2 message of 27 November.10 Colonel Bundy, to whom the message was finally referred for any necessary action, was killed in an air accident while en route


to Hawaii immediately after Pearl Harbor, and no clear evidence of his reactions to General Short's message has been discovered. The Plans Group was the agency of WPD which normally checked on compliance with operational instructions of the Chief of Staff. But the very name of this group, reflecting its primary function, points to a fact of administrative significance, namely, that there was no unit in WPD like the later OPD Theater Group, whose primary function was to follow up an operational order of the Chief of Staff and check in detail the adequacy of the measures reported as having been taken to execute it.

Even when it was not specifically instructed to do so, WPD unquestionably had the responsibility for following up to see that the Chief of Staff's operational instructions were carried out whenever measures reported taken were recognized to be inadequate. In his testimony before the Congressional Pearl Harbor investigating committee, General Marshall said: "So far as the operations of the General Staff were concerned, the war measures, the war plans, the war advice to the Chief of Staff came directly from the War Plans Division." The Chief of Staff also expressed his belief that General Gerow, as Assistant Chief of Staff, WPD, had sufficient "operational authority to send a message that involved action," such as a query to General Short on his reply.11 Accepting the fact that action should have been taken and that WPD was the staff that originally handled this case, General Gerow acknowledged responsibility for the failure of WPD to act. He stated to the committee:

In the light of subsequent events, I feel now that it might have been desirable to send such an inquiry, and had such an inquiry been sent it would probably have developed the fact that the Commanding General in Hawaii was not at that time carrying out the directive in the message signed "MARSHALL." 12

General Gerow also said:

If there was any responsibility to be attached to the War Department for any failure to send an inquiry to General Short, the responsibility must rest on War Plans Division, and I accept that responsibility as Chief of War Plans Division. . . . I was a staff advisor to the Chief of Staff, and I had a group of 48 officers to assist me. It was my responsibility to see that these messages were checked, and if an inquiry was necessary, the War Plans Division should have drafted such an inquiry and presented it to the Chief of Staff for approval.13

General Marshall testified that General Gerow had a direct responsibility and that he as Chief of Staff had full responsibility, in other words that the Chief of Staff was responsible for anything the General Staff did or did not do, just as General Gerow was responsible for all the work of his Division.14

Looming in the background of WPD's failure to take appropriate action on General's Short's report of 27 November was the unclear definition and the unsystematic assignment of Army responsibilities for controlling military operations. In November 1941 the Army high command had no single agency specifically charged with the task of promptly and carefully reviewing all reports concerning military operations received from the field. It had been intended that


GHQ should become such an agency, but on the eve of Pearl Harbor responsibility for the Pacific areas had not yet been transferred from the General Staff to GHQ. The Pearl Harbor episode demonstrated the need for a clarification and reallocation of functions within the Army high command, a reallocation that would place squarely on a single agency properly organized to perform this function the responsibility under the Chief of Staff for directing all overseas operations and following up to see that his directives were executed.

WPD and Actual Operations

In one sense the transition from peace to war on 7 December 1941 was abrupt. Public opinion, particularly as presented in the press and in Congress, no longer was torn between fear of doing too much too quickly and fear of doing too little too late. The nation demanded that the President and the armed services should get things done. The President and his Army, Navy, and Army Air Forces advisers responded at once to the demand for military leadership. They set a high value on the assurance of the nation's wholehearted support, knowing how much it counted in winning a war.

Nevertheless, at first the armed services could work only with what they already had. General Marshall had to work with an Army still in process of mobilization and training, with neither the equipment needed to carry on large-scale operations in distant theaters nor the ships needed to transport the forces overseas. In directing what was not yet a wartime Army, he drew his assistance from what was not yet a wartime staff. The attack on Pearl Harbor, though it dramatized the shortcomings of the Army high command, obliged him to make use of this command at once in order to get such results as he could from the Army as it was. In the process, the Army's high command began to act like the high command of an army at war, though the transition was comparatively slow.

GHQ, despite the difficulties it was encountering and despite the development of plans to eliminate it as a command headquarters, continued to have tremendous responsibilities after American entry into the war. From mid-December 1941 until the following March, GHQ controlled, under their temporary designation as theaters of operations, the Eastern and Western Defense Commands. It similarly directed operations in the Caribbean Defense Command and the base commands in the Atlantic area. It organized and controlled the first echelon of American forces sent to the British Isles. The War Department was using GHQ to control certain operations, but GHQ still was not authorized to act systematically and continuously as General Marshall's highest operational staff. Instructions issued on 11 December 1941 made it clear that GHQ was responsible for supervising the "execution and follow-up of troop movements and such operations as may from time to time be referred to GHQ by the War Department for action." 15 General Marshall, in issuing these instructions, attempted to resolve some of the administrative confusion about staff responsibility by directing that military orders within the jurisdiction of GHQ carry the clarifying


announcement: "GHQ is charged with the execution of this order." 16

In directing the first forced moves in the Pacific after the advent of hostilities, General Marshall depended on WPD, which retained its responsibility for acting on behalf of the Chief of Staff on all operational matters related to the Pacific bases. The Division rapidly assumed a form, adopted a procedure, and acquired a sense of responsibility for staff action that made it more and more like the new operational command staff visualized for General Marshall in the reorganization planning concurrently under way. Toward the end of January, while the final decision to reorganize the War Department was in the making, WPD, GHQ, and G-4 were still trying to find a practicable arrangement which would rationalize and co-ordinate their work. At that time General Marshall approved an agreement, based on mutual efforts at co-operation rather than any precise delimitation of duties, which governed the relations of GHQ and the General Staff until the reorganization in March 1942.17

Open hostilities, which brought theaters of operations into being, unequivocally gave WPD specific supervisory duties in the sphere of "actual operations in the theater of war." 18 On 10 December General Gerow informed the Chief of Staff that WPD had a section for operations and could act in close proximity to General Marshall on urgent matters.19 On the same day, the Division inaugurated a seven-day week schedule of duty, and before the end of the month began to keep at least a skeleton staff at work throughout a twenty-four-hour day in order to meet the exigency of the situation.20 In the direction of military operations in the Pacific theater WPD worked closely with General Marshall, adjusting strategic plans and Army operations to fit each other and to meet the rapidly developing military situation. General Gerow defined the responsibility of the Division in January 1942 when he informed a U. S. Navy officer: "War Plans Division (Army) acts as the War Department operating agency with respect to such of our foreign garrisons as have not yet, from a planning standpoint, been fully stabilized on a permanent basis. For the moment these foreign stations are those in the Pacific Ocean." 21 WPD also acted as General Marshall's staff for such theater operations as were international in scope. After an Australian-British-Dutch-American (ABDA) Command had been set up under Field Marshal Sir Archibald Wavell in January 1942 to attempt to defend the Netherlands East Indies area, General Marshall ordered that no message should be sent to the ABDA Command or to any officer of the United States in that command unless it had first been cleared


with WPD and then sent out over the Chief of Staff's signature.22

Immediately after Pearl Harbor WPD became the War Department center for current information concerning or affecting Army operations. Upon specific orders from the Chief of Staff, WPD undertook to report daily, for the benefit of the War Department and the President, the "operational decisions and actions of the War Department." For that purpose all other divisions of the General Staff and the Army Air Forces reported to WPD on their individual actions. The Daily Summary thus inaugurated, including the abridged form called the White House Summary, was prepared in much the same form throughout the war.23 From its knowledge of strategic plans and from the detailed operational information made available by other Army agencies, WPD amassed a uniquely comprehensive understanding of current military issues, particularly the urgent ones under consideration by the Chief of Staff.

During this transition period WPD tried to harmonize staff actions of all kinds, including zone of interior functions clearly assigned to other War Department agencies, whenever the interests of military operations in the theater demanded it. Thus, for instance, when Maj. Gen. James E. Chaney, Commanding General, U. S. Army Forces in the British Isles, reported in January 1942 that his requests for personnel apparently were being ignored, WPD went into action. Col. Stephen H. Sherrill of the Atlantic Section, Operations Group, discovered that G-1 had sent instructions to The Adjutant General for action on General Chaney's request, but that "TAG (Major Daley) held up the action on telephone instructions from someone he does not now remember." Subsequently cables from General Chaney concerning this matter had been sent, by error, to the Air Forces, where no action was taken. At this juncture WPD received a message from General Chaney calling attention to the problem. Colonel Sherrill "secured necessary action by G-1," and the personnel got on their way to London. This staff work involved sending to Great Britain only eleven officers and twenty-three enlisted men, and it was a routine G-1 matter, but General Gerow ordered his officers to "follow-up on this and see that Chaney gets the personnel and information on his requests." 24

In dispatching task forces to island bases on the Pacific line of communication, WPD became involved in the most detailed arrangements. In the case of the BOBCAT force (for Bora Bora Island in the South Pacific) a considerable staff effort was invested in arranging for the transfer of two privates, first class (one from Fort Bragg and the other from Fort Knox), that the Navy Department had requested because they were peculiarly qualified to assist in a special kind of construction work on Bora Bora.25 Then WPD officers spent ten days in obtaining a Japanese interpreter for the same task force. At the request of the commanding officer of BOBCAT, Col. Charles D. Y. Ostrom, General


Gerow queried the G-2 Division, which reported that no interpreter was available in the zone of interior. However, G-2 recommended that WPD ask Lt. Gen. Delos C. Emmons, who had relieved General Short as Commanding General, Hawaiian Department on 16 December 1941, to furnish the interpreter. Accordingly General Gerow radioed: "In the event you consider it practicable and desirable to make available a Japanese speaking officer or enlisted man in your command, it is desired that you arrange for his transportation from Honolulu to BOBCAT." 26 A few days later the Hawaiian Department advised WPD that an interpreter of unquestionable loyalty was not available at that time. The Division eventually located an officer on duty in the War Department who not only spoke Japanese but also was well acquainted with Bora Bora. By this time the convoy had sailed, so WPD asked the commanding general of the Panama Canal Department to pass this information on to Colonel Ostrom when his ship locked through the Canal about 2 February. The radio added that an attempt was being made to fly this officer to Panama to join the convoy en route, but failing in this, he would leave on the earliest transport for Bora Bora.27 Finally, on 2 February, General Gerow was able to close the case by reporting that the interpreter would be flown to Balboa, Canal Zone, in time to join the BOBCAT force.28

The premium put on follow-up and concrete results showed that the lesson of Pearl Harbor had been taken to heart and that WPD was learning to get things done as well as to plan. Other War Department agencies depended increasingly on WPD to act in urgent matters, even when it had no formal grant of authority to do so. Indicative of this attitude was a remark made by one of the senior civilian assistants of the Secretary of War in January 1942 concerning psychological warfare. He "suggested that it be taken away from G-2 and put under War Plans so that some use could be made of it." 29 A few weeks later General Eisenhower observed: "This psychological warfare business is going to fall right into the lap of WPD—principally for the reason that no one else will lead with his chin. We'll probably take it on." 30 The accuracy of this prediction was proved in the event. WPD and later the Operations Division furnished a member of the Psychological Warfare Committee set up in the Joint Chiefs of Staff system early in the war and continued permanently to have at least one officer specializing in developments in that field.31

For a brief period WPD took responsibility, along with G-2, for sending the commanding general of the Caribbean Defense Command intelligence based on decoded Japanese messages, called "Magic." On 29 December the Chief of Staff personally telephoned Col. Matthew B. Ridgway of the


WPD Latin American Section to assure himself that this type of intelligence was being sent and that the Caribbean Defense Command understood that it was not "merely 'authentic and from a reliable source' but was actual truth." He directed Colonel Ridgway to get in touch with the responsible G-2 officer, Col. Rufus S. Bratton, who stated that there was a "flexible arrangement whereby either War Plans or he himself transmitted this information." Only upon Colonel Ridgway's objection that such a division of responsibility "sooner or later would result in failure to transmit vital information in time for use," did Colonel Bratton agree to accept entire responsibility (including responsibility to inform GHQ as well as WPD of intelligence sent), if General Gerow approved, as he did.32

WPD's responsibility for staff action in the only active theaters of operations, together with its duties in interservice and international planning, now more vital than ever before, greatly enhanced its prestige and increased the scope of its activities after Pearl Harbor. Without any formal authority to do so, WPD officers were often able to resolve disagreements among representatives of the General Staff Divisions, provided they were not too bitter, simply by virtue of the readiness of most Army officers, other things being equal, to give precedence to a consideration affecting combat rather than one affecting administration or services in support of combat. It was mainly in this sense that WPD became the command post staff of the Chief of Staff during the first months of the war.

Strength, Personnel, and Organization of WPD

WPD continued in December 1941 and January and February 1942 to be organized around a nucleus of experienced officers, but it grew considerably in size. With the advent of war every attempt was made to achieve the Division's authorized ceiling strength, and two weeks after the Japanese attack it was at full strength with fifty-four officers, including the chief, on duty. Requests for officers continued to be by name, and selection continued to be based on firsthand knowledge by WPD officers of the record and ability of the officer under consideration.33 Requests of a more wholesale, somewhat less carefully screened kind than before, became common in the emergency situation, when it was apparent that many officers sought would not be released by their superiors from their current assignments.34 The Division also had to take steps to offset the unavoidable loss of some of its best officers to command assignments with troops. Consequently in January the Division sought and got permission from General Marshall to exceed its strength ceiling in order to begin training a number of promising young officers in junior grades, both Regular Army and Reserve, to fill the gaps when they appeared.35 By 15 February 1942, the day General Gerow left the Division, the number of officers on duty in WPD had reached the total of sixty-four.


Most of the twenty-five officers who joined the staff between 7 December 1941 and 15 February 1942 were junior in grade, and a number were in the Reserve. Among them were several who stayed to render valuable service in the Operations Division. From the point of view of OPD service, the most important recruit was General Eisenhower, who reported for work on 14 December. In all probability it was General Eisenhower's special knowledge of the Philippines and acquaintance with General MacArthur that caused the Chief of Staff to bring him to Washington as soon as hostilities broke out in the Far East. He became deputy chief of WPD for the Far East and Pacific area, and on 16 February 1942 succeeded General Gerow as chief of the Division.36

The basic organization of WPD followed the pattern set in 1941, though some minor alterations in structure and one significant change in terminology were made during the first three months of American participation in the war. The Division chief appointed two deputies, one for the Pacific theater and one for the Atlantic theater. General Eisenhower, Pacific area deputy, was specifically directed by the Chief of Staff to pay special attention to the Philippines, Hawaii, Australia, the Pacific Islands, and China.37 Col. Robert W. Crawford (brigadier general 15 December 1941) moved up from his place as Projects Group chief to occupy a similar position as deputy for the Atlantic area.

A new Executive Group was established under Major Gailey to handle the Division's administration, records, and correspondence. Of the many reforms for which there was evident need, one of the most urgent was in the handling of messages, particularly radiograms and cablegrams to and from overseas commands. At the outbreak of war, the Army faced the task of expanding a small but flexible peacetime radio network into a world-wide system of radio and wire communications.38 While the Signal Corps was developing such a network, the War Department had to develop means of making fully efficient use of such facilities as there were. During the first few months after Pearl Harbor, War Department messages continued as before to be received and dispatched through the Adjutant General's Office. That office continued to distribute and file messages, which in peacetime had been relatively infrequent and rarely urgent, simply as correspondence. Messages which had been dispatched or received were not filed together serially, but scattered about with topically related material in subject files, in which they were extremely hard to locate.39

Photo: OFFICERS OF THE WAR PLANS DIVISION, 23 January 1942. Left to right: Col. W. K. Harrison, Col. Lee S. Gerow, Brig. Gen. Robert W. Crawford, Brig. Gen.  Dwight D. Eisenhower, Brig. Gen. Leonard T. Gerow, Chief, Col. Thomas T. Handy, Col. Stephen H. Sherrill.

OFFICERS OF THE WAR PLANS DIVISION, 23 January 1942. Left to right: Col. W. K. Harrison, Col. Lee S. Gerow, Brig. Gen. Robert W. Crawford, Brig. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Brig. Gen. Leonard T. Gerow, Chief, Col. Thomas T. Handy, Col. Stephen H. Sherrill.

Chart 2. War Plans Division, War Department General Staff: 21 December 1941

Source: OPD 312, 105

Chart 2. War Plans Division, War Department General Staff: 21 December 1941


On the very day of the Pearl Harbor attack, WPD began to keep its own file, arranged by date and entirely separate from its other files, of incoming and outgoing operational messages which the Division, like the Adjutant General's Office, had hitherto treated for filing purposes like ordinary letters, staff memoranda, or studies.40 The new WPD system, which was still imperfect for purposes of reference since there were separate numerical series of messages to and from each station, served the Division's needs during the first four months of American participation in the war. During this period the WPD message center staff was greatly enlarged, and continuous service on receiving and dispatching messages became available to officers in the Division. Through the service offered and the control exercised by the Division message center, the officers were able continuously to check reports from theaters of operations and overseas missions and thus to keep up with what was needed and to follow up systematically on compliance with War Department instructions. This activity was to remain the nucleus of the Operations Division's manifold activities throughout the war, the primary feature of its assistance to the Chief of Staff in the exercise of command over the operations of U. S. Army forces in the field.

The Plans Group made a small but important structural change to meet the post-Pearl Harbor situation, simplifying its make up somewhat by transferring the Joint Requirements Section from the planning part of the organization of WPD. Both terminology and allocation of duties were also changed, the former Joint Policy & Plans Section being renamed the Strategy Section, while the Army Strategic Plans & Resources Section became the Plans Section. This shift involved some change in duties and accordingly some reshuffling of personnel. The Strategy Section devoted itself to the most general strategic thinking, that of estimating the strategic situation to determine ultimate military objectives and forces required to achieve them. The Plans Section, acting upon directives from the Strategy Section, prepared the actual war plans, both joint Army-Navy and War Department, and established priorities among Army forces and tasks. Its former duties involving the calculation of Army resources and the personnel occupied with them were transferred outside the group. Thus the principal concern of the whole WPD Plans Group in the post-Pearl Harbor period was the formulation of operational strategy governing military operations.

The principal formal change in the other main WPD group was in the name, Operations rather than Projects. It was still a section with miscellaneous duties that could be defined only negatively. Thus the Pacific and Atlantic Sections assumed WPD responsibilities for their respective areas insofar as the responsibilities were charged to the Operations Group. Both sections formally could be given only the function of liaison with GHQ in areas either already in the province of that headquarters or tentatively scheduled to be assigned to it in the future. In practice, particularly for the Pacific, the Operations Group provided a rudimentary command post for detailed


supervision and direction of operations such as WPD had lacked before Pearl Harbor.

In the Operations Group the old miscellaneous Current Section, renamed Requirements & Resources, assumed some new functions hitherto performed in the Plans Group. It carried the burden of recommending policy on munitions distribution to the associated powers. Immediately after Pearl Harbor the new section was designated the working agency for preparing War Department studies on allocation of munitions for submission by the Chief of Staff to higher authority.41 For the benefit of the Army, especially for G-3 and G-4, its function was to translate into terms of troop units and equipment the strategic plans and operational enterprises being worked out by the rest of the Division. Finally it maintained an accounting of U. S. Army combat resources, current and projected, and advised the whole Division on the co-ordination therewith of munitions allocation and the use of American troops in task forces, overseas possessions, and defense commands.42

Among the most valuable post-Pearl Harbor contributions of the Requirements & Resources Section was a device for making available to the Division and other War Department agencies a simplified, integrated accounting of the Army's deployed strength in terms of personnel and aircraft. As the Army's size increased and as its deployment pattern became more complex, the need was apparent for a rough, summary system of statistical control of U. S. Army resources. Such information was essential for operational decisions at every high command and staff level. Even before Pearl Harbor, WPD on occasion had produced maps presenting a tabulation of Army strength in the various overseas bases.43 On 3 January 1942, the Resources & Requirements Section began regularly to issue a Weekly Status Map showing the current and projected deployment of personnel and aircraft overseas. The second status map, issued 8 January 1942, also listed major units and included the Western and Eastern Defense Commands, thus providing Army planners with a uniform tabulation of U. S. Army combat strength and deployment.44 This information was essential to efficient staff integration of strategic plans and military operations.

The First Wartime International Conference

The important issues in strategic planning in this transition period were worked out on the interservice and international plans, primarily in the course of deliberations


at the ARCADIA Conference of 24 December 1941-14 January 1942, the first wartime meeting of the U. S. and British Chiefs of Staff. General Gerow and his planners labored prodigiously before the conference to provide General Marshall with ideas and information in support of the Army's position on Allied strategy, command structures, and deployment of troops. During the conference General Gerow or General Eisenhower, or both, attended all but one of the twelve formal ARCADIA sessions, assisting the Chief of Staff in presenting the Army's case on these problems. In this way WPD officers established a tradition of staff participation in preparations and deliberations connected with international military conferences, a tradition carried over into the OPD period and the great conferences of 1943 and later.45

While the British representatives, led by the Prime Minister, were still at sea aboard H.M.S. Duke of York, the British Chiefs of Staff sent ahead a brief message suggesting the agenda for the meetings. They proposed that the ARCADIA Conference should determine five main points, the "fundamental basis" of strategy, the "immediate military measures" to be taken, the allocation of forces necessary to carry out the basic strategy, a "long term programme" scheduling the raising and equipping of forces for victory, and some kind of British-American "machinery for implementing" all these decisions when made.46 To prepare studies, make recommendations, and draw up plans for ARCADIA were within WPD's recognized sphere of responsibility.

Immediately upon receipt of the proposed agenda General Gerow set the planning machinery of WPD in motion. By the following day, 19 December, the Division had prepared a tentative first draft study summarizing its conclusions about each of the five topics raised by the British. On that day and the next, WPD planners worked full speed. They prepared two complementary papers presenting information and comments on a variety of strategic questions raised by Secretary Stimson as relevant to the British agenda. They worked on full-length studies elaborating the position taken on fundamental strategy and immediate military measures in WPD's tentative first draft of 19 December. The elaborations of these two subjects formed the substance of a draft joint Army-Navy "Estimate of the Military Situation" as well as the first and second sections of the WPD Book compiled for use by the Chief of Staff and the Army planners at the conference. In both forms these studies presented a strategic estimate and a list of specific military decisions necessary to meet the situation. A final, consolidated version was indorsed by Air and Navy planners as a sound "General Strategic Review." By 21 December WPD had supplemented its studies on these two basic subjects with other papers pursuing in detail the WPD conclusions of 19 December about the allocation of forces, the long-term program, and the creation of a Supreme Allied War Council. The five studies, with the 19 December tentative first draft summary as an


introduction, made up the WPD Book for ARCADIA.47

The strategic thinking that lay behind all these documentary preparations for ARCADIA was reviewed and in general terms accepted as the official American position to be developed in discussions and decisions at the conference. The Joint Board and the President, at two meetings on 21 December 1941, formally approved the strategic statements in WPD's tentative first draft study of 19 December. As approved, the study received the title of "Tentative U. S. Views on Subjects of British Memorandum, Dec. 18." The Joint Board and the President also agreed on the advisability of a number of "Broad Military Decisions" more or less as recommended by WPD and the Air and Navy planners as immediate military measures.48 These views and decisions were scarcely a well-integrated grand strategy, as evident interservice differences of opinion all along the line were thinly disguised by very general language and passed by without formal notice in the troubled, hurried post-Pearl Harbor atmosphere. The actual measures indorsed by the President were specific military moves that did not necessarily reflect American commitment to any broad strategy or indeed to any particular operations, since the rather doubtful logistic feasibility of all the measures approved was largely ignored and no clear order of priority set for them. Partly as a result of these facts, though much more because of the unforeseen rapidity of Japanese advances in the Pacific, the ARCADIA Conference as a whole was rather inconclusive except as a sound beginning of continuous, systematic British-American military planning in Washington. In any case, the views of WPD and of other service planners, especially the ones that were influential enough to determine decisions, constituted the basis for strategic recommendations by the American representatives at the ARCADIA Conference.

General Gerow, who had guided WPD during its period of tremendous expansion in size and activity, left the War Department for troop duty, on 15 February 1942. Under his leadership, WPD had done a good deal to help chart the course for winning the war, notably in emphasizing the principle of concentration of forces. Its staff work had helped to make Army-Navy and British-American coordination of military effort a fact rather than an aspiration. Above all, General Gerow had organized a staff of able, experienced officers capable of assuming greater responsibility under the Chief of Staff for directing military operations all over the globe, integrating these operations in a consistent grand strategy, and co-ordinating strategy and operations with the mobilization and munitions producing capacity of the zone of interior. Despite WPD's accomplishments and its rapid development in the post-Pearl Harbor transition period, however, the Division still was far from being a satisfactory wartime staff. Only a reorganization of the Army high command could assure the development of a single agency under the Chief of Staff that could exercise responsibility for getting appropriate action within the Army on every kind of problem materially affecting the success of military operations.



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Last updated 19 October 2004