The Victory Program

The Chief of Staff's recognition of the uncertainties with which Lend-Lease, once passed, would becloud any prior program for materiel 1 was justified by developments following closely on the bill's passage on 11 March 1941. On 10 April the Secretary of War outlined the procedure to be followed under the Lend-Lease Act, setting up a co-ordinating Defense Aid Division in the Under Secretary's office and Defense Aid Committees to determine materiel needs in accordance with instructions from the Chief of Staff. 2 It was already apparent, however, that neither the Defense Aid Division nor the other agencies of Lend-Lease could make their plans for supplies without a fuller knowledge of long-range strategic plans. Even before the Secretary published his instructions G-4 made its doubts known in a memorandum prepared by Colonel Aurand for signature by his chief of division and addressed to the Deputy Chief of Staff (the communication of 7 April, previously mentioned)

It is understood that there will be published shortly by the Secretary of War the lend-lease procedure within the War Department. It is hoped that this procedure will permit the formalizing of requests for aid. However, there is an absence of any administrative office for the clearance of these requests prior to their being forwarded to the War Department. Until some such agency is set up, the War Department must be prepared to act on sporadic oral requests. The procedure about to be published does not lend itself to such action.3

Colonel Aurand's memorandum, it will be recalled, had proposed that the Army, the Navy, the Maritime Commission, and the British agencies in Washington consider jointly the problems of total production and co-ordinated demand. On 18 April its various suggestions were excerpted and circulated to supply chiefs. 4


On this same day, 18 April, much the same concern over the need for a clearly stated objective was being expressed in strong terms by Under Secretary of War Patterson. His office, which had the responsibility for procurement of equipment for the Army, likewise had recognized that, if American industry was to turn out the munitions required by Lend-Lease as well as those contemplated for a steadily growing American Army, it would be necessary to chart the future requirements and make plans suited to reality. The situation was suggestive of that of June 1940 when this same office, under the prodding of Colonel Burns, had pressed the Chief of Staff for a clear statement of future requirements and had finally extracted approval of an estimate-which in reality was beyond the visible powers of industry, and which accordingly had to be whittled down.5 Now on 18 April 1941 Under Secretary Patterson addressed to the Secretary of War a memorandum designed both to make fuller use of industry and to force from higher authority a clear decision upon the nation's real war policy, for only such a decision could clearly determine the long-range needs of the American military establishment. With a good deal of bluntness Mr. Patterson referred to "probable" (not "possible") enemies and theaters of operation:

1. At the present time funds have been appropriated, and in large part obligated, for a production objective which is substantially as follows in so far as the Army is involved:

a. Air Forces: Productive capacity of approximately 3,400 complete airplanes per month of which 1,800 pertain to the United States Army, 400 to the United States Navy, and 1,200 to Great Britain. The capacity for combat planes approximates 2,500 per month of assorted types.
b. Ground Forces: Productive capacity to support approximately 4,000,000 men on combat status.

2. While the above program will tax American industry to the limit for a number of months, it does not represent the maximum munitions effort of this country. It is believed a decision should be made as promptly as possible on the production effort necessary to achieve victory on the basis of appropriate assumptions as to probable enemies and friends and theaters of operation. It is presumed that the munitions power available to this country and its friends must exceed to an adequate extent that available to its enemies.

3. It is suggested that a joint committee be created to make appropriate recommendations, and to consist of representatives of the Army, Navy, Maritime Commission, and of Office of Production Management.

4. In any event this office needs a decision as to the ultimate munitions production required by the War Department so that appropriate plans can be started.


A typed note at the bottom of the copy on file in WPD records says: "Judge Patterson said the Secretary of War agreed and that General Burns has been informed." 6

Other Influences Calling for a Firm Statement of Objectives

The importance of this communication in once more arousing the White House to munitions needs for an ultimate victory over Hitler, and to the desirability of computing these needs on a long-range basis (and hence in starting what became known as the Victory Program) is not susceptible to measurement. There were other factors, notably the General Staff activities discussed in Chapter X. Yet not only the reasoning but fragments of the very language in paragraph 2, above, will be found in a 9 July letter of President Roosevelt (later presented) which led directly to the Victory Program. There is no ready explanation of why a recommendation whose very language could persist for nearly twelve weeks, as in this case, should have taken so long to produce the President's directive. This in itself suggests the partial responsibility of the other factors. One must also have in mind the distractions of contemporary events and anxieties, a few of which may be mentioned. The Selective Service extension plan with its embarrassing political complications was already being cautiously considered.7 The occupation of the Azores was so genuinely contemplated that an occupation date (22 June) was once designated, only to be canceled a little later. 8 The German-Russian drift into war was gathering headway, 9 and there were conflicting views of the effect which that stupendous clash would bring about.

Eleven days after the recommendation was laid before Mr. Stimson, a copy of Under Secretary Patterson's memorandum was forwarded by his executive officer, General Burns, to the Chief of Staff, with mention that Secretary Stimson in approving it had suggested the creation of a joint conference representative of Army, Navy, Maritime Commission, and OPM (significantly like the current G-4 suggestion discussed in Chapter X). Without pressing the point that nothing apparently had yet been done to comply with the Secretary's wish of eleven days earlier, General Burns tactfully suggested now that the Joint Army and Navy


Board be asked to make recommendations.10 The entire matter as presented in the Patterson memorandum and in those from G-4 now was considered by WPD whose acting chief, Brig. Gen. Harry J. Malony, on 12 May presented the division's summary of information to date upon the new Defense Aid organization, reporting it to be "seriously deficient" as a means of coordinating production and strategy. The summary proposed referring to the Joint Planning Committee all requests then before the Defense Aid Division, preparatory to a study by the Joint Board.11 Presumably this was before General Marshall on 14 May when he sent to the Joint Board the G-4 suggestions of 7 April, along with the Patterson memorandum and the documents setting up the Defense Aid Division.12 Three days later the board referred the proposal to its joint Planning Committee.

On this same day, nearly a month after writing his provocative memorandum, the Under Secretary once more moved for action, this time orally. He was attending a conference in General Marshall's office on 17 May when the Chief of Staff raised a question as to whether the Army was justified in "going beyond the 2,800,000 for critical items; we have already gone beyond that figure for facilities, but we will not need a 4,000,000-man army unless England collapses, and . . . the shipping problem . . . is a definite factor in the size of the Army." The Under Secretary said that he had invited John D. Biggers of the Office of Production Management to explain the situation, and the conference members thereupon moved over to the Under Secretary's office to hear the explanation. Mr. Biggers observed that OPM was "getting very definite pressure from the White House to get intensified effort from industry." He added that the President felt industry should employ multiple shifts in order to increase production, but that industry was reluctant to set up a larger mechanism for Army orders without assurance that the orders would be enough to justify it. Mr. Biggers asked, apparently of the Chief of Ordnance who was present: "Is it true that if your supply or procurement service knew your whole objective you could place that load easier than if it was placed in successive bites?" The direct answer to this was self-evident, but the Chief of Staff volunteered:

If procurement of these essential items, which amount to several billion dollars, would help you, we might possibly get them and store them against future use. However, another complicating factor is the priorities question. What will the bomber program do? [This


was the 500 heavy-bomber program which the President was already asking OPM to make a first priority.] The President has said to step up the cruiser program.13

WPD Suggests Action by Chief of Staff

Within WPD there was an increasing conviction that effective co-ordination of purchases should be initiated with a minimum of delay and, presumably, a doubt that efforts within the joint Planning Committee would be immediately effective, for without awaiting JPC action Lt. Col. C. W. Bundy of WPD invited his chief's attention to "a most important matter" calling for decision "at the earliest possible moment." 14 He observed that, beyond the large and conflicting needs within the United States armed services, the British and Chinese were pressing for munitions shipments and "Prominent lay strategists are recommending all sorts of aid based on their particular interests." He referred to the Under Secretary's 18 April quest for an ultimate program, and proceeded: " The situation is extremely confused. Confusion will reign until an agency for formulating a policy based on all strategic plans is designated." 15 The need for detailed examination of requirements beyond those of the Army was so manifest that Colonel Bundy's chief, General Gerow, ultimately sent his assistant's memorandum to the director of the Navy's WPD.16 Nothing resulted immediately either from the Navy's examination of this memorandum or from a 7 June memorandum (prepared by Colonel Bundy and dispatched by General Gerow to the Chief of Staff) reminding the Joint Board once more of the need for an over-all estimate of munitions production ultimately required for the nation's security.17 General Marshall in the interval decided to act. Apparently convinced that the materiel situation had to be faced, he addressed to WPD the following instructions:

We are continually receiving suggestions as to increases and changes in armament, bombers, etc., along with suggestions of a more far-reaching nature. To provide a base of departure for meeting these proposals we should have a more clearcut strategic estimate of our situation from a ground, air, and naval viewpoint. With such an estimate kept up to date, the various organizational, tactical and strategical questions which are constantly arising could be answered with more consistency than at present . . . .


Please contact other divisions of the WDGS and take the necessary steps to have an estimate prepared to be submitted to me in the rough. It should be brief. Appendices can be added at a later date to support the various statements. The initial paper could be utilized as a basis for obtaining the views of other departments. Then we could revamp the estimates.
G. C. M.18

Here was recognition of the Staff's own responsibility for action, in line with G-4's recommendations of previous weeks. A new G4 memorandum asserted that the War Department should state its firm requirements for an additional $6,000,000,000, and that all orders for those requirements should be placed without delay as an aid to industry in its planning.19 Unofficial advisers too were active; the Deputy Chief of Staff at one of his own conferences remarked:

The General Staff is receiving pressure from newspapers and otherwise to go above the present supply objectives and to procure a war reserve . . . . The, only way we can do this is to make a strategic estimate of the situation, based on the capabilities of Germany, Japan, Italy and Great Britain in this respect . . . . WPD is working on this and I want every General Staff division concerned to help them as much as possible.20

Still later, again in apparent response to outside pressures, the Chief of Staff summoned representatives of WPD, G3, and G4 and said, in summary:

The OPM desires that we look into the matter of increasing and continuing our orders for materiel in order that industry may be utilized to its fullest extent .... We must not create the situation that a year from now possible shortages will exist and we will find it necessary to say that we were sorry that we did not anticipate the true situation.21

On the other hand, he was still concerned over ordering too much and too hastily, and warned his assistants against extravagance.

Make a list of items of equipment which you think we should have accumulated into a pool . . . . I want to find out how much industry needs in order to carry them for, say 6 months . . . . We must be careful that a shortage is not created by too great a demand which blocks current effort . . . . We must not get a pile of stuff which is not only obsolescent but blocks other things more essential.22

This sequence of discussions and the delay in meeting in any swift and thorough manner either Under Secretary Patterson's blunt suggestion of six weeks earlier or the several G-4 recommendations suggest that, despite the strong words,


in the Army's high command there still was insufficient appreciation of the materiel side of war, of the inescapable time lag in industrial production, and hence of the necessity of placing firm orders long before the goods would be needed. This had been the warning of the retiring Chief of Staff, Gen. Malin Craig, two years previously.23 It had been the occasion of pressure by Colonel Burns in 1940.24 That General Marshall had drawn his own conclusions from the delays already apparent in industry is suggested by his doubts, expressed at the 17 May conference, whether a 2,800,000-man army was not about the limit for immediate planning. Yet the sequence of events suggests that it was the pressures from the Under Secretary's office and from OPM and, most effectively, from the White House that succeeded in extracting from the General Staff that complete statement of Army needs-not for 1941 and 1942 but for the actual winning of a war not yet declared-for which Mr. Knudsen and his fellow industrialists had been asking for months. The Chief of Staff's May 1941 instructions to his principal assistants in this realm of planning finally set the mechanism to work, with WPD assigning to Maj. (later Lt. Gen.) A. C. Wedemeyer the chief responsibility for a task whose immense reach, complexity, and importance were not surmised by the Staff itself until the ultimate product, "the Victory Program" of 10 September 1941, was completed.

That task occupied the whole attention of those to whom it was entrusted and a large part of the attention of other sections of the General Staff. Colonel Aurand, for example, who in behalf of G-4 was supplying basic data for the WPD study, afforded continuous guidance upon the competing demands for production which for months had been troubling G-4 and the civilian procurement agencies. It was Colonel Aurand who (in line with his 7 April suggestions which at last were being carried out) drafted the letters addressed by the Secretary on 30 June to Mr. Knudsen, to the Secretary of the Navy, to the Chief of the Maritime Commission, and to Arthur B. Purvis, chairman of the British Supply Council, suggesting the need for an over-all balance sheet of Allied productive effort.25 Secretary's letter to Mr. Purvis (anticipating the Presi-


dent's wishes in this respect) was a step toward the consolidated statement of British-American-Canadian production which came to pass four months later. This, to be sure, was not a part of the Victory Program nor of the strategic estimate of the following October, but the interrelation of the three enterprises is apparent. A tentative reply to the 30 June letter came on 14 July 26 promising data by the end of the week, but there was no full answer until two months later, after discussion of the matter at the Atlantic Conference. A ray of light on possible reasons for the delay was cast weeks later by the U. S. Special Military and Naval Observers in London in a letter to their chiefs. This reported that the British were reluctant to give exact figures "either because they fear such an estimate may be used to block any further increase, or because the totals may be considered by United States authorities as impossible of attainment." 27 The figures which they supplied even then were in fact incomplete, to be replaced by substantial estimates only after a War Cabinet meeting in London on 20 September 1941, held to welcome the Harriman mission en route to Moscow. 28

President Roosevelt Orders a Survey

By 9 July, however, the President appears to have become concerned over the conflicting programs, and decided that a directive from him would be desirable, for on that date he addressed to the Secretaries of War and Navy the following letter:

I wish that you or appropriate representatives designated by you would join with the Secretary of the Navy [or War] and his representatives in exploring at once the overall production requirements required to defeat our potential enemies.

I realize that this report involves the making of appropriate assumptions as to our probable friends and enemies and to the conceivable theaters of operation which will be required.


I wish you would explore the munitions and mechanical equipment of all types which in your opinion would be required to exceed by an appropriate amount that available to our potential enemies. From your report we should be able to establish a munitions objective indicating the industrial capacity which this nation will require.

I am not suggesting a detailed report but one that, while general in scope, would cover the most critical items in our defense and which could then be related by the OPM into practical realities of production facilities. It seems to me we need to know our program in its entirety, even though at a later date it may be amended.

I believe that the confidential report which I am asking you to make to me would be of great assistance, not only in the efficient utilization of our productive facilities but would afford an adequate opportunity for planning for the greatly increased speed of delivery which our defense program requires.

I am asking Mr. Hopkins to join with you in these conferences. I would appreciate it if the Secretary of War could take the initiative in these conferences.
Very sincerely yours     FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT 29

One cannot examine the text of the second and third paragraphs of this letter without noting resemblances to Under Secretary Patterson's memorandum of the previous April. The exact relationship is not discernible in available official records, but one may note that a frequent visitor at the White House offices at the time because of his important role in Lend-Lease matters was General Burns, who as executive for the Under Secretary had much to do with the original April memorandum. The industrious and material-minded officer, long conscious that the Army was still laggard in pressing industry to its limit, was thus in an excellent position to bring the production issue before Harry Hopkins, his superior in Lend-Lease, and thus to have more effective pressure applied to the War and Navy Departments by Mr. Roosevelt himself. 30 While the May and June conferences had increased the arms orders somewhat, it was apparent that so pointed a communication from the President as that of 9 July would provide pressure which nobody would resist, and which would bring to pass a carefully constructed over-all estimate more thorough than anything yet promised by the Chief of Staff or the Chief of Naval Operations.

If this was General Burns' surmise it was correct, for the letter had a galvanic effect upon both War and Navy Departments. Secretary Frank Knox on the


following day asked Admiral Stark, as Chief of Naval Operations, to have the desired study made by the Navy's War Plans Division and a report made to him. He mentioned that Mr. Stimson was reported to be doing likewise.31 Admiral Stark promptly referred the Secretary's letter to the Joint Board, recommending reference to the Joint Planning Committee for later report to the board. He also recommended that the Chief of Staff join him in appointing a group of experts to assist the committee.32 So strong was the influence of that White House demand (for more specific information upon total requirements than was originally in mind) that years later General Wedemeyer, who was chief architect of the resultant Victory Program, felt that Mr. Roosevelt's letter had provided him with the principal, though not the initial, authority for assembling detailed information from all sources.33

Major Wedemeyer had already started his labors, to be sure. A major in WPD at the time when General Marshall gave his 21 May instructions, he was promptly assigned to the designated task. By 24 May, after consultation with Major Wedemeyer on his working requirements, General Malony, then Acting Chief WPD, addressed memoranda to G-2 asking for data upon the situations and capabilities of each of the major combatant nations, and to G-4 asking for information on shipping and munitions; two days later G-2 was asked for similar data on Russia and on the Latin American nations.34 The next day representatives of all the Staff divisions and of GHQ and the GHQ Air Force met in General Marshall's office for an oral discussion.35 This was followed on 3 June by circulation of a memorandum to all chiefs of Staff divisions and of arms and services, a notation mentioning that it was delivered by Major Wedemeyer in person, presumably for oral explanation of an accompanying outline of data he would require for his strategic estimate.36 Certain aspects of the estimate were stated in advance of the computation or even of the study. Notably, the estimate was to assume "July 1, 1943 as the earliest date when US armed forces can be mobilized, trained, and equipped for extensive operations" and,


further, it was to assume that the nation would be "participating in the war under Rainbow Plan 5." The memorandum stated that WPD would integrate all the information the other divisions would provide upon the combatant nations' capabilities, intentions, and limitations, as well as upon America's troop basis, shipping, munitions requirements, and munitions production. A memorandum from General Malony to the Chief of Staff reported that the study was under way "to determine the capabilities and probable lines of action of Axis powers and of friendly powers. When completed, this study will present the War Department views on current and projected policies and actions, and will provide a troop basis and a production basis." 37 The draft was in fact completed in early July "as of July 1, 1941" but was regarded by General Gerow on 16 July as needing further development.38  Possibly his judgment was influenced by knowledge of the President's 9 July letter asking for far more than this rather hastily gathered estimate. The WPD chief could also have been made uneasy by the circumstance that, although the need for joint planning with the Navy was manifest, and the President's new letter specifically sought it, the "as-of-July 1" draft was a purely War Department enterprise, in which there had been no trace of participation by the Navy. A third reason for hesitancy was expressed in the memorandum to General Marshall:

The estimate is based upon a more or less nebulous national policy, in that the extent to which our Government intends to commit itself with reference to the defeat of the Axis powers has not as yet been clearly defined. An effort has been made to reconcile the spirit of the various official pronouncements and laws with their literal and legal interpretations.

The time element is vital in strategic planning. To insure timely and effective exploitation of our war potential a careful coordination is necessary to provide and maintain munitions for a rapidly expanding military force. The lag between plan and execution is considerable, and makes necessary a clearly defined national policy for guidance in future planning.39

General Marshall requested that the estimate be submitted to General Embick and the Navy for comment. This was done, and General Embick's oral comment was presumably given, but when 29 August went by without recorded comment from the Navy the Chief of Staff gave his approval to the WPD estimate.40


A Large Task Is Undertaken

By that time WPD exploration of the supply situation had been engulfed in the much larger enterprise-the quest of a real Victory Program made necessary by the President's letter of 9 July. In that letter Mr. Roosevelt sought an estimate of the ultimate production requirements for victory over the Axis and its allies. The WPD's July strategic estimate was only the first step toward the desired production' estimate but a necessary one, and, because the basis for that first step had been explored for weeks by Major Wedemeyer, General Gerow gave to this same officer the major responsibility for the new and larger task.41 The gathering of new information began with a request to G-2 for an estimate of the production capacity, present and ultimate, of Germany and the occupied territories and the German allies as related to airplanes, to armored divisions, and to infantry divisions. Four days later the reply came in detail.42

About two weeks later, Assistant Secretary McCloy drafted for Mr. Stimson's signature a letter that would report to the President the progress made to date in complying with Mr. Roosevelt's wishes.43 It noted that on 30 June, some days in advance of the President's directive, the Secretary had initiated inquiries on this matter, through letters to OPM and to the British, as part of the War Department's continuous study of the munitions prospect. It indicated that the information desired by the President would be available shortly. A memorandum from General Gerow to Mr. McCloy, with suggested alterations for the draft, is of special interest as showing not only that WPD was at work upon the estimate but that the professional Staff was disturbed by the possibility of civilian thinking that the war might be won solely on the production line. General Gerow said

We must first evolve a strategic concept of how to defeat our potential enemies and then determine the major military units (Air, Navy, and Ground) required to carry out the strategic operations . . . .

It would be unwise to assume that we can defeat Germany by simply outproducing her. One hundred thousand airplanes would be of little value to us if these airplanes could not be used because of lack of trained personnel, lack of operating airdromes in the theater, and lack of shipping to maintain the air squadrons in the theater . . . . Wars are


won on sound strategy implemented by well-trained forces which are adequately and effectively equipped.44

The Method of Calculation Employed

The President's instructions had been that the Army (and Navy) provide information on "the over-all production requirements required to defeat our potential enemies," and the assumption might have been that from this computation the Army would proceed to a calculation of the manpower that would be needed to make use of the arms thus produced. Assistant Secretary McCloy was puzzled by the fact that WPD's calculations followed the reverse course. In his memorandum to General Gerow, accompanying the draft of the letter to Mr. Roosevelt, he had -remarked that he would be "very much interested in seeing how your method of `first figuring the number of soldiers that it will require to defeat the Axis powers and from such figures determining the number of weapons that are necessary' jibes with the method outlined in the enclosed." 45

It was undeniable that, regardless of estimates of the height to which production of equipment might soar, there would be need for accompanying estimates of the number of divisions and other units that would make up the Army and use the equipment. This calculation would call in turn for a computation of the number of men making up those units, and it was obvious that the nation's population would itself determine the absolute limit of that number. To provide himself therefore with a controlling guide for the end process of computation the maximum number of men-Major Wedemeyer explored at the outset through a variety of government departments the available estimates of the nation's total able-bodied manpower. He deducted from it the number presumably required by industry (as estimated by departmental statisticians) and by the Navy (whose first estimate of 1,300,000 proved far from the mark) and by other agencies, and thereby reached a total remainder which, without combing out the exempted and deferred classes, would surely be available to the Army, if needed. This total remainder consequently became in his calculations an approximate maximum, and almost as completely a nonvariable in figuring as was the promised date of 1 July 1943. With this as a prospective known result he and his colleagues then could proceed more knowingly toward a strategic plan which could surely be implemented by American manpower; thence toward a calculation


of units; thence toward a computation of needed weapons and equipment; thence at last to the statement of ultimate production requirements that constituted the Victory Program. This method of step-by-step deduction helps explain the otherwise startling fact that the total of the conjectured army, stated in the Victory Program of 1941 before the United States was openly at war, was very close to the actual total achieved four years later. The Victory Program's total in manpower was 8,795,658 and the actual peak strength (air and ground) as reported on 31 May 1945 was 8,291,336.46 The Victory Program army's conjectured composition item by item, however, was far from the actual composition of the 1945 Army- a conspicuous variation being from the conjectured total of 215 divisions, including 61 armored, which compared with the ultimate 91 divisions, of which 16 were armored.47 The excessive estimate was useful, however, in setting production sights for equipment, which ultimately went to Allied divisions in addition to U.S. divisions actually organized. The program also proposed such specialties as 51 "motorized" divisions which did not continue as a separate type, being regarded on reconsideration as too vulnerable to enemy attack while on the march, uneconomical in keeping trucks idle much of the time, and exacting too much shipping space which then was priceless: the mobility which the motorized divisions were designed to provide was afforded by motor transport units from a common pool.48 The 10 airborne and 10 mountain divisions contemplated in 1941 shrank to 5 and 1 respectively in the actual Army: this decrease was determined in the one case by practical considerations of training and in the other by a known (and relatively nonmountainous) as distinguished from an unknown terrain. The ratio of service forces to combat elements, on the other hand, had to be materially increased; this again was due to actual theater requirements, including long and numerous lines of communication, of which prewar study of possible requirements could provide no sure foreknowledge. The number of men proposed in the Victory Program for antiaircraft artillery units was 464,695, which was far in excess of the actual May 1945 total of 246,943; however, as late as November 1942 over 600,000 men were so assigned in the 1943 Troop Basis; the number fell away because Allied air superiority had


been achieved and therefore, fewer ground defenses against enemy air attack were called for.49 The contemplated composition of the future armored corps -two armored divisions and one of motorized infantry- was shortly discarded despite its impressive origin: it was an organization recommended at the German War College some years earlier (when Major Wedemeyer had been in attendance as a US Army exchange student) in expectation of encounter with weaker foes, and it was later adjudged unsuited for combat with a sturdy opponent. A further factor causing Germany to abandon it was that it called for more equipment than German industry could provide at that stage save at the cost of other production deemed even more essential.

The 1941 calculations, in sum, dealt with an unknown future as well as a doubtful present. They not only recognized that without air control large antiaircraft defenses would be needed, but they contemplated the possibility of Russian defeat which, had it come to pass, would beyond doubt have necessitated the use of greater armored and infantry strength than the American Army was in fact called upon to produce.50 The items ultimately developed, accordingly, varied a great deal from the original computation, as was inevitable from the ensuing alterations of the world situation and of resulting strategy and tactics. The total of manpower varied little, on the other hand, simply because the Victory Program was boldly calculated on the assumption that all able-bodied men not required for Navy or industry would be taken by the Army, and this was not very far from the fact, if one keeps in mind the exacting standard set for the category of "able-bodied." In making long-range plans in that grand perspective, the Staff did in fact meet the hope expressed in the Patterson memorandum of 18 April for "a decision . . . on the production effort necessary to achieve victory" and a resultant program that might well "represent the maximum munitions effort" of the United States. This goal, never before squarely faced by the Staff, the Victory Program definitely sought.

There was need for continuing revisions of the estimate because of such additional unknowns as the future of the war at sea. In the summer of 1941 that


future was recognized as extremely dark, with enemy submarines still aggressive. Hence the calculations of America's possible overseas strength for a proposed mid-1943 D-day had to include the large, yet undeterminable, element of shipping. This critical requirement was the subject of a G-4 memorandum of advice:

Production requirements should be determined by the over-all forces of all friendly powers necessary for the defeat of our potential enemies, and from these over-all requirements must be subtracted the production possibilities of our friends. A balance sheet of production by friendly powers is now under preparation by a secret committee of the War Department.

A time at which our effort to defeat our enemies can be made must be determined on the availability of shipping to carry our monthly production of munitions, rather than our ability to ship troops.

The availability of shipping will be the deciding factor in determining how large a force can be shipped and maintained overseas. In this connection the following considerations would seem to govern:

By July 1, 1943, the date assumed by WPD to be critical in equipping a force of 10,000,000 men, our proposed shipbuilding program will provide a total of about 6,000,000 gross tons of shipping that may be assigned to an overseas effort. Such an amount of shipping would transport and maintain a force overseas of about 3,000,000 men . . . .

Assuming the present planned rate of increased ship construction . . . it would probably be another 3 years, or 1946, before a force of 10,000,000 men could be maintained overseas, unless the shipbuilding program were further accelerated and ship sinkings greatly reduced.51

The President Enlarges the Objective

By 23 August, thanks to inquiries and rechecks among numerous sources of information, WPD had completed not only an amplification of the original strategic concept of the previous month but, with special aid from G-3, a fourteen-page estimate of the Army forces (within the 8,795,658 maximum already accepted) which would be required to attain victory. Concurrences had been received from other Staff divisions. On this date WPD asked that G-4 employ the G-3 estimate of combat units to determine the number of equipment items that such a force would require. G-4, and more particularly Colonel Aurand, made the detailed computations sought and provided them in two


weeks.52 It was rapid delivery, but not rapid enough to keep up with the President's impatient desires.

The Staff's thoroughness in preparing the report and its desire to arrive at a sound estimate-disturbed almost daily by reports of new German successes in Russia and of Japanese maneuvers in the Far East-had prevented a swifter assembly of information. There were no complaints from the White House in early August, because the President was on the ocean until 16 August, absorbed in the Atlantic Conference.53 But on 29 August WPD (Colonel Bundy) received a peremptory request via General Burns whose telephone call, as reported to the Chief of Staff by General Gerow, announced that "the President is getting very impatient concerning the delay in submission of the report on ultimate requirements." General Burns had added that "the President would expect the report to be submitted to him complete by September 6, 1941," and he further requested Colonel Bundy to "notify the Navy Department to this effect." 54 In the meantime, however, the President's adviser, Mr. Hopkins, who had lately returned from Moscow and then made the August sea voyage with the President and now was spending the week end at Hyde Park, apparently discussed events in Russia with Mr. Roosevelt; he exhibited much greater confidence than the Army itself felt in Russia's ability to withstand Hitler's massive drive to the east, and a belief that more aid to Russia would prove a good investment. The President was already working on his coming broadcast, in which he was to pledge "everything in our power to crush Hitler and his Nazi forces." 55

Mr. Roosevelt's own sights may have been raised by recent developments, for he now wished considerably more information than he had previously asked of the War and Navy Departments. There came, therefore, to the Secretary of War, close on the heels of General Burns' telephoned message, a memorandum from the President himself, so completely superseding his 9 July request that it mentioned neither the earlier communication that had sped Major Wedemeyer and his colleagues into action nor the recent Burns-conveyed instructions for a response to it by 6 September. It called, rather, for a more


extended report, for a more enveloping purpose, to be delivered on 10 September. His memorandum of 30 August read:

As you know, I recently sent Mr. Hopkins to Moscow to inquire into Russian needs for munitions that might be obtained from American production and to inform the U. S. S. R. that this government is willing to help with such supplies to the extent of its ability.

As a result of that visit and Mr. Hopkins' report to Mr. Churchill and myself, a suggestion was sent to the U. S. S. R. that a conference be held in Russia in the near future to be attended by representatives of Russia, Great Britain and this country to have as its objective the formulation of definite munitions aid programs to assist Russia in its war efforts which might be supplied by Great Britain and the United States.

Russia accepted that suggestion and the representatives of the various countries are to meet in Russia by October 1, 1941.

I deem it to be of paramount importance for the safety and security of America that all reasonable munitions help be provided for Russia, not only immediately but as long as she continues to fight the Axis Powers effectively. I am convinced that substantial and comprehensive commitments of such character must be made to Russia by Great Britain and the United States at the proposed conference.

It is obvious that early help must be given primarily from production already provided for. I desire that your Department, working in cooperation with the Navy Department, submit to me by September 10, 1941, your recommendation of distribution of expected United States production of munitions of war as between the United States, Great Britain, Russia and the other countries to be aided-by important items, quantity time schedules and approximate values for the period from the present time until June 30, 1941. I also desire your general conclusions as to the over-all production effort of important items needed for victory on the general assumption that the reservoir of munitions power available to the United States and her friends is sufficiently superior to that available to the Axis Powers to insure defeat of the latter.

The distribution of production from existing production after June 30, 1942, and the distribution of the victory production objective will obviously have to be decided at a later date in the light of then existing circumstances.

After the above reports and recommendations are submitted, I propose to arrange with the Prime Minister of England for a conference of high military officials for the purpose of discussing the above two recommendations as well as the aid to be provided by England to Russia. In view of the date on which the conference is to be held in Russia, it is important that the recommendations resulting from this British conference reach me not later than September 20th, next.

With the knowledge of these recommendations, and after further consultation with the Prime Minister of Great Britain, I will be able to instruct the mission going to Russia as to the aid which will be supplied by this country. Should adjustments to this program


of assistance be necessary, they will be recommended to me by the mission to Russia after due consultation with the Russians and the British on the spot.


Here was a large addition to the already large requirements of the 9 July directive, itself not yet satisfied, and also a firmly set date of accomplishment. The information upon which these additional Russian requirements could be computed was fragmentary, and it does not appear that they entered into WPD calculations at this time seriously enough to effect any change in the figures of the Victory Program. They became a large factor in the later computations for Lend-Lease and, hence, for over-all production.

Last-Minute Discussions with the Navy

On 5 September the Navy Department, which up to the date of the 30 August letter does not appear to have offered any active co-operation in the joint enterprise directed by the President eight weeks earlier, presented its own sixteen-page estimate of requirements from the somewhat oblique approach of a "Proposal for the National Defense Policy of the United States." 57 Examination of it by General Gerow led the WPD chief, while agreeing with some of the Navy statements, to the opinion that "much of it is not responsive to the President's directive" and to the belief that he and Admiral R. K. Turner, the Navy's WPD chief, should hold a conference without delay.58 A revised Navy draft, dated 9 September, was then sent to the Chief of Staff, and was immediately and critically examined by WPD with a view to advising General Marshall on his answer.59 Both General Gerow and Major Wedemeyer expressed concern that the Navy statement which on one page explicitly recognized that "only land armies can finally win wars" proposed on another that the Allied land


armies to be pitted against the Germans on the continent of Europe should be inferior by a ratio of one to five.60

General Marshall found numerous other objections to the Navy paper. On the very morning when the joint paper was due at the White House he wrote Admiral Stark with an unusual touch of acerbity, listing a dozen points of disagreement, notably with the Navy paper's paragraph touching the tender issue of how to employ Army munitions. General Marshall wrote that he had noted:

. . . many suggestions that we should arm or help to arm the British, the Russians, the French in North Africa, as well as China, the Netherlands East Indies, and Malaya. While agreeing in general that we should aid where we can I believe that such broad statements may give the President an erroneous idea of the amount of aid which we can offer and might lead to commitments which would seriously impair the efficiency of our own forces. Furthermore, in this paragraph the suggestion is made that a large proportion of the troops of the Associated Powers employed in North and West Africa should be supplied from the United States. This statement seems rather premature .

. . . [as to Paragraph V] The War Department has been engaged in the study of the Army forces required, for the last two months. I feel that in the matter of Army forces the Navy should accept the Army studies to the extent that we accept the Navy statement of requirements, recognizing that the Navy is the expert so far as naval matters are concerned.

The Chief of Staff added pointedly that he was enclosing a copy of WPD conclusions in which "the purely naval requirements . . . have not been included." He proceeded: "It seems to me that we should submit our respective requirements to the President at an early date with a simple statement as to how they were determined." 61 Indeed there now was no time for a considered agreement of Army and Navy, if the delivery date specified by the President was to be met. On that same morning, with Mr. McCloy pressing for delivery of the Army's section of the voluminous report, General Gerow completed his memorandum to the Chief of Staff, to accompany Major Wedemeyer's exhaustive study. He cited the President's letter of 9 July and the memorandum of 30 August directing report by 10 September, cited also the steps taken to comply with both directives, and offered some conclusions which he apparently felt should be emphasized for the attention of higher authority. A significant item was the following: "Ultimate victory over the Axis powers will place a demand upon industry which few have yet conceived. There is no easy or short method of defeating our potential enemies." He mentioned that "discussion with the Navy, with a view to reconciliation


of conflicting views, is now being carried on" and recommended that (this day being the date set by the President for completion of the report) the Secretary of War approve the accompanying statement of Army critical items, for later inclusion in a joint Army-Navy report, the Navy's part not being on hand then.62

To this voluminous set of documents and exhibits the Chief of Staff appended a hastily penned note to the Secretary of War, dated 10 September, 5 :30 P.M.: "General Gerow is now -at this hour- in consultation with Admiral Stark. I have not had time to examine these proposals. They are submitted herewith." With the original of this note in the records is filed a penciled note from "A.C.W." (Major Wedemeyer) dated 10 September 1941 10:15 A.M. and reading: "Copy with complete set of Tabs taken personally by Col. Bundy to Chief of Staffs office. The Chief of Staff did not have time to review the complete study. However, Col. Bundy was given permission to deliver same to Assistant Secretary of War [Mr. McCloy] who wanted the data immediately." 63 It would appear that the Chief of Staff, meeting as well as possible the President's directive to have the study ready on 10 September so far as the Army's part was concerned, purposely avoided accepting personal responsibility for that portion until he could reach with the Navy an agreement on the entire joint statement. So far were the two services from agreement that when (on 25 September, fifteen days behind schedule) the joint letter of explanation from the Secretaries of War and Navy was finally delivered to the White House it was accompanied not only by a single Joint Board report but also by estimates of three separate "ultimate requirements," for Ground Forces, Air Forces, and Navy.64 The carefully considered study of WPD was necessarily a long document, and next day the Secretary of War reported wryly that the President was not disposed to read the entire bulky assemblage of papers at one time; what he kept for immediate perusal was not the painstaking Army discussion but the shorter reports of the Joint Board and the Air Corps.65

The Secretary, it must be understood, was no mere official agency of transmission for this study. The President's specific instructions had been addressed to him, both on 9 July and 30 August, and before his compliance on 25 Sep-


tember with these instructions Mr. Stimson discussed with his advisers the resultant Victory Program and its accompanying reports and also the issues of strategy and policy involved. At these conferences of 16-17 September were Assistant Secretary McCloy, Harvey Bundy of the Secretary's Office, General Gerow, and Major Wedemeyer.66 In the interval between 17 September and 25 September Mr. Stimson completed and presented to the President his own work on the Anglo-American Consolidated Statement, the fruit of the ancillary inquiry of this period, designed to show by accepted official totals the stocks of war material as of 30 June 1941 and the expected quarterly production from the plants of the United States, Canada, and Great Britain until December 1942.67 This statement was presented on 23 September, two days before Mr. Stimson and his Navy colleague Colonel Knox presented the Victory Program and its accompanying papers.

A Restatement of National Policy

Essential to beginning compilation of the Victory Program's estimate of requirements had been a statement of the national policy's objective, for without a knowledge of the desired end there could be no intelligent determination of the means to attain it. But in July 1941 the Staff planners still possessed as their official guide only that "more or less nebulous" policy of which General Gerow had complained. It remained therefore for the Stall to project its own clear statement of a strategic concept. This would be the hypothetical policy to support which Major Wedemeyer could then address himself. On the early steps taken in the Staff to draft that initial policy statement the record thus far examined is barren, but they can be easily conjectured. The routine of General Staff procedure would have called for extended consultations of the Chief of Staff with WPD; a resultant outline to the planning agent of WPD (in this case Major Wedemeyer) of the various items to be incorporated in such a state-


ment; the planning agent's development of the outline into an ordered and complete statement; his reference of this statement to his immediate chief and to other Staff divisions for criticism; his revision of the original as needed; his resubmission of the document to his chief and, eventually, to the Chief of Staff. Certain of these conjectured steps are in fact suggested by the record.68 It discloses the preparation in chart form, not later than 31 July 1941, of an initial "Brief of Strategic Concept of Operations Required to Defeat Our Potential Enemies" and examination of this chart in ensuing days by G-1, G-2, and G-3, whose chiefs returned it with their comments. Criticisms were so few as to suggest that the items had previously been discussed orally and already adjusted to Staff views. This chart's explicit assumptions dealt with items of national policy in plain rather than "more or less nebulous" terms. Unquestionably in so grave a matter the Chief of Staff had directed the use of explicit terms. These were the boldly stated assumptions of national policy:

Monroe Doctrine. Resist with all means Axis penetration in Western Hemisphere.
Aid to Britain.
Limited only by U. S. needs and abilities of the British to utilize; insure delivery of this aid.
Aid to other Axis-opposed nations.
Limited by U. S. and British requirements.
Far Eastern Policy. To
disapprove strongly Japanese aggression and to convey to Japan determination of U. S. to take positive action. To avoid major military and naval commitments in the Far East at this time.
Freedom of the seas.
The United States would permit no abridgment.
Eventually the U. S. will employ all armed forces necessary to accomplish national objectives.
The principal theater of operations is Europe, but other possible theaters may later appear desirable.
The defeat of our potential enemies is primarily dependent on the defeat of Germany.
Field forces (air and/or ground) will not be prepared for ultimate decisive modern combat before July 1, 1943 due to shortage of essential equipment.

The chart recommended three phases of American activity, with definition as to time and objective, as follows:

1st Phase (Until M Day or when hostilities begin). Objective: Insure delivery of supplies to the British Isles and provide munitions for other nations fighting the Axis, in


order to preclude a diminution of their war effort, and concurrently to prepare U. S. forces for active participation in the war.

2d Phase (M Day until prepared for final offensive action). Objective: Prepare the way for eventual defeat of Germany by active participation as Associate of Great Britain and other nations fighting the Axis powers.

Final Phase. Objective: Total defeat of Germany.

If the chart's strategic estimate was necessary as a preliminary to developing the Victory Program's estimate of production, a corresponding study was felt to be equally necessary to explain that "Statement of Ultimate Requirements." The original strategic concept therefore was revised by WPD from day to day until 24 September when it was ready for Secretary Stimson's approval, so that it could take cognizance of such current events as the Atlantic Conference and the ominous developments in the Pacific. Thus the group of documents that was given to Mr. Roosevelt on 25 September contained not only an elaborate chart of production needs (his specific request) but a complete statement of the Army's views on strategy in that tense autumns.69 It is the most searching of the strategy statements up to that time and, while it was textually prepared by WPD and so accredited, it must be recognized as the considered view of the Chief of Staff whose responsibility it was. The document may be summarized as follows:

The United States must be prepared to fight Germany directly and defeat her, conscious that Germany and the satellite states now have 11 million soldiers in 300 equipped and trained divisions and by 1943 can have 400 divisions in the European theater. This means that the Allies must have air superiority and a strong sea force; that the United States must create production capacity to provide for

a. an appropriate force to defend the Western Hemisphere.
b. task forces for operations, primarily in the European theater.
c. supplies for friendly powers.

The United States must consider where, how and when its means will be used. Where? In Central Europe (which will be decisive) but possibly also in Africa, the Near East, the Iberian peninsula, the Scandinavian countries, the Far East. How? By sweeping the Axis navy from the sea; by getting overwhelming air superiority; by destroying German economy and industry (lines of communication and ports and industries); by reducing the German military forces' effectiveness by causing shortages and chaos and by lowering popular morale; by maintaining the security of the British Isles and the Near East and using them as bases, and by getting more advanced bases; by conducting an offensive in Europe and a defensive in the Pacific. When? First, count upon a lag of 1 to 2 years between planning and execution. Second, accept the possibility of Russia's defeat west of the White Sea-Moscow-Volga Line by July 1942 and Russia's resultant military impotence; recognize that Germany would


then need a year to restore order. The Allies' timetable would be affected by Russian events, in that so long as Russia could hold German forces in the east Germany would suffer from prolonged attrition, and there could be an intensification and an extension of Allied efforts. If during this space the Allies could accumulate enough strength to seize new military bases for later air and ground operations and for some immediate air activities, the desirability of that step is obvious, but the American forces would not soon be ready for a timely offensive of any size. There must however be a great acceleration of production for Britain and for the ultimate American offensive for which 1 July 1943 remained the target date.70

In estimating the capabilities of the belligerents it was assumed that Russia would be rendered impotent; that the Axis would be weakened by blockade, by losses in Russia, by British sea and air operations, and by lowered home morale; that Japan would be fully occupied with a strengthened China, plus a fear of Russia in Siberia and a threat of reprisal from Britain and the United States; that Britain would strengthen; that France would remain passive; that the Mediterranean would remain in dispute; that the United States would become an active belligerent.

The estimate's assumptions recognized that, besides bases in the British Isles and the Near East, others must be acquired in the Scandinavian or Iberian peninsulas or in northwest Africa.

Conjectures upon the weight of manpower needed started with the surmise that the Axis in July 1943 would have 400 divisions, and that the Allies, excepting the United States, would have 100 -with the result that a 2-1 attack ratio would call for the impossible figure of 100 American divisions, or 22,000,000 men. This historic 2-1 concept was therefore dismissed from consideration. It was noted that mere numbers of men may not be as potent as machines and blockade, that in 1940 another million men would hardly have saved France, and that Russia's actual superiority in numbers had not yet saved her. The concept was, therefore, to surround the Axis with fewer men, but to use them in locally powerful task forces and to advance step by step. They might be used in North Africa, the Middle East, France, or the Low Countries, or in all.

Shipping was recognized as the bottleneck, and the Victory Program called for early application to that need. To move 5,000,000 men overseas would probably require 7,000,000 tons of shipping (1,000 vessels) but the two years needed to build such a fleet would also be needed to build such a force of men. It would be "folly to prepare forces without transport to move them."

The Joint Board report (which, rather than WPD's extended statement, Secretary Stimson said had engaged the President's immediate attention) under-


took to reconcile the Army-Navy differences and, failing in one large instance, summarized separately the views of the services on that issue. Its broad conclusions, in some important items supplementing those of the Army document, may be summarized as follows:

National objectives, as related to the military situation, called for (1) preservation of integrity of the whole Western Hemisphere; (2) prevention of disruption of the British Commonwealth; (3) prevention of further extension of Japanese dominion; (4) eventual re-establishment in Europe and Asia of a balance of power furthering political stability in those regions and future security of the United States; (5) establishment, as far as practicable, of regimes favorable to economic freedom and individual liberty.71

It was fundamental that the United States provide armed forces which in all eventualities could prevent the extension of alien power in the Western Hemisphere "even though the British Commonwealth had collapsed." The objectives listed could be gained only by military victories outside this hemisphere, whether by U. S. forces or by those friendly to the United States.

The estimate of belligerents' capabilities was followed by a judgment that Germany could not be defeated without American aid to the anti-Axis forces and, likewise, that should Japan advance toward the Malay barrier the movement could not be resisted by British or Dutch without American aid. For that reason the Joint Board recommended a production objective designed to meet the needs of the United States while engaged simultaneously with Germany and Japan, with or without the continued participation of the 1940 opponents of the Axis; also it recommended that the production objective include needs of friendly powers likewise engaged against the Axis. The first military objective was held to be the total defeat of Germany, even if in the interim Britain and Russia should collapse and thereby add to the strain upon American resources. Recognition of this as the main objective dictated the need of material support meantime in all operations against Germany, and called for reinforcement of those operations with American units whenever possible; naval and air contributions being all that was currently available, these contributions should be made, but with recognition that almost invariably "only land armies can finally win wars." For the present the contributions would have to be in the forms of maintaining the blockade, prosecuting warfare in those areas where German land resistance was weak, and supporting subversive activities. Europe, patently, would ultimately be the chief theater, but "invasion by the


United States of Germany will not be attempted until the air offensive against Germany has been successful and we can control the air over the area of the invasion to a very large measure."

The one insurmountable obstacle to Army-Navy agreement sprang from Navy hostility to the Army's flood of munitions orders. It was temporarily disposed of by a paragraph reciting the Navy view that, because of limited ground force strength, strategy should make full use of naval and air force resources; the opposed Army view, also recited, was that naval and air attacks admittedly could not defeat Germany, and hence land strength for the ultimate battle on the continent of Europe should be provided.72

WPD Again Records Its Difference with the Navy

In October WPD issued another strategic estimate of the situation, following the conventional Staff procedure of submitting to other Staff sections an initial draft for criticism.73  Its purpose, beyond the obvious aim of providing a new current estimate of the situation, would appear to have been to press the Army viewpoint which the Navy was not yet quite ready to accept, for it emphasized the WPD wish "to determine . . . the most profitable lines of action for the employment of our military potentials" in order to pursue present national policies.74 The measures to be taken to that end were listed: to enforce the Monroe Doctrine; to contribute in any way possible to the defeat of Germany, short of declared war; to assist all peoples opposing the Axis powers by providing munitions; to uphold the American doctrine of freedom of the seas; to discourage Japanese aggression. The situation estimate was pessimistic: WPD still expected the liquidation of Russia in early 1942, followed by German peace overtures to Britain and, these failing, a full assault on Britain at home or in the Mediterranean; Japan's bellicosity would reflect the degree of German successes; British defeat was now regarded as probable unless the United States should provide support by military forces; victory, even with American help, was thought unpredictable because of the uncertainty about Russia's future, for German conquest of Russia would be followed by a rehabilitation of Europe and the Middle East, which in time would enable the Axis to defy the British blockade.


Hence WPD now recited the effective strength of the Army as of 1 October 1941 (1 infantry division almost complete, 5 antiaircraft regiments, 2 bomber squadrons, 3 pursuit groups); as of 1 January 1942 (2 divisions, 1 cavalry regiment, 7 antiaircraft regiments, 3 bomber groups plus a squadron, and 4 pursuit groups); and as of 1 April 1942 (3 infantry divisions, 1 armored corps including 1 motorized and 2 armored divisions, 1 cavalry regiment, 9 antiaircraft regiments, 7 bomber groups, 7 pursuit groups).

The recommendations this time were more vigorous than in September:

To secure the Western Hemisphere and Atlantic sea lanes, and to aid Latin America.
To render maximum usable aid to Britain, Russia, China, without jeopardizing the arming of American forces.
To negotiate with Japan in order to block her collaboration with the Axis. To deter her aggressiveness by display of strength in Hawaii and Alaska.
To defend Hawaii and Alaska in strength. To defend the Philippines with an augmented force, but without heavy commitments. Success in a Pacific war would be at a cost incommensurate with other American interests.
To expand merchant shipbuilding.
To exploit the military potential.
To send observer officers to potential theaters of operation.75

In circulating this October estimate to the Secretary of War, the Chief of Staff, and others, along with pertinent data based upon the September Victory Program, General Gerow repeated verbatim much of what he had written on 16 July to the Chief of Staff, with regard to the "more or less nebulous national policy" with which WPD still had to work. From the wording of the July letter he made a significant alteration, with a view to emphasizing the existence of a force-in-being. Instead of possible government commitments "with reference to the defeat of the Axis powers," as in July, he now discussed possible commitments "with reference to the employment of armed forces. 76

Isolationist Inquiry into the Administration's Intentions

By coincidence, on the very day when this secret "October Estimate" of WPD was circulated among War Department officials, isolationists made known their own suspicions of the course of events. They asserted that, contrary to assurances given to Congressional committees during the draft extension hearings, the Army was currently preparing an expeditionary force for


duty in Africa. To cope with this rumor the Chief of Staff issued a corrective statement affirming categorically: "There is no foundation whatsoever for the allegation or rumor that we are preparing troops for a possible expedition to Africa or other critical areas outside this hemisphere." Three weeks later, without preliminaries, certain newspapers printed an article questioning the accuracy of General Marshall's denial, and recording in some detail the Army's formulation of a program for American participation in the war on Germany.77 The reference was unmistakably to the highly secret Victory Program and its accompanying strategic estimate, and there was concern in the Department both over public references to that document and over the imputation against General Marshall. Within the Staff an impersonal statement of information for the press was drafted, declaring:

This [the earlier Marshall] statement was and is correct. It does not preclude the study of possible eventualities, one of the primary duties and responsibilities of the War Department .... Failures to make such studies would constitute a serious dereliction on the part of the responsible military authorities. The object of the study referred to by the press was to determine production requirements .... We are not preparing troops nor have we asked for funds for an A. E. F. 78

Instead of having this impersonal statement issued, Secretary of War Stimson elected himself to champion publicly the Department's conduct. He summoned a press conference for 5 December, and without waiting to be questioned, as was his custom, read to his prospective questioners two dramatic inquiries of his own:

What would you think of an American General Staff which in the present condition of the world did not investigate and study every conceivable type of emergency which may confront this country, and every possible method of meeting that emergency? What do you think of the patriotism of a man or a newspaper which would take those confidential studies and make them public to the enemies of this country?

The publications are of unfinished studies of our production requirements for national defense, carried on by the General Staff as a part of their duties in this emergency. They have never constituted an authorized program of the Government.79


The gravity of the matter was obvious, although just how vital was military security was less apparent to the layman on 5 December than it was two days later. The Army's implementation of the Victory Program as such continued until, on 7 January 1942, under the tremendously increased pressure for swift production following Pearl Harbor, a new sighting of industrial objectives was called for. On that day the Deputy Chief of Staff announced: "The Victory Program has been replaced by the War Munitions Program." 80

Materiel and Personnel Programs Again in Conflict

The basic information in the Victory Program-on the number of men available to the Army-was altered to a surprisingly small extent. The original computations of a few items were so large as to startle the Supply, Priority, and Allocations Board, one of whose members declared (as General Aurand later recalled) that this materiel "could not be produced before the year 2050." He was wrong, and even if the computations then seemed for a time to be setting the sights of industry too high they most abruptly ended the nation's unmistakable error of the past in having set industry's sights too low.

In the closing days of the preparation of the Victory Program, which sought an orderly basis for materiel planning, there came a serious jolt to the Army's personnel planning. Ever since 1939, when European orders from American aircraft factories had begun to encroach upon the U. S. Army's inflow of new weapons to meet its own requirements, there had been recurring conflicts of interest. Materiel production was consistently less than demand, and weapons that poured overseas to Great Britain were as unavailing to US Army needs as though they never had come from the factory. The lack of weapons or ammunition not only hampered the equipping of the new Army, but delayed the training of the new units, as General Marshall pointed out in 1940 and


1941.81 It was largely to overcome this disturbing interruption to training that the Deputy Chief of Staff on 3 February 1941 had pressed for a formal restatement of American defense objectives -an early harbinger of the Victory Program itself.

The summer's events had done much to expedite the deliveries of materiel and the planning of greater deliveries to come. But the training authorities of the Army had likewise pushed the personnel training program with energy. General Marshall had greatly encouraged such a program in the February 1941 restatement referred to, in that it projected two augmentations of the Protective Mobilization Plan-the first to a 2,800,000-man army, the second to 4,100,000.82 With that encouragement, conditioned though it was, planning of the greatly enlarged Army proceeded. This, and the need for better training of the new troops already on active duty by way of the National Guard and the draft, had induced the decision to extend those troops' duty beyond the period of the year originally specified. The difficult fight in Congress to gain that extension was won only in late summer,83 and as the Victory Program for materiel planning was nearing its completion the training authorities of the Army were developing their own plans for further inductions and for the building up of new divisions and corps and army troops. In late August the Operations and Training Division of the General Staff was counting upon authorization to summon 462,000 recruits above those already authorized. At this stage the chief of that division, reading the Chief of Staff's recent remarks to a Congressional committee, became aware that General Marshall himself was not asking for any such increase, but for only 150,000.84  It was a chilling reminder that the Chief of Staff had his own doubts about the possibility, or even the wisdom, of pressing forward rapidly with personnel training when there was an uncertainty about the proportionate inflow of equipment for distribution to the Army. Apparently this was a reflection of reasoning outside the Army. The campaign for giving much more attention to production was having a surprising secondary effect- it was encouraging a view that increased production was more im-


portant, for the present anyway, than the balanced program of production paced with training, and training paced with production, upon which so much emphasis had been laid hitherto.

A climax was reached on 20 September when the Chief of Staff summoned representatives of G-1, G-3, and WPD to a morning conference and stated that he was "going to the White House the following Monday to discuss with the President a proposal to reduce the strength of the Army in order to make available more materiel for other purposes." 85 He referred to a widely circulated newspaper article of that day, which had suggested a reduction of the Army on the ground that the trend of war made American participation one "basically of Navy, Air and manufacturing," with early need for ground forces apparently lightly regarded.86 The Chief of Staff apparently suspected that this was in line with one of Mr. Roosevelt's own mutually conflicting views, for notes of the conference mention his recognition of difficulty in reconciling a reduction of troops with other of the President's indicated desires for "the possible occupation of bases in the Atlantic, including Dakar, Cape Verde Islands, Azores, Natal, and possibly the establishment of base service units in the Middle East." Inconsistent or no, the President's views had to be respected, and General Marshall wanted from his assistants a maximum of information for his use at the coming meeting in the White House.

The agenda for Mr. Roosevelt's coming conference must already have been made clear to him, for the notes of General Marshall's remarks to his aides proceed:

The proposals which have been made are as follows: (1) to reduce the size of the Army; (2) to reduce the amount of materiel being used by the Army; (3) to reduce the strength of our forces in the bases .... The Chief of Staff also pointed out that steps are being taken to reduce the garrisons in Hawaii and Panama; that the situation in the Philippines might be decisive within the next two months (Japan's attack actually came in less than two and a half months); and that our present augmentations there are of outstanding importance.87


Suggestions for Reducing the Army with Minimum Injury

The Chief of Staffs directive to his Staff advisers specified that WPD take the lead in preparing a study on two lines: (1) a defensive against a decrease and (2) a discussion favoring actual increases in the Army for an all-out effort. This final item of the directive suggests that the Chief of Staff at that time was preparing to oppose the Presidential desire for a reduction of the forces. It was not merely because a reduction was strangely inconsistent with his own recent pleading to Congress-successful only after so great a struggle and by so narrow a margin-for extension of the selectees' training period. It was also because in truth there was obvious need, rather for a considerable addition to the forces of which so much was expected by the President himself.

Over the week end both WPD and the Office of the Secretary labored on data to support the Chief of Staff's argument against a reduction of the Army. The fruit of their labors plus several relevant exhibits General Marshall carried with him to the White House as aids to his oral discussion. In the packet were an unsigned and undated memorandum labeled "Morale of the Country" and penciled "Reply of McCloy and Lovett"; an undated memorandum for the President which WPD had drafted and which recited the personnel plans for the various bases and task forces; a memorandum dated only "September 1941" from General Gerow on Ultimate Tonnage Requirements (differing sharply from the Navy's recommendation to restrict the Army's overseas force to 1,500,000 men); another of 16 September on the availability of Army forces for taking Dakar (recommending against action, by reason of weak forces and bad weather, prior to November 1942) ; a memorandum from W. B. S. (Colonel Smith), 16 September, to the Secretary reporting 1,200 men in Trinidad ready to protect bauxite in Dutch Guiana; a signed letter of 12 September to Admiral Stark from General Marshall, recounting what was being done to strengthen the Philippines; a memorandum of 19 September from Col. (later Maj. Gen.) R. W. Crawford, acting WPD chief, recounting (1) a conference of WPD officials with the Secretary of War on the necessity of protecting Natal and Peru and (2) the impossibility of taking and holding the Cape Verde or Canary Islands or a foothold in West Africa (the memorandum favored aid to Britain and China but questioned whether aid available to Russia would have a material effect); data on the effect of reducing the garrisons; finally, Staff recommendations on priorities in Army reduction if, after all, that should be


necessary.88 The support of Assistant Secretaries McCloy and Lovett was spirited. It argued that "to shift our national objectives by reduction of our Army at present would be disastrous," noting from the military point of view that Russian armies might be on the verge of disintegration, that Japan and Turkey were on the brink of entering the war, and that Germany was on the point of a Middle East offensive. Politically, the Assistant Secretaries argued, American abatement of effort would "encourage collaboration with the Axis throughout Europe and permanently stifle the spirit of resistance to the Axis," and "abandonment of maximum effort in any form would be considered a step toward appeasement, for a negotiated peace is at the root of the Lippmann article-not a complete victory." Morally, they added, such a step "will inevitably be construed as an attempt to limit our commitment." Militarily, they urged the need of a large modern army to do what Britain and Russia could not do alone, and to do the things for which sea and air forces were not competent; "to write off -the possibility of American manpower is probably to write off the decisive factor in victory."

The WPD memorandum pressed this argument that Germany could not be defeated by supplying munitions to friendly forces or by air and naval operations without a large ground force participation. It presented the immediate requirements of the Western Hemisphere (minimum garrisons and task forces for use against the Atlantic islands and Natal), the western Pacific (build-up of air power for the Philippines plus small increases of ground elements), and the European theater (security forces for air and naval bases in the British Isles and task forces for additional bases encircling Germany). It recited the authorizations for garrisons as follows:

Atlantic bases- Greenland, 2,500 men (few yet there), Newfoundland, 5,500 (2,500 there), Bermuda, 4,000 (800 there), Jamaica, 876 (14 there), Trinidad, 16,000 ( 1,800 there); and Puerto Rico, 21,000, British Guiana, 350, Antigua, 350, Santa Lucia, 350, Panama, 33,000 (all there).

Pacific bases- Alaska, 24,000 (16,000 there), Hawaii, 41,000, Philippine islands, 31,000 (12,000 more needed and about half of equipment still lacking).

Task forces- East Coast Task Force, 27,000 men (reserve equipment lacking); West Coast Task Forces 27,000 (same); Relief forces for occupying Azores after possible capture of those islands by landing force, 27,000 (same); Expeditionary corps for possible use in Brazil or in other theaters, and for reinforcements of task forces, 154,000; Iceland Force, 28,000 (5,000 now there).


Remainder of Army- GHQ Reserve of 4 armored and 2 cavalry divisions plus antiaircraft troops, 115,000; two field armies of 20 divisions, 465,000; Air Forces about one-fourth combat troops, 250,000; Harbor defense troops, 45,000; administration, 125,000; trainees not assigned, 150,000.

The memorandum stressed that the task forces and overseas forces needed 100 percent of their equipment, and that the "remainder of the Army" forces could not be cut below 50 percent without seriously lowering morale and retarding development of the new units. A WPD suspicion that the continued British pressure was responsible for Mr. Roosevelt's change of mind is suggested in the remark that "no appreciable increase in defense aid desired by the British can be realized except by eliminating units of the remainder of the Army," and the memorandum proceeds:

To shift our national objectives by the reduction of our Army at the present time might well be disastrous. Certainly the momentary encouragement it would give the Russian and British governments would be far outweighed by the positive indications it would give to the German government that they need riot fear an eventual onslaught of ground forces.

Tentative Plan to Send Certain National Guard Units Home

Despite the week-end labors of Staff and Secretary's Office and the accumulation of these data and arguments, General Marshall failed to dissuade Mr. Roosevelt. On 3 October the Deputy Chief of Staff's conference was still discussing augmentation of the Army,89  but the die was cast, and on 7 October General McNair proposed a plan for making the best of a difficult situation. The GHQ chief of staff came that day to General Marshall's office with a suggestion for placing the "best" National Guard divisions on an inactive status and organizing new divisions in their place.90 This plan, General McNair explained, would avoid an actual net increase in the number of men in federalized service and thereby, possibly, meet the President's wishes. It would transfer the trained division in question to the reserve, more or less ready for reactivation in emergency. It would start the training of an entirely new division. General Marshall at first opposed the suggestion, pointing out that in retiring the best of the National Guard divisions there would necessarily be an increase in the proportion of poor


ones. Also he still felt it "would seem inconsistent in view of our recent efforts to obtain legislation for retention of the National Guard in service .... It could be expected that upon inactivation a National Guard division would disintegrate, due to its men moving to other states and obtaining defense jobs." 91

During the week, however, the Chief of Staff became convinced that this was the best he could get out of a depressing situation, and he summoned a conference with representative of OPD, G-1, and G-3 to consider a plan for sending home the National Guard divisions in order of their summons to federal service.92 This approximated the McNair suggestion for the "best" divisions but avoided invidious public distinction as to their quality and unnecessary public disputes over priority of release. The plan contemplated that when a National Guard division was thus sent home that part of the division's personnel which had been lately added to its ranks, and hence was not ready for discharge, would remain in camp as part of a new Regular Army division being created-a "triangular" division from the outset, thus hastening the up-building of the whole new Army on that basis. The following day, at a larger conference attended also by the Deputy Chief of Staff and a GHQ representative, this suggestion was approved with some modifications, and a few days later G-3 was directed to work up a final plan to that result.93 This was finished in ten days, and on 31 October a G-3 spokesman presented a chart showing the prospective course of deactivation of the National Guard's eighteen infantry divisions on a progressive basis, beginning in February 1942. The plan provided for the current replacement of each with a new Regular division, save at four camps that would become new replacement training centers. Thus, beyond the old Regular divisions, there would at all times be fourteen new divisions at a fair stage of training. As the National Guardsmen went home, the relatively new trainees who had been with them would remain as individuals for completion of their training. That completed, it was proposed by the Chief of Staff that they, too, go home, to be enrolled in local reserve divisions, by a technique yet to be worked out.94

This was the prospective solution for a difficult problem in training, brought on by the training program's conflict with the materiel program. It remained only prospective. Long before February 1942, the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor had ended all thought of Army reduction.


page created 12 December 2002


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