From Wedemyer Reports by Albert C. Wedemyer


The Second World War, says historian Walter Millis, was administered. Since administration presupposes a comprehensive plan, this, as I take it, means that special efforts had to be made to see the war whole. As a war planner in Washington from 1940 into 1943 I was intimately involved in an attempt to see the war whole-and even after I had moved on to Asia, where I served successively on Lord Lewis Mountbatten's staff in India and as U.S. commander in the China theater, I was still close to the problems of adapting Grand Gtrategy to a conflict of global dimentions.

It was inevitable, then, that the subject of Grand Strategy should predominate in this book. I was not deprived of my own share of war experience from close up, but my most strenuous battles were those of the mind-of trying, as we in Washington's planning echelons saw it, to establish a correct and meaningful grand strategy which would have resulted in a fruitful piece and a decent postwar world.

There were many obstacles in the way of developing a meaningful strategy, of assuring that are abundant means, material and spiritual, would be used to achieve worthy human ends. First, there was the pervasive influence of the Communists, who had their own plans for utilizing the war as a springboard to world domination. Second, there was the obstinacy of that grand old man, Winston Churchill, who, as we soldiers felt, could never reconcile his own concepts and grand strategy with sound military decisions. Because we had to contend with the machinations of Stalin on the one hand and with the bulldog tenacity of Churchill on the other, this book has had to be harsh and some of its personal assessments. But I hope I have made it plain that none of my judgments is personal in the ordinary connotation of the word.

My acknowledgments of aid in maturing a point of view would, if set down here, go back far into my past and take up all too many pages. But I wish especially to thank the late George Creel Woodrow Wilson's world war one administrator of war information, for many hours of sage conversation.

Chapter 1

Pearl Harbor brought an abrupt and conclusive end to the great debate between interventionists and the isolationists. There could no longer be any question whether to fight or not to fight, once America had been attacked. We were now, Willie Nelly, engaged in combat in the Pacific, and Germany, by declaring war on us in support of her Japanese ally, shut off any opposition to our intervention in the European struggle the American firsters henceforth joined in the war effort as ardently as the Britain firsters and the Russia firsters. The fact that Japan's attack had been deliberately provoked was obscured by the disaster at Pearl Harbor and by the subsequent loss of the Philippines, where the American garrison was regarded as expendable by an administration bent on getting us into the European war by the back door. The noninterventionist, together with those who realize that communist Russia constituted at least as great a menace as Nazi Germany, henceforth held their peace although well aware that Pres. Roosevelt had maneuvered us into the war by his patently unneutral actions against Germany and the final ultimatum to Japan. Whatever one's views on the origins of the war, we now had to go all out to win, and leave the debate to the historians of the future

today, seeing the wreckage of the hopes which led America to mobilize her great industrial-strength for total victory and to send her sons to fight and die again in foreign wars, despite Pres. Roosevelt's repeated assurances that they would never be called upon to do so, one should examine how and why the United States became involved in a war which was to result in the extension of totalitarian tyranny over vaster regions of the world than Hitler ever dreamed of conquering.

Thanks to the publication of many biographies and memoirs by leading actors in the most tragic drama of our time, and also to the revelations to be found in published documents from American, British, and German state archives, facts which were only dimly perceived by non-interventionists in the fateful years preceding Pearl Harbor are now revealed to all who read or care to inform themselves. Yet, although the results of the second world war have proven far more harmful to our security, there has as yet been no era of debunking such as followed the 1914 to 18 war. In the 20s, the public on both sides of the Atlantic was disillusioned concerning the origins, causes, and consequences of that conflict by a flood of books, articles, and speeches exposing the facts which contradicted wartime propaganda. With less than a decade the myth of soul German war guilt had been shattered, the real causes of the war uncovered, and the evil consequences of the punitive Versailles peace treaty recognized. But today, many years after the fighting ended only to be succeeded by the Cold War with our former Galant ally, the Union of Soviet Socialist republics, there has been no comparable probing into the real causes of the war or general recognition that the present perilous world situation is largely of our own making.

Few will even admit that the Soviet Colossus would not now the bestride nearly half the world had the United States kept out of the war, at least until Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany had exhausted each other. If we had followed the policy advocated by ex-president Hoover, Sen. Taft and the other patriotic Americans, we probably would have stood aside until our intervention could enforce a just, and therefore enduring, peace instead of giving unconditional aid to communist Russia. And if, after we became involved in the war Roosevelt and Churchill had not sought to obliterate Germany, which was tantamount to destroying power equilibrium on the continent, we might not have fought in vain.

Our objective should have been maintenance of the Munro doctrine and the restoration of a balance of power in Europe and the Far East. The same holds true for England, whose national interests, far from requiring the annihilation of her temporary enemies, was irretrievably injured by a victory which immensely enhanced Soviet Russian territory, power, and influence. It is indeed one of the great ironies of history that Winston Churchill, who had proclaimed that he had not become the king's first minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire, pursued policies which hastened Britain's decline to her present status of a second-rate power. In none of his books has he ever recognized either his own or Roosevelt's responsibility for the disastrous outcome of the war. Yet in the preface to his history of the second world war he writes:

the human tragedy reaches its climax in the fact that after all the exertions and sacrifices of hundreds of millions of people and of the victories of the righteous cause, we have still not found peace or security, and that we lie in the grip of even worse perils than those we have surmounted.

Churchill indeed seems to lack either the wisdom to recognize his mistakes or the greatness to admit them and say Mia Culpa.

It is indeed strange that Churchill, who belonged by birth and tradition to the long line of British statesman who had made England the greatest power in the world by intelligent strategy in peace and war, reveals himself as lacking there wisdom and statecraft. Instead of seeking to reestablish the balance of power in Europe which had been the constant objective of British policy for more than 300 years, he saw the destruction of Germany and thus gave Russia an opportunity to dominate Europe. Churchill's folly in disregarding the precepts of his forbearers and letting his passions sublimate his reason was matched by Roosevelt's disregard of George Washington's advice to his successors in the conduct of United States policy. In his farewell address, Washington said:

in the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than not permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and then in place of them, just an amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another and have vitriol hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its beauty and its interests… The piece often… Of nations has been the victim.

… Sympathy for the favorite nations, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one of the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification.…

This and otherwise precepts of the founding fathers of the Republic which have stood the test of time were ignored by Roosevelt who, like the dictator he so passionately hated, directed US policy on the personal level and imagined that Stalin was, or could be induced to become, his friend, and Soviet Russia a permanent ally

there is little doubt that a majority of the American people, remembering the broken promises of the 1914 war, desire to keep out of the second world war which they instinctively, or by reason of past experience, realized could not lead to any better results and might well prove more disastrous. It was made clear both by Roosevelt's campaign promises and by the support given to Charles Lindbergh and others who forewarned of the disastrous consequences which would ensue from their engagement in yet another crusade that they wanted to follow George Washington's too often neglected advice.

A generation born or brought up in the debunking era of the 20s and 30s wanted no part in another world Holocaust. The first world war had resulted in the establishment of communist tyranny in Russia. The punitive piece which followed had stunted the growth of democracy in Germany and eventually led to the destruction of the Weimar Republic and the establishment of Nazi tyranny in Germany. The Versailles Treaty had also converted Eastern Europe into a hodgepodge of unviable small states whose people were worse off, and enjoyed less liberty and opportunity, then under the Austro-Hungarian Empire which Wilsonian principles had split up into antagonistic parts. And who would say that these people enjoyed any advantage and were not endangering their own existence by being utilized by France for the purpose of containing Germany? A second war to make the world safe for democracy was unlikely to lead to any better results and might prove disastrous to Western civilization.

Today it would seem almost certain that the policy advocated by American noninterventionists would have been more beneficial to Britain as well as to the rest of the world than that of the powerful Anglophiles and other interventionists. In a famous speech which brought opprobrium on his head, Lindbergh said on April 23, 1941: I have said before, and I will say again, that I believe it will be a tragedy to the entire world if the British Empire collapses. This is one of the main reasons why I opposed this war before it was declared and why I have constantly advocated a negotiated peace I did not feel that England and France had a reasonable chance of winning France's now been defeated; and, despite the propaganda and confusion of recent months, it is now obvious that England is losing the war. I believe this is realized even by the British government. But they have one desperate plan remaining. They help that they may be able to persuade us to send another American expeditionary force to Europe, and to share with England militarily, as well as financially, the fiasco of this war.

I do not blame England for this hope or for asking for our assistance. What we now know that she declared a war under circumstances which led to the defeat of every nation decided with her from Poland to Greece. We know that in the desperation of war England promised to all those nations armed assistance that she could not send. We know that she misinformed them, as she has misinformed us, concerning her state of preparation, her military strength, and the progress of the war.

Following Germany's attack on Russia, those who knew something about communism foresaw that American intervention would in all probability result in creating what Churchill recognized too late as worse perils. For instance, Prof. Nicholas's pikemen of Yale wrote in a book published shortly after Pearl Harbor (America's strategy in world politics: the United States and the balance of power) that the annihilation of Germany and Japan would open Europe to Soviet domination and observed: "a Russian state from the Urals to the North Sea can be no great improvement over a German state from the North Sea to the Urals".

Ex-president Herbert Hoover was among those who had the wisdom and foresight to realize that our aid to communist Russia would have disastrous consequences. In June, 1941, when Britain was comparatively safe from German invasion thanks to Hitler's attack on Russia, he said (as recalled in his broadcast August 10, 1954 that "the gargantuan chest of all history would be our giving aid to the Soviet government." He urged that America should allow the two dictators to exhaust each other and prophesied that the result of our assistance would be "to spread communism over the world." Whereas, if we stood aside the time would come when we could bring "lasting peace to the world."

Pres. Roosevelt was undeterred by this and other prophetic voices. He was determined to get the United States into the war by one means or another in spite of the reluctance or positive refusal of the American people to become involved. Step-by-step from the land lease act to the Atlantic conference in August, 1941, the president had resorted to both open and covert acts contravening the international laws which circumscribe the action permissible to neutral powers and directly contrary to the intent of Congress and the American people. Acts "short of war" taken to help Britain were succeeded by belligerent action when secret orders were given to the Atlantic fleet on August 25, 1941, to attack and destroy German and Italian "hostile forces." This order came two weeks after the Atlantic conference, at which Roosevelt had said to Churchill, "I may never declare war; I may make war. If I were to ask Congress to declare war, they might argue about it for three months." Following the Greer incident in which an American destroyer fired on a German submarine, the president on September 11 made his shoot on sight speech in which he called the Nazi submarines and raters "rattlesnakes": said that "when you see a rattlesnake poised to strike you you do not wait until he has struck before you crush him," and stated that henceforth "if German or Italian vessels of war enter the waters the protection of which is necessary to American defense, they will do so at their own peril."

Thus we should have been openly involved in the war months before Pearl Harbor had it not been for Hitler's evident determination not to be provoked by our belligerent acts into declaring war on us. Count Ciano in his diaries, published after the war, wrote that the Germans had "firmly decided to do nothing which will accelerate or cause America's entry into the war."

Roosevelt had carried Congress along with him and his un-neutral actions by conjuring up the bogey of an anticipated attack on America. We now know, thanks to exhaustive examination of the German secret archives at the time of the Nuremberg trials, that there never was any plan of attack on the United States. On the contrary, the tons of documents examined prove that Hitler was all along intent on avoiding war with the United States. He did not declare war on us until compelled to do so by his alliance with Japan

in the words of the eminent British military historian, major general JFC Fuller, writing in a military history of the Western world (P. 629), in 1956:

"the second American Crusade ended even more disastrously than the first, and this time the agent provocateur was not the German Kaiser but the American president, whose abhorrence of national socialism and craving for power precipitated his people into the European conflict and so again made it worldwide. From the capture to German archives there is no evidence to support the president's claims that Hitler contemplated an offensive against the Western Hemisphere, and until America entered the war there is abundant evidence that this was the one thing he wished to avert."

Extreme provocation having failed to induce Germany to make war on us, and there being no prospect of Congress declaring war because of the determination of the great majority of the American people not to become active belligerents, Roosevelt turned his eyes to the Pacific. It could be that Japan would show less restraint, since it was possible to exert diplomatic and economic pressures that would practically compel her to make war on us. She was too far committed to retreat without endangering her national existence, and we offered her no possibility of a compromise that would enable her to retire from her untenable position without losing face.

On July 26, 1941, the president had declared economic sanctions against Japan, had they imposed at the outset of the Sino Japanese war, might have saved China but could no longer bring her any benefit. Sanctions were now being imposed, not in order to help China, but to provoke Japan to attack, and thus resolve the president's dire dilemma of how to get us into the war to maintain British power.

In his account of the Atlantic conference "the grand alliance, 1950, page 446", Churchill reproduced a telegram he sent home on August 12, 1941:

"we have laid special stress on the warning to Japan which constitutes the teeth of the presidents communication. One would always fear State Department trying to tone it down; but president has promised definitely to use the hard language."

Again, in a message to Menzies, the Australian prime minister, Churchill stated that "the president promised me to give the warning to Japan in the terms agreed to… You should note that the presidents warning covers an attack upon Russia…" No doubt because Australia would be endangered by war with Japan, Churchill erroneously reassured her prime minister that this ultimatum to Japan would cause her to "live quiet for a while."

That this was not the purpose was clearly revealed by Roosevelt when he said, on November 25, that he thought Japan would attack us by the following Monday. Later Stimson put it this way: the question was how we could "maneuver the Japanese into the position of firing the first shot but allowing no danger to ourselves."

It proved impossible for the president and his closest associates to fool all the American people all of the time they were engaged in maneuvering us into war. But Franklin D Roosevelt, the proclaimed champion of democracy, was as successful as any dictator could have been in keeping Congress and the public in ignorance of his secret commitments to Britain-commitments which flouted the will and wishes of the voters who had reelected him only after he had assured them he would keep us out of war. Indeed there are few more flagrant examples of cynical disregard of the will of the people than that revealed in Roosevelt's personal correspondence with Churchill, as revealed in the letters books this correspondence and Churchill's own account of his talks with Harry Hopkins, whom he describes as "the main prop and animator" of the American president, prove beyond doubt that as early as January, 1941, Roosevelt had concluded what amounted to a secret alliance with Britain committing America to war.

On January 10, 1941, Harry Hopkins, who Churchill had been informed was "the closest confidant and personal agent of the president," arrived at 10 Downing St. and "with gleaming I and quiet constrained passion" told the British Prime Minister:

"The president is determined that we shall win the war together make no mistake about it

He has sent me here to tell you that at all costs and by all means he will carry you through, no matter what happens to him-there is nothing that he will not do so far as he has human power."

There sat Harry Hopkins, Churchill writes in the grand alliance, "absolutely glowing with refined comprehension of the cause." This "cause," as Hopkins told Churchill on behalf of Roosevelt, was to be "the defeat, ruin and slaughter of Hitler, to the exclusion of all other purposes, loyalties or aims." Thus did the President of the United States through the mouth of Harry Hopkins renounce adherence to the Constitution of the United States and repudiate his pledged word to the American people to keep them out of foreign wars for the sake of an 18 he conceived to be higher, namely the "slaughter" of Hitler.

The previous December, secret joint staff conversations with the British had begun and the policy resulting in the victory program launched. The question as Adm. Stark said, was no longer "weather" we should enter the war but "when." On January 10, 1941, Roosevelt asked Congress to pass the lend lease act, by which it in effect surrendered to the president its constitutional right to declare war. Subsequently Roosevelt, again and Adm. Stark's words viewed the United States as being in the European war "except officially." But he could not make it official, at least until he could provoke Germany or Japan to shoot first.

My own opposition to premature or unconditional American intervention may have had its genesis in my historical studies and my family background. But it was mainly do to what I had learned in Germany about both communism and Nazism. Most Americans of the (aptly described by Eugene Lyons as "the red decade") had been given little or no opportunity to learn the facts about communism and Soviet Russia. But in 1936 to 1938 I had spent two years studying at the German war College and had their been exposed to constant propaganda about the Bolshevik menace. Beneath the propaganda I discerned a great deal of truth about communist aims, practices, and methods unknown or ignored in America until recently. I had also come to see Germany in a different light from most of my contemporaries. Not that I approved of the Nazi regime or condoned its brutalities, but I realized that Hitler had come to power as a result of the treatment of Germany after the first world war, and that this hold over the German people was due to their desperate search for a way out of the economic chaos and misery which had been their lot during the last years of the Weimar Republic. However much one disapproved of Hitler's methods, the feeling of the German people that he had raised them out of the abyss was real. He had gained his power by giving work and hope to the millions who had been unemployed, and he had made Germany to strong to be contemptuously ignored or repressed as she had been from 1918 onward.

Moreover I was convinced that the German search for lebensraum did not menace the Western world to anything like the same degree as the worldwide communist conspiracy centered in Moscow. Germany's Drang nach Osten - drive to the east - was a national movement to win "living space," meaning sources of raw materials and markets. It was caused by the same compulsions as the drive to Empire, "the blind ambitious instinct" of her British cousins in previous centuries. However reprehensible the German national aim might seem to Americans whose forefathers had wrestled half a continent from the Indians, the Spanish, and the Mexicans, or to the British who had conquered an empire "upon which the sun never set," and however greatly one was revolted by Hitler's treatment of Jews and his arrogant bullying of small neighboring states, one was compelled by knowledge of the record and the facts of Germany situation to understand the dynamic force of self-preservation which underlay the Nazi revolution.

The Western world, meaning mainly France and England, had denied justice, self-respect, and the opportunity to earn a living by hard work to the defeated Germans so long as they were "peaceloving and Democratic" under the Weimar Republic. Overburdened psychologically and politically by the "war guilt" clauses of the very side treaty, crushed by the huge reparations demands of the victors and then, after a brief interlude of artificial prosperity founded on loans from abroad, finally ruined by the world economic crisis that began in 1929 the Weimar Republic had been destroyed by the fanatical nationalists who were the full grown offspring of the Dragon seeds planted after the first world war.

It has been said that the greatest harm results not from not knowing but from believing "what just ain't so."Few Americans have had time or opportunity to acquire more knowledge of European or world history then they gleaned from school or college textbooks or from superficial or prejudiced articles by popular journalists. It was hardly surprising that so many of them were easily led by propaganda to believe that Germans are the most belligerent of peoples. The fact that history belies this contention mattered little to those who wanted to make us fear and hate the Germans in order to get us into war and who regarded the destruction of Germany and Japan as are paramount, or only, war aim. Conversely, it was no trick at all to make them believe that since Communist Russia was Germany's enemy she must be our friend. Hence the ruin of the hopes for which so many fought and died and the fact today there is a real and present danger to the Republic far greater than Nazi Germany ever constituted except in the fevered imagination of Roosevelt and his speechwriters.

It did not require any prolonged study of history to learn how false was the popular image of Germany as the most aggressive of nations and recurrent disturber of the piece nor did a glance at the map bear out the contention that either Britain or France had been peace loving. If so, one might ask, how had it come about that they ruled over so great a part of the earth?

Nations and peoples have been aggressive or "peaceloving" at various periods in their history according to their circumstances. Britain, from the days of Elizabeth I to the end of the 19th century, had fought innumerable wars all over the globe for trade and profit or for territories to colonize or exploit, with such success that prior to the second world war the 40 million people of the British Isles governed some 450 million subject peoples in Asia and Africa. Germany and Italy, countries which did not win national unity until the second half of the 19th century, had meanwhile accumulated few colonies and, coming late into the race, found little left to conquer. They had joined in the "scramble for Africa" at the end of the 19th century but had not acquired territories comparable to the huge colonies and protectorates which Britain and France had already conquered or subdued by force or threats. Moreover, during the half-century which followed the defeat of Napoleon and the end of France's century's old effort to dominate Europe, Prussia was the only important state in Europe which waged no wars. Well the other German states were also at peace with the world, Russia fought Persia and Turkey; England and France fought Russia in the Crimean war, besides waging "colonial" wars in Africa and Asia. Hence the untruth of the widely propagated method that "the Germans" were the most aggressive of Western nations, which softened up the American people's opposition to involvement in Europe's "interminable wars."

Winston Churchill leaves the reader no doubt as to Roosevelt's determination to involve the US in the war. He writes in the grand alliance that although the president was "more reserved" than the prime minister in their close personal correspondence, which went on for two years before Pearl Harbor, the latter "knew very well where he stood and what he wanted." Roosevelt, Churchill continued, "was aloft, Auguste, at the head of a mighty neutral power, which he desired above all things to bring into the fight for freedom. But he could not as yet see how to do it." The president and his trusted friends, Churchill further states, had "writhed under the restraints of Congress" which kept America at least nominally neutral. Thus, says Churchill the Japanese attack upon the United States was "a vast simplification of their problems and their duty. How can we wonder that they regard the actual form of the attack, or even its scale, as incomparably less important than the fact that the whole American nation would be united for its own safety in a righteous cause as never before?" Churchill also notes that they knew "the full and immediate purpose of their enemy." This must be taken to mean that, thanks to the breaking of the Japanese code, Roosevelt, Adm. Stark, and presumably also Gen. Marshall, were forewarned of the Japanese attack scheduled for December 7. Indeed, a young naval officer summoned by Sen. Homer Ferguson to a hearing on Pearl Harbor is witness to the fact that the Japanese war message was read by Roosevelt and Hopkins in his presence on the night of December 6 in the White House. When Hopkins urged preventative action, Roosevelt said no, a democracy must make a good record and wait.

When the first news of Japan's attack was received, Churchill was at Checkers with ambassador Winant and Averill Harriman. He notes that "one might almost have thought that the two Americans had been delivered of a long pain." As for Churchill himself, he "went to bed that night to sleep the sleep of the saved and thankful."

In the debunking the postwar era of the 20s it was generally recognized that Germany's "war guilt" was a one-sided conception and that the fundamental cause of the war had been Anglo German industrial and trade rivalry. As John Maynard Keynes wrote in his famous book, the economic consequences of the peace, England had fought to destroy a trade rival as in each preceding century.

Just as Pres. Roosevelt spurred us onto war by raising false fears concerning our security, so back in 1910 during the British election campaign Mr. Balfour, leader of the conservative opposition, try to win by telling the electors that England was in danger-as Winston Churchill, then a liberal, said at the time, "to raise a panic without reason, a policy of trying to raise ill will between two nations without cause."

That Balfour did not look with disfavor on the idea of provoking war with Germany is indicated by conversation between him and US Ambassador. Henry White, who was sent by the State Department to London from Italy to confer at a time when the Anglo German trade war was at its height. As recorded by the American historian, Alan Nevins, in his book Henry White, 30 Years of American Display Missy, the conversation was as follows

Balfour (somewhat likely): "We are probably fools not to find a reason for declaring war on Germany before she builds too many ships and takes away our trade."

White: "You are a very high-minded man in private life. How can you possibly contemplate anything so politically immoral as provoking a war against a harmless nation which has as good a right to a Navy as you have? If you wish to compete with German trade, work harder."

Balfour: "That would mean lowering our standard of living. Perhaps it would be simpler for us to have a war."

White: "I am shocked that you of all men should enunciate such principles."

Balfour (again lightly): "Is it a question of right or wrong? Maybe it is just a question of keeping our supremacy."

The eminent British military historian, Maj. Gen. J.F.C. Fuller, remarks with reference to this recorded conversation that it's interest does not lie simply in the evidence it affords of Balfour's unprincipled cynicism. It's significance lies in the fact that "the Industrial Revolution had led to the establishment of an economic struggle for existence in which self-preservation dictated a return to the ways of the jungle. The primeval struggle between man and beast had been replaced by the industrial struggle between nation and nation in which all competitors were beasts."

All that I had ever learned in my studies of history, the centuries of blood he struggle in Europe up to and including World War I, and the conditions or circumstances leading up to the conflagration just ignited in Europe, caused me to oppose an untimely American intervention in World War II. However, as a professional soldier, it was not within the sphere of my responsibility under our type of government to make decisions concerning war or peace it was my job to anticipate developments and continuously make plans so that my country would be prepared for any contingency which fate, politicians, or power drunk leaders might precipitate.

Thus I became the Victory Program planner of a war I did not want. Once engaged in my assigned task, I devoted all my energies to working up a plan calculated to bring our enemies to their knees in the shortest possible time and in a way that would leave us in an advantageous position at the peace table to work for a world in which America would be menaced no more.