Arcadia: The First Washington Conference

Arcadia: The First Washington Conference

Click through for the complete archives on Churchill and Roosvelt’s first post Pearl Harbour summit.

Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment

The Fateful Decade

Here is a huge archive of US foreign policy documents from 1931-41, what a find, I am going to patiently work my way through these over the coming weeks, but if you are desperate to read on, click here now.
First up is a round up of the 1930s from the perspective of the USA described as ‘the fateful decade, here is an abridged roundup:

“THE FATEFUL decade, 1931-1941, began and ended with acts of violence by Japan. It was marked by the ruthless development of a determined policy of world domination on the part of Japan, Germany, and Italy.

In 1931 Japan seized Manchuria. Two years later Germany withdrew from the Disarmament Conference and began rearming. In 1934 Japan gave notice of termination of the Washington Treaty for the Limitation of Naval Armament.

In 1935 Italy invaded Ethiopia. In 1936 Hitler tore up the Treaty of Locarno and fortified the demilitarized Rhineland Zone. In 1937 Japan again attacked China. In 1938 Hitler occupied Austria and dismembered Czechoslovakia. During the first half of 1939 Hitler completed the destruction of Czechoslovakia and seized Memel, while Italy invaded Albania.

In September 1939 Hitler struck at Poland, and during the two years that followed almost all of the countries of Europe were plunged or dragged into war. In 1940 Japan with threats of force entered French Indochina. Finally, on December 7, 1941, Japan launched an armed attack on the United States, followed immediately by declarations of war against the United States on the part of Japan, of Germany, of Italy, and of their satellites.”

That about sums it up…more follows.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In defence of Harry Dexter White

By 1948, the year of White’s death, anti communist hysteria was in full swing, and the State Department was the focus of suspicion for the witch hunters.

White’s wartime closeness to the USSR (which, the fact that America was allied to the Soviets, was hardly surprising) came under close scrutiny and there does appear to be circumstantial evidence to suggest that he may have been a Soviet agent. However, it is not the job of historians to give the nod to vague or generalised ‘possibilities’, but to find solid evidence. In this case it seems more likely that White, who with Keynes was the architect of institutions that gave global capitalism it’s longest and most profitable epoch ever, was anything but a communist, he was simply a social democrat (which in the fevered climate of the late 1940s might have amounted to the same thing).

There were indeed Soviet spies in America, but White was unlikely to have been one of them.

A defence of Harry Dexter White

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Post War Plans for Germany – Primary Documents

Here are State Department documents from 1944, real gold dust in assessing US intentions in the final stages of the war

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Harry Dexter White

I am going to devote the next few posts to Harry Dexter White, one of Roosevelt’s most senior strategic economic thinkers, a man who exemplified what Stephen Ambrose described as America’s ‘Rise to Globalism’ after World War Two. White, along with John Maynard Keynes helped to construct the post war economic order that lasted until the 1970s and here is an overview of his involvement with Bretton Woods and the creation of the IMF.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A most interesting link on the legal whys and wherefores of Roosevelt’s decision to enter WWII

Click here for an authoritative discussion on the drift to war 1939-41

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The fallout from Pearl Harbour

The Fallout of Pearl Harbour

To understand the fallout from Pearl Harbour, we have to divide it into the immediate effects and the long-term effects.

Short Term

In the short term, America found itself having to declare war on Japan, which it did on December 8th, the day after the attack. It then did so against on Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy on the 11th of December. This was to end America’s policy of anti-interventionism and also mark a major turning point in World War Two.

Though, America made inroads through its cash and carry and Lend-Lease policies in the previous years. It was this act that most believe drew the full antagonised might of America into the war. The failure of the Japanese to send a third wave and destroy American arms and fuel bunkers and most of its military capacity, meant America could quickly enter the war on both fronts. Essentially, Pearl Harbour and America’s entry was to be an eventual decisive point in the Allied victory of World War Two.

Roosevelt and Churchill met in January 1942 at the Arcadia conference and decided that foremost defeating Germany and winning the War in Europe was a priority. America sent large amounts of resources to Europe to complete this aim.

The War in the Pacific was secondary in importance and didn’t receive the resources of the European campaign. It was not until the Battle of Midway in 1942 that the turning point in the Pacific came. Japan had captured much of South East Asia, including the Philippines and Burma by this time. Though, America’s power overturned the Land of the Rising Sun’s victories and saw its eventual defeat by 1945.

American influence was pivotal in Allied victories on both fronts with V E Day coming on May 8th 1945 and V J Day declared on August 14 of the same year. Japanese surrender coming after the dropping of two atomic bombs by America on the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. American had been instrumental in the defeat of the Axis Powers.

The Bigger Picture

In the long term America understood it was required in the world and put aside its fears of being the World’s policeman. This meant America pursued a very active foreign policy from 1945 onwards.

Following the Yalta Conference, and Stalin’s reneging on promises of free elections in Eastern European countries, situated the Soviet Side of the Iron Curtain, problems began. This failure saw the start of the ideological differences between the USA and the Soviet Union, which by 1947 would develop into the Cold War.

America knew it needed a strong Europe that wouldn’t be influenced by the red flag and so offering it a package to aid reconstruction in June 1947. This would become known as the Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan was also offered to countries on the Eastern side of the divide and also to the Soviets, but they refused. Over the next half a decade, America would pump billions of dollars into Europe to prevent Soviet influence.

The next forty years would see America enter into disputes all over the world, many of which were ideological. Wars in Korea, Vietnam, South East Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere would create a intertwining web of complex alliances, spheres of influence and also problems for America. Each of which can be at the very least, indirectly and partially attributed to the Attack on Pearl Harbour and the end of American non-intervention.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment