Advertisement

The Second World War and American Predominance

  • Anne Orde
Chapter

Abstract

It was during the Second World War that the United States emerged as an active acknowledged world power, able to develop and harness enormous productive capacity that had lain idle through the 1930s, raise very large armed forces, and apply this strength all round the world. The Soviet Union too became, at appalling cost, a major power on the world stage. By the end of the war Britain, which with the Dominions was the only belligerent to have fought from first to last, was relegated to second or perhaps third place. Whilst involved with and obliged to take account of the Soviet Union as a vital ally, Britain became to a greater degree dependent on the United States.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    The principal authority for this period and later is H. Duncan Hall, North American Supply (London, 1955).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Correspondence in FRUS, 1939, II; FRUS, 1940, II–III. For relations to 1941 see David Reynolds, The Creation of the Anglo- American Alliance 1937–1941 (London, 1981).Google Scholar
  3. The most authoritative account of American policy to the summer of 1940 is still William L. Langer and S. Everett Gleason, The Challenge to Isolation 1937–1940 (New York, 1952).Google Scholar
  4. See also Sir Llewellyn Woodward, British Foreign Policy in the Second World War, I (London, 1970).Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    Mark Skinner Watson, The War Department. Chief of Staff, Prewar Plans and Preparations (Washington, 1950), p. 312.Google Scholar
  6. See also M. Matloff and E.M. Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare 1941–42 (Washington, 1953).Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    WP(40) 168, 25 May 1940; WP(40) 209, Jun., PRO, CAB 66/7, 8. For British strategy to the summer of 1940 see J.R.M. Butler, Grand Strategy, II (London, 1957),Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    See for example his minute to Halifax, 4 Oct. 1940, Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War, II (London, 1949), pp. 599–600.Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    Churchill to Roosevelt, 15 May 1940; Roosevelt to Churchill, 16 May, Warren F. Kimball (ed.), Churchill and Roosevelt. The Complete Correspondence (Princeton, 1984), pp. 37–9.Google Scholar
  10. This edition is more complete than, and supersedes, Roosevelt and Churchill, Their Secret Wartime Correspondence, ed. Francis Lowenheim, Harold D. Langley, and Manfred Jonas (New York, 1975).Google Scholar
  11. 9.
    Full accounts in Woodward, British Foreign Policy, I; Langer and Gleason, Challenge to Isolation; James R. Leutze, Bargaining for Supremacy. Anglo-American Naval Collaboration 1937–1941 (Chapel Hill, 1977).Google Scholar
  12. 11.
    For these negotiations see R.S. Sayers, Financial Policy 1939–1945 (London, 1956);Google Scholar
  13. W.L. Langer and S.E. Gleason, The Undeclared War 1940–1941 (New York, 1953);Google Scholar
  14. Warren F. Kimball, The Most Unsordid Act. Lend-Lease 1939–1941 (Baltimore, 1969).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Plan D, 11 Nov. 1940, Roosevelt Library, PSF, box 4: italics in original. See Leutze, Bargaining for Supremacy; Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning 1941–2. For overall American policy in 1941 see Waldo Heinrichs, Threshold of War. Franklin Roosevelt and American Entry into World War II (New York, 1988).Google Scholar
  16. 17.
    See for example Josiah Wedgwood, Contemporary Review, Feb. 1941; Economist, 31 May; George W. Keeton, Political Quarterly, Oct.;Google Scholar
  17. Clarence Streit, Union Now with Britain (New York and London, 1941): Streit had in 1939 advocated a federation of all the democracies of the northern Atlantic;Google Scholar
  18. George Catlin, One Anglo-American Nation. The Foundation of Anglo-Saxony as Basis of World Federation (London, 1941).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    See Butler, Grand Strategy, II, pp. 547–51; III (London, 1964), pp. 125–30.Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    Useful accounts of the Lend-Lease negotiations and American policy are Alan P. Dobson, US Wartime Aid to Britain 1940–1946 (London, 1986);Google Scholar
  21. Randall Bennett Woods, A Changing of the Guard. Anglo-American Relations, 1941–1946 (Chapel Hill, 1990).Google Scholar
  22. 23.
    See for example New York Times, 12 Dec. 1941: the United States is ‘the natural leader of the democratic forces’; Chicago Tribune, 10 Jan. 1942: ‘If there is to be a partnership between the United States and Britain, we are, by every right, the controlling partner.’ Henry Luce claimed that only the United States could make sense of the war, and would inherit much of Britain’s responsibility for world order: Life, 16 Feb. 1942; also Luce, The American Century (New York, 1941).Google Scholar
  23. 25.
    These questions are discussed in Alex Danchev, Very Special Relationship. Field-Marshal Sir John Dill and the Anglo-American Alliance 1941–44 (London, 1986);Google Scholar
  24. papers by John Gooch and Danchev in War, Strategy and Politics, Essays in honour of Sir Michael Howard, ed. Lawrence Freedman, Paul Hayes, and Robert O’Neill (Oxford, 1992). Expressions of American distrust are to be found in many published diaries.Google Scholar
  25. 26.
    Full accounts in Gwyer and Butler, Grand Strategy, III; Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning 1941–2. A very useful summary is in Michael Howard, Grand Strategy, IV (London, 1972), pp. xv–xxv.Google Scholar
  26. 27.
    For the whole subject of Anglo-American and Commonwealth relations see Christopher Thorne, Allies of a Kind. The United States, Britain and the War against Japan 1941–1945 (London, 1978).Google Scholar
  27. 29.
    Washington Post, 21 Feb. 1942; also New York Herald Tribune, 7 Apr. and 3 Oct.; Lippmann to Keynes, 2 and 18 Apr., printed in John Morton Blum (ed.), Public Philosopher. Selected Letters of Walter Lippmann (New York, 1985), pp. 417–21.Google Scholar
  28. 31.
    Quoted in Wm Roger Louis, Imperialism at Bay 1941–1945. The United States and the Decolonization of the British Empire (Oxford, 1977), p. 199.Google Scholar
  29. Willkie, One World (New York, 1943), p. 185.Google Scholar
  30. 33.
    For American opinion see for example Walter Lippmann, U.S. War Aims (Boston, 1944), pp. 19–22; Fortune editorial, Jan. 1944. For official opinion see for example OSS report, 2 Apr. 1945, quoted by Thorne, Allies of a Kind, p. 600; Berle, Navigating the Rapids, pp. 539–42. For Roosevelt see Louis, Imperialism at Bay, pp. 226–7.Google Scholar
  31. 35.
    See India. The Transfer of Power, 1942–7, ed. Nicholas Mansergh, I (London, 1970);Google Scholar
  32. R.J. Moore, Churchill, Cripps and India, 1939–1945 (Oxford, 1979).Google Scholar
  33. 36.
    See for example articles by Margery Perham in The Times, 20 and 21 Nov. 1942, and Foreign Affairs, Apr. 1944, reprinted in Margery Perham, Colonial Sequence, 1930 to 1949, London 1967.Google Scholar
  34. See also W.K Hancock, Argument of Empire (Harmondsworth and New York, 1943.Google Scholar
  35. 37.
    See Ivison S. Macalan, International Affairs, Oct. 1944; Lyon, Britain and Canada, p. 46.Google Scholar
  36. 41.
    Accounts of the conference in Howard, Grand Strategy, IV; M. Matloff, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare 1943–1944 (Washington, 1959).Google Scholar
  37. 42.
    Matloff, Strategic Planning 1943–4, pp. 106–7; memorandum by Gens. S.D. Embick and M.S. Fairchild, 4 Jan. 1943, quoted by Mark A. Stoler, The Politics of the Second Front. American Military Planning and Diplomacy in Coalition Warfare 1941–1943 (Westport, CT, 1977), pp. 72–3.Google Scholar
  38. 43.
    Eisenhower to Gen. T.T. Handy, 28 Jan. 1943, The Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, The War Years, ed. Alfred D. Chandler, Stephen D. Ambrose, and others (Baltimore, 1970), II, pp. 927–9.Google Scholar
  39. 47.
    As told by Sir John Colville in J.W. Wheeler-Bennett, Action This Day. Working with Churchill (London, 1968), p. 96.Google Scholar
  40. 49.
    A full account of the argument in Howard Ehrman, Grand Strategy, V (London, 1956), pp. 421–504.Google Scholar
  41. 52.
    See for example Charles A. Beard, The Republic (New York, 1943);Google Scholar
  42. Carl Becker, How New will the Better World Be? (New York, 1944);Google Scholar
  43. Ely Culbertson, Total Peace (New York, 1943);Google Scholar
  44. Walter Lippmann, U.S. Foreign Policy (Boston, 1943);Google Scholar
  45. Emery A. Reves, A Democratic Manifesto (New York, 1942);Google Scholar
  46. John MacCormac, America and World Mastery (New York, 1942).Google Scholar
  47. For the discussion, and the internationalist organizations, see Robert A. Divine, Second Chance. The Triumph of Internationalism in America during World War II (New York, 1967).Google Scholar
  48. For the State Department see Harley Notter, Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation 1939–1945 (Washington, 1949).Google Scholar
  49. 53.
    George H. Gallup, The Gallup Poll and Public Opinion 1935–1971, I (New York, 1972), pp. 340, 377. In the winter of 1943, 30 per cent of respondents to a survey by the Office of Public Opinion Research believed that the United States had been a member of the League of Nations, and 26 per cent did not know one way or the other. For fears of a return to isolationism see for example memoranda by J.J. McCloy, Assistant Secretary for War, 8 and 25 Nov. 1943, Hopkins Papers, box 331; Stimson diary, 29 Oct.Google Scholar
  50. 54.
    For the whole subject see Aaron David Miller, Search for Security. Saudi Arabian Oil and American Foreign Policy 1939–1949 (Chapel Hill, 1980);Google Scholar
  51. Michael B. Stoff, Oil, War and Security. The Search for a National Policy on Foreign Oil 1941–1949 (New Haven, 1980);Google Scholar
  52. Irvine H. Anderson, ARAMCO, the United States and Saudi Arabia. A Study of the Dynamics of Foreign Oil Policy (Princeton, 1981).Google Scholar
  53. 56.
    For the whole subject see Armand van Dormael, Bretton Woods. Birth of a Monetary System (London, 1978);Google Scholar
  54. Richard N. Gardner, Sterling-Dollar Diplomacy (Oxford, 1956);Google Scholar
  55. Roy Harrod, The Life of John Maynard Keynes (London, 1951);Google Scholar
  56. L.S. Pressnell, External Economic Policy Since the War, I, The Post-War Financial Settlement (London, 1986); Keynes’s papers in Collected Writings, XXV.Google Scholar
  57. 62.
    W.K. Hancock and M.M. Gowing, British War Economy (London, 1949), pp. 500, 518–24; Sayers, Financial Policy, pp. 439, 465–8, 503, 524.Google Scholar
  58. 66.
    See Alan P. Dobson, Peaceful Air Warfare. The United States, Britain, and the Politics of International Aviation (Oxford, 1991).Google Scholar
  59. 68.
    Churchill to Halifax, 3 Jan. 1945, PRO, PREM 4/7/10. Hull had retired after the 1944 elections. For the whole episode see Robert M. Hathaway, Ambiguous Partnership. Britain and America 1944–1947 (New York, 1981), pp. 89–111.Google Scholar
  60. 72.
    For the whole wartime story see Margaret Gowing, Britain and Atomic Energy 1939–1945 (London, 1964);Google Scholar
  61. Richard Hewlett and Oscar Anderson, A History of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, I (Philadelphia, 1962).Google Scholar
  62. 73.
    Documents on British Policy Overseas, eds R. D’O. Butler and M. Pelly (London,1984 ff.), hereafter cited as DBPO, ser. 1, III, no. 3.Google Scholar
  63. 76.
    The impact upon all concerned of the presence in Britain of large numbers of American servicemen is examined by David Reynolds, Rich Relations. The American Occupation of Britain 1942–1945 (London and New York, 1995).Google Scholar
  64. For Churchill and Roosevelt see Warren F. Kimball, ‘Wheel Within a Wheel: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the Special Relationship,’ in Churchill, ed. Robert Blake and Wm Roger Louis (Oxford and New York, 1993), pp. 291–307.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Anne Orde 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Orde
    • 1
  1. 1.University of DurhamUK

Personalised recommendations