Allies and Adversaries: The Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Grand Alliance, and U. S. Strategy in World War II / Edition 1

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Overview

During World War II the uniformed heads of the U.S. armed services assumed a pivotal and unprecedented role in the formulation of the nation's foreign policies. Organized soon after Pearl Harbor as the Joint Chiefs of Staff, these individuals were officially responsible only for the nation's military forces. During the war their functions came to encompass a host of foreign policy concerns, however, and so powerful did the military voice become on those issues that only the president exercised a more decisive role in their outcome.

Drawing on sources that include the unpublished records of the Joint Chiefs as well as the War, Navy, and State Departments, Mark Stoler analyzes the wartime rise of military influence in U.S. foreign policy. He focuses on the evolution of and debates over U.S. and Allied global strategy. In the process, he examines military fears regarding America's major allies--Great Britain and the Soviet Union--and how those fears affected President Franklin D. Roosevelt's policies, interservice and civil-military relations, military-academic relations, and postwar national security policy as well as wartime strategy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This is a soundly researched bookAmerican Historical Review

Stoler's work is seminal, forcing us to rethink radically much about the war we thought we knew so well.Intelligence & National Security

A lucid, logical examination of US military thinking . . . from the late 1930s through . . . the Second World War.Times Literary Supplement

Allies and Adversaries marks Stoler as one of the finest military and diplomatic historians of his age.ARMY

Stoler has provided an altogether worthy study.Washington Post Book World

Washington Post Book World
In making so much of the familiar terrain of policy-making seem new, Stoler has provided an altogether worthy study.
Times Literary Supplement
This is not an institutional history. Rather it is a lucid, logical examination of US military thinking about the world from the late 1930s through to the end of the Second World War.
Washington Post Book World
In making so much of the familiar terrain of policy-making seem new, Stoler has provided an altogether worthy study.
Times Literary Supplement
This is not an institutional history. Rather it is a lucid, logical examination of US military thinking about the world from the late 1930s through to the end of the Second World War.
American Historical Review
This is a soundly researched book that will be found of value to specialists in the development of foreign and military policy.
Reviews in American History
Stoler's book will be the starting point for anyone seeking to understand civil military relations during the Second World War. This is military-diplomatic history at its best.
ARMY
Stoler has produced a fascinating and informative account of the role of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS in the formation of U.S. global strategy.
Booknews
Stoler (history, U. of Vermont) analyzes the rise of military influence in U.S. foreign policy during WWII, a period significant in bringing about the first realization of the connections between U.S. security and the Allied powers. The author examines the evolution of global strategy formed by the U.S. and its major allies (Great Britain and the Soviet Union), and the debates surrounding this development. He considers ways in which President Roosevelt's policies and actions were influenced by the military's fears about the Allies. He analyzes the development of strategies and policies for both the war and the postwar era designed to support the Allies and promote postwar cooperation while still protecting the U.S. against them in the event cooperation failed to occur. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807825570
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 11/27/2000
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark A. Stoler is professor of history at the University of Vermont in Burlington.
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Preface

During World War II the uniformed heads of the U.S. armed services assumed a pivotal and unprecedented role in the formulation of the nation's foreign policies. Organized soon after Pearl Harbor as the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), these individuals were officially responsible for the organization and strategic direction of the nation's military forces. During the war these functions came to encompass a host of foreign policy issues, however, and so powerful did the military voice become on those issues that only the president exercised a more decisive role in their outcome.

This development constituted a dramatic and permanent change in U.S. civil-military relations. Prior to World War II, military input into the policymaking process had been minimal. Within two years of the war's end, however, the armed forces' new, expanded role in foreign policy had been institutionalized with the passage of the 1947 National Security Act, which made the ad hoc JCS organization of the war years a strong and permanent feature of the foreign policy establishment as well as the new National Military Establishment. Illustrative of this change was the virtual replacement of the term "foreign policy" with the broader, military-oriented "national security policy."[1]

The war years also witnessed a dramatic change in the military's definition of U.S. security requirements. Before 1939 those requirements had been stated in very limited terms centering on defense of the continental United States, its overseas possessions, and the Western Hemisphere. After 1945, however, military planners defined U.S. security requirements in global and indivisible terms whereby events anywhere in the world were considered potentially threatening and therefore of concern to the armed forces. Numerous scholars have analyzed the reasons for this dramatic change and its role in the ensuing Cold War,[2] but little attention has been given to the specific wartime processes by which U.S. security requirements expanded--or to those by which the armed forces gained such an important role in policy formulation. In this book I examine both, as well as the relationship between these processes and the formulation of U.S. military strategy during the war.

The wartime rise of military influence in foreign policy resulted from a host of specific factors and circumstances. Most important was the full-scale U.S. participation after Pearl Harbor in a global and total war. As Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall noted during the conflict, "any move in a global war has military implications."[3] Consequently, the Joint Chiefs and their planners found themselves forced to consider numerous foreign policy issues in the process of planning and implementing a strategy for victory.

The fact that World War II was a coalition war as well as a global and total conflict meant that U.S. strategy could not be planned in a diplomatic vacuum. To the contrary, with the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union aligned and with the nation pledged to deliver supplies to and coordinate global strategy with these two powers, the Joint Chiefs and their planners were forced into intensive and extensive relations with their wartime allies. They were also forced into detailed assessments of the wartime and postwar strategies and policies of their coalition partners as these related to the strategies and policies of the United States.

A precipitous decline in State Department influence during the war years further increased the military's role in diplomatic issues. Although this decline was to some extent the inevitable result of wartime priorities, it was also the self-inflicted consequence of both serious dissension within the department and the artificial dichotomy Secretary of State Cordell Hull maintained between military and political affairs. Unlike the Joint Chiefs, Hull perceived war and diplomacy as separate rather than complementary activities and therefore concluded after Pearl Harbor that the State Department's primary function should be to serve as a diplomatic adjunct to the military effort while planning for the postwar era. Even in this latter realm, however, State Department personnel found the armed forces demanding and receiving a major role on the grounds that postwar policies could not be divorced from postwar military security concerns.

Additional factors in the wartime decline of the State Department and rise of the military in foreign policy include the low esteem in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) held the former, his determination to formulate and run his own foreign policy, and his insistence on being a very active commander in chief in direct contact with his armed forces. As early as 1939 he effectively bypassed the civilian secretaries of war, navy, and state by ordering the service chiefs to report directly to him, a practice he continued throughout the war and implemented by providing them with direct access to the White House. Equally important was the very high regard he held for these individuals, one based on their cool professionalism but probably reinforced by their apparent lack of political ambition. Thus no individual save Harry Hopkins was closer to and more influential with FDR than the Joint Chiefs. They accompanied him to all his wartime summit conferences, advised him regularly, composed his conference briefing books, and even drafted many of his telegrams to Allied leaders. By 1944 they had even replaced the ailing Hopkins as the primary presidential advisers.[4]

Traditional interpretations have long held that the Joint Chiefs were neither desirous of nor prepared to accept this new power in the realm of foreign affairs. Strongly imbued with the American belief in civilian supremacy over the armed forces, they supposedly insisted that political leaders should determine the ends of policy while they determined the military means. They consequently limited their thoughts and advice to "purely military" factors and thereby helped to create a vacuum in terms of detailed political advice to the president.[5]

Yet the JCS and their planners were far from being so simplistic. They clearly understood Carl von Clausewitz's famous dictum that war is an instrument of policy and that this necessitated detailed politico-military coordination and political judgments on all facets of the U.S. war effort. Indeed, for many years before Pearl Harbor they had been requesting just such coordination and had been making political assessments on their own as a necessary adjunct to their strategic planning. Throughout the war they continued to do so, and with their greatly expanded wartime influence such requests and assessments carried considerable weight.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Code Names
1. The Armed Forces and National Policy before World War II
2. New Strategies and Policies for a Coalition War, 1939-1941
3. Civil-Military and Coalition Conflicts, February-December 1941
4. Global Strategy Reconsidered, December 1941-July 1942
5. The Great Strategic Debate, July 1942-January 1943
6. Britain as Adversary, January-October 1943
7. Russia as Ally and Enigma, December 1942-October 1943
8. Civil-Military Coordination and Conflict, February 1942-November 1943
9. The Big Two, October 1943-September 1944
10. National versus International Postwar Security and Civil-Military Relations, January 1944-January 1945
11. Second Thoughts on the Allies, September 1944-April 1945
12. Victory and Reassessment, April-August 1945
13. Aftermath and Conclusions
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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