Conflict over Convoys: Anglo-American Logistics Diplomacy in the Second World War

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Conflict Over Convoys examines the Battle of the Atlantic from the perspective of Anglo-American diplomacy, deepening our understanding of Allied strategy, British industrial decline, and operations TORCH and OVERLORD.Britain's dependence on American ships and logistical support created controversy over the control of military stategy; victory in the Atlantic eventually allowed America to dominate Allied logistics diplomacy. Conflict Over Convoys shows how these tensions reflect the decline of British hegemony and America's rise to global influence.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...this book is solid and well researched....Smith has used a wealth of private and public sources, mostly British, but many American as well, to buttress his story. He well illustrates the logistical problems of the alliance and the interaction between civilians and the military in achieving hard-fought consensus over military strategy during the war." The Journal of American History

"I highly recommend the book as a significant contribution to both military history and the history of the Second World War, its wide scope highlights a number of subjects....Smith's excellent footnotes and comprehensive bibliography will provide scholars with a valuable guide to future studies." Keith W. Bird, The Journal of Military History

"Overall this book is solid and well researched....Smith has used a wealth of private and public sources, mostly British but many American as well, to buttress his story. He well illustrates the logistical problems of the alliance and the interaction between civilians and the military in acieving hard-fought consensus over military strategy during the war." Richard W. Fanning, Journal of American History

"...Smith has made an important contribution to our knowledge of numerous aspects of the World War II Grand Alliance." Mark A. Stoler, American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521497251
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith sold his comic book collection to fund the movie Clerks, and after it became a huge cult hit he was able to buy them back. One of the most successful and critically acclaimed independent film-makers of recent years, Smith was the producer of the Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting and has also written and directed Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jersey Girl and Clerks II. He is an actor, having appeared in the new Die Hard movie and the Friends spin-off, Joey, among others.

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Table of Contents

List of maps
List of tables
List of abbreviations and codewords
Introduction 1
1 "Not what it could or should be": Britain's shipping situation 5
Shipping capacity assessments 6
British shipbuilding in the thirties: a strategic industry collapses 13
British shipbuilding at war 15
2 "Beyond our power without your help": Britain's Battle of the Atlantic 28
The consequences of the fall of France 29
Escort availabilities and priorities 30
The aims and flaws of import programming 33
Ships in port: the internal transport crisis of 1940-1941 48
Ships under repair: a question of priorities 58
3 "But westward, look, the land is bright": American shipping assistance from neutrality to belligerency, March 1941-November 1942 64
The Salter mission: the magnitude & limits of 1941 allocations 66
Allied strategy and the external origins of the 1942-1943 British shipping crisis: US belligerency, strategic conflict, and the decision for TORCH 72
Allied logistics and the external origins of the 1942-1943 British shipping crisis: WSA ineptitude and American civil/military conflict 81
British dependence escalates: the quest for a "solemn compact" 87
4 Roosevelt's promise: "your requirements will be met" 97
The Lyttelton mission: seeking presidential action 100
Roosevelt's flawed response 105
Britain's response: the limits of self-reliance 122
5 The Casablanca Conference and its aftermath: a "most curious misunderstanding" 133
The strategic and bureaucratic contexts for logistics diplomacy 135
Somervell's demand: British cargo shipping for BOLERO 139
Leathers' "commitment" to assist BOLERO 142
Leathers' "commitment": imports crisis and TORCH reinforcements 151
Civilian and military emergency in the Indian Ocean Area? 156
Conflict over priorities: the Casablanca misunderstanding revealed and resolved 164
6 Reaping the whirlwind: the perils of impending victory 177
Ensuring access to American ships: seeking flag transfer 179
Seeking access to American cargo: frozen cargo shortage 184
Conflicting Anglo-American logistical and strategic responses to North Atlantic shipping surplus and North American cargo shortage 191
SEXTANT/EUREKA: confirming American strategic and logistical dominance 221
Postscript and conclusions 226
App. 1 Measuring merchant ship tonnage 240
App. 2 The plight of British shipbuilding 241
App. 3 Roosevelt's letter to Churchill, 30 November 1942 242
App. 4 Behrens' interpretation of Roosevelt's letter 244
App. 5 Text of SABWA 156, the CSAB (W) cable of 19 January 1943 which relayed the WSA's interpretation of Roosevelt's promise 246
App. 6 Roosevelt's letter to Churchill, 28 May 1943 247
Tables 249
Notes 258
Bibliography 304
Index 312
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