This myth, like all fables, does in fact have a modicum of truth. There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the radical Right believes the communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups and frequently does so. I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960�s, to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies....but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known." (Tragedy and Hope, p. 950)
CHAPTER XIII: THE DISRUPTION OF EUROPE, 1937-1939
AUSTRIA INFELIX, 1933-1938
The Austria which was left after the Treaty of St. Germain
consisted of little more than the great city of Vienna surrounded by a
huge but inadequate suburb whose population had been reduced from 52
to 6.6 million.
The Social Democrats were unable to reconcile their desire for
union with Germany (called Anschluss) with the need for financial aid
from the Entente Powers who opposed this.
The Social Democrats embarked on an amazing program of social
welfare by a system of direct taxes which bore heavily on the well-to-
Before 1914, the living conditions of the poor had been
maintained by a very undemocratic political system under which only
83,000 persons, on a property basis, were allowed to vote and 5,500 of
the richest were allowed to choose one-third of all seats on city
council. By 1933, the Social Democrats had built almost 60,000
dwellings so efficiently that the average cost per apartment was only
about $1,650 each with average rent of $2 per month. Thus the poor of
Vienna had all kinds of free or cheap medical care, dental care,
education, libraries, amusements, sports, school lunches and maternity
care provided by the city.
While this was going on in Vienna, the Christian Socialist-Pan-
German federal government of Catholic priest Monsignor Ignaz Seipel
was sinking deeper into corruption, The diversion of public funds to
banks and industries controlled by Seipel's supporters was revealed by
parliamentary investigations in spite of the government's efforts to
conceal the facts.
Seipel formed a "Unity List" of all the anti-Socialist parties he
could muster but the election gave his party only 73 seats compared to
71 for the Social Democrats, 12 for the pan-Germans, 9 for the
Agrarian League. He sought to change the Austrian constitution into a
presidential dictatorship which required a two-thirds vote. It became
necessary to use illegal methods.
The secret documents published since 1945 make it quite clear
that Germany had no carefully laid plans to annex Austria and was not
encouraging violence by the Nazis in Austria. Instead, every effort
was made to restrict the Austrian Nazis to propaganda in order to win
a gradual peaceful extension of Nazi influence.
The invasion of Austria in 1938 was a pleasant surprise even for
the Nazi leaders and arose from several unexpected favorable
circumstances. Secret documents now make it clear that in 1937 the
German and British governments made secret decisions which sealed the
fate of Austria and Czechoslovakia. It is evident from some of
Hitler's statements that he had already received certain information
about the secret decisions being made by Chamberlain on the British
The British government group controlling foreign policy had
reached a seven point decision regarding Germany:
1. Hitler's Germany was the front-line bulwark against the spread of
Communism in Europe.
2. The aim was a four power pact including Britain, France, Italy and
Germany to exclude all Russian influence from Europe.
3. Britain had no objection to German acquisition of Austria,
Czechoslovakia, and Danzig.
4. Germany must not use force to achieve its aims as this would
precipitate a war in which Britain would have to intervene.
For years before June 1938, the government insisted that British
rearming was progressing in a satisfactory fashion. Churchill
questioned this and produced figures on German rearmament to prove
that Britain's own progress in this field was inadequate. These
figures (which were not correct) were denied by the government. As
late as March 1938, Chamberlain said that British rearmament were such
as to make Britain an "almost terrifying power." But as the year went
on, the government adopted a quite different attitude. In order to
persuade public opinion that it was necessary to yield to Germany, the
government pretended that its armaments were quite inadequate.
We now know that this was a gross exaggeration. Britain produced
almost 3000 "military" planes in 1938 and about 8,000 in 1939 compared
to 3350 "combat" planes produced in Germany in 1938 and 4,733 in 1939.
It is quite clear that Britain did not yield to superior force in
1938, as was stated at the time and has been stated since by many
writers including Churchill. We have evidence that Chamberlain knew
these facts but consistently gave a contrary impression and that Lord
Halifax went so far as to call forth protests from the British
military attaches in Prague and Paris.
The British government made it clear to Germany both publicly and
privately that they would not oppose Germany's projects. Dirksen wrote
to Ribbentrop on June 3 1928 "Anything which could be got without
firing a shot can count upon the agreement of the British."
THE CZECHOSLOVAK CRISIS, 1937-1938
The economic discontent became stronger after the onset of the
world depression in 1929 and especially after Hitler demonstrated that
his policies could bring prosperity to Germany.
Within two weeks of Hitler's annexation of Austria, Britain put
pressure on the Czechs to make concessions to the Germans; to
encourage France and Germany to do the same. All this was justified by
the argument that Germany would be satisfied if it obtained the
Sudetenland and the Polish Corridor. All these assumptions were
Czechoslovakia was eliminated with the help of German aggression,
French indecision and war-weariness, and British public appeasement
and merciless secret pressure.
Five days after Anschluss, the Soviet government call for
collective actions to stop aggression and to eliminate the increased
danger of a new world slaughter was rejected by Lord Halifax.
It was necessary to impose the plan for Czechoslovakia on public
opinion of the world by means of the slowly mounting war scare which
reached the level of absolute panic on September 28th. The mounting
horror of the relentless German mobilization was built up day by day
while Britain and France ordered the Czechs not to mobilize in order
"not to provoke Germany."
We now know that all these statements and rumors were not true
and that the British government knew that they were not true at the
The Chamberlain government knew these facts but consistently gave
a contrary impression. Lord Halifax particularly distorted the facts.
Just as the crisis was reaching the boiling point in September
1938, the British ambassador in Paris reported to London that Colonel
Lindbergh had just emerged from Germany with a report that Germany had
8,000 military planes and could manufacture 1,500 a month. We now know
that Germany had about 1,500 planes, manufactured 280 a month.
Lindbergh repeated his tale of woe daily both in Paris and in
London during the crisis. The British government began to fit the
people of London with gas masks, the prime minister and the king
called on the people to dig trenches in the parks, schoolchildren
began to be evacuated. In general, every report or rumor which could
add to the panic and defeatism was played up, and everything that
might contribute to a strong or a united resistance to Germany was
The Anglo-French decision was presented to the Czechoslovak
government at 2a.m. on September 19 to be accepted at once. The
Czechoslovak government accepted at 5p.m. on September 21st. Lord
Halifax at once ordered the Czech police to be withdrawn from the
Sudeten districts, and expressed the wish that the German troops move
in at once.
At Munich, Hitler, Chamberlain, Mussolini and Daladier carved up
Czechoslovakia without consulting anyone, least of all the Czechs.
Germany was supreme in Europe. Since this was exactly what Chamberlain
and his friends had wanted, they should have been satisfied.
THE YEAR OF DUPES, 1939
Concessions to Germany continued but now parallel with
concessions went a real effort to build up a strong front against
The anti-Bolshevik and "three-bloc-world" groups had expected
Hitler would get the Sudetenland, Danzig, and perhaps the Polish
Corridor and that he would then be stabilized between the "oceanic
bloc" and the Soviet Union.
As a result of these hidden and conflicting forces, the history
of international relations from September 1938 and September 1939 or
even later is neither simple nor consistent. In general, the key to
everything was the position of Britain. As a result of Lord Halifax's
"dyarchic" policy, there were not only two policies but two groups
carrying them out. Lord Halifax tried to satisfy the public demand for
an end to appeasement while Chamberlain, Wilson, Simon and Hoare
sought to make secret concessions to Hitler in order to achieve a
general Anglo-German settlement. The one policy was public; the other
was secret. Since the Foreign Office knew of both, it tried to build
up the "peace front" against Germany so that it would look
sufficiently imposing to satisfy public opinion and to drive Hitler to
seek his desires by negotiation rather than by force so that public
opinion in England would not force the government to declare a war
that they did not want in order to remain in office. This complex plan
broke down because Hitler was determined to have a war merely for the
personal emotional thrill of wielding great power, while the effort to
make a "peace front" sufficiently collapsible so that it could be case
aside if Hitler either obtained his goals by negotiation or made a
general settlement with Chamberlain merely resulted in making a "peace
front" which was so weak it could neither maintain peace by threat of
force nor win a war when peace was lost.
On March 15th, Chamberlain told the Commons that he accepted the
seizure of Czechoslovakia and refused to accuse Hitler of bad faith.
But two days later, when the howls of rage from the British public
showed that he had misjudged the electorate, he denounced the seizure.
However, nothing was done other than to recall Henderson from Berlin
for consultations and cancel a visit to Berlin by the president of the
Board of Trade. The seizure was declared illegal but was recognized in
fact at once. Moreover, #6 million in Czech gold reserves in London
were turned over to Germany with the puny and untrue excuse that the
British government could not give orders to the Bank of England.
Germany opened its negotiations with Poland in a fairly friendly
way on October 24, 1938. It asked for Danzig and a strip a kilometer
wide across the Polish Corridor to provide a highway and four-track
railroad under German sovereignty. Poland's economic and harbor rights
in Danzig were to be guaranteed and the "corridor across the Corridor"
was to be isolated from Polish communications facilities by bridging
or tunneling. Germany also wanted Poland to join an anti-Russian bloc.
Germany was prepared to guarantee the country's existing frontiers, to
extend the Non-aggression Pact of 1934 for 25 years, to guarantee the
independence of Slovakia and to dispose of Ruthenia as Poland wished.
These suggestions were rejected by Poland. About the same time, the
Germans were using pressure on Romania to obtain an economic agreement
which was signed on March 23rd.
On March 17, London received a false report of a German ultimatum
to Romania. Lord Halifax lost his head and, without checking his
information, sent telegrams to Greece, Turkey, Poland, Bulgaria,
Soviet Union asking what each country was prepared to do in the event
of a German aggression against Romania. Four replied by asking London
what it was prepared to do but Moscow suggested and immediate
conference which Halifax rebuffed, wanting nothing more than an
agreement to consult in a crisis. Poland was reluctant to sign any
agreement involving Russia. However, when news reached London of
Hitler's demands on Poland, Britain suddenly issued a unilateral
guarantee of the latter state (March 31st).
"In the event of any action which clearly threatened Polish
independence and which the Polish government accordingly considered it
vital to resist with their national forces, His Majesty's Government
would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish Government all
support in their power."
This was an extraordinary assurance. The British government
since 1918 had resolutely refused any bilateral agreement guaranteeing
any state in western Europe. Now they were making a "unilateral"
declaration in "eastern" Europe and they were giving that state the
responsibility of deciding when that guarantee would take effect,
something quite unprecedented. If Germany used force in Poland, public
opinion in Britain would force Britain to declare war whether there
was a guarantee or not.
If the chief purpose of the unilateral guarantee to Poland was to
frighten Germany, it had precisely the opposite effect.
Hitler announced that the terms he had offered Poland had been
rejected, negotiations broken off. The crisis was intensified by
provocative acts on both sides.
In 1939, there was talk of a British loan to Poland of #100
million in May; On August 1 Poland finally got a credit for $8 million
at a time when all London was buzzing about a secret loan of #1
billion from Britain to Germany.
In 1936, Poland was given 2 billion francs as a rearmament long
and on May 19, 1939, an agreement was signed by which France promised
full air support to Poland on the first day of war, local skirmishing
by the third day, and a full-scale offensive on the sixteenth day. On
Aug. 23, General Gamelin informed his government that no military
support could be given to Poland until the spring of 1940 and that a
full-scale offensive could not be made before 1941-1942. Poland was
never informed of this change and seems to have entered the war on
September 1st in the belief that a full-scale offensive would be made
against Germany during September.
The failure to support Poland was probably deliberate in the
hope that this would force Poland to negotiate with Hitler. If so, it
was a complete failure. Poland was so encouraged by the British
guarantee that it not only refused to make concessions but also
prevented the reopening of negotiations by one excuse after another
until the last day of peace.
In light of these facts, the British efforts to reach a
settlement with Hitler and their reluctance to make an alliance with
Russia, were very unrealistic. Nevertheless, they continued to exhort
the Poles to reopen negotiations with Hitler, and continued to inform
the German government that the justice of their claims to Danzig and
the Corridor were recognized but that these claims must be fulfilled
by peaceful means and that force would inevitably be met with force.
The British continued to emphasize that the controversy was over
Danzig when everyone else knew that Danzig was merely a detail, and an
almost indefensible detail. Danzig was no issue on which to fight a
world war, but it was an issue on which negotiation was almost
mandatory. This may have been why Britain insisted that it was the
chief issue. But because it was not the chief issue, Poland refused to
negotiate because it feared it would lead to partition of Poland.
Danzig was a free city under supervision of the League of Nations
and while it was within the Polish customs and under Polish economic
control, it was already controlled politically under a German
Gauleiter and would at any moment vote to join Germany if Hitler
Lord Halifax's report reads: "Herr Hitler asked whether England
would be willing to accept an alliance with Germany. I said I did not
exclude such a possibility provided the development of events
The theory that Russia learned of these British approaches to
Germany in July 1939 is supported by the fact that the obstacles and
delays in the path of a British-Russian agreement were made by Britain
from the middle of April to the second week of July but were made by
Russia from the second week in July to the end on August 21st.
The Russians probably regarded the first British suggestion
that the Soviet Union should give unilateral guarantees to Poland
similar to those of Britain as a trap to get them into a war with
Germany in which Britain would do little or nothing or even give aid
to Germany. That this last possibility was not completely beyond
reality is clear from the fact that Britain did prepare an
expeditionary force to attack Russia in March 1940 when Britain was
technically at war with Germany but was doing nothing to fight her.
Russia offered the guarantee if it were extended to all states on
their western frontier including Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Poland and Romania. This offer meant that Russia was guaranteeing its
renunciation of all the territory in these six states which it had
lost to them since 1917.
Instead of accepting the offer, the British began to quibble.
They refused to guarantee the Baltic States on the ground that these
states did not want to be guaranteed although they had guaranteed
Poland on March 31st when Jozef Beck did not want it and had just
asked the Soviet Union to guarantee Poland and Romania, neither of
whom wanted a Soviet guarantee. When the Russians insisted, the
British countered by insisting that Greece, Turkey, Holland, Belgium,
and Switzerland must also be guaranteed.
France and Russia were both pushing Britain to form a Triple
Alliance but Britain was reluctant and delayed the discussions to the
great irritation of the Soviet leaders. To show its displeasure, the
Soviet Union on May 3rd replaced Litvinov with Molotov as foreign
minister. This would have been a warning, Litvinov knew the West and
was favorable to democracy and to the Western Powers. As a Jew, he was
anti-Hitler. Molotov was a contrast from every point of view.
On May 19th, Chamberlain refused an alliance and pointed with
satisfaction to "that great virile nation on the borders of Germany
which under this agreement (of April 6th) is bound to give us all the
aid and assistance it can." He was talking about Poland!
The members of the military mission took a slow ship (speed
thirteen knots) and did not reach Moscow until August 11th. They were
again negotiators of second rank. In London, according to
rumor, neither side wanted an agreement. Considering Chamberlain's
secret efforts to make a settlement with Germany, there is no reason
to believe that he wanted an agreement with Russia.
The Russians demanded an exact military commitment as to what
forces would be used against Germany; they wanted guarantees whether
the states concerned accepted or not; they wanted specific permission
to fight across a territory such as Poland. These demands were flatly
rejected by Poland on August 19th. On the same day, Russia signed a
commercial treaty with Germany. Two days later, France ordered its
negotiators to sign the right to cross Poland but Russia refused to
accept this until Poland consented as well.
On Aug. 23, Ribbentrop and Molotov signed an agreement which
provided that neither signer would take any aggressive action against
the other signer or give any support to a third Power in such action.
The secret protocol delimited spheres of interest in eastern Europe.
The line followed the northern boundary of Lithuania and the Narew,
Vistula, and San rivers in Poland and Germany gave Russia a free hand
in Bessarabia. This agreement was greeted as a stunning surprise in
the Entente countries. There was no reason why it should have been.
The British begged the Poles and the Germans to negotiate; the
Italians tried to arrange another four-Power conference; various
outsiders issued public and private appeals for peace; secret
emissaries flew back and forth between London and Germany.
All this was in vain because Hitler was determined on war and
his attention was devoted to manufacturing incidents to justify his
approaching attack. Political prisoners were taken from concentration
camps, dressed in German uniforms, and killed on the Polish frontier
as "evidence" of Polish aggression. A fraudulent ultimatum with
sixteen superficially reasonable demands on Poland was presented to
the British ambassador when the time limit had elapsed. It was not
presented to the Poles because the Polish ambassador in Berlin had
been ordered by Beck not to accept any document from the Germans.
The German invasion of Poland at 4:45a.m. on September 1, 1939,
did not end the negotiations to make peace, nor did the complete
collapse of Polish resistance on September 16. Since these efforts
were futile, little need be said of them except that France and
Britain did not declare war on Germany until more than two days had
elapsed. During this time, no ultimatums were sent to Germany. On
September 3 at 9a.m., Britain presented an ultimatum which expired at
11a.m. In a similar fashion, France entered the war at 6p.m. on
CHAPTER XIV: WORLD WAR II: THE TIDE OF AGGRESSION, 1939-1941
The Second World War lasted exactly six years. It was fought on
every continent and on every sea. Deaths of civilians exceeded deaths
of combatants and many of both were killed without any military
justification as victims of sheer brutality, largely through cold-
blooded savagery by Germans, and to a lesser extent by Japanese and
Russians, although British and American attacks from the air on
civilian populations and on non-military targets contributed to the
total. The distinctions between civilians and military personnel and
between neutrals and combatants which had been blurred in the First
World War were almost completely lost in the second. Civilians killed
reached 17 millions.
The armies had no new weapons which had not been possessed in
1918 but the proportions of these and the ways in which they
cooperated with one another had been greatly modified.
The chief reason the Germans had sufficient military resources
was not based, as is so often believed, on the fact that Germany was
highly mobilized for war, but on other factors. In the first place,
Hitler's economic revolution in Germany had reduced financial
considerations to a point where they played no role in economic or
political decisions. When decisions were made, on other grounds, money
was provided through completely unorthodox methods of finance, to
carry them out. In France and England, on the other hand, orthodox
financial principles, especially balanced budgets and stable exchange
rates, played a major role in all decisions and was one of the chief
reasons why these countries did not mobilize or why, having mobilized,
they had totally inadequate numbers of airplanes, tanks, etc.
Strategic bombing used long-range planes against industrial
targets and other civilian objectives. The upholders of strategic
bombing received little encouragement in Germany, in Russia, or even
THE BATTLE OF POLAND, SEPTEMBER 1939
Although Britain and France declared war on Germany on September
3rd 1939, it cannot be said that they made war during the next two
weeks in which fighting raged in Poland. British airplanes roamed over
Germany, dropping leaflets for propaganda purposes but no support was
given to Poland. No attack was made by France and strict orders were
issued to the British Air Force not to bomb any German land forces
until April 1940. Similar orders to the Luftwaffe by Hitler were
maintained for part of this same period. When some British Members of
Parliament put pressure to drop bombs on German munition stores in the
Black Forest, Sir Kingsley Wood rejected the suggestion declaring:
"Are you aware it is private property? Why, you will be asking me to
bomb Essen next." Essen was the home of Krupp Munitions factories.
Blockade of Germany was established in such a perfunctory fashion
that large quantities of French iron ore continued to go to Germany
through the neutral Low Countries in return for German coal coming by
the same route. Hitler issued orders to his air force not to cross the
Western frontier except for reconnaissance, to his navy not to fight
the French, and to his submarines not to molest passenger vessels and
to treat unarmed merchant ships according to established rules of
international prize law. In open disobedience of these orders, a
German submarine sank the liner Athenia on September 3rd.
The Soviet Union was invited by Hitler to invade Poland from the
east and occupy the areas which had been granted to it in the Soviet-
German agreement of August 23rd. The Russians were afraid the Western
Powers might declare war on Russia in support of their guarantee to
When the Polish government moved to Romania, the Soviet Union
felt that it could not be accused of aggression against Poland if no
Polish state still existed on Polish soil and justified their advance
with the excuse that they must restore order. On September 28, the
divided Poland between them.
THE SITZKRIEG, September 1939 - May 1940
The period from the end of the Polish campaign to the German
attack on Denmark and Norway on April 9, 1940 is frequently called the
Sitzkrieg (sitting war) or even "phony war" because Western powers
made no real effort to fight Germany, eager to use the slow process of
Early in October, Hitler made a tentative offer to negotiate
peace with the Western Powers on the grounds that the cause of
fighting for Poland no longer existed. This offer was rejected by the
Western Powers with the public declaration that they were determined
to destroy Hitler's regime. This meant that war must continue. The
British and French answers were not based on a desire to continue war
but more on the belief that Hitler's rule in Germany was insecure and
that the best way to reach peace would be to encourage some anti-
Hitler movement within Germany itself.
Germany was vulnerable to a blockade but there was no real effort
toward economic mobilization by Germany before 1943. Contrary to
general opinion, Germany was neither armed to the teeth nor fully
mobilized in this period. In each of the four years 1939-1942,
Britain's production of tanks, self-propelled guns, and planes was
higher tan Germany's. As late as September 1941, Hitler issued an
order for substantial reduction in armaments production. In 1944, only
33% of Germany's output went for direct war purposes compared to 40%
in the U.S. and almost 45% in Britain.
In order to reduce the enemy's ability to buy abroad, financial
connections were cut, his funds abroad were frozen, and his exports
were blocked. The U.S. cooperated as well, freezing the financial
assets of various nations as they were conquered by the aggressor
Powers and finally the assets of the aggressors themselves in June
At the same time, pre-emptive buying of vital commodities at
their source to prevent Germany and its allies from obtaining them
began. Because of limited British funds, most of this task of
pre-emptive buying was taken over by the U.S., almost completely by
The blockade was enforced by Britain with little regard for
international law or for neutral rights there was relatively test from
the neutrals. The U.S. openly favored Britain while Italy and Japan
equally openly favored Germany. On the whole, the blockade had no
decisive effect on Germany's ability to wage war until 1945. Germany's
food supply was at the pre-war level until the very last months of the
war by starving the enslaved peoples of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Russia
and other countries.
During the "phony war" there were persons in Britain, France and
Germany who were eager to make war or peace. Such persons engaged in
extensive intrigues in order to negotiate peace or to prevent it.
There were a number of unsuccessful efforts to make peace between the
Western Powers and Germany in the six months following the defeat of
Hitler had no political ambition with respect to the Balkans or
the Soviet Union. From both he wanted nothing more than the maximum
supply of raw materials and a political peace which would permit these
goods to flow.
It is not yet clear why Finland rejected the Russian demands of
October 1939. The Germans and Russians believed that it was done under
British influence. For some unexplained reason the Finns seem to have
felt that the Russians would not attack their country but the Soviets
attacked at several points November 29th.
In early 1939, the Anglo-French leaders now prepared to attack
the Soviet Union both from Finland and from Syria. On February 5,
1940, the Supreme War Council decided to send to Finland an
expeditionary force of 100,000 heavily armed troops to fight the
Soviet hordes. Germany at once warned Norway and Sweden that it would
take action against them if the two Scandinavian countries permitted
passage of this force. Germany feared the Anglo-French forces would be
able to stop shipments of Swedish iron ore across Norway to Germany.
The evidence supports these fears because the high quality of Swedish
iron ore was essential to the German steel industry. As early as
September 1939, the British were discussing a project to interrupt the
Swedish shipments either by an invasion of Norway of by mining
Norwegian territorial waters. When Germany heard of the Anglo-French
expeditionary force, it began to prepare its own plans to seize Norway
THE FALL OF FRANCE (MAY-JUNE 1940) AND THE VICHY REGIME.
Hitler was so convinced that Britain would also make peace that
he gave lenient terms to France. France did not give up any overseas
territories or any ports on the Mediterranean, no naval vessels or any
airplanes or armaments. Northern France and all the western coast to
the Pyrenees came under occupation but the rest was left unoccupied,
ruled by a government free from direct German control.
Operation Barbarossa was based on the consideration that only by
destroying Russia and all Britain's hopes based on Russia could
Britain be forced to ask for peace.
AMERICAN NEUTRALITY AND AID TO BRITAIN
In buying supplies, chiefly from the U.S., Britain had used up,
by June 1941, almost two-thirds of its dollars assets, gold stocks,
and marketable U.S. certificates.
When the war began, American public opinion was united in its
determination to stay out. The isolationist reaction following
American intervention in the First World War had become stronger in
the 1930s. Historian were writing extensively to show that Germany had
not been solely guilty of beginning the war in 1914 and that the
Entente Powers had made more than their share of secret treaties
seeking selfish territorialism, both before the war and during the
In 1934, a committee of the U.S. Senate investigated the role
played by foreign loans and munition sales to belligerents in getting
the U.S. involved in World War I. Through the carelessness of the
Roosevelt administration, this committee fell under the control of
isolationists led by Republican Senator Gerald Nye. As a result, the
evidence was mobilized to show that American intervention in WWI had
been pushed by bankers and munitions manufacturers ("merchants of
death") to protect their profits and their interests in an Entente
victory. American public opinion had the uncomfortable feeling that
American youths had been sent to die for selfish purposes concealed
behind propaganda slogans about "the rights of small nations,"
"freedom of the seas," or "making the world safe for democracy." All
this created a widespread determination to keep out of Europe's
constant quarrels and avoid what was regarded as the "error of 1917."
The isolationist point of view had been enacted into the so-
called Neutrality Act curtailing loans and munitions sales to
belligerent countries. Materials had to be sold on a "cash and carry"
basis and had to be transported on foreign ships. Also, loans to
belligerents were forbidden.
These laws gave a great advantage to a state like Italy which had
ships to carry supplies from the U.S. or which had cash to buy them
here in contrast to a country like Ethiopia which had no ships and
Roosevelt called a special session of Congress to revise the
neutrality laws so that the Entente powers could obtain supplies in
the U.S. The embargo on munitions was repealed. American ships were
not to be armed, to carry munitions, or to go to any areas the
President had proclaimed as combat zones.
The extremes ranged from the advocates of immediate intervention
into the war on the side of Britain to the defenders of extreme
isolation. Most American opinion was somewhere between the two
In order to unify America's political front, Roosevelt took two
interventionists into his cabinet as Secretaries of War and the Navy.
Roosevelt himself was sympathetic to this point of view.
Wendell Wilkie assured the American people that Roosevelt's re-
election in 1940 meant that "we will be at war." Roosevelt replied
with assurances that "We will not sent our army, navy, or air forces
to fight in foreign lands except in case of attack. Your boys are not
going to be sent into any foreign wars." This campaign oratory was
based on the general recognition that the overwhelming majority were
determined to stay out of war.
Strategic plans were drawn up deciding that Germany was the major
danger, with Japan of secondary importance, and that every effort,
including actual warfare, should be used. Germany's declaration of war
on the U.S. four days after Pearl Harbor saved the U.S. from the need
to attempt something which American public opinion would have never
condoned, an attack on Germany after we had been attacked by Japan.
Roosevelt improvised a policy which consisted in almost equal
measure of propagandist public statements, tactical subterfuges, and
hesitant half-steps. In September 1940, Roosevelt gave fifty old WWI
destroyers to Britain in return for 99 year leases of naval and air
bases in this hemisphere.
Loans were forbidden by the Neutrality Act. To Roosevelt, it
seemed foolish to allow monetary considerations to stand as an
obstacle in the way of self-defence (as he regarded the survival of
Opponents argued that Britain had tens of billions in concealed
assets and that Lend-Lease was merely a clever trick for foisting the
costs of Britain's war onto the backs of American tax-payers. Still
others insisted that Lend-Lease was an unneutral act which would
arouse German rage and eventually involved the American people in a
war they had no need to get in. The bill passed and provided that the
president could "sell, transfer title to, exchange, lease, lend, or
dispose of any defence article" to any nation whose defence he found
vital to the defence of the U.S.
Behind this whole effort toward economic mobilization was a
secret decision of Roosevelt's military advisers in 1941 that the war
could not be won unless the U.S. planned eventually to raise the
number of men in its armed forces to eight million. At once,
isolationists were in full cry and an ACt extending selective-service
training passed 203-202.
The British had no plans for an invasion of Europe and hoped that
Germany could be worn down by blockade. No one pointed out that a
Germany defeat by British methods would leave the Soviet armies
supreme in all Europe with no forces to oppose them.
At the same time he gave Britain ten coast-guard cutters,
Roosevelt seized possession of 65 Axis and Danish ships in American
harbors. The financial assets of the Axis Powers were frozen. American
flying schools were made available to train British aviators. By
presidential proclamation, the American Neutrality Zone was extended
to Iceland. The U.S. navy was ordered to follow all Axis raiders or
submarines west of this meridian broadcasting their positions to the
American naval escort of British convoys could not fail to lead
to a "shooting war" with Germany. The Roosevelt administration did not
shrink from this possibility. Fortunately for the Administration's
plans, Hitler played right into its hands by declaring war on the
U.S. By that date, incidents were becoming more frequent.
On Oct. 17, the U.S. destroyer Kearney was torpedoed; two weeks
later, the destroyer Rueben James was blown to pieces. On Nov. 10, an
American escort of 11 vessels picked up a convoy of six vessels
including America's three largest ocean liners with 20,000 British
troops and guarded them from Halifax to India and Singapore.
Many of the activities of the American Navy in the summer of 1941
were known not at all or were known only very imperfectly to they
American public but it would seem that public opinion generally
supported the Administration's actions. In September, Roosevelt sought
to repeal the Neutrality Act forbidding the arming of merchant vessels
which was done on Oct. 17. Two weeks later, all the essential points
of the Neutrality Act were repealed. This meant that open warfare with
Germany was in the immediate future.
THE NAZI ATTACK ON SOVIET RUSSIA 1941-1942
Large numbers of anti-Stalinist Russians began to surrender to
the Nazis. Most of these were Ukranians and eager to fight with the
Nazis against the Stalinist regime. Anti-Stalinist deserters serving
in the Nazi forces reached 900,000 in June 1944 under Soviet general
A. A. Vlasov. At the end of the war, hundreds of thousands of Vlasov's
supporters fled westward to the American and British armies for refuge
from Stalin's vengeance but were handed over to the Soviet Union to be
murdered out of and or sent to slave-labor camps in Siberia. The
dimensions of the human suffering involved in this whole situation is
beyond the human imagination.
CHAPTER XV: WORLD WAR II: THE EBB OF AGGRESSION,1941-1945
THE RISING SUN IN THE PACIFIC, TO 1942
Japanese aggressions of 1941 which culminated in the attack on
Pearl Harbor were based on fear and weakness and not on arrogance and
By 1939, the Japanese economy was beginning to totter under the
growing restrictions on Japanese trade imposed by Western countries
and acute material shortages. Problems such as these might have driven
many nations, even the West, to desperate action.
The world depression made it very difficult to increase Japanese
exports. The excessively high American tariff, although no so
intended, seemed to the Japanese to be an aggressive restriction
on their ability to live. The "imperial preference" regulations of the
British Commonwealth had a similar consequence. Since Japan could not
defend itself against such economic measures, it resorted to political
measures and the Western Powers would inevitably defend themselves
with even greater economic restrictions driving Japan to open war.
The American government began to tighten the economic pincers on
Japan just as Japan was seeking to tighten its military pincers on
China. Japan was able to close all routes to China. The American
government retaliated with economic warfare. In 1938, it established a
"moral embargo" on the shipment of aircraft or their parts and bombs
to Japan. In 1939, large U.S. and British loans to China sought to
strengthen its collapsing financial system and Washington gave
notice to cancel the 1911 commercial treaty with Japan opening the
door to all kinds of economic pressure. The "moral embargo" was
extended to cover light metals and all machinery or plans for making
Such a policy was opposed by isolationists insisting such
economic sanctions could only be enforced, in the long run, by war. If
Japan could not get petroleum, bauxite, rubber and tin by trade, it
could be prevented from seizing these areas producing these products
only by force. To avoid this obvious inference,l Cordell Hull sought
to make America's economic policy ambiguous so that Japan might be
deterred by fear of sanctions not yet imposed and won by hopes of
concessions not yet granted. Such a policy was a mistake but it
obtained Roosevelt's explicit approval since it allowed more
aggressive elements of Japanese to take control and any drastic action
seeking to end the strain became welcome.
The ambiguity of American commercial policy slowly resolved in
the direction of increasing economic sanctions. There was a steady
increase in America's economic pressure by the growth of financial
obstacles and by increasing purchasing difficulties.
From Hull's doctrinaire refusal to encourage any Japanese hope
that they could win worthwhile American concessions, the advocates of
extremism gained influence.
The President ordered the embargo of many goods which Japan
needed, including aluminum, airplane parts, all arms and munitions,
optical supplies, and various "strategic" materials but left petroleum
and scrap iron unhindered.
American diplomatic pressure on Japan must be timed to avoid
pushing Japan into desperate action before American-German relations
had passed the breaking point.
On July 26, 1941, the U.S. froze all Japanese financial assets in
the U.S. virtually ending trade between the two countries. Members of
the British Commonwealth issued similar orders. As a result of these
pressures, Japan found itself in a position where its oil reserves
would be exhausted in two years, its aluminum reserves in seven
months. The chief of the Navy told the emperor that if Japan resorted
to war, it would be very doubtful that it could win. It was also clear
that if war came, economic pressure was too damaging to allow Japan to
postpone such operations until 1942. The decision was made to
negotiate until late October. If an agreement could be reached, the
preparations for war could be suspended, otherwise the negotiations
would be ended and the advance to open war continued. The Cabinet
sought desperately to reach an agreement in Washington.
The Japanese misjudged American psychology. Nomura found it
impossible to reach an agreement because Hull's demands were extreme.
The Americans had broken the secret Japanese codes and knew that war
would begin if Nomura failed to obtain relaxation of the economic
embargo. They did not however have the plans for the attack on Pearl
On November 27th, a war warning was sent from Washington to Pearl
Harbor but no increased precautions were made. On December 7, an army
enlisted man, using radar, detected a group of strange planes
coming down from the north 132 miles away but his report was
disregarded. The American losses included 2,400 killed, 1,200 injured.
Japanese losses amounted to a couple of dozen planes.
TURNING THE TIDE, 1942-1943
At Casablanca, the political decision of Roosevelt and Churchill
on unconditional surrender was published with great fanfare, and at
once initiated a controversy which still continues based on the belief
that it had an adverse influence by discouraging any hopes within Axis
countries that they could find a way out by slackening their efforts,
by revolting against their governments, or by negotiations seeking
some kind of of "conditional" surrender. There seems little doubt that
it solidified our enemies and prolonged their resistance where
opposition to the war was widespread and active.
In May 1943, Sicily was overrun and in September,Italy
surrendered and the German armies were pushed backward from eastern
Europe. Major decisions were made in 1943 which played a major role in
determining the nature of the postwar world.
Although Soviet demands were clearly in conflict with the high
purposes of the Atlantic charter, Churchill was not averse to
accepting them on the grounds of physical necessity but American
objections to discussions of territorial questions while the war was
still going on forced him to refuse Stalin's requests. The British
found themselves between the high and proclaimed principles of the
Americans and the low and secret interests of the Russians.
At the American centers of power, there was complete conviction
in the value of unrestricted aid to Russia. These aims were embraced
by men like Harry Hopkins, General Marshall, and Roosevelt himself.
The Americans decided to choke off the Italian offensive in order
to concentrate on the cross-channel attack. The attack on North Africa
was a substitute for an attack on Germany from Italy.
Once ashore, the Sicilian campaign was ineptly carried on because
occupation of territory was given precedence over destruction of the
enemy. No efforts were made to close the Straits of Messina so the
Germans were able to send almost two divisions as reinforcements from
Italy and later, when the island had to be abandoned, they were
equally free to evacuate it in seven days without the loss a man.
The history of Italy in 1943 is a history of lost opportunities.
Italy might have got out in the summer and the Germans might have been
ejected shortly afterward. Instead, Italy was torn to pieces and got
out of the war so slowly that Germans were still fighting on Italian
soil at the final surrender in 1945.
These great misfortunes were the result of a number of forces:
1) weakness of Italy relative to Germany;
2) weakness of Allies after diversion of power to Britain;
3) mistrust of Italians by Allies;
4) the inflexible Allied insistence on unconditional surrender which
left the Italians helpless to resist the Germans.
When the Italian government offered the join the Allies in
fighting the Germans, they insisted that the publication of the
armistice and a tentative paratrooper drop in Rome be put off until
sufficient Allied forces were within striking distance to protect the
city from the German troops nearby. Eisenhower refused and published
the Italian surrender one day before the American Army landed at
Salerno. The Germans reacted to the news of the Italian "betrayal"
with characteristic speed. Available forces converged on the Salerno
beachhead, an armored division fought its way into Rome, Italian
troops were disarmed everywhere, and the Italian government had to
flee. Numerous vessels were sunk by the Germans.
As Allied forces slowly recovered Italian territory from the
tenacious grasp of the Germans, the royal government remained
subservient to its conquerors. Civilian affairs were completely in
military hands under and organization known as Allied Military
Government of Occupied Territories. The creation of these
organizations on a purely Anglo-American basis,to rule the first Axis
territory to be "liberated" became a very important precedent for
Soviet behavior wen their armies began to occupy enemy territory in
eastern Europe who were able to argue that they could exclude
Anglo-Americans from active participation in military government in
the east since they had earlier been excluded in the west.
While these political events were taking place, the military
advance was moving like a snail. The Allied invasion of Italy was
given very limited resources for a very large task.. It was only under
such limitations of resources, explicitly stated, that the Americans
accepted the British suggestion for an invasion of Italy at all.
It was suggested that German success in holding the Rapido was
due to the accuracy of their artillery fire and that this was was
being spotted from the ancient monastery founded by St. Benedict in
529 A.D. on the top of Monte Cassino. It was further suggested that
General Clark should have obliterated the monastery with aerial
bombardment but had failed to do so because he was a Roman Catholic.
After Feb. 15, 1944, General Clark did destroy the site completely
without helping the situation a bit. We now know that the Germans had
not been using the monastery; but once it was destroyed by us, they
dug into the rubble to make a stronger defence.
On May 16th, a Polish Division captured Monte Cassino.
Efforts to create a new Polish army were hampered by the fact
that about 10,000 POlish officers along with 5,000 intellectuals and
professional persons, all of whom had been held in three camps in
western Russia, could not be found. At least 100,000 Polish prisoners
of war, out of 320,000 captured in 1939, had been exterminated.
The German radio suddenly announced on April 13, 1943, that
German forces in occupied Russia had discovered, at Katyn, near
Smolensk, Russia, mass graves containing the bodies of 5,000 Polish
officers who had been murdered by the Soviet authorities in 1940.
Moscow called this a Nazi propaganda trick and declared that the
Polish officers had been murdered and buried by the Nazis themselves
when they captured the officers and this Soviet territory.
The strategic decision of September 1943 to reject Churchill's
plans for a Balkan campaign in order to concentrate on a cross-Channel
offensive in 1944 were of vital importance in setting the form that
postwar Europe would take. If it had been decided to postpone the
cross-Channel attack and concentrate on an assault from the Aegean
across Bulgaria and Romania toward Poland and Slovakia, the postwar
situation would have been quite different.
It has been argued that failure to reach agreement on the
territorial settlement of eastern Europe while the war was still in
progress meant that Soviet armies would undoubtedly dominate once
Germany was defeated. This assumption implies that America should have
threatened to reduce of to cut off Lend-Lease supplies going unless
we could obtain Soviet agreement to the kind of eastern European
settlement we wanted.
The Soviet advance became a race with the Western Powers even
though Eisenhower's orders held back their advance at many points
(such as Prague) to allow the Russians to occupy areas the Americans
could easily have taken first.
Roosevelt's sense of the realities of power were quite as acute
as Churchill's or Stalin's but he concealed that sense much more
deliberately and much more completely under a screen of high-sounding
Polish ministers rushed from London to Moscow to negotiate. While
they were still talking and when the Soviet army was only six miles
from Warsaw, the Polish underground forces in the city, at a Soviet
invitation, rose up against the Germans. A force of 40,000 responded
to the suggestion but the Russian armies stopped their advance and
obstructed supplies to the rebels in spite of appeals from all parts
of the world. After sixty-three days of hopeless fighting, the Polish
Home Army had to surrender to the Germans. This Soviet treachery
removed their chief obstacle to Communist rule in Poland and the
London government in London was accordingly ignored.
When victorious armies broke into Germany, late in 1944, the
Nazis were still holding the survivors of 8 million enslaved workers,
10 million Jews, 6 million Russian prisoners of war and millions of
prisoners from other armies. Over half of the Jews and Russians,
possibly 12 million, were killed before final victory in 1945.
The ideas that strategic air attacks must be directed at
civilians in enemy cities were almost wholly ignored in the Soviet
Union, largely rejected in Germany, created great controversy in
France, but were accepted to a large extent among airmen in Britain
and the U.S.
The contribution by strategic bombing to the defeat of Germany
was relatively incidental, in spite of the terrible losses suffered in
the effort. The shift to city bombing was more or less accidental. In
spite of the erroneous ideas of Chamberlain, Baldwin, Churchill, the
war opened and continued for months with no city bombing at all, for
the simple reason that the Germans had no intentions, no planes, and
no equipment for strategic bombing.
The attack on cities began by accident when a group of German
planes which were lost dumped their bomb loads, contrary to orders, on
London on August 1940. The RAF retaliated by bombing Berlin the next
night. Goring in counter-retaliation. British efforts to counterattack
by daylight raids on military objectives resulted in such losses that
the air offensive was shifted to night attacks. This entailed a shift
from industrial targets to indiscriminate bombing of urban areas. This
was justified with the wholly mistaken argument that civilian morale
was a German weak point and that the destruction of workers' housing
would break this morale. The evidence shows that the German war effort
was not weakened in any way by lowering civilian morale in spite of
the horrors heaped on it.
The most extraordinary example of this suffering occurred in the
British fire raids on Hamburg in 1943 which was attacked for more than
a week with a mixture of high-explosive and incendiary bombs so
persistently that fire-storms appeared. The air in the city heated to
over a thousand degrees began to rise rapidly with the result that
winds of hurricane force rushed into the city. The water supply was
destroyed and the flames were too hot for water to be effective. Final
figures for the destruction were set at 40,000 dead, 250,000 houses
destroyed with over a million made homeless. This as the greatest
destruction by air attacks on a city until the fire raid on Tokyo on
March 9 1945 which still stands today as the most devastating air
attack in human history.
General Eisenhower ignored Berlin and drove directly eastward
toward Dresden. Eisenhower's decisions permitted the Soviet forces to
"liberate" all the capital cities of central Europe. As late as May
4th, when the American forces were sixty miles from Prague and the
Soviet armies more than a hundred, an effort by the former to advance
to the city was stopped at the request of the Soviet commander,
despite a vain message from Churchill to Eisenhower to take the Czech
capital for political bargaining purposes.
Soon the names Buchenwald, Dachau, and Belsen were repeated with
horror throughout the world. At Belsen, 35,000 dead bodies and 30,000
still breathing were found. The world was surprised and shocked. There
was no reason for the world's press to be surprised at Nazi bestiality
in 1945 since the evidence had been fully available in 1938.
CLOSING IN ON JAPAN, 1943-1945
When Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945, Japan was already
defeated but could not make itself accept unconditional surrender.
Even American strategic bombing was different in the Pacific
using B-29s, unknown in Europe, for area bombing of civilians in
cities, something we disapproved in Europe.
279 B-29s carrying 1,900 tons of fire bombs were sent on a low-
level attack on Tokyo. The result was the most devastating air attack
in all history. With the loss of only 3 planes, 16 square miles of
central Tokyo were burned out; 250,000 houses were destroyed, over a
million persons were made homeless and 84,793 were killed. This was
more destructive than the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima five months
American leaders shuddered to think of the results if such
Kamikaze attacks were hurled at troop transports and American
estimates of casualties were over half a million. These considerations
form the background to the Yalta and Potsdam conferences and the
decision to use to atom bomb on Japan.
The nature and decisions taken at the conference of Roosevelt,
Churchill and Stalin held at Yalta in February 1945 has been so much
distorted by partisan propaganda that it is difficult for any
historian to reconstruct the situation as it seemed at the time.
In China,90%of the railroads were out of operation. The dominant
Kuomintang Party's chief aim seemed to be to maintain its armed
blockade of the Communist forces operating out of Yenan in
northwestern China where the highly-disciplined Communist armies had
gained some degree of local support.
American hopes of fusing the two parties into a common Chinese
government broke down on the refusals of the Kuomintang and the
remoteness of the Communists. In September 1944, Roosevelt suggest
that General Stillwell be given command of all Chinese forces fighting
the Japanese. General Chiang answered with a demand that Stilwell be
removed from China.
It is extremely likely that the frantic and otherwise
inexplicable haste to use the second and third bombs, 21 and 24 days
after Alamagordo arose from the desire to force the Japanese surrender
before any effective Soviet intervention.
On the economic side was a somewhat modified version of the
Morgenthau scheme (which had sought the complete ruralization of
German economic life to an agrarian basis) which was modified almost
at once by a number of factors.
The first modifying factor was a desire for reparations. The
Americans insisted that reparations betaken from existing stocks and
plants rather than from future production in order to avoid the error
of the 1919-1933 period, the overbuilding of German capital equipment
and American financing of reparations into the indefinite future. It
was provided that all reparations come from Germany as a whole and be
credited to the victors on a percentage basis.
On August 10th, a message accepting the Potsdam terms was sent.
Thus ended six years of world war in which 70 million men had been
mobilized and 17 million killed in battle. At least 18 million
civilians had been killed. The Soviet Union had lost 6.1 million
soldiers and 14 million wounded and over 10 million civilians dead.
Germany lost 6.6 million servicemen with 7.2 million wounded and 1.3
million missing. Japan had 1.9 million dead. Britain war dead were
357,000 and America's were 294,000.
All this personal tragedy and material damage of untold billions
was needed to demonstrate that Germany could not establish and Nazi
continental bloc in Europe nor could Japan dominate an East-Asian co-
Prosperity Sphere. This is the chief function of war: to demonstrate
as conclusively as possible to mistaken minds that they are mistaken
in regard to power relationships. But as we shall see, war also
changes most drastically the objective facts themselves.
CHAPTER XVI: THE NEW AGE
World War II transformed a system where man's greatest problems
were the material ones of man's helplessness in the face of natural
threats of disease, starvation, and natural catastrophes to the
totally different system of the 1960s and 1970s where the greatest
threat to man is man himself and where his greatest problems are the
social (and non-material) ones of what his true goals of existence are
and what use he should make of his immense power of the universe, his
For thousands of years, some men had viewed themselves as
creatures a little lower than angels, or even God, and a little higher
than the beasts. Now, in the 20th century, man has acquired almost
divine powers and it has become increasingly clear that he can no
longer regard himself as an animal but must regard himself as at least
a man if not obligated to act like an angel or even a god.
The whole trend of the 19th century had been to emphasize man's
animal nature and seek to increase his supply of material necessities.
The great achievements of the 19th century and the great crisis
of the 20th century are both related to the Puritan tradition of the
17th century which regarded the body and the material as sinful and
dangerous and something which must be sternly controlled.
These methods appeared in a number of ways, notably in an
emphasis on self-discipline for future benefits, on restricted
consumption and on saving in a devotion to work, and in a postponement
of enjoyment to a future which never arrived. A typical example might
be John D. Rockefeller: great saver, great worker, and great postponer
of any self-centered action, even death. To such people, the most
adverse comments which could be made about a failure to distinguish
from a "successful" man were that he was a "saltrel," a "loafer," a
"sensualist," and "self-indulgent." These terms reflected the value
that the middle classes placed on work, saving, self-denial and social
The nineteenth century's emphasis on acquisitive behavior, on
achievement, and on infinitely expansible demand is equally associated
with the middle-class outlook. These basic features are inevitably
lacking in backward, tribal, underdeveloped peasant societies and
groups, not only in Africa and Asia but also in much of the
Mediterranean, Latin America, central France, in the Mennonite
communities of Pennsylvania and elsewhere. The lack of future
preference and expansible material demands in other areas are
essential features of the 20th century crisis.
George Sorel (Reflections on Violence, 1908) sought a solution to
this crisis in irrationalism, in action for its own sake. The other
tendency sought a solution in rationalization, science, universality,
cosmopolitanism and the continued pursuit of truth. The war became a
struggle between the forces of irrationality represented by Fascism
and the forces of Western science and rationalization represented by
the Allied nations.
RATIONALIZATION AND SCIENCE
Rationalization gradually spread into the more dominant problem
of business. From maximizing production, it shifted to maximizing
The introduction of rationalization into war was attributed to
the efforts of Professor P.M.S. Blackett (Nobel Prize 1948) to apply
radar to antiaircraft guns. From there, Blackett took the technique
into antisubmarine defence whence it spread under the name
"Operational Research" (OP).
Operational research, unlike science, made its greatest
contribution in regard to the use of existing equipment rather than
the effort to invent new equipment. It often game specific
recommendations, reached through techniques of mathematical
probability, which directly contradicted the established military
procedures. A simple case concerned the problem of air attack on enemy
submarines: For what depth should the bomb fuse be set? In 1940, RAF
set its fuses at 100 feet. based on three factors:
1) the time interval between the moments when the submarine sighted
the plane and the plane sighted the submarine;
2) the speed of approach of the plane; and
3) the speed of submergence of the submarine.
The submarine was unlikely to be sunk if the bomb exploded more
than 20 feet away. Operational Research added an additional factor:How
near was the bomber to judging the exact spot where the submarine went
down? since this error increased rapidly with the distance of the
original sighting, a submarine which had time to submerge deeply would
almost inevitably be missed by the bomb in position if not in depth;
but with 100 foot fuses, submarines which had little time to submerge
were missed because the fuse was too deep even when the position was
correct. OP recommended setting fuses at 25 feet to sink the near
sightings and practically conceded the escape of all distant
sightings. When fuses were set at 35 feet, successful attacks on
submarines increased 400 percent with the same equipment.
The British applied OP to many similar problems.
1) With an inadequate3 number of A.A. guns, is it better to
concentrate them to protect part of a city thoroughly or to disperse
them to protect all of the city inadequately? (The former is better)
2) Repainting night bombers from black to white when used on submarine
patrol increased sightings of submarines 30%.
3) Are small convoys safer for merchant ships than large ones (No by a
4) With an inadequate number of patrol planes, was it better to search
the whole patrol area some days (as was the practice) or to search
part of it ever day with whatever planes were available? (the latter
OP calculated the number of people killed per ton of bombs
dropped showing that the casualties inflicted on Germany were about
400 civilians killed per month - about half the German automobile
accident death rate - while 200 RAF crewmen were killed per month in
doing the bombing. Later it was discovered the raids were actually
killing 200 German civilians contributing little to the war effort at
the cost of the 200 RAF men each month and thus were a contribution to
the German victory. These estimates made it advisable to shift planes
to U-boat patrol. A bomber in its average life of 30 missions, dropped
100 tons of bombs killing 20 Germans and destroying a few houses. The
same plane in 30 missions of submarine patrol saved 6 loaded merchant
ships and their crews from submarines. This discovery was violently
resisted by the head of the RAF, Sir Arthur (Bomber) Harris.
In 1938, Vannevar Bush, professor of electrical engineering and
vice-president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology persuaded
Roosevelt to create the National Defence Research Committee with Bush
as Chairman. When money ran short, they obtained half from MIT and an
equal sum from John D. Rockefeller.
First news of the success of Operations Research in Britain was
brought to the U.S. by Conant in 1940 and was formally introduced by
Bush. With the arrival of peace, it became an established civilian
The rationalizing of society used the tremendous advances in
mathematics of the 19th century but a good deal came from new
developments. Amlong these have been applications of game theory,
information theory, symbolic logic, cybernetics, and electronic
computing. The newest of these was probably game theory, worked out by
a Hungarian refugee mathematician, John von Neumann, at the Institute
for Advanced Study. This applied mathematical techniques to situations
in which persons sought conflicting goals in a nexus of relationships
governed by rules. The basic work was "Theory of Games and Economic
Behavior" by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern (Princeton 1944).
A flood of books all sought to apply mathematical methods to
information, communications, and control systems.
THE TWENTIETH-CENTURY PATTERN
The decision to use the bomb against Japan marks one of the
turning points in history of our times. The scientists who were
consulted had no information on the status of the war itself, had no
idea how close to the end Japan already was. Some people like General
Groves wanted it to be used to justify the two billion they had spent.
After it was all over, Director of Military Intelligence for the
Pacific theatre of War Alfred McCormack, who was probably in as good
position as anyone to for judging the situation, felt that the
Japanese surrender could have been obtained in a few weeks by blockade
alone. "The Japanese had no longer enough food in stock, and their
fuel reserves were practically exhausted. We were mining all their
harbors and if we had brought this operation to its logical
conclusion, the destruction of Japanese cities with incendiary and
other bombs would have been quite unnecessary. But General Norstad
declared at Washington that this blockading action was a cowardly
proceeding unworthy of the Air Force. It was therefore discontinued."
IT was equally clear that the defeat of Japan did not require the
A-bomb just as it did not require the Russian entry into the war or an
American invasion of the Japanese home islands. But again, other
factors involving interests and nonrational considerations were too
powerful. However, if the U.S. had not finished the bomb project or
had not used it, it seems most unlikely that the Soviet Union would
have made its postwar efforts to get the bomb.
The Russian leaders would almost certainly not have made the
effort to get the bomb if we had not used it on Japan. On the other
hand, if we had not used the bomb on Japan, we would have been quite
incapable of preventing the Soviet forces from expanding wherever they
were ordered in Eurasia in 1946.
The growth of the army of specialists destroys one of the three
basic foundations of political democracy. These three bases are:
1) that men are relatively equal in factual power;
2) that men have relatively equal access to the information needed to
make a government's decisions;
3) that men have a psychological readiness to accept majority rule in
return for those civil rights which will allow any minority to work to
build itself up to become a majority.
It is increasingly clear that in the 20th century, the expert
will replace the industrial tycoon in control of the economic system
even as he will replace the democratic voter in control of the
political system. This is because planning will inevitably replace
laissez-faire in the relationships between the two systems.
Hopefully, the elements of choice and freedom may survive for the
ordinary individual in that he may be free to make a choice between
two opposing political groups (even if these groups have little policy
choice within the parameters of policy established by the experts) and
he may have the choice to switch his economic support from one large
unit to another. But in general, his freedom and choice will be
controlled within very narrow alternatives by the fact that he will be
numbered from birth and followed, as a number, through his educational
training, his required military and other public service, his tax
contributions, his health and medical requirements, and his final
retirement and death benefits.
One consequence of the nuclear rivalry has been the almost total
destruction of international law as existed from the middle of the
17th century to the end of the 19th. That old international law was
based on distinctions which no longer exist including the distinction
between war and peace, the rights of neutrals, the distinction between
public and private authority. These are now destroyed or in great
The post-war balance of terror reached its peak of total
disregard both of noncombatants and of neutrals in the policies of
John Foster Dulles who combined sanctimonious religion with "massive
retaliation wherever and whenever we judge fit" to the complete
destruction of any non-combatant or neutral status.
As a result, all kinds of groups could destroy law and order without
suffering retaliation by ordinary powers and could become recognized
as states when they were totally lacking in the traditional attributes
of statehood. For example, the Leopoldville group were recognized as
the real government of the whole Congo in spite of the fact that they
were incapable of maintaining law and order over the area. Similarly,
a gang of rebels in Yemen in 1962 were instantly recognized before
they gave any evidence whatever of ability to maintain control or of
readiness to assume the existing international obligations of the
Yemen state and before it was established that their claims to have
killed the king were true.
Under the umbrella of nuclear stalemate, outside governments
subsidize murders or revolts as the Russians did in Iraq and as the
American CIA did in several places, successfully in Iran in 1953, and
in Guatemala in 1954 or very unsuccessfully as in the Cuban invasion
of 1961. Under the Cold War umbrella, small groups can obtain
recognition as states by securing the intervention (usually secret) of
some outside Power.