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  • War Plan Red

    What if War Plan Red was activated and the United States launched an attack on Canada? Who do you think would come out on top?
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever."- Napoleon.

    "A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood"- George S. Patton.

    "I will let you see that I was a grenadier before I was a marshal and still am one"- Jean Lannes, Siege of Ratisbon

  • #2
    Looking at a map, I'd say Canada.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by OpanaPointer View Post
      Looking at a map, I'd say Canada.

      Yep.
      We're bigger and we're on top.
      If this was prison, you would be our btch




      .
      Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by tigersqn View Post
        Yep.
        We're bigger and we're on top.
        If this was prison, you would be our btch




        .
        And 90% of your population lives within six feet of the border with the US. (The other 10% are in Arizona right now.)
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        • #5
          In the period between the WW's Canadian military ran several intel recon's on the Northern US. The US Army did the same.
          Could the US Army have done a successful invasion of Canada ? Maybe
          but I think WP RED was an make work project for staff college types.
          Just as Col.Brown's recon's into the USA were. Mind you the latters were classified into the 1970's . Why ? Who knows ??
          What the US warplans should have remembered was that the US has invaded us twice and been repulsed twice. Besides with Canadian companies having ties to US ones wouldn't have made sense.

          "To all who serve , have or will serve , Thank You"

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          • #6
            Of course it was a training exercise, Canada most likely does the same thing, Canada is one of our strongest allies, well except for Montreal, they don't even like the rest of Canada!
            Dispite our best intentions, the system is dysfunctional that intelligence failure is guaranteed.
            Russ Travers, CIA analyst, 2001

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            • #7
              "Better to have a plan and not need it than to need a plan and not have it."

              But OP didn't say when this might happen. If it happens after WWII the US military is a fair bit larger than before the war. They would still face the problem of pacifying a large country. A limited objective might have been doable, but conquering the whole country would be tedious.
              Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
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              The best place in the world to "work".

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              • #8
                Originally posted by OpanaPointer View Post
                And 90% of your population lives within six feet of the border with the US. (The other 10% are in Arizona right now.)
                Yeah, they live down the street from my parents.
                "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by johnbryan View Post
                  Yeah, they live down the street from my parents.
                  I live near I-44, a shortcut from Ontario to Arizona. We dodge around RVs twice a year as the flocks come through.
                  Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tigersqn View Post
                    Yep.
                    We're bigger and we're on top.
                    If this was prison, you would be our btch




                    .
                    Or you would be our hat.
                    "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
                    George Mason
                    Co-author of the Second Amendment
                    during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

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                    • #11
                      If anyone is interested in the origins of War Plan Red, Mark Gleason recently published a Masters Thesis entitled "From Associates to Antagonists: The United States, Great Britain, the First World War, and the Origins of WAR PLAN RED, 1914-1919." Its available here: http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115084/m2/1/high_res_d/thesis.pdf Here is a snip from the introduction:

                      The most common theme among historians in their appraisals of PLAN RED is that of an oddity. One of the most valuable sources on the details of American war plans, Steven Ross of the Naval War College, dismisses RED as lacking “serious political rationale,” a contention he repeats in several iterations in two separate works on American war planning.2 In full agreement, an Army War College production, Henry Gole’s Road to Rainbow, implies that these plans “bore little relation to contemporary developments in international affairs.”3 Its only value, these scholars contend, existed in providing United States military planners “practice in dealing with problems of a major war,” for study of “the complexities of an Atlantic-centered conflict,” or merely “exercise [of] skills in defending the Atlantic coast.”4 One reviewer reduces it even further: it remained simply “to give colonels and captains something to do.”5

                      These and other authors maintain that PLAN RED provided little more than a phase on the “Road to Rainbow.” Even those willing to concede some element of the realistic in the plans remain focused more on the premise that, “for both the Army and Navy, planning for war against RED...provided valuable experience from which the services drew when they confronted really dangerous enemies...on the eve of World War II.”6 Indeed, one of Road to Rainbow’s main arguments asserts that, however illogical RED or the other colored plans were, they provided direction on the path to the eventual – presumably more logical – planning for coalition warfare entailed in the Rainbow Plans that emerged in the late 1930s.

                      Near incredulity underlies these perceptions – that American Army and Navy planners would even devise plans for an Anglo-American war. Ross declares, “The idea that the United States and Britain would engage...against each other...was at best remote.”7 Gole counts RED as unrealistic because he considers Britain a most “unlikely foe” during the Inter-War period.8 In this premise, that a serious notion of such a war between 1919 and 1939 must have been “unthinkable,” and such planning therefore nonsensical, Ross and Gole have much company.

                      The idea of a true friendship between the United States and the United Kingdom, emerging prior to the Great War, demonstrated in 1917-1919, merely dormant in the 1920s and 1930s, but solidified in the 1940s, finds exposition in early, full-length studies of the relationship, and demonstrates the bent of most subsequent works up through the present. In 1924, J.D. Whelpley of Harper’s Weekly penned his British-American Relations. Though somewhat critical in its analysis, his agenda reveals itself in chapter headings such as the opening, “Natural Allies,” and the concluding “What Can Be Done.”9 Major works rolled out as the American and British people developed the “Special Relationship” out of the Second World War. These books sought to interpret Anglo-American history as a linear, uniform progression from the division and hatred out of the American War of Independence to diplomatic unity and friendship, and the alliance of the 1940s.10 Chief among Anglo-American histories, H.C. Allen’s Great Britain and the United States remains one of the most oft cited works, and his study of relations between the United States and Britain from 1783 to 1952 sets the mold. Professor Allen espouses the “Special Relationship” view, and downplays the very real controversies that bedeviled Anglo-American connections in the decades prior to the Second World War – a theme improved upon in his Conflict and Concord.11 As a later critic observed, Allen’s thesis follows that “a growing intimacy of action between the United States and Britain has been the great continuing theme of world history” since the First World War.12 And other volumes utilize these same themes. Lionel Gelber’s deceptively titled America in Britain’s Place quips, “between the [world] wars, for all who cherished freedom and cared for the defense of Western society, the one element of promise was Anglo-American friendship.”13

                      These, mostly – though by no means exclusive14 – British productions were products of the Cold Wars, as the prolific Canadian scholar B.J.C. McKercher observed, “when the East-West rivalry was at its height.” Historians at that time took their lead from statesmen such as the great Winston Churchill, adopted the “Special Relationship” line, and sought to demonstrate “how from at least 1865 onward, any Anglo-American differences amounted to small pebbles dropped accidentally in a placid pool of commonality.”15 They became, in the words of D. Cameron Watt, “a convinced and dedicated group of ‘Anglo-American’ historians for whom the differences and conflicts which existed in those relationships are barriers to proper understanding, as they conceive[d] it, of the unique nature of those relationships, and which are therefore to be ignored when possible.”16

                      These “Anglo-American historians,” quite literally, paper over those incidents problematic to their positive interpretation. H.C. Allen references some of the incidences of friction arising out of the First World War, yet does little to chart their course, or see to their influence or consequences, or resolution in the Inter-War period. Others overlook relevant issues entirely to fit the narrative. In an excellent example – the short, concise United States and Britain – H.G. Nicholas practically skips the major issues of immediate post-War relations. He regards the disagreements arising out of the First World War as “minor,” and the questions debated as “wholly unnecessary.”17

                      Lack of a detailed study of Anglo-American relations in the immediate post-First World War years makes a right understanding of the difficult relationship between the United States and the British Empire after the War problematic.18 Innumerable volumes cover the War itself, and several articles and a few books dwell on American and British relations during that period – though even they minimize the many Anglo-American controversies.19 The Paris Peace Conference, one of the most unique events in the diplomatic annals of the modern era, likewise has been the subject of intense study, as have its Anglo-American dimensions.20 A hole, however, exists, for the most part, once one emerges from the Peace Conference and into the post-War world.

                      Contributions to such a field do exist, however limited in scope. The most useful Anglo-American Relations in the 1920s, a collection of seven articles on different, semi-related issues of the period, currently provides the only full-length source on the subject.21 But most articles and histories of the 1920s, including those found in Anglo-American Relations, focus upon particular aspects of Anglo-American relations – economic, naval, and others. And among these, a more diverse picture of the relationship materializes.

                      Of course, a collection of Watt’s “Anglo-American historians” occupy these fields as well. Michael Hogan’s Informal Entente is exemplary. His work, quite compellingly, endeavors to demonstrate that economic considerations did much to bring the United States and Britain together in the decade after the First World War. In the same vein, Roberta Dayer’s expositions on American and British monetary and financial establishments stress “common values and goals” between these interests in both countries out of the World War and after.22

                      Other scholars present a different analysis. In their economic histories, Carl Parrini and Frank Costigliola present a far more contentious relationship between the two great powers in the post-Great War decade.23 Parrini’s Heir to Empire, in particular, highlights how the World War itself created a new economic landscape in which the United States and the British Empire had become fierce rivals. And though Paul Kennedy asserts in Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, that the United States had become “by 1918...indisputably the strongest power in the world,” that position was, by no means, assured, nor complete.24 According to Herbert Feis in Diplomacy of the Dollar, the United Kingdom remained a potent economic power, despite its indebtedness and losses due to the 1914-1918 war, and therefore an apt competitor. Professor McKercher completes Feis’s argument: with the United States now a major, capable economic rival, yet not the supreme economic power, and Great Britain in possession of much of its commercial abilities, a serious competition between the two nations after the First World War was inevitable.25

                      Naval histories, likewise, present differing appraisals. Early naval histories downplay the notions of an Anglo-American contest. George T. Davis’s Navy Second to None, in the introduction, remarks that in the post-World War One era, “although the aim of this country [was] to match the British fleet, there is no evidence of rivalry in this relationship.”26 His work by no means states this alone. Yet others convincingly dispute such an assertion. Jeffrey Safford’s Wilsonian Maritime Diplomacy, one of the most comprehensive studies of its subject, presents the Administration of Woodrow Wilson as intensely wary of British mercantile intentions after the World War, a portrait absent from the works G.T. Davis, Allen, and others.27 Stephen Roskill’s first volume of Naval Policy between the Wars, the only extant naval history to focus on the years 1919-1929, develops a narrative that most seriously challenges the above-mentioned “Anglo-American historians” who disclaim the notion of any contention in the relationship between the United States and Great Britain. Roskill convincingly argues that, despite “a tendency by historians to underplay, if not actually ignore, the serious differences of opinion and the rivalry in many fields which arise between the two nations during the inter-war period,” the years 1919-1929 were, in fact, a period of intense antagonism between the two countries.28 Though mostly from the British perspective, his work provides valuable insights. But published in 1968 – six years before the release of the WAR PLAN RED documents – the plan’s significance could neither be expounded upon, nor even referenced.

                      And because each of these scholars’ works details a particular segment of scholarship – merchant marine policy, naval history, trade – none of these studies ably combine these elements to develop a unitary narrative of the Anglo-American relationship during the formative years of WAR PLAN RED. Thus, detached from its roots, American plans for war with Britain can be made to look out of place, misguided, and irrational.

                      One must then question the logic of dismissing the war plans outright. The mere existence of PLAN RED implies that a far different relationship between American and Britons developed after the First World War, especially when one examines the context in which it was created. America’s undisputed emergence into the ranks of the great nations took place concurrent with one of the most monumental shifts in the global balance of power. The events of the First World War and immediately after shattered what remained of the arrangements made after the fall of Napoleon one hundred years earlier, and the establishment of the German Empire fifty years prior, and set in motion much of subsequent history. Likewise, the course of the War and its effects on the great nations dramatically impacted American perceptions of the post-War world. Out of this global shift, the United States adjusted its view of the world dynamic, relations between nations, and the American position in the new international order.

                      Of all the relationships of all the Great Powers, that of the United States and Great Britain changed the most significantly. Together, they and their allies defeated the Central Powers. The German Empire, formerly the greatest nation on the European continent and the second most powerful country in the world in terms of its global military and economic standing, suffered a significant defeat in the fields of France, the loss of nearly its entire navy, and the ruin of its industrial capacity by four years of near total war. The British Empire received nearly a million war casualties, substantially less than their rivals or the other Allies, but the Royal Navy outnumbered all others combined; yet the War inflicted a terrible toll on the Empire’s economy. Britain lost many of its overseas markets and owed billions in war debts to the United States and American bankers. The United States, however, having committed its men and resources to only a year and a half of the War, lost little of either, the American Navy had embarked upon its grandest construction program in its history, developed an enormous merchant marine, and became the most competitive trading nation, capturing many former English markets, and became Britain’s most capable rival. At the end of the First World War, the United States and Great Britain had become the two, sole, greatest powers on earth, and each recognized the other as such.

                      In the immediate aftermath of the War, leaders in the United States Government, military, business community, and so forth, fully recognized this new American position. Most significantly, with the European nations at war for four years, the United States had grasped a significant new share of the world’s markets – outlets formerly utilized, primarily, by British merchants. This new economic dominance demanded protection, and perhaps greater expansion. Few believed that policy could go forward without conflicting with British interests. To forward these economic and diplomatic aims, elements within the Congress, the Administration, and the Navy believed the United States required a physical arm with which it could reach out into the world. Beginning in 1916, it undertook to construct a new modern navy, “second to none.” In 1918 and 1919, plans expanded to create a naval and mercantile force which contemplated matching, or potentially surpassing, Britain’s Royal Navy and merchant marine in quality, and even in quantity. The question of naval armaments and trading vessels, what would see construction and for what purpose, then became one of the most divisive sources of contention between the two nations in the years after the war.

                      As a result of these divergent aims and policies, the United States and Great Britain did not find the diplomatic and social unity so many on both sides of the Atlantic aspired to during and immediately after the First World War. Instead, the United States’ civil and military organizations came to see the British Empire as a fierce and potentially dangerous rival, worthy of suspicion, and planned accordingly. Less than a year after the end of the War, internal debates and notes discussed and circulated between the most influential members of the United States Government, coalesced around a premise that became the rationale for WAR PLAN RED. Of all American concerns, the economic became central in and after the First World War. In a memorandum written for the Chief of Naval Operations, Rear Admiral William Benson, just months following the November 1918 Armistice, the Navy Planning Section warned,

                      war [with Great Britain] may come....Successful trade rivalry strikes at the very root of British interest and British prosperity, and may threaten even the existence of the British Empire. If British trade is seriously threatened, her people may feel that war is justified – as a measure of self-preservation.29
                      In all the war plan documents, as developed and finalized in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the premise remained the same:

                      The most probable cause of war between [Great Britain] and [the United States] is the constantly increasing [American] economic penetration and commercial expansion into regions formerly dominated by [British] trade, to such extent as eventually to menace [British] standards of living and to threaten economic ruin....The war aim of [Great Britain] in a war with [the United States] is conceived to be the definite elimination of [America] as an important economic commercial rival in international trade.30
                      The majority of the sources on Anglo-American diplomatic relations, described above, overlook this aspect. There is, therefore a history largely lost over the course of the last century. The present aim, developed here, seeks to explore this neglected period in the relationship between the United States and Great Britain, the ignored theme of the antagonism that existed between the English-speaking nations as a consequence of the First World War, and provided the foundational elements of WAR PLAN RED as a consequence of these troubled years.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by The Ibis View Post
                        If anyone is interested in the origins of War Plan Red, Mark Gleason recently published a Masters Thesis entitled "From Associates to Antagonists: The United States, Great Britain, the First World War, and the Origins of WAR PLAN RED, 1914-1919." Its available here: http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115084/m2/1/high_res_d/thesis.pdf Here is a snip from the introduction:
                        Thanks for providing this. It looks interesting and I will read it when I get the opportunity. The author's reference to Henry Gole's book seems a little confused. The full title of Gole's book is The Road to Rainbow: Army Planning for Global War, 1934-1940. It is not about the same time period that this thesis covers and is not really relevant to it. Also, he states that: "Gole counts RED as unrealistic because he considers Britain a most 'unlikely foe' during the Inter-War period." What Gole actually said was: "Red (England) was an unlikely foe in the 1930s...." The important difference is that by the 1930s the world was a different place compared to the 1920s. Gole was clearly correct in his judgement.
                        To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman. - George Santayana

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by OpanaPointer View Post
                          And 90% of your population lives within six feet of the border with the US. (The other 10% are in Arizona right now.)
                          Yea, but we can just install the barbed wire and they become part of the world's largest prison camp formerly the world's largest RV park...

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                          • #14
                            45 minute documentary on the subject. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZNBwYFOxd8

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                            • #15
                              I think we're running low on Ph.D. topics.
                              Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
                              Hyperwar, Whats New
                              World War II Resources
                              The best place in the world to "work".

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