tv 2018 Gaithersburg Book Festival - Philip Padgett Advocating Overlord CSPAN August 22, 2018 2:56am-3:32am EDT
40 years of experience in national security, preparedness and research analysis working with the government, military and the private sector, from washington as deputy intelligence adviser and agency, he supported teens that negotiated five international treaties and agreements from 2001 to 2011. his expertise expanded to homeland security, assisted in planning, implementation and assessment of 4 national level counterterrorism exercises, even in retirement phil has kept busy
in fema health corp.s for super storm sandy. his book advocating overlord, story to liberate europe debated by the brits and americans and how that become linked to other corporations. i really enjoyed the book. he has served in the navy and communications. thank you for your services. army retiree, phil has interested trained. he maybe from maryland but let's
give them all a warm welcome. [applause] >> however, 75 years ago may 19th, it was hot and humid and inside the federal reserve building on the second floor, the commanders from britain and the united states, they were attempting differences on what strategy to use. the way i came to this, many years ago i became aware of a fishing trip, franklin roosevelt taught 760 miles northwest of
here, up in the canadian shield country and in later years when i was working in back rooms supporting national discussions and negotiations which is always a contentious and demanding process from time to time, i wondered about that fishing trip. literally the global capital for allies running the war in that time. how could he lead in a critical point in deciding how to go forward, so it led so very interesting places as i hope you will agree. so some background, the beginning of 1943 saw the allies at a very important turning point. in three pivotal battles midway, they had beaten off the threat of defeat in 1942, now they were going on the offensive against
and the big challenge for the americans and the british was how best to win in europe. they had different national circumstances and different goals for how the war should end and britain and the united states favored different strategies, a more basic problem was that they did not trust each other. the baggage of suspicion and resentment over years since world war i, made it hard for both countries to trust the other and that's a lesson for our time. damaging relationships cannot be restored it's like flipping a switch. even when both parties are facing existential threat. the british americans. >> struggling with their own internal divisions. the british chiefs of staff under churchill micro management of the war, action of this day, memoranda and churchill himself
had doubts about whether or not his generals could deliver victory. the american joint chiefs of staff struggled to under the politics by which their commander in chief had to contend and they despair that fdr's resolve to standby the position that they advocated under churchill's sun lamp which they came to call it often. with global interest for empire in limited and shrinking resources and fear of repeating the warfare of world war i, the british advocated and was interpreted at that time. one to have lessons was the aerial bombing from both sides, produced the theory that -- and this was truil in all of the industrialized nations, the united states and also in japan as well as europe.
countries population could be induce today force their governments to change their policy by bombing and bombing civilians was legitimate act of war. use of unproven instrument of aerial bomb to go force collapse of germany which is how world war i had ended and they thought that hitler's right would be forced to the same point. both british and americans called that an opportunistic strategy. the united states drawn into the war from isolationist view of the world had 3 goals, we wanted to win in europe, pivot defeat of japan and come home. now, that was why the united states favored crossing the
english channel and crossing north western europe and into german and they called the strategy, the goal of the strategy was achieving direct military result which is how they contrast as the british strategy to fdr, suddenly promo -- prominently, the world view, politics was changing and adapting to how they saw the national security needs of the united states and post world war and they were begin to go -- beginning to accept and adjust to that so that by november, third goal coming home was going to get dropped and they embraced a long-term position of the united states as part of world
security which is true for our day. going forward, the allies need today agree on a goal, they needed a strategy, they needed to concentration of force and commander. none of that had been agreed. moving closer and closer to share the strategy debate was a separate issue. the rupture of american and british cooperations to develop an atomic bomb. how did that come about? at the end of 1942, the american decide today shut the british scientists out of most of top secret work to develop the bomb. the u.s. scientists position was to at least outwardly that britain did not have the, quote, need to know, close, quote for a lot of the information in order to contribute to what they could
do to win the current war. they concluded that the united states was doing 90% of the work, 90% of the investment and they treated what britain saw according to that. they believed that their position what was fdr wanted. now, churchill who opposed the u.s. strategy to come across the channel also intensely wanted a british atomic bomb. he saw post world war dominated by the united states and soviet union and in that world britain needed a bomb of its own for independence, were his words. so -- so he had this and you could see how this could start
moving together and it did. apparently for own national reasons, both sides were encouraging the issues to come together particularly among fdr and churchill. notably a lot of generals didn't know about both strategy negotiations and the bomb, where they did have the convergence of knowledge and how they talked about it. now the evidence for the convergence is circumstantial but quite extensive and personally i found it persuasive that they did come to a conjunction in august of 1942 that led to quid pro quo, while all of this was happening, the plan for operation overlord had to be created, while the top people were arguing.
so long as there was no plan for cross-channel attack, both of the allies could agree could succeed, it was easy to push back against advocates for that idea. now, the british and the americans did agree to establish an ally-planning team in london in march of 1943 which was going to be led by the newly designated chief of staff to the supreme ally commander and the title name for the group came from the commander's title, coss, the best name of all time. they were given order to develop deceptions to be engaged and degraded and, you know, that was the benefit of either strategy and then second to develop come
as you are options for short-notice response for collapse by going back into the continent and last was the plan, cross-channel intact, it started out with the enormous challenges. what they had to do plan for the most difficult military maneuver, at that time there was no precedent for success with that. they had no defined strategic goal, no knowledge, what resources they would have to plan for and no one was samed supreme allied commander. they didn't have a champion for all of the competing things going on around the world wanting, divide scarce resources, one thing that they did have was a justified sense that none of all of the seniors wanted them to succeed. however, cost act was compromised of a younger generation of officers who were eager to work together to take the fight to the enemy rand they were not burdened by the distrust that plagued the
american chiefs. british and lieutenant general, morgan, he had an american deputy, ray barker, they bonded immediately. in their first meeting, morgan sniffed a brass button from artillery uniform and traded it to barker, they went to meetings and elsewhere wearing a token of ally cooperation. they did get chided but they truly bonded and young officers bonded with them. morgan purposely concluded its talk to his young officers by telling them what the chief of the imperil staff had told him about orders, well, there it is,
it won't work but you must bloody-well make it. morgan took the challenge. by the summer of 1943, the allies were approaching a crisis and with that a decision point. there was going to be another ally conference, quadrant in quebec in august and in decisions negative effects by that time were having serious consequences for the allies' position. the united states because of indecision about 76% short of number of troops that they expected to have deployed in europe by that time. and then they had -- that meant that they had neither from england nor from the mediterranean, concentration of allied forced to defeat the axis. one of the key u.s. overlord advocates, major general thomas handy, the most important fit was strategy and stick wit and he went onto say that there was
a risk, if they didn't do that, there was a risk of stalemate or, quote, complete victory indefinitely postponed. from london, an exacerbated, one of churchill's closest adviser and advocate for the american position, wrote to counterpart harry hopkins, roosevelt's adviser, if we are not prepared to accept the risks, face the difficulties, suffer casualties, then we should concentrate exclusively on construction of heavy bombers and think in terms of 1950. i don't know about you, but i don't within the to contemplate about war in 1950. meanwhile high-level appeals to restore atomic cooperation n london this was seen as a real crisis and they were begin to go come with accusations of american breaking of oral
commitments. in july, u.s. secretary of war henry met with churchill in london where a proposed draft solution to restore atomic cooperation emerged and a sign of how close the proximity of strategy negotiation, atomic cooperation had come. churchill and stenson then sent all of the atomic advisers out of the room, closed the door and the two of them alone then discussed strategy and stenson reported to fdr, had hammer and tongue. partly through stemson in london, they learned and were alarmed to learn that churchill was coming to north america to conference early, with the intent of influencing fdr's position. now jcs intent on winning strategy point quadrant and they had to have fdr on their side. at that point the president's
position, the overlord strategy was very much in doubt. not helping was that some of the staff in pentagon were openly arguing that the mediterranean strategy should take priority over cross-channel attack as the bird in hand. the u.s. army's official history subtitles that and converting doubters among operational commanders in britain and producing a credible plan. as july ended all of these factors and others were in motion and were beginning to come together. on the evening of friday july 30th, 1943, winston churchill was prepare to go sail to north america, prime minister intent on arriving early to win over roosevelt to the british position on allied-strategy for victory in the war in europe even before the start of the annual american quadrant
conference. and sir john anderson. the head of churchill's atomic research live from london to negotiate british participation which had been withheld. the new government in rome that it replaced mucalini5 days earlier was dispatching out of conflict. moscow, joseph stalin was pondering whether he could leave moscow to meet secretly with roosevelt and secretary at war henry simpson was flying back to washington from his meeting in london determine today persuade fdr to insist that churchill accept the u.s. military's position on strategy to win in europe based on cross-channel assault into normandy and further insist that american serve as ally commander. roosevelt, the focus of the hopes of each was quietly leaving down to go fishing.
now, all of roosevelt's wartime trips out of the capital were secret. normally the white house would inform trusted reporters, get your heads around that idea, very generally the president was leaving town and why and it's okay, the young buck -- this time no, they didn't do that. they left without telling anyone. so by monday the world was realizing that roosevelt wasn't in the white house. the rumors got wilder and wilder day by day and desperate to respond white house press secretary steve early pleaded by cable for permission to tell the public system. roosevelt wouldn't allow it. this was too much fun. on receiving the latest batch of cables and rumors fdr was heard
to tell military aide and buddy, i guess we gave them the good this time. although he had told churchill about the trip in advance, fdr had also given the prime minister the slip by cutting 10 days off the window of tuned for churchill to meet with him in advance of quadrant and try to influence him and that well may be why to the relief of jcs, the white house took the plan of the fishing trip off the shelf where it sat for a year activated on very short notice. fdr's absence from the city also left sir john anderson with no one to talk to about -- about atomic cooperation except for bush, roosevelt's science adviser and fdr knew that bush
would hold a hard line, so the president gone, secretary simpson started writing toys trip report with his emphatic recommendations to fdr to take charge of this and in that, he warn fdr to be constantly on the alert for mediterranean diversions. stenson wanted to take report personally but marshal wouldn't allow it. marshal had learned how to get a firm decision out of fdr that he would stick with and that was to put a well-argued paper before him when the president was away from the distractions of the white house, prefer bli with harry hopkins there to discuss it with him. so while the revert against overlord was going on down the hall in pentagon, they were
hoping that it would arrive eminently. after the war, general eisenhower served that plans are nothing and planning is everything. there's a lot of truth in that. emergency in london of outlined plan, three atheyachievable conditions had the potential to change the debate from whether to go with the cross-channel attack plan to how to implement it. the british chiefs of staff in london following churchill and advocating the mediterranean strategy, they knew that and they also knew that the u.s. joint chiefs of staff in washington were facing a strategy crisis of confidence within their staff. the next meeting at this point was only a couple of weeks away.
cross act was ordered to send a team to brief churchill during's crossing to north america but told not to share their plan with washington just yet. lieutenant general morgan instead he risked his british army career and did the right thing by sharing his plan with the country's ally. he sent a team of three american officers carrying the overlord plan to catch from scotland over to washington and the team snuck out of london to board the ghost train. but when they got to scotland everything stopped, they were seriously delayed by weather over the atlantic, they did arrive to washington, reported in the nick of time. since paper was flown up to
canada, first of three communication that is arrived within just hours that would cause him to agree to be the primary champion of overlord. he read the simpson paper. they were discussing that, a communication came from churchill that sure enough advocated a diversion and a third message arrived from the u.s. ambassador in london who would check churchill's fact and found them to be faulty. >> to be able to compare those three documents side by side, fdr changed position but he didn't tell anybody about it until he got back to washington and met with the joint chiefs of stemson. they were elated. if fdr could hold meeting. churchill believed that he could
manipulate roosevelt and only a couple days before he told the canadian prime minister, he's a fine fellow but comes around, not this time. when they met at high park, churchill expected he would get the atomic agreement he wanted and hold to strategy but fdr would not give in and would not go to quebec with him until later on and when he did, two things happened, both men needed a commitment from the other in writing. first thing that happened was the generals agree to overlord and hours later fdr and churchill signed a secret agreement to resume nuclear cooperation. thought turned to action and the u.s. moved a million troops across atlantic in eight months to create invasion force in britain as new fact on the ground so this would be irreversible. after that hot meeting in may, 75 years, may 19, they did come
to a fragile agreement, nobody expected to hold and it didn't and then thunderstorm broke the heat. thank you, i'm delighted to take questions. [applause] >> how long did it take you to write the book? [inaudible] >> how long did it take you to write the book? [inaudible] >> i will repeat the question. the question was how long did it take to write the book and what surprised me? >> it was about 8 years which i guess is not too unusual. one thing that was surprising to me although it shouldn't have been was how much the perceived lessons of world war i influenced the thinking of people planning for world war ii which is very different circumstances. the conclusion about aerial bombing was absolutely wrong.
after the war, the u.s. strategic bombing served found that bombing achieved practically nothing in terms of germany's wartime production, 600,000 people in europe were killed and the german people reaction to the bombing, they knew what was happening to the jews and other minorities and they felt that that was something that was in the past that they couldn't change and they simply resolved to endure, so it's a lot of suffering for not a lot of result, a loss of lives of very courageous airmen. yes, sir. >> this may be irrelevant. after all this study, do you think that overlord -- [inaudible] >> the question was overlord the best plan against the other alternatives? that's a very good question. people are still debating that.
the british had a view of europe which had its points and in thinking of terms of post world war and where the soviets were and allies were, but i would think on balance it was important to get in and end the war quickly. had it not ended in 1945, millions more people would have died and it's very likely atomic bombs would have been used and the post war situation between the western allies and the soviets would have been even worse than it was. >> is there any discussion on the american side -- [inaudible] >> the question was did americans discuss about not disclosing anything about the atomic bomb project? >> the need to know cut a lot of different ways. the american scientists did not know about the strategies
cushion, so they weren't part of that. they were looking strictly internally what they needed to complete the bomb and whether or not britain could do it. they didn't want to share with britain first because they thought that britain would get an advantage, post war advantage in production of atomic power and then later they were concerned that it wasn't within roosevelt's war powers to extend this knowledge to them for the british clearly could not use to win the war for which congress had given them those powers. so they -- the two senior civilian leaders, bush and deputy, they did not want to share general groves, he didn't want to share and they sort of reluctantly came to the conclusion, well, there could be a quid pro quo because there was some information the british had that they needed and they didn't think that the president of the united states might be looking
at a broader horizon to define a quid pro quo. the diplomatic history of the manhattan project wasn't declassified until 1975 which is why i think that this doesn't show up in other histories but it's very interesting to go read the letters between bush and connan, when they start talking about arm's control, talking about the possibility of super bomb for which the atomic bomb would be a trigger, very early stage. worried and they weren't talking to each other. >> i'm sorry. >> when dido sen hour enter the picture as the supreme ally commander? >> the question of who would be the supreme ally commander hung
there until the end of november 1943 and it's interesting that when fdr went on the battleship over to go to first cairo and then tehran, had to joint chief of staff and had very important meetings and during meetings he was president, fdr said that it was his thinking that marshal should command. although marshal wanted that petition very badly, he would not ask for it. commander is not named, this isn't a real operation and roosevelt, i will tell you in a week. got back to cairo just after thanksgiving.
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