During the Second World War and its immediate aftermath, American strategic planners and intelligence officers began to think about the Soviet Union as the United States’ next probable enemy. Some of this analysis was alarmist about Soviet capabilities and intentions, but some was quite balanced until the winter of 1946–1947. In many of the reports cited below, the Soviet Union was considered to be too badly damaged from the Second World War to undertake significant military operations at any time in the near future. Moreover, some officers who believed a Soviet-American war was probable in the near future thought it might occur more as the result of accidental or unintentional conflict rather than Soviet design. 1
By the winter of 1946–1947, however, US intelligence reports confirm that Japan indeed was replaced by the USSR as the perceived strategic threat to US security in the Pacific and east Asia. By the summer of 1947, some American military officials and officers even began to see the Soviet military as the definitive, short-term strategic and tactical threat to American positions in southern Korea, Japan, the Ryukyus, and the Philippines. It seems implausible that American planners would reconsider a Pacific War scenario in which east Asian and western Pacific positions were threatened with capture or neutralization, but the worst-case scenarios about Soviet military capabilities and intentions in east Asia and the Pacific Basin by the summer of 1947 suggested that American officers were sincerely concerned about having to rely on Micronesia as a major strategic complex of bases if China, southern Korea, Japan, the Ryukyus, and the Philippines were conquered or ‘‘neutralized’’ by Soviet actions.