Bargaining for Supremacy: Anglo-American Naval Collaboration, 1937-1941

By James R. Leutze | Go to book overview

12.
Developments in Washington: Putting National Priorities in Perspective September 1940-16 November 1940

Ghormley might have felt less isolated had he realized how poorly defined American policy was in Washington. No Anglo- American strategy could be settled upon until internal controversy over Pacific operations was resolved. To appreciate the situation, it is necessary to go back and pick up the thread of this story from the Washington end.

As of fall 1940, new RAINBOW plans were being drawn up, but any Pacific war would still be fought basically on the ORANGE plan model. Admiral J. O. Richardson, commander of the fleet that would fight the war against Japan, was extremely skeptical about that plan. In Richardson's view ORANGE had only been an expedient to justify appropriations and was, in the fall of 1940, almost criminally illusionary. For its part, the U.S. Army had never been enthusiastic about the ORANGE plan and the changes in the world power balance that occurred during the summer of 1940 reinforced its pessimism.1 Slowly, as we have seen, the conviction was taking hold in both services that the United States should concentrate its efforts in the Atlantic rather than in the Pacific, particularly if Britain were as weak as her spokesmen continued to

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