Master of Airpower: General Carl A. Spaatz

By David R. Mets | Go to book overview

Chapter X AN END AND A BEGINNING

Even before the Germans surrendered in Berlin, Spaatz and his staff had begun planning for redeployment to the Pacific and then for a postwar air force. Hard on the heels of the Nazi capitulation, Spaatz was sent to the Pacific to command the strategic air forces in that theater. At the time Arnold made the decision to send him there, in May 1945, it was not yet fully apparent that the Japanese were on the verge of defeat. Plans had been prepared to invade the southern island of Kyushu that fall and to land on the main island of Honshu the following spring. Spaatz's stay in the Pacific was short, however. He was there just over a week when the first atomic bomb was dropped and had been there just a month when he attended his third surrender ceremony of the year, this one on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. With Arnold's health failing, Spaatz was called home immediately after the surrender to prepare for the legislative battles that were shaping up over revamping America's military organization.


Redeployment Planning

In his victory message to his airmen in USSTAF, Spaatz had rejoiced in the Nazi defeat, but cautioned that there was still another war to be won. Since the battles against Hitler were much more ground campaigns than those that faced them in the Pacific, most of Eisenhower's ground forces would be demobilized, but many of his sailors and airmen were needed in the Pacific to fight Japan.

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