As America moved closer to World War 2, below is the secret strategic plan drawn up for the White House by the Navy. I drew on it heavily in writing my novel:
“The United States today finds herself confronted by a hostile Germany and Italy in Europe and by an equally hostile Japan in the Orient. Russia, the great land link between these two groups of hostile powers, is at present neutral, but in all probability favorably inclined toward the Axis powers, and her favorable attitude towards these powers may be expected to increase in direct proportion to increasing success in their prosecution of the war in Europe. Germany and Italy have been successful in war on the continent of Europe and all of Europe is either under their military control or has been forced into subservience. Only the British Empire is actively opposing by war the growing world dominance of Germany and Italy and their satellites.
The United States at first remained coolly aloof from the conflict in Europe and there is considerable evidence to support the view that Germany and Italy attempted by every method within their power to foster a continuation of American indifference to the outcome of the struggle in Europe. Paradoxically, every success of German and Italian arms has led to further increases in United States sympathy and material support of the British Empire, until at the present time the United States government stands committed to a policy of rendering every support short of war with the chances rapidly increasing that the United States will become a full-fledged ally of the British Empire in the near future. The final failure of German and Italian diplomacy to keep the United States in the role of a disinterested spectator has forced them to adopt the policy of developing other threats to U.S. security spheres of the world, notably by the threat of revolutions in South and Central America by Axis-dominated groups and by the stimulation of Japan to further aggressions and threats in the Far East in the hope that by these means the United States would become so confused in thought and fearful of her own immediate security as to virtually preclude U.S. aid to become so preoccupied in purely defensive preparations as to virtually preclude U.S. aid to Great Britain in any form. As a result of this policy, Germany and Italy have lately concluded a military alliance with Japan directed against the United States. If the published terms of this treaty and the pointed utterances of Germany, Italian and Japanese leaders can be believed, and there seems no ground on which to doubt either, the three totalitarian powers agree to make war on the United States, should she come to the assistance of England, or should she attempt to forcibly interfere with Japan’s aims in the Orient and, furthermore, Germany and Italy expressly reserve the right to determine whether American aid to Britain, short of war, is a cause for war or not after they have succeeded in defeating England. In other words, after England has been disposed of her enemies will decide whether or not to immediately proceed with an attack on the United States. Due to geographical considerations, neither Germany nor Italy is in a position to offer any material aid to Japan. Japan, on the contrary, can be of much help to both Germany and Italy by threatening and even attacking British dominions and supply routes from Australia, India and the Dutch East Indies, thus materially weakening Britain’s position in opposition to the Axis. In exchange for this service, Japan receives a free hand to size all of Asia that she can find it possible to grab, with the added promise that Germany and Italy will do all in their power to keep U.S. so attracted as to prevent the United States from taking positive aggressive action against Japan. Here again, we have another example of the Axis-Japanese diplomacy which is aimed at keeping American power immobilized, and by threats and alarms to so confuse American thought as to preclude prompt decisive action by the United States in either sphere of action. It cannot be emphasized too strongly that last thing desired by either the Axis powers in Europe or by Japan in the Far East is prompt, warlike action by the United States in either theater of operations.
An examination of the situation in Europe leads to the conclusion that there is little that we can do now, immediately, to help Britain that is not already being done. We have no trained army to send to the assistance of England, nor will we have for at least a year. We are trying to increase the flow of materials to England and to bolster the defense of England in every practicable way and this will undoubtedly be increased. On the other hand, there is little that Germany or Italy can do against us as long as England continues in the war and her navy maintains control of the Atlantic. The one danger to our position lies in the possible early defeat of the British Empire with the British fleet falling intact into the hands of the Axis powers. The possibility of such an event occurring would be materially lessened were we actually taking measures to relieve the pressure on Britain in other spheres of action. To sum up: the threat to our security in the Atlantic remains small so long as the British fleet remains dominant in that ocean and friendly to the United States.
In the Pacific, Japan by virtue of her alliance with Germany and Italy is a definite threat to the security of the British Empire and once the British Empire is gone the force of Japan-Germany and Italy is to be directed against the United States. A powerful land attack by Germany and Italy through the Balkans and North Africa against the Suez Canal with a Japanese threat or attack on Singapore would have very serious results for the British Empire. Could Japan be diverted or neutralized, the fruits of a successful attack on the Suez Canal could not be as far reaching and beneficial to the Axis powers as if such a success was also accompanied by the elimination of British sea power from the Indian Ocean, thus opening up a European supply route for Japan and a sea route for Eastern raw materials to reach Germany and Italy.
While as pointed out paragraph (3) there is little that the United State can do to immediately retrieve the situation in Europe, the United States is able to effectively nullify Japanese aggressive action, and do it without lessening U.S. material assistance to Great Britain.
An examination of Japan’s present position as opposed to the United States reveals a situation as follows: Japan has a geographically strong position, but a million and half of her men are engaged in an exhausting war on the Asiatic continent. It has a highly centralized strong capable government, but its economy and food supply are severely straitened. She has rigid control of the economy on a war basis, but a serious lack of sources of raw materials for war. Notably oil, iron and cotton. It has a people inured to hardship and war, but it is totally cut off from supplies from Europe and dependent upon distant overseas routes for essential supplies. It has a skillful navy about two-thirds of the strength of the U.S. Navy, but is incapable of increasing manufacture and supply of war materials without free access to U.S. or European markets. It has some stocks of war materials, but major cities and industrial centers are extremely vulnerable to air attack.
In the Pacific the United States possess a very strong defensive position and a Navy and naval air force at present in that ocean capable of long distance offensive operation. There are certain other factors which at the present time are strongly in our favor, viz: A—Philippine Islands still held by the United States. B—Friendly and possibly allied government in control of the Dutch East Indies. C—British still hold Hong Kong and Singapore and are favorable to us. D—Important Chinese armies are still in the field in China against Japan. E—A small U.S. naval force capable of seriously threatening Japan’s southern supply routes already in the theater of operations. F—A considerable Dutch naval force is in the Orient that would be of value if allied to the U.S.
A consideration of the foregoing leads to the conclusion that prompt aggressive naval action against Japan by the United States would render Japan incapable of affording any help to Germany and Italy in their attack on England and that Japan itself would be faced with a situation in which her navy could be forced to fight on most unfavorable terms or accept or accept fairly early collapse of the country through the force of blockade. A prompt and early declaration of war after entering into suitable arrangements with England and Holland would be most effective in bringing about the early collapse of Japan and thus eliminating our enemy in the Pacific before Germany and Italy could strike at us effectively. Furthermore, elimination of Japan must surely strengthen Britain’s position against German and Italy and, in addition, such action would increase the confidence and support of all nations who tend to be friendly toward us.
It is not believed that in the present state of political opinion the United States government is capable of declaring war against Japan without more ado; and it is barely possible that vigorous action on our part might lead the Japanese to modify their attitude. Therefore, the following course of action is suggested:
Make an arrangement with Britain for the use of British bases in the Pacific, particularly Singapore.
Make and arrangement with Holland for the use of base facilities and acquisition of supplies in the Dutch East Indies.
Give all possible aid to the Chinese government of Chiang-Kai-Shek.
Send a division of long range heavy cruisers to the Orient, Philippines or Singapore.
Send two divisions of submarines to the Orient.
Keep the main strength of the U.S. Fleet now in the Pacific in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands
Insist that the Dutch refuse to grant Japanese demands for undue economic concessions, particularly oil.
Completely embargo all U.S. trade with Japan, in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed by the British Empire.
If by these means Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war, so much the better. At all events we must be fully prepared to accept the threat of war.”