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Editorial Note on British Modification of Plans for an Invasion of Western Europe
On April 13 the British Chiefs of Staff accepted the United States proposal for operations in Western Europe. They agreed on the importance of continued Soviet resistance and on the necessity for a major offensive in Western Europe in 1943 to defeat Germany first, once the Allies had checked Japanese expansion. Because of climate, any 1942 invasion of the Continent had to be executed in August, they claimed, and therefore, with minimal United States participation. Then the British chiefs summarized future contingencies on the Russian front that would necessitate SLEDGEHAMMER. The British further qualified their endorsement of Marshall’s proposal by detailing the strategic importance of India and the Middle East: any cross-Channel attack must be matched by a commitment to defend Turkey and Middle East oil reserves, to preserve the Iranian supply route to the Soviet Union, and to block Japan’s move into the Indian Ocean. Brooke and his associates urged the United States to employ the Pacific Fleet in a major operation to lure the enemy away from India and requested additional airplanes from Marshall to defend India. (War Cabinet, Chiefs of Staff Committee, Comments on General Marshall’s Memorandum, April 13, 1942, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 161-162.