4-274 Editorial Note on Debate over Pacific Strategy, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Subject: World War II

Editorial Note on Debate over Pacific Strategy

February-March 1944

In mid-February 1944 the Joint Strategic Survey Committee proposed (J.C.S. 713) that the Central Pacific route be made the primary effort with Southwest Pacific Area forces playing a supporting role. The Central Pacific concept, according to the committee, “leads most directly and most promptly to the vital Formosa, Luzon, China coast area,” while the Southwest Pacific concept “after reaching Mindanao will require further extensive operations before reaching that vital area.” After occupation of the Admiralty Islands, the committee recommended that forces occupy the Marianas and then the Palaus; from the Marianas-Palaus line an attack should be mounted against Formosa, or against Luzon first if necessary. (Philip A. Crowl, Campaign in the Marianas, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1960], pp. 17-18; Robert W. Coakley and Richard M. Leighton, Global Logistics and Strategy, 1943-1945, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1968], pp. 406-7.)

Admiral Nimitz favored moving directly to Formosa, while General MacArthur insisted that Luzon, following the occupation of Mindanao, was the obvious stepping-stone to the China coast. (Grace Person Hayes, The History of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in World War II: The War Against Japan [Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1982], pp. 603-4.) Since the Joint Chiefs of Staff deferred a clear-cut decision, the debate continued.

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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), p. 323.

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