2-463 Editorial Note on Rainbow 5 and Supply Production, 1941

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Editorial Note on Rainbow 5 and Supply Production

April-May 1941

On May 14, 1941, the Joint Board approved strategic plan Rainbow 5 and the Anglo-American staff agreement ABC-1. Responding to the staff agreement, the Joint Board based Rainbow 5 on several strategic assumptions: that the Associated Powers, including the United States and the British Commonwealth, would be at war with the Axis Powers, including Germany, Italy, and possibly Japan; that an offensive strategy in Europe should predominate over other theaters; and that an eventual land offensive against Germany would be conducted. (Maurice Matloff and Edwin M. Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-1942, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1953], pp. 43-46.)

In conjunction with these plans and the uncertainties in materiel procurement caused by lend-lease, the War Department recognized the need for an overall strategic estimate. Although a Defense Aid Division had been instituted under the direction of Under Secretary of War Patterson on April 10, 1941, this office could not administer a supply program without long range plans. On April 18 both the G-4 division and the under secretary of war called for a statement of production objectives. In a May 17 conference, two days after the Vichy government’s collaborative agreements with Germany, John D. Biggers, director of production for the Office of Production Management, informed Patterson and Marshall of the president’s deep concern over industrial output. In the context of this new Atlantic crisis, Roosevelt wanted an intensified effort in industrial production. The chief of staff noted that procurement for future use was not a problem, but priorities had to be set. (Watson, Chief of Staff; pp. 331-35.)

Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr. (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), p. 517.

Digital Downloads




Holding Rights: Public Information
Holding ID: 2-463

Rights: Public Information