Skip to comments.Did Communist Influence Lead to D-Day Invasion over Italy Strategy?
Posted on 08/08/2013 6:40:45 AM PDT by cutty
The two most ardent boosters of the Normandy invasion were Stalin and Harry Hopkins
Churchill famously urged that the advance on Germany continue from already-won bases in Italy and elsewhere in south-central Europe.
Stalins demand for the big U.S.-British push in northern France, however, prevailed. According to the tally of one peeved letter to the editor in the New York Times, this would put the Allies on track to open their ninth front.
Of course, in order to gather sufficient forces for the June 1944 D-Day invasion, men and equipment, particularly landing craft, had to be withdrawn from the European continent in Italy to reinvade the European continent in France.
In his memoir, Calculated Risk, Gen. Mark Clark, commander of U.S. forces in Italy, explains how gutting his forces in Italy in the months before D-Day stalled Allied progress against German forces. (Italy had already surrendered.) Meanwhile, the disappearance of Allied men and materiel from the battlefield completely mystified the Germans.
For weeks, Clark writes, Allied counterintelligence was catching enemy agents who had orders to find out 'where in hell' were various Allied divisions that were being sent to France. They couldnt believe the Allies werent dealing them the death blow they had expected.
Italy... was the correct place in which to deploy our main forces and the objective should be the Valley of the Po. In no other area could we so well threaten the whole German structure including France, the Balkans and the Reich itself."
"Here also our air would be closer to vital objectives in Germany, he explained. The commander went on recommend operations in the Aegean: "From here the Balkans could be kept aflame, Ploesti would be threatened and the Dardanelles might be opened.
That commanders name was Dwight D. Eisenhower.
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...
The gist of this article seems to be that the Allies should have chosen to attack the Nazis in the place that the enemy was most expecting and had prepared for.
Breitbart is a good site for current events, but it isn't quite up to snuff on its military history.
The entire effort in the Med, that whole soft underbelly thing, was done to benefit the British in maintaining it’s empire in the post war era.
The American idea was to end the war rapidly as possible. The British insisted on sideshows designed to help them maintain their position in the postwar era.
Thank god we didn’t do it the British way.
I think France would have gone communist if we hadn’t put De Gaulle in power there. And I’m not sure we could have done it without the D-Day invasion.
While capturing Italy first would have given the Allies an advantage in the air, there is no way they could have moved the necessary number of tanks across the Alps to complete the ground war.
Had an invasion of Europe been launched before the American forces learned modern warfare, we would have been slaughtered.
The Alps ?
What Alps ?
I tend to agree with that. In the first world war the Allies couldn't even get the infantry across the Alps.
It turned out great...except for that first wave of men at Omaha beach that received minimal firepower compared to the other invasion points. Slaughtered. Treachery. But they still got it done.
“Gen. Mark Clark, commander of U.S. forces in Italy, explains how gutting his forces in Italy in the months before D-Day stalled Allied progress against German forces.”
Myopia. Its actually the other way around. Italy sucked up supplies, landing craft, aircraft, soldiers, etc. Ike thought without the Mediterranean theater looking so large, the landings in France and a straight drive into Germany could have happened as much as a year earlier.
The British soldiers were first class. But their leaders prolonged the war. Market Garden is another example. To placate Monty, that failed Holland attempt at an end run stripped Patton’s army and stopped them for months.
The war in Europe could have ended even as much as a year earlier were it not for the British political leadership.
Yeah that and also some info has recently come out that the Germans wanted nothing more then to bleed us white in the mountains of Italy.
However I do agree that Stalin was a big advocate for the Normandy invasion. And FDR loved Uncle Joe. Doesn’t necessarily make it wrong military strategy however.
Then there was the British/Churchillian idea of a Balkan invasion (separate from operations in Italy) that never really got off the ground.
Speculative history is a rathole - I think all we can say for sure is that Stalin did want a European front (and he wanted it sooner than it eventually occurred) and in the end, Overlord did what it was hoped for it, albeit at quite substantial cost and implications for post WWII Europe.
Terrain-wise, Italy was very easy to defend. It is narrow and mountainous. Even more so as you go North—when you come to the Alps. Many people don’t realize, but we also invaded France from the South later in the summer of ‘44. That was a much easier slog.
In retrospect, if there had been no D-Day, Stalin may have shot himself in the foot. Without D-Day, he might have conquered all of Germany.
As George Marshall would state in 1957 to his official biographer Forrest Pogue: Hopkinss job with the president was to represent the Russian interests. My job was to represent the American interests.
Was Hopkins representing Russian interests at a time of American need?
Who was Harry Hopkins?
Churchill was a great leader and often very insightful. But he had his mistakes, sometimes big one. Call Italy “The soft underbelly of Europe” was maybe one of the stupidest things he ever said. He was no doubt referring to the Italians. He may not have counted on the Germans invading Italy to keep it from falling (though this was no hard to foresee).
It’s true that the US did gain valuable experience in North Africa. But the meatgrinders in Italy and Sicily were not needed beyond the collapse of Rome.
Not to mention, at that earlier time, the Germans had western Europe nearly stripped of troops while fighting for survival in impossible battles in Russia.
The British leaders were an impediment and prolonged the war.
“Churchill famously urged that the advance on Germany continue from already-won bases in Italy”
I wish people would publish quotes to back up such complete nonsense. But of course if there were any quotes to back this up, it wouldn’t be the complete nonsense that it is.
Churchill in fact advocated a ‘dilly dally’ strategy. As long as Germans and Russians were killing each other, he was perfectly happy to sit on the sidelines.
He figured we’d have to fight the Russians after the war anyway. The more that were dead, the better.
“Stalin may have shot himself in the foot. Without D-Day, he might have conquered all of Germany”
People do forget THAT. If we were bogged down in Italy, that could have easily occurred. And he could have had an invitation from French communists to liberate them.
The world could have been very different.
They could have found a stranger there.
Hopkins was basically FDR’s Valerie Jarret and I think most would consider him a communist.
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