Major Considerations That Shaped Wwii

The Three Major Strategic Considerations That Shaped
"Europe First Strategy" During World War II

Colonel John Osgood, Retired (c) 1996
This paper will analyze the three major strategic considerations that shaped "Europe first strategy" during World War II; coalition warfare, technology, and resources; how the strategy actually was implemented; and, how such strategy might be viewed in the context of theoretical doctrine as espoused by Clausewitz and other authorities. The analysis will cover the period prior to the U.S. entry into the war and discuss events leading to the execution of Overlord.
The post "Great War" period in the U.S. saw a resurgence in popularity of isolationist policies. On the heels of this, the country experienced an unprecedented economic decline resulting in the great depression. The decade of the "thirties" saw the rise of National Socialism and the Nazi Party in Germany. Praying on economic woes, racial hatred, and distorted views of nationalism, Hitler quickly solidified his power and commenced his conquest of Europe. On September 1, 1939, as a result of the invasion of Poland, Britain went to war with the Axis Powers.
Although professing isolationist policies and declaring itself neutral, the U.S. clearly aligned itself early with the British and entered a period of war preparation, both militarily (first peacetime draft) and industrially (naval construction, etc.).Note 1. After Germany's repudiation of its non- aggression pact with Soviet Russia and the resultant invasion, it became apparent to strategic planners that the defeat of Germany would require a "Grand Alliance" between the three major powers, Russia, the U.S. and Great Britain. Thus, the U.S. openly chose sides through Lend-lease (1941) and other programs designed to clearly support the allies in the war effort.
The subsequent attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into the war in December, 1941, were the culminating events which required the big three...