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War Plan Red

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Zagros View Drop Down
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    Posted: 19 Sep 2011 at 07:07
Staggered not to have heard of this before.  My attention was just brought to it by an advert on C5 for a documentary on the subject.  Be honest, who else had heard of it before today?

Essentially, it is a war plan drawn up by the United States in the 20s/30s to wage total war against the British Empire against which it foresaw a future global conflict that it planned to initially pre-empt with an invasion of Canada.  Fascinating.

So how might the BE and the US potentially have come to conflict had WW2 not occurred what and where would have been the flash points?  And would the US have emerged a runaway winner due to its concentration of industry and power in the US?  A larger repeat of the Spanish-American war?
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Zagros View Drop Down
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Kaveh ye Ahangar

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2011 at 07:11
And apparently there was a Canadian "counter plan" to defend against such an attack... "Defence Scheme No. 1" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Plan_Red
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2011 at 07:27
This is really nothing new. We had a entire color scheme for most "Hypothetical" contingencies. Surprisingly, wikipedia has it covered rather sufficiently

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_color-coded_war_plans
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2011 at 07:36
Haven't heard about it before either but shouldn't be a surprise. All countries, that is all countries that have a military run by professional officers, plan for such events no matter how uncommon they maybe.
 
I have no doubt the Americans have another plan to invade Canada, Britain or even europe in its enterity if it goes that far.
 
Remember the Schlieffen plan, it was but the latest installment of a series of German military plans to occupy France that began with the end of the last Franco-Prussian war while the French had their own counterplan (plan XVII). The Germans also toyed with the idea of invading the US with the help of Mexico during WWI.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2011 at 08:04
The thing I am surprised at is that I hadn't heard of it before.  And what fascinates me is the immense scale and ambition of the plan and of course... the potential outcomes.  It's also interesting that elements in the Canadian military foresaw the potential for attack by the US too. With respect to the Schlieffen Plan ... we studied this at high school level obviously because it actually came to something and the recent enmity between France and Prussia/Germany at that time.

Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

This is really nothing new. We had a entire color scheme for most "Hypothetical" contingencies. Surprisingly, wikipedia has it covered rather sufficiently

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_color-coded_war_plans


To an old codger such as yourself maybe


Edited by Zagros - 19 Sep 2011 at 08:06
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2011 at 09:03
Can not help but agree with Panther given the fact that Washington was not exactly overjoyed with the Anglo-Japanese Alliance forged in 1902. Hence War Plan Red also had a companion, War Plan Red/Orange, which envisioned a multi-ocean conflict. Interesting enough, War Plan Orange set up similar circumstances with respect to Japan consequent to their absorption of the former Spanish Pacific Island.  However, it is an error to propose the War Plan Red scenario to the 1920s and '30s since such belongs to the years between 1890 and 1915. The document declassified in 1974 was but the the last theoretical scenario envisioning conflict with Britain. Interestingly enough the scenario set up for Red/Orange is the one that was followed by the US in World War II, with Germany inserted in the place of Great Britain.
 
"Every Senator that I see says 'For God's sake don't let it appear that we have any understanding with England!' How can I make bricks without straw? That we should be compelled to refuse the assistance of the greatest power in the world in carrying out our own policy, because all Irish are Democrats and some Germans are fools, is enough to drive a man mad."
 
Secretary of State John Hay to John W. Foster, 1900.
 
Of course we should keep in mind that 19th century, Canada was as much a headache for Great Britain as an American "border problem".
 
The easiest conclusion to be drawn from these nifty little scenarios that presaged the 'World of War Craft" is that some military circles just had too much time on their hands  and a tad of over-exposure to German military practices. By the way War Plan "White" envisioned the role of the military in the event of an internal uprising and civil disorder--hmm, why does McArthur come to mind? But hey, during the years 1877 to 1932, the Army saw more "action" against the US civilian population than any envisioned enemies (excepting WWI naturally).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eventhorizon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2011 at 17:09
This gives me an idea, perhaps the new war plan for the US should be how to wage an economic war, a style of warfare more appropriate for the 21st century, against any nation that is bigger in size of population than itself, while keeping the smaller nations of the world as allies.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2011 at 17:29
It should hardly be surprising that they have plans. The important thing to realise are that these are contingency plans - plans which will be put into action should certain conditions occur.

What would be immoral would be if the Americans didn't have contingency plans, because then they leave themselves all the more vulnerable in the face of changing circumstances.

As for the particulars of what and why, doc has the specifics well in hand.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2011 at 20:25
Interesting Dr. - can you give some instances relating to this:

Quote But hey, during the years 1877 to 1932, the Army saw more "action" against the US civilian population than any envisioned enemies (excepting WWI naturally).



I don't remember asking if such plans were surprising.
So how about my questions?  Or should I ask those in the alternative history forum?
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2011 at 00:55
Zagros asked: "...can you give some instances relating to this [War Plan White]?" 
We will place aside the classic image of the cavalry racing to the rescue that had become staple by the time of the Saturday Afternoon Matinee so as to emphasize that the transition of the military from an offensive insitution against external forces into an internal police force should come as no "surprise". After all, what was Reconstruction? But let us not confuse matters, suffice it to say that the employment of the military in matters that may be viewed euphemistically as "social unrest", in the West was a natural transition from the Civil War experience. However, it had antecedents throughout the Early National Period. Among military professionals many an objection and expressed distaste for "riot duty" raised the demand for clarity with respect to policy and formalized instructions and there the roots of War Plan White. Keep in mind that in 1878 Congress through legislation forbade the use of Federal Troops in enforcement of civil matters without the express authorization of the Constitution or the Congress itself. But the old adage that the more laws are voiced in support of older ones the greater the evidence that the original effort never worked is operative here. Given that chaos, the professional element in the military desired some sense of order and a firm understanding of policy under future eventualities.
Few people realize just how frequently the Army was called out to do "police" duty after the Great Railway Strike of 1877 and this Internet site gives a good background as well as a compilation of the major events:
 
 
It lists the "major" instances but also alludes to the hundreds of instances where the military was the civilian police.


Edited by drgonzaga - 20 Sep 2011 at 00:58
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2011 at 10:13
American sentiment towards Britain was ambivalent at best through the late nineteenth century, and well into the period of the First World War. It changed somewhat then as the US realized that business had bet much more strongly on a British/French victory than on a German one. In the event that they were wrong, the nagging suspicion arose that debts may then not be settled in a satisfactory manner. This in turn brought to mind common cultural bonds that had previously been downplayed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2011 at 13:11
Certainly the Americans would have, in some form or another. One of their strategic goals in supremacy in the Western Hemisphere. The European powers still had holds in the New World. The Americans did not have to go to war however. With Lend-Lease Act, the British allowed all of their ports in the Western Hemisphere to be under American control. This led to the modern American naval might of the modern day, which I have talked about in other topics. Which is in itself another strategic goal of the United States, total control of the world's oceans and maritime trading routes.

Edited by Darius of Parsa - 20 Sep 2011 at 13:22
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2011 at 14:04
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

The thing I am surprised at is that I hadn't heard of it before.  And what fascinates me is the immense scale and ambition of the plan and of course... the potential outcomes.  It's also interesting that elements in the Canadian military foresaw the potential for attack by the US too. With respect to the Schlieffen Plan ... we studied this at high school level obviously because it actually came to something and the recent enmity between France and Prussia/Germany at that time.


By luck and not investigative inquisitiveness, I was made aware of the color scheme around my mid-teens, i believe. I even remember the name of the book. "Dirty Little Secrets of World War 2" by James F. Dunnigan and Al Nofi. I believe i still have it around here someplace?

Quote
To an old codger such as yourself maybe


Wow! Me an old codger? Well, i guess it was bound too happen sooner or later, though i honestly thought i had a couple of more decades to go before i had such prestige heaped upon me. Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2011 at 14:35
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:


So how might the BE and the US potentially have come to conflict had WW2 not occurred what and where would have been the flash points?  And would the US have emerged a runaway winner due to its concentration of industry and power in the US?  A larger repeat of the Spanish-American war?


I am not too sure about the British, but US war planners didn't take it very seriously. Canadians, however took everything we did seriously up to that point. Can't quite blame them. Still they would need something if the President came calling in case both the US and British had managed to find each other at odds with the other, or a SNAFU.

The flashpoints, i suspect besides Canada, would be any other place in the Americas. The Venezuela border dispute before the end of the nineteenth century was the last time the US and British empire came close to an actual war with one another.

Would any hypothetical war have been a repeat of the Spanish American war? I highly doubt it. Granted, American antagonism towards the British empire was real up to that point and vice versa for the British towards the American republic, but that antagonism did not translate into a desirous want in seeing each other being weakened or replaced by another imperial power, for instance... such as Germany.

I suspect, besides always being ready for any contingency, the growth in an awareness of a shared history and diplomacy via the trans-Atlantic wire, would have made any hypothetical war between the two either nonexistent or ridiculously brief and with the same usual outcome. No changes being made anywhere, except... Evil Smile the Canadians whooping it up, claiming they saved the British empires "Canadian bacon" yet once again, from the Yankee menace. British and Americans alike would have a good laugh at their expense for some time too come. Tongue

Sorry, couldn't resist that last part. I'm weak Embarrassed
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2011 at 21:39
America was too dependent on Britain for financial support, with loans, investment, as a marktet, and because it cotrolled trade with a quarter of the world.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2011 at 23:01
Thanks Panther. 

I am going to create another thread on this in the alternative history forum.
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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