So much for the hindsight theory

On 3 January [1942] President Roosevelt sent Mr. Stimson a list of munitions, with a directive that he achieve the schedules contained therein and consult with the Secretary of the Navy as to allocation between the using services. No relative priorities were suggested. Aircraft goals were as follows:

Aircraft Types 1942 1943

Long-range, heavy, and medium bombers 11,300 30,000

Light, dive, and scout bombers 11,000 17,000

Pursuits 16,000 38,000

Observation and transports 6,700 15,000

Total combat: 45,000 100,000

Trainers 15,000 31,000

GRAND TOTALS: 60,000 131,000

For 1942, this meant increasing existing schedules from about 46,000 to 60,000. The figures for 1943 differed slightly from those sent to Congress by the President on 6 January, which called for 25,000 rather than 31,000 trainers.51 In either case they seemed prodigious, especially in view of equally impressive requirements for ground and naval warfare. With any reasonably calculated rate of wastage, the annual production schedules of 60,000 and 131,000 aircraft should easily meet the requirements agreed on at London–about 60,000 combat and 37,000 raining planes for the AAF and 21,000 for the U.S. Navy, plus the British deficit of 13,553.

AAF Historical Study, Logistical Plans and Problems, 1941-42, with Special Reference to Buildup of the Eighth Air Force.

Yes, clearly FDR had no idea about the significance of US production superiority. Furthermore, that post Pearl Harbor revision of AWPD is characterized as follows:

“Within the Air Staff there was an immediate, though momentary, reaction in favor of deploying all available air strength for defense of the Western Hemisphere and, if practicable, of Hawaii and the Philippines. Within a week, however, AAF planners returned to a more familiar theme with a new long-term design for offensive war. This plan, called AWPD/4 (15 December 1941) was hardly more than a restatement of the salient features of AWPD/1, with requirements somewhat inflated under the stimulus of war. It called for an air force of some 3,000,000 men and 90,000 planes….

The British chiefs of staff early presented their views in a memorandum which, with slight revisions by the Americans, was approved on 31 December [1941]. The strategy thus accepted was, “in spite of recent events,” essentially a reaffirmation of the principles of ABC-1. Again Germany was declared the chief enemy, the Atlantic and Europe the areas in which the principal efforts should be applied. The nature of the contemplated efforts was unchanged: defense of production areas in North American and the United Kingdom to insure realization of the Victory Program of munitions; maintenance of designated lines of communication, both sea lanes and air routes; forging and tightening a ring around Germany; weakening the Reich by indirect methods and by a concentrated bomber attack; and preparation for the eventual invasion of Germany. Meanwhile, in the Pacific only such positions should be defended as would “safeguard vital interests and deny Japan access to needed raw materials.

I told you they knew

It’s becoming ever more clear, ridiculously so, that Malkin didn’t spend 30 seconds looking into the military necessity of internment. Furthermore, it’s also clear that FDR and his strategists spent a tremendous amount of time examining the very issues that many are falsely claiming to have been matters of hindsight.

In August 1941, four men, all former instructors at the Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS) at Maxwell Field, Alabama, reported to the Air War Plans Division (AWPD) in Washington, D.C., to lay the foundation for a comprehensive, strategic air war plan. Lt Col Hal George called upon Maj Laurence Kuter, Maj Ken Walker, and Maj Haywood S. Hansell Jr. to answer a request from President Franklin D. Roosevelt for a “production plan to defeat our enemies”–one that would outline specific air requirements for industrial mobilization should the United States become embroiled in a war. After nine days, the team delivered a briefing to Gen Henry Arnold and Gen George C. Marshall that specified production requirements for 13,083 bombers; 8,775 fighters; 2,043 observation and photographic aircraft; 2,560 transports; and 37,051 trainers–an astounding total of 63,512 aircraft. Although these numbers were impressive, the planners exceeded Roosevelt’s tasking by recommending a strategy for prosecuting the war against the Axis powers. That strategy assumed that airpower could achieve strategic and political objectives in a fundamentally new way.

As for the question of whether the strategists were paying attention to the enemy’s production capacities:

The German combat estimate of 1 September 1939 did not present exact figures on the production capacity of aircraft industries in Germany, but estimates based on the previous year’s output established that Germany could produce between 9,000 and 10,000 military and commercial airplanes in 1939.

I don’t have figures for 1939, but these planners obviously knew what they were doing. Germany produced 10,200 warplanes in 1940. Not bad at all. The goals of AWPD-1 were clear – Japan was not a serious threat, so a defensive war could be fought in the Pacific until Germany was crushed, at which point the Japanese would be dealt with. The plan remained largely unchanged even after Pearl Harbor.

Following the guidelines established in ABC-1, we broke down the strategic problem into the following divisions:

First: To conduct air operations in defense of the Western Hemisphere.

Second: To prosecute as soon as possible, after the commencement of war, an “unremitting and sustained air offensive against Germany.”

Third: To support a strategic defense in the Pacific Theater.

Fourth: To provide air support for the invasion of the European Continent if that should be necessary, and to continue to conduct strategic air operations thereafter against the foundations of German military power and the German state until its collapse.

Fifth: After victory over Germany, to concentrate maximum air power for a strategic air offensive against the home islands of Japan….

The Impact of Pearl Harbor

At first the loss of the capital ships at Pearl Harbor seemed to strengthen rather than weaken the relative merits of AWPD-1. While AWPD-1 did remain basic, however, the disaster at Pearl Harbor provoked a new and hard look at overall U.S. strategic thinking. The war was now truly “global.” The Russians had temporarily stopped the Germans outside Moscow with their December counter-offensive, but the outlook in that theater was still so bleak that Russia’s demise was still expected by the following spring. The situation, in short, was desperate the world over. Britain still faced the possibility of an invasion by Germany after the fall of Russia, and with the U. S. fleet out of action, a period of rapid and vast Japanese expansion was inevitable in the Far East. Thus, while “defeat of Germany first” still seemed the logical approach, there was much public opposition to it. Moreover, it was no comfort that even with the war in Europe won, the Pacific presented vast logistical problems, and territory, now lost with ease, would have to be regained by long and bloody fighting.

These considerations led the Air War Plans Division to take a hard look at its own plan and consider what revisions, if any, might be desirable. The same planning team (although Colonel Orvil Anderson had since replaced Larry Kuter) went to work and, on 15 December, only eight days after Pearl Harbor, came up with a new “Air Estimate of the Situation and Recommendation for the Conduct of the War.”

The new estimate proposed a general increase in combat units and aircraft, and a marked increased in air transports. The increase in bomber strength reflected the loss of sea power in the Pacific and our apprehension that the bombers consigned to the strategic air war in Europe might be reassigned–or diluted in number–to meet emergency demands from the Pacific. The increase in transports reflected the loss of control of sea lanes and the growing dependency upon air transportation.

Meanwhile, almost immediately after Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill asked to meet with the President along with their respective military advisors to determine a united grand strategy. The first meeting of the heads of government and the Combined Chiefs of Staff took place in Washington. Called the Arcadia Conference, it lasted from 22 December 1941 through 14 January 1942.

At this conference, the growth and ultimate size of the armed forces were considered. Naturally the air strategy and requirements were discussed. The Combined Chiefs did not favor such an overriding priority for the Army Air Forces as that proposed in the most recent estimate. The Combined Staff did, however, accept AWPD-1, with some modifications, as a guide for the development of the air forces of the U.S. Army.

And how did FDR handle the public opposition to what the strategists considered to be the logical way to handle the war? Quite simply, he pandered to public fears by interning and relocating the ethnic Japanese. But there was no genuine military necessity for it, none whatsoever, according to the actual war plans written by FDR’s top military strategists. As Malkin is probably too shameless to cave even before this evidence, I’ll see if I can dig up the post-Pearl document mentioned to complete the canisescasation of her deceased pony.

Education stats

Okay, I’ve skimmed through the OECD report – it’s 456 pages and it’s not even close to being interesting enough to compel a close read – and the data relevant to the points raised by Jamie’s presumably evil stalking horse are as follows:

Primary education, $ per student

USA: $7,560

AUS: $5,052

AVG: $4,819

Secondary education, $ per student

USA: $8,779

AUS: $7,239

AVG: $6,688

Tertiary education, $ per student

USA: $22,234

AUS: $12,688

AVG: $12,319

Only Denmark spent more on primary education, only Switzerland and Luxembourg spent more on secondary education, and no one else was even close on tertiary education.

In terms of literacy, 39 percent of the USA’s 15-year olds performed at level 2 or below, while only 31 percent of Australia’s did so. Level 2 was defined as being “capable of basic reading tasks” but being incapable of “locating multiple pieces of information” and “drawing links between different parts of the texts”.

Source: Education at a Glance, OECD Indicators 2004

B-17 production and damage

B-17s produced prior to 1942: 632

B-17s destroyed at Pearl Harbor: 4

B-17s produced throughout war: 12,731

Total taken by Royal Air Force: 200 (20 pre-1943)

Total B-17 and B-25 bombers available prior to 1942: 892

As the B-17 Flying Fortress had the range and the payload to destroy Japanese carriers – I’m informed that the Japanese greatly feared them, their ineffectiveness at Midway notwithstanding – it seems the height of absurdity to argue that with 608 Flying Fortresses plus another 284 B-25s at its disposal USA did not possess the wherewithal to patrol and defend the West Coast against naval raids. The fact that the President and his military advisors made the decision to send most of these planes to Europe to be used in a future strategic bombing campaign indicates the extent to which they were not genuinely concerned about the West Coast’s vulnerability.

Nor can one argue that the USA’s production capacity was a mystery to the President. “In May 1940, President Roosevelt stated that he wanted the U.S. aircraft industry able to turn out at least 50,000 planes a year. This involved expanding from little more than 2,000 planes per year to 4,000 per month.” That number had already reached about 2,000/month by January 1942, and FDR’s target was reached by the end of 1942, hitting 7,150/month in 1943 while many Japanese-Americans still languished in internment.

If I ran the NFL

Okay, this might not be a real priority where most people are concerned. I understand that. But one of my first orders of action would be to make full-season DVD wrapups available for every team’s past seasons, not just with highlights but abbreviated broadcasts of every game they played that season. Talk about a license to print money! There are few things I’d like better than to curl up with Space Bunny and watch an old Purple People Eaters’ season or see the 1972 Dolphins’ perfect year.

I don’t know how she’d manage to fall asleep during all the third quarters, but I’m sure she’d cope somehow.

An answer on education

Safesex wanted to know how I could explain Australia’s better educational results despite the fact that his country spent more money on education than the USA, which I have asserted is counterproductive where literacy is concerned. I haven’t looked up literacy rates and I’ll have more complete information soon, but I think I can answer his question about the apparent dichotomy now: there isn’t one. Australia spends less money per student.

According to the recently released OECD Education at a Glance 2004 report, the four countries which spend the most per student on education are:

1. The United States

2. Denmark

3. Norway

4. Switzerland

More later.

Hope for the next generation

The Elder (of Fraters Libertas) draws our attention to the following post by JB Doubtless


Ooo life’s sweet right here in the passenger seat

yeah life’s so sweet

When I look to the left see his suntanned hands

His muddy river hair and his thousand acre plans

I’m all shook up like a quarter in a can

Ain’t life sweet?

In the passenger seat

The first time I heard this song, I didn’t think I was hearing properly. “Life’s so sweet from the passenger’s seat.” The passenger’s seat. Here we have three stunningly attractive lasses telling us that they prefer being in the passenger’s seat–letting their man run the show?

Hold on a minute. What about the triumph of feminism? Of “equality”? Of women wanting to act like men?

If we’re very, very lucky, in another 40 years we’ll hear songs by female pop stars demanding the limiting of suffrage to productive, property-owning men of a certain age. Of course, the depths to which we’ll have to sink in order for most people to realize how disastrous universal “democracy” has been for the nation will probably be more than a little unpleasant, and the chances that the masses will turn towards a dictatorial demagogue instead are probably, oh, around 666 to 1, but it’s still nice to contemplate a potential silver lining in the massive black cumulonimbus looming in our collective (and collectivist) future.