Casablanca Conference

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Casablanca Conference
Casablanca-Conference.jpg
United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British prime minister Winston Churchill, and their advisors in Casablanca, 1943
DateJanuary 14, 1943 – January 24, 1943
Venue(s)Anfa Hotel
Cities Casablanca, Morocco
Participants

The Casablanca Conference (codenamed SYMBOL) or Anfa Conference [1] was held at the Anfa Hotel in Casablanca, Morocco, from January 14 to 24, 1943, to plan the Allied European strategy for the next phase of World War II. In attendance were United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British prime minister Winston Churchill. Also attending were the sovereign of Morocco Sultan Muhammad V and representing the Free French forces Generals Charles de Gaulle and Henri Giraud, but they played minor roles and were not part of the military planning. [1] USSR General Secretary Joseph Stalin had declined to attend, citing the ongoing Battle of Stalingrad as requiring his presence in the Soviet Union.

Contents

The conference's agenda addressed the specifics of tactical procedure, allocation of resources, and the broader issues of diplomatic policy. The debate and negotiations produced what was known as the Casablanca Declaration, and perhaps its most historically provocative statement of purpose, "unconditional surrender". That doctrine came to represent the unified voice of implacable Allied will and the determination that the Axis powers would be fought to their ultimate defeat.

Casablanca Declaration of "unconditional surrender"

The Anfa Hotel in Casablanca, venue of the Casablanca Conference. The villa in Casablanca where President Roosevelt stayed during his conferences with Prime Minister Churchill of... - NARA - 196001.jpg
The Anfa Hotel in Casablanca, venue of the Casablanca Conference.

The conference produced a unified statement of purpose, the Casablanca Declaration. It announced to the world that the Allies would accept nothing less than the "unconditional surrender" of the Axis powers. Roosevelt had borrowed the term from US Army General Ulysses S. Grant (known as "Unconditional Surrender" Grant [2] ), who had communicated that stance to the Confederate States Army commander during the American Civil War. [3] [4] So Roosevelt stated at the concluding press conference on 24 January that the Allies were demanding "unconditional surrender" from the Germans, the Italians and the Japanese. [2]

In a February 12, 1943 radio address, Roosevelt explained what he meant by unconditional surrender: "we mean no harm to the common people of the Axis nations. But we do mean to impose punishment and retribution upon their guilty, barbaric leaders". [5] [6]

It has been claimed that behind the scenes, the United States and the United Kingdom were divided in the commitment to see the war through to Germany's capitulation and "unconditional surrender". But Churchill was consulted and had agreed in advance about “unconditional surrender”; he had cabled the War Cabinet four days earlier and they had not objected. US General George Marshall also said that he had been consulted; he had stated on 7 January that Allied morale would be accepted by the uncompromising demand, and Stalin’s suspicions allayed”. [2]

However some source material contradicts the official reported accord between Churchill and Roosevelt, claiming that Churchill did not fully subscribe to the doctrine of "unconditional surrender". The New York Times correspondent Drew Middleton, who was in Casablanca at the conference, later revealed in his book, Retreat From Victory, that Churchill had been "startled by the [public] announcement [of unconditional surrender]. I tried to hide my surprise. But I was his [Roosevelt's] ardent lieutenant". [7] [8]

According to former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union Charles Bohlen, "Responsibility for this unconditional surrender doctrine rests almost exclusively with President Roosevelt". He guessed that Roosevelt made the announcement "to keep Soviet forces engaged with Germany on the Russian front, thus depleting German munitions and troops" and also "to prevent Stalin from negotiating a separate peace with the Nazi regime". [7] [8]

That the war would be fought by the Allies until the total annihilation of enemy forces was not universally welcomed. Diplomatic insiders were critical that such a stance was too unequivocal and inflexible, would prevent any opportunity for political maneuvering and would be morally debilitating to French and German resistance groups. [9]

The British felt that arriving at some accommodation with Germany would allow the German Army to help fight off a Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe. To Churchill and the other Allied leaders, the real obstacle to realising that mutual strategy with Germany was the leadership of Adolf Hitler. Allen Dulles, the chief of OSS intelligence in Bern, Switzerland, maintained that the Casablanca Declaration was "merely a piece of paper to be scrapped without further ado if Germany would sue for peace. Hitler had to go". [10]

There is evidence that German resistance forces, highly placed anti-Nazi government officials, were working with British intelligence, MI6, to eliminate Hitler and negotiate a peace with the Allies. One such man was Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of German intelligence, the Abwehr. His persistent overtures for support from the United States were ignored by Roosevelt. [11] [12]

Topics of discussion and agreements

European invasion

Roosevelt, with advice from General George C. Marshall, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, lobbied for a cross-Channel invasion of Europe. Churchill, with advice from the British Chiefs of Staff, led by General Sir Alan Brooke, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS, the professional head of the British Army), felt the time was not opportune, and favored an Allied assault on the island of Sicily followed by an invasion of mainland Italy. The British argument centred on the need to pull German reserves down into Italy where, due to the relatively poor north-south lines of communication, they could not be easily extracted to defend against a later invasion of northwest Europe. Additionally, by delaying the cross-Channel landing, it would mean that any invasion would be against a German army further weakened by many more months fighting on the Eastern Front against the Red Army.

Throughout the conference, Roosevelt's attention was prominently focused on the Pacific War front and he faulted the British for what he felt was not a full commitment against Japanese entrenchment. The Italian strategy was agreed upon, a compromise between the two leaders, Roosevelt acceding to Churchill's approach for Europe. Churchill, in turn, pledged more troops and resources to the Pacific and Burma to reinforce positions held by Chiang Kai-shek against the Japanese. The United States would provide assistance to the British in the Pacific by supplying escorts and landing craft. [13]

Logistical issues

Leadership of Free French forces

Leaders of the Free French forces: General Henri Giraud (L) and General Charles de Gaulle (R) at the Casablanca Conference. Degaulle-freefrench.png
Leaders of the Free French forces: General Henri Giraud (L) and General Charles de Gaulle (R) at the Casablanca Conference.

Charles de Gaulle had to be forced to attend, and he met a chilly reception from Roosevelt and Churchill. No French representatives were allowed to attend the military planning sessions. [14] [15]

The conference called for the official recognition of a joint leadership of the Free French forces by de Gaulle and Henri Giraud. There was notable tension between the two men, who limited their interactions to formalities like pledging their mutual support. [16] Roosevelt encouraged them to shake hands for the photographers eager for a photo opportunity, but the ritual handshake was with reluctance and done so quickly that they reportedly had to pose for a second shot. Roosevelt would later describe this meeting between the French leaders as a "shotgun wedding". [17]

Elliott Roosevelt’s book, As He Saw It (1946) describes how Franklin Roosevelt wanted the French provisional government to be set up with Giraud and de Gaulle, who would be “equally responsible for its composition and welfare.” [18] (89) That is because Franklin Roosevelt saw de Gaulle as Churchill’s puppet and thought that Giraud would be more compliant with US interests. Complications arose because most people in the French Resistance considered de Gaulle the undisputed leader of the Resistance and so Giraud was progressively dispossessed of his political and military roles. Roosevelt eventually recognized de Gaulle as the head of the Free French in mid-1944.

Plans for postwar northern Africa

The day before, Roosevelt became the first US president to visit Africa when he stayed at the city of Bathurst, Gambia. The abhorrent situation of Gambians under the British Empire further increased his anti-colonialism, leading him to further discuss and impress upon Churchill the need for an international trusteeship system that would advance colonies like Gambia towards independence. [19]

During the Conference, Roosevelt met privately with Churchill and Sultan Muhammad V of Morocco, who was accompanied by his 14-year-old son, Hassan II. [1]

Roosevelt also spoke with the French resident general at Rabat, Morocco, about postwar independence and Jewish immigrants in North Africa. Roosevelt proposed that:

"[t]he number of Jews engaged in the practice of the professions (law, medicine, etc.) should be definitely limited to the percentage that the Jewish population in North Africa bears to the whole of the North African population.... [T]his plan would further eliminate the specific and understandable complaints which the Germans bore towards the Jews in Germany, namely, that while they represented a small part of the population, over 50 percent of the lawyers, doctors, schoolteachers, college professors, etc., in Germany were Jews." [20] [21]

This disposition of the Jewish population harkened back to a mindset communicated in earlier years to Roosevelt by the American ambassador to Germany, William Dodd (1933–37). Dodd had appraised Germany's repression of Jews, and writing to Roosevelt, he said: "The Jews had held a great many more of the key positions in Germany than their number or talents entitled them to." [22]

Roosevelt presented the results of the conference to the American people in a radio address on February 12, 1943.

See also

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This is a timeline of events that occurred during World War II in 1943.

January 1943 Month of 1943


The following events occurred in January 1943:

The diplomatic history of World War II includes the major foreign policies and interactions inside the opposing coalitions, the Allies of World War II and the Axis powers. The military history of the war is covered at World War II. The prewar diplomacy is covered in Causes of World War II and International relations (1919–1939).

The following is a timeline of the first premiership of Winston Churchill, who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. Churchill served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the bulk of World War II. His speeches and radio broadcasts helped inspire British resistance, especially during the difficult days of 1940–41 when the British Commonwealth and Empire stood almost alone in its active opposition to Nazi Germany. He led Britain as Prime Minister until victory over Nazi Germany had been secured. for the general history see Timeline of the United Kingdom home front during World War II.

United Kingdom–United States relations in World War II Diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America

The UK-US relations in World War II comprised an extensive and highly complex relationships, in terms of diplomacy, military action, financing, and supplies. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and American President Franklin D. Roosevelt formed close personal ties, that operated apart from their respective diplomatic and military organizations.

Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, third and fourth terms US presidential administration from 1941 to 1945

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During World War II, Morocco, then a French protectorate, was controlled by Vichy France from 1940 to 1942 after the occupation of France. However, after the North African Campaign, Morocco was under Allied control and thus was active in Allied operations until the end of the war.

The foreign policy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration was the foreign policy of the United States from 1933 to 1945, under the Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, first and second terms, and the Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, third and fourth terms. Roosevelt kept personal control of foreign-policy in the White House, and for that he depended heavily on Henry Morgenthau, Sumner Welles, and Harry Hopkins. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Cordell Hull handled routine matters; the president ignored Hull on most major issues. Roosevelt was an internationalist, and Congress favored more isolationist solutions, so there was considerable tension before Pearl Harbor in December 1941. During the war years, treaties were few, and diplomacy played a secondary role in high-level negotiations with the Allies, especially Britain's Winston Churchill and the Soviet Union's Joseph Stalin.

Winston Churchill in the Second World War

Winston Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty on 3 September 1939, the day that the United Kingdom declared war on Nazi Germany. He succeeded Neville Chamberlain as prime minister on 10 May 1940 and held the post until 26 July 1945. Out of office during the 1930s, Churchill had taken the lead in calling for British rearmament to counter the growing threat of militarism in Nazi Germany. As prime minister, he oversaw British involvement in the Allied war effort against the Axis powers. Churchill is seen as a victorious wartime leader who played an important role in defending Europe's liberal democracy against the spread of fascism, though some wartime events like the 1945 bombing of Dresden have generated controversy.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Miller, Susan Gilson. (2013). A history of modern Morocco. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN   978-1-139-62469-5. OCLC   855022840.
  2. 1 2 3 Roberts 2009, p. 343.
  3. Middleton, Drew, On This Day, "Roosevelt, Churchill Map 1943 War Strategy," January 24, 1943, retrieved August 27, 2012
  4. Yale Law School, "The Avalon Project: The Casablanca Conference: 1943," retrieved November 19, 2013
  5. Archived 2018-06-15 at the Wayback Machine , Yale Law School, "The Avalon Project: The Casablanca Conference: 1943," retrieved August 27, 2012
  6. "Casablanca Conference," Radio address, February 12, 1943, (The Public Papers of F.D. Roosevelt, Vol. 12, p. 71), retrieved November 19, 2013
  7. 1 2 Archived 2009-04-16 at the Wayback Machine , Chen, Peter C., "Casablanca Conference, 14 Jan. 1943," retrieved August 27, 2012
  8. 1 2 Middleton, Drew, On This Day, "Roosevelt, Churchill Map 1943 War Strategy," January 24, 1943, retrieved August 27, 2012
  9. This Day In History, "Roosevelt And Churchill Begin Casablanca Conference," retrieved November 19, 2013
  10. Vaughan, Hal, "Sleeping With The Enemy, Coco Chanel's Secret War," Alfred A. Knopf, 2011, p. 178
  11. "Admiral Wilhelm Canaris 1887-1945," Canaris worked with Roosevelt's Balkan representative in Instanbal, former Pennsylvania Governor George H. Earle, who communicated with Roosevelt through the diplomat pouch; retrieved August 28, 2012
  12. retrieved November 19, 2013
  13. nytimes.com. Middleton, Drew, On This Day, "Roosevelt, Churchill Map 1943 War Strategy," January 24, 1943, retrieved August 27, 2012
  14. Jonathan Fenby, The General: Charles De Gaulle and the France he saved (2010) pp 195-201
  15. Michael Howard, Grand Strategy, IV, August 1942–September 1943 (1972) pp 279-81.
  16. Rick Atkinson, An Army at Dawn
  17. Pratt, Julius W. “De Gaulle and the United States: How the Rift Began.” The History Teacher, vol. 1, no. 4, 1968, pp. 5–15, p. 11.
  18. Roosevelt, Elliott (1946). As he saw it. With a foreword by Eleanor Roosevelt. [On F.D. Roosevelt.] New York. OCLC   504739143.
  19. "That Hell-hole Of Yours |". www.americanheritage.com. Retrieved 2018-06-04.
  20. Manfred Jonas, Harold D. Langley, and Francis L. Lowenheim, eds., Roosevelt and Churchill: Their Secret Correspondence, New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., Saturday Review Press, 1975, p. 308. This quote is taken from a conversation memorandum prepared by Captain John L. McCrae, Roosevelt's naval aide.
  21. "The American Experience.America and the Holocaust.Teacher's Guide - PBS".
  22. Larson, Erik, "In the Garden of Beasts," Crown, 2011, p. 39

Further reading

Preceded by
Cherchell Conference
October 21–22, 1942
World War II Conferences
Casablanca Conference
January 14–24, 1943
Succeeded by
Washington Conference (1943)
May 12–17, 1943