The Washington War is the story of how the Second World War was fought and won in the capital’s halls of power—and how the United States, which in December 1941 had a nominal army and a decimated naval fleet, was able in only thirty months to fling huge forces onto the European continent and shortly thereafter shatter Imperial Japan’s Pacific strongholds.
Three quarters of a century after the overwhelming defeat of the totalitarian Axis forces, the terrifying, razor-thin calculus on which so many critical decisions turned has been forgotten—but had any of these debates gone the other way, the outcome of the war could have been far different: The army in August 1941, about to be disbanded, saved by a single vote. Production plans that would have delayed adequate war matériel for years after Pearl Harbor, circumvented by one uncompromising man’s courage and drive. The delicate ballet that precluded a separate peace between Stalin and Hitler. The almost-adopted strategy to stage D-Day at a fatally different time and place. It was all a breathtakingly close-run thing, again and again.
Renowned historian James Lacey takes readers behind the scenes in the cabinet rooms, the Pentagon, the Oval Office, and Hyde Park, and at the pivotal conferences—Campobello Island, Casablanca, Tehran—as these disputes raged. Here are colorful portraits of the great figures—and forgotten geniuses—of the day: New Dealers versus industrialists, political power brokers versus the generals, Churchill and the British high command versus the U.S. chiefs of staff, innovators versus entrenched bureaucrats . . . with the master manipulator, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, at the center, setting his brawling patriots one against the other and promoting and capitalizing on the furious turf wars.
Based on years of research and extensive, previously untapped archival resources, The Washington War is the first integrated, comprehensive chronicle of how all these elements—and towering personalities—clashed and ultimately coalesced at each vital turning point, the definitive account of Washington at real war and the titanic political and bureaucratic infighting that miraculously led to final victory.