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Title: Operation TORCH 1942: a study in Anglo-American military decision-making
Contributor(s): Arthy, Andrew (author); Spence, Iain (supervisor); Knowles, Rob (supervisor); Kent, David  (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2009
Copyright Date: 2008
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: This thesis is a study of the reasons why Operation TORCH was chosen by the British and Americans to be their first large-scale combined military operation of the Second World War. This question has been studied by historians since 1945, with two distinct national views emerging from the works published about wartime Anglo-American strategy-making. In essence, each view considers that the strategy advocated by that particular nation was the best way to win the war. The British view is that Operation TORCH was the only sensible operation available in 1942, while the American view is that TORCH was a wasteful diversionary operation forced on the U.S. Army by the imperially-minded Prime Minister and his overly cautious military men, who seduced President Roosevelt into supporting the operation. Various reasons are put forward for TORCH being chosen, including the domestic political needs of President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, a need for the British and Americans to provide assistance to their Soviet ally, British fear of a cross-Channel operation, Churchill's influence on Roosevelt in terms of making strategic decisions, and various others, all of which are discussed and evaluated in this study. This thesis considers evidence from the British and American sides, including archival documents, published diaries and letters, and memoirs, and produces a compromise between the two traditional views. This thesis argues that TORCH was chosen because both Churchill and Roosevelt wanted a significant military operation against Germany in 1942, in order to improve the Anglo-American military situation and provide much-needed assistance and support to the Soviet Union in its vital struggle with Germany, while also easing morale problems and the domestic political pressures placed on them in the difficult months after Pearl Harbor. Because Churchill and Roosevelt held dominant positions in their administrations, they were able to ensure that a 1942 operation occurred. TORCH was then chosen from a number of options as a militarily feasible operation acceptable to all British and American leaders, while also offering the Western Allies a number of military benefits.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Field of Research Codes: 210399 Historical Studies not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 950599 Understanding Past Societies not elsewhere classified
Rights Statement: Copyright 2008 - Andrew Arthy
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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