“Well there it is. It won’t work, but you must bloody well make it,” said the chief of Britain’s military leaders when he ordered the start of planning for what became known as Operation Overlord. So challenged and with little to build on in 1943, the Allies did develop a viable plan for and won commitment to the European liberation strategy whose first phase would be a cross-Channel assault in 1944, D-Day.
Focused on the creation and acceptance of the D-Day strategy, Advocating Overlord applies new information to reinterpret 1943, the critical “year of conferences.” The book describes afresh an under told story: how at a decisive point the Anglo-American debate on the best strategy to liberate Europe became linked to World War II’s other great secret, cooperation to develop an atomic bomb.
Tough negotiation to obtain top level commitment to that strategy, even as the Overlord plan was being crafted, ran parallel to a separate, equally tough negotiation to reopen to the British cooperation to develop the atomic bomb. Month by month, the two negotiations – liberation strategy and the bomb - drew ever closer to each other. Ultimately, they became linked in a secret quid pro quo between Roosevelt and Churchill. The Prime Minister reluctantly accepted the D-Day strategy and FDR reopened to Britain the Manhattan Project.
Talk then shifted to action to seal the strategy deal. Against a tight deadline, convoys surged over one million U.S. and Allied troops across the Atlantic to Britain. The concentration of forces for invasion became a new fact on the ground making irrevocable the commitment to execute D-Day on schedule.
Advocating Overlord tells how the leaders of great nations at the intersection their destinies overcame mutual suspicion to trust each other and make common cause against a shared threat. Their struggle and its solution is a story with lessons for our time.
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