Advocating OVERLORD: The D-Day Strategy and the Atomic Bomb

Available: NOW  Hardcover and E-book
Publisher: Potomac Books
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1612349625
ISBN-13: 978-1612349626

Advocating OVERLORD offers the first account of how a convergence of communications stimulated FDR, then at a remote fishing camp, to take up his personal advocacy for Operation OVERLORD. That also marked the beginning of a change in FDR’s attitude toward Churchill.

Recounted also is the little-noted fact of the Germans’ exceptional access to the content of radio-telephone calls between Churchill and FDR and between their militaries. The German’s sudden loss of that access, just when the ability to talk securely across the Atlantic became crucial to D-Day planning, is detailed as an important complement to the Allies intelligence and counterintelligence coups.

A central theme is the concurrent, at first separate Anglo-American negotiations on European liberation strategy and cooperation in development of an atomic bomb. Over time, these grew ever closer together until a quid pro quo was struck by Roosevelt and Churchill. That allowed consensus on strategy and resumed cooperation on the bomb. To date, that has not been a common thread in major histories of the “year of conferences” 1943. Why?

The answer may rest in the pace of declassification of the Allies’ most sensitive secrets. By 1975, when the atomic diplomatic history was declassified in the U.S., the arc of the story of the Allies’ strategy negotiations already had been set. The context for the rich story of the strategy negotiation that set the path to the liberation of Europe cannot be complete without its linkage to the atomic cooperation that began the era of nuclear anxiety which persists. Advocating OVERLORD integrates strategy talks with the atomic diplomacy record now public in Britain and the U.S.

Advocating OVERLORD is based on eight years of research and site visits in the United States, Canada, Britain, and France. Hundreds of primary documents were consulted in archives and libraries. Oral histories from these sources illuminated relationships important to the story. Especially helpful with new insights were the recent published works of historians from many countries written free of the national biases that burdened generations closer to the trauma of the war.

Reviews

“When thinking about the Second World War, Operation OVERLORD and the Manhattan Project are definitely two major subjects that have received significant attention over the years. However, rarely have these two highly discussed events been handled in a parallel manner. Philip Padgett has written an intriguing history that provides keen insights into the special relationship between the United States and Great Britain as they worked toward the planned Allied invasion of Europe, as well as engineering and construction of the atomic bombs. Simply in Advocating OVERLORD: The Atomic Bomb and the D-Day Strategy Decision, Padgett has written an insightful history of how these two significant events influenced one another within the context of the Second World War, as well as the special relationship between the United States and Great Britain.”

Dr. Sean N. Kalic
author of The U.S. Presidents and the Militarization of Space 1946-1967

“By any measure, the journey during World War II of the United States and the United Kingdom, thrown together by malign forces and, while often diverted by clashing personalities and differing national priorities, gradually accepting the necessity of common action to launch the Allied invasion of northwest Europe, has been exhaustively explored over the past seven decades. However, Philip Padgett has provided a novel roadmap for tracing this familiar story. His Advocating Overlord: The D-Day Strategy and the Atomic Bomb is evocatively written, grounded in authoritative research in British and U.S. sources, and offers an intriguing thesis regarding the nexus of issues that led to OVERLORD.”

Theodore A. Wilson
Professor Emeritus of History, University of Kansas

“Very well-written and very well-researched in British and American archival and manuscript materials as well as published works, Philip Padgett’s Advocating Overlord: The D-Day Strategy and the Atomic Bomb provides a detailed analysis of the Anglo-American disagreements over both European strategy and atomic sharing during World War II. In doing so it offers a provocative, fascinating reinterpretation of the relationship between the two disputes.”

Mark Stoler
author of Allies and Adversaries: the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Grand Alliance, and U.S. Strategy in World War II and The Politics of the Second Front

“Padgett has provided us with an excellent, extremely insightful study of the pivotal negotiations during 1943 that determined whether and how the fledgling Anglo-American alliance would solidify to make a significant contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany and go on to provide the basis for post-war western security.”

Dr. Richard Harding
University of Westminster

“From the very first sentence, this is a gripping tale that illuminates the critical transition from World War II into the Atomic Age. Exhaustively documented, this book is a treasure for the amateur and professional historian alike.”

David Wood
Journalist, winner of the Pulitzer Prize 2012

“In Advocating Overlord, Philip Padgett not only offers a carefully-argued and nuanced account of D-Day and all that went with it, but shows how the apparently unconnected Anglo-American wartime effort to build an atomic bomb informed and sometimes complicated Overlord planning at the highest level. This connectivity is rarely discussed but in Advocating Overlord it becomes the driver of a fascinating account of Anglo-American military planning, politics and diplomacy.”

Dr. Kevin Ruane
author of Churchill and the Bomb in War and Cold War

“A verbal Bayeux Tapestry, Philip Padgett’s panorama is a mesmerizing tale of how in 1943 Franklin Roosevelt rebuffed Winston Churchill’s passion for an exclusively Mediterranean campaign and authorized instead the Anglo-American amphibious assault on Normandy of June 6, 1944, meanwhile limiting British participation in development of the atomic bomb.”

Dr. Kenneth J. Hagan
Professor and Museum Director Emeritus, U.S. Naval Academy

“Philip Padgett’s important book sheds new light on Allied planning for OVERLORD, a process that involved not just hard bargaining, but a lot of serious thinking. Even those well versed in the history of the war will find much to ponder here, including the entanglement of OVERLORD with the American effort to exclude the British from participation in the building of the atomic bomb, and the final transformation of America’s international role, away from “hemispheric defense,” and toward enduring global engagement.”

Daniel Moran
co-editor of Maritime Strategy and Global Security

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