After the Great War, there was much debate in the USA whether the country should isolate itself from old world’ conflicts or follow an imperialist path and become the world’s only super-power. If the USA was to become a super-power, then conflict with Great Britain might result. Consequently, the US drew up War Plan Red. This was a scheme for the USA to invade Canada and the Caribbean which would draw the Royal Navy into North American waters where it would be destroyed. Without the Royal Navy, the rest of the British Empire would be vulnerable to American attacks. It became clear, however, as the decade wore on, that the Imperialists were not going to gain a clear-cut victory, so other means of achieving their aims would be needed. In 1939 the American military establishment created an intelligence-gathering machine within their Embassy in London under the Ambassadorship of Joseph Patrick Kennedy. Then in spring 1941, a small group of US Army officers travelled to Britain to plan for Anglo-American cooperation should the United States became involved in the Second World War. This was the US Army Special Observer Group, or SPOBS as it was commonly known. It is questionable whether the Military Attach s and SPOBS activities were spying’, for they were operating – at least in the early days – with the full permission and knowledge of the British Government. Their intelligence-gathering activities spread out as far as the Middle East, Africa, South America, Russia and Asia – far beyond the terms of the original brief. It did not cease with the outbreak of peace – the advent of the Cold War between East and West brought forth a whole new range of subterfuge and behind-the-scenes activities by the CIA. So, were the Americans allies or spies? Certainly, the SPOBS bled Great Britain white of data and information, sending it all back to the War Department in Washington under the guise of helping. It was also a blueprint that America used in one form or another to encourage’ regime change around the world through the seventy years or so after the Second World War and which continues to this day.
SECRET US PLAN TO OVERTHROW THE BRITISH EMPIRE WAR PLAN RED
A great story. Importantly, it was approved at the highest level and wasn’t just an academic exercise to keep military planners busy. For the wargamer, it offers a number of new scenarios for inter war armies and naval gaming in particular.