War on the ‘Red Empire’: How America planned for an attack on BRITAIN in 1930 with bombing raids and chemical weapons
By David Gerrie
Details of an amazing American military plan for an attack to wipe out a major part of the British Army are today revealed for the first time.
In 1930, a mere nine years before the outbreak of World War Two, America drew up proposals specifically aimed at eliminating all British land forces in Canada and the North Atlantic, thus destroying Britain’s trading ability and bringing the country to its knees.
Previously unparalleled troop movements were launched as an overture to an invasion of Canada, which was to include massive bombing raids on key industrial targets and the use of chemical weapons, the latter signed off at the highest level by none other than the legendary General Douglas MacArthur.
The plans, revealed in a Channel 5 documentary, were one of a number of military contingency plans drawn up against a number of potential enemies, including the Caribbean islands and China. There was even one to combat an internal uprising within the United States.
In the end there was no question of President Franklin D. Roosevelt subscribing to what was known as War Plan Red. Instead the two countries became the firmest of allies during WW2, an occasionally strained alliance that continues to this day.
Still, it is fascinating that there were enough people inside the American political and military establishment who thought that such a war was feasible.
While outside of America, both Churchill and Hitler also thought it a possibility during the 30s – a time of deep economic and political uncertainty.
In 1930, a mere nine years before the outbreak of World War Two, America drew up a terrifying plan specifically aimed at eliminating all British land forces in Canada and the North Atlantic, thus destroying Britain’s trading ability and bringing our country to its knees
The documents, were unearthed buried deep within the American National Archives in Washington, D.C. – a top-secret document once regarded as the most sensitive on earth
The top-secret papers seen here – once regarded as the most sensitive on Earth – were found buried deep within the American National Archives in Washington, D.C.
The highly classified files reveal that huge pushes were to be made into the Caribbean and West Coast to block any British retaliation from either Europe, India or Australia.
In 1931, the U.S. government even authorised record-breaking transatlantic flying hero and known Nazi sympathiser Charles A. Lindbergh to be sent covertly as a spy to the west shore of Hudson Bay to investigate the possibility of using sea-planes for warfare and seek out points of low resistance as potential bridgeheads.
In 1931, the U.S. government authorised transatlantic flying hero and known Nazi sympathiser Charles Lindbergh to be sent covertly as a spy to the west shore of Hudson Bay
In 1931, the U.S. authorised flying hero and known Nazi sympathiser Charles Lindbergh to be sent as a spy to Hudson Bay to look into using sea-planes for warfare and seek out points of low resistance as potential bridgeheads
Four years later, the U.S. Congress authorised $57million to be allocated for the building of three secret airfields on the U.S. side of the Canadian border, with grassed-over landing strips to hide their real purpose.
All governments make ‘worst case scenario’ contingency plans which are kept under wraps from the public. These documents were unearthed buried deep within the American National Archives in Washington, D.C. – a top-secret document once regarded as the most sensitive on earth.
It was in 1930, that America first wrote a plan for war with ‘The Red Empire‘ – its most dangerous empire.
But America’s foe in this war was not Russia or Japan or even the burgeoning Nazi Germany.
Plan Red was code for an apocalyptic war with Britain and all her dominions.
After the 1918 Armistice and throughout the 1920s, America’s historic anti-British feelings handed down from the 19th century were running dangerously high due to our owing the U.S. £9billion for their intervention in The Great War.
British feeling against America was known to be reciprocal.
By the 1930s, America saw the disturbing sight of homegrown Nazi sympathisers marching down New York’s Park Avenue to converge on a pro-Hitler rally in Madison Square Garden.
Across the Atlantic, Britain had the largest empire in the world, not to mention the most powerful navy.
Against this backdrop, some Americans saw their nation emerging as a potential world leader and knew only too well how Britain had dealt with such upstarts in the past – it went to war and quashed them.
Now, America saw itself as the underdog in a similar scenario.
In 1935, America staged its largest-ever military manoeuvres, moving troops to and installing munitions dumps at Fort Drum, half an hour away from the eastern Canadian border.
By the 1930s, America saw the disturbing sight of homegrown Nazi sympathisers marching down New York’s Park Avenue to converge on a pro-Hitler rally in Madison Square Garden
It was from here the initial attack on British citizens would be launched, with Halifax, Nova Scotia, its first target.
‘This would have meant six million troops fighting on America’s eastern seaboard,’ says Peter Carlson, editor of American History magazine.
WAR PLAN RED, GREEN, PURPLE…
During the 1920s and 30s, the U.S. devised several colour-coded war plans to deal with potential adversaries.
Many of these war games were submitted to the Military Information Division by officers working in their own time.
Among the contingency plans developed were:
Orange: War against Japan
Green: Against Mexico
Purple: South America
White: Domestic uprising
Grey: Caribbean republics
Not surprisingly, many of these were hypothetical exercises – and provided only broad strategic outlines.
However, the planning was considered by the military to be good practice for its personnel.
‘It would have been like Verdun,’ alluding to the brutal conflict between German and French troops in 1916 which resulted in a death toll of 306,000.
Even Winston Churchill said while people regarded a war with the U.S. as inconceivable, it was not.
‘America felt Britain had thrown it under the bus in order to stay top dog,’ says Professor Mike Vlahos, of the U.S. Naval War College.
‘The U.S. was forced to contemplate any measure to keep Britain at bay.’
Even Hitler thought such a war was inevitable, but astonishingly wanted Britain to win, believing that to be the best outcome for Germany, since the UK could then join his forces to attack the U.S.
‘You have to remember the U.S. was born out of a revolutionary struggle against Britain in 1776,‘ says Dr. John H. Maurer, of the U.S. Naval War College.
Using available blueprints for this war, modern-day military and naval experts now believe the most likely outcome of such a conflict would have been a massive naval battle in the North Atlantic with very few actual deaths, but ending with Britain handing Canada over to the U.S. in order to preserve our vital trade routes.
However, on June 15, 1939, the same year as the German invasion of Poland, an internal U.S. memo states these plans for an invasion were ‘wholly inapplicable‘, but nevertheless ‘should be retained’ for the future.
This is now seen as the dawn of and prime reason behind the ‘special relationship‘ between our two countries.
Huge troop movements were launched as an overture to an invasion of Canada, which was to include bombing raids on industrial targets and the use of chemical weapons – the latter signed off by the legendary General Douglas MacArthur.
Isolationism, prosperity and decline: America after WWI
As close allies in numerous conflicts, Britain and America have long enjoyed a ‘special relationship’.
Stemming from Churchill and Roosevelt, it has since flourished – from Thatcher and Reagan, and Clinton and Blair, to the Queen and Obama.
We know now that FDR ultimately rejected an invasion of Britain as ‘wholly inapplicable’.
But just how special was that relationship in the decade leading up to WWII?
By the start of the 1920s, the American economy was booming.
The ‘Roaring Twenties’ was an age of increased consumer spending and mass production.
But after the First World War, U.S. public opinion was becoming increasingly isolationist.
This was reflected in its refusal to join the League of Nations, whose principal mission was to maintain world peace.
U.S. foreign policy continued to cut itself off from the rest of the world during that period by imposing tariffs on imports to protect domestic manufacturers.
After a decade of prosperity and optimism, America was thrown into despair when the stock market crashed in October 1929 – marking the start of the Great Depression
These children were part of a squatter community, known bitterly as ‘Hoovervilles’ because of the President’s inability to even admit to the existence of a national crisis after the stock market crash in 1929
And its liberal approach to immigration was also changing.
Millions of people, mainly from Europe, had previously been welcomed to America in search of a better life.
But by 1921, quotas were introduced and, by 1929, only 150,000 immigrants per year were allowed in.
After a decade of prosperity and optimism, America was thrown into despair when the stock market crashed in October 1929 – marking the start of the Great Depression.
The ensuing economic hardship and mass unemployment sealed the fate of President Herbert Hoover’s re-election – and Franklin D Roosevelt stormed to victory in March 1933.
He was faced with an economy on the brink of collapse: banks had been shut in 32 states, and some 17million people had been thrown out of work — almost a third of the adult workforce.
And the reality of a worldwide economic depression and the need for increased attention to domestic problems only served to bolster the idea that the U.S. should isolate itself from troubling events in Europe.
When Franklin D Roosevelt was elected as President in 1933, he was faced with an economy on the brink of collapse
When Franklin D Roosevelt was elected as President in 1933, he was faced with an economy on the brink of collapse. Banks had been shut in 32 states, and some 17million people had been thrown out of work
However, this view was at odds with FDR’s vision.
He realised the necessity for the U.S. to participate more actively in international affairs – but isolationist sentiment remained high in Congress.
In 1933, President Roosevelt proposed a Congressional measure that would have granted him the right to consult with other nations to place pressure on aggressors in international conflicts.
The bill faced strong opposition from leading isolationists in Congress.
As tensions rose in Europe over the rise of the Nazis, Congress brought in a set of Neutrality Acts to stop America becoming entangled in external conflicts.
Although Roosevelt was not in favour of the policy, he acquiesced as he still needed Congressional support for his New Deal programmes, which were designed to bring the country out of the Depression.
By 1937, the situation in Europe was growing worse and the second Sino-Japanese War began in Asia.
In a speech, he compared international aggression to a disease that other nations must work to ‘quarantine’.
But still, Americans were not willing to risk their lives for peace abroad – even when war broke out in Europe in 1939.
A slow shift in public opinion saw limited U.S. aid to the Allies.
And then the Japanese attack on Pear Harbor in December 1941 changed everything.