Overseas Beginnings

A Mission Emerges

At Casablanca in January 1943, President Roosevelt, somewhat to the surprise of his conference partner, Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, pronounced unconditional surrender to be the goal of American and British military operations against the Axis Powers. Although the announcement itself was apparently made, as he said later, on the spur of the moment, Roosevelt had discussed the idea of unconditional surrender with the joint Chiefs of Staff early in January. At the time, he had conceived it as being primarily a way to reassure Soviet Marshal Joseph V. Stalin about the Western Powers' determination to carry the war against Germany through to the finish. Not thinking yet of a public announcement Roosevelt had proposed sending General Marshall to Moscow to inform Stalin that "the United Nations will continue until they reach Berlin and that their only terms are unconditional surrender." 1 Quite obviously, although he later included Italy and Japan in the formula, Germany was from the first uppermost in the President's mind. For the moment, his chief concern was probably maintaining the East-West coalition through the fighting still ahead; lout he had also, whether intentionally or not, laid the groundwork for the eventual Allied occupation of Germany. Very likely, since the failure to bring home to the Germans the full extent of their defeat was considered a major mistake of World War I, some kind of supervision would have been imposed on Germany in any case. The demand for unconditional surrender made this likelihood a certainty; moreover, given the character of Hitler's government, the demand meant that the war and, in its wake, Allied military government would be carried into the heart of Germany.

When the President and Prime Minister met at Casablanca, however, the Nazi Wehrmacht was deep in the Soviet Union, and neither the Russians nor the Western Allies were in a position to threaten Germany directly in the near future. The Americans and the British had agreed in principle in April 1942 on Operation ROUNDUP, a cross-Channel invasion to he executed in the spring of 1943; but ROUNDUP had given way to the North African invasion. At Casablanca the Mediterranean strategy won out again, at least as far as Sicily was concerned. The march on Germany would not begin in 1943. The staffs, however, became all the more determined that it should then start in 1944, and the conference agreed to establish in England a combined planning staff for a


cross-Channel attack in 1944. The chief of staff would be British; the supreme commander would be selected later.2 The decision to revive the planning for a cross-Channel attack had the growing American influence and power behind it, and before the year was out it would come to dominate the planning for the war in western Europe. Germany would become the target of military operations and, inevitably, also of military government.

Theater Planning Begins

In previous wars U.S. military government had always been a field operation carried out with minimum direction from Army headquarters. In World War II, War Department and General Staff interest assured central control; nevertheless, in this war too the field organizations emerged and to a substantial extent evolved independently of the Washington headquarters. The Army's first tactical civil affairs section in fact antedated all lout the vaguest glimmerings of concern for military government in the Army Staff. On 31 December 1941, V Corps (Reinforced) under Maj. Gen. Edmund L. Daley, then stationed at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, received orders to prepare for shipment overseas. FM 27-5 specified the creation of a civil affairs section in corps and higher staffs operating outside the United States, and on 4 February 1942, Col. Arthur B. Wade was named Civil Affairs Officer, V Corps. No similar staff section existed or had existed since the early 1920s in the Army. Working from FM 27-5 and The Hunt Report, Colonel Wade developed a V Corps civil affairs plan which established the section's main function as being to foster and maintain harmonious relations between the military force and civilian populations in either friendly or occupied enemy territory. V Corps shipped out from Fort Dix, New Jersey, on 29 April 1942 and arrived in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on 12 May.3  The Army thus had a civil affairs section in being in an overseas theater one day after the first class assembled at Charlottesville.

On 8 June, Headquarters, European Theater of Operations, US Army (ETOUSA), assumed command of all US Army forces in Europe. ETOUSA had two commanders in its first month: initially Maj. Gen. James E. Chaney, then General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

ETOUSA was slower to recognize the need for a civil affairs section than V Corps had been. V Corps had been formed in the United States to perform an indefinite mission; ETOUSA came into being in London, and if its mission was considerably less than precise, it knew that it would be engaged primarily in assembling American forces in the British Isles. This mission did not seem to establish a compelling requirement for a civil affairs section.

When a British group, the Administration of Territories (Europe) Committee-began meeting in July to deal with civil affairs subjects relating to the planning for ROUNDUP, ETOUSA sent the theater's judge advocate general, Col. Edward C;. Betts, as US observer. Colonel Betts was impressed by the serious interest the British civilians and military on the AT (E) Committee showed in occupation problems, and at the end of the month he recommended appointment of a civil affairs officer for


ETOUSA. On 5 August, Colonel Wade was transferred from V Corps to act as the temporary civil affairs officer for ETOUSA and to become, a few days later, the first and, for the moment, only member of a newly created ETOUSA civil affairs section. By then the AT (E) Committee had progressed to the appointment of a Deputy Chief Civil Affairs Officer (DCCAO) to take charge of the military planning for civil affairs, and on 10 August in a letter to Washington, Eisenhower asked for a qualified colonel whom he could appoint as a counterpart to the British DCCAO.4

By August, however, ROUNDUP had given way to TORCH, the North African invasion, and ETOUSA's future mission, if any, was becoming more nebulous. Colonels Betts and Wade continued to sit as observers on the AT (E) Committee, but a DCCAO was not appointed. As trained civil affairs officers from the first course at Charlottesville began to arrive in the theater, they were assigned to the British civil defense regions, where they maintained liaison between the regional commissioners and the US troops. Scattered across England, the Civil Affairs Section, ETOUSA, could not begin to perform any staff functions at all until after mid-January 1943 when seven officers, four of them recent Charlottesville graduates, were finally assembled at headquarters. This group, however, after working out a study for a military government operation in an indeterminate area of northwestern Europe, found it had exhausted its resources and the staff's interest as well and subsided into collecting library materials. In early 1943 the Civil Affairs Section had no coherent organization and no mission other than general instructions to follow the principles of FM 27-5.5

In the spring of 1943, after the Casablanca Conference, civil affairs at ETOUSA began to show signs of renewed life and purpose. The emergence of the Civil Affairs Division in Washington lent an inevitable prestige to civil affairs Army-wide that it had not had before; and the beginning of British War Office negotiations with the Dutch and Belgian exile governments and the Free French on the administration of liberated territory increased the possibility of ETOUSA's opening negotiations too. In the third week of March, civil affairs finally emerged, on paper at least, as a full-fledged staff section with a chief civil affairs officer and more branches in its table of organization than it had qualified officers to fill.6  Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews, then commanding ETOUSA, asked for more officers and for a chief who had "substance," preferably General Wickersham, the commandant at Charlottesville, and declared that ETOUSA needed the strongest possible civil affairs section since in the long run all theaters would be secondary to the European Theater of Operations (ETO).7  ETOUSA would get more and more officers lout never the grand mission it was beginning to see in the making.

In April a new staff appeared. Lt. Gen. Frederick E. Morgan, as Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (COSSAC), began forming a combined British-American staff to start the cross-


Channel invasion planning provided for at Casablanca. General Morgan was assumed to be serving as the stand-in for a supreme commander yet to be appointed, who would be British. Maj. Gen. Ray W. Barker, as the first in a stream of officers from ETOUSA, moved over to the COSSAC staff to become Morgan's deputy.

Although General Morgan appeared at first to be building primary a British staff with an interlarding of American officers on detached duty from their main headquarters, ETOUSA, his appointment marked the true beginning of operational civil affairs-military government preparations, American as well as British. Until then civil affairs-military government had possessed only a nebulous staff function and practically no definable mission; COSSAC was able to supply both. While he was not actually told so, Morgan could and did assume that his was not just a planning staff but was also the nucleus for the staff that would eventually direct the assault on Germany. His chief mission was to draft the plan, first named ROUNDHAMMER and later OVERLORD, for the projected 1944 invasion of the Continent. His responsibility did not end there, however; he was also to plan for a possible German collapse or partial collapse at any time before the spring of 1944.8  The latter contingency made not only the planning but also the execution of civil affairs and military government major concerns of  COSSAC.

While the terms of Morgan's mission suggested the need for military government, one of his early conclusions as COSSAC was that no such capability existed. At the end of May, uncertain even where the ultimate responsibility lay, he reported an urgent requirement for a civil affairs headquarters and an operating organization equipped with a coherent body of policy procedure.9  The TRIDENT Conference, held in Washington earlier in the month, had given COSSAC a target date, 1 May 1944, and some specific figures on forces. Morgan apparently assumed the civil affairs organization would be formed separately from the military command, which seemed to be in keeping with American and British thinking, but, as was to happen repeatedly in the future, his request foundered in turmoil and uncertainty at the higher command levels. On the American side the argument over civilian versus military control was still so far from settled that the War Department could not have ventured a decision. Consequently, what was decided emerged piecemeal in the wake of events, the product of necessity more than of policy.

In July, with no decision yet on a separate organization or on a branch within COSSAC-which General Morgan proposed in June-civil affairs suddenly moved into the foreground of COSSAC's planning. Within days of each other, came the landing in Sicily and the failure of the German offensive against the Kursk salient in Russia. Henceforth the Axis would be on the defensive in the East and the West. Germany's condition appeared strikingly like that of July 1918 when Ludendorff's Friedenssturm halted and Germany went from near victory to complete defeat in less than four months.

Before the end of July, COSSAC had orders to give first priority to the planning for a return to the Continent in the event of a partial or complete German collapse. Since he was to anticipate such a contingency any time after 1 August, his staff


would also have to be prepared to act as the executive agency for any operation that might ensue. Morgan now found himself with an urgent task and still no civil affairs staff. Meetings in June and July between COSSAC and ETOUSA representatives had produced agreement that he ought to have some such staff to procure uniformity in US and British dealings with civilian populations; but the final authority, to the extent that it existed, remained vested in and divided between the Civil Affairs Section, ETOUSA, and the Civil Affairs Directorate of the British War Office.10

On 28 July, in letters to the Under Secretary of State, War Office, and Headquarters, ETOUSA, Morgan proposed a combined civil affairs section within the COSSAC staff and urged its early establishment. His mission, he explained, required him to enter and take control on short notice in any of a half dozen countries, including Germany. Whether he might have to assume such control next month or next year he could not tell, but at the moment he could not do it at all. He asked for US and British section chiefs to he appointed immediately. They would head a central executive, to be concerned with high policy, and a co-ordinating section, which would supervise groups charged with planning for specific countries.11

The COSSAC staff, meanwhile, worked on the various possibilities of a return to the Continent before the appointed date for OVERLORD. The staff took its guidance from a high-level British intelligence estimate which described the German situation at the end of July as "verging on the desperate" and predicted that in the coming winter Germany could suffer "an overwhelming defeat and irretrievable disaster on the Russian front." 12  Whoever was then in control in Germany, the estimate continued, would have to decide between unconditional surrender or abandonment of the occupied territories in western and southern Europe in order to concentrate forces against the Russian advance, postpone the hour of final defeat, and ensure the ultimate occupation of Germany by Anglo-American rather than by Russian forces.13

From this rather blatantly optimistic estimate, the COSSAC planners deduced three so-called cases to which they assigned the collective code name RANKIN. Cases A and B were concerned with the prospect of an invasion before 1 May 1944, the target date for OVERLORD, to exploit a drastic German weakening in France and the Low Countries or a voluntary German withdrawal. Morgan especially remembered how unprepared the Allies had been in early 1917 for the German withdrawal to the early Line. Case C dealt with the possibility of an unconditional German surrender.14

Were it not for case C, the whole RANKIN plan could lie dismissed as only one more of the waves of wishful thinking that had periodically swept over the Western Allies since the beginning of the war. Case C, however, marked a new high in optimism and therewith added another aspect to the planning. While the first two cases could lie handled as variations of OVERLORD, RANKIN C was concerned with the end of the war, the beginning of


the occupation, and the reorientation of effort into directions which so far had not even been defined, much less explored. Moreover, even if such a situation did not become a reality in the near future, it was likely to arise sometime and perhaps suddenly. When it did, COSSAC pointed out, combat forces might well be less useful than the ability to control and direct civil affairs. Morgan therefore requested that the British and United States governments, "as a matter of urgency," lay down policy on military government in enemy territory and civil affairs in liberated territory and provide resources with which to execute such policy. As of August 1943, he pointed out, he had nothing from which even to improvise a civil affairs organization.15

A Civil Affairs Section, COSSAC

In RANKIN C, General Morgan had proposed an operation for which he had no staff to do the detailed planning, no organization to execute any plans that might lie made, and no policy direction on which to base plans in the first place. The first two and a reasonable substitute for the last would be found because they had to be found, but not without their appropriate measures of administrative agony. Without waiting for action elsewhere, Morgan, in August, took in hand the organizing of a civil affairs section for COSSAC. Where once the European theater had no civil affairs planning staff, it would soon have two, which would prove to lie one too many.

On 23 August, COSSAC established a civil affairs section under Maj. Gen. Sir Roger Lumley. The COSSAC section consisted of a central organization which would lie concerned with operational planning for OVERLORD and the RANKIN operations and a planning board to direct the work of four "country houses," one each for France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Norway. The country houses would provide the nucleus civil affairs staffs for their assigned areas. No staff was created for Germany because COSSAC assumed that the United States and Britain would handle the occupation of Germany separately.16  ETOUSA assigned twenty officers to the Civil Affairs Section, COSSAC, leaving twenty-three officers in its own civil affairs section.17

In August, Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers, commanding ETOUSA, named Col. Cornelius E. Ryan the acting chief of the U.S. Civil Affairs Staff, COSSAC.18 Ryan was at the same time chief of the ETOUSA Civil Affairs Section, having replaced Wade a month earlier. In July, after nearly a year in limbo, the Civil Affairs Section, ETOUSA, had finally found a firm billet in the special staff. At the end of the month it had established a table of organization consisting of four planning branches-civilian relief, military government, economics, and personnel and training-and a fifth branch-area research-which was conceived as having an operating as well as a planning function since it would be concerned with areas to lie occupied, including Germany.19 The section's directive gave it


responsibility for planning military government in all enemy and enemy-occupied areas in the European theater, authority to recommend general and specific policies for military government, and control of civilian supplies and civil affairs personnel.20

The question then was on which of the two sections would the mantle of responsibility eventually fall. The Civil Affairs Section, ETOUSA, assumed that COSSAC, when it became an active command, would be predominantly British with a British commander and Americans in the minority on the staff. ETOUSA would then still have to represent the War Department in the European theater and at least control the supplies, training, and transportation of American forces in the theater. The ETOUSA section was particularly emphatic on the score of representing the US interest in the combined planning. The British side of COSSAC, the Civil Affairs Section maintained, was already seeking to dominate the planning by drawing on the resources of British governmental agencies, which it had close at hand, and by presenting the Americans with faits accompli in the form of papers on important and complicated subjects on which British experts outside the COSSAC staff had obviously worked for months. The Americans were expected either to come forward on short notice with something better or to accept the British position. ETOUSA, the Civil Affairs Section urged, should therefore be invited by the British to observe all preliminary conferences and negotiations; should be the channel of communication from the Civil Affairs Division, War Department, to the US element in COSSAC; and should review all plans, directives, and agreements put out by COSSAC.

The position of the Civil Affairs Section, ETOUSA, however, seemed bound to become completely precarious if COSSAC became a full-fledged combined command. As Maj. E. R. Baltzell, who had been ETOUSA's civil affairs liaison officer with COSSAC, predicted, once the Supreme Commander was appointed he would have full authority in planning as well as operations; consequently, the Civil Affairs Section, ETOUSA, would not have any functions left to perform, except possibly minor ones in connection with the United Kingdom and Iceland.21 Since the decision on the Supreme Commander had not yet been announced, Headquarters, ETOUSA, on 13 September, tentatively confirmed the Civil Affairs Section as the final channel of civil affairs authority in the theater with responsibility for all phases of planning for civil affairs in combined operations.22

The whole question was reopened in October when COSSAC revised its approach to civil affairs. The country house organization had been modeled on the Allied Military Government of Occupied Territory (AMGOT) created for Italy, under which the military governor was subordinate to the Supreme Commander, but AMGOT itself was otherwise completely separate from the combat forces. Under the AMGOT concept the country houses would each have evolved into civil affairs headquarters, practically national military administrations for their assigned countries;


but, except for Germany, the countries of western Europe would be liberated, not occupied, and according to a decision of the Quebec Conference in August, were to be returned to their native governments as soon as possible. ANIGOT, moreover, after it went into action in Italy in September, rapidly began to look like a prize example of the fallacy of permitting two independent commands in the same theater. Additionally, COSSAC soon realized that the country houses would impose a tremendous drain on personnel. Each would have a full staff of experts in all civil affairs fields, virtual shadow governments for a half dozen or more countries.23

Although its demise would not be as complete as was then intended, the country house era in COSSAC came to an end in late October. On the 13th, Col. Karl R. Bendetsen became Chief Staff Officer (US) for Civil Affairs, COSSAC. With this assignment, the American side of the Civil Affairs Section, COSSAC, and the Civil Affairs Section, ETOUSA, were separated. Until then Colonel Ryan had headed both. En route to London, Bendetsen had spent five days in Washington. He said later, he had spent the time reading reports, and no particular form of civil affairs organization had been recommended to him.24  But it could hardly have been unknown to him that the Civil Affairs Division, War Department, was not happy with the dual command channels AMGOT had created, and within days after his arrival in the theater, Bendetsen began dismantling the country houses. He gave as his reason the Supreme Commander's need for a single compact staff that could deal in broad principles. He was also concerned, he reported, about ETOUSA's place in civil affairs. If ETOUSA received a civil affairs mission, he maintained, part of COSSAC's area planning would obviously be useless.25

The projected abolition of the country houses brought with it the first truly significant development in civil affairs doctrine of the war. Civil affairs and military government finally achieved integration into the operating military forces. Within COSSAC, the change was described as being from a static, regional approach to a mobile plan. In other words, civil affairs would move with the combat troops and be part of the continuing operation, not just a substitute for native government in liberated and occupied areas.26  Until then, considered in both civilian and military circles as primarily a rear area and postwar activity, civil affairs would find a place in the war itself.

The revised COSSAC concept of civil affairs for a few days seemed also to breathe new life into ETOUSA's prospect of acquiring an operational civil affairs mission. At the end of the month General Devers proposed that LOSS AC assume responsibility for all combined planning and ETOUSA take responsibility for planning and the conduct of civil affairs by US forces.27  What was not yet known by the theater was that at Quebec in August the President and the Prime Minister had decided that the Supreme Commander should be an American. By early November, with the Tehran Conference in the offing, the naming of the Supreme Commander was becoming urgent, and his ap-


pointment would automatically finish off ETOUSA as an operational command.28  On 12 November the Civil Affairs Division (CAD) advised Devers that COSSAC henceforth would speak with final authority on all civil affairs matters, and the US side of COSSAC would be the War Department's channel of communication. The Civil Affairs Section, ETOUSA, would be absorbed into the 1st (later 12th) US 211 Army Group. 29

Toward a Plan

Although COSSAC; achieved a civil affairs planning capability late and a clear mandate to do such planning even later, it had, nevertheless, by the end of the year 1943 laid the foundations for civil affairs in northwest Europe and for military government in Germany. One major step was the decision already mentioned for a mobile civil affairs organization. Another was the projected division of the German territory to be occupied by the Western Allies into a northwestern (British) zone and a southwestern (American) zone, which aroused such prolonged controversy at so high a level that it will have to be left. for discussion elsewhere. The rest of COSSAC's work for the most part took the form of single, often random-seeming decisions, lout ones necessary to the construction of a coherent organization and plan. In each instance the COSSAC staff was literally striking out into unexplored territory.

In the last quarter of 1943 RANKIN C continued to be COSSAC's main concern. Its object was conceived as being to occupy areas on the Continent, particularly in Germany, from which the British and American forces could enforce the terms of surrender. Of the probable civil affairs tasks, the foremost seemed to be to maintain law and order. A German surrender was scarcely conceivable without also either a collapse or overthrow of the Nazi regime; consequently, the country might be found to have very little in the way of a functioning government or none at all. Additionally the defeat could be expected to set off a massive movement of people as the German troops still scattered across Europe from the North Cape to Crete attempted to make their way home, as millions of prisoners of war and displaced persons took to the roads out of Germany, and possibly as the Germans themselves fled in panic from their most feared enemy, the Russians. The economy, on the other hand, having survived four years of war, was expected to be able to provide adequately for the country after the surrender.30

Having postulated the conditions under which military government in Germany might expect to operate, the COSSAC staff also undertook to define its purpose. FM 27-5 had recommended benevolence toward both friendly and enemy populations. In the COSSAC thinking a sterner line emerged and with it the germ of what was to become a fundamental assumption in all later planning for the occupation, namely, that for the Germans hostilities would not necessarily end when the shooting stopped. The purpose of military government in Germany would be to assist the


military commander to impose his will on the enemy, and the first concern would be to help maintain the striking power of the military forces by controlling movements of people and by preventing disease and disorder. Relief, an important function in liberated Allied territory, would be restricted in Germany "to those measures which the Supreme Allied Commander may specifically direct to prevent a general breakdown of civil life and the spread of disease." 31

The most difficult practical question RANKIN C raised was one of means. A German surrender could create a sudden need for a full-blown civil affairs organization to administer all of western Europe. The first proposal, in October 1943, was to form a combined U.S.-British civil affairs military government force totaling 5,000 officers and enlisted men. A month later, as the RANKIN plan began to take shape, the number was increased to 2,400 US officers, 5,000 US enlisted men, 2,500 British officers, and 4,500 British of other ranks.32 The choice General Morgan then faced seemed to be either to call into being so large a force and risk there being no assignments for it for months, possibly even years, or to go ahead and draft plans which he knew he could not execute. Fortunately, the choice was not quite as stark as it appeared. The British contingent could be assembled at fairly short notice if RANKIN C were to materialize suddenly. A British civil affairs school at Wimbledon had been training officers since February 1943 and returning them to their original units or to civilian life. They could be quickly recalled.33 The Americans were a different case. They and all their equipment would have to be assembled in the United States and brought across the Atlantic. Morgan saw no alternative but to accept the risk that they might have to be "kept hanging about" for a long time as the price for having them at hand if they were suddenly needed.34

On 5 October, General Devers alerted General Hilldring to the impending requirement to ship the entire projected US civil affairs contingent to England.35 The first arrivals could not be expected before January 1944, just barely in time if a disastrous winter in Russia forced a German surrender. If not, the US civil affairs personnel would have to wait and go back to school in England. ETOUSA would make space available in the American Schools Center at Shrivenham, sixty miles due west of London, which already housed a variety of other ETOUSA schools ranging from cooking and baking to military intelligence. On 1 December, Col. Cuthbert P. Steams, as commandant, activated the Civil Affairs Center at Shrivenham. The Civil Affairs Center would be responsible not only for training but for the entire US field organization for civil affairs in the European theater.36 The first group of trainees, forty


officers, arrived at Shrivenham on 13 January 1944.37

In December 1943, with the announcement of General Eisenhower's appointment as Supreme Commander, the COSSAC phase of combined planning drew to a close. On the 13th COSSAC published what was to be the most important document on civil affairs produced during its tenure, the Standard Policy and Procedure for Combined Civil Affairs Operations in Northwest Europe. Divided into three parts, one dealing with nomenclature and organization and two with operations in the field (on Allied and on enemy territory), the Standard Policy and Procedure was designed to reconcile American and British practices and policies as far as they were then known. As such, it was mostly a routine compilation distinguishable only by its subject matter from dozens of similar staff manuals. What made it a civil affairs milestone was that it assigned full control of and responsibility for civil affairs and military government to the military commanders, from the Supreme Commander on down. In the European theater, civil affairs was to have no existence separate from the combat commands. In occupied enemy territory the Supreme Commander would be the military governor and would delegate appropriate authority to his subordinate commanders, who would then bear the responsibility in their own areas. The chief object would be to maintain conditions among the civilian population which would at least not hinder military operations and if possible assist them; and the task of the civil affairs staff's and detachments would be to relieve the combat troops of civil commitments. 38



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