by Philip Padgett
Lincoln: Potomac Books, 2018. Pp. xviii, 380.
Illus., map, notes, biblio., index. $39.95. ISBN: 1612349625
The Atomic Bomb and the Success of D-Day
One would think the story of the conception and planning for the D-Day landings had been well covered, but Padgett, a veteran of decades of service in national security, disarmament, and preparedness analysis, breaks surprising new ground in this book.
Of course Padgett covers the well-known political, personal, and professional squabbling over the invasion – date, forces, command, site, and so forth. But then he reveals how FDR convinced Churchill who, with grim memories of Gallipoli in mind, was reluctant to endorse Overlord, to commit to invasion, by giving the British a role in the Manhattan Project. This was a major concession. Although Britain had turned over to the U.S. the results of their own preliminary work on the atomic bomb, which had itself benefitted from even earlier French research, American-imposed security had subsequently barred British participation in the project. This eased Churchill’s fears that the war could be lost on the beaches, and also that Britain might be left behind in a postwar world.
Padgett builds on this, to examine the extraordinary degree of integration and cooperation developed by the political and military leaders – British and American – who forged the invasion plan. That in turn not only led to Allied success during the landings and subsequent march into Germany, but also helped pave the way for postwar cooperation and the formation of NATO.
Padgett tells this story using many anecdotes, drawing on interactions among various leaders, offering many insights into how high policy was developed, as political, military, and scientific leaders met at conferences but also at cocktail parties, dinners, and even fishing trips, when such seemingly frivolous activities helped build confidence and cooperation,
Advocating Overlord is a very good read for anyone interested in the Second World War.
Note: Advocating Overlord is also available in several e-editions.