Courtesy Reuters

Mobilizing Our Dormant Resources for Total War

IN the seven years between Hitler's accession to power and the launching of his long premeditated and carefully planned attack, strategists on both sides tried to take stock of the resources which would be at their disposal when and if war came -- "when" was the German word, "if" the word preferred by his potential victims. There was little difference of opinion as to the facts. The difference was in the interpretation of the facts and in the political and military strategy based on those different interpretations. The democracies based their plans on what they had; the totalitarians based theirs on what they would get in the course of their conquests. Seven years of this difference between dynamic thought on one side and static thought on the other put the initiative into the hands of the aggressors; and the democracies, though potentially much more powerful, have found themselves terrifyingly close to disaster.

The domestic resources of the Germans, the Italians and the Japanese were inadequate in many respects; in some respects they were nil. They set about supplementing them by stockpiles of strategic materials. And when the war began they knew just what they wanted to secure from their military conquests, and just where to seize it and how to exploit it. By ceaseless toil and relentless concentration on the sole task of arming, they built up an overwhelming striking power; and then, utilizing that power, they went from one conquest to another, each economic as well as military.

Today the democracies are still stunned at the magnitude of their failure to appraise correctly the relative strength of the enemy. First France and Britain failed. Then the United States failed. The American Government and people are now making gigantic efforts to catch up. But it is the writer's opinion that even their boldest planning still fails to start from sufficiently pessimistic assumptions. If no doubt is to remain as to our eventual ability to wrest the initiative from the enemy, then

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