FOR the American forces in Europe the winter just past was a time of dogged though indecisive fighting, but even more a time of preparation, a preface to the great campaigns of 1944. In the Pacific, the major strategic offensive by the United States which started with our move into the Gilbert Islands in November recorded its first great advance in February with the capture of the Marshall Islands, an operation which will long be studied as a model of amphibious action.
Despite the continued military gains registered by the United Nations, the winter was on the whole marked by anxious anticipation. There was intense propagandistic activity on both sides and much political manœuvring. Although -- or perhaps because -- the military situation in Europe was rapidly drawing to a climax, the political situation was by no means firm. The passage of time made evident that the Moscow and Teheran conferences had not settled the basic political issues which threatened to produce schisms between Britain, Soviet Russia and the United States. Russia's actions during the winter months indicated that she was determined to pursue a "spheres of influence" policy. She did not bar international collaboration. She nevertheless continued to develop two parallel and different foreign policies -- the one based on, or leading toward, coöperation, the other based on, or leading toward, a sort of ideological imperialism. As she showed herself rather intransigent both in word as well as in deed, and as the Russian Armies advanced further toward the West, Britain commenced to cast about for some means to offset this new growing power in Europe. The Smuts speech, carrying implications of a new foreign policy for Britain, was a straw in the wind of official British thinking. To many it suggested that Britain, too, would revert to the prewar policy of regional spheres of influence.
In other words, by the beginning of 1944 power politics was again being "waged" in Europe and rivalries between the United Nations not only
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