Long before the special relationship that exists between The United States of America and the United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland there was War Plan Red – America’s Plan for war with the British Empire.
Today on Far Future Horizons we present a documentary which aired on Britain’s Channel 5 about War Plan Red, an American strategy to make war on Great Britain.
As incredible as it may sound today, a generation after the Second World War and the era of an enduring special relationship with the United Kingdom, the United States seriously considered going to war with the country that gave the world William Shakespeare, Winston Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Harry Potter, and David Beckham's right foot and for that matter David Beckham's left foot. This plan was conceived not in the Nineteenth Century (even though Young Republican leaders like Senator Lodge and Theodore Roosevelt attempted to engineer enough war fever to engage the British Empire over Venezuela in 1895 yet got the Spanish-American War), but, in the late 1920s, a decade 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.
War Plan Red was developed fully over the next decade of the 1930s, and included detailed plans to build air bases capable of bombing cities in the British dominion of Canada, where the US top brass intended the conflict to take place. The plan was officially withdrawn in 1939, with the outbreak of the Second World War, although it was not declassified until 1974.
Now, military experts and historians work through the plans as a war game, showing how they would have worked in practice and revealing who would have won if Great Britain's closest ally had ever become its most dangerous enemy.
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.
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 this 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 World War Two, 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.