Casablanca Conference

The Casablanca Conference (codenamed SYMBOL) was held at the Anfa Hotel in Casablanca, Morocco, from January 14 to 24, 1943, to plan the Allied European strategy for the next phase of World War II. In attendance were United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British prime minister Winston Churchill. Also attending and representing the Free French forces were Generals Charles de Gaulle and Henri Giraud, though they played minor roles and were not part of the military planning. Premier Joseph Stalin had declined to attend, citing the ongoing Battle of Stalingrad as requiring his presence in the Soviet Union.

The conference agenda addressed the specifics of tactical procedure, allocation of resources, and the broader issues of diplomatic policy. The debate and negotiations produced what was known as the Casablanca Declaration, and perhaps its most historically provocative statement of purpose, "unconditional surrender". The doctrine of "unconditional surrender" came to represent the unified voice of implacable Allied will—the determination that the Axis powers would be fought to their ultimate defeat.

Casablanca Conference
United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British prime minister Winston Churchill, and their advisors in Casablanca, 1943
DateJanuary 14, 1943 – January 24, 1943
Venue(s)Anfa Hotel
CitiesCasablanca, Morocco

Casablanca Declaration of "unconditional surrender"

The conference produced a unified statement of purpose, the Casablanca Declaration. It announced to the world that the Allies would accept nothing less than the "unconditional surrender" of the Axis powers. Roosevelt had borrowed the term from General Ulysses S. Grant (known as "Unconditional Surrender" Grant [1]), who had communicated that stance to the Confederate commander at Fort Donelson and Fort Henry during the American Civil War.[2][3] So Roosevelt stated at the concluding press conference on 24 January that the Allies were demanding "unconditional surrender" from the Germans, the Italians and the Japanese.[1]

In a February 12, 1943 radio address, Roosevelt explained what he meant by unconditional surrender: "we mean no harm to the common people of the Axis nations. But we do mean to impose punishment and retribution upon their guilty, barbaric leaders".[4][5]

It has been claimed that behind the scenes, the United States and the United Kingdom were divided in the commitment to see the war through to Germany's capitulation and "unconditional surrender". But Churchill was consulted and had agreed in advance about “unconditional surrender”; he had cabled the War Cabinet four days earlier and they had not objected. And Marshall later accepted that he had been consulted; he had stated on 7 January that Allied morale would be accepted by the uncompromising demand, and Stalin’s suspicions allayed”. [1]

However some source material contradicts the official reported accord between Churchill and Roosevelt, claiming that Churchill did not fully subscribe to the doctrine of "unconditional surrender". The New York Times correspondent Drew Middleton, who was in Casablanca at the conference, later revealed in his book, Retreat From Victory, that Churchill had been "startled by the [public] announcement [of unconditional surrender]. I tried to hide my surprise. But I was his [Roosevelt's] ardent lieutenant".[6][7]

According to former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Charles Bohlen, "Responsibility for this unconditional surrender doctrine rests almost exclusively with President Roosevelt". He guessed that Roosevelt made the announcement "to keep Soviet forces engaged with Germany on the Russian front, thus depleting German munitions and troops" and also "to prevent Stalin from negotiating a separate peace with the Nazi regime".[6][7]

That the war would be fought by the Allies until the total annihilation of enemy forces was not universally welcomed. Diplomatic insiders were critical that such a stance was too unequivocal and inflexible, would prevent any opportunity for political maneuvering and would be morally debilitating to French and German resistance groups.[8]

The British felt that arriving at some accommodation with Germany would allow the German army to help fight off the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe. To Churchill and the other Allied leaders, the real obstacle to realising that mutual strategy with Germany was the leadership of Adolf Hitler. Allen Dulles, the chief of OSS intelligence in Bern, Switzerland, maintained that the Casablanca Declaration was "merely a piece of paper to be scrapped without further ado if Germany would sue for peace. Hitler had to go".[9]

There is evidence that German resistance forces, highly placed anti-Nazi government officials, were working with British intelligence, MI6, to eliminate Hitler and negotiate a peace with the Allies. One such man was Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of German intelligence, the Abwehr. His persistent overtures for support from the United States were ignored by Roosevelt.[10][11]

Topics of discussion and agreements

European invasion

Roosevelt, with advice from General George C. Marshall, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, lobbied for a cross-Channel invasion of Europe. Churchill, with advice from the British Chiefs of Staff, led by General Sir Alan Brooke, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS, the professional head of the British Army), felt the time was not opportune, and favored an Allied assault on the island of Sicily followed by an invasion of mainland Italy. The British argument centred on the need to pull German reserves down into Italy where, due to the relatively poor north-south lines of communication, they could not be easily extracted to defend against a later invasion of northwest Europe. Additionally, by delaying the cross-Channel landing, it would mean that any invasion would be against a German army further weakened by many more months fighting on the Eastern Front against the Red Army.

Throughout the conference, Roosevelt's attention was prominently focused on the Pacific War front and he faulted the British for what he felt was not a full commitment against Japanese entrenchment. The Italian strategy was agreed upon, a compromise between the two leaders, Roosevelt acceding to Churchill's approach for Europe. Churchill, in turn, pledged more troops and resources to the Pacific and Burma to reinforce positions held by Chiang Kai-shek against the Japanese. The United States would provide assistance to the British in the Pacific by supplying escorts and landing craft.[12]

Logistical issues

  • Next phase of European war
  • All possible aid would be provided to the Russian offensive
  • Assessment of U-boat danger in the Atlantic
  • Disposition of ships, planes, troops in the various theatres of war
  • Joseph Stalin and Chiang Kai-shek would be fully apprised of the conference agenda and resulting accords

Leadership of Free French forces

Leaders of the Free French forces: General Henri Giraud (L) and General Charles de Gaulle (R) at the Casablanca Conference.

Charles de Gaulle had to be forced to attend, and he met a chilly reception from Roosevelt and Churchill. No Frenchmen were allowed to attend the military planning sessions.[13][14]

The conference called for the official recognition of a joint leadership of the Free French forces by de Gaulle and Henri Giraud. There was notable tension between the two men, who limited their interactions to formalities like pledging their mutual support.[15] Roosevelt encouraged them to shake hands for the photographers eager for a photo opportunity, but the ritual handshake was with reluctance and done so quickly that they purportedly had to pose for a second shot. Roosevelt would later describe this meeting between the French leaders as a "shotgun wedding".[16]

In Elliott Roosevelt’s book, As He Saw It (1946), Elliott describes how Franklin Roosevelt wanted the French provisional government to be set up with Henri Giraud and Charles de Gaulle, “equally responsible for its composition and welfare.”[17] (89) This is because Franklin Roosevelt saw Charles de Gaulle as Churchill’s puppet, and Roosevelt thought Giraud would be more compliant with US interests. Complications arose with this because most people in the French Resistance considered de Gaulle the undisputed leader of the Resistance, and therefore Giraud was progressively dispossessed of his political and military roles. Roosevelt eventually recognized de Gaulle as the head of the Free French in mid-1944.

Plans for postwar northern Africa

The day before, Roosevelt became the first US President to visit the African continent by staying over at the city of Bathurst, Gambia. The abhorrent situation of the locals further increased his anti-colonialism leading him to further discuss and impress upon Churchill the need for an international trusteeship system that would advance colonies like Gambia towards independence.[18]

During the Conference, Roosevelt spoke with the French resident general at Rabat, Morocco, about postwar independence and Jewish immigrants in North Africa. Roosevelt proposed that:

"[t]he number of Jews engaged in the practice of the professions (law, medicine, etc.) should be definitely limited to the percentage that the Jewish population in North Africa bears to the whole of the North African population.... [T]his plan would further eliminate the specific and understandable complaints which the Germans bore towards the Jews in Germany, namely, that while they represented a small part of the population, over 50 percent of the lawyers, doctors, schoolteachers, college professors, etc., in Germany were Jews."[19][20]

This disposition of the Jewish population harkened back to a mindset communicated in earlier years to Roosevelt by the American ambassador to Germany, William Dodd (1933–37). Dodd had appraised Germany's repression of Jews, and writing to Roosevelt, he said: "The Jews had held a great many more of the key positions in Germany than their number or talents entitled them to."[21]

Roosevelt presented the results of the conference to the American people in a radio address on February 12, 1943.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Roberts 2009, p. 343.
  2. ^ Middleton, Drew, On This Day, "Roosevelt, Churchill Map 1943 War Strategy," January 24, 1943, retrieved August 27, 2012
  3. ^ Yale Law School, "The Avalon Project: The Casablanca Conference: 1943," retrieved November 19, 2013
  4. ^ [1] Archived 2018-06-15 at the Wayback Machine, Yale Law School, "The Avalon Project: The Casablanca Conference: 1943," retrieved August 27, 2012
  5. ^ "Casablanca Conference," Radio address, February 12, 1943, (The Public Papers of F.D. Roosevelt, Vol. 12, p. 71), retrieved November 19, 2013
  6. ^ a b [2] Archived 2009-04-16 at the Wayback Machine, Chen, Peter C., "Casablanca Conference, 14 Jan. 1943," retrieved August 27, 2012
  7. ^ a b Middleton, Drew, On This Day, "Roosevelt, Churchill Map 1943 War Strategy," January 24, 1943, retrieved August 27, 2012
  8. ^ This Day In History, "Roosevelt And Churchill Begin Casablanca Conference," retrieved November 19, 2013
  9. ^ Vaughan, Hal, "Sleeping With The Enemy, Coco Chanel's Secret War," Alfred A. Knopf, 2011, p. 178
  10. ^ "Admiral Wilhelm Canaris 1887-1945," Canaris worked with Roosevelt's Balkan representative in Instanbal, former Pennsylvania Governor George H. Earle, who communicated with Roosevelt through the diplomat pouch; retrieved August 28, 2012
  11. ^ retrieved November 19, 2013
  12. ^ Middleton, Drew, On This Day, "Roosevelt, Churchill Map 1943 War Strategy," January 24, 1943, retrieved August 27, 2012
  13. ^ Jonathan Fenby, The General: Charles De Gaulle and the France he saved (2010) pp 195-201
  14. ^ Michael Howard, Grand Strategy, IV, August 1942–September 1943 (1972) pp 279-81.
  15. ^ Rick Atkinson, An Army at Dawn
  16. ^ Pratt, Julius W. “De Gaulle and the United States: How the Rift Began.” The History Teacher, vol. 1, no. 4, 1968, pp. 5–15, p. 11.
  17. ^ Roosevelt, Elliott (1946). As he saw it. With a foreword by Eleanor Roosevelt. [On F.D. Roosevelt.] New York. OCLC 504739143.
  18. ^ "That Hell-hole Of Yours". Retrieved 2018-06-04.
  19. ^ Manfred Jonas, Harold D. Langley, and Francis L. Lowenheim, eds., Roosevelt and Churchill: Their Secret Correspondence, New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., Saturday Review Press, 1975, p. 308. This quote is taken from a conversation memorandum prepared by Captain John L. McCrae, Roosevelt's naval aide.
  20. ^ "The American Experience.America and the Holocaust.Teacher's Guide - PBS".
  21. ^ Larson, Erik, "In the Garden of Beasts," Crown, 2011, p. 39

Further reading

  • Appleby, Simon. "SYMBOL: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the Casablanca Conference, January 1943." (PhD Dissertation, University of Cambridge 1998) online. 73pp; with bibliography pp 64–72.
  • Armstrong, Anne. Unconditional surrender: the impact of the Casablanca policy upon World War II (Rutgers University Press, 1961).
  • Chase, John L. "Unconditional surrender reconsidered." Political Science Quarterly 70.2 (1955): 258-279. JSTOR
  • Churchill, Winston S. Memoirs of the Second World War, An abridgement of the six volumes Chapter 20 The Casablanca Conference page 664
  • Farrell, Brian P. "Symbol of paradox: The Casablanca Conference, 1943," Canadian Journal of History, (April 1993) 28#1 pp 21–40
  • Feis, Herbert. "Churchill Roosevelt Stalin The War They Waged and the Peace They Sought A Diplomatic History of World War II" (1957)
  • Funk, Arthur Layton. "The" Anfa Memorandum": An Incident of the Casablanca Conference." Journal of Modern History (1954): 246-254. JSTOR
  • Howard, Michael. Grand Strategy, IV, August 1942–September 1943. (1972). pp 239-88.
  • Lacouture, Jean. De Gaulle: The Rebel, 1890–1944 (1990) pp 416-29.
  • Miller Jr, John. "The Casablanca Conference and Pacific Strategy." Military Affairs 13.4 (1949): 209-215. JSTOR
  • Roberts, Andrew (2009) [2008]. Masters and Commanders: The Military Geniuses who Led the West to Victory in World War II. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-141-02926-9.
  • Stoler, Mark. Allies and Adversaries: The Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Grand Alliance, and U.S. Strategy in World War II (2006) excerpt and text search
  • Wilt, Alan F. "The Significance of the Casablanca Decisions, January 1943," Journal of Military History (1991) 55#4 pp 517–529 in JSTOR

External links

Preceded by
Cherchell Conference
October 21–22, 1942
World War II Conferences
Casablanca Conference
January 14–24, 1943
Succeeded by
Washington Conference (1943)
May 12–17, 1943
Casablanca directive

The Casablanca directive was approved by the Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCOS) of the Western Allies at their 65th meeting on 21 January 1943 and issued to the appropriate the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Forces commanders on 4 February 1943. It remained in force until 17 April 1944, when the Allied strategic bomber commands based in Britain were directed to help with preparations for Operation Overlord.

The CCOS met during the Casablanca Conference when the Allies were deciding the future strategy of the war.

The directive set out a series of priorities for the strategic bombing of Germany by the air forces based in the UK (RAF Bomber Command and US Eighth Air Force). With modification in June, making German fighters (part of their main defence against Allied bombers) an "intermediate target " and the primary goal, it gave direction to the combined (USAAF and RAF) bombing offensive known as Operation Pointblank.

Desert Commandos

Desert Commandos (Italian: Attentato ai tre grandi) is a 1967 war film set during World War II in Morocco where it was filmed. The Italian title (Attack on the Big Three) refers to a German commando group with a mission to assassinate Churchill, Roosevelt and de Gaulle at the Casablanca Conference.

The film is a character-based drama that focuses on the German soldiers' various drives and conflicts during encounters with Tuareg nomads, and French and American soldiers.

Harry Hopkins

Harry Lloyd Hopkins (August 17, 1890 – January 29, 1946) was an American social worker, the 8th Secretary of Commerce, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's closest advisor on foreign policy during World War II. He was one of the architects of the New Deal, especially the relief programs of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which he directed and built into the largest employer in the country. In World War II, he was Roosevelt's chief diplomatic troubleshooter and liaison with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. He supervised the $50 billion Lend Lease program of military aid to the Allies.

Born in Iowa, Hopkins settled in New York City after he graduated from Grinnell College. He accepted a position in New York City's Bureau of Child Welfare and worked for various social work and public health organizations. He was elected president of the National Association of Social Workers in 1923. In 1931, Jesse I. Straus hired Hopkins as the executive director of New York's Temporary Emergency Relief Administration. His leadership of the program earned the attention of Roosevelt, then the governor of New York, and Roosevelt brought Hopkins into his presidential administration after his victory in the 1932 presidential election. Hopkins supervised the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civil Works Administration, and the Works Progress Administration. He also served as Secretary of Commerce from 1938 to 1940.

Hopkins served as an important foreign policy adviser and diplomat during World War II. He was a key policy maker in the Lend-Lease program that sent $50 billion in aid to the Allies; Winston Churchill in his memoirs devotes a veritable panegyric to this "natural leader of men" who had "a flaming soul". Hopkins dealt with "priorities, production, political problems with allies, strategy—in short, with anything that might concern the president". He attended the major conferences of the Allied powers, including the Cairo Conference, the Tehran Conference, the Casablanca Conference, and the Yalta Conference. His health declined after 1939 due to stomach cancer, and Hopkins died in 1946 at the age of 55.

Henri Giraud

Henri Honoré Giraud (18 January 1879 – 11 March 1949) was a French general and a leader of the Free French Forces during the Second World War.

Born to an Alsatian family in Paris, Giraud graduated from the Saint-Cyr military academy and served in French North Africa. He was wounded and captured by the Germans during the First World War, but managed to escape from his prisoner-of-war camp. During the interwar period, Giraud returned to North Africa and fought in the Rif War, for which he was awarded the Légion d'honneur.

Early in the Second World War, Giraud fought in the Netherlands. In May 1940, he was again captured by the Germans and was taken to a prison near Dresden, but made another successful escape from captivity in April 1942 after two years of careful planning. From within Vichy France he worked with the Allies in secret, and assumed command of French troops in North Africa after Operation Torch (November 1942) following the assassination of François Darlan. In January 1943, he took part in the Casablanca Conference along with Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Later in the same year, Giraud and de Gaulle became co-presidents of the French Committee of National Liberation, but their continual disagreements forced his retirement in 1944.

After the war, Giraud was elected to the Constituent Assembly of the French Fourth Republic. He died in Dijon in 1949.

Latin America during World War II

The history of Latin America during World War II is important because of the significant economic, political, and military changes that occurred throughout much of the region as a result of the war. The war caused a lot of panic in Latin America over economics, because they depended on the European investment capital which was shut down. Latin America tried to stay neutral but the warring countries were endangering their neutrality. Most countries used propaganda to turn the neutral countries to their side, while Berlin wanted Latin America neutral. In order to better protect the Panama Canal, combat Axis influence, and optimize the production of goods for the war effort, the United States through Lend-Lease and similar programs greatly expanded its interests in Latin America, resulting in large-scale modernization and a major economic boost for the countries that participated.Strategically, Panama was the most important Latin American nation for the Allies because of the Panama Canal, which provided a link between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans that was vital to both commerce and defense. Brazil was also of great importance because of its having the closest point in the Americas to Africa where the Allies were actively engaged in fighting the Germans and Italians. For the Axis, the Southern Cone nations of Argentina and Chile were where they found most of their support, and they utilized it to the fullest by interfering with internal affairs, conducting espionage, and distributing propaganda.Brazil was the only country to send troops to the European Theater; however, several countries had skirmishes with German U-Boats and cruisers in the Caribbean and South Atlantic. Mexico sent a fighter squadron of 300 volunteers to the Pacific, the Escuadrón 201 were known as the Aztec Eagles (Águilas Aztecas).

The Brazilian active participation on the battlefield in Europe was divined after the Casablanca Conference. The President of the U.S., Franklin D. Roosevelt on his way back from Morocco met the President of Brazil, Getulio Vargas, in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, this meeting is known as the Potenji River Conference, and defined the creation of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force.

List of Allied World War II conferences

This is a list of World War II conferences of the Allies of World War II. Conference names in boldface indicate the conferences at which the leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union were all present. For the historical context see Diplomatic history of World War II.

In total Churchill attended 16 meetings, Roosevelt 12, Stalin 7.

For some of the major wartime conference meetings involving Roosevelt and later Truman, the code names were words which included a numeric prefix corresponding to the ordinal number of the conference in the series of such conferences. The third conference was TRIDENT, the fourth conference was QUADRANT, the sixth conference was SEXTANT, and the eighth conference was OCTAGON. The last wartime conference was code-named TERMINAL.

Mediterranean Air Command

The Mediterranean Air Command (MAC) was a World War II Allied air-force command that was active in the North African and Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) between February 18 and December 10, 1943. MAC was under the command of Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, whose headquarters were next to those of the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, in Algiers, Algeria, during the planning of the Allied campaigns in Tunisia, Pantelleria, Sicily, and the invasion of mainland Italy during the war.

Morocco in World War II

During World War II, Morocco, then a French protectorate, was controlled by Vichy France from 1940 to 1942 after the occupation of France. However, after the North African Campaign, Morocco was under Allied control and thus was active in Allied operations until the end of the war.

No. 207 Group RAF

No. 207 (General Purpose) Group was a group of the Royal Air Force (RAF) established on 15 December 1941 by downgrading the British RAF Command known as Air H.Q. East Africa to Group status. The group was commanded by Air Commodore William Sowrey until June 1942 when Air Commodore Malcolm Taylor took over.No. 207 (General Purpose) GroupAir Commodore Malcolm TaylorOrder of Battle27 October 1942

On 16 November 1942, the Group was upgraded to Command status and again became Air H.Q. East Africa. Following the Casablanca Conference-directed reorganization of the Allied air forces in the North African and Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) effective 18 February 1943, Air H.Q. East Africa was a sub-command of RAF Middle East Command, itself a sub-command of the Mediterranean Air Command.

No. 216 Group RAF

No. 216 (Ferry) Group was a command of the Royal Air Force (RAF) during World War II established on 21 May 1942. The group was renamed No. 216 (Air Transport and Ferry) Group on 9 September 1942 and placed under the command of Air Commodore Whitney Straight the following day.No. 216 Group became a major sub-command of the Mediterranean Air Command that was created at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943. On 25 March 1943, No. 216 Group also became a sub-command of the newly created Transport Command, an umbrella organization of all British transport units worldwide under the command of Air Chief Marshal Sir Frederick Bowhill. The group was sometimes aided by British Overseas Airways Corporation in the receiving, preparing, and dispatching of aircraft reinforcements into the North African and Mediterranean Theater of Operations. The components of No. 216 Group at the time of the Allied invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) on 10 July 1943 are indicated below.No. 216 (Air Transport and Ferry) GroupAir Commodore Whitney StraightOrder of Battle, 10 July 1943

No. 216 (Air Transport and Ferry) Group was disbanded on 26 October 1946.

Northwest African Air Forces

Northwest African Air Forces (NAAF) was a component of the Allied Mediterranean Air Command (MAC) during February–December 1943. It was responsible primarily for air operations during the Tunisian Campaign and bombing of Italy. Its commander was Lieutenant General Carl Spaatz of the United States Army Air Force. NAAF was created following a reorganization of the command structure of Allied air forces in the Mediterranean Theatre. The other components of MAC were Middle East Command (MEC), AHQ Malta, RAF Gibraltar and 216 Group.

When the first units of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) arrived in the Middle East in June 1942 and were organized as the Ninth Air Force. Then later in 1942, the 12th Air Force established a foothold in Algeria following Operation Torch in November 1942, cooperation between the Allied air forces became an important priority in the Mediterranean theatre. Such cooperation was a major concern of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and their staffs at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943 when they established a new Allied air force organization known as the Mediterranean Air Command (MAC) with Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder as Air Commander-in-Chief.

NAAF was organized on a successful tripartite (or "tri-force") air interdiction model – consisting of specialised strategic, coastal, and tactical air forces – pioneered by Air Marshal Arthur Tedder and Air Vice Marshal Arthur Coningham of Middle East Command in Egypt and Libya during 1942. Effective coordination of air and ground forces was a key feature of the tripartite model. Consequently, the main combat commands of NAAF emulated MEC. This tripartite command structure was regarded as successful; it was therefore retained when NAAF was superseded in December 1943, by the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (MAAF).

Northwest African Air Service Command

The Northwest African Air Service Command (NAASC) was a sub-command of the Northwest African Air Forces which itself was a sub-command of the Mediterranean Air Command (MAC). These new Allied air force organizations were created at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943 to promote cooperation between the British Royal Air Force (RAF), the American United States Army Air Force (USAAF), and their respective ground and naval forces in the North African and Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO). Effective March 4, 1943, Brigadier General Delmar Dunton became the commander of NAASC which consisted of service units from the United States Army 12th Air Force Service Command which Dunton had overseen since September 30, 1942, and similar units from the British RAF Middle East Command. In June 1943, prior to the invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky), Brigadier General Harold Bartron became the commander of NAASC. On December 10, 1943, MAC was disbanded and NAASC was reorganized in the newly established Mediterranean Allied Air Forces.

Northwest African Strategic Air Force

The Northwest African Strategic Air Force (NASAF) was a sub-command of the Northwest African Air Forces (NAAF) which itself was a sub-command of the Mediterranean Air Command (MAC). These new Allied air force organizations were created at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943 to promote cooperation between the British Royal Air Force (RAF), the American United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), and their respective ground and naval forces in the North African and Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO). Effective February 18, 1943, the NASAF and other MAC commands existed until December 10, 1943 when MAC was disbanded and the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (MAAF) were established. Major General Jimmy Doolittle was the commander of NASAF. However, during at least one critical period of the Tunisian Campaign at the end of February, 1943, General Carl Spaatz, the commander of NAAF, placed most of the strategic bombers at the disposal of Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham, commander of the Northwest African Tactical Air Force.The components of NASAF at the time of the Allied invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) on July 10, 1943 are illustrated below.

The 2686th Medium Bombardment Wing (Provincial) was activated on June 6, 1943 at Sedrata, Algeria and disbanded on September 3, 1943 at Ariana, Tunisia. Although the 42nd Bombardment Wing (Medium) is sometimes used to refer to the wing during this period, the 42nd Wing was actually the successor of the 2686th Wing.

Northwest African Tactical Air Force

The Northwest African Tactical Air Force (NATAF) was a component of the Northwest African Air Forces which itself reported to the Mediterranean Air Command (MAC). These new Allied air force organizations were created at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943 to promote cooperation between the British Royal Air Force (RAF), the American United States Army Air Force (USAAF), and their respective ground and naval forces in the North African and Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO). Effective February 18, 1943, the NATAF and other MAC commands existed until December 10, 1943, when MAC was disbanded and the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (MAAF) were established. Acting Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham was the commander of NATAF.

The components of NATAF at the time of the Allied invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) on July 10, 1943, are illustrated below.

Northwest African Tactical Air ForceAir Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham

For Operation Husky, No. 242 Group, originally a component of NATAF in February 1943, was assigned to the Northwest African Coastal Air Force (NACAF). At the same time, Air Headquarters, Western Desert became known as Desert Air Force. All of the fighter units of Desert Air Force formed No. 211 (Offensive Fighter) Group commanded by Air Commodore Richard Atcherley on April 11, 1943, in Tripoli. The 99th Fighter Squadron was assigned to the XII Air Support Command on May 28, 1943, and subsequently attached to the 33rd Fighter Group. The actual squadron assignments and detachments varied throughout the war depending on the specific needs of the air force. The table above illustrates the squadron assignments and commanders for the important period of World War II when the Allies prepared to invade Italy (Operation Husky), having just won the war in North Africa (Tunisia Campaign). In recognition of XII Air Support Command's operations in Sicily, Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower presented Major General Edwin House with the Legion of Merit and stated the following:

"...for the first time established the application of a tactical air force operating in support of an American Army."

Northwest African Training Command

The Northwest African Training Command (NATC) was a sub-command of the Northwest African Air Forces (NAAF) which itself was a sub-command of the Mediterranean Air Command (MAC). These new Allied air force organizations were created at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943 to promote cooperation between the British Royal Air Force (RAF), the American United States Army Air Force (USAAF), and their respective ground and naval forces in the North African and Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO). Effective February 18, 1943, the NATC and other MAC commands existed until December 10, 1943 when MAC was disbanded and the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (MAAF) were established.Brigadier General John Cannon organized and commanded NATC to provide pre-combat flight training for new pilots and crews. Many of the bomber and fighter groups of NAAF were assigned to Cannon's NATC for a brief but highly effective training period prior to their ultimate combat assignments. Some of the groups trained by NATC before the Allied invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) on July 10, 1943 are indicated below.Northwest African Training CommandBrigadier General John Cannon

Notes:^These reconnaissance squadrons were likely permanent assignments to NATC.

To establish an effective training command, Cannon and Lieutenant General Carl Spaatz, commander of NAAF, arranged a meeting with the Commanding General of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), General Henry H. Arnold to consider their recommendation of Philip Cochran as a teacher and trainer of raw fighter pilots. Cochran was unanimously approved and contributed most effectively to the combat performance of many NAAF pilots. The comic strips Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon by Milton Caniff were partly inspired by Philip Cochran who was a friend of Caniff.In 1942, Colonel Charles D. Jones was General Cannon's Assistant A-3 (Operations) Officer. After the Allied air force reorganization and the creation of NATC in early 1943, Jones took charge of a school in French Morocco that trained American fighter pilots and aviators in the Free French Air Force. In 1944, Jones became the commanding officer of the 340th Bombardment Group until he was shot down on March 10, 1944 and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner in Germany.

Northwest African Troop Carrier Command

The Northwest African Troop Carrier Command (NATCC) was a sub-command of the Northwest African Air Forces which itself was a sub-command of the Mediterranean Air Command (MAC). These new Allied air force organizations were created at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943 to promote cooperation between the British Royal Air Force (RAF), the American United States Army Air Force (USAAF), and their respective ground and naval forces in the North African and Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) during the Second World War. Effective from February 18, 1943, the NATCC and other MAC commands existed until December 10, 1943 when MAC was disbanded and the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (MAAF) were established. Brigadier General Paul Williams was the commander of NATCC.

The components of NATCC at the time of the Allied invasion of Sicily (codenamed Operation Husky) on July 10, 1943 are illustrated below.Northwest African Troop Carrier CommandBrigadier General Paul L. Williams


In mid-1943, to facilitate transport and supply operations for Operation Husky, the USAAF 315th Troop Carrier Group (34th & 43rd Squadrons) was sent from England to Tunisia and assigned to the Mediterranean Air Transport Service which along with NATCC, was a sub-command of the Mediterranean Air Command.A tragedy occurred over the Farello Airstrip, when American anti-aircraft gunners mistook American troop carrier transports for enemy planes. On the night of July 11, 1943, 23 of 144 aircraft failed to return to Tunisia. Another 37 planes were badly damaged. The aircraft loss ratio was very high, at 16%. Brigadier General Charles Keerans, Jr., the Assistant Division Commander (ADC) of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division, was aboard one of the planes that did not return. The 504th Parachute Regimental Combat Team (including the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 504th PIR, along with the 376th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, Company 'C' of the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion and numerous medical and signal units attached, for a total of some 2,300 men), under Colonel Reuben Tucker, suffered a total of 229 casualties on the night of 11 July 1943: 81 dead, 132 wounded, and 16 missing.

Short snorter

A short snorter is a banknote inscribed by people traveling together on an aircraft. The tradition was started by Alaskan bush flyers in the 1920s and spread through the military and commercial aviation. During World War II short snorters were signed by flight crews and conveyed good luck to soldiers crossing the Atlantic. Friends would take the local currency and sign each other's bills creating a "keepsake of your buddy's signatures".The General Hoyt Vandenberg short snorter was started in June 1942 flight over the mid-Atlantic. The Harry Hopkins short snorter was collected on July 25, 1942, by an aide of Franklin D. Roosevelt at a London Conference. The D. Ray Comish short snorter was collected January 1943 at the Casablanca Conference by Dixie Clipper. The Averell Harriman short snorter was collected by him at the January 1943 Casablanca Conference as well. The General George S. Patton snorter signatures were also collected at the Casablanca Conference. The Yalta short snorter signatures were collected on February 4–11, 1945 by Steve Early at Yalta, on the Crimean Peninsula.

The Potenji River Conference

The Potenji River Conference, also known as the Natal Conference, was a meeting that took place on January 28 and 29, 1943 between the President of Brazil, Getúlio Vargas and the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. On his way back from the Casablanca Conference, the U.S. president paid a visit to the Brazilian president and inspected some of the military installations that were sending aircraft and equipment to the fronts in Africa and Asia. The visit also involved discussions of the ongoing support and role of Brazil in World War II. This conference between the presidents of the two countries took place aboard the USS Humboldt in the Potenji River harbor in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte and defined the agreements that led to the creation of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force.

United States presidential visits to Sub-Saharan Africa

Six United States presidents have made presidential visits to Sub-Saharan Africa. The first was an offshoot of Franklin D. Roosevelt's secretive World War II trip to Morocco for the Casablanca Conference. Since 1978, all presidents, except Ronald Reagan, and incumbent president Donald Trump, have visited Sub-Saharan Africa. All totaled, fourteen countries in the region have been visited by a U.S. president.

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