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Morison Attacks War Strategy Of Churchill, Lauds U.S. Tactics

Lectures at Oxford


Samuel Eliot Morison '08, Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History, emeritus, has used an Oxford University lecture and a book review in yesterday's New York Times to criticize the World War II strategy of Sir Winston Churchill and Field Marshal Viscount Alanbrooke.

In his lecture, Morison asserted that Churchill was "peripheral-minded" during the war. He criticized Sir Winston's planned landing between Norway and Dakar, stating that "from most of his favorite targets you could not go anywhere."

"As Lord Alanbrooke has recently indiscreetly revealed," Morison added, "Mr. Churchill was very often difficult to dissuade from some favorite objective."

The chief American contribution to tactics, Morison claimed, was Operation Overlord, which Churchill opposed. In support of the Operation, the University historian said, "I believe that, but for the insistent, often rude pressure by Roosevelt, Marshall and Eisenhower ... to cross the Channel in 1944 ... London would certainly have been laid flat by the V-1 bombs and V-2 rockets. The war with Germany would not have ended until 1946."

Attacks Bryant

In setting forth the American tactical claims, Morison attacked the assertion in Sir Arthur Bryant's newly-published book, The Turn of the Tide, that "all strategy issued from the massive brain of Sir Alan Brooke." He wrote that Bryant's book reflects "an abysmal ignorance of the war on his part ... while his remarks on the war in the Pacific are fantastic."

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