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Strategic Planning for Coalition Operations: The American-British-Soviet Alliance in the European Theater of World War II

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Technical Report,25 Jun 2018,23 May 2019

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ARMY Advanced Military Studies Program FORT LEAVENWORTH United States

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The decision to concentrate combat power in France for a direct approach into Germany was not an obvious choice for Allied strategy in the European Theater of World War II. The British advocated for an indirect approach in the Mediterranean theater where Axis powers proved vulnerable. The Soviets wanted material aid and a second front opened against the Germans in Europe to relieve their desperate war of attrition on the Eastern Front. The United States sought an end to the war as quickly as possible through a direct approach on the European continent. The decisions regarding how best to implement each alliance members preferences took the Allies over two years to formulate as a collective group, which manifested in an equilibrium strategy achieved through interdependent decision-making. This study uses primary sources and theories of strategy, alliances, and rational choice to explain how the Allies conducted interdependent decision-making to achieve an equilibrium strategy for large scale combat operations in the European Theater of World War II. The monograph consists of two primary sections. The first section defines strategy and social science theories for cooperation and interdependent decision-making using current literature and US doctrine. The second section provides a historical case study of Allied strategy in the European Theater using theory and doctrine defined in the first section to describe how the Allies achieved an equilibrium strategy through interdependent decision-making, ultimately defeating Axis powers in Europe. The case study supports the monograph thesis that strategic planning through interdependent decision-making enables national leaders to make rational choice decisions that mutually support grand strategy and a balance of interests for coalition operations.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Government and Political Science

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