Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Cotesworth Slessor and the Anglo-American Air Power Alliance, 1940-1945
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Sir John C. Slessor 1897-1979 was one of Great Britains most influential airmen of the Second World War. He played a remarkable and extensive role in building the Anglo-American air power partnership as an air planner on the Royal Air Force Staff, the British Chiefs of Staff, and the Combined Chiefs of Staff. In these capacities he was a significant coalition builder that coordinated military strategy with America in 1940-41, helped create an Anglo-American bomber alliance in 1942, and drafted the compromise formula at the Casablanca Conference breaking the deadlock in the Anglo-American debate on strategy. Slessor was also instrumental in defeating the U-boat menace as RAF Coastal Commander, and later shared responsibility for directing Allied air operations in the Mediterranean. Few aspects of this vast worldwide association escaped some manner of his influence. The training of pilots, the procurement of aircraft, and the interchange of operational intelligence and information on countless subjects-all of these depended in varying degrees on Slessor. His efforts in Anglo-American operational planning paved the way for a degree of cooperation and combined action never before equaled by the military forces of two great nations. Slessors influence had a lasting effect on the conduct of military relations between the United States and Great Britain. The passing of time has obscured his name and the significance of the wartime special relationship. This is the first major examination of Slessor, and is intended to rectify serious historical neglect.
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