Hitler’s “Amerikan Triumph”
When America needed him most, Patton, the former commander of II Corps, was “promoted” to an inactive front, commander of III Corps at the Presidio in Monterey, CA, due to his controversial dealings with his superiors and subordinates. The press had printed some of Patton’s abusive correspondence with Washington greatly angering President Dulles who wouldn’t bear his authority being undermined. He was sure Patton had leaked the correspondence as a way to guilt him into action on a list of complaints the general had earlier sent him. To make matters worse was Patton’s slapping of a soldier suffering from shell shock following the Battle of Pittsburgh. Patton’s abrasive personality drove Eisenhower to move the man as far away as possible for his own good.
Guderian Drives East
Guderian would reach Cincinnati in June 1946 and kept pushing his soldiers as fast as they could go, sensing the enemy on the verge of defeat. His breathtaking pace reached Marietta, OH in late June. There he met parts of the reconstituted II Corps, now commanded by Major General Geoffrey Keyes.
Major General Keyes proved an able leader though not as skilled as Guderian who rapidly punctured the American line and rolled up part of II Corps by July 5. Only Keyes’ deft maneuvering kept the entire II Corps from being enveloped. Part of the reason for this defeat was attributed to II Corps’ armor which stood at 65%, manned largely with inexperienced tank crews that had been rushed to the front. Among these tanks was the M5 which saw its first frontline action, performing well under fire but still inadequate against Panzer Xs. Guderian would complete the annihilation of II Corps over the next four days leaving only 80,000 American troops between him and Hoth to the east.
Guderian drove further into Ohio reaching Akron July 15. American forces, largely National Guard units, offered little resistance as he struck towards Cleveland, taking the city on July 19, before then striking for Youngstown. Guderian would link up with Hoth in mid-August.
Fire from the Sky
With the Americans refusing to negotiate and the campaign stalled in Pennsylvania for resupply and refit, Hitler impatiently waited for more atomic weapons with which to strike. Not until August 1946 would two more atomic weapons be available. Hitler quickly ordered them deployed.
In early September, the cities of Chicago and St. Louis would succumb to the same fate as Manhattan and Washington D.C. once more sparking terror throughout the United States as people from coast to coast feared their city was next. This time it was worse as German positions made an atomic strike possible throughout all of Eastern America. American soldiers found themselves firing on their own people struggling to restore order as riots roiled throughout the country. Troop movements were also complicated by massive groups of refugees. The attack on Newport News and the crippling of the shipping yards there only served to further erode American morale.
As German forces prepared to drive into Maryland, Dulles was informed by Eisenhower that the best course of action was to gradually withdraw while building a defensive line at the Potomac. Eisenhower also advocated a scorched earth policy from this point forward, requiring the demolition of all known factories, the burning of all crops, and the destruction of bridges and railroad tracks in this and all future retreats in order to leave nothing of value for the enemy and to slow the German march. To the surprise of his staff, Dulles said no and instead ordered that a line of communication for possible peace talks be opened. America had seen enough death.
There have been numerous debates on the exact reason for Dulles’ refusal to continue the war. One point is that the plan devised by Eisenhower and the General Staff was not only barbaric (casually outlining the hundreds of thousands of casualties it would accrue while encouraging further destruction to the nation) but would prove wholly inadequate in the long run. The bulk of the American population was in German hands. The ability to raise future armies was unlikely and the industry to arm it was rapidly being lost. There was also the (perceived) threat of an attack from the west by Japan.
A second point made is that Dulles felt overwhelming guilt for having caused the war in the first place. It was his style of diplomacy which forced Japan into an aggressive posture and then drew Hitler’s attention. Dulles’ game of brinksmanship had killed his friend, Dewey, and nearly destroyed the country. This, coupled with the nadir of American morale, was known to have affected the president deeply. He was seen weeping when told of civilians in Michigan using private weapons trying to hold off Wermacht forces being gunned down. Other atrocities reached his ears but there was nothing he could do to stop it. Ever the religious man, he had to repent this sin of pride and end the war despite what it would do to him. He would become the martyr to save America’s future. He had nearly destroyed his country. It was time to sacrifice himself that no one else need die in a war they could not win.
A third point, and the most controversial, is that Dulles had a pro-German attitude which is supported by his past. His attempts to lessen Allied punishments under the Treaty of Versailles, his dealings with Hitler and various German functionaries shortly after the Nazi rise to power, and even donations made to German politicians and businessmen raise questions as to the relationship Dulles had with Hitler and the Nazis; especially after the war when he renewed business contacts with Germany.
21 September 1946, Dulles agreed to an armistice with Germany. On October 1, a peace treaty was signed between the Third Reich and the United States whose main points recognized the following:
- All territory occupied by Germany north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi was to remain occupied at American expense (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Eastern Michigan, and Indiana)
- The American military was to be limited to a 100,000 man standing army (with no more than 10,000 allowed east of the Mississippi River), light tanks were the only armor allowed in the American forces, a navy set at the limits of the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty, and their air force was not to employ bombers
- Reparations were to be paid to Germany
- German inspectors were to be allowed into American territory to ensure that the treaty was being followed
- The United States was to drop all trade barriers with Germany
- Recognized Germany hegemony over Canada
- The United States was forbidden from developing atomic weapons
Dulles would later sign an armistice with Japan in early 1947 which recognized Imperial hegemony over Asia and the Pacific (including Hawaii, Attu, Kiska, and Dutch Harbor) thus ending the Pacific War.
The twin wars effectively over, Dulles did his best to reorganize the United States until the 1948 election in which he announced he would not run for office. He would retire from politics branded a traitor.
Canada would suffer a different fate as, with the United States withdrawing from the war, German forces were freed to complete their conquest of the Great White North.