WWII: Why did the Western Allies delay opening of a second front in Western Europe until late in the war?
Why did the Western Allies delay opening of a second front in Western Europe until comparatively late in the war? What was Stalin's reaction to this delay?
- ammianusLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
The main reason was Britain dragging its feet.
The Americans were keen to launch an invasion of Occupied France as early as 1942, but Churchill talked Roosevelt into landings in North Africa (1942), and then Sicily and Italy (1943) first.
Churchill had served as a battalion commander on the Western Front during the last 2 years of WW1, and his overriding concern throughout WW2 was to avoid heavy infantry casualties in a campaign in France against the Germans. The BEF had taken a beating from the Germans during the Battle of France in 1940, and this also effected British military thinking for the rest of the war, Churchill remaining extremely wary of the German military throughout the remainder of the war.
While launching the Second Front in 1942 would have been premature (as Dieppe showed), there was no real reason to invade Sicily and Italy rather than France in 1943. The Italian campaign tied down far more Allied troops and resources than German, and failed in its strategic aim of driving swiftly up the peninsula to invade Germany from the south.
All this delay annoyed Stalin intensely, as he wanted German troops withdrawn from the Russian Front to deal with an Allied Second Front; within 2 months of D-Day, the Russians were able to launch an offensive that virtually destroyed the German army in the East (Operation Bagration) that effectively decided the war on that front.
Had the British agreed to an invasion of France in 1943, the war could have ended a year earlier.
- Tim DLv 71 decade ago
Stalin believed that his allies were delaying in order to allow the Axis and the Soviets to kill each other. You should remember that Britain and the United States had not been friendly with the Soviet Union pre-war (in fact they had ‘invaded’ the newly-created Soviet Union in 1919), they were thrown together by a common enemy.
For the Western Allies to have opened a second front required an amphibious assault. The first attempt was in 1942 at Dieppe which was disastrous in terms of achievement. It did give the Allies some intelligence as to what was required to conduct successful landings, this was employed at the Sicilian landings of Operation Husky, and the landings on the Italian mainland. Although the Italian campaign was a second front Stalin was not convinced that it was a credible attempt. Italy proved to be a difficult nation to take, the terrain offered far more to defenders than attackers, meaning that progress was slow.
One of the main reasons that the Allies had problems launching the front was the lack of air superiority, without it there could not be a successful mass landing, troops in landing craft make an easy target for aircraft.
- DeSaxeLv 61 decade ago
I do not think they was a delay, their was a period when when the allies simply were not ready.
The USA did not even enter the war until December 1941, at that time the was still in the process
of increasing the size of its Military from the pre war levels of 1939. In 1939 the USA was the largest world power with the smallest Army. The USA congress fought all attempts to increase the size of the US military posture as a prelude to involvement to war. 1940 was an election year in which the war in Europe played a huge roll. Roosevelt "Promised" to keep America out of the war.
The Atlantic was still not "open" to shipping due to Nazi Submarines. Soviet & British demands for equipment was already at US production limits and shipping limits.
The US was faced with the demands to keep the supplies lines to Britain and the USSR open and increase the volume of supplies levels, but to also build it's own Army, Navy and AIr Force, in the same amount of time.
On average it takes 4 months to make a soldier, longer for a pilot, ship captain etc. The USA simply
did not have the forces trained, equipped and ready until 1944 in the volume that they were needed.
Stalin wanted a second front in Europe but Roosevelt also wanted a second front in the Pacific against Japan.
Stalin was also particular for he did not want the second front in the Balkans, he wanted the second front in France. After the fall of Sicily it would have been possible for the allies to cross into Greece an move up Eastern Europe then the Soviet forces in the North Eastern Europe and the Allies in the southern eastern europe would have rolled back the Germans. The Allies could have also landed in the far less fortified Southern France. Stalin was against the action in the balkans which would have denied the Germans their only oil fields.
Stalin's reaction was a delaying of Soviet actions. Stalin did not stop the German offensive until Stalingrad, and Stalin was not really ready for an offensive until late 1943 early 1944. Until Kurusk failed the war was still a bit up in the air.
- Anonymous5 years ago
The United States helped rebuild the Western part of Europe because the economy was good in America after World War 2.
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- Anonymous1 decade ago
they did not delay Churchill was planing to invade Europe in 1941
but when the Americans Arrived they extended WW2 by at least 2 years whilst Eisenhower spent 2 years coming up with HIS plan to Invade Europe
Paton and Bradley told FDR if we use the British plan to invade Europe the war will be over in 1943
several experts now say Normandy was Totally unnecessary as we were Already in Italy with enough men to launch an attack form as Eisenhower removed 10 divisions form Italy for the Invasion
Stalin gave an ultimatum invade by June or i do it myself he had amassed 7.2 million men to take on the NAZIS in 1944
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- PhilLv 41 decade ago
Stalin was pissed off and kept pressuring Britain to invade to take pressure off of him. They didn't want to firstly because Hitler was causing them enough trouble and the secondly because the US wasn't ready to help (not until Pearl Harbor) so it would most likely have been futile.
- mdgor1Lv 71 decade ago
why did you not do your homework on Friday instead of waiting this long and relying on complete strangers to do it for you?Source(s): i'm a parent