- JAPAN ASSOCIATION OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- 国際政治 (ISSN:04542215)
- vol.2006, no.144, pp.69-84,L12, 2006-02-28 (Released:2010-09-01)
In 1998, the Public Record Office released a top-secret file. The file contained Britain's 1945 war plans against Russia, her ally at the time. Just after the German surrender, Winston Churchill, the then British Prime Minister, instructed the Joint Planning Staff (JPS) to draw up war plans against Russia. This apparently contradicted the British policy towards the wartime grand alliance. Through reviewing these war plans and their background, this essay will re-examine Churchill's image as a wartime leader. In particular, it will consider the following questions: Why did Churchill enter the World War II? Why did he instruct war plans against Russia to be drawn up? Why did the planned war never eventuate? What was the implication of the failure of these plans?In May 1940, just after the German advance into the Low Countries, Churchill took the office of the Prime Minister. Despite this crisis, he decided to continue the war, calling for the New World to enter the war. It seemed, however, that Britain's dependence on America might trigger the dismemberment of her empire. Churchill, unlike conventional statesmen, envisioned a new world order under the Anglo-American tutelage. He believed that with common citizenship and the common use of military bases, Britain and America could work together. His vision was, however, obstructed by Russia's unexpected victory over Germany in 1941, which was considered to be a serious threat to the British Empire and Western civilization.To save his civilized world, Churchill instructed the JPS to make two war plans against Russia just after the German surrender. The first plan, “Operation Unthinkable, ” was an offensive war plan. The object of the plan was “to impose upon Russia the will of the United States and British Empire.” The planned date for the opening of hostilities was 1 July 1945. The Allied powers were to count upon the use of German forces. However, the JPS concluded that UK-US numerical inferiority on land rendered even a limited and quick success doubtful, thus proving Churchill's surprise attack plan ultimately unthinkable.The second plan, retaining the codeword “Unthinkable, ” was a defensive one. Wearying after the pessimistic first report, Churchill asked the JPS to study how Britain could defend her islands against a possible Russian advance into France and the Low Countries. This time, they concluded that Russia, without rockets and other new weapons, would not develop into a serious threat to the security of Britain.Churchill was a statesman who fought for his ideal of a civilized world order under the Anglo-American tutelage. His war, however, spawned unexpected and disastrous results. Russia became an enemy of the Empire. The Cold War, an Anglo-American imperial war, became inevitable. Thorough inviting the Americans into her empire, and also decolonizing her empire, the British fought the war against communism. This became a basis for a new globalizing world order under America and her allies.