Early 1942 was a dark period for the Allies in the Second World War. The United States was by now a belligerent, but the situation was bleak. The Soviet Army was hard pressed to withstand the German onslaught that threatened Moscow, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin appealed for—or, to be correct, demanded—an immediate second front in Western Europe.
Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov met with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who, concerned that Russia might make peace with Germany, promised a second
front in 1942.
That promise was irresponsible because there were insufficient troops and landing craft. Still, something had to be done, and Roosevelt wrote to Prime Minister Winston Churchill to demand action. Churchill’s reaction was to direct Chief of Comb...