Posts Tagged ‘atlantic’


October 31, 2020

We were all suckered in by the myth that America joined Britain in WWII to ‘Save Western Democracy’. Instead it appears that America was suckered into Pearl Harbour by the KGB — which wanted to release Russia’s Manchurian army to save Moscow from the Nazis — which it did.

What America really wanted to do was make vast amounts of money out of that world war, as it had out of the first, by picking both Britain’s and Russia’s pockets. Which it did. How else did America emerge so humungously rich from that war, and Britain so raggedly poor? Britain was still paying off its war debts to the US (for the First WW!) as late as 2015 whilst America’s total Marshall Aid Plan to Britain, so much trumpeted, amounted to barely one per cent of Britain’s losses. And at Bretton Woods in 1944 America forced Britain to give up Imperial Preferences, the basis of its economic success in the 1930s. It’s no accident that the almighty dollar has ruled the financial world ever since.

Then America shamelessly picked Britain’s brains to become, what it certainly was not before — an industrial superpower. Amongst many other gems, it got its hands on: the Cavity Magnetron, the Atomic Bomb, Anti-biotics, the jet engine, solid-state amplifiers (which led to the transistor), Electronic computing, Operational Research, sophisticated Code-breaking, the Proximity fuse, Asymmetric gears…… All Britain asked in return. was the Nordern bombsight — which Roosevelt personally refused to them for what he said were “political reasons”.

In 1946 the US passed The McMahon Act, depriving Britain of access to the atomic bomb — which Britain had largely taught the Americans how to build. It was a foul act of treachery, though we couldn’t say so at the time, which left Western Europe at the mercy of Stalin’s vast tank army poised on the plains of Germany, and of America’s goodwill. So poor Britain had to hastily cobble together a deterrent of its own.

When I was researching The Battle of the Atlantic for my forthcoming book about that titanic encounter (“Strangle“) I became more and more puzzled by the US Navy’s enigmatic role in it. One could even ask whose side they were on. Roosevelt’s stooge, and head of the USN, the incompetent Admiral Ernest J King, made no bones about hating the British, and without reason or warning pulled his forces out of the North Atlantic just as the crux of the battle was approaching. There is still much to ponder on here.

So Britain won the war, but America won the peace.

Of course America was perfectly entitled to an anti-British foreign policy, and to extract vast sums out of Britain if it could and which it did. After all there were large numbers of Irish, German and Italian Americans who had no good reason to want a British victory. Before Cburchill got rid of him, Joe Kennedy, the US ambassador to London, and JFK’s father, did all he could to get Britain to yield to Hitler. But it seems to me that the Brits need to wake up, forget all that hogwash which emanates from Hollywood, and stop talking nonsense about a “Special Relationship”. That was a piece of pure Churchillian rodomontade.

I have to admit that all this rather shocked me when I looked into it, because personally I owe America a lot and have some very good friends over there. And I would be the first to admit that it is controversial. But almost all my sources here are American. You can find references to them in a chapter entitled ‘The Baleful Shadow of America’ from my book History of the Brits, which is here:

Yes there’s much to chew over here. Let’s chew.


September 30, 2020



The vital struggle at the heart of World War II was the Battle of the Atlantic in which British and Canadian seamen on one side, German U-boat men on other, tried to starve their opponents into submission. It lasted for 6 years; 6000 vessels and 100,000 lives were lost; nothing less than the survival of Western Civilisation hung in the balance. By comparison, titanic battles such as Waterloo, Stalingrad and Trafalgar barely count.

         Conditions for the seamen on both sides were atrocious, for much of it was fought up in far Northern latitudes normally shunned by prudent shipping. Tempestuous storms, gigantic waves, icy seas, tiny corvettes and U-boats….only the very toughest of  men fighting for their families could have stuck it.

Journalists and politicians never went out there, while secrecy was vital. So the public was never to learn of the real struggle that would  decide all of  their fates.

         Every ingenuity was sought by both sides to get that decisive edge: code-breaking, bluff, radar, wolf-pack tactics, long range reconnaissance, sonar, acoustic-torpedoes, Huff-Duff, Operational Research, depth charges,  Hedgehog ….. sailors on both sides sought for measures, counter-measures and counter-counter measures which might turn the tide.

         Not only guts, but science, and a scientific attitude towards the evaluation of evidence became vital. The central character Sturdee is a young physicist and amateur sailor recruited into Western Approaches Command, based in Liverpool which was charged with winning the battle for the Allies. He goes to sea to try and find out why the Royal Navy can’t sink U-boats. He flies out to mid ocean with Catalina crews to discover why air reconnaissance is so effective at discouraging U-boats. He analyses convoy escort tactics while in a hurricane at sea and realises that Thucydides’ principle of Concentration in Battle is still paramount. But can he persuade Admirals and Ministers to change their minds? A shy lad at the outset he has to become a dogged, astute and relentless  man, not only to help win the battle at sea but to persuade his landlady, the formidable Joan, that she’s actually in love with him, and not with her far more glamorous fiancée. The Odds are against him all round but…… imagination and tenacity may sometimes succeed – in love as in war.

         I have been fascinated by this epic since growing up during the war close to a beach in Wales where all the sad detritus of that struggle washed ashore: life-rafts, charred timbers, oiled up sea birds, bodies, oranges, mines…..    and later, as a scientist myself, I came to realise that the innumerate historians’ accounts of the epic most often missed the point. By April 1943 the US Navy had given up, the wolf packs were ravaging Allied convoys, the casualties were appalling – all seemed lost; even the Admiralty despaired. A month later it was all over and Admiral Doenitz recalled his U-boats. What turned the tide? Was it code-breaking, science, admiralty……. or just plain guts?

         The book came out on Amazon as a paperback in 2021. Readers who enjoyed ‘The Cruel Sea’ (Nicholas Monsarrat) or the television series Das Boot might enjoy this also. The author, besides being a Space astronomer is a sucker for the Hornblower novels (CS Forrester) which he’s re-read many times. Go to the Amazon website to find out more about this, and other books by the author. [450 pages, £12.50 paperback, £3.99 e-version.]