Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Trident Conference (15–25 May 1943)

Anglo-American diplomatic conference. The Trident Conference, also known as the Third Washington Conference, was held in Washington, D.C., between British Prime Minister Winston L. S. Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and their political and military advisers. The debate in the conference involved military activities for the rest of the year and the date of a possible cross-Channel invasion. The British objective was to get the Americans to agree to an invasion of Italy after the conquest of Sicily (Operation husky) was completed. The British argued that such a course would deprive Germany of an ally and make the western and central Mediterranean an Anglo-American lake. Churchill hoped that new options for Anglo-American strategy would be opened and perhaps break the U.S. obsession with a cross-Channel attack.

The Americans, particularly Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall, were prepared for such arguments by the British. They pointed out that Soviet and American public opinion would demand an invasion of France. The Americans insisted that bolero, the buildup of men and matériel in England, should take precedence and that it would not prevent an invasion of Italy, although they did not commit to that invasion. Roosevelt and Marshall agreed to follow up husky with the best means to drive Italy from the war and tie down the maximum number of German forces. Certainly, this position pointed toward an invasion of Italy, but it left options open. For the first time, Roosevelt had not come down in favor of Churchill's position, and the British leader would never again feel confident that Roosevelt would support him once they had discussed all aspects of a question. The two leaders agreed on a date of 1 May 1944 as the deadline for the cross-Channel attack, splitting the difference between the preferred American date of 1 April and the British date of 1 June.

Other topics of discussion included the China-Burma-India Theater, which generated much talk but little action, and the atomic bomb. Over British skepticism, the conferees approved (but never implemented) plans for operations in Burma. Churchill and Roosevelt could not agree on whether aiding Chinese leader Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) or forcing the Japanese from Southeast Asia should be the goal. Churchill was further frustrated because no one, not even members of his own delegation, favored his proposal for a landing in Sumatra.

Churchill and Roosevelt continued their debate from the Casablanca Conference on developing an atomic bomb, with the British leader protesting the U.S. refusal to share information, a course of action recommended by most of Roosevelt's advisers. The president reluctantly agreed to reveal secrets to the British but had not done so by the Quebec Conference that August.

Britton W. MacDonald


Further Reading
Edmonds, Robin. The Big Three: Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin in Peace and War. New York: W. W. Norton, 1991.; Kimball, Warren F. Forged in War: Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Second World War. New York: William Morrow, 1997.; Sainsbury, Keith. Churchill and Roosevelt at War: The War They Fought and the Peace They Hoped to Make. New York: New York University Press, 1994.; Stoler, Mark A. The Politics of the Second Front: American Military Planning and Diplomacy in Coalition Warfare, 1941–1943. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1977.; Stoler, Mark A. Allies and Adversaries: The Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Grand Alliance, and U.S. Strategy in World War II. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.
 

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