Keep From All Thoughtful Men: How U.S. Economists Won World War II
Commandant's Reading List
Naval Institute Press
Published April 2011
This ground-breaking work overturns accepted historical dogma on how World War II strategy was planned and implemented. Refuting the long-accepted notion that the avalanche of munitions which poured forth from American factories defeated the Axis powers, it examines exactly how this miracle of production was organized and integrated into Allied strategy and operations. In doing so, it is the first book to show how revolutions in statistics and finance forever changed the nature of war, overturning three millennia of the making of grand strategy. Jim Lacey argues that manpower and the capacity to produce more munitions gave out long before the money did.
While the book relates the overall story of how economics dictated war planning at the highest levels, more specifically it tells how three obscure economists came to have more influence on the conduct of the war than the Joint Chiefs. Lacey further contends that the nation's basic strategy, known as the Victory Plan, had nothing to do with Gen. Albert Wedemeyer, despite the general's widely accepted claims that he formulated the plan. The author also is the first to correct to a long-standing fallacy that Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Marshall went to the Casablanca conference determined to push hard for a 1943 invasion of Northern Europe. A check of the conference minutes proved that the Army's official history purposely left out important information or misquoted the principals, according to Lacey, and that the idea of a 1943 invasion had been given up months before. He also makes extensive use of recently uncovered documents and histories written by members of the Joint staff that Lacey discovered misfiled in the National Archives. This first full study of the civil-military fight offers an entirely new perspective of World War II.