Both Britain and Germany had very substantial scientific establishments. NAZI rearmament policy suceeded in mobikizing its establishmrnt for war at an early point. While the British Government was slow to react, it was by the time the war broke out lrgely mobilized. And while behind the Germans in many areas, the Brirish scientists had one great asset the Germans did not have--the United States. The importance if the Anglo-American alliance can not be overstated. President Roosevelt and Primeminister Churchill married the two countries to the hip even before the UnitedcStates entered the War. This was done formally with the Atlantic Charter, but actually began a few nonths earlier after Churchill became primeinister. Early in the War, Primeminister Churchill decided to collaborate fully with the United States and share Britains secret weapon programs. This meant that British and American scientists could collaborate. One of tge impediment on working in secret is the inability to bounce ideas off others and share research findings. The Anglo Amrrican alliance meant Britush scientists could collaborate ith aider group of researchers. Also vital was the fact that the British had access to American industry which had the capacity io actually manufacure the weapons developed--and manufacture them in vast quantuties. Primeminister Chamberlain had been dismissive of the Americans before the War, convinced that he could prevent a War. Even after the War began, he was not inclined to embrace the Americans and did not have a good relationship with President Roosevelt. This changed with the appointment of Winston Churchill as primeminister (May 10, 1940). He had since his appointment to the Admiralty (September 1939) been corresponding secretly with the President. Churchill was anxious to secure American assistance hoping eventually for American entry into the War. He did not have a great deal to offer the Americans, especially as Britain was rapidly going bankrupt. One thing he could offer the Americans was advanced military and scientific technology that could assist America in its rearming effort. And a colalary concern was security. British Abassador Lord Lothian wrote President Roosevelt suggesting an exchange of information (July). "Should you approve the exchange of information, it has been suggested by my Government that, in order to avoid any risk of the information reaching our enemy, a small secret British mission consisting of two or three Service officers and civilian scientists should be dispatched immediately to this country to enter into discussions with Army and Navy experts ... His Majesty's Government would greatly appreciate it if the United States Government, having been given the full details of any British equipment or devices, would reciprocate by discussing certain secret information of a technical nature, which our technical experts are anxious to have, urgently." President Roosevelt and Primeminister Churchill shared a fascination with secret operations. Mrs. Roosevelt saw it when they later got together in the White House as a kind of Boys' Qwn mentaility. The President was immediately attracted to the idea. He even dismissed the objections of General Marshall and other senior commanders. This showed the level of his commitment to cooperation because General Marshal was probably the individual among all otghers that he relied on for militaey advise. A British team led by Sir Henry Tizard, a British senior scientific adviser, arrived in America (late-August 1940). He met with American officials and brought with him a range of advanced military technology--radar technology was among the items. The 'Tizard Mission' was the beginning of the two-way exchanges that would play a vital role in the Allied victory. This should be compared to the reluctant Axis cooperation. What Tizzard did not bring was the Ultra secret. Churchill did not think the Americans including the President had a "need to know" and was very concerned about maintaining the Ultra secret. Soon after, Churchill learned that the U.S. Army SIS had cracked the Japanese Purple cipher machine. With the Americans produced a Purple analoge machines able to read diplomatic transmissions in real time (October 1940). He probably also learned that the Americans were also working on the JN-25 naval codes. This made the prospect of cooperating with the Americans much more enticing because of the increasing Japanese agreesivenes and the signing of the Axis alliance. British cryptologists were also working on Japanese codes. Top secret discussions followed quickly leading to an agreement (November 1940). The two countries agreed to provide for "a full exchange of cryptographic systems, cryptoanalytical techniques, direction finding, radio interception, and other technical communication matters pertaining to the diplomatic, military, naval, and air services of Germany, Japan, and Italy."
Both Britain and Germany had very substantial scientific establishments. NAZI rearmament policy suceeded in mobikizing its establishment for war at an early point. While the British Government was slow to react, it was by the time the war broke out largely mobilized. The third most important scientific establishment in the world was the United States. The American scientific esytablishment was only minimally directed toward war. Even after Hitler and stalin launched World War II, relatively limited steps were taken to mobilize American cience. The Germas as they conquered on country after another, the conquered ecomomic asetts (agriculture, industry, and labor) were seized and organized to support the German war effort. The Germans made no effort, however, to utilize conquered foireign scientists. There wa mo even any attempt to use the scientific estblishmnt of their Italian ally.
The British after World War I cut defense spending to the bone. And there was no sesire to increase 'wasteful' military spending. Even after Hitler seized power (1933), there was no substantial increase in defense spending. Yet the developments in Germny could not be ignored. Reports reached Britan thast the NAZIs were building an airforce in violation of the Versailles Treaty. The Britoish hd been subjected to German bombing in World war I and were desperate to defend their cities. The Royal Air Force (RAF) staged a mock aerial bombing raid on London. The results showed that the FAD could not prevent the bombing of the capital. The Government ecided to establish a Committee for Scientific Study of Air Defense (CSSAD) would be established to help prepre an air defense system (1934). Henry Tizard, a former military pilot and chair of the Aeronautical Research Committee, was chosen to head it. CSSAD is sometimes referred to as the Tizard Committee. A year later, Hitler reintroduced concription and announced the existemnce of the Luftwaffe did alarm bells go off in Whitehall. There was no massive effort to mtch German military spending, but some measures were taken. The British Government and British people were desperate to avoid another dreadful War. Hitler was, however, determined to have one. The British did not accuratlely assess Hitler's character. They simply could not believe that any sane leader would want another War.
The British and Germans were relatively evenly matched in scientific talent and capability. The spectacular German advances such as guided missles were largely the impact of devoting greater resources and an at earlier point to weapons research. And this began even before the NAZIs seized power. While the Germans and British were fairly evenly matched. The Germans created a great deal of high tech weaponry that had little imapct on the war, such as misles and jet aircraft. This reflected more on the German leadership than the technical capabilities of the German scietists. (Hitler for exmple delayed the development of jet aircraft and then prevented jets from being used effectively.) The British on the other hand created some lower profile weaonry that very much affected the outsome of the War. The Brirish scientists had one great asset the Germans did not have--the United States. America at the time was the world industrial giant and had the capacity to actually produce the creations of the scientits and in large quantities. No other country in the world came even close to America in raw industrial capacity, measured in terms like stell productrion, electrical generting capscity, automobile production, ect. Americas when Hitler and Stalin launnched the War (September 1939), was the only country in the world with the industrial and agricultural capacity as wll as access to raw materials that gave the United states the capacity to wage global war. America would become the great Arsenal of Democracy, but the American people were determined to stay out of the war. Even so, the importance of the developing Anglo-American alliance can not be overstated. And unlike what appeared in the press at the time, it was mot a one-way relationship.
There was no formal trearty alliance between America anbd Britain. This had been the case in World war I as well. And there was no scientific collboration not only as Europe moved toward war, but after Hitler and stalin lasuncched he War (september 1939). Here there were two constraints. First the Americam people wanted no partof another war with Germany. President Roosevelt faced a daunting struggle with the Isolationists to repel the Neutrality Laws. And efforts at collaboration with Britain and France would have given the Isolations material to critize President Roosevelt. Acttually reports of Allied purchasing missions did just tht. Second Prime Minister Chamberlain thought he was uniquely caoavle of preventing war and did not think the americans would be usefu;l. After the War began, he did not fully trust President Roosevelt r America in general. rThis contrasts with World war British leaders who understoof the importance of America from the beginning. At the time of the Munich Confernce, for example, the Primeminister made for attempt to confer wutyh President Roosevely actually ignored President Roosevelt's initative.
Winston Churchill saw Chamberlain's appeasement policies as a disater from an early point. He also failed to understand his reluctance to not take any available opportunity to cooperate with the Americans. The stunning German victories only confirmed Churchill's views. Prime,inister Chmnberlain brought Churchill into Government with the outbreak of the War. He chose Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty. From this post, however, there were only limited opportunities to cooperate with the United States. He did at the invitation of President Roosevelt begin a confidential correspondence that would last throughout the War. His ability to act suddenly changed when Primeminister Chamberlain resigned. Churchill was appointed primeniminister on the very day the Germans struvck in the west. From the moment he was appointed, his primary war goal was to marry Britain to the hip with America. By a fortunate accident of history, President Roosevelt had the very same idea. His hope that the Allies could contain and defeat the Germans evaportated as the Panzers drove into the Low Countries and than France. Only 3 weeks later, Nritain was near defeat with the British Expeditionary Force suounded and seeminky lost. Only the miraculous Dunkirk Evacuation saved Britain. If the BEF had not been evacuated, Britain could not have continued the war. A fews days later a defiant Churchill spoke to the Britisg people. " “We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender (Jun4, 1940)." Even with the BEF safely home, Britain's future was very much in doubt anbd Churchill knew it. The BEF had been saved,m but all their weaons were left behinf in France. There was only one fully armed Division left in Britain--the Canadian 1st Division. Churchill's only hope lay with America. He had very little to offer the Americans, but he had one incredibly valuable assett to offer--Britain's secret weapons technology. Neithrer he or the americans, however, fully understood just how valuable this would be.
The vast majority of Americans were opposed to America entering the War. Publically opinion grdually shifted as the German threat became more apparent, but until Pearl Harbor, the mjority of Americans wanted to stay out of the war. Thus the President had a major fight on his hand with the Isolatioists. They were a powerful force with strong support in Congress. Direct participation ws not possible, bit the President took a series of incremntal steps to support the Allies, beginning with repeal of the Neutraity Laws. Many more fights would follow. And after the fall of France, the President fought to aid Britain alone, Each of these steps encountered intense oposition from the Isolationists. And there was always the danger Britain would be defeted and the aid fall into German hands. The President was limited in these efforts because his term was about to end and there was a two-term limit tradition. In addition he faced an electorate firmly opposed to another European War. For a time, there was the danger that the Republixans would doiminate an Isoltionist.
Tizard as the Luftwaffe expanded at a very early point came to the conclusion that Britain would need american assistance to fight the Germans in another War (1937). Primeminister Chamberlason was, however, determined to prevent, not fight war. There were no overtures ,made to the Americans. British attitudes chnged dramatically with Churchill's appoitment as primeminister and the disaters on the continent. With the fall of France, Britain braced for a Germn invasion. Archibald Hill, a Nobel Prize-winning biophysicist, working with Tizard, suggested that Britain should turn over
its secrets to the americans. He sent a emo to Tizard, "“We are fooling ourselves if we put any trust in secrecy, We can get very considerable help from the United States if we are prepared to discard what is now really a fetish.” Tizard agreed. with him. The two men prepared a proposal, but thought it wouldd be rejected by Chamvberlin. When Churchill was appointed prime minister, they forwarded the proposal (May 10). A little more than a month later, pressed by the ensuing dis=aster in France, Churchill approved the mission. Churchill was desperate secure American assistance hoping eventually for American entry into the War. He did not have a great deal to offer the Americans, especially as Britain was rapidly going bankrupt, its armies drivn from the continent, and the Luftwaffe forming up for the final kill. Ambassador Kennedy was reporting from London that a German victory was imminent. While American participation in the War was not possible. Almpost as soon as Churchill became primenminister he decided to play one of Britain's few trump cards. He decided that Britain would share its most secret weapons research with America. This decesion was reached at a time that it was not at all clear that Britain was going to survive. From the beginning of his primenminstership, Churchill decided to collaborate fully with the United States and share Britains secret weapon programs. Churchill optimstically hoped that America would put these innovations into production for British and eventually American forces. But he was fully aware that the Germans were planning to invade and might well conquer Britain. If so, ast leadt america would be better prepared to carry out the struggle for Western Civilization.
The Primeminister reached out to President, avoiding Ambassador Kennedy, offer the Americans advanced military and scientific technology that could assist America in its rearming effort. And a colalary concern was security. British Abassador Lord Lothian wrote President Roosevelt suggesting an exchange of information (July). "Should you approve the exchange of information, it has been suggested by my Government that, in order to avoid any risk of the information reaching our enemy, a small secret British mission consisting of two or three Service officers and civilian scientists should be dispatched immediately to this country to enter into discussions with Army and Navy experts ... His Majesty's Government would greatly appreciate it if the United States Government, having been given the full details of any British equipment or devices, would reciprocate by discussing certain secret information of a technical nature, which our technical experts are anxious to have, urgently." Churchill made the offer even before President Roosevelt commited America to reciprocate. Here the American reluctance was hast Nritain like France might fall and then American secrets, such as they were, would fall into German hands. This arrangenent appealed to the President because it could be done in secret and would not mean another confronttion with the Isolationists.
President Roosevelt and Primeminister Churchill shared a fascination with secret operations. Mrs. Roosevelt saw it when they later got together in the White House as a kind of Boys' Qwn mentaility. The President was immediately attracted to the idea. He even dismissed the objections of General Marshall and other senior American commanders. his showed the level of his commitment to cooperation because General Marshall was probably the individual among all otghers that he relied on for militaey advice.
After coimpleting the conquest of France, the Luftwaffe moved into excellent Fremch air bases as well as faciitis in Belh]gium and theNetherlands. They were already well establisged in Norway. Hitler had accepted the advise of his military commaznders that the invadion named Iperation Sea Lion would require establishing air =superiority iver the Chnnel and south eastern England. The Luftwaffe launched the Battle of Britain by attascking British shipping in the Chnnel, hoping to draw out British fighters (July 10), The attacked thn passed to the forward FighterCommnd air bases in Kent and Sussex. For two months the outcome of the battle hung in the ballnce. The Chain Home Network tht Tizard had hrlp install gave the outnumbered and less British pilots a fighting chance.
While the RAF and Luftwaffe was fighting a desperate strugglke in the skies ober Britain, Tizard began assembling his six-man team (August 10). They had to decide what to bring the Americans. The mission decided to pack the material in a simple, suitcase size blck metal box. They decided on some of the most important weaons of the war. And unlike many of the advance German weapons they would prove to have a major impact in the War--in part because America could produce them in huge quantities. 1) A key inventionwas Bowen’s Cavity Magnetron No. 12. It was a huge improivement existing magnetrons which were large nd heavy. The Cavity Mgnitron was so small that it it could be built into asmall fighter planes thus creating airborne radar. 2) An Atomic -bomb memorandum was included. The americans were already considering an Atomic-bomb, but had made no real steps to lsunch a massive project. 3) Another choice was Whittle’s turbojet engine. 4) Also selected was a design for the variable time (VT) fuse which would which provided important new ordinance for the strategic bombing campaigm. 4) There were large numbers of blueprints and documents on a wide range of new weapons not yet fully developed. These included rockets, gun sights, chemical warfare material, and much more. Also packed was film footage to show the america the decestatiin the Luftwaffe was wrekin on Britain. The three military members of the mission were instructed, "Take every opportunity that naturally presents itself to discuss war experiences with officers of the US forces.” The only major secret withheld from the Americans was Ultra.
Primeminister Churchill chose Sir Henry Tizard, a British senior scientific adviser, tolead the mission to America. Tizard had played a key role in developing Britain air defenses--especially the Chain Home radar netowrk which was the key to the Royal Aur Force's victory over the Luftwaffe in the Balttle of Britain. The Tizard mission arrived in America (August 14,1940). At the time the Battle of Britain was in full swing. Ambassador Kennedy was reoorting tht Nritain was lot. Tizard himself did not know what the outcome would be. James Phinney Baxter III, director of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (1942-43), would call the British secrets, contained in a simple black metal box, nothing short of th 'the most valuable cargo ever brought to our shores'. It may have changed the course of the war, it certainly saved untold lives. He met with American officials and brought with him a range of advanced military technology--radar technology was among the items. The 'Tizard Mission' was the beginning of the two-way exchanges that would play a vital role in the Allied victory.
Tizard decided to go before the rest of the team. He left for America (August 14). He flkew to America. He met with the British Ambassador and other British officials. He attended social events and cocktail parties. It was a shock. Britain had been at war for a. The British people were under a strivct rationing regime and now enduring Luftwaffe bombs and the very real possibility of the end of their natioinal eistence. In Washington it was, however,m as if the War did not exist. was still at peace, and life was still normal. No blackout, not bombs, no deth and destructioin, no rationing.
Eddie Bowen was given the assignment of carrying the locked metal box with the Britain's most vital wartime secrets. He stoed it under his London hotel room bed. He cught a cab. There was noi securiuty he noted. The arrival at Euston Station proved eventful. A porter grabbed the bix, and Bown almost lost sight of it. Once hewa settled in the train, he flet better when he realized that there were security agents. The train from Euston Station carried him to Liverpool where he met up with the other team members. Liverpool was Britain's primary World war II port. They would travel on a liner to America. As they were sailing through U-boat-infested waters, they were instructed to throw the box overboard if attacked to make sure the Germans would not get hold of it. Holes were drilled in the box toi mke sure it sunk.
Tizard Mission finallyh sat down with their American counterparts (early-September). By this time, the Liftwaffe was bombing London and inflicting terrible damnage. London was enduring the mostintensive aerial bmbing cmpaign up to this time. The Battle of Britain was reaching its climatic phase. Tizard and his team were acutely aware that the future of their country hung on the success of their meeting. The Americans were not sure what to expect or the value of what they were abiut to recive. Tizard was aware tht radar was playing a critical role in the Battle of Britain and it was of immense importance. The Americans at the time (before Pearl Harbor) was not all that interested. Theywanted technologuy with more of a bang. The British were taken aback, but began to brief the americans on the items in which they seemed to =have more interest. This included anti-tank and anti-aircraft weaponry. Here the Americans were more imoressed. Then Tizard broughout the VT fuse. This impressed the Americans. Whittle’s turbojet engine proved prove a revelation. The americans had decised that jet technology was unworkable. The Americans immediately began to see the potential of the technlogies turned over to them. The U.S. Army Air Corps within months had dispatched was sending research and development teams to Britain. Tizard had personlly determined the order of the items to be presented. The last time was the one hat he felt was th most impoortasnt. He motion to Bowen to bring out final item from the box. It was the Cavity Magnetron No. 12, which he had personally help perfect. The Atomic bomb at the tie was only a concept. This was a working system. The Americans were amazed. Radar itself was new technology which required large cumbersome equioment. Here wasaradar set thst coukd be installed in a small plane. The Americans did not yet realize just how important the British technology was, but they not dount that it was technology ofvital importance.
The Americans now took the Tizard Mission very seriously. They opened up the British giving them access to U.S. training methods. The Navy allowed them to observed battle-fleet maneuvers. American researchers demonstrated work on Doppler radar. RCA and Bell Labs facilities were ooened up to the British. Both began working on the cavity magnetron.
Bell agreed to put it into production. MIT founded the Radiation Lab to vonduct further research and development into microwave technologies. Bowen after the Wafr described the folloing weeks as 'electric'.
The Tizard Mission requested only one item in return from the Americans: the new U.S. Navy’s Norden bombsight. It was the most advanced technology availavle in high-altitude bombing. And with the Luftwaffe Bliz on London, bombing the Reich began to assume a very high priority in British War thinking. The Americans were concernrd, however, about bombing technology falling into German hands. The outcome of the Battle of Britain still seemed in doubt. The Germans were still heavily bombing Britain when the talks began. The Americans thus declined. They did provide Tizard the dimensions of the bnombsight. This allowed the British to build a space into the new British bomber--the Lancaster. The Brirish calculated thta the answer would eventually be 'yes'.
Tizard ledt Washington (October 2). There was no fanfare, but he had acomplisged his mission. And by this time he and his team knew that the RAF had won the Battle if Britain. The Germans had been forced to shift to night-time raids. It mean that they had not schieved air suprriority and thast there would be no invasion. And that they had paved the way for an American-British alliance that would not only save Britain, but win the War. His final action was to pay off a bet he had with his nuclear physicist team mrembr. He had bet Dr. John Cockcroft, 5 pounds. Tizard bet Coickcroft before they could return from the States, Britain would fall to the Germans.
One of the impediment on working in secret is the inability to bounce ideas off others and share research findings. The Anglo American lliance meant Britush scientists could collaborate with anothe group of researchers. While most of the major idea and initial specifications came from Britain. American resersearches ,ade many refimements and improivements thast went nto the final weapns system.
Also vital was the fact that the British had access to American industry which had the capacity io actually manufacure the weapons developed--and manufacture them in vast quantuties. America provided a substantial scientific establishment to aid in weaspons development, but more imporantly a massive industrial base that would produce advanced weapons in numbers thast the Axis Powers could not conceive.
What Tizzard did not bring was the Ultra secret. Several months before the Tizard Mission, the code breakers at Bletch;ly Park had begun to crack parts of Enigma messages. And every month the number and extent of the messages decrypted increased. Churchill did not think the Americans including the President had a "need to know" and was very concerned about maintaining the Ultra secret. Soon after, Churchill learned that the U.S. Army SIS had cracked the Japanese Purple cipher machine. With the Americans produced a Purple analoge machines able to read diplomatic transmissions in real time(October 1940). He probably also learned that the Americans were also working on the JN-25 naval codes. This made the prospect of cooperating with the Americans much more enticing because of the increasing Japanse agreesivenes and the signing of the Axis alliance. British cryptologists were also working on Japanese codes. Top secret discussions followed quickly leading to an agreement (November 1940). The two countries agreed to provide for "a full exchange of cryptographic systems, cryptoanalytical techniques, direction finding, radio interception, and other technical communication matters pertaining to the diplomatic, military, naval, and air services of Germany, Japan, and Italy."
There was never a formal treaty between America and Britain. But a formal commiment was made with the Atlantic Charter. The Atlantic Charter is one of the key documents of the 20th century and remains still relevant today. President Roosevelt and Primeminister Churchill meet aboard the HMS Prince of Wales (August 9-13, 1941) at Placentia Bay. The Prince of Wales had been badly mauled by Bismark in May. It was to be sunk by a Japanese aerial attack in December. Roosevelt and Churchill issue the Atlantic Charter. The two were war time allies. Britain had weathered the worst that the NAZI Luftwaffe could throw at it. America and Britain were fighting the U-boats in the North Atlantic to keep Britain alive. It was clear that America would soon be drawn into the War. America had already played an important role in keeping Britain alive and the two countries were the only hope of the occupied European and in fact Western civilization itself--threatened by the evil tide of NAZI tyranny. The two leaders, the two most important men of the 20th century, agreed to a simple, but elegant eight-point statement of their aims which today still stands as the central credo of the Atlantic Alliance.
The British simply handing over theur most c;losely held secrets to the Americans and subdequent American reciprosity should be compared to the ineffectual Axis collaboration. Germany ha a wealth of high technology that could have greatly assisted the Japanese war effort. This included technologies like radar which could have greatly aided the Imperial Japanese Navy. This could have been provided in 1941 before Pearl Harbor. As a result, the Japanese had to fight much of the Pacific War without radar. And And the radar they did develop ws of low quaity. As the war began to go against the Axis, the Japanese and Germans finally began exchanges, mostly the Germans providing high technology to the Japanese. And the Japanese had a long list of technology they wanted. High on the Japanese list was nuclear technology.
The Germans insisted on payment. They wanted gold. There were some material delivered by U-boats. There was even afailed attempt to deliver enriched uranium. But they had no real impasct on an already lost war effort. It is not entirely clear
why the Axis was so uninterested in collaboration until it was too late. We suspect that Hitler was not overly anxious to strengthen Japanese military capaabilities at a time when it looked like the Germans were going to win the War, thinking that Germany mihght eventually have to fight the Japanese. This is only conjecture. We know xa good deal about Hitler's private musings, but as far we can tell this subject never came up. We can think, however, of no other reason why technical collaboration did not begin earlier.
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