chapter  1
19 Pages

The Atlantic in the Strategic Perspective of Hitler and Roosevelt, 1940-1941 1

WithWerner Rahn

The use of the Luftwaffe in other theaters of war clearly indicated the "limited role" Hitler was assigning to the Atlantic naval war in the framework of his overall strategy. Politically influential circles pressed Roosevelt to act more determinedly in the Atlantic but he preferred to remain cautious, choosing an indirect and more secure approach. By contemplating a temporary suspension of the submarine war altogether, and by criticizing the employment of heavy surface units in the Atlantic, Hitler suggested that he was going to increase his influence in naval warfare in the future. Fricke got the impression that Hitler was prepared to make concessions on the colonial question but that he did not expect Churchill to give way. In April of 1941, Hitler told the Japanese Foreign Minister Matsuoka that the fighting against maritime transport capacities was a "decisive weakening of Britain and America" and that he was sure that no American could "set foot on the European continent".