Saturday, May 17, 2014

United States Color-Coded War Plans

Rainbow Plans

Japan had used the opportunity afforded by World War I to establish itself as a major power and a strategic rival in the Pacific Ocean. Following World War I, most American officials and planners considered a war with Japan to be highly likely. It was reverted when the civilian government temporarily halted the program of military expansion, which was not to resume until 1931. War Plan Orange was the longest and most-detailed of the colored plans.
However, following the events in Europe in 1938 and 1939 (the AnschlussMunich AgreementGerman occupation of Czechoslovakia, and Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact), American war planners realized that the United States faced the possibility of war on multiple fronts against a coalition of enemies. To that end, the Joint Planning Board developed a new series of war plans, the "Rainbow" plans[6] - the term being a play on the multiple "color" plans that had been drawn up previously.
  • Rainbow 1 was a plan for a defensive war to protect the United States and the Western Hemisphere north of ten degrees [south] latitude. In such a war, the United States was assumed to be without major allies.
  • Rainbow 2 assumed that the United States would be allied with France and Britain.
  • Rainbow 3 was a repetition of the Orange plan, with the proviso that the hemisphere defense would first be secured, as provided in Rainbow 1.
  • Rainbow 4 was based on the same assumptions as Rainbow 1, but extended the American mission to include defense of the entire Western hemisphere.
  • Rainbow 5, destined to be the basis for American strategy in World War II, assumed that the United States was allied with Britain and France and provided for offensive operations by American forces in Europe, Africa, or both.[7]
The assumptions and plans for Rainbow 5 were discussed extensively in the Plan Dog memo, which concluded ultimately that the United States would adhere to a Europe first strategy in World War II.

List Of Color Plans

According to the public intelligence site, Global Security,[8] the following plans are known to have existed:
War Plan Black[9]
A plan for war with Germany. The best-known version of Black was conceived as a contingency plan during World War I in case France fell and the Germans attempted to seize French possessions in the Caribbean Sea or launch an attack on the eastern seaboard.
War Plan Gray[10]
There were two War Plans named Gray. The first dealt with Central America[10] and the Caribbean, and the second dealt with invading the Portuguese Azores.[11]
War Plan Brown[12]
Dealt with an uprising in the Philippines.
War Plan Tan[13]
Intervention in Cuba.
War Plan Red[14]
Plan for Great Britain (with sub variants Crimson, Scarlet, Ruby, Garnet, and Emerald for British dominions)
War Plan Orange[15]
Plan for Japan.
War Plan Red-Orange[16]
Considered a two-front war with the United States (Blue) opposing Japan (Orange) and the British Empire (Red) simultaneously. Ultimately this analysis led to the understanding that the United States didn't have the resources to fight a two front war, and it would make sense to focus on one front, probably in the Atlantic. Ultimately this was the decision made in the Plan Dog memo.
War Plan Yellow[17]
Dealt with war in China - specifically, the defense of Beijing and relief of Shanghai during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
War Plan Gold[citation needed]
Involved war with France, and/or France's Caribbean colonies.
War Plan Green[18]
Involved war with Mexico or what was known as "Mexican Domestic Intervention" in order to defeat rebel forces and establish a pro-American government. War Plan Green was officially canceled in 1946.
War Plan Indigo[19]
Involved an occupation of Iceland. In 1941, while Denmark was under German occupation, the US actually did occupy Iceland, relieving British units during the Battle of the Atlantic.
War Plan Purple[20]
Dealt with invading a South American republic.
War Plan Violet[21]
Covered Latin America.
War Plan White[22]
Dealt with a domestic uprising in the US, and later evolved to Operation Garden Plot, the general US military plan for civil disturbances and peaceful protests. Parts of War Plan White were used to deal with the Bonus Expeditionary Force in 1932. Communist insurgents were considered the most likely threat by the authors of War Plan White.
War Plan Blue[23]
Covered defensive plans and preparations that the United States should take in times of peace.

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