The Victory Program


Download the PDF depuy


Then Lt. Col. Albert C. Wedemeyer was the chief author of the Victory Program, the initial strategic plan guiding U.S. conduct of World War II. Promoted to general officer, he subsequently served in a series of assignments primarily in the Far East.


Interviewer: General, as you look back on the history of your time, what thoughts predominate?

Wedemeyer: I have a troubled sense of the futility that has marked so much of our international experience. Think of the wars and crises that have wracked the world in this century! We Americans tend to get involved quite blindly, with little real understanding of ends or thought of consequences. We plunge emotionally into conflicts, lose thousands of lives, spend billions of dollars, help wreak enormous damage on the world and its peoples. Then we go back and spend more billions trying to put things together again. What an inane cycle! And look at what happened after World War II: we destroyed one set of tyrants only to build up another! We “won” that war only in a limited military sense.

Interviewer: What can or should be done?

Wedemeyer: Americans simply must become more forehanded and consistent in the way we manage our public affairs. As populations grow and the struggle for space and resources becomes more intense, a lot of heat is generated. We can’t afford simply to sit back, let events take their course, and jump in with a military solution when a crisis gets out of hand. There are so many ways in which the course of events can be influenced without the use or threat of force. Economic, diplomatic, cultural, psychological, and other means are available in limitless variety. If all these “instruments of national policy” are employed in a timely, coordinated, and imaginative way, in accordance with a reasonably steady game plan, there is good reason to hope for progress toward a better world without the scourge of war.

Interviewer: I guess you are saying that we should all become strategists—in the broader sense of that term?

Wedemeyer: Precisely!


This is an excerpt from "The Man Who Planned the Victory: An Interview with Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer" by Keith E. Eiler in American Heritage 34, no.6 (October/November 1983),

July-August 2018