Invasion U.S.A. – The Various Plans to Conquer America

A hypothetical Nazi invasion plan aimed at conquering the United States.

“A number of world powers have had plans on the books for a take-over of the United States. Here are a few of the ones that we know about.”

A LUBBOCK TEXAS JUDGE made international headlines earlier this year for his prediction that if President Obama is reelected on Tuesday, it will open the door for a United Nations invasion of America.

Judge Tom Head told a local radio station in September that the president will: “Try to give the sovereignty of the United States away. He’s going to call in the UN troops, personnel carriers, tanks and whatever.”

The proclamation drew widespread scorn and ridicule both at home and abroad. Even the office of the Secretary General weighed in on Head’s prediction.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said a spokesperson for UN chief Ban Ki Moon.

But while a United Nations scheme to send the blue helmets marching up Pennsylvania Avenue seems a bit hard to swallow, amazingly enough a number of world powers (both friendly and hostile to Washington) have had plans on the books for a take-over of the United States. Here are a few of the ones that we know about:

Even before World War One, Kaiser Wilhelm II was no fan of the United States. But how far was he willing to take his hatred of America? See below.

Operation Plan 3

Long before the First World War, Kaiser Wilhelm II foresaw a day in the not too distant future in which Germany and America would come to blows. In 1889, the two burgeoning superpowers had risked conflict over control of the Samoan Islands. And as Germany pushed to grow its empire in the Far East and Pacific, it frequently found itself at odds with American expansionism. What’s more, the German monarch harboured a pathological hatred for the United States, its democracy and its capitalist system, which he saw as corrupt and decadent. Accordingly, in 1903, the Kaiser instructed his general staff to come up with a plan to invade and conquer America. Known as Operational Plan 3, the scheme called for the bombardment of both Boston and New York City by a fleet of 60 warships, followed by a full out invasion of the eastern seaboard using 100,000 German troops. Wilhelm suspected that a swift blow at these two major seaports, along with the seizure of America’s financial capital would paralyze the American people and bring Washington to its knees. The plan never advanced beyond the theoretical stage and by 1907, the steady growth of the U.S. Navy made it necessary to revise the entire strategy; Berlin never bothered updating it. Operational Plan 3 was soon forgotten.

The Me-264 was just one of the Luftwaffe’s proposed Amerika Bombers, intercontinental strategic aircraft that could reach the United States.

The Amerika Bomber

While Nazi Germany didn’t have plans to invade the United States, Hitler had long held a dream of seeing New York City “in flames’. [1] In fact, as far back as 1938, the Führer envisioned a long-range bomber that could strike the east coast of North America.

By 1942, the Luftwaffe had asked the German aircraft manufacturers Junkers, Heinkel, Messerschmitt and Focke Wulf to submit designs for the Amerika Bomber, an aircraft that could carry a load of bombs more than 10,000 kilometres — that was the distance of a return trip from Nazi occupied Europe to the continental United States. Simultaneously, the German high command was exploring the possibility of using airstrips in the Portuguese-owned Azores that would put German bombers within easier striking range of New York and Washington. It even drew up a list of major industrial targets, particularly cities involved in aircraft manufacturing. These included Paterson, New Jersey; East Hartford, Connecticut; Rochester, New York; Berwick, Pennsylvania; and even Detroit, Michigan, among others. [2]

Although the Luftwaffe realized that any air campaign against the United States wouldn’t force Washington to the peace table, a handful of ‘pin-prick’ attacks could be useful. Berlin hoped that the threat of bombing raids would compel America to keep both fighters and anti-aircraft batteries on the home front rather than in Europe.

It turned out Germany would never get the opportunity to make good on these designs. Although a number of Amerika Bomber prototypes would be constructed, the idea of producing a fleet of intercontinental strategic aircraft was simply too costly to pursue. Even worse, Portugal succumbed to British pressure and turned its runways in the Azores over to the Allies in 1943.

Interestingly enough, Japan had a similar plan to produce long-range bombers that could reach Washington State, Oregon and California from Japanese-held islands in the Pacific. Known as Project Z, the scheme never advanced beyond the initial phases and was eventually deemed too costly and also scrapped. [3]

A Life Magazine prediction of how the German’s might launch an invasion of North America

Hypothetical Invasion Plans

Unable to mount a sustained air campaign against North America, the very notion of an Axis ground attack was a near impossibility for planners in Tokyo and Berlin. But that didn’t stop Life Magazine from publishing a series of maps in March of 1942 that outlined the various ways the enemy might one day force their way into the western hemisphere.

The maps, which were recently re-printed in the U.K. newspaper, the Daily Mail, illustrated a series of scenarios for invasion, including a German onslaught into South America, the Caribbean and then into the southern United States via the Gulf of Mexico, as well as a drive across the North Atlantic and down the St. Lawrence into the Hudson River Valley.

Life also mapped out a series of likely invasions of the west coast and the southwestern United States. One imagined a Japanese attack up into the American interior after a hypothetical operation in Panama. Another proposed a ‘frontal assault’ on California. In retrospect, neither Germany nor Japan had the capability of projecting force on such a scale, but at the time, these scenarios seemed frighteningly plausible to the American populace.

In 1921, Canadian defence planners proposed the use of ‘flying columns’ similar to the IRA platoon pictured here to infiltrate the United States in the even the two countries when to war. These Canadian light infantry units would destory infrastructure and sow confusion.

When Canadians Attack

Unlike Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, America’s closest ally, Canada, did have a strategy for a hypothetical invasion of the United States. Drafted in 1921, the plan, known as Defence Scheme No. 1 envisioned the Canadian military launching a series of pre-emptive strikes against its neighbor to the south.

The attacks would have been ordered in the event that Ottawa felt the United States was itself about unleash its own offensive against the Great White North. With a population barely a tenth of the size of America, Canada never hoped to conquer large swathes of U.S. territory.

Instead, Defence Scheme No. 1 involved the use of light infantry or guerrilla units known as “flying columns” to rush onto United States soil at key points to seize cities, roads and bridges. Target areas consisted of Spokane, Seattle and Portland; Fargo and Minneapolis; Albany; and northern Maine. These flying columns would swoop down on their objectives and hold them long enough for help from Great Britain to arrive to secure Canada’s frontiers. The invaders would then retreat back across the border, demolishing as many bridges, roads and rail lines as possible to prohibit the U.S. Army’s pursuit.

It was hoped the raids attacks would throw American off-balance and force Washington to the peace table. As ambitious (or foolhardy) as Defence Scheme No. 1 might seem, Ottawa was not without justification for drawing up such plans. The United States did have its own strategy for a possible invasion of Canada. Dubbed War Plan Red, the contingency covered the unlikely event of a war between America and the British Empire.

In addition to safeguarding the Atlantic seaboard, the scenario involved a multi-pronged assault across the 49th Parallel. U.S. troops would simultaneously seize Halifax, while pushing across the St. Lawrence River to grab Quebec and Montreal. An army would also cross the Niagara River at Buffalo and march on Toronto, while army groups in North Dakota and Washington State would overrun  Winnipeg and Vancouver respectively.

Although most Americans never heard of Ottawa’s Defence Scheme No. 1, when War Plan Red was declassified in the early 1970s it caused a considerable stir in Canada.

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4 comments for “Invasion U.S.A. – The Various Plans to Conquer America

  1. Harland
    15 February, 2014 at 8:53 am

    War Plan Red wasn’t an operation against Canada, it was an operation against the British Empire. Canada was merely the nearest available outpost and thus the easiest to attack. America and Britain had rocky relations in the 1920s and 30s.

    • admin
      16 February, 2014 at 8:04 am

      WPR *was* a plan for an invasion of Canada just like the various ground campaigns of the War of 1812, not to mention the Fenian Raids, were too. In all cases the ultimate objective was to harm the British Empire, but the target was Canada. However in the case of Red, Canada had been a quasi sovereign nation since 1867, but Britain certainly would have come to Ottawa’s defence. Incidentally, it wasn’t until the 1931 Statute of Westminster that Canada assumed full control of its own legislative process and not until 1982 that the country had the power to amend its own constitution without the formality of getting consent of Britain.

  2. blaaa
    6 September, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Germany couldn’t cross the English channel & invade England, but they could’ve crossed the Atlantic ocean & invaded America? LOL

  3. 12 June, 2017 at 11:34 am

    There was never any intention to invade America. Not only would it have been totally pointless, but also near impossible and unsustainable. Even people who claim to be historians seem to not know what the actual point of the war was for Germany – the acquisition of living space in Western Russia and to turn Germany, Western Russia and some Slavic nations in between into a German super state. Most western nations were invaded out of necessity or because their neutrality were compromised by Britain and Italy. Germany did not want to conquer every single country in order of proximity, kill everyone who wasn’t blonde with blue eyes and force american to speak German. I can’t believe that these myths still persist. How did popular culture warp the history of this war so badly? Do Americans actually fantasize about being invaded by Germany? It seems like such a popular fantasy.

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