A map derived from War Plan Orange, the US war plan for defense of American possessions in the Pacific, as drawn up in the years before the first world war. Or rather, perhaps a plan for the inability to defend American possessions in the Pacific: Orange asked the US garrison in the Philippines to hold out for sixty days against a Japanese assault until relieved by a fleet sailing from the Atlantic. The theory was that the fleet sailing from the Atlantic would engage the Japanese near Guam.


Only, of course, the facts couldn’t hope to match the theory, as the planners themselves admitted. The fleet wasn’t up to the chore, for although it had plenty of battleships, it didn’t have enough support ships or staff. And the army wasn’t going to be able to hold out for two months.


From p. 15 of J. A. S. Grenville, “Diplomacy and War Plans in the United States, 1890-1917,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 11 (1961), 1-21.