Tomorrow the World: Hitler, Northwest Africa, and the Path toward America, by Norman Goda, Texas A&M University Press, $39.95.
This is an interesting, well-documented but somewhat illogical book about Adolf Hitler’s intentions in northwest Africa and concerns during 1940-42. The advertised promise is that the reader will discover the Führer’s scheme to use Spain’s Canary Islands and Portugal’s Azores to blitz the United States. The tools the Nazi leader had launched for use in this strategic scheme included the Messerschmitt 264, the “Amerika-Bomber,” and a new class of super battleships.
What makes Norman Goda’s book worthwhile is the information he supplies about Germany, Italy, and Japan’s Tripartite Pact of September 1940 and Hitler’s decision to go to war with the United States on December 11, 1941. That decision, one of the most portentous choices of the twentieth century, has never been satisfactorily explained.
Goda’s investigation posits that the Führer was convinced Germany would ultimately fight America and that he foresaw an Anglo-American attempt on northwest Africa. If the latter was realized, Fascist gains in Western Europe would be threatened, and the 1941 Nazi onslaught in Russia would have to share attention and resources with Berlin’s vulnerable southwestern flank–hence, Adolf Hitler’s enthusiasm and active support for a Pacific War between the United States and Japan.
Alas, the author focuses on the Nazi leader’s supposed plot to attack America. A central problem with the logic here is that Goda assumes that Hitler’s interest in the Canaries and Azores must be either offensive or defensive, not both. Then, there is the matter of evidence, most of which points to German desires to use the islands to defend against the anticipated Anglo-American thrust. The writer seems to have shunted reason aside in hopes of creating a whiff of sensationalism. The result is less than convincing.
Clearly, Goda has prodigiously researched the diplomatic record. The reader is presented with numerous accounts of conversations among and between Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Japanese, and Vichy French diplomats, military authorities, and political leaders. Reading this account one cannot help but conclude that the world has never seen such a uniform collection of thoroughly despicable human beings.
One of the book’s best sections is its description of Operation Felix, Hitler’s plot to snatch Gibraltar from London’s grasp. This is an oft-told tale, but Goda has placed it in a well-developed, politico-military context that explains the operation with skill and clarity.
Despite its flaws, Tomorrow the World is recommended for readers seeking deeper knowledge about Hitler’s Germany and the coming of World War II.