Operation Torch was the 1942 Anglo-American invasion of French Morocco and Algeria during the North African Campaign of World War II. It resulted from an uneasy compromise between the Western Allies, including opposition from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and concern from President Franklin Roosevelt. Torch was intended to relieve pressure on the Soviet Union by imperiling Axis forces in the region and enabling an invasion of Southern Europe in 1943. Critics saw North Africa as a low priority, and regarded the operation as a diversion of resources that could be more effectively used to invade German-occupied France, or to wage war against Japan.
Commanded by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the operation was designed as a pincer movement with American landings at Morocco’s Atlantic coast and Anglo-American landings on Algeria’s Mediterranean coast. The primary objective was to secure bridgeheads for opening a second front to the rear of German and Italian forces battling the British in Libya and Egypt.
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