Rearming Gets Under Way

The military establishment of 1939, while greatly improved from mid-1932 when the Army had 119,913 enlisted men, was still in a state so low that General Marshall in later review felt warranted in stating officially that "continuous paring of appropriations had reduced the Army virtually to the status of that of a third-rate power." 1  At midyear the Regular Army had 174,079 enlisted men dispersed among 130 posts, camps, and stations and in skeletonized units far below strength. About a quarter of the Army (45,128 enlisted men by the Secretary of War's annual report, 1939) was assigned to overseas garrisons, mainly in the Hawaiian Islands, the Philippines, and the Canal Zone. Theoretically (apart from the Hawaiian Division, on permanent station in Hawaii since 1921, and the Philippine Division, which was partly American troops and partly Philippine Scouts) it had nine divisions of infantry (the field unit customarily employed for estimating an army's combat strength); but of these nine only three were formally organized as such, and each of these three was of less than half the strength that the tables of organization allotted to the "square" division of that day (a modification of Pershing's huge division of 1918, it still was made up of four infantry regiments, plus artillery and other components). 2 One Regular cavalry division was organized, but it too was of less than half strength. The Army's entire tank establishment was one mechanized cavalry brigade of about half strength (2,300 men), plus the tank companies allotted to infantry divisions but not yet fully supplied to them, and the so-called GHQ tank units of 1,400 men (the Armored Force, as such, was organized 10 July 1940). The


Regular Army's air components, about to start the expansion discussed in Chapter V, in mid-1939 had but 17,000 enlisted men organized in 62 squadrons.3  The Reserve officers eligible for duty, increasing year by year since 1921, numbered 104,575 In mid-1939.

In the United States, despite a well-designed "paper" organization, there was no functioning corps or field army. The three organized but underweight Regular infantry divisions were scattered, and there was such a shortage of motor transportation that even divisional maneuvers were impracticable. Although the country was divided administratively into nine corps areas, the nine nominal "corps" making up four nominal field armies, there were virtually no corps troops and almost no army troops or GHQ troops (other than tank and air units), without which the large tactical units of corps and field army cannot function. Equipment was in some respects obsolescent and in others insufficient for fully equipping the National Guard units (including eighteen infantry divisions all far under war strength, training only forty-eight nights per year and two weeks in the field) whose officer and enlisted personnel then numbered 199,491.4

Early in 1939, when General Marshall was Deputy to General Malin Craig, who was just concluding his tour of duty as Chief of Staff, the Deputy appeared before the Senate Military Affairs Committee to emphasize the Army's need for materiel.5  He then stated in particular the necessity of providing the Regular Army and National Guard with modern equipment, notably with new artillery, with a semiautomatic rifle to replace the rifle designed over thirty years before, with antitank and antiaircraft cannon numerous enough to supply all the troops in training, and with sufficient ammunition to provide target-range practice and satisfactory reserves-the ammunition then on hand not only being limited in amount but in some cases having deteriorated from age. High on the Army's personnel priority list at that time were increases that would raise the Regular Army to 210,000 men and thereby provide necessary increments to the Panama Canal garrison and to the Air Corps. The Air Corps was about to embark


on a 5,500-plane program, 6 which called for periodic additions to personnel. Hardly lower in priorities was the up-building of the antiaircraft establishment that had been under way for two years. It still was limited to a distant program for 34 mobile regiments and, of these, immediate personnel authorization was sought for only 5 Regular Army and 10 National Guard units. Only equipment, or rather the bulk of it, was yet being requested for the other 19, so cautious was War Department policy in asking for more than hard experience led it to expect, and so methodical was it in dividing its thin resources among all the hungry arms and branches of the service.7

To some members of the Congress the modesty of this program for antiaircraft increases actually was more disturbing than extravagance would have been. In his answer to inquiries of committeemen General Marshall stated that he was fully aware that in the event of an attack upon America there would be from all American cities demands for local antiaircraft protection in the form of permanent batteries. He added: "Many of these demands will not only be impossible to meet, but will be without a sound basis." 8  It was the first encounter of Congress with high professional judgment on that point, and, although World War II was destined to pass without a single enemy air raid over an American city, during the London air blitz of 1940 General Marshall's apparent unconcern was to be remembered with special anxiety by American communities wholly without antiaircraft defense of any sort.

There was further discussion of that point by General Marshall in a colloquy at a Senate committee hearing in May 1940, as follows:

Senator LODGE. I should like to do something to quiet the alarm about our . . . vulnerability to aircraft attack . . . is [it] not much better, if we are threatened by an attack from the air, to go directly and try to root out the land base from which the attack comes, and be equipped to do that, rather than to sit back and wait for them to be on top of us and then shoot at them?


General MARSHALL. You have given the answer.

Senator LODGE. I think that ought to be made clear. People will say that this bill carries only 138 90-mm. guns, while they have 5,000 around London, and the War Department will be accused of being negligent.

General MARSHALL. In the first place, facilities for the manufacture of antiaircraft equipment are . . . limited.

. . . What is necessary for the defense of London is not necessary for the defense of New York, Boston, or Washington. Those cities could be raided . . . but . . . continuous attack . . . would not be practicable unless we permitted the establishment of air bases in close proximity to the United States . . .

Senator ADAMS. What we need is anti-air-base forces rather than antiaircraft forces.

General MARSHALL. You might put it that way, sir.

Senator CHAVEZ. Do they not go together, General?

General MARSHALL. The whole thing is interwoven . . . . I have referred to the matter of the practicability of placing larger orders at the moment . . . (and] to the necessity of having a trained, seasoned enlisted personnel . . . . All these matters have to be given proper weight to get a well integrated and balanced whole . . . . Frankly, I should be embarrassed at the moment by more money for materiel alone . . . . It is much wiser to advance step by step, provided these steps are balanced and are not influenced by enthusiasm rather than by reason .9

All this was a necessary reminder that in modern war there is no assurance of completely successful defense by fixed means, even for one city, and that emphasis in the American arms program would be laid almost wholly not upon weapons for a static defense at home but upon mobile weapons for combat far from American soil. Even so, the 1939 program was an extremely modest start toward improvement of the Army's antiaircraft weapons, whose real development in quality and in quantity was to come only during the war. It is well to note that in 1919 the United States Army's antiaircraft artillery had been designed to cope with aircraft of that day; in the next two decades of small Army appropriations, despite material progress in ordnance design, actual equipment of mobile field units had been bettered too little to render them capable of coping with the enormously more efficient aircraft of 1939, flying far higher and faster and carrying far better arms and armor. In February 1939 General Marshall noted that the Ordnance Department had developed a 37-mm. gun to replace .50-caliber machine guns in the mobile regiments: "We consider [it] very fine, but at present we have only one gun." 10


As to field artillery, the great part was of World War I origin, French and American. Its modernization, by means skillfully devised by ordnance experts and well laid out in planning, was still progressing slowly, because of scant funds. A total of 140 of the 75-mm. guns (the infantry division's principal accompanying gun) had been considerably altered, to permit among other things a higher angle of fire, and existing funds would permit like improvement on 600 others. But the mass of these guns had been improved only by changes that permitted their rapid haul over the highway; these changes made them more mobile, but did not improve their firing capacity. The old-time 155-mm. howitzers (making up the infantry division's standard heavy batteries) were likewise being adapted to rapid movement, but purchase of new guns or howitzers of this caliber was on a small scale. The total replacement of the 75 with the heavier and more versatile 105-mm. howitzer, already under way in European armies, was contemplated by the U. S. Army, but not for the immediate future. The reason was one which delayed so many other reforms in that period-the cost of the change. General Marshall himself told the House Committee on Appropriations as late as 1940 that the virtual junking of the 75 and its ammunition, for replacement with the 105 and its ammunition, would be "difficult to justify" from a financial standpoint. The guns would cost only $36,000,000, to be sure, but to replace the current supply of 75-mm. ammunition (6,000,000 rounds) with a like amount for the 105 would cost $192,000,000. Gradual replacement was still the Army's formal recommendation, which Congress approved.11

April 1939 Anticipation of War

Despite continuing doubts on the part of public and Congress that there was new need for rearming, 12 the Munich conference left Army planning authorities convinced not only that war would shortly develop in Europe, but that Ameri-


can interests would be jeopardized thereby. A WPD statement in February 1939, revised by the Chief of Staff, in surveying developments, both in Europe and Asia, explained the need for additional personnel to provide the missing elements of a truly mobile army. The statement already mentioned in Chapter IV noted that "dictator governments" were active not only in their homelands but in Central and South America and China, and that "these activities emphasize the possibility of this nation becoming involved in war in the Atlantic, in the Pacific, or in both these areas: " 13 The measures that had been taken in late 1938 the Chief of Staff believed to be insufficient, and on 17 April 1939 he directed the War Plans Division to prepare a preliminary study of "steps to be taken in the event that war develops in Europe and that the President adopts a policy of preparedness, (1) as a measure to strengthen his position in dealing with the crisis, or (2) against the possibility of our eventually being drawn into the conflict." 14 WPD's prompt production of the preliminary study made possible the preparation of subsequent instructions to other General Staff divisions to Prepare detailed studies of measures "to be applied immediately in event of a European war." 15 G-1 was directed to produce a plan for converting the Civilian Conservation Corps to a semimilitary establishment; 16  G-3 to plan a quickened training for National Guard and Reserve officers; 17 G-4 to plan a quickened delivery of materiel and supplies.18  To WPD was given the work of making plans for an expeditionary force which then was envisaged for affording protection to Central or South America.19  In all cases the planning required was a revival and revision of plans on which these Staff divisions had been at work for years as a matter of normal Staff routine, particularly since 1937 under the influence


of the Protective Mobilization Plan of that year. G-4, for example, was at that time keeping up to date its computations of changing requirements, in order to assist understandingly in the making of budget estimates.20 Accordingly, in answer to General Craig's instructions, G-4 was able to produce on 5 May a program for first-priority items in the event of an emergency such as the impending European war would constitute. The items were those which would be needed by the PMP force of 730,000 men, as then composed (400,000 being the Initial Protective Force of Regular Army and National Guard troops presumably extant on Mobilization Day, and 330,000 the additional men who were to be raised three months after M Day).21  The amounts stated were large in comparison with recent Army expenditures, including $295,000,000 for "critical" items (needed in war and not available in the open market or from commercial producers), $618,000,000 for "essential" but noncritical items (clothing, tentage, trucks, and the like, available in some quantity from commercial sources), and $69,000,000 to be expended with manufacturers (machine tools, plants, and so forth) for expediting their production. It was upon the broad base of this study of PMP needs that a little later in the year G-4, like other Staff divisions, was able to make new computations to cope with current changes.22

A useful start toward increasing the size of the Army was afforded by assurance that Congress would remove the specific limitation as to numbers which had been written into the act approved 26 April 1939 allowing funds to support "an average of not to exceed one hundred and sixty-five thousand enlisted men . . . ." 23 The new bill not only removed the specific limitation to the 165,000 average, but appropriated additional funds for pay of the Army.24  The Army had already computed that a twelve-months' average of 165,000 men could be made to produce a final month's average of about 180,000, which thereafter was referred to in Army discussion as the current target stage. The added appropriation, likewise, was enough to raise the "average" still further, and to produce a last-month's total of 210,000 men. It is this figure that was employed in Army discussions of the next target stage. The Army proceeded immediately with its


long-planned recruiting campaign for expanding the Air Corps and for augmenting the Panama Canal garrison. The progress toward the a10,000-man objective was moderately rapid, but long before the objective was attained a somewhat larger objective was authorized.25

War Planning in August 1939

When General Craig on 1 July 1939 began terminal leave prior to his scheduled retirement from active duty, his Deputy, General Marshall, succeeded as Acting Chief of Staff. The plans that had been worked out by the Staff in accordance with the April instructions were now examined in the light of increasing indications that war was near. At a conference on 18 August 1939 the new Chief of Staff gave tentative approval to a score of "immediate action" measures for execution upon the outbreak of a war in Europe, and made the several Staff divisions responsible for detailed plans that those measures called for.26  There were two classes, one made up of the measures that the President and the War Department could initiate without Congressional action, the other made up of measures that would require Congressional authorization or even appropriation.27 The latter included such steps as the pay for an increase of Army personnel, construction of Army housing, and purchase of materiel. The President could proclaim neutrality and order steps to enforce it; the Army could provide guards against sabotage, could hasten construction work and procurement which had already been authorized, could speed up training, and could improve the normal co-ordination with the Navy. An accompanying memorandum prepared for the Secretary to send to the President stated:

The purpose of these measures as a whole is to place the Regular Army and the National Guard in a condition of preparedness suitable to the present disturbed world situ-


ation. They do not contemplate mobilization at this time but proceed only to the extent of completing in its most important features the organization of our Regular Army (at peace strength throughout) and increasing the strength of the National Guard organizations to the minimum at which we believe such organizations can effectively undertake field operations.28

Expectations were fulfilled before the rising of September's first sun. At 3: 50 A. M. of 1 September an alerting message from the Office of the Chief of Staff to all Army commanders announced: "Fighting has developed on Polish border and Warsaw is being bombed. Precautions will be taken accordingly." 29 On 5 September the President issued a proclamation of neutrality and, by executive order, transferred Panama Canal control from the civil governor to the Army commander.30 Three days later came his proclamation of "limited" national emergency 31  and an executive order authorizing increases in Army, Navy, and Marine Corps.32  All these actions were based on the purposes outlined in Rainbow 1.

The September 1939 Troop Increase: Only 17,000 Men

The 17,000-man expansion of the Army that this order permitted was on a scale so modest as to call for scrutiny. Increases to cope with the well-foreseen event of a European war had been contemplated in the General Staff ever since General Craig's instructions of the preceding April. The specific planning of G-3 and WPD, under the eye of the Chief of Staff, had been for a step-by-step development. This was dictated by the paucity of veteran personnel available for training the recruits as well as by the absence of new weapons and other equipment destined for the new units. There had been Staff discussion of whether the first step should be to war strength (12,000 at that time) or peace strength (9,000) for the new triangular divisions, and the persuasive argument


of Lt. Col. (later Maj. Gen.) Jonathan W. Anderson of WPD in late August was for an initial increase only to peace strength. He argued that this would "call forth less adverse criticism" and at the same time would avoid flooding the Army's skeletonized divisions with untrained replacements "so seriously . . . as to materially affect their efficiency." 33

The first of these two arguments touched a political nerve, for even when war burst over Poland the President was uneasy about the "far reaching effect of a status of 'emergency,' because of the antagonism it might arouse politically." 34 Consulting with General Marshall he sought an alternative to an executive order based upon an emergency proclamation,35  and in the end prepared both documents with careful restrictions.36 So adroitly expressed were the restrictions that their intent seemingly eluded General Marshall at the time. On the day following a 4 September conference at the White House, the Chief of Staff informed his council that the "President had authorized the expansion of the Regular Army to National Defense strength," that is, to 280,000 men; he seemed to anticipate no great delay in the attainment of that goal.37 But on 7 September in a communication to the Secretary of War the Chief of Staff, with apparent misgivings about the 280,000, advanced an argument for an immediate increase, instead, to 250,000 men, plus a 320,000-man National Guard Establishment.38 What he got in the executive order was considerably less than even that, the first increment of 17,000 raising the Regular Army to only 227,000, while the National Guard was being authorized an increase from 200,000 men only to 235,000. (The National Defense Act of 1920 had assumed a Regular Army of 280,000 men and a National Guard of 450,000.) Also there was immediate authorization of only a few emergency expenditures including $12,000,000 for new motor transportation, little indeed when compared either with the equipment shortage as tabulated by the General Staff or with the astronomical figures of new materiel authorizations that were to follow. The President gave confidential assurance of later additions to the Regular Army, but explained his belief that this small initial expansion "was all the public would be ready to accept without undue excitement." 39


Without public indication of his own views on this point the Chief of Staff proceeded to make immediate use of the authorizations, such as they were. A few months later, before a subcomittee of the House Committee on Appropriations, far from referring to the mishap to his early September expectations, he declared in obedient support of his superior's wishes that he himself was "opposed to plunging into a sudden expansion of personnel," intimating that in his own judgment no larger addition could have been readily digested by an Army short in both the personnel and materiel facilities for training recruits.40

The 17,000 men presented to the Army were added chiefly to the infantry pool..41 This allocation made it possible to put into immediate effect a radical change that had been designed for the Army's infantry organization-which is to say, the very basis of Army organization and tactics. The Regular Army's old-model "square" division was abandoned in favor of the new-model "triangular" division upon which there had been prolonged study and experiment under the encouragement and scrutiny of General Craig as Chief of Staff. The new unit was smaller in number of men than the "square" division but much more flexible, being subject to use alternatively as a mass or as three separate infantry-artillery combat teams, and possessing a high degree of mobility. Of the old divisions there existed in continental United States nine (one for each of the country's nine corps areas, along with two National Guard divisions for each area), but in reality at that time, as mentioned, of these nine only three could be regarded as genuinely operative and those three were all less than half-strength. By abandoning the old organization and adopting the new, it was possible with existent units to attain five effective divisions of the new type, which could be promptly assembled with complementary troops, and started off to field training as a test of the new organization. This was the Army's first step in a slow change-over of all old-type divisions into the more flexible form.


Next, the 17,000-man increase in numbers, small as it was, allowed shifts that made possible the formation of certain units of engineers, heavy artillery, medical regiments, quartermaster trains, and the like. These units were, in some cases, the corps troops needed for creating (with three divisions) a standard army corps, and in other cases the army troops needed for creating (with two or more corps) a field army. Their creation, and certain other authorizations, permitted a few months later "the first genuine corps and army maneuvers in the history of this nation," 42 of which more will be said in later pages. Certain old units, such as horse cavalry regiments whose continued use was increasingly doubtful, were to be converted into corps reconnaissance units using motors rather than horses. The mode of transportation was transformed. There was no change in functions, in which the horse cavalry had been uniquely proficient, and to which the old personnel, retrained for the new mechanized warfare, was well adapted by interest and experience alike. Similarly, numerous coast artillery units were to be converted into mobile batteries of antiaircraft artillery, in the rudiments of which the old personnel already was skilled.

At the same time that the Regular Army infantry divisions were being reshaped on a model that one day would become universal in the consolidated Army of the United States, the National Guard was being aided by the terms of the President's proclamation of limited emergency. Its numbers were increased only 35,000, but its training opportunities were increased from 48 armory drills per year to 60, and from 15 days in the field to 21. Reserve officers were encouraged: 1,306 of them were called for six months' active duty with the Army in the field, and 283 others (and 591 National Guard officers) were given additional schooling in line and staff specialties.43

The money granted at the same time for the purchase of motor transportation made possible the acquisition of trucks for the movement of combat personnel and equipment, for lack of which up to then almost every infantry unit of the Army had been limited in field mobility pretty much to the distance its men could move on their own feet in the course of a day.44  So radical seemed the first proposals for a "motorized" division that (besides the sound objection to the resultant tying up of precious motor transport) there were conservative expres-


sions of misgiving lest "unnecessary" use of trucks soften both the traditionally tough leg muscles and the traditionally tough spirit of the infantry and reduce the troops' efficiency. Many old ideas about troop training and equipment were due for alteration as the new and much remodeled Army emerged. There was to be experiment with the techniques of moving troops rapidly-whether by granting to each division all the transport it would need in emergency, or by keeping most of the trucks in pools from which they would be supplied to each division at need-but never thereafter was there any doubt that, by one technique or another, the Army's long-range troop movements on land (when railroads were not available) would be by motors capable of transporting the divisions' infantry, artillery, and all other components great distances at great speed upon demand. The thoroughness with which this doctrine of swift movement was implanted in the new "triangular" divisions-more markedly perhaps than equally important doctrines-was apparent in the 1940 maneuvers, as will be noted.

The preparation of these plans was itself a complex enterprise, understandable in detail only through exploration of the General Staff structure and familiarization with the devices by which the Army tested its ideas, adjusting tactics to instruments and improving the instruments in order to make the tactics more effective. The sequence moved smoothly enough in an ideal situation in which there were available financial means for designing and producing the weapons, for training the troops in their use, for testing weapons, and for testing weapons and formations alike in the field. But in a situation so far from ideal as that of the thirties, when appropriations were insufficient and theory could not be promptly or fully applied and tested, betterments were both slow and uncertain. The planning period for the transition from square to triangular divisions, and from foot marching to truck transport, was prolonged for this reason, and when finally money was on hand it was necessary to effect conversion so quickly that adjustments to the new mechanism complicated the retraining of the personnel. The clumsiness of these and other hasty adjustments was visible at the time. Some of the reasons for haste and confusion were not. The record, however, discloses the energy with which the planning activities of the General Staff under direction of the successive Chiefs of Staff had been carried on, notably in the thoroughgoing emergency studies of 1939 already referred to.45


Restraint in Requests for Funds

In the six weeks following the outbreak of war in Europe the Office of the Chief of Staff, working chiefly through G-4 and the Budget and Legislative Planning Branch, called for supplemental budget estimates to cover critical items, essential items, reserve airplanes, increase of personnel, extraordinary transportation, and procurement planning and industrial mobilization.46  There was some uncertainty about when these estimates, to total about $879,000,000, would be presented to Congress, but it was evidently the intention of the War Department to present practically all of them immediately.47  It wished to secure all critical items, at least, in the shortest possible time, and it was understood that two years might not be enough time.48  The Department may have believed that it had real encouragement from other branches of the government. On 15 September the Chief of Staff asked his staff for data for a "clear-cut basic presentation at the White House as to the Army's needs." 49 A few days later, 20 September, Maj. (later Brig. Gen.) James D. McIntyre, War Department liaison officer with Congress, wrote in a memorandum to the Chief of Staff: "Spoke to several Congressmen yesterday, including Mr. May and Mr. Starnes. Everyone is for adequate National Defense. I firmly believe that now is the time to ask for everything the War Department needs. We will get it. Let us strike while the iron is hot." 50 An $850,000,000 armament program was discussed in the War Council with the Assistant Secretary, and the Secretary then discussed it with the President.51  Meantime G-4, without awaiting the outcome of these discussions, proposed a special $1,000,000,000 program for national defense, observing:

In view of the possibility that the War Department may be called upon in the near future to present its outstanding needs for building up the National Defense to the proper level demanded by present world conditions, it is believed that the War Department should have available for ready use a simple, sound and logical program, clearly understood by all concerned, in order that a coordinated defense of such a program may he presented.52


The Chief of Staff returned G-4's $1,000,000,000 program without action because (1) it was not in harmony with the $850,000,000 program that had been presented to the President; (2) it included $150,000,000, for planes, contrary to plans; and finally (3) there was "no assurance of the War Department's receiving an additional $150,000,000 by Joint Resolution during the present session of Congress." 53  This discouraging note was followed within a few weeks by a definite decision by the President that he would ask Congress for no more than $120,000,000 as a supplemental appropriation for the War Department for the fiscal year 1940.54  Again the inception of a long-range, over-all program was delayed.

When war broke out in Europe the regular War Department estimates for the fiscal year 1941 (beginning 1 July 1940) were so far along on the devious pain which federal budgets travel that costs for the expanded Army could not be promptly included. To cover these costs supplemental estimates were prepared. Despite some chafing of officials, these estimates covered only costs arising out of measures already taken as a result of the war in Europe; they did not provide funds for further rearmament.55  Whatever the origin of this policy, it was affirmed by the Bureau of the Budget.56

Despite this policy of cautious requests, the Supply Division, apparently with full approval of the Chief of Staff, continued its computations and rephrased its pleading for critical supplies. In a detailed report, dated 1 December but evidently under consideration before that date, Brig. Gen. George P. Tyner, the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, submitted to the Chief of Staff a revised estimate of the critical and essential needs of the Army.57  In explanation of this revision G-4 recalled that the picture had been altered by two things: (1) the progress


of the various budget estimates presented to Congress and (2) the many changes in Army organization arid objectives that had taken place since the declaration of a limited emergency. The estimates were based upon the current objective of a balanced force of 600,000 men (inclusive of National Guard), but critical items (those that could not be supplied from current commercial sources) were requested for a force of 750,000 men. While this report was based upon a survey of both minute and large needs for an objective that had been planned in great detail, G-4 recognized the impossibility and undesirability of an inflexible program

It must be kept in mind that the requirements for any large force will not remain fixed for any length of time. These requirements change continuously as changes are made in organization, as new units are constituted, as new equipment is standardized, and as changes are made in allowances. Moreover, an accurate determination of requirements for large force requires considerable detailed computations by the Supply Arm or Service concerned. Any short-cutting in this procedure is made at the expense of accuracy. 58

As far as timing was concerned, General Tyner repeated the familiar recommendation for immediate action. He asked:

That the revised estimates for Critical and Essential Items to be submitted in accordance with . . . [recommendations made in the report] be presented to the Bureau of the Budget as Supplemental Estimates F. Y. 1941, and that the War Department make every effort to obtain the funds as set up in these revised estimates.59

In substance the recommendations of the G-4 report were approved by the Chief of Staff and estimates were prepared and submitted to the Bureau of the Budget.60  Then on 10 January the Staff was advised of the lamentable but not wholly unexpected fate of the estimates:

Supplemental Estimates covering the "Critical Item Program," the "Essential Item Program" and the "Arsenal and Depot Facilities Program" were submitted to the Bureau of the Budget prior to the preparation of the President's Budget, fiscal year 1941. They were excluded from the budget, in accordance with Executive policy, and it is probable that they will not be included in any further estimates which may be submitted to the present session of Congress.61


Isolation Sentiment Still Strong in Early 1940

This was the winter of "phony war." Though Congress relaxed the restrictions of the Neutrality Act, sentiment in favor of American aloofness from Europe's troubles remained widespread. The President's caution may have been out of deference to this sentiment, which he believed to be politically powerful, and it was undoubtedly influenced by other considerations, including the opposition to New Deal spending. General Marshall accurately forecast the situation when, a few days before the House hearings, he told his staff that the impact of economy probably would be "terrific" and added: "It will react to our advantage if our bill is acted on at the latest possible date. It is probable that events in Europe will develop in such a way as to affect Congressional action." 62 Representative Buell Snyder, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, repeatedly expressed the idea that cuts should be made in all budget estimates unless such cuts definitely affected public welfare adversely.63 Whatever his reasoning, the President, though he pointedly discussed national defense in his annual message and his budget message,64 did not present all the Army's demands, nor did he emphasize them by any dramatic device such as a special message.

It was a large budget of $853,000,000: approximately $2,000,000 above the Army budget for 1940, expanded as that had been by the costs of Air Corps expansion, rearmament, and the limited emergency measures. Nevertheless, it did not meet the requirements of the Army as judged by the Chief of Staff and his assistants. General Marshall, carefully refraining from placing himself in a position of insubordination, clearly stated at the outset the inadequacy of the budget.65 His appearance on 23 February was his first defense of a regular appropriation before a House committee. The comprehensive testimony that he gave there was a product of staff work.66 But it should not be regarded simply as an impersonal staff report for, before his appearance as a witness, General Marshall had made the ideas and the beliefs that he expressed his own by reason of his leadership in assembling them and his thorough comprehension of them. In


this testimony he made the prophetic and often repeated statement: "If Europe blazes in the late spring or early summer, we must put our house in order before the sparks reach the Western Hemisphere." 67 After a comprehensive review of the budget, he closed his formal statement:

In conclusion let me state with all the sincerity of which I am capable, that there is no group today in America who view the possibilities of war with more horror, and consider the large appropriations involved with more reluctance than do the officers of the General Staff. There is no thought in our minds to seize upon the dilemma of this tragic world situation as an opportunity to aggrandize the Army. The estimates now before you have been carefully scrutinized by the War Department and by the Bureau of the Budget. Maintenance items are provided for on a modest scale. The augmentation items are particularly modest when compared with our requirements. In view of the gravity of the world situation, it is believed that the War Department budget should be allowed substantially as recommended by the President.68

Though it was evident that General Marshall had already won the friendship and respect of committee members, and though aggressors retained the initiative throughout Europe and Asia, the bill as reported to the House on 3 April granted the War Department 9½ percent less for new obligations than the amount requested by the President.69 The reductions included the amount sought for an Alaskan air base at Anchorage and a large part of the amount sought for new airplanes. After some heated debate, which concerned itself as much with American attitudes toward the European war as with the immediate merits of the bill, the House passed the bill substantially as reported by the committee. Before War Department needs were taken up by the Senate Appropriations Committee on 30 April,70  however, the war in Europe suddenly lost its "phony" character. On 9 April the German armies moved swiftly into Denmark and Norway and quickened Army concern over the critical items which the Initial Protective Force still lacked. On 10 May, when the Germans began their rush across the Low Countries, the darkness of the prospect was universally recognized. Already, on 15 April, the Chief of Staff had informed the Secretary of War: "The increasing gravity of the international situation makes it appear necessary for me to urge a further increase in our state of military preparation.71


The President approved this request for additional critical items, notably airplane detectors and aircraft warning devices, for existing units of the Regular Army and the National Guard-but not until the original request of $25,000,000 had been cut to $18,000,000.72

Congressional Sentiment Begins a Marked Shift

The President and his advisers evidently did not at first grasp the striking change of public sentiment and the implications of that change. In the Senate committee's questioning there was little evidence of penny pinching; rather, as Senator Carl Hayden said: "Anyone who reads the hearings will note that the principal discussion is not what was in the bill, but what ought to be in the bill in order properly to meet the situation which confronts us." 73 When questioning General Arnold about the training of flyers to man the new airplanes, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., a Republican, said: "I am just asking that because I think everyone recognizes that it is the general feeling of Congress, and as far as I can gather, among public opinion throughout the country, to provide all of the money necessary for the National Defense, and so all you have to do is ask for it." 74 For the first time since 1918 the emphasis was not upon "how much can we save?" bur upon "how quickly can we get everything that we need?"

The Chief of Staff, as the principal spokesman for the War Department, originally requested the restoration of only about one-half the amount eliminated by the House,75 but he in no way disguised the fact that, in his personal opinion, more was needed, and he went ahead to say specifically what was needed and why, in men and materiel, and to state his belief that extraordinary measures should be taken to fill the needs, particularly of materiel, in the shortest possible time.76 One can only conjecture that the partial amount formally requested was limited by higher authority, that is, by the President.

There is other evidence to show that the War Department itself now recognized its estimates as obsolete, but responsible administrative machinery apparently could not shift its direction and speed as rapidly as public sentiment. On


7 May the Supply Division submitted to the Chief of Staff another over-all program for national defense, considerably revised from the program prepared the previous November. It called for immediate preparation of estimates for funds required to provide all initial equipment (critical and essential items) for the newly designed full PMP strength of 1,166,000 men; to raise the Army to that strength; to provide temporary shelter for this force; to provide pay, rations, and maintenance for this force for the first year; to provide normal training allowances for one year and intensive training for this force; and to provide additional airplanes of types recommended in recent studies to establish an air force of 5,806 airplanes.77 So great was the urgency induced by the astonishing German success in Europe that normal procedures seemed to break down. Now the public, the Senate, and the President were demanding additional estimates. There was particular concern about antiaircraft equipment, and pressure was brought to bear on the War Department in regard to it.78 The President himself inquired about the status of such equipment and on 9 May in a formal memorandum the Chief of Staff and the Secretary seized the opportunity to impress upon him the equally serious deficiencies of other materiel. Again the time lag of two years was pointed out.79 Though there is evidence that the President was already considering supplemental estimates,80 the actual figures for the estimates were developed as a result of the communication of 9 May and were arrived at after a series of conferences between President Roosevelt and General Marshall.81 Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee believed that they were responsible for the new demands.82 In any case, on 16 May the President personally delivered to Congress a special message in which he applied his own powerful support to the movement for supplemental outlays for national defense.

The total supplemental estimates requested by the War Department as a result of the President's message amounted to $732,000,000. These estimates were to cover the cost of raising the Regular Army from a strength of 227,000 to 255,-


000 and of providing the munitions required for the Protective Mobilization Plan force, now 750,000 men, plus replacements. In General Marshall's explanation of what added funds would accomplish:

They provide money to erect facilities to break bottlenecks in the production of necessities. Specifically, powder plants, an additional plant for the manufacture of semi-automatic rifles, an ammunition loading plant, an expansion of an existing loading plant, the erection of storage facilities, and certain repairs in existing storage facilities at certain arsenals in order to take care of this mass of materiel. Several other small plants are also included.

Further, it means the, procurement of zoo of the heavy bombers, of the most modern type.

It means a material increase in the capacity of the present nine civilian aviation schools which are giving preliminary flying training to flying cadets, and the establishment of additional civilian schools.

It provides for an increase of pilots from the 2,400 in 2 years, set by last year's aviation expansion program, to 7,000 in a year in order to provide replacements against possible war wastage in pilots, so that the present authorized GHQ air force of 1,900 combat planes can be maintained at that strength under conditions of actual campaign.

It provides for the enlisted men and flying cadets that I previously mentioned, to implement the greatly expanded training program.83

General Marshall Warns of Further Needs

Again the Chief of Staff stated clearly to the Senate and to the President his belief that even more would be required in materiel and men. On 17 May he said:

What will be the state of the world in September is something to be determined later. My opinion at the moment is that we will probably find it desirable to further increase the strength of the Regular Establishment, possibly up to 400,000 men, unless we fall back on the mobilization of the National Guard, which should be avoided until the necessity is inevitable.84

In Congress, too, regular procedures were cast aside. For three hours on 17 May the Senate Appropriations Committee questioned General Marshall, who was assisted occasionally by his associates, chiefly by General Arnold and Brig. Gen. Richard C. Moore, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, who later became major general and Deputy Chief of Staff. The committee then, without further hearings, reported a bill which in substance included the regular 1941 estimates prepared in the late summer of 1939, the increases (for 1941) resulting from the Limited Emergency measures of September 1939, the supplemental critical item


estimate of late April, the supplemental estimates of 16 May, and additional funds to provide for bringing the Army to its full peacetime strength under the National Defense Act of 1920 (280,000).85 After two days of debate, during which no substantial changes were made in the committee report, the bill was approved unanimously.86 The House, without extended debate, retreated entirely from its April opposition,87 and on 13 June the President signed the act, which appropriated $1,499,323,322 and authorized contracts up to $257,229,636. With only a few notable dissents, the testimony before the committees and the debates on the floor indicated that Congress was willing, indeed eager, to follow the lead of the Chief of Staff.88

The king of the Belgians surrendered his army on 27 May, and by that time it appeared that the French forces were shattered and the British forces' position hopeless. Now the much enlarged armament program of early May was recognized as inadequate, and the Army-in-being proved to be in need of rapid expansion. Even before the expanded appropriation bill could clear Congress, a supplemental bill was in the making. On 23 May General Marshall, in indicating further objectives of Staff planning, proposed a fully equipped force of 500,000 men by 1 July 1941, a force of 1,000,000 by January 1942, and a force of 1,500,000 or 2,000,000 by July 1942; the figures are suggestive of those which Colonel Burns had proposed a few days earlier.89 While this long-range planning was under way the Chief of Staff, working closely with General Moore, Lt. Col. Russell L. Maxwell, and possibly a few others of his advisers, prepared new appropriation requests. In justification he stated:

These items are submitted at this time as a result of an analysis of information which has come by way of press reports and official reports of our Military Attachés in Europe. Also, preliminary reports from our maneuvers, completed last week have indicated the desirability of a change in organization of certain units of the Protective Mobilization Plan,


which necessitates an immediate start toward acquisition of the required critical items of materiel.90

On 28 May the Chief of Staff requested a total of $506,274,000 to supplement the regular appropriation bill still awaiting passage. Of this amount $300,000,000 was to be for 3,000 additional airplanes and much of the remainder for tanks, airplane bombs, and antiaircraft guns. The next day, on orders from the Secretary of War, who was evidently persuaded by Colonel Burns, $200,000,000 was added to expedite the construction of new production facilities. That same day General Marshall, who was working closely with the President, presented the program at the White House. The President approved the request and, in words that echoed those suggested by the Chief of Staff, he placed it before Congress on 31 May.91  The program was adopted, as the First Supplemental Appropriation for the Military Establishment, Fiscal Year 1941.

General Marshall believed that the new estimates as submitted on 31 May were sufficient to provide for materiel, but he did not believe that they were sufficient for personnel.92  He had canvassed with his staff the need for additional personnel; he had precise ideas as to why additional men were needed and how they were to be used; and he had tried, prior to his appearance before the House Appropriations Committee, to get from the President approval for a further increase. Apparently the President was unwilling to commit himself but entirely willing for the Chief of Staff to take the initiative.93 One of the principal purposes of the First Supplemental Appropriation bill was to broaden the base of production: to use to the full the facilities which the change in public sentiment now made available, to create new facilities, and to hasten the production of critical arms, particularly airplanes. The bill as finally approved, without exhaustive debate and with scarcely any substantial opposition, provided for a cash outlay of $821,002,047 and contract authorizations of $254,776,761. It also


allowed the Army to be increased by as much as 95,000 enlisted men above the peacetime strength of 280,000, though General Marshall had emphasized the immediate need for only 335,000 and though the Army at that time consisted of only 249,447 enlisted men.94  This act, approved 26 June, plus the regular appropriation act for 1941, provided the War Department a total of nearly $3,000,000,000 for defense expenditure.95

Plans for a Rapidly Increasing Army-and a Draft

It will be recalled that in May, October, and November of 1939 the Supply Division prepared over-all comprehensive special programs for national defense. In December 1939 and January 1940 certain portions of that program were submitted to the Bureau of the Budget, but by executive decision they were not placed before Congress. Perhaps the executive decision was correct, for the House was unwilling at that time to approve even the limited program which the President submitted. On 7 May 1940 G4 again presented a program; this time it provided, in effect, for the mobilization of an army of 1,000,000 men.96 Events moved so fast that before this program could be approved world conditions had changed Army needs and also the political prospects of having requests for those needs approved, and so new requests were sent to Congress on l6 May. Then on 24 May General Moore, in conference with the Deputy Chief of Staff, was instructed to review the whole program of 7 May and return a revision within fourteen days.97  This was done, and on 6 June a revision was presented to the Chief of Staff calling for $3,233,000,000 beyond estimates then pending in Congress (1) to "activate, train and maintain the forces in the Protective Mobilization Plan during the first year" and (2) to "establish and maintain for the first year an air force in accordance with the approved WPD Aviation Program." 98

The Chief of Staff approved the G-4 program of 6 June on 15 June, and by 21 June G4 had prepared a detailed directive for estimates. In as much as this directive marks the end of a series of plans, some of its features deserve special


notice for their relations to events of the years preceding and to the weeks of turmoil that were to follow.99  Only ten days were allowed for completion of the estimates, and General Marshall had already stated on 13 June that it was of "imperative importance" that there be a sufficient rate of production to meet the needs of an army of 1,000,000 men on combat status earlier than 1 October 1941.100  As had been the case with many other plans prior to this date, an M Day (Mobilization Day) was assumed, but, whatever the concept of M Day may have been in the past, it was regarded now as something imminent. The estimates were (1) to provide recruiting costs, pay, rations, and maintenance for an army to be expanded to about 1,000,000 within eight months of M Day; (2) to provide training for such a force; (3) to provide temporary shelter for it; (4) to provide for the completion of all critical items of seacoast defense at "the earliest practicable date"; (5) to provide a reserve of "critical" items for the PMP force (1,166,715 enlisted men) to insure that the "quantity of each item on hand will be sufficient to meet the actual requirements . . . plus the necessary maintenance until monthly production equals monthly wastage"; (6) to provide "essential" items to meet "initial issues" for an army of 1,166,715 men; (7) to provide for a year of maintenance of such essential items; (8) to provide travel and transportation of additional personnel; (9) to provide additional arsenals, depots, and posts; (10) to provide for an expanded aviation program (1,111,900,000); (11) to provide for accelerated procurement planning and industrial mobilization; and (12) to provide additional civilian employees. In computing pay, estimates were to be submitted for both a "Voluntary Plan" and a "Selective Service Plan." It should again be noted that although the idea of a peacetime draft was initiated and developed by civilians, not by Army or White House, the Army planners were already making their computations in expectation of draft legislation.101

Advance Planning for 4,000,000 Men

To other materiel-minded authorities, however, the planning of the General Staff was not regarded as complete. They wished estimates of total numbers of men who would ultimately be needed, for only with that knowledge could they


compute in advance their aggregate needs in weapons, ammunition, and equipment. In February 1940 this issue was laid before the Chief of Staff in a memorandum from Colonel Burns who then, as at the White House conference of 14 November 1938, was executive officer for the Assistant Secretary of War, and who was on this occasion replying to a General Staff inquiry on the nation's industrial preparedness.102  Colonel Burns made a reasoned study of the time factor in preparing for war. He stated that the manpower time factor (determined by the period needed to raise and train troops) is exceeded by the supply time factor which includes the time to plan and build factories as well as the time spent in the manufacturing process. He listed time factors for individual supply items needing up to eighteen months, or even three years in one case, to produce, and recommended Staff use of these data in further study of the supplies requirements as well as the manpower requirements for war.

There is no evidence to indicate that Colonel Burns' memorandum had any immediate effect on General Staff planning, for months later the Staff planning had not produced the exact information desired by production authorities about the Army's long-range requirements as distinguished from immediate requirements in weapons and equipment. As already indicated, the Chief of Staff this time did not fail to recognize the new urgency of demand; nor did he fail to understand that the American public was losing some of its earlier complacency. The estimates and plans of mid-May were much more definite than those of earlier date, and the G-4 program that was approved in mid-June was bold and sweeping. But it still was short of the entire need. It did not look toward expansion beyond the 1,000,000-man army; it did not provide, except in a minor way, for new facilities; it did not provide substantially for essential items. Moreover, it did not spell out in detail the time requirements,103  and the hour was late. The G-4 program was overtaken and replaced by a new program that received its impetus from a different source.

Even before his message of 31 May the President had become uneasy about the existing uncertainty of exact American defense needs and the resultant conflict of American orders with those which had been placed with American factories by British and French purchasing agents. Much the same situation on a smaller scale had led him in December 1939 to create a liaison committee


for reducing the conflict of Franco-British-American orders.104  Now, in May 1940, he created an Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense. The paper "Council" itself did not function. The commission reported directly to the President, and its most useful advice, on arms production, was given also to the War and Navy Departments. On 30 May the Chief of Staff and other top government officials attended the first meeting of the Advisory Commission at the White House.105

The production authority on the new commission, William S. Knudsen, reported shortly that if he was to engage in production planning for national defense he would have to be given much more accurate and detailed knowledge of the Army's needs (and the Navy's) not only for the immediate future, but as of later dates as well. Until these amounts were known, he pointed out, there would be no sure progress toward a division of American industrial production among foreign buyers, armed forces buyers, and the civilian market. On 11 June he bluntly informed the War Department, in a conference with the Assistant Secretary of War, that he must have answers to two specific questions: "How much munitions productive capacity does this country need and how rapidly must it become available?" 106

The effect of this request was to call at last for a fairly precise statement of Army objectives, and such a statement was delivered by the Assistant Secretary of War to Mr. Knudsen two days later.107 Colonel Burns, who for months had been pressing for clearer and more vigorous planning (as well as performing) of the rearmament program, was chiefly responsible for meeting Mr. Knudsen's wishes, with which he was in exact accord. Upon hearing Mr. Knudsen's inquiry of 11 June, Assistant Secretary Johnson had asked his executive what figures could be supplied, and Colonel Burns wrote them out immediately. In the course of outlining the objectives Colonel Burns stated vigorously his appraisal of responsibilities, and, by implication at least, indicated where lay the ultimate responsibility for deficiencies. In his estimation only the Commander in Chief, with


the support of Congress, could answer Mr. Knudsen's questions which involved policy decisions beyond the jurisdiction of the War Department. The War Department had, however, failed to advise the Commander in Chief as to long-range requirements.108 Colonel Burns recommended that the situation be remedied by immediate Presidential approval of a stated long-range program concurrences in which had already been obtained from the Chief of Ordnance and the Chief of the Air Corps. Then a memorandum, following exactly the recommendations of Colonel Burns, was prepared for Mr. Knudsen and signed by the Assistant Secretary. This program, rough in outline but important as the initial step in the development of the first firm statement of long-range Army objectives and as the first statement of objectives effective for American industrialists, was as follows:

Ground Army
Production for a combat army of 1,000,000 men 1 Oct 1941.
        "          "   "      "         "     "   2,000,000  "    1  Jan 1942.
        "          "   "      "         "     "   4,000,000  "     1 Apr 1942.

Air Army
Production sufficient to meet air needs comparable to those of a ground army of each stated size at each date; i.e.

Annual production capacity of 9,000 planes by 1 Oct 1941.
        "          "             "        "  18,000,000  planes by 1 Jan 1942.
        "          "             "        "  36,000,000  planes by 1 Apr 1942.

The air program was arrived at by noting the President's recent decision to seek ultimate plane capacity of 50,000 a year, as mentioned in his address to Congress on 16 May 1940, 109 and deducting from the total the 13,500 planes contemplated for the Navy, leaving 36,500 as the approximate capacity in Army planes set for April 1942. The air program was given only in oversimplified terms of airplanes alone, regardless of production. General Arnold had told Colonel Burns that 9,000 planes would be his view, and felt that war conditions called for a higher proportion of air to ground forces.

When Colonel Burns stated that in General Staff planning to date there was no long-range objective for the ground army, he was referring particularly to


the timing of the program, since his 1,000,000-man "Combat Army," if that term covered all elements, was in reality an approximation of the PMP force, and the increments were on a scale previously discussed by the General Staff.

A transcript of the memorandum for Mr. Knudsen was taken by hand to the Deputy Chief of Staff, Brig. Gen. William Bryden, and handed to him with Colonel Burns' blunt request for written comment within thirty minutes. The comment, signed by General Marshall was: "I concur in the above quantity objectives, but I consider it of imperative importance that means be found to advance the date for the needs of the first million herein scheduled for October 1, 1941."  110

This program, with rough estimates of the cost involved in this whole enterprise, was transmitted to the President who reduced the general over-all estimate of cost from $11,000,000,000 to $7,300,.00,000 and thereafter approved it in substance, (the 20 June program). 111 As far as the ground forces were concerned, the second objective (the 2,000,000-man phase) was the most important, since the first was already provided for in appropriations approved or about to be approved and since the third objective could be achieved only after the successful launching of the second. Within the War Department the Assistant Secretary (now Acting Secretary) evidently retained the initiative and acted aggressively in promoting the 20 June program, for on 24 June he stated again to the Chief of Staff the purpose of the program, warned against changing it, and emphasized that he would discuss amendments or proposed changes with Mr. Knudsen  112  The General Staff evidently had its first chance for a critical examination of the program on the same date, when General Moore summoned seven officers representing the War Plans Division, G-3 (Operations and Training), G-4 (Supply), and the Ordnance Department. 113  He informed them that the President had reduced the over-all estimates and that the troop basis for the program had been found unsatisfactory. A committee of four, Colonel Anderson, Col. (later Maj. Gen.) R. W. Crawford of WPD, Maj. (later Maj. Gen.) R. W. Hasbrouck of G-3, and Lt. Col. (later Lt. Gen.) Henry S. Aurand of G-4, was


named to revise the troop basis and thereafter to reduce or delete items which they should decide were not in urgent need.114 On 27 June, in patent sequence to the committee examination of the munitions program, the Chief of Staff wrote to the Acting Secretary of War recommending a new revision of the 20 June program, whereby the figure approved by the President should be increased.115 Already G4 had instructed the various estimating arms and services to submit by 3 July detailed budget estimates to supply Army requirements for a force of 4,000,000 men.116

Discouraging Discovery of Production Barriers

Suddenly on 28 June the whole basis of the figuring was changed and the practical objective became the equipping of a 2,000,000-man rather than a 4,000,000-man army. Available documents do not make entirely clear the various influences at work and the chain of reasoning involved. It appears that a quick and necessarily informal survey of industry by Mr. Knudsen and his colleague, Mr. Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., in charge of industrial materials, indicated that the arms industries could not be expanded with any such celerity as the program of 20 June contemplated. The chief shortages proved to be in the machine tool output and in basic iron and steel output, the key to all industrial expansion. Operators of steel mills and toolmakers believed that they could take care of immediate needs only if they were relieved of the larger orders involved in the industry expansion that would be essential to meeting more distant needs. If a choice had to be made between speeding the equipment for 2,000,000 men and ultimately equipping 4,000,000, General Marshall favored the former. He, General Moore, and others of his Staff discussed such matters on 26 and 27 June, and at noon on 27 June General Moore called from the Office of the Chief of Staff to ask his subordinates for an estimated figure for the 2,000,000-man program.117  The same day the Chief of Staff addressed to the Acting Secretary a letter wherein he stated


The program for 4,000,000 men has been in the War Department plans for many years as the visualization of our maximum effort in man power. In the present situation in Europe and the Far East, and under the 1939 policy of hemisphere defense, a force, aside from considerations of planes and mechanization, of 2,000,000 men would seem more nearly to represent our major necessity as a basis for procuring equipment. It is feared that an over-demand for munitions might have the effect of delaying rather than expediting actual production of the munitions urgently needed before October 1941 . . . .

For the present, it is not believed desirable to go further as to the requirements for ground forces, than the 2,000,000-man basis . . . for the reason that the strategic necessities for additional men do not appear sufficiently urgent, as now visualized, to justify complicating the already tremendous task of producing the planes and their related munitions, and the mechanized material, as well as the ground forces requirements, for the 2,000,000-man effort. 118

The following morning, 28 June, there was a conference of the Acting Secretary, the Chief of Staff, Mr. Knudsen, and Colonel Burns, and thereafter the Acting Secretary called for a very considerable revision of the program so firmly stated a week earlier. The items of the program were now restated:

a. Procure reserve stocks of all items of supplies needed to equip and maintain a ground force of 1,000,000 men on combat status.
b. Procure all reserve stocks of the important long-time items of supplies needed to equip and maintain a ground force of 2,000,000 men on combat status.
c. Create facilities which would permit a production sufficient to supply an army of 4,000,000 men on combat status.
d. Procure 18,000 complete military airplanes (less the 2,181 planes for which funds have already been appropriated), together with necessary spare engines, spare parts, guns, ammunition, radio and other supplies and accessories pertaining thereto.
e. Provide productive capacity available to the Army of 18,000 complete military airplanes per year, together with necessary engines and all other accessories and supplies pertaining thereto.
f. Provide necessary storage for above.119

The tremendous labor of revision was delegated to G-4 in co-operation with other offices. Frequently directions were given and information was received orally, and on Sunday, 30 June, G-4 and the Budget and Legislative Planning


Branch completed a series of documents which contained exactly the information that was furnished the President.120  The Chief of Staff, using the figures assembled by his subordinates under his direction, recommended to the Acting Secretary a $5,896,971,287 program that provided:

a. All essential items of supplies to complete the equipment of the Protective Mobilization Plan force as revised (800,000 men in units plus 400,000 replacements) and to maintain that force on a combat status--- $412, 027,300
b. Reserve stocks of critical (noncommercial) items to complete the equipment of a ground force increased to 2,000,000 men and to maintain it on a combat status--- $2,286,254,041
c. Creation of facilities to build up a production sufficient to further increase the Army at the rate of 1,000,000 men every three months and maintain them on a combat status--- $716,735,000
d. 18,000 airplanes complete with all spares, armament, radios and accessories (less the 2,181 just appropriated for)--- $1,974,741,376
e. Creation of production capacity available to the Army of 18,000 complete military airplanes per year, together with necessary engines and all other accessories and supplies pertaining thereto--- $71,520,000
f. Storage capacity and distribution costs--- 121 $435,693,570

On the same day the program was discussed at the White House and referred back to the War Department for reconsideration of certain points. The President seemed anxious to obtain necessary quantities of critical items of supplies and airplanes, and sufficient productive capacity. On the other hand, he wished assurance that full use was to be made of commercial storage; and he wished to know whether commercially available supplies such as shoes, blankets, underwear, and motor vehicles were needed in such quantities. He desired a limit of $4,000,000,000 for Fiscal Year 1941 of which amount not more than $2,500,000,000 should be in cash (the remainder in contract authorizations).122  "I can sell the American people a bargain for $3,999,900,000 a lot more easily than one for $4,000,000,000" Mr. Roosevelt is remembered to have said on this occasion. "Keep the total below $4,000,000,000." 123

The questions raised at this White House conference were considered by the General Staff. The Chief of Staff thereupon submitted to the Acting Secretary


a memorandum in which he repeated the figures and justified them, but, in accordance with the suggestions of the President, provided a tabulation showing amounts deferred for future financing, amounts for contract authorizations, and amounts for cash appropriation.124 On 3 July the President approved this elaboration of the 30 June program, with the exception of the transfer of $100,000,000 from cash requirements to contract authorization. At the same time he decided that the personnel program would definitely be entirely separate from the munitions program, and he requested additional information for incorporation in his budget message.125

On 5 July hearings were held before the Bureau of the Budget, and there the total request was pared from $5,896,971,287 to $3,911,995,417. This did not necessarily mean disapproval of total requirements; it simply indicated a decision to defer appropriations. The decision, nominally by the Director of the Budget, could actually have been made only by Presidential direction. It is doubtful whether the reduction was fully approved by the Chief of Staff, Mr. Knudsen, or Mr. Stettinius. Minor changes were made at a White House conference on 8 July, and on 10 July the President went before Congress to request funds for "total defense." 126  This was the munitions program of 1940, criticized by administration opponents as being suddenly conceived. Actually it had been worked and reworked by Staff planners for many months.

Insofar as supply problems were concerned, it was the duty of the Chief of Staff to advise the President and Congress of military requirements for national defense. Detailed examination of materiel planning in 1939-40 indicates that within the General Staff able and conscientious officers were constantly keeping plans for supply requirements current and that they were aware of the urgency.


It is evident that the Chief of Staff personally directed and co-ordinated the work of his subordinates, who on numerous occasions, with his approval, restudied defense needs, and as a result urged increased armament. General Marshall usually heeded their counsel and advised his superiors of the need. At the same time, it is clear that he was conscious of the limitations of his own authority and of his responsibility to the Commander in Chief, and he consistently avoided going over the heads of his superiors to the Congress or the people. If he underestimated the ultimate need in strength, his judgments were so far in advance of those which governed the nation's executive and legislative authorities that the Army's objectives, as determined by him, were actually such as could be achieved only after delay. If he failed to make his demands early enough or vigorously enough, it can be surmised that any more forceful expression by him prior to Blitzkrieg might well have resulted in complete rejection of his views and reduction of his influence, to the ultimate injury of the whole rearmament campaign.

It is well to bear in mind, as previously observed, that in the politically delicate period of 1940 and thereafter General Marshall was compelled to act with great political discretion. It was of importance that he win and retain the support of Congressmen whose votes on appropriations and authorizations would make or break the Army program. He had to overcome or at least allay to some degree the announced opposition of such an influential figure as a deficiency subcommittee chairman in the Senate who refused on one occasion to defend his own subcommittee report because he, the Senator, individually opposed the rearming then at issue. The fact is that by patience and tolerance General Marshall gradually won over opposition Congressmen and built up their confidence in the Chief of Staff to a point where in adversity he could count upon it, as was to be apparent in the hard days just after Pearl Harbor. Both loyalty and discretion, he appears to have felt, forbade his pressing Congress for appropriations greater than the President favored. Beyond this, General Marshall was convinced that he must guard against asking for sums larger than the Army could expend to certain advantage-sums that would "choke the patient," to use his own metaphor, and that would also tend to produce public overconfidence in the Army's readiness and, later, to risk public condemnation. To his friends he sometimes referred to World War I experience, when a $640,000,000 appropriation for airplanes failed to fill the air instantly with planes, as the public had anticipated, and instead brought on the Army eventual recriminations as extravagant as the blighted hopes had been. Now in 1940 it might have been temporarily


profitable to break with Presidential and Budget restrictions and to press Congress for more than the President approved; it would have endangered the more abiding advantage-Congressional and public confidence in the General Staff and its Chief-and it was the long-term advantage which General Marshall deliberately sought.127

The episode of the 20 June munitions program and the brief impatience of the Assistant Secretary with the Chief of Staff illuminated a real weakness in General Staff planning, a deficiency in the consideration of time, and it also emphasized the dangers of divided authority for materiel programs. It is apparent that the aggressive action of Colonel Burns and Assistant Secretary Johnson contributed substantially to the formulation of the 30 June munitions program. Short-lived as were Colonel Burns' proposals for meeting the long-range need, they forced to administrative attention the need for industrial expansion on a grand scale, and stimulated the General Staff to detailed planning for the greater Army to be built around the PMP force, the fruit of which was to be borne in the Victory Program of September 1941. If what was clone in mid-1940 to push the PMP had instead been done in mid-1939, much of the 1940 confusion would have been averted.


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