Troop-Training Problems of 1940

For the recruitment of an army larger than the Protective Mobilization Plan force of 1,000,000 to 1,250,000 men the Army planners had recognized long before June 1940 that a draft would be necessary, as in 1917. Accordingly in normal routine the Staff did its methodical planning for selective service legislation, making periodic examinations for possible revision, but always on the assumption that, as in 1917, the plans would become operative only when the nation was actually at war.1  There was a further assumption, traceable to the previously mentioned obsession with the pattern of World War I that guided Army planning for the two ensuing decades and influenced the Protective Mobilization Plan in particular. The situation was thus described by General Marshall himself in explaining the unhappy aspects of troop housing in the winter of 1940-41:

The Protective Mobilization Plan was developed under the assumption that upon mobilization troops would have to move as soon as possible to a theater of operations, following the precedent of 1917, of all prior wars in which this country had engaged, and the custom of war in general. The plans, therefore, contemplated only essential installations and facilities in the continental United States and left to future determination the installations which would be required in the theater of operations, wherever that might be. Only emergency short-term installations and facilities were planned for the zone of the interior.

Provision was not made for the contingency which now [1941] exists involving a full mobilization in time of peace, with a long and indefinite training period and a peacetime exactitude or solicitude for the physical and recreational accommodations-all involving more expensive structures and more elaborate arrangements.2

The discussion was particularly directed to the delay and cost of camp construction which had upset Congress during the winter. It applied as well to the broader aspects of manpower planning which in June 1940 frequently seems


to have had equally uncertain contact with current reality. The large munitions program of 20 June and the more precise program that followed in the next month 3  were designed to equip forces much larger than the PMP force upon which since 1937 the planning had been largely concentrated.

Draft or Volunteers for Prewar Recruitment?

The time needed for producing full battle equipment for a 2,000,000-man army was rightly estimated at last, thanks to the sharp exchanges of mid-June among President, Chief of Staff, Assistant Secretary, and Mr. Knudsen, but the manner of raising the men to compose that force was not determined. Two methods-supplementary rather than alternative-had been under consideration by the Army. One was the draft. It had received, as mentioned, the Staff's normal attention and plans for its employment had been methodically drawn, but final policy making had not projected the draft into the prewar scene with any degree of confidence or vigor. On 20 May 1940 during a conference in the Chief of Staffs office attended by G-1, G-4, and Quartermaster Corps representatives General Marshall inquired: "Assuming Congress gave us a Selective Service act, how long would it take to procure 750,000 men?" He was told that 45 days would be required. He then asked about tentage available for housing so large an army as this would mean, the assumption being that summer housing was in mind, and was told that the supply on issue and in storage was ample.4  Information of this character necessary for decision on the draft apparently had been gathered and co-ordinated by the Staff: the decision to use the draft, however, was not within the Army's power, and this circumstance explains much that took place in June 1940.

The other method of troop raising in contemplation was the "Civilian Volunteer Effort" (CVE), through which the authorities in the forty-eight states were expected to assist in a volunteer recruiting campaign to expedite the enrollment of men for the Regular Army or the National Guard or both. The CVE was looked upon as a means of raising enough men to fill out the PMP and hence adequate for any prewar preparation hitherto contemplated.5


Its political virtue was of a negative sort-it would avert the necessity of going to Congress with a plea for draft legislation, sure to occasion long debate, as the Army rightly foresaw, and likely also to be defeated in a peace-minded Congress. That Congress was still essentially peace-minded to the extent of refusing to consider a peacetime draft was the conviction of numerous leaders of the Democratic majority in the Senate, as was to be made manifest by their refusal to introduce a draft bill, and presumably of the President himself, for he abstained from sending any encouragement in the matter to his legislative lieutenants. If White House and Army alike erred in their judgment of what the 1940 Congress would do in the light of Blitzkrieg's towering flames, it must be remembered (1) that thus far Congress had been reluctant to go the full distance in other respects, (2) that there then was an active pacifist movement in America, and (3) that the Congressional and Presidential elections were only a few months distant, and the Democratic National Convention (where the third term would be a dominant issue) was almost at hand. Also, it must be remembered that in mid-June the Army was pressing for appropriation measures of the most urgent character with which literally nothing must interfere (to permit raising the Regular Army to 4,000,000 men) and was preparing recommendations for still other and far larger appropriations to be introduced shortly. If there was fear that these essential measures would be jeopardized by advocacy of a draft bill traditionally unpopular in peacetime, the fear was understandable. If, therefore, the Army's concern over the war threat tempted it to advocate a peacetime draft without delay, the impulse had to be controlled, for this would mean enunciation of a legislative policy, and no such policy could be advocated unless and until both the policy and its timing were approved by the White House.

There was another practical consideration that influenced professional Army thinking on the subject of troop training. This was the small number of officers and men immediately available for the training of recruits. Three principal sources existed. One was the Regular Army which itself was in process of ex-


panding from the emaciated state of 1939 and which would have its hands full taking care not only of the recently granted increases of 17,000 and 53,000 men, but also of the 120,000 entirely new men it was to ask for shortly (raising the total from 280,000 to 400,000 men). Another source was the National Guard; it now numbered 242,000 men, but many of these were little more than raw recruits, and many others would be discharged for various reasons soon after mobilization. A third source was the Reserve officers, over 100,000 of them, for the most part recent graduates of the college ROTC units with excellent qualifications but only limited field training.6  It was apparent to the professional Staff planners that, if time permitted, the most efficient way to train a large Army was, first, to give thorough training to a small one which could thereafter serve as leaven to a larger mass. From that mass, later, would be extracted newly trained elements which could then be mingled with a still larger mass, and thus provide the next stage of a step-by-step development. Could this plan be carried out without interference, it was reasoned, a vigorous 90-day training cycle would produce a rapidly expanding army that would be increasingly efficient. Events so effectively blocked the continued pursuit of this plan that, instead of using the Regular Army's best qualified training officers and noncommissioned officers in methodically paced expansion of the existing units, the Army had to scatter its invaluable trained personnel widely and rapidly through a too swiftly increasing flood of recruits. The shortage of fully qualified instructors in the training camps was as apparent to intelligent citizen-soldier recruits as to anyone else and was the subject of vigorous and justified complaints even in 1941. This was true in the National Guard units as well, where veterans capable of giving proper instruction were themselves so few that the Guard divisions, likewise gorged with an excess of raw personnel, had to go through about one year of intensive training. When a core of trained and disciplined men was finally attained, it was possible to recruit as many as 514,345 enlisted men in the single month of October 1942 7  but that was fantastically ahead of possibilities in 1940 or early 1941. Thus, when it was necessary to send antiaircraft elements to Hawaii and the Philippines and engineer units to Alaska, the Regular units in these categories (some of them 90 percent


recruits and insufficiently equipped) patently could not be regarded as fit for efficient overseas duty, nor could they be whittled down to efficiency without grave injury to the whole training program. Accordingly, selected National Guard units were sent overseas, these being demonstrably at a better stage of readiness at the time. The critical need in 1940, if it could be met, General Marshall stressed, was for orderly employment of the existing trained manpower, both of officers and men; the problem was to avoid a too rapid dilution of their mass. General Marshall expressed a desire to organize his new divisions at peace strength (8,500 men) and get them going before raising them to war strength.8

The Regular Army's Role in Training

One must not lose sight of the immensely important role that Regular officers of all ranks and arms performed in the training of the new Army. The problem was to spread them widely enough to gain the maximum value of their work as trainers and administrators, and at the same time to keep them sufficiently concentrated, especially in a few combat divisions, to assure that the combat units would remain efficient and ready for emergency duty. Many officers on the retired list were called back to active duty. Many engaged in less important duties were replaced by Reservists, so that the Regulars could be used to greater advantage elsewhere. The course of study at the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth (the students at which had been selected because of special promise) was terminated in February 1940 in order to provide particularly well-qualified officers for the new divisions. The school's faculty was retained, however, and given the task of revising and completing some 250 training manuals for aid in the training of the National Guard and draft units of all categories. These manuals established and spread the doctrines that guided the new Army throughout World War II, and the success with which these identical combat doctrines were applied in the field in 1944-45 supplies its own evidence of how sound was the thinking in the Regular Army schools and Staff of prewar days. The Army War College course was continued until June 1940, and its buildings were then taken over for the beginning of GHQ. The Military Academy curriculum was revised to meet new and immediate needs, most conspicuously through the introduction of an aviation course, one purpose of which was to increase the leaven of Regular Army discipline


and standards in an air force that was being enormously expanded. In the Navy amalgamation was relatively easy because of the tight integration of its air and surface personnel both in training and on duty. In the Army the air element's expansion was far greater and its separation from ground forces much more complete. The amalgamation problem which this entailed was correspondingly difficult.

Unfortunately the plan for gradual expansion of all units could not be put into full operation for yet another reason, namely, the official concern over having available an expeditionary corps for possible employment in Central or South America. 9 Rainbow I, as revised 10 April 1940, provided for an expedition to Brazil, and Rainbow 4 (June 1940) envisaged such an operation anywhere in the hemisphere. The essential characteristic of such a corps would be its readiness for action, with respect both to trained personnel and to complete equipment for action. But to have a corps of, say, 60,000 men ready for overseas duty would require setting apart that considerable number of officers and men in an isolated group. In that state they would not be available as a training force to be broken up and scattered among recruit-training units. It would also require diversion to that corps of all weapons, ammunition, and equipment necessary for their overseas duty with the result that none of this equipment would be available for distribution among recruit-training units. Already there was a shortage of many items of equipment, which the belated program of 30 June was designed to correct only after a considerable time.

Examining all these factors, Staff planners felt that training efficiency necessitated proceeding first with the rapid increase of the Regular Army up to 400,000 men, inasmuch as the Regular Army then existent had a larger number of trained units and a higher percentage of trained personnel than did the National Guard, whose establishment itself would have to undergo a good deal of training before it could advantageously take on the training of new recruits. This view was accepted by the Chief of Staff and enunciated by him in early June 1940, when he was recommending to the Secretary of War, for transmission to the President, the approved technique of training new troop units expeditiously. The increase of the Regular Army from 280,000 to 400,000 was advocated in order "to avoid or delay the necessity of mobilizing any portion of the National Guard," inasmuch as (for an army up to 400,000 men) "trained . . . units . . . can be obtained more rapidly by increasing the Regular Army, than . . . by


mobilizing the National Guard, since we have sufficient unassigned cadres and companies . . . ." 10  The accompanying suggestion was that the 120,000 new troops be raised through the Civilian Volunteer Effort.

Civilian Leadership in Draft Legislation

That there was in this recommendation no suggestion of resorting, rather, to a draft of manpower, which could be obtained of course only by passage of a selective service act, indicates how far from the Chief of Staff's mind at this time was the idea of making immediate use of the draft. The fact is that the subject had been considered and for the moment rejected, but for reasons that are difficult to understand without a knowledge of the political atmosphere of that summer. A few weeks earlier, on 8 May, several members of the Military Training Camps Association met at a dinner in New York to consider a celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first Plattsburg Camp, started in 1915 for the voluntary military training of civilians. These Civilian Military Training Camps had proved a potent influence in producing Reserve officers for the Army of World War I. Grenville Clark, a leading spirit of 1915, now urged that the best observance of the anniversary would be a vigorous civilian campaign for 1940 preparedness against an emergency already as threatening as had been that of 1915. The immediate result of his suggestion was a much larger dinner on 22 May to which other leaders of the training-camp idea, in other sections of the country, were invited. This gathering was attended by Henry L. Stimson, Robert P. Patterson, William J. Donovan, Elihu Root, Jr., and nearly a hundred others, and their hearty support of Mr. Clark's idea brought a decision to urge upon the War Department a call for draft legislation.11


Brig. Gen. John McAuley Palmer, USA Retired, one of the guests, thereupon proceeded to Washington, called upon the Chief of Staff on 25 May and presented the views of the Civilian Military Training Camps Association. General Marshall was fully informed of the President's unwillingness to espouse any such proposal at the time and hence not free to do so himself. Yet it is significant that, after his talk with General Palmer, he instructed three Army members of the Joint Army and Navy Selective Service Committee  12  to proceed to New York to confer with the Military Training Camps Association's executive committee and, as it developed, assist them in the drafting of a bill. The impression was strong that General Marshall contemplated only selective service legislation which would be effective after a declaration of war. Accordingly in the following week Mr. Clark and Julius Ochs Adler called upon the Chief of Staff and urged him to recommend to the President immediate support of the draft.13  This General Marshall flatly refused to do. Mr. Clark recalled several stated reasons for his refusal, notably the nation's existing commitments which had to be fulfilled. The general was unwilling at that time to break up the Army's few trained units in order to provide cadres for the training of a flood of recruits. This feeling was related to his anxiety over hemisphere defense, which was expected to require the employment of those same trained units, intact, in the defense of South America. There was as previously noted yet another objection to introducing so controversial a proposal as selective service seemed to be. This was the fact that the War Department was at this moment working up its new requests to Congress for large appropriations, the granting of which was absolutely essential to the Army. Nothing, it was felt, must jeopardize the appropriations. The combination of these considerations quite clearly was enough to assure that for the present the Chief of Staff would neither himself support immediate draft legislation nor urge it upon the President, and the two visitors returned to New York with that discouraging conviction. How accurately they gauged the prospect was shown a few days later, when General Marshall addressed to the Secretary his 4 June memorandum recommending the 120,000 man increase in the Regular Army and suggesting use of the Civilian Volunteer


Effort for that purpose.14  There was no mention whatever of a draft, and that its omission was agreeable to the President can be presumed. Later in the month, supposedly at the suggestion of the Chief of Staff, the Acting Secretary of War wrote to the President, undoubtedly with the Chief of Staff's knowledge and approval, suggesting use of the Civilian Volunteer Effort "in cooperation with State authorities" to obtain "voluntary enlistments quickly and in large numbers"; he enclosed a sample telegram for dispatching to the governor of each state.15  The device was not used, although the suggestion was routed through the Bureau of the Budget for normal clearance.

The chief reason was that on 20 June, after encountering wary evasions by several administration Senators who did not wish to sponsor draft legislation which some of them predicted would have no chance of success without prior Presidential approval, the Training Camps Association's spokesmen turned to Senator Edward R. Burke of Nebraska (a Democrat who was not fully sympathetic with Mr. Roosevelt) as the measure's sponsor in the Senate.16  Their other coadjutor, the Republican Representative James W. Wadsworth of New York, had from the beginning been ready to introduce the measure in the House. Once introduced on 20 June, the bill proved less vulnerable than expected, for it promptly gained appreciable support in the Congress and in influential newspapers. Two serious obstacles were overcome by the timely intervention of Mr. Stimson in the interim between the date of his nomination as Secretary of War (20 June) and that of his confirmation in July. One of these was the Civilian Volunteer Effort proposal of 25 June which has been referred to. On the urging of Mr. Clark the Secretary-designate successfully counseled the President against approving the plan, and it died forthwith. Still more threatening was a report in early July that a War Department study of peacetime conscription was on the point of being sent to the Senate Military Affairs Committee, and that it would probably be injurious to the Burke-Wadsworth bill. To cope with this difficulty Mr. Stimson, although his appointment was still unconfirmed, hurried to Washington on 8 July, and convened a meeting next day at his Washington residence, attended by General Marshall, by representatives of G-1 and G-3, and by Mr. Clark. The Secretary-designate made clear his desire to compose essential differ-


ences but to have the Army support the principle of the Burke-Wadsworth bill. It was apparently a decision for which the Army was waiting, for General Marshall promptly went into action.17

One of the most surprising aspects of the case is that this measure, a vital impulse to the upbuilding of American defenses more than a year before Pearl Harbor, was designed and given its initial push, not by Army or Navy or White House, but by a mere handful of farsighted and energetic civilians. Nor did the White House give active assistance to the measure until Congressional and public support of the draft indicated that the bill would pass. Once Mr. Stimson, on the eve of taking office as Secretary, asserted his own support of the draft, however, Mr. Roosevelt offered no objection to the Army's doing likewise. Accordingly on 12 July General Marshall spoke before the Senate committee in favor of draft legislation and, as a necessary adjunct, for legislation that would permit calling the National Guard units to active duty-not a part of it for a specific task this time, and not for three weeks of the year as previously planned for summer maneuvers, but all of it for an entire year.18  His pressure at the end for hurrying the National Guard summons, he later informed the House Committee on Military Affairs, was designed to save the draft bill.

Urgent New Reasons for Early Draft Legislation

This radical change from such a recruitment program as General Marshall had suggested in his 4 June memorandum was due to developments of which


the surprising support given the Burke-Wadsworth bill was but one, if a large one. Another development was the revived, if inaccurate, belief that Germany's spectacular successes in Europe might soon make it necessary to dispatch an expeditionary force southward for hemisphere defense: Regular divisions for that purpose could be sent away from American stations but their removal would necessitate protection of those same home stations by other forces, of which none existed save National Guard forces. Therefore, quite probably four Guard divisions should be brought to federal service in order to provide those specific stations with organized troop units.

How seriously the Chief of Staff had for some time regarded this possibility is indicated by his remarks on 4 June 1940 before the House Committee on Military Affairs when, in seeking authority to summon the National Guard in emergency (he then was seeking four divisions only and "thinking exclusively of the Western hemisphere"), he said:

If we do not have some such resolution as this . . . when you gentlemen adjourn, I am then in the position of possibly having to recommend urgently . . . that Congress be reconvened . . . We are talking about . . . necessities in the Western hemisphere . . . To what extent we have to go will depend upon the circumstances and the policies of the Government, and our ability to go.

Asked whether Regular Army troops would not be sent out of the country before the National Guard, General Marshall replied: "That is exactly what we would do . . . . We could not send the National Guard until they had had long training . . . . We could use them for secondary purposes very quickly." 19

The secondary purposes were the filling of voids within the United States, left by the removal of the Regular divisions for the expeditionary force.

But there were additional and massive reasons for summoning in 1940 not merely those four but all eighteen of the National Guard infantry divisions, then at "maintenance strength" as distinguished from the "peace strength" of the 1920 National Defense Act standard. They were reasons more important, even, than the fact that the Guard unquestionably needed recruitment to peace strength at least, and unquestionably needed the hardening that field duty would provide. These larger reasons were, first, that, modest as was the training of the Guard units in 1940, they were at least organized units which could absorb a large number of entirely raw recruits and provide a degree of necessary training; second, that the National Guard units, like the Regular Army


units, possessed a supply of weapons and equipment which was essential for troop training,20  and of which in the summer of 1940 there was still a shortage. In brief, both in drill personnel and in equipment, the National Guard afforded for the training of draftees such facilities as the Army recognized it could not ignore.

On several counts, then, for the betterment of the Guard itself, for training a large percentage of the prospective draftees, and for the release of certain Regular Army units for possible use in emergency, it was recognized before midsummer that the whole National Guard would have to be summoned for a year's duty and, the 4 June judgment now being laid aside at the White House as well as the War Department, General Marshall proceeded to argue persuasively for summoning the Guard and passing the selective service act.21

It must be recognized that here, as in many other instances where political considerations were present, the record does not fully present the case. General Marshall's initial desire for the draft (as distinguished from his public advocacy of it) certainly did not spring from discovery that Congress was prepared to grant it. It is unlikely that anybody acquainted with a major war's requirements in manpower, as evidenced years before in World War I, doubted the necessity of selective service for development of a large army. The Staff's Brief Account of 1939 22  had referred to it as "the only sound measure" in such an emergency, and the wish for a draft act at the right time was probably more acute as well as more informed in the General Staff than in any other institution. But the Staff's wish was attended both by a doubt that the American democracy would support a draft proposal in advance of war, and by an official conviction that in order to enjoy public support any movement for draft legislation must be initiated outside the Army rather than inside. Suspicions of "militarism" were still being voiced frequently by isolationist orators, and would undoubtedly have been increased by any overt advocacy by Army spokesmen of a measure that would affect every community and that historically had never before been


invoked in advance of war. General Marshall, whose understanding of the civilian point of view and genuine sympathy with it had already been amply demonstrated at Congressional hearings, was himself convinced that too early advocacy of the draft by the Army would be harmful and perhaps fatal. Rather, he was convinced, the initiative for such an idea must come from civilian sources if Congress and public opinion generally were to prove receptive to it.23  More than his own judgment was involved. The question of supporting a prewar draft was a matter of national policy in which not even the military Chief of the Army had the power of decision, and upon which at such a time he could not with propriety even give expression publicly to his own professional views, save with approval of his civilian superior, the Secretary of War and, more especially, the President. Certainly the political situation was a factor in Mr. Roosevelt's own unwillingness in May and June 1940 to raise the hazardous issue of a draft or to have it raised by anyone in his official family. Mr. Stimson, already contemplated as Mr. Woodring's successor as Secretary of War, was one of the New Yorkers who had attended the 22 May dinner and whose advocacy of the draft measure was well known to the President, but he too was conscious of the need for skillful timing.24  So far as the Army was concerned, it was traditional that successful legislation of that sort would be contingent upon the Army's self effacement and upon Congress's assumption of responsibility for initiating the idea. The fact is that, despite the Army's care in remaining in the background and in providing advice on this subject to Congressional committees only on request, an influential Senator was highly suspicious of all the circumstances. General Marshall later recalled the Senator's informing him at the time that the draft was "one of the most stupid and outrageous things that `the generals' had ever perpetrated on the Congress." 25  On the other hand, an interesting aspect of all this is that so active and devoted a draft advocate as Grenville Clark years afterward remained convinced that the start of draft legislation was achieved in spite of, rather than with, the Army's aid, either open or concealed. It may be surmised that, with all credit to the vigorous and indispensable leadership supplied by Mr. Clark and his civilian associates, the Army's apparent aloofness was of appreciable help to the draft program in that stormy political period.


When General Marshall came openly to the aid of both the draft bill and the measure for summoning the National Guard to active duty (being released for that purpose by the sagacious Mr. Roosevelt), it clearly was politically safe for him to do so, and his testimony was as persuasive as it was informed.

Costliness of the Delay in 1940 Draft Legislation

Invaluable as was General Marshall's assistance to both measures, the delay in their passage was considerable (until 27 August and 16 September respectively) and the evil effect of this delay he discussed reproachfully with his Congressional audience.26  What should have been done in summer, and could have been done had the bills been passed promptly, now could be done only in autumn. In particular, the postponement of money authorizations prevented even preliminary work on the highways and other utilities of the camp sites (some of the purchases were made by borrowing $29,500,000 from the President's personal fund of $200,000,000 for emergency use).27  This work in particular should have been completed before foul weather added to the time and expense and difficulty of construction and settlement. The soldiers' floundering in the mud that resulted from the delay, and the greatly enhanced cost of construction that came from the necessary haste in acquiring materials and erecting the structures, were the occasion of newspaper and Congressional protest, but the Chief of Staffs calm recital of the contributing causes explained the situation to the apparent satisfaction of Congressional questioners.28


Delay of the personnel legislation from June to the end of summer was unfortunate, and again it would appear that in estimating in advance the willingness of public and Congress to improve American military strength-this time in men as well as in dollars-there had been excessive caution at the White House or in the Army or in both places. Nevertheless, the all-important draft act was passed well over a year before Pearl Harbor, thus affording opportunity to start Army training, as well as Army procurement, long in advance of hostilities, contrary to historic precedent and official expectation.29  The effect of this foresight cannot be measured in terms of dollars or soldiers' lives, but even the invaluable year of training was far from enough. Once war began, the fighting against Japan was purely defensive for months for lack of offensive means as well as because of the strategy laid down in Rainbow 5, and not until 1944 was the western alliance strong enough in men and equipment to permit, with full confidence, the storming of Germany's West Wall.

The Question of How Best to Use Trained Units

Political considerations cannot have been absent from White House thinking in mid-1940, with a Presidential election imminent and the third term already an issue, and one can surmise that they were a factor in the caution with which both the draft and the National Guard issues were approached. But, as mentioned elsewhere, the problem of how to raise and train troops was complicated also by the uncertainty of how many troops should be raised immediately, itself stemming from uncertainty whether the prime need was for a small expeditionary corps of well-trained Regulars for immediate use or for the training of a much larger army for later possibilities. If the latter, the Regular Army would have to be stripped of many training cadres. The shortage of weapons on hand was another controlling factor. Even so important a matter as the summoning of the National Guard seems at times to have been decided upon, not because the Guard's use as a cadre was the prime incentive but because the Guard possessed weapons needed for training recruits, and these weapons could not be put to maximum use except by summoning the Guard along with the weapons.


These factors-veteran officers and men to be used as training cadres, and available weapons with which to equip the recruits-influenced the plans for training and largely determined the numbers of recruits sought for training, and hence the methods of raising those recruits. Changes of mind on 1940 training plans, even in so fundamental a thing as the numbers sought for the Regular Army, simply reflected Army uncertainty about the factors mentioned.

Thus, on 3 June 1940 G-1 submitted to General Marshall two studies with respect to increasing the Regular Army's enlisted strength beyond the 280,000 authorized in the basic 1920 National Defense Act.30  One was a recommendation in principle, and this was approved by General Marshall. The other was a specific proposal of 500,000 men as a maximum, accompanied by drafts of necessary letters to the Bureau of the Budget and to the Congress; both ideas were disapproved, the Deputy Chief explaining that the Chief of Star had decided on a 400,000 maximum, instead; he desired in the letter to Congress a fuller explanation of the purposes-making possible completion of nine infantry, one cavalry, and two armored divisions, and the setting up of two army corps, as well as provision for further air and antiaircraft units. G-1 apparently set about the revisions, for on 7 June the Chief of Staff approved a letter to the Chairman of the Senate Military Affairs Committee, prepared by G-1 for the Secretary's signature, asking for 400,000 men and listing the purposes in mind. On the preceding day, however, and for reasons not clear, Representative Overton Brooks had introduced HR 10010, seeking a 375,000 maximum (this was the number of men actually sought, with the 400,000 authorization merely providing a safety margin) and Senator Lodge had introduced an amendment to the pending Senate 4025, asking for 750,000 (this number was desired both by G-1 and WPD, and word of it must have reached the Senator). On 10 June the House Committee on Military Affairs reported favorably on HR 10010 but with an amendment providing 400,000 maximum, and the measure passed the House one week later.

Senator Sheppard, Chairman of the Senate Military Affairs Committee, now had in hand both the Lodge resolution and the newly completed House


bill, and he wrote to the Secretary of War for his views on "the need for a greater strength of the Regular Army than 400,000." The draft of reply which on the next day G-1 prepared in consultation with WPD accepted the Lodge reasoning and recommended 750,000. Whether or not there had been earlier acceptance of this number, the Chief of Staff declined now to approve it. Instead he had the draft rewritten within his own office, as indicated by a notation marked with the initials of Col. (later Gen.) Omar N. Bradley who then was in the General Staff secretariat. Even this draft was not used, because (as noted long afterward)31  the rush of draft legislation which soon came about rendered it out of date. An accompanying memorandum of that same day, 19 June 1940, bearing the initials of Lt. Col. (later Maj. Gen.) Orlando Ward, then Secretary of the General Staff, and presumably expressing the views of the Chief of Staff, observes that:

400,000 will be satisfactory until next session of Congress, assuming that no selective service law is passed. If a selective service act is passed it [400,000] will be inadequate, as units formed under the 400,000 should be immediately raised to war strength.

Even though the draft was not used, there is interest in certain judgments which were expressed in the memorandum, for presumably they were the judgments of the Chief of the Staff at the time:

. . . It is not believed that a force of more than 400,000 can be secured or maintained by voluntary enlistments. An increase beyond that number would necessitate the simultaneous enactment of a selective service act.

There are no nuclei for new units beyond those units listed above. [The earlier paragraphs contained a list.] In order to organize additional new units it would be necessary to emasculate existing organizations to obtain cadres of trained men. This would mean a decided lowering of efficiency of existing divisional organizations which we believe would be dangerous to our interests under present world conditions.

There is insufficient equipment on hand to organize additional units of the Regular Army at this time, unless equipment is taken from National Guard units. Such action would mean, in effect, a new policy of national defense. It would have a serious, possibly a demoralizing effect on the morale of the National Guard troops, and would necessitate a material change in our present Protective Mobilization Plan.

For the above reasons it can be seen that the authorization of a greater strength [than 400,000] of the Regular army this time without some form of selective military service to supply the necessary personnel, and without the necessary equipment, would appear to complicate rather than improve the situation. Selective service involves a radical


departure from present national defense policies, and that question should first be settled. . . 32

By September, however, the Chief of Staff had a different view, brought about by the Air Corps' discovery that it would not be able to use many draftees to advantage because only one year's service was then in prospect for them and the Air Corps needed three-year men. General Marshall observed that HR 10010 was sleeping rather than dead, and wrote to G-3:

. . . In view of the dilemma of the Air Corps . . . might not this [HR 10010] be the point of attack for us to secure needed legislation to meet the situation? The 400,000 might be increased by amendment in the Senate. On the other hand it may be that after we get the trainees we could possibly reduce the strength of the ground forces of the Regular establishment in three-year men and pick up adequate numbers for the Air Corps in this manner. I have not done any logical thinking on the question, so I am merely passing this on as a request for information. . .33

G-3 accepted the first suggestion and prepared a study favoring an increase in authorized strength to 500,000 men, but the Deputy Chief of Staff, General Bryden, raised a question of whether a limit should not now be placed upon the Regular Army expansion, inasmuch as an increase in its three-year personnel would mean (through fund exhaustion) a decrease in the number of one-year personnel the draft was bringing in.34  G-1's reply noted the impossibility of predicting what effect the draft act would have on voluntary enlistments and pointed to the certainty that present insufficient housing would serve as a brake upon excessive enlistments in any case; G-1 promised, however, to make later recommendations based upon further study of recruitment trends. A week later the Third Supplemental Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 1941 (approved 8 October 1940) made it clear that the only limit on the Regular Army's size was that which cash appropriations would impose. In pursuit of General Bryden's suggestion, however, G-3 made its extended study of the proper relationship of three-year to one-year men in the Army and reached the conclusion that the whole Army should total 1,183,808 men and that 42.3 percent should be three-year men of the


Regular Army. This approximated 500,000 men, and this long-debated figure was approved by the Chief of Staff on 29 January 1941.35  One day later, G-1, accepting the G-3 recommendation of strength and noting that the appropriation really determined the limit of personnel, itself recommended no change in the specifications of authorized strength.

Mid-1940 Aids to Materiel Production

For such progress as was made in mid-1940 toward preparing the Army, through additions to personnel and materiel, for events still far distant, the magnitude of the German successes was chiefly responsible, for it alarmed America into these vigorous moves for defense. No such readiness to spend money for armament had been indicated by Congress when the European war was in its quieter stage, nor when the first alarms had been raised over Japanese threats in the Pacific. Nor, for that matter, had any such persistent leadership toward grand-scale arming been displayed previously at the White House. May and June, echoing the German victories, produced not only the materiel programs referred to in Chapter V and the great additions to Army personnel afforded by the June legislation and the National Guard and draft legislation then initiated (Table 2), but other related achievements whose full effectiveness would be apparent much later.

In its consequences one of the most notable events of this period was the creation on 27 June-also from the initiative of a civilian-of the National Defense Research Committee (developing in June 1941 into the Office of Scientific Research and Development).36  Its prime mover was Dr. Vannevar Bush who already had contributed largely to the advancement of Army aviation. From this organization in the course of the war flowed a torrent of ideas translated into the reality of radar, loran, rocket weapons, jet propulsion, and proximity fuses, whose influence in bringing victory to the Allies on every front cannot be measured. It is memorable that the parent organization for this scientific work, like the draft act, went into operation more than a year before Pearl Harbor. Without the advantage of seventeen months of its labors in



Date Actual Strength Percentage Distribution
Army b
Corps c
31 December 1940    620, 774    68.7    3. 6    25.0    2. 7
Officers d    47, 930    33.6    46.5    19.9    0. 0
Enlisted Men    572, 844    71.6    0.0    25.5    2. 9
30 June 1941    1, 460, 998    34.8    4.2    19.4    41. 6
Officers d    99, 536    16.9    61.7    21.4    0. 0
Enlisted Men    1, 361, 462    36.1    (e)    19.3    44. 6
30 November 1941    1, 644, 212    33.5    4. 9    14.2    47. 4
Officers d    121, 094    16.9    66.8    16.3    0. 0
Enlisted Men    1, 523, 118    34.8    (e)    14. 1    51. 1

a Data for AUS personnel are included under component to which assigned.
Includes data for Philippine Scouts, Regular Army Reserves, and retired personnel on active duty.
c Does not include Regular Army Reserves.
d Includes Army Nurse Corps and Warrant Officers.
e Less than 0.05 percent.

Source: Annual Report of the Secretary of War . . . 1941; U. S. Department of Army, Strength of the Army (STM-30), 1 July 1948; compilations prepared by U. S. Department of Army, Statistics Division, OAC, from data furnished by the Strength Accounting Branch, AGO.

federally organized research, closely co-ordinated with Army and Navy planning, the course of the war would have been less favorable.

The unintended but far-reaching immediate effects of Blitzkrieg included also Mr. Roosevelt's establishment on 25 May 1940 of a low-powered Office of Emergency Management, under authority granted him in the 1939 Reorganization Act of Congress, and three days later his re-establishment of the long-forgotten Advisory Commission to the nonfunctioning Council of National Defense 37  This was a curious device in that the so-called council (made up of the Secretaries of War, Navy, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor) itself remained dormant, and the commission was advisory only to the President. Its lack of administrative powers and even of a single responsible executive left


it weak,38  made necessary in June the creation of a Co-ordinator of National Defense Purchases (Donald R. Nelson), and thereafter required introduction of a succession of alterations and additions (such as the Office of Production Management in January 1941, Division of Contract Distribution in September 1941, and a Supply, Priorities, and Allocations Board in August 1941) until the war forced, in January 1942, the creation of a War Production Board with genuine authority.39

Of immediate aid to the General Staff in its planning for production-with its essential relationship to planning on manpower additions-was the preparation of a plan passed by Congress on 25 June 1940, whereby the Reconstruction Finance Corporation could finance the creation and operation of new industrial plants.40 Out of this authority came much of the physical equipment for the later mass production of airplanes and engines and arms of every category and equipment of a semimilitary but essential character. It was the lengthy process whereby these plants were financed and built, equipped and manned, stocked, and finally operated which composed that "supplies-time" factor in rearming (contrasted with the manpower-time factor) of which warning had been given long before by General Craig. 41  In all respects mentioned-assurance of manpower through the draft, promise of radically improved weapons, enlistment of expert civilian aid in production, creation of wholly new production lines, and funds for Army expansion on an unprecedented scale-the drive toward acomplishment got under way in May and June of 1940. That brief period, which in Europe produced almost unbroken German triumphs and Allied disasters, in America produced the seed for eventual German defeat and Allied victory.


Difficulties in Planning Amid Uncertainties

Only faint vision of such a shining, if remote, future can have blessed the Army at the time, for the summer of 1940 provided the General Staff with little save anxiety. The rapid changes of program had been disconcerting and confusing. The authorization to summon the National Guard to one year's duty which was sought in July did not come from Congress until 27 August; the draft measure came only on 16 September and necessitated further delay by providing that the drawings would not take place before 16 October and that the selectees chosen would then have a thirty-day leave before reporting. Until the acts were actually passed there could be no building of camps, for there could be no certainty of passage. Nor, with limited exception, could there be acquisition of the areas where the camps would be placed, much less any preliminary construction work on roads and facilities and buildings. The construction corps and the Staff sections engaged in the planning of construction had their premonitions of grand-scale trouble which would come with cold weather, but no way of anticipating it. 42

For other sections of the General Staff there was corresponding anxiety over the early training and equipping of the existing Army, through which it was obvious the later training of the incoming army of recruits would have to be attained. The Regular Army's own weaknesses, apparent to the professional eye in the April maneuvers, were now discernible by the inexpert as well, in the light of lessons taught by Blitzkrieg. The April maneuvers had been notable in two encouraging respects; they were the first actual corps maneuvers which the American Army had undertaken since battlefield operations in 1918, now made possible by the previous winter's modest additions to Army personnel; further, they provided the first field test of the Army's new "triangular" division. They disclosed the need, among others, both for a much larger development of tank units and also for a much more vigorous defense against tanks.43  More severe criticisms were to be made at the corps-versus-corps maneuvers in May when


the operations were inevitably examined against the background of German successes in Europe. The senior control officer of the Louisiana maneuvers, who confessed that previously he had opposed such a unit, now favored use of "a special striking force as used by the Germans, of scout or armored cars." There was a much stronger recommendation for early substitution of the new 105-mm. howitzer for the old 75-mm. gun as the principal accompanying weapon for the infantry division (long ago announced by the Chief of Staff before Congressional committee as contemplated)44  Increases were urged in antitank and antiaircraft artillery as well as in tanks, a recommendation manifestly influenced by the reports from European battlefields (Americans' earlier strictures on these subjects had failed to produce such weapons) of insufficient co-operation by the air forces, attributed to "inadequate control of the planes by the ground forces.45  The observer mentioned that of thirty-four air missions requested by the ground commanders during the maneuver only two were performed, and recommended control of tactical air support within the corps in order to expedite response. This was far from the technique favored by the Air Corps and far from that which came to ultimate use as the war progressed. The recommendation illustrates, first, how largely ground force attitudes dominated Army thinking in that day, and second, how radical were to be the changes of concept involving air command.

Lt. Gen. H. J. Brees, the referee of the May 1940 maneuvers, had made his critique on a thoroughgoing basis. Also he made it public, including passages highly critical of the commanding generals' leadership. So deep was the impression which this made upon official hearers that more than a year later General Marshall requested General McNair, his Chief of Staff, GHQ, and his prime reliance in training matters, to make sure that such a thing did not happen again. He opposed the idea of publishing the whole critique, and he also objected to permitting junior officers to hear such plainly expressed criticism of the two principal commanders.46


Training Entrusted to GHQ

The General Headquarters referred to, universally known rather as GHQ, came into existence on 26 July 1940 as a nucleus, made up of a small group of officers selected to perform its initial purpose-supervision of the training of Army units in the United States. GHQ was immediately subordinate to General Marshall in his capacity as commanding general of Army field forces, but its directing head was Brig. Gen. (later Lt. Gen.) Lesley J. McNair for whom was created the post of Chief of Staff, GHQ.47  The origins of this establishment reach back to World War I, when General Pershing directed the American Expeditionary Forces through his own GHQ whose organization was almost duplicated in the War Department Staff organization of post-1921;. Its name indicates its original purpose which, as envisaged soon after World War I by principals in that war, contemplated the continuation of techniques that had so lately proved successful. When the July 1940 re-creation took place, therefore, GHQ was thought of as the natural medium for whipping into shape some new American Expeditionary Force. As seen in retrospect some years later, "in its function as a training agency GHQ was a headquarters inserted between the War Department and the four armies; as such it put a capstone on the four-army plan.48  The summoning of the National Guard to active duty and the inflow of draft troops that began later in 1940 provided GHQ with responsibility for training not only the relatively few Regular Army units that had been in existence at midyear but a mass of new units and wholly raw recruits, while later large additions to duties outside the field of training were destined to increase the GHQ responsibilities still further.

When General McNair began his labors as Chief of Staff, GHQ, on 3 August 1940, his initial duties were to "direct and supervise the training of the troops," as later explained by General Marshall. It was a year later that the transfer of officers from WPD (following the 1921 concept of GHQ's destiny) put GHQ "on an operating basis" as well, so that (again in General Marshall's words) "General Headquarters not only supervises training throughout the Army but is being prepared to perform its normal theater of operations functions if required."49  In these operating functions, which General McNair neither sought


nor desired, GHQ was fated to come into conflict with WPD (which had assumed operating functions of its own) and with the air command as well, and in early 1942 General McNair's organization, redesignated as the Army Ground Forces, returned to the purely training function which had first engaged it.

At the outset even its training duties must have been regarded as being of a most general nature, for only seven officers were assigned to the GHQ staff in August 1940, and only twenty-three officers had been accumulated up to June 1941, when its more rapid development began.50  General McNair's energy and capacity enabled him and his small staff to translate from precept to practice the Chief of Staff's strong views upon the step-by-step training of the new Army, while coping as far as possible with mountainous handicaps to orderly advancement. The aim was the traditional aim of Army training as outlined by G-3 officers for years-successive grounding in the work of the individual soldier, thorough preparation of the squad and company and battalion, then absorption into the larger combat units, and ultimately the full development of division, corps, and army commands under officers who had themselves mastered the arts of smaller commands. This had been the aim in 1917-18 as well, but in World War I the interval between the soldiers' enlistment and their deployment on the battlefield had been far too brief for training plans to be carried out with thoroughness. In World War II, particularly in the desperate pressure of late 1944 and early 1945, there was again too brief an interval (tragically brief in many cases), but a far better base was laid than in earlier wars, and a far larger number of men provided thereby with the training that they needed before moving off to the theater of operations. Largely this improvement was the result of the draft act passed well over a year before the open declaration of war, combined with the summoning of National Guard regiments capable, despite their thin ranks, of aiding materially in the training work. Fundamentally it was the result of a carefully considered plan for training men, and of a determined effort to carry out that plan in spite of handicaps. This program of methodical training, contrasted with the hasty training of 1918, was one of General Marshall's most important contributions to the Army, and the execution of the plan so far as field necessities allowed must stand as a monument largely to him and to General McNair.


The Obstacles to Training

Some of the handicaps to the plan's fulfillment have been discussed,51  notably the initial paucity of weapons on hand with which the units could train. Another serious handicap was the paucity of officers and noncommissioned officers with adequate experience as troop instructors, and the considerable number who had not yet won their men's confidence.52  Further, there was a disturbing doubt as to whether the emergency called for keeping the best-trained units in reserve as an expeditionary force rather than using them as an ideal training establishment; likewise, an anxiety over whether, in 1941, the whole plan could be carried out, or whether the drafted men and the Reserve officers would be sent home too soon. General McNair stressed the handicap imposed by the time factor itself. In a memorandum to the Chief of Staff in January 1941, when the large new increments of National Guardsmen and trainees were pouring into camp and the training cadres were almost overwhelmed with the task of teaching the fundamentals of discipline and small-unit training, he dealt tartly with a suggestion that the Army should advance its specialized training. He wrote:

The first phase . . . expansion now is conflicting with the second phase training but nevertheless expansion should go on until we have an adequate force in being . . . .

Training must be progressive. Basic and small-unit training cannot be slighted. Combined training in its many modern forms is essential for all units. Finally the coordinated and smooth action of large units is indispensable if we envision decisive operations on a National scale ....

The need for specialized training such as recommended is not questioned, but it should follow-not precede-the basic and general training indicated ....

Subject to compelling international developments, I favor the following general policy:

a. The most rapid possible expansion of our armed forces to a size adequate for our prospective role in world affairs.
b. Then a sound, methodical program of basic and general training at least through the summer of 1941 to include inter-army maneuvers.
c. Then, for those units which demonstrate satisfactory general training, special training to meet the various missions set up by the color plans of the War Department.

In other words, I do not question the need of special training but believe that in general its priority is below both expansion and sound general training . . . . 53


Summer Maneuvers of 1940

The summer maneuvers 1940 came too soon to permit any marked improvement in training techniques, but by bringing together a total of 90,000 troops of the First Army, including Regular and National Guard components, and by offering a natural if unfortunate comparison with current battlefield operations as reported from Europe they evoked far more public attention than had any previous maneuvers, as indicated by the extended accounts in the daily press of that period. It was a public disturbed by discovery that National Guard divisions (the old "square" type), whose wartime strength was listed at 22,000 men each, reported as present an average of 1044 enlisted men each; that in one of these were 3,000 recruits who never previously had attended field training; that a typical division had none of the new light or heavy mortars, none of the new antitank guns, and only one-fourth its quota of new rifles; that another was drilling still in armory-drill fundamentals; that some of the "cannon" used in the maneuver were merely iron pipes; that many of the "tanks" were actually commercial trucks used in simulation for purposes of the exercise; and that "bomber" planes similarly engaged were light observation planes serving an imagined role.54  As simulations for maneuver they served well enough. They also served as demonstrations of the Army's critical needs and gave eloquent support to the Chief of Staff's recent arguments for better armament.

Beyond these deficiencies which met the layman's eye were weaknesses which the professional observers pointed out-the deficiencies in tank and plane formations as well as equipment, deficiencies in defense against these instruments of modern warfare, deficiencies in experience, discipline, leadership, supply, communications, reconnaissance, liaison, sanitation, to list the items mentioned by the official observers.55  An assistant chief of staff reported to his colleagues in Washington that he had "just visited the maneuvers and thought they were lousy. The troops appeared deficient in fundamentals of minor tactics, could not maintain contact with hostile forces, permitted gaps in the line, etc. Combat intelligence was very poor." 56  A distant echo of these judgments appeared a few weeks later in an inconspicuous dispatch from Moscow quoting the Soviet military paper Red Star on the low state of training of the American establish-


ment and continuing: "The potential capacity of American industry is tremendous, but it is much more difficult to teach men to use arms in battle." 57

General Marshall's Attention to Training Program

Certainly every soldier of experience knew the importance of field maneuvers, failure to have which had been one of the most unfortunate consequences of small appropriations over a period of years. In late 1938, as soon as more money appeared faintly over the horizon, the Chief of Staff of that day, General Craig, sent to G-3 his directive for amending plans for the First Army maneuver scheduled for more than a year away (the amendment was for the inclusion of a maximum of the GHQ Air Force in support of ground troops)58

Early attention by the high command to plans for these long-desired maneuvers certainly was to be expected. However, it was equally important that Congress too should recognize the need for maneuvers. Accordingly in his appearances before Congressional committeemen (from whom would be sought support for further appropriations to permit maneuvers) the next Chief of Staff, General Marshall, found it desirable to explain in layman's terms the necessity of peacetime training of both line officers and staff officers in the handling of large units, by maneuvers, and this he did in a series of Congressional hearings 59

He pressed also for joint Army-Navy exercises. In a letter to the Chief of Naval Operations he explained his eagerness for a joint exercise more than a year away, for the training not only of the personnel in the landing operation but of the joint Army-Navy staff in the planning and support. Specifically he wished to simulate such an operation as the Joint Army and Navy War Plans contemplated. A somewhat pathetic touch in the letter, suggestive of the state of affairs in peacetime America already described in Chapter II, was his request that the proposal be regarded as confidential "due to strong local and political pressures to block removal of troops for training concentrations." 60


How far ahead the peacetime Army had to look in its maneuvers planning, because of precise budget exactions, is suggested by a memorandum of November 1939 with regard to maneuvers under consideration for the 1942 fiscal year. The Staff recognized that army maneuvers in all four army areas each year would be "too heavy a load on the National Guard," and also would leave too little time for the Guard's training of smaller units. It therefore contemplated army maneuvers in 1941, but none in 1942 61  Events of the coming months changed all that.

The Chief of Staff's continuing personal attention to the maneuvers and to the lessons extractable from them is indicated by continuing memoranda of instruction to G-3, which had responsibility for the maneuver planning.62  His reliance upon the sound judgment of General McNair in all these matters is shown by a significant communication in December 1940, enclosing General McNair's comments on the recent maneuvers, apologizing for keeping them so long unanswered, and mentioning a number of indicated changes in the draft. The memorandum proceeded

I do not know that any of [the changes I are entirely justified, but I return the papers to you to be reworked and issued at such a time as you think best. The matter need not be referred to me again for approval. Your judgment will be determining.63

In the list of weaknesses that the 1940 maneuvers revealed were few to surprise the General Staff, for they were weaknesses inevitable from inexperience, and the bulk of the junior reserve officers newly attached to troops for the first corps maneuvers had been given scant opportunity to acquire experience. The training schedule that the Staff was now mapping out would remedy that. As for advanced training in the altered techniques which new weapons and new formations would call for, much would have to be done even before the new weapons should come to hand. Accordingly in the Staff offices at Washington there was extended discussion of the work to be done with National Guard personnel during the time remaining before the selective service trainees should become available for assignment to existing units. It was important that when the trainees arrived they should find the waiting personnel of the Guard unit, as of the Regular unit, well trained and disciplined and hence able to


impart knowledge and skill and spirit to the incoming recruits without undue delay. At the General Staff level the discussion on this important matter was of principles and policies only. The techniques were left explicitly to GHQ, which was responsible for training new men as well as old.64  However, the evolving of techniques themselves called for almost continuous discussion of policy. A conversation with General McNair in early October led to an informal memorandum from General Marshall to his principal training officer on the grand plan for getting the National Guard's divisional training well started by starting at the top:

The more I think of the proposition of bringing in the National Guard division staffs ahead of time, the more important it appears to me that we do it. I think they should be out for a full month, and I think they should bring with them their headquarters personnel, and possibly be allowed to fill up to war strength.

A further phase of this might be the bringing in of the brigade headquarters and staff's, and regimental headquarters and staffs, three weeks and two weeks respectively, in advance of their full organizations.

All of this I am assuming will be done on the basis of the quarters being supplied locally in armories, etc.

The various reports of inspectors and your report and the further details that have come to me since I saw you two days ago convince me that much of the trouble will be avoided by something like the foregoing arrangement. Certainly such an advance mobilization of the various controlling headquarters would be a help to corps area commanders in securing necessary data for full provision of supplies and equipment.65

The Timing of Troop Inductions

With legislation complete for the summoning of National Guard and selective service troops the Chief of Staff's Office still had to consider and establish the procedure by which the new personnel would be called to service, transported, supplied, and made available for training, and to do so in the continuing uncertainty of when or whether the training of the mass Army might be interrupted to supply a complete, trained, volunteer corps as an initial expeditionary force. The uncertainty of the primary training objective, which could be altered


almost without notice by a shift in state policy, continued for many months one of the most serious handicaps to the training program.

The program was beset from the beginning with more acute anxieties, elated chiefly to the housing of the National Guard -troops who would be brought to field duty at irregular intervals during autumn and winter, and that of the recruits who were drawn in from civilian life as rapidly as training facilities became available. The housing problem was rendered difficult by the delay in legislation, as General Marshall had warned his Congressional audience it would be. 66  Costs greatly exceeded estimates, in part because of the unpredicted rise of material costs and in part because of the necessary haste of construction against the approach of winter, occasioning both penalty payments for overtime labor and mass employment of ill-trained artisans incapable of doing normal journeyman's work in either quantity or quality. Press criticisms of Army personnel were numerous, but Congressional tolerance of the Army's performance, hampered as it was at times, was impressive evidence of the esteem in which Congress as a whole continued to hold the Chief of Staff, responsible head of the Army establishment. There had been ample understanding of the difficulties that would attend the summoning of the National Guard and the selectees, even before the bills were passed, and many of the difficulties had been explained to Congress at the time. In August, before the subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, for instance, it was explained that the new men would have to be summoned in relatively small blocks-55,000 National Guardsmen in mid-September, 55,000 in mid-October, 65,000 in mid-November, and 40,000 in December,67  a pace which experience had to slow only slightly. The intake of selective service trainees General Marshall had then estimated at 75,000 in mid-October, 115,000 in mid-November, 115,000 in mid-December, and 95,000 in January.68  This intake had to be slowed down considerably.69

By February, when the Chief of Staff went to Congress to defend the requests for new appropriations to cover the greatly increased cost of housing, he knew


approximately what the final costs would be, and was able to argue that the added cost was due to the causes mentioned and not to either inefficiency or waste. 70  With the candor which had repeatedly won for him as an individual and hence for his cause the sympathy of Congressmen traditionally opposed to "militarist" views, he explained that the General Staff had learned much from recent European developments and had altered its early plans to fit the new reality.71  The use of Fort Dix, N. J., as a training center in the northeast, utilizing a large part of the $29,500,000 which General Marshall himself had acquired from the President's fund in order to get construction started swiftly, he now admitted had not been well advised.72  His Congressional audience did not even murmur a criticism, and Congress' own attitude may have guided the public toward patience, for the criticisms of housing costs that had been appearing copiously in the press soon subsided appreciably.

By December 1940 it became apparent to the Staff that the federalizing of the National Guard would be spread over a considerable period (a few units were not summoned until late spring of 1941) and that as a result the units first summoned to duty would complete their scheduled year of service long before the others. The more disturbing realization was that the year of those early units would end long before any large number of non-Guard military units would be in readiness, and long before any large proportion of the Selective Service trainees had been given their year of training. This meant not only that the demobilization of the early Guard divisions would reduce the potential M-Day force to a small, ill-balanced total, but that it would remove from operation a large part of the Army's training mechanism for the Selective Service recruits. This would have a manifestly serious effect upon the entire training program which was only just getting under way.

Extension of Service Term Is Considered

Accordingly, the G-3 section of the Staff began studying plans both for maintaining Selective Service on a continuing basis rather than for the one-year term prescribed in the act of 16 September 1940, and for coping with the situa-


tion when and if the National Guard should in fact go home at the end of its one-year service as contemplated in the act of 27 August 1940.73  When this was discussed at a 13 December 1940 Staff conference the plans for Staff conversations with the British (ABC) were well advanced; also Army and Navy estimates were then contemplating the possibility that America would be in the war by 1 April 1941. It does not appear that either of these extensions of service was then being pressed as a specific plan; rather, that the possibilities were foreseen, and that routine Staff planning against the possible, rather than merely against the assured event, led to consideration of that contingency and how to handle it.

Later in the winter the same possibility occurred to others, and to some of the National Guardsmen themselves, for individual letters of inquiry were addressed to the War Department. In March, when General Marshall was testifying upon appropriations requirements, Representative Joe Starnes asked him the direct question of what was contemplated with reference to the National Guard troops.74  Did General Marshall contemplate keeping them in service longer than the year for which they were summoned? To this the Chief of Staff replied "I would not use the word 'contemplate.' We do not know yet. It depends entirely on the situation. If the Lord is good to us, they will be returned to their homes."75  His questioner apparently had heard rumors of a proposal, in the event the Guard was demobilized, to strip the divisions of their equipment, in order to use it for training the non-Guard divisions. General Marshall gave prompt assurance that, in the event of defederalization of the National Guard divisions, they would be allowed to retain the equipment needed for such of their numbers as were returned to the states: they would not keep the additional equipment which had been provided the divisions for the use of the infiltrated trainees, who were not being sent home.76  Two days later a Washington newspaper stated that the. War Department would ask for a six- to twelve-month extension of Guard duty, and the Department issued a denial of such a plan.77


The official view that there would be need for only the one-year service period, both for National Guardsmen and for selectees, continued dominant in April, when the Chief of Staff made a voluntary statement on that subject before a subcommittee considering the revised military appropriation bill for the fiscal year 1942.78  "Present plans," he said, "contemplate the demobilization of the first increment of the National Guard September 15, 1941; the first increment of trainees will be discharged about the middle of November." He went on to explain that the trainees left behind by demobilization of the Guard would be taken over by Regular Army units existent and yet to be organized. The eighteen Guard divisions would remain in reserve, but not on active duty. The Chief of Staff agreed with a questioner that "there must be further legislation if it should be deemed wise or necessary to hold men beyond 12 months," and proceeded: "The decision does not have to be made until about three months before the first units of the National Guard have completed 12 months of service. That would be in June. Until that time we are going on the assumption that the National Guard will return to its home station at the end of 12 months." 79  Representative Francis Case, a committeeman, revived a suggestion that had already been made on the floor of Congress-that "if we took certain action to authorize convoys, it would create a situation whereby the period of service would be extended automatically." To this the Chief of Staff replied, in what was recognized at the time as a warning:

That is a legal question that I would not attempt to answer now. The situation as I see it is this: Members of the National Guard naturally want to get back to their business if there is not a crisis. They equally expect to remain in the service if the crisis continues. We have, as I have just stated, a plan for adapting ourselves to the circumstance of their returning home. We are also working on plans to adapt ourselves to circumstances of their remaining in active service beyond the period of 12 months. We have gone on the basis that a decision would not have to be reached before June and that final decision will depend on the world situation as it exists at that time.80

The warning, if it was so intended, evoked no immediate comment in the committee nor conspicuously in public discussion as reflected by the newspapers, although correspondence and events of May and June indicate that within the Guard itself there were rumors that the year of service would probably be extended. Queries were so widely and anxiously expressed that on 17 May


Maj. Gen. J. F. Williams, Chief of the Army's National Guard Bureau, wrote to the Chief of Staff: ". . . Ordinary rumor and the continuance of the present grave international situation raise in their [Guardsmen's] minds a doubt as to whether the date of their return will be postponed . . . . Some National Guard Officers feel that their training is inadequate .... The Guard generally is willing to remain in service but desires to know if it is to remain.81 Meantime the Chief of Staff was aware of the dilemma as it affected the upbuilding and training of the defense force. On 5 May Colonel Ward informed him that "if the National Guard Divisions go home" there would be available for other assignment some 143,000 Selective Service trainees who as individuals had been assigned to those divisions but still had some months to serve. "On the other hand, if the National Guard stays in" there later would be need for new trainees to fill the assignments referred to. 82

On 5 June the House committee recommended its record-breaking $9,800,000,000 military appropriation bill, including in it an unprecedented provision permitting the Chief of Staff to order tanks and other equipment for the new Armored Force in the degree he deemed justified, and further provided him what amounted to a blank check for $25,000,000 for other outlay of an emergency character. Added to this evidence of the committee's respect for the Chief of Staff's judgment and responsibility was mention in the accompanying text of the "magnificent job" which he was doing. 83  At the same time the committee made public the recent testimony, quoting General Marshall's significant remark: "I believe that selective service provides the only practical and economical method of maintaining the military force that we inevitably are going to be required to have in the future." 84  With regard to the retention of the National Guard in service, news dispatches of the same day mentioned that decision was yet to be made.85  On 17 June in a press conference at the White House the President confirmed that the government was studying a plan to keep the


National Guard in service for over one year, and that Secretary Stimson was to make him a report on that subject.86 On 20 June General Marshall sent to the Secretary a summary of reasons for a swift decision in behalf of the Guardsmen, their families, and employers, in behalf also of the states that would have to plan on Home Guard organizations if the Guard should be kept in service, and in behalf also of the Army for its personnel planning and for its construction program. 87

Marshall Asks for Retention of Guard, Reserves, and Draft Troops

Four days later the War Department completed its entire report and forwarded it to the President. It asked that the officers and men then in the National Guard, and the Reserve officers then on active duty, be kept in service beyond the stated year. The statement observed that the "War Department has been flooded with queries from the field." It was "presumed" by the press that there would soon be a decision with regard to the trainees as well, and at the Capitol Representative Wadsworth, who had fathered the draft bill a year before, was reported as saying that Congress would quickly authorize an additional year's training for draftees if the administration requested it.88  His forecast in this case was not borne out.

Startling as was this formal decision by the War Department with regard to the Guard and Reserve officers, with the implication of a later announcement about the trainees, it brought almost no public reaction visible in the newspapers of succeeding days. The explanation was simple: the newspapers of 22 June presented reports on a great many things other than the War Department's decision, and some of these other events were of overpowering interest. The State Department had ordered the Italian Embassy to close all Italian consulates in the United States. It also had made public the note denouncing German "piracy" in the sinking of the U. S. S. Robin Moor. And, far more conspicuously, the newspapers of that day reported the opening of the German war on Soviet Russia, the magnitude of which continued for days to distract most public attention from the details of American rearming and at the same time to increase


in many minds the awareness that this rearming would now proceed at swifter pace.89  On 3 July General Marshall issued his first biennial report as Chief of Staff. It was a memorable statement of what had been achieved in two years of Army expansion. It was memorable too for its inclusion of a dignified declaration of what the Chief of Staff now felt to be a requirement of the immediate future and was prepared to ask for in spite of political complications that kept Mr. Roosevelt silent on the subject. What General Marshall sought in the report was "authority to extend the period of service of the selective service men, the officers of the Reserve Corps, and the units of the National Guard." 90  His argument proceeded:

. . . When and where these forces are to serve are questions to be determined by their Commander-in-Chief and the Congress, and should not be confused with the problem of their readiness for service .... The materiel phase of our task is generally understood. The personnel phase is not, and it is here that legal limitations, acceptable at the time of their passage, now hamstring the development of the Army into a force immediately available for whatever defensive measures may be necessary.

He illustrated his argument by reference to the possible necessity of using certain task forces that were in training (it was already reality rather than possibility, but he could not say so). He explained that

. . . the Regular Army divisions contain from 75 to 90 percent Reserve officers whose term of service is legally limited to 12 months. In other words, some 600 officers in a division under the law would soon be entitled to drop their present duties and return to their homes . . . . Must we replace most of the trained officer personnel of a division-the leaders-at the moment of departure for strategic localities? In two of the Regular divisions we have restricted the enlisted personnel to 3-year men but in the others, of necessity, the number of selectees varies from 25 to 50 percent. The problem here is the same as for the Reserve Officer personnel. The National Guard units involve three distinct limitations as to personnel-that for the National Guard unit, that for the 10 percent Reserve officers in their regiments and now being increased, and that pertaining to selectees who comprise more than 50 percent of the men in the ranks. While we may select regular units as the divisional components for task forces, we must utilize National Guard organizations for the special supporting units, antiaircraft, heavy artillery, engineers, etc . . . . Add to this problem the fact that plans for large units must cover every conceivable emergency, based on the means available; that time is required to prepare such a force; and that under present


conditions we must submit these plans to the time-consuming business of public investigation and debate-along with the advertisement of such plans to the world at large-and I submit that the limitations referred to should be removed as quickly as possible if we are to have a fair opportunity to protect ourselves against the coldly calculated, secret and sudden action that might be directed against us. . . 91

The Fierce Fight on Draft Extension

Persuasive as the argument ultimately proved to be, it failed to elicit swift approval, but, instead, evoked the charge that in seeking to extend the draftees' service beyond the originally scheduled twelve months the Army was guilty of a breach of faith. To this charge General Marshall, summoned to - meeting of the Senate Military Affairs Committee, gave swift reply.92  He quoted from the Selective Service and Training Act of 1940: "Each man . . . shall serve for a training and service period of 12 consecutive months unless sooner discharged, except that whenever the Congress has declared that the national interest is imperiled, such 12-month period may be extended by the President to such time as may be necessary in the interests of national defense," and proceeded:

The situation which existed at the time of the passage of the . . . Act is quite different from the situation that confronts us today. That act set up a peacetime training system whereby we would be able to train a large reserve of soldiers. Each soldier, after 12 months of active service, would be transferred to a trained reserve, unless a national emergency existed. In the opinion of the War Department such an emergency now exists . . . .

I do not think anybody at that time (1940) had in mind that . . . we would release the trained men from our forces on the brink of a national emergency. The law itself is quite clear on that point. The question is, Do you think the national interests are imperiled? I do, most decidedly 93

The Staff was warned against action that might even indirectly jeopardize the success of the bill extending the term of service. An example was that of 1 August when WPD, working up the plans for sending troops to Iceland a month later, was considering issuance of a warning to the unit commanders concerned. The Chief of Staff refused to authorize the warning as it "would give away the fact that we were preparing to send troops to Iceland and would


militate against the legislation now being considered by Congress for extension of service." 94

At the time of his biennial report General Marshall had prepared no bill to meet his service-extensions objective, but had merely made his proposal to the Secretary of War, who forwarded it to the President. He offered the Senate committee two alternative solutions to the problem, to pass such a resolution as the 1940 act had contemplated, or to make a revision of the law imposing the restrictions. (The committee elected the latter alternative, offering Senate Joint Resolution 92 to remove the term restriction on selectees and Senate Joint Resolution 93 to authorize extension of service by the Reserve components.) Having sensed that isolationist Congressmen were particularly opposed to authorizing departure of troops from the Western Hemisphere, he had consented to a separate consideration of that recommendation, lest its defeat cost the Army also the extension of the time period.95 Politically this step was well regarded by the insiders, for on 14 July the President discussed the situation at a White House conference with Congressional leaders, General Marshall attending, and although no official statement was issued the newspapers' informed judgment was that the administration was prepared to shelve the recommendation for abolition of territorial restrictions on employment of selectees  96  General Marshall issued no statement of his views, but the same dispatches noted, on an equally informed basis, that the territorial recommendation was merely being shelved for a time, not canceled. The following day, at a press conference, the President indicated his support of the compromise,97  and at the same time portions of General Marshall's testimony before the Senate committee were made public, notably his warning that disbandment or immobilization of large percentages of the forces then in training "might well involve a national tragedy." 98  It was on this occasion that he explained to his hearers the meaning of the term "task force" then coming into current Army use:

. . . I thought it was time that the public should become accustomed to the term .... We determine for a particular, a possible mission the size and composition of the force necessary to carry it out. It may be 5,000, or 15,000, or 30,000. It is, as I have explained, a self-contained, self-supporting force. Instead of waiting until the last moment to assemble


such a force, as we have always done in the past-for the Santiago campaign in Cuba, the Philippines in 1898, for Siberia and Russia in 1918, and for France and Italy in 1917-we are deliberately organizing them now so far as we can foresee the possibility and are training them for their possible employment. The public or the press has confused a "task force" with an A. E. F., and also has added some political implications. The resulting confusion of thought is extremely embarrassing for the War Department, and for me personally. We have been proceeding in as practical and businesslike a manner as possible to discharge our duty of training and preparing our military forces.99

The effort to present the training situation realistically in order to allay alarms aroused by isolationists did not accomplish a great deal to overcome House opposition. This attitude General Marshall had ample opportunity to observe while he was at the Capitol arguing for a bill that would enable the Army to promote competent officers more quickly by discarding the less efficient.100  Even on this reasonably simple issue he encountered an occasional barrier to his progress, as in the case of a stubborn Representative who expressed his fear of Army "injustice." The Congressman illustrated his anxiety with the offhand remark that "General Mitchell was tossed out of the Army on a matter that we all agree on now," upon which the sorely tried Chief of Staff broke in sharply: "Well, I don't agree with you. An army is an army. It must have backbone to it, and a soldier cannot spread himself on the front page of a newspaper, or it is not an army." After another inquiry about "injustice" in general he snapped: "I think you will find the Army has been too fair; in other words we have leaned so far backward in favor of the individual that we have not done right with the Army," and the discussion shortly came back to the point at issue.101 This was a relatively minor matter.

General Marshall's Role in the Legislative Battle

The important question in mid-July was whether the legislation extending the terms of service for National Guard and Reserve officer and Selective Service trainees would pass, and of this there was grave doubt despite the recent confidence of Representative Wadsworth. Apparently no one knew this, or the tactics needed, better than did the politically sagacious Mr. Roosevelt. His watchfulness is referred to in a memorandum which on 16 July General Marshall wrote to the White House, as follows:


With reference to your informal direction to me of last Monday morning, to ascertain the suitable time for a message by you to Congress regarding the removal of the legal limitations now adversely affecting the Army . . . opinion appears to be that a message as soon as possible would be highly desirable; in fact they believe this will be necessary to a favorable consideration . . . . There is evidently a much better understanding of the Seriousness of the situation . . . .102

This appraisal of Congressional sentiment, impressively accurate as time was to show, was much more hopeful than other Army observers were offering at the time. One of the General Staff liaison officers at the Capitol, sampling the views of timid lawmakers, reported a forecast that if the extension bill should come to immediate vote it would lose by five to one. He mentioned that a veteran Congressional secretary in his forty-one years' experience never had seen so much fear of legislation; that a vote for the bill would be political suicide.103

In a situation so threatening, by either appraisal, it appeared that much would depend both upon the Chief of Staff's persuasive arguments in committee and upon the timing of the President's formal support. Until Mr. Roosevelt was ready to throw in the weight of his influence (which finally came in the form of a message on 21 July)104  his desire apparently was to remain wholly out of the fight, for General Marshall continued to accept publicly all responsibility for advocating the legislation, counting perhaps upon Congressmen's repeatedly demonstrated esteem for his military judgments. On the day after his note to the President he again appeared before the Senate Committee on Military Affairs and took his first opportunity to protect the President from charges of "militarism." Reminding his hearers of his previous discussion in the 1 July 1941 report, which had called for immediate action to protect imperiled national interests, he continued:

It might be well to go back to my original recommendation in my biennial report .... It may clarify the atmosphere for me to explain that I made the specific recommendations regarding the extension of the 12-month period of service for the three categories (National Guard, Selective Service, and Reserve officers) purely on the basis of a military necessity . . . . The Commander-in-Chief, that is, the President, had no knowledge that I was going to make them. 105


Later in the hearing, the witness did a little more clarifying

The idea I meant to convey was that the President has been very conservative. It has not been a case of my being overridden, it has been more a case of my accepting that conservative attitude. I find myself in exactly the same relation to my advisors . . . . There is a normal divergence of views. Someone must figure out the correct course, and that is my responsibility in the War Department . . . .

The same situation exists with relation to my dealings with the Commander-in-Chief. All that I was trying to do was to counteract the feeling that some seem to have, that there is a desire on his part to greatly . . . magnify the Army. Quite to the contrary, his attitude has been decidedly conservative. 106

Disarming a potential opposition in the committee, General Marshall took pains to assert his awareness that his responsibilities were military only and that he was seeking to keep his views of military necessity separated as widely as possible from "political considerations which are matters for the consideration of the President and the Congress." 107 He explained by patient and exact illustration the effort which the Army had made to adjust itself to the crippling restrictions of time and territory that the existing law imposed on use of reserve components. Thus, efficiency would have assigned National Guard units to garrison duty in the Atlantic islands, but the law dictated otherwise, and the 6th (Regular) Division had been stripped of half its personnel in order to place volunteers in those areas; the 6th now had to be wholly reconstructed. For Hawaiian assignment no Regular unit was available, and so a National Guard regiment was sent, but now the bulk of its personnel had to be started homeward in order to satisfy the twelve-month limitation, while many of its individual personnel, with terms unexhausted, would remain in the islands for reincorporation in some other unit.108 He pressed for early action on the National Guard resolution, on the ground that otherwise initial steps would have to be taken by 1 August in order to get the men home.109 Indeed, during the July hearings he mentioned several matters not previously stated with such frankness. He was reminded of a recent statement that "you called for the National Guard 2 weeks or a month earlier than you felt was necessary [in 1940], for the purpose of securing the passage of the Selective Service Act," and answered with complete composure:

For the purpose of preventing its defeat. I was very intent on arranging matters in an efficient manner, but I had to send troops intended for New England to camps down in


Texas. It was necessary for me to arrange matters personally in order to meet the legislative situation. I had been reliably informed that had we delayed as much as a week in putting the men in camp we would have been charged with not being ready. We would have had a volunteer system forced on us instead of securing a democratic selective service system, or, at least, the selective service system would have been put off until after election, and then possibly would have been fatally emasculated into some volunteer compromise method. The emergency at that time did not permit of such delay or legislative compromise, in my opinion.

So I had to accept the situation and do the best I could to manage things, accepting all the hazards involved. Later I had to meet the recriminations and criticisms but I expected that.110

In pressing for decision on the National Guard by 1 August he seems to have spoken indiscreetly, for he asserted that "we considered that June I was our deadline on the decision as to the future of the National Guard." 111 This may well have been the General Staff plan and the Chief of Staff's personal judgment; however, he had not won the President's consent to any such proposal on 1 June, and not until his biennial report, published on 3 July, had he himself made any firm public declaration of the need to keep the Guard in service. If his ensuing remark, "However, we did not have a decision on June 1; it is now the middle of July and still we have no decision," was intended as a reproof, it could not with propriety have been directed wholly against the Congress. But the Chief of Staff pressed no further the question of that responsibility. He returned tactfully to the matter at issue with a plea for proceeding "in the same public-spirited manner that marked the passage" of the acts of 1940.112

By example after example he pointed out the difficulty, verging on impossibility, of maintaining the overseas garrisons while the personnel clearly needed for those garrisons was legally not available. The garrison currently in Iceland was made up of Marines for whom the situation did not call. "The troops merely occupy the country. Marines are trained for another purpose, for carrying out landing operations from a fleet against hostile resistance. There was no such situation in Iceland.113 He went on to explain that Marines were used in Iceland because no Army units were available:


We had one division composed almost entirely of 3-year men but that division had approximately 400 Reserve officers in it. We would have had to line them up, as it were, and ask them to volunteer for this purpose. Now there were two objections . . . .

We should not have advertised the movement of that convoy by asking for volunteers. We could not hazard the men on those ships to some hostile act. That was of paramount importance but equally important was the fact that we must not line up a military force to vote on whether or not the individuals will participate in a military operation . . . for if we do we will have moved into the military system of another country which system I do not think we are prepared to copy. An army is an army. It is not a political group. It is not a citizens' meeting.114

These remarks, impressive at the time, were equally applicable later in the year when pacifist-isolationists were urging selectees to write protesting letters to their Congressmen. Of the progress being made by the young Reserve officers at this time the Chief of Staff spoke with admiration, impulsively declaring that "the most valuable asset we have had in this emergency has been the product of the R. O. T. C." and adding that "if we lost these officers at a critical juncture such as now, the result, to my mind, will be catastrophic." 115

Among the noisiest arguments against the extension bill, it now was recognized, were those in behalf of certain drafted troops more than twenty-eight years of age and others whose absence from home was demonstrably causing more hardship at home than benefit to the Army. The Chief of Staff bent his efforts toward removing the reason for these protests and hence whittling away the opposition to his main program. To his Senatorial audience he said:

This plan also permits us to release men whose continued absence from home is causing real hardship. We are planning to accomplish the same general result with the temporary officers of the National Guard. We are planning to do, or we want to do, very much the same thing with regard to the 28-year and older men who are now in the Army under the Selective Training and Service Act. We want to release them and if we are permitted to do it in our own way and in our own time, it can be done without destroying efficiency. If we are forced to release them in accordance with an arbitrary rule the result will be a great loss of efficiency. I repeat that we want to release those men whose continued absence causes undue hardship at home, and we also want to release the men over 28 years of age in the Selective service. Their dilemma does not help their morale or the morale of their associates.116

He was questioned on his intentions as to the size of the new Army. He answered by reminding his questioner that "the amount of money appropri-


ated by Congress limits the size of the Army as we are forbidden by law to create a deficiency for personnel," 117 but proceeded amiably to state that the immediately foreseeable need was for only 150,000 more men than already authorized, to restore the outlines of units recently depleted or wholly exhausted in providing the overseas garrisons. He continued in impromptu apologia for 1940-41 policies in the Army:

My principal concern is with the efficiency of the numbers we now have rather than with a great expansion with a possible superficial result.

I would like to say, however, that I am under constant pressure, and have been for the past year and a half, to demand increases in a very large way for almost every purpose. I have remained flatly opposed to such a procedure, because I have felt that there was the time to permit an orderly development instead of a superficial, hasty one. I wanted to go through the difficult first steps of expansion deliberately rather than hastily. The same idea was applied to money, as to how much money could be efficiently spent, and in the initial phases I was criticized for not asking for enough. My feeling at that time [was] that the situation resembled a kindling fire. If too much wood were piled on suddenly the fire would be put out. I did not want to put out the fire. I wanted to build it gradually to where it could accommodate large quantities of wood. I have been criticized by a great many people in public life, by a great many experts of one kind or another, because they have felt that I have dealt in too small numbers. But we have tried, and I think pretty well succeeded, in going forward in an orderly way rather than in a hasty, superficial manner. Mere numbers do not interest me. I am interested in efficient results.118

Returning to the size of the Army currently contemplated, he warned against regarding this view as unchangeable. "We must not lose sight . . . of the great conflagration in Europe and Asia," he said. "Conditions of warfare are changing with great rapidity and I do not want to create the impression that I am committed indefinitely to an Army of the size indicated regardless of future developments. At the present time, however, I have no intention of recommending a further increase." 119 He then introduced an interesting expansion to his previous defense of moderate increases and the President's part in them:

I would like to state, for the benefit of you gentlemen, that it has been difficult at times to get through the Budget and through the President additional numbers, because of their reluctance to approve large increases. I think it is permissible for me to state that the attitude of the President has been against tremendous increases if it were possible to avoid it. He always demanded convincing proof of the necessity of the increase.

The President cited- I hope it is permissible for me to quote the President without specific permission- he cited the other day at a conference at the White House, his having


required me to reduce the numbers sent to the various bases, because he would not approve garrisons of the size I recommended. While he recognized the possible necessity of increasing them later, he made us reduce our first estimates. His reaction has been reluctance to large increases, which is quite contrary to the impression that seems to be in the minds of a great many people 120

So much from the published record of the period. In amusing, if perhaps irrelevant contrast, is an observation attributed to the Chief of Staff upon this general subject in 1940. On that earlier occasion in Staff conference he mentioned recent instructions by the President to send an additional division to Hawaii and proceeded: "We are opposed to doing this, and the Secretary of War succeeded in stopping it . . . . I saw the Secretary when he returned from the White House and we decided that rather than appearing to disapprove all suggestions made by the President, we might send something . . . ." He asked whether it would be possible to send one National Guard regiment of antiaircraft artillery and received an affirmative answer from his Staff.121 In April 1941, when Mr. Roosevelt was inclined to assign large overseas duties to an Army still insufficiently trained and equipped for such work, and General Marshall's restraining influence was sought by Harry Hopkins, there was another fleeting outburst of irritation with the President and also with the State Department. General Marshall's views on this occasion were almost certainly not intended for the record but they found their way into the files of Staff Conference notes. There it is reported that a conference was being arranged for Mr. Roosevelt so as to "inform him as Commander-in-Chief of national strategy for the future, without regard to politics . . . .122

If there were many such disagreements in prewar days, there is no record to prove it. Certainly in the summer of 1941, fighting vigorously for the extension of the service period of men making up half his new Army, the Chief of Staff avoided mention of discord of any nature, but rather, as on this occasion, dwelt on harmonious relations. He reserved his fire for those organizations and individuals who were trying to use complaints from querulous draftees as a club over wavering Congressmen. Appearing before the House Military Affairs Committee at a time when the resistance to Army proposals was acute, and when sentimentalists were publicly bewailing the difficult life of the reluctant warriors whom the draft had caught, General Marshall spoke at some length


of the problems with which the Army was grappling. He referred to inaccurate newspaper accounts in the recent past and proceeded: "It is exceedingly difficult to develop military forces because soldiers are only human; they read the papers. Like all of us humans, with a little encouragement they can feel very sorry for themselves: 123 He interjected a mildly amusing anecdote from his own experience dealing with the old soldier's excusable habit of complaining of his lot, and then came to grips with the subject that was worrying his hearers:

Today, to have the men stirred up and agitated by outside influence is a most unfortunate business because under those conditions soldiers are very apt to feel sorry for themselves. The business of the soldier as I have found it involves mud, or extreme heat and irritating dust. It involves missing meals, long marches, bad weather, insects and discomforts. It involves a great many inconveniences; it interferes with social affairs and sometimes it very seriously affects personal relationships. All of that is inevitable and is part of the life of the soldier. We have tried in every way in this expansion to avoid the worst of these, to an extent that has never before been attempted . . . .

At the present moment we are undergoing a very depressing, a dangerous experience. Yesterday afternoon I received a radiogram from General Drum that he had issued these orders as Commander of the First Army: "There appears to be an organized effort from some source outside the Army to have petitions signed by members of the military forces and sent to the Congress in an effort to oppose legislation proposed by the War Department to continue the service of the National Guard and the Reserve officers in the service. Any such action by those in military service violates the provisions of Army Regulations."

As you may have read in the press some of these young men were led into this business. We cannot continue to ignore such actions. We must treat them as soldiers; we cannot have a political club and call it an army. I regard these disturbing activities from outside the Army, gentlemen, as sabotage of a dangerous character. 124

Sensing the effect of his dramatic recital, he bluntly informed his hearers that he could not take the whole responsibility for maintaining the morale and discipline of the Army in periods of legislative uncertainty, such as the current one, and asked them to reach an early decision-unless the Congress was prepared to alter the military policy and maintain a large professional Army, than which (as he certainly knew) no solution was further from legislators' minds.125 Delay in action, he warned, would do serious harm to the development of the Army.126 He proceeded with an analysis of the letters of complaint and abuse


that had come to him, without venturing the suggestion that it might apply as well to letters that the Congressmen had received. The analysis showed that the bulk of his letters came from a relatively few citizens, that the post cards in particular used frequent and exact duplication of phraseology, that a petition bearing twenty names was obviously signed by not more than four individuals, that in several cases letters mailed from different addresses were obviously written by the same person.

Pressed by questions from an opposition Congressman who apparently was trying to kill the draft extension bill, the Chief of Staff answered each question clearly and completely, and then nailed down his argument with an unsought answer:

You were talking about the materiel phase being better understood by the public than the personnel phase. I can get billions of dollars with comparative ease, but when I get down to the practical proposition about personnel, then my real difficulties begin. I can go before a committee and get billions, and we have urgently needed them. Also, they appall me in their amount, but the point is, everyone seems willing to do business on those terms. But all of that effort, all of those billions are futile unless you provide the highly trained personnel. 127

Two weeks later the Senate, without great difficulty, passed the act.128 Interest now centered on the split in the House, where the pacifist-isolationist opposition was known to be relatively strong and where there was continuing doubt as to how a few critical votes would be cast. Decision came on 12 August-an eventful day when German troops reached the Black Sea east of Odessa, when Main committed France to collaboration, when Britain and the United States warned Japan to stay out of Thailand, and when the Atlantic Conference of British and American chieftains was in progress. Amid extraordinary excitement the bill with a few unimportant amendments was passed, with only one vote to spare, 203 to 202.129 By that narrow margin a bill without which the American defense would have been gravely crippled finally squeezed through and was sent to the Senate. A political, rather than a military history would record in detail the skill with which the measure was then handled. The House bill was not identical with that which had passed the Senate, and after their breathtaking victory of 12 August, House leaders warned their Senate colleagues that, as repassage by a closely divided House could not be guaranteed, the Senate must accept the House version without alteration. This agreed upon, the Senate


leaders made sure of an impressive majority, larger than legally necessary, by sending airplanes to bring back as many friendly Senators as possible, and, in the case of several who could not return to Washington, arranging to "pair" them with opposition Senators whose votes would thus be neutralized. On the day of the vote two friendly Senators (Harry S. Truman and Sherman Minton) held the floor and thus deferred the vote until given the assurance that a maximum majority was on hand.130 On the day when the bill went to the White House for approval, there was another event of importance: the text of the Roosevelt-Churchill "Atlantic Charter" was made public.

Attention to Soldier Morale

While the fate of the Service extension bill was still uncertain, and when purely political considerations would have called for the greatest caution in relations with the National Guard's leaders, General Marshall, instead, addressed the several division commanders with marked bluntness in informing them of weaknesses within units of the National Guard. This was in a 30 July letter warning them that "the next three months will be the most critical period in the development of National Guard divisions," among which "efficiency varies from excellent to poor," with the general average appearing to be "far too low." He had received critical estimates from GHQ inspectors, from army and corps commanders, and from numerous other observers, "but more generally from an overwhelming reaction through civilian channels." Young officers and noncommissioned officers were deficient in tactical training or general education, and standards of discipline were too low, reflecting the "unwillingness of leaders who knew their subordinates in civil life to hold them to a strict compliance with military orders." Deficiency in methods and capabilities made it necessary to repeat the basic training of some units. Morale was uneven. A "large number" of Guard officers were too old and should be transferred. In contrast no similar reports had come in against Reserve officers. It was, the letter concluded, "imperative that the general standards [of the National Guard be raised immediately." 131

To the problem of soldier morale, there mentioned fleetingly, the Chief of Staff had directed attention consistently since the National Guard call. On the


eve of the draft he addressed a letter to the commanding generals of armies, corps areas, and departments on means of developing a "unified efficient fighting force of citizen soldiers," observing:

First in importance will be the development of a high morale and the building of a sound discipline based on wise leadership and a spirit of mutual cooperation throughout all ranks. Morale, engendered by thoughtful consideration for officers and enlisted men by their commanders will produce a cheerful and understanding subordination of the individual to the good of the team. This is the essence of the American standard of discipline, and it is a primary responsibility of leaders to develop and maintain such a standard. To this end, commanders of all echelons will study and apply the provisions of Mobilization Regulations 1-10, regarding Morale .

. . . It will tax the skill and wisdom of leaders of all ranks to mold these citizen soldiers into a unified Army prepared to accept cheerfully the rigors of long hours of training, the fatigue of marches, and the discomforts and hardships of service in the field . . . .

In accomplishing the foregoing there must be no pampering of individuals, no distinction between men because of their previous military experience or condition of entry into the service. . . 132

There was a continuing pressure on commanding officers to recognize their own responsibility for troop morale, regardless of the supplemental work of "welfare and morale" agencies external to the Army. These agencies (other than the Red Cross, which helped enlisted men in each camp with their personal and family problems) were not installed in the camps because, as General Marshall explained, the Army desired to retain responsibility for morale and recreation.133 This objective was first sought through the Morale Division of the Adjutant General's Office, to which General Marshall referred various suggestions for troop recreation, but early in 1941 the Secretaries of War and Navy appointed a joint Committee on Welfare and Recreation, headed by Frederick Osborn (later commissioned brigadier general), to co-ordinate the leisure-time activities of the recruits. In announcing this, General Marshall made sure that the field commanders would not think their own responsibilities had been lessened, radiograms informing them:

. . . Both the Secretary of War and I are intensely interested in this objective and have assured the committee of utmost cooperation on the part of commanding officers . . . . Obviously nothing must interfere with troop training, but [it is] equally important that leisure-time activities be well organized . . . . Morale is primarily a function of command,


and leisure-time activities in the camps will continue as the full responsibility of and under direction of military commanders . . . .134

The Chief of Staff's desire to keep this activity under his own observation was made clear by a letter to all commanders in March 1941, when the work then being done within the Adjutant General's Office was transferred by secretarial order to a new Morale Branch of the Army which "shall function directly under the supervision and control of the Chief of Staff: 135 Morale officers were to be on the commanders' special staffs and because of "the importance of their staff function" would be diverted by no other duties. That he found time to give personal attention to details in this field is indicated by a memorandum of a few days later, seeking to make sure that newly activated units would have company funds without delay.136 To him The Inspector General made personal report on the state of mind (generally favorable) of drafted men in nine different divisions in the summer of 1941 when they were questioned about their views on an extension of service. With his approval a little later G-4 prepared for the Assistant Secretary's signature a proposal for the Federal Works Agency to establish service clubs in communities adjacent to camps.137 Division commanders were taken to task in an identical personal letter to all, which noted that in many cases selectees suffered "a serious drop in morale" after being transferred from the replacement training camps to tactical units. General Marshall suggested it was due to careless assignment of incoming personnel, that "men have been especially trained as clerks, for example, and have been assigned to duty as truck drivers," and that the "outstandingly high standards of discipline, morale and training" at the training centers should be met or surpassed in tactical units.138


During the trying summer of 1941, when inadequate training facilities brought idle periods in the camps, and these gave rise to querulous letters and newspaper reports, the word "morale," which has a profound meaning to a general, took on a host of inferior meanings in common parlance. G-1 proposed a tightening up of terminology as well as of discipline, and recommended to General Marshall that certain unnamed commanders in high positions should begin putting first things first. Many of them, said the Personnel chief, appeared to put the Army's concerns in this series of priorities: tactical proficiency, technical efficiency, troop leading, recreation and welfare, "real morale." He proposed that they be told that the priority should run, rather: real morale, technical capacity, troop leading, tactical capacity, recreation and welfare.

A great deal has been published and a great amount of time has been expended in the name of morale. However, . . . this effort lies almost entirely in the field of welfare. Real morale, which springs from the pride which an individual feels for the army, and more especially for his unit, has been greatly neglected . . . . The enlisted man's morale is substantially and solidly enhanced if each day he becomes a better soldier and if each day the unit to which he belongs becomes a better military organization.139

G-1 promptly concurred a few weeks later in suggesting that the name of the Morale Branch be changed to Recreation and Welfare Branch, its memorandum again expressing resentment over degeneration of the word "morale." 140 Something of this same attitude was shown by The Inspector General in his report the next month on troop disorders in Alexandria, La., when the end of maneuvers coincided with pay day, with resultant uproar in two divisions. He reported no serious morale situation among the troops but poor disciplinary action by the corps and division commanders. On General Marshall's copy of the radiogram is a penciled note to the Personnel Chief of the General Staff. It reads:

"Haislip- re: IV Corps change. G. C. M."141

This personal attention to morale, under whatever meaning, continued. Under instructions the Secretary of the Staff reminded the Morale Branch chief of the desirability of arranging for camp shows during the winter at the chilly new bases in Newfoundland, Iceland, and Alaska, and of the need for


caring for installations in the Caribbean. That harassed official was also called on for comment on a letter that General Marshall had received from the Commission on Chaplains, stating that the morale officers seemed "pretty much at sea regarding deeper matters which affect morale." In October 1941 the Chief of Staff turned over $206,000 from his contingent fund for operation of the Army recreational camps, and on that precedent a still larger amount was provided during the winter as an advance on the Morale Branch's prospective allotment for recreational activities of the troops overseas.142

If General Marshall's concern over morale had not developed spontaneously, his attention would have been directed to it otherwise, for the subject was inevitably a matter of common discussion. From the Under Secretary of War in mid-August came a memorandum, with accompanying papers, containing suggestions so far-reaching that the paper was circulated through the Staff for examination. To it General Marshall himself made reply analyzing the causes of low morale, particularly in National Guard divisions:

. . . Morale is a function of command. Therefore, as far as the efforts of the Army itself are concerned, the initial corrective measure to be undertaken is improvement of officer personnel. We are attempting to accomplish this not only by elimination of the incompetent but, of greater importance, by gradually sending all our officers to the service schools . . . .

The Regular Army is not bothered by poor morale because its officers have attained professional knowledge either at schools or through practical experience. National Guard officers have not had these opportunities . . . . Of approximately 25,000 . . . only 6,800 have completed a course of instruction at a service school . . . . At the Infantry School there are now 2,450 officers undergoing instruction. Of this number 1,400 are National Guard officers and 600 are Reserve officers . . . .

. . . Considering the limited training facilities and equipment available and also a scarcity of qualified instructors, I do not feel that we can both increase the number of officer candidates and pursue a policy of educating officers now on the rolls. As a measure for increasing efficiency and morale, I consider the latter project to be far more important.143

This view that morale was a function of command, and that efficient officers were a first need, found support in another report from the field which was given to General Marshall by The Inspector General. It sprang from a dis-


cussion by the son of the executive officer of that department, the son being a trainee of eight months' service. The youth reported the majority of the enlisted men in his division to have been so low in spirit that they contemplated absenting themselves without leave: the timely arrival of a veteran Regular as commanding general of the division had been followed by increased consideration of the enlisted men, better facilities for their leisure time, better administrative procedure-and a complete change in the men's attitude.144

To assist the officers in performing this particular function of command, as well as to develop among the soldiers themselves a larger sense of their responsibility, General Marshall encouraged greater use of the opportunity that the field maneuvers afforded. The lack of weapons and other equipment, the slowness of developing air-ground liaison, the lag in mechanization, all were apparent to enlisted men as well as observers. Beyond this, General Marshall became conscious that the ranks were densely ignorant of the tactical purpose of the maneuvers in which they themselves were engaged and resultingly critical of their own and higher commanders. To remedy this situation to some degree the Chief of Staff impressed on the army commanders the good that would be served by having company officers inform their men of the maneuver situation in which they were a part, and of the value of maneuvers, even with simulated arms, in training the command itself.145 On the following day he instructed The Inspector General to observe whether, as a result, the enlisted men were receiving any such instruction, and within two weeks had a report showing wide variation in the results.146 Accordingly, at the next maneuver he reminded the field commanders to "take steps to insure that officers of all echelons take positive action" in this respect, and a month later circulated among various commands the letter in which he had commended Lt. Gen. Ben Lear of the Second Army for his effective compliance. General Marshall was convinced that "we will have no trouble with morale if the men themselves understand what they are doing and the reasons why they are doing it.147


Last and Largest Maneuvers of the Prewar Period

The August maneuvers of the new Army, planned months before as a step in the large-unit training sequence, were already under way when the Congress was considering the extension bill and a few days after its passage the maneuvers of the Third Army were completed. The official observers again noted serious defects whether viewed against a background of modern conditions or against the standards common to armies in wars past. Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger, commanding the Third Army, noted the troops' "stupid disregard" for the requirements that modern aerial warfare now imposed upon road discipline and dispersal routine; Maj. Gen. George V. Strong, commanding the VIII Corps, spoke sharply of the poor leadership asserted by many of the officers.148 But the next month, September, brought the great maneuvers in the Louisiana-Texas area, employing 400,000 men of the Second and Third Field Armies, by far the largest the Army had ever held and the last, save one, of the large maneuvers to be held in the prewar training area.149 By this time there was a better basis for training, thanks to the August legislation. The threat of losing both the National Guard personnel and the Selective Service trainees as soon as their individual terms of twelve months were served, was now thought- mistakenly150- to be a thing of the past, for under the terms of the new act, all these recruits would be subject to retention for a total of two and a half years.

Accordingly, maneuvers that had been planned in the disturbing fog of uncertainty now could be conducted with understandable confidence that the trainees of all ranks would remain in the Army long enough to warrant this systematic training. Field commanders whose immediate concern hitherto had been with the indoctrination of recruits with the first principles of soldier discipline and with the rudiments of field work by small units, were reminded by the Chief of Staff that the second stage was at hand.151 They no longer would


receive in their units almost raw recruits but men qualified in basic training. The immediate problem was a correction in fundamental weaknesses disclosed at the recent maneuvers, plus a tightening of discipline, and the Army could now make better progress toward field efficiency than had previously been possible. Inferentially the field commanders could begin to think for the future in terms of tactical operations, with experienced officers in charge of disciplined troops provided with new weapons and ready to be employed in the new-type organizations toward which the Army had previously been working experimentally. More attention could now be given to soldier athletics and other diversions as set out in Army Regulations 210-10 and to public parades too, which meant that there should be more attention to individual soldierly appearance and good conduct.

The triangular infantry division, the swifter and more powerful armored unit, the wholly mechanized transportation, the airborne detachment in fledgling form, the incipient mountain-trained battalion, the task force created for special missions including amphibian operations, all these now were realities.

The air elements, replacing each augmentation with a larger one, were increasing in numbers, efficiency, and ambitions. Their pilots were seven times as numerous in late 1941 as they had been when Poland was invaded, and the once "impossible" program of 30,000 pilots a year was about to be replaced by a new program for 37,000 a year. Most significant of all was the fact that the air establishment was about to take its place as the equal of the Army's ground force.

The three incomplete infantry divisions that General Marshall had mentioned as the force available in 1939 were now changed to thirty going divisions complete in numbers and improving in quality, backed by six armored divisions.

The old cavalry units had been converted variously into infantry or artillery or armor or reconnaissance units, plus one vestigial type that lingered briefly; this was a "horse-portee" unit, in which the horses were bodily transported in motor vans for the long road hauls and then unloaded for use in local reconnaissance. This device, totally abandoned in February of 1942 as fantastic, was the last effective struggle made by the American cavalryman in behalf of his horse's place in the overseas combat forces. For decades the mounted service had been the mainstay of frontier fighting and the school in which some of the Army's most distinguished and aggressive field commanders both in World War I and World War II had received their tactical training; the horse cavalry


now was finished as a major arm, but the boldness and resourcefulness that had been the essence of cavalry doctrine were carried over into the doctrines both of the mechanized reconnaissance elements and of the armored force, with glorious results to be harvested in the 1944 campaign across France.152

With seeming assurance at last that personnel would remain in service as needed, the Army was now free to fit itself for all kinds of combat and to assume something of the shape that the Staff had been industriously designing for it. The 400,000-man maneuvers proceeded in the better state of mind that this circumstance created for the command-and to some extent for the rank and file as well, it would seem, for the published whinings about the soldiers' sorrows and about the mud or dust perceptibly dwindled. Newspaper columns recorded, rather, the exploits of the men engaged in the mock maneuvers of the Second and Third Armies in the Sabine River valley. General Marshall's comment on the situation, following his brief visit there, was that "morale is mending." 153

The next maneuvers, in the Carolina area, employed fewer troops but made more concentrated use of armor and for this reason were of lively interest to Washington. On their termination the Secretary of War summoned a conference in his office "to familiarize the officers present with the lessons which had been learned from the maneuvers and to exchange views, also to determine the most important training plans for the Army for the coming year." 154 Held on 3 December 1941, this conference reveals the points of largest concern to the Department in the realm of troop training less than a week before the declaration of war. Among those present in Mr. Stimson's office were Under Secretary Patterson, Assistant Secretary John J. McCloy, Assistant Secretary for Air Robert A. Lovett, the Chief of Staff, and all three Deputies (Generals Bryden, Moore, and Arnold), the Chief of Staff, GHQ (General McNair), and his Deputy (General Clark), whose large function was troop training. The record of the meeting touches on these points:

(1) There was still dissatisfaction with the training of small units, and this training was to be stressed in coming months.


(2) The outstanding question was the struggle between tank and antitank, fairly well tested in Carolina by the use of 865 tanks and armored cars, against 764 mobile antitank guns and 3,557 other pieces of artillery; 155 the tactical employment of antitank weapons called for restudy, armored units likewise had not been sufficiently massed for field operation, and there was a demonstrated need for a higher ratio of medium tanks.

(3) The horse units had not proved their value.

(4) Tactical air forces were poorly co-ordinated with the ground units they were to support.

(5) Motor transport was used without a realistic sense of limitations that actual field maintenance would impose.

(6) Larger and earlier use of mines was called for.

(7) Radio communications from ground to air were "awful," in General Arnold's judgment.

(8) Communications generally were too slow.

In the main, the maneuvers were declared to be better than earlier maneuvers, which was to be hoped for at this late date, and there was a difference of the judgments of air and ground officers as to the responsibility for the admittedly poor co-ordination of those elements. One hopeful situation was pointed out: the ammunition plants were beginning to function more fully, and during the winter there would come to hand a far better supply of small arms cartridges for the training of the troops.

On this theme the War Department ended the maneuver season of 1941 and looked toward training plans for 1942. The succeeding week end provided the Pearl Harbor disaster and a new theme.


page created 12 December 2002


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