tv George C. Marshall World War I CSPAN July 3, 2018 5:07pm-5:55pm EDT
the bottle of mixing guns and religion in almost any society, it's usually been problematic. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." we continue our look on american history tv on how the first world war influenced the military leaders of the second world war. up next, a conversation on how george c. marshall's early experiences with military logistics helped prepare him for his assignment as army chief of staff during world war ii. this is from the macarthur memorial. it's about 45 minutes. >> i think one of the things we know is most of us know quite a bit about eisenhower. most of us know quite a bit about harry truman, give 'em hell, the buck stops here. most of us in this crowd know quite a bit about general macarthur. but george c. marshall, perhaps a little bit less. i think he's one of those people that our country, some might say is blessed, some might say is
lucky, had the right person at the right time to do the right job. i got to talk to jeffrey a little bit in the break, i enjoyed that very much. jeffrey kozak has served as the director of archives at the george c. marshall foundation since august of 2015. he's led the effort to digitize the library's vast collection of records relating to george c. marshall. and he's also continued the library's mission of providing assistance to library patrons, while managing the over 300 manuscript collections in the archives, he also manages the marshall legacy series, a multiyear examination of marshall's legacy. let's welcome jeffrey kozak. [ applause ]
>> all right. before i get started this afternoon, i would like to thank dr. chris kolikowsky and the rest of the macarthur memorial staff for running the symposium today. in a letter to then brigadier general mcnair dated march 4th, 1939, regarding the limited effectiveness of instruction at ft. leaven worth, george c. marshall wrote, with relation to the last-named force, in this instance the national guard, i think our instruction is most effective and for these reasons. we must be prepared the next time we are involved in a war to fight immediately, that is, within a few weeks, somewhere and somehow. now, that means we will have to depl employ the national guard for that instance. marshall continued the letter by saying the army should be
preparing its officers to lead partially trained, understrength units with limited supplies rather than completion organizations of trained troops that would take six months to one year to perform. he stressed the key to mobilizing the national guard units was official training and simple borders. marshall shared his opinions with mcnair. the man with whom he shared living quarters in the first infantry division in 1917 is worth noting. recalling their departure in an interview, marshall said, we discovered we had units on paper that we had never seen or heard of. i remember the trench mortar units and several others. we had never heard of them and they were on our papers but there were no weapons and there was no unit. we were organizing on the ocean. it was a demonstration of complete and utter unpreparedness such as i had never dreamt in my life. the above episode as well as
many other incidents of the u.s. army's unpreparedness for the great wear left a big impressio on marshall. throughout the next two decades he was unwavering in his efforts to make sure the army did not repeat its mistakes the next time it went to war. he pointed to his experiences as well as that of the army in world war i. on the day of the united states entry into world war i, captain george c. marshall was stationed in san francisco. a few days later, general bell received orders to command the department of the east and by the end of the month marshall was en route to the department's headquarters at governors island, new york. when he arrived, marshall immediately set to work on the selection of candidates for the officers training camps. the organization of these camps and the determination of the number of cantonment sites to be
located in the eastern department. in what would become a recurring problem for marshall throughout the war, he mentioned the difficulty he encountered in obtaining the most basic supplies such as mattresses and pillows for the training camps. he wrote, the market had been completely gutted by the allies and it was next to impossible to secure anything on the eastern seaboard. mattresses were unobtainable east of chicago. in the short time available prior to the opening of the camps on may 15th necessitated all shipments being made by express. as a matter of fact, the pathetic difficulties we encountered to accommodate 40,000 men were an impressive demonstration of our complete state of unpreparedness. on may 28th, marshall along with general bell had the distinction of escorting general measupersh and his staff to the departure.
brigadier general seiber had requested marshall's services. marshall worked quickly to make the necessary preparations for his departure for france. marshall boarded the transport vessel. in the course of his work he learned that many of the men in the division had only received their rifles after they had completed their training and why boarding trains for their transports. the division was about 20% of the original. the rest of the regiment had been taken to form new regiments. marshall said later, 20% of these regiments were recruits. they had no knowledge of how to drill or how to handle their rifles. they were 20% of the strength of the companies. this was hardly the unit that should have been responsible for making the first impression of the u.s. army in europe. but the reality was that the
army did not have any alternatives. the arrival of the first division in france created the additional challenge for marshall and his colleagues of convincing the allies that the u.s. army was capable of fighting as an independent force. after the ship had docked and the soldiers disembarked and marched through the town, marshall could not help but notice their few traces of formal discipline, creating the impression in the minds of the french officials that our soldiers looked like the rawest of territorial units. the first division was relocated to its designated training area. the french were eager to begin training the american units so they could join the fighting as soon as possible. the trouble with this, as marshall explained, was the french divisions whose headquarters was quartered with us was trying to take up our training in trench warfare and we hadn't even been trained in
squads left and squads right. and we were trying to get organized in supplies. they still needed training in basic american military principles. in order to satisfy both french and american demands, the division adopted a program in which half the day was devoted to american training while the other half was devoted to the more advanced french training. the training was also complicated by the long distance between the billets and the training grounds as well as the absence of vehicles to transport them. marshall recalled, the division at the time was scattered over a strip of country about 30 miles long and 20 miles wide. there were no motor vehicles of any kind. two units i found had been marching all day to get back to their billets before dark. i managed to catch them on the road at the end of the march and they had to march all night to get to the place for this review. one of the most formidable moments in marshall's world war i experience took place in a
visit by general pershing to observe an exercise in trench warfare. pershing gave everybody hell. marshall, who had not yet learned to control his temper, decided it was time for him to make his sacrifice play. when marshall approached general pershing he recalled that the general didn't want to talk to to me. he shrugged his shoulders and turned away. i put my hand on his arm and practically forced him to talk. marshall did not recall exactly what he said but he had what he called a rather inspired moment. general pershing said, you must appreciate the troubles we have. marshall replied, yes, again, general, but we have them every day and many a day and have to solve every one of them by night. fortunately for marshall, general pershing did not punish him. rather, he arranged to speak with marshall when he came to the first division to get marshall's views on its status. marshall soon received orders to arrange cantonment sites for four additional divisions.
to complete this task marshall had to figure out what was required in the way of mess halls and bunk houses and hospital buildings and everything of that sort. nobody advised me, marshall recalled. they didn't have time. they just told me to do it. marshall didn't realize that nobody had fixed anything up for the first division which meant marshall's own division was behind all the others in getting the necessary things. because of the intensity of the training, there was little time to work on other projects. marshall noted that the soldiers ate in the rain and mud for a month or two under miserable conditions because they didn't have anything to even put a shelter up or a roof in which to serve the food. kitchens were out in the weather, and the men were out in the weather, except as to their billets which were largely in barnes. in august 1917, marshall received a promotion to the rank of major. with the training program of the first division fairly well-established, marshall now confronted a different kind of challenge, relations with the french. one early encounter occurred when the unit responsible for
training the first division was replaced. general bordeaux, the commander of the 18th french division, intended to repeat much of the training the first division had already repeated as well as conduct a number of demonstrations that marshall believed were of little use. despite marshall's attempts to reach a compromise, general bordeaux refused to consider any alteration to his training program. marshall wrote al letter that general bordeaux could not accommodate himself, we would have to go our own way. the threat of ceasing additional french training was enough to convince general bordeaux to agree to the terms that marshall had outlined in the letter. over the next month, pressure to get american soldiers into combat mounted. at the beginning of september, george clemenseau, not yet prime minister, showed up to speak with general seibar.
mar marshall, who was present for the meeting, recalled that clemenseau proposed having american troops be sent to a very quiet front to gain experience in the trenches with veteran french troops to assist them. general psych psych agreseibar only general pershing had the authority to approve or reject the proposal. clemenseau said he had begun to doubt the good faith of the united states because months had passed and no american troops had ever been seen. he continued, the americans must enter the battle and make some sacrifice to prove to french soldiers that they meant business and were there to fight to the general. general seibar said to put partially trained americans into battle and risk the possibility of defeat would have much greater negative consequences than those the allies presently
faced. general seibar remarked that the pressure from clemenseau would most likely force american troops to go to the front earlier than planned. he was correct and the first americans arrived at the front on october 20th. cognizant of the immense pressure the u.s. army faced to join the fighting, the pace of training increased. marshall was also involved in acquiring the necessary equipment such as horses, trucks, rolling kitchens, and more. marshall noted the training and trench warfare was particularly unpleasant because the cold weather left the trenches filled with water and many of the soldiers only had a single pair of shoes. marshall saw men with feet wrapped in gunnysacks. while marshall's vehicle was waiting in front of french division headquarters, marshall once again encountered general bordeaux who informed him of the first american casualties. frustrated with the reports they received from the regimen tal
and battalion headquarters, general bordeaux and marshall traveled to the location of the raid to investigate the matter for themselves. while examining the sight, general bordeaux was interested in knowing whether the american soldiers had made a significantly determined resistance. marshall responded to general bordeaux that he need entertain no fears with regard to the fighting of our men and went on to question the problematic order which had prohibited american patrols from going beyond their own wire. when marshall mentioned the possibility of bringing the matter to general pershing's attention, general bordeaux ceased further inquiry on the subject. by the end of november, all of the troops of the first division had completed their trench duty. the units were then ready to enter the final phase of their training companies. a series of open warfare maneuvers. the limited supplies available to the division created numerous difficulties for the soldiers. marshall noted that we lack transportation to shorten their marches and to carry them additional comfort such as firewood and extra blankets during the maneuvers that were being conducted in it open areas
where the soldiers were constantly exposed to the elements. marshall referred to this particularly difficult period as the winter of valley forge. it allowed marshall to appreciate the importance of maintaining high morale among the officers. marshall noted that even the officers had become much depressed as a result of the winter gloom and cold and the disheartening news which circulated regarding the progress of the war. this period marked the transfer of command of the first division from general seibar to general bullard, who informed the division it would be going to the front under the direction of general monroe. this was the first appearance of a complete american division on the front. without any trucks at their disposal, the soldiers of the first division had to march all the way to their new destination. the weather, as it had been most of the winter, was particularly poor. it took the division five days to complete the march. once the division was settled in
the sector, marshall turned his attention to working on new plans for disposition of the troops and familiarizing himself with the sector by frequent tours to the front. during one of his visits, marshall noticed the germans where firing particularly heavy artillery at infrequent intervals. he consulted with the french liaison officer with the first division, who suggested that it was probably registration fire, as registration fire was usually an indication of a possible raid, marshall drafted a memorandum to the units in the area instructing them to withdraw from their forward trenches during the night and only return to them in daylight. the raid that marshall anticipated occurred on the morning of march 1st and the americans successfully drove the attacking germans out of the area. marshall recalled that the result was apparently tremendously reassuring to the higher french officials. the french were so pleased that prime minister clemenseau once again visited, this time to
award of croix de guerre to those soldiers who fought particularly well. the first division immediately began making preparations to move. after the division had received its orders, it underwent final training exercises before moving to the front. general pershing visited the division to review the exercises and later address the officers. the way that general pershing conducted himself in such a trying situation made a great impression on marshall, who reflected, surrendering direct control of his troops which he had a so vigorously maintained in the face of repeated endeavors to prevent the formation of an american army, he released them to be scattered over 400 miles of front, temporarily jeopardizing his own and even american prestige, i laid all his cards on the table and directed every move towards the salvage of the allied wreck. marshall took note of pershing's
demeanor f demeanor, saying, he radiated will to win. his manner fired the officers of the first division with a determination to overcome the enemy wherever encountered. the first division completed its move to the front on april 26th. near the first division nor its enemies launched an attack. marshall noted, the losses in officers were particularly heavy as it was necessary for them to move about to oversee their men. most of the captains of the machine gun companies had been killed or wounded within ten days of being at the front. and among the field officers, two lieutenant colonels were killed and two wounded in very little time. as marshall and the rest of the division adjusted to their new situation, he continued to dwell on the fact that the daily casualty list created a feeling in each man's mind that he had but a small chance of coming through unscathed. in may, the division was given the task of capturing the
heights of canteeni, which marshall termed a new and distinctly american operation. marshall visited several times to perform reconnaissance on the terrain. the germans had broken through opposition on their advance which resulted in the withdrawal of french artillery and supporting units taking part in the cantini operation. despite these problems, marshall understood what was at stake. he acknowledged, cantini was but a small incident while the great disaster further south befalling our allies was hourly amassing more serious proportions. the germans counterattacked twice on the 28th and continued their efforts to drive the americans out of the town for three additional days. the germans mounted such a fierce counterattack despite the fact that the town had no strategic importance because this first american offensive had been ordered primarily for
its purpose on the effect on the english and french armies. marshall said, for the first division to lose its objective was unthinkable and would have had a most depressing effect on the morale of our army and our allies. for similar reasons, the germans were eager to overthrow our first success and demonstrate to the world that the american soldier was of poorer stuff than the german. at the conclusion of the operation, first division still held cantini and the germans never reoccupied it for the remainder of the war. marshall's service with the first division ended on july 12th when he received orders to proceed to general headquarters for service with the operations section of the general staff. marshall had hoped that his next orders would have been to command a regiment in the division. but unfortunately for him, the assignment to general headquarters not only removed this possibility, it also removed him from the front. marshall arrived on the evening of july 13th and was given a room in the house of chief of operations fox connor.
it took time for marshall to adjust to the plans he was assigned to work out as part of the general headquarters staff. marshall observed, these new associates had been working for a year on the plans of organizing for an army of several million men. questions of ocean tonnage, ports of debarkation, construction of docks, these filled our minds every day. the problem of securing french 75s and british heavy artillery, the manufacture of tanks and our complicated relations with the french and english were ordinary topics of conversation and discussion. marshall transitcontrasted this his service in the first division where he had struggled with feeding, clothing, training, and marching the men. their health and morale a daily issue, their dead and wounded a daily tragedy. he continued, huge projects for the future made no appeal to us. we wanted trained replacements to fill the ranks, more ammunition and horses.
marshall's first assignment was to gather as much information as he could and begin to develop a plan to reduce it. by august 6th he had completed a preliminary study that called for the participation of four american divisions and three additional divisions in reserve. planning for the operation provided marshall with another glimpse into the challenges of alliance warfare. as the situations changed on the british and french fronts, the number of available divisions was constantly in flux. with each change, marshall had to make adjustments to his operations plan. over the course of air week, marshall submitted plans based on the availability of 10, 14, and 17 divisions respectively. marshall's presence during foche's visit was another instructive encounter for marshall regarding allied cooperation. the purpose of foche's visit was the possibility of abandoning
the operation as well as to discuss the possibility of splitting the newly-formed american army. foche's main concern was that the american units would not be in position in time for the offensive. general pershing suggested the american army conduct both operations. at their final meeting, foche and pershing agreed to limit the scope of the operation. marshall updated his plans accordingly. as a result of the tight timeline that the u.s. army faced for getting troops in position for the opening of the offensive, marshall turned his attention to the problem of moving the divisions as soon as he could. the operation involved the movement of approximately 500,000 men, and 900,000 tons of supplies and ammunition 40 miles. the movement of all these men and supplies had to be
coordinated with the withdrawal of the french divisions at the front. the availability of only three roads over which the movement of troops and supplies could be accomplished added further complication to the task. marshall's successful planning and execution of such a large and complex operation gave him a reputation as a master low gist technician and earned him the nickname "the wizard." the beginning of the offensive in late september saw marshall in a task that would keep him busy through the armistice and beyond. marshall had to move american divisions around the front. marshall's experiences in world war i were unique in that his work with the first division provided him with an appreciation of the immediate problems that infantries and their officers face. on the other hand, his work at general headquarters helped him understand that divisions and battalions were small pieces of the u.s. army, and the way
logistics, supplies, and alliances affected the army. the countless formative experiences marshall had do you think the war that influenced his efforts to modernize the u.s. army tended to fall into one of four main categories. preparedness, which includes the training and equipping of soldiers, alliance warfare, c h casualties, and morale. a good starting point for the examination of the preparedness of the u.s. army is the attack on cantini, the first american-led offensive of the war which began on may 28th, 1918. the 100th anniversary for this attack for which marshall was the chief planner will occur later this month. the cantini operation did not occur until 13 months after the u.s. declared war and 11 months after the division's first arrival in france. what caused the division to take nearly one year to join the fight? organizing the unit and bringing it up to full strength and, of course, training the soldiers. marshall appreciated as much as his fellow officers the importance of ensuring that soldiers received adequate training so that they would be
successful on the battlefield. as a tireless advocate for preparedness, marshall realized, as his 1939 letter to leslie mcnair indicates, that in the future the united states army may not have the luxury of waiting a year to enter combat. marshall examined ways to increase efficiency in training without sacrificing quality. he eventually realized the best way to guarantee access to a trained fighting force was to institute peacetime training. marshall realized the american public would never be supportive of having a large standing army. so when he returned to the united states following world war i, he became a strong supporter of compulsory military training. he believed it provided the best opportunity for rapid mobilization. he continued to advocate for some form of universal military training for the rest of his career but never garnered enough congressional or public support. as chief of staff, marshall also supported the effort to institute a peacetime draft of 1940, because of the possibility
it afforded to mobilize more quickly if the u.s. entered the war. marshall's concern with the training of soldiers was not only that they had adequate time to complete a training program but that the content of the training program reflected the realities of war. during world war i, marshall witnessed the speed at which situations evolved and the need for officers to make decisions with limited information. this stood in stark contrast to the instruction many officers received in the army school system where an emphasis was placed on writing five-paragraph orders and solving class exercises with accurate and detailed maps. marshall realized officers would not have the luxury of dictating lengthy orders or have access to detailed maps. when he became assistant commandant in 1947, he set out to completely overhaul the infantry school so the course of instruction resembled the realities of modern warfare. he had students conduct
exercises with a incorrect map or no map at all and encouraged students to come up with creative ways to solve problems. marshall worked to ensure this teaching philosophy was adopted by other training sites. marshall was determined that after going through their training, u.s. soldiers would be able to overcome any challenges they encountered on the battlefield. marshall's experiences during world war i taught him that ensuring soldiers were adequately trained is only one part of preparedness. soldiers need to be properly t outfitted andy equipped for their duty. many soldiers only received their rifles prior to boarding the train. marshall recognized the training they received was only marginally helpful and now would have to be repeated now that they had their rifles. had the personnel been available for the machine gun and .37
millimeter weapons, it left him in a difficult position of having to borrow these important pieces of equipment from the british and the french. this was problematic because these essential components could be removed from operation at a moment's notice if it was determined they were needed for another operation that was considered a higher priority. marshall's encounters with french and british leadership during world war i became invaluable when he became chief of staff. marshall knew the allies' ideas of how to achieve victory differed greatly. it is not surprising the allies had to put forth considerable effort to reach a consensus. the leadership of general pershing helped marshall to understand situations in which it may be necessary to stand
firm on a decision and the times it is best to yield to the wishes of others. the number of casualties that the u.s. army sustained during world war i had a profound impact on marshall and his leadership during world war ii. throughout marshall's memoirs he frequently commented on the frequency and number of casualties. starting with the can cantini operation, the u.s. army was engaged in active combat for 200 days. during this period the number of americans killed was more than 50,000. in the final three months, the number of u.s. soldiers killed was around 17,000 per month and the number of soldiers killed rose from 1,000 per week to 2,000 per week in september and reached a peak of 6,000 during the first week in october as a result of the offensive. marshall described the expectations for casualties in this way. about 50,000 casualties was the percentage normally to be expected and hospitalization was prepared accordingly. nevertheless, if we suffer that many casualties during the brief
period involved, the american people, not accustomed as our allies to huge payments of human life, would have seized upon the criticism of any allied official as a basis for condemning our own commander in chief. marshall understood as casualties increased, public support for war decreased. marshall kept this in the forefront of his mind as well as president roosevelt's during world war ii and it was why his primary objective was to end the war as quickly as possible with the smallest number of casualties. marshall was keenly aware of the plight of the infantry soldier. marshall had observed the difficulties the soldiers faced because the u.s. army was disorganized and unprepared for war. marshall knew much of what they endured was particularly difficult because they found themselves defending a foreign land and fighting a war they may not have understood completely. because of this, marshall took the issue of morale very seriously. he went to great lengths to make
sure that he did everything in his power to have high levels of morale during world war ii, from supporting uso tours and other forms of entertainment for soldiers stationed overseas, to the v-mail program and even setting up post exchanges at the front to sell tobacco and coca-cola. marshall never allowed sales of comfort items to begin in the rear, because he knew the resentment it would have caused. fox connor who oversaw marshall while serving as head of the operations section of the general headquarters, paid marshall the ultimate tribute when you offered the following device to dwight eisenhower. he said, there is a man near genius and if war comes again, which it is going to come and it will probably be in your time, you can do no better than to tie yourself to general marshall because he is a man who can fight the war because he understands it. marshall's world war i
experiences solidified his reputation as a competent staff officer and master logistician, revealed the difficulties of raising and equipping an army and introduced him to new strategies and tactics. over time the american public's memory of the war would focus on victories and gloss over the mistakes and wasteful sacrifices. marshall drew heavily from his experiences during the conflict to ensure the u.s. army would be better prepared in the future than it had been for world war i. thank you. [ applause ] i would be happy to answer any questions you may have. >> would you say that marshall's
experience in the post-world- r post-world-war-i armistice period helped inform his rebuilding of europe at the end of the second world war? can you expound on that a little bit? >> yes. when the armistice went into effect, marshall was still on general pershing's staff. so he remained in france while the armistice negotiations were going on. and really i guess the impact of marshall's experience with that is -- kind of multiplies on a number of levels. witnessed the widespread destruction that took place in france and germany during the war, he sees all that, he understands what post-war countries look like. in addition to that, there is also the emphasis during the armistice negotiations on treating germany as the at-fault
party in the conflict and punishing them accordingly. that's something that's very different from what the marshall plan ends up doing, just because rather than -- again, when germany is defeated during world war ii, rather than -- which is the natural human kind of philosophy, in a way, you started this war, you caused all this sacrifice of life, you should be punished for this in a way that you'll never want to -- this will never come up again. it was very counter for the u.s. to offer aid and assistance to the country as one that had been responsible for starting the war. marshall also, kind of a little bit more of a little-known fact of marshall, in that post-world-war-i period, and it was actually when douglas macarthur had stationed marshall out in chicago to be the senior instructor for the illinois national guard, he met charles
dawes who had proposed a similar plan to the marshall plan in the 1920s, but it was privately funded, so it was a way to interject cash flow into germany to help them recover from the devastation that had occurred during world war i. so kind of the synthesis of all of these various factors certainly went into what marshall was thinking about when he surveyed europe in '45 and '46 and '47 and motivated him to encourage the u.s. to take a different course than it had post-world-war-i. >> before i ask a question, can i just clarify, did you say that they expected 50% casualties? >> yes. so that final quote i read from marshall, and i probably should have clarified that in the presentation as well, is, i believe he was talking about the whole allied force.
it wasn't necessarily the u.s. themselves expecting 50,000 casualties or around 50%. it was that the entire -- the majority of operations itself. >> so that's a much larger percentage than obviously the casualties that we expect now. did marshall do anything specific to change the way casualties were handled? >> do you mean in terms of trying to minimize casualties or do you just mean once casualties occurred, kind of how -- >> yeah. >> -- how you process them? >> the latter. like battlefield evacuation and that sort of thing. >> umm, to my knowledge, no. i think he kind of just dealt with the -- kind of the infrastructure that was in place in terms of having hospitals and army medical corps deal with that. i don't know of any particular
influence he had over any of that. >> thank you. >> my dad was in the first world war. and general blackjack pershing was the general of the u.s. allied forces, american forces or whatever. and my dad said that he contributed a lot to the exposure and deaths of the soldiers himself, because after the war was over, there were men that were in good shape and he had them out washing trucks all night and everything else, and there was no need in this. do you know anything about pershing and what he did a? >> i don't know anything specific about his -- i guess his allocation of manpower for issues such as washing trucks.
i do know kind of pershing's philosophy for fighting at the front versus the british and the french at the time is, again, the u.s. is emphasizing this idea of open warfare. they're looking primarily at what's happened in europe. and marshall brings this up a little bit later as he reflects on the war as well, that the early phases of world war i, it was very much more about movement. but by the time the u.s. gets involved in it, it is essentially a stalemate. so pershing's ideas, to an extent that this battle or this emphasis more towards open warfare actually had occurred for some extent earlier in the war, and the british and the french both tried to explain this to pershing to an extent, to say we've already tried this, this is where we are currently in terms of the positioning. so that -- and just for better
or for worse in terms of leadership, pershing was determined to stay this course and say the u.s. isn't going to just stay static and stay in their trenches. they're going to make this effort to get out of the trenches and make some sort of changes in the conflict. and so i believe it was definitely kind of a learning slope for learning for the u.s. army, and did produce probably some higher levels of casualties than may have been if the u.s. had performed a more conservative approach. but at the same time, you know, pershing, in terms of being a general, that was his philosophy of how the u.s. was going to contribute to the war effort. and it certainly did work out for the u.s. overall. but again, at the extent of a certain number of casualties that went along with that. >> thank you, jeffrey.
shifting a little bit to marshall's preparation for world war ii, could you talk a little bit about the so-called plan dog and the memo in late 1940 drafted by the navy and marshall's thought on shifting the fleet from the pacific to the atlantic, and his thoughts on preparation for world war ii? >> yes. marshall is, again, very early on thinking about preparedness. and part of his preparedness, as some of the other speakers have already referenced, he comes into the war plans division in 1938. as marshall becomes chief of staff he brings in individuals such as eisenhower to start developing these color plans for different scenarios of where the u.s. might find themselves involved in a war. so marshall is very early on thinking about these ideas of who the potential adversaries for the u.s. might be, and how can the u.s. be in the best position to be able to deal with
that. addressing specifically plan dog, marshall, as these plans are being developed, very early on is of the opinion, and it's an opinion that he continues to push throughout the war, that if the u.s. does get brought into world war ii, which it does, the primary objective for the u.s. will be to knock germany out of the war first, just in terms of the greater -- as the u.s. enters the war, the greater threat that germany is pose to go great britain and potentially knocking britain and russia out of the war. so his focus is really on europe and the atlantic first. as jim pointed out too, much to the chagrin of douglas macarthur who is in a holding pattern until things are really under control in europe. that's really where marshall's emphasis was in terms of the two theaters and where to focus
their energies. >> sir, i hope it's okay, i have two questions that are in my mind. evaluate their officers from second lieutenant up. you have these officer efficiency reports. i've often gotten the idea that george marshall went beyond that. he picked a lot of people that he happened to know personally, he knew their personal work and so forth. i'd like for you to comment on that. secondly, i don't know if you mentioned, george marshall was a vmi graduate from our own state, that's an rotc program although it's quite unique. and not too often do we have men coming out of the rotc program that end up being chairmans of joint chief of staff, colin powell is a recent example. is this still a time in america where somebody can come out and still have an equal footing with the west pointers? thank you.
>> so in regards to the first question, officer evaluation, you're absolutely right. marshall is very much -- throughout his career, as many officers do, come into contact with a lot of different individuals and different contexts, and what's remarkable about marshall is, he has a very fantastic memory. so he can keep names in mind and can understand what those people's specialties are. so you know as you mentioned, and i mentioned in my talk when he's at ft. benning, he into contact with omar bradley as an instructor, joseph stillwell is an instructor, these are people, again, who come back in world war ii to take on very tremendous roles for marshall. really i would say marshall's evaluation system, he is at the top kind of looking around, surveying what's there, was really throwing people in to a situation, seeing if they would be able to sink or swim. the best example he kind of speaks about specifically is general eisenhower.
he talks about both when he brought eisenhower into the war plans division and then later sending eisenhower to north africa, basically marshall looks at this as tests and evaluations for eisenhower. and depending on how eisenhower performed, that would have had a bearing on marshall's comfort with offering or having eisenhower assume the command for overlord. so that's really how marshall did it. he met a lot of people and his memory was able to know certain contacts in which he met people and remember what their strengths are in that way. and your second question regarding the place of the rotc and having leadership from rotc in the r.a. command structure. i believe general millie, the chief of staff of the army currently, is an rotc graduate. so this is, i'm trying to
remember the last one was before that. i know it's not something that happens often, but it does happen on occasion, where the rotc graduates do go on to have, hold high-ranking positions in the military and you know, from marshall's perspective, i think you know that's a very good thing because you're getting the experience that an rotc cadet may have, may be a little different than the effect that a west point graduate may have on the situation. to be able to have the balance is always a helpful thing to have. [ applause ] president trump will attend the salute to service dinner honoring people serving in the
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c-span, cspan.org, or listen on the c-span radio app. the national security act of 1947 reorganized the u.s. military as well as intelligence and national security operations. an early draft of the bill favored by president truman threatened the existence of the marine corps. up next on american history tv, former marine corps historian and archivist michael miller, discusses the history of rivalries between the military branches. >> mike miler is the emeritus head of the marine corps history division, working on a four volume definitive history of the marine corps in world war