Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

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rcocean
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Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by rcocean » 23 Apr 2021 15:10

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
23 Apr 2021 02:12
Sixty Four or Sixty five IIRC. However it was effectively suspended since so many flag rank officers received waivers. Health did retire officers, but while the war lasted the capable were allowed to serve a bit longer. DeWitt & Lear were two who health failed during the war. Krueger lasted. Drum was ROAD (Retired On Active Duty) by committing a bone headed political mistake.
What mistake Drum make? I Know he commanded an army (1st army?) during the first couple years after Pearl Harbor.

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Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by Takao » 23 Apr 2021 15:58

rcocean wrote:
23 Apr 2021 15:10
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
23 Apr 2021 02:12
Sixty Four or Sixty five IIRC. However it was effectively suspended since so many flag rank officers received waivers. Health did retire officers, but while the war lasted the capable were allowed to serve a bit longer. DeWitt & Lear were two who health failed during the war. Krueger lasted. Drum was ROAD (Retired On Active Duty) by committing a bone headed political mistake.
What mistake Drum make? I Know he commanded an army (1st army?) during the first couple years after Pearl Harbor.
He got himself "captured" in the Carolina Maneuvers - big no no if you want a combat command, and then turned down becoming Chiang Kai Shek's Chief of Staff(which was handed off to Stillwell), because it was not important enough for him.

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Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 23 Apr 2021 17:40

Drum had been on the short list several times for Army Chief of Staff. I don't know the specifics, but obtaining that job requires 1. Good political skills. 2. Confidence of the President. Missing out three times suggests there was a problem. Turning down the CoS position of the Chinese Army was from the perspective of 1942 like saying a first prize had the wrong wrapper. There is also the story of when called to Washington to be asked about the CoS job he blindly assumed he was being summoned to take command of the US Armies in Europe, much like Pershing in 1917. The story further has it he arrived in Washington with a unauthorized entourage of 65 Army officers as his 'staff' as commander of the armies. If true it suggests he was getting a bit out of touch.

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Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 23 Apr 2021 17:49

rcocean wrote:
23 Apr 2021 15:10
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
23 Apr 2021 02:12
Sixty Four or Sixty five IIRC. However it was effectively suspended since so many flag rank officers received waivers. Health did retire officers, but while the war lasted the capable were allowed to serve a bit longer. DeWitt & Lear were two who health failed during the war. Krueger lasted. Drum was ROAD (Retired On Active Duty) by committing a bone headed political mistake.
What mistake Drum make? I Know he commanded an army (1st army?) during the first couple years after Pearl Harbor.
Other than getting captured on a training exercise. He did sterling work as one of the four mobilization barons of 1939-1941. Kruger, Lear, and DeWitt were the other three of the ground forces, and Armold of the Air Corps. In the initial expansion of the US Army from 200,000 to 1,600,000 men in 18 months Marshal & Roosevelt leaned heavily on those four army commanders in struggling against entrenched interests, the Congressmen who obstructed change/reform, and a heavily politicized National Guard. These four were not perfect, but they did have talent for planning, organizing, execution, and training. Marshal could depend on them to help transition the Army from 1918 to 1942 requirements.

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Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by rcocean » 23 Apr 2021 19:44

Thanks for the response.

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Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by reedwh52 » 24 Apr 2021 15:42

The principal requirement to be selected Chief of Staff in 1939 was to be selected by Franklin Roosevelt. His impressions were what was important in making the selection

The "constraints" Roosevelt operated under were the practice since 1926 for the selectee to serve essentially a full term as chief of staff and then retire.
Since the mandatory retirement age was the 64th birthday of the army officer, and Marshalls term began September 1, 1939, essentially there were only five real candidates. These were, in seniority order:
Hugh A. Drum-Actively campaigned for the position, previously non-selected.
John L. DeWitt-primary career in logistics and currently commanding Army War College
Frank W. Rowell-May have had health issues (Disability Retirement as of 1/1/1941)
Walter Krueger-senior only by placement on the Congressional approval list (same DOR)
and George C. Marshall-Deputy Chief of Staff before selection-Selectee as Chief of Staff. Already had Roosevelts respect.

Since Roosevelt was the only vote which mattered, it seems that he appreciated Marshalls candor.

"Another later episode again illustrates Marshall’s commitment to providing frank and independent advice to his superiors. As the Army’s deputy chief of staff in 1938 Marshall harbored ideas about the need to rearm the nation that clashed with isolationist fears that the United States would be drawn into the impending European war. In the aftermath of the Munich appeasement Roosevelt saw as clearly as anyone that there would soon be a war but adopted the attitude that Britain and France should be encouraged to defeat the Germans by themselves when war came, with the great American arsenal providing them the resources necessary to accomplish that task. But such a strategy, if made public, would expose the President to the wrath of the isolationists who would surely charge him with unneutral behavior and putting the nation’s security at risk.

On November 14, 1938 FDR convened a conference at the White House at which he proposed to build 10,000 war planes, the ostensible aim being the bolstering the strength of the Army Air Corps. Marshall and his chief thought they were in attendance to discuss that program. FDR’s real purpose was to supply the planes to the European democracies in the hope that such assistance might forestall the impending war, and thereby American involvement.

Attending his first conference with the president, Marshall was shocked by FDR’s plan and astonished that no one else had questioned the president’s proposal. After his presentation, FDR indicated that he thought that he had made a good case for his program. The discussion then ran around the room, finding much soothing support for the proposal, until FDR turned to Marshall sitting quietly off to the side. “Don’t you think so, George?” he asked.9

Marshall later admitted a flash of irritation over “such a misrepresentation of our intimacy.” He was never a first-name man. “I don’t think the President ever did that again,” he said later. At the time his response was more direct: “I am sorry, Mr. President, but I don’t agree with you at all.”10 Accounts by participants recount that a startled look came over FDR’s face and the conference abruptly ended. Afterward, Marshall’s associates, who had been eyeing him in silence, once again came by to shake his hand and to offer condolences. “Well, it’s been nice knowing you,” said Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau. As with the rest, Morgenthau made it obvious that he believed that Marshall’s bluntness had just ended his army career.11

In fact, it had not. FDR never again referred to the incident nor did he display any resentment toward Marshall. “Maybe he thought that I would tell him the truth so far as I was personally concerned,” Marshall speculated later, “which I certainly tried to do in all our conversations.”12 As with the earlier Pershing incident, Marshall’s bluntness impressed rather than alienated his superior. FDR apparently valued an officer who would tell the truth rather than what he thought the president wanted to hear.13

Marshall’s relationship with Roosevelt rested on the belief that frankness and candor were essential elements of his advisory position. He would best fulfill the responsibilities entrusted to him by the nation by establishing and demonstrating that he was a professional soldier and a man of integrity. “I never haggled with the president,” he recalled later. “I swallowed the little things so that I could go to bat on the big ones. I never handled a matter apologetically, and I was never contentious.”14

The record soon showed that predictions of an early end to Marshall’s career were widely premature. In the spring of 1939 Roosevelt began the search for a replacement for Army chief of staff General Malin Craig who was due to retire on 1 September. In April FDR decided for Marshall. Without informing anyone else, Roosevelt summoned Marshall to the White House to give him the news. “General Marshall,” he said, “I have it in mind to choose you as the next Chief of Staff of the United States Army. What do you think of that?”

“Nothing, Mr. President,” Marshall replied, “except to remind you that I have the habit of saying exactly what I think. And that, as you know,” he added, “can often be unpleasing. Is that all right?”

Marshall recalls that Roosevelt grinned and said, “Yes.” Marshall remained persistent. “Mr. President, you said yes pleasantly. But I have to remind you again that it may be unpleasant.” The President continued to grin. “I know,” he said. But he did not add “George.” (GEORGE C. MARSHALL: A STUDY IN CHARACTER By: Colonel Charles F. Brower, US Military Academy) https://www.marshallfoundation.org/mars ... character/

rcocean
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Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by rcocean » 24 Apr 2021 16:55

The principal requirement to be selected Chief of Staff in 1939 was to be selected by Franklin Roosevelt. His impressions were what was important in making the selection
Yep, it really got down to Drum vs. Marshall. It should be noted that Hopkins had established a relationship with Marshall before his promotion, and there's no evidence Hopkins had one with Drum. I've read that Drum was a "life long Republican" of the Stimson kind, but can't provide a source for that. Perhaps that had something to do with it.

But it more likely that FDR was just impressed by Marshall. Its astounding that everyone who worked with Marshall during WW2, found him a man of great character even when they disagreed with his decisions and policies. He had his problems with King, but when it came to Marshall leaving the JCS to command Overlord, King was 100% in favor of Marshall staying at the JCS.

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Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 24 Apr 2021 18:06

reedwh52 wrote:
24 Apr 2021 15:42
The "constraints" Roosevelt operated under were the practice since 1926 for the selectee to serve essentially a full term as chief of staff and then retire.
Since the mandatory retirement age was the 64th birthday of the army officer, and Marshalls term began September 1, 1939, essentially there were only five real candidates. These were, in seniority order:
Hugh A. Drum-Actively campaigned for the position, previously non-selected.
John L. DeWitt-primary career in logistics and currently commanding Army War College
Frank W. Rowell-May have had health issues (Disability Retirement as of 1/1/1941)
Walter Krueger-senior only by placement on the Congressional approval list (same DOR)
and George C. Marshall-Deputy Chief of Staff before selection-Selectee as Chief of Staff. Already had Roosevelts respect.
With the benefit of hindsight, had Marshal not been available Kruger would have been a fair choice. Drum & DeWitt were neither as astute or lucky politically. One wonders what the Brits would have thought of him?

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Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 24 Apr 2021 22:53

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
24 Apr 2021 18:06
reedwh52 wrote:
24 Apr 2021 15:42
The "constraints" Roosevelt operated under were the practice since 1926 for the selectee to serve essentially a full term as chief of staff and then retire.
Since the mandatory retirement age was the 64th birthday of the army officer, and Marshalls term began September 1, 1939, essentially there were only five real candidates. These were, in seniority order:
Hugh A. Drum-Actively campaigned for the position, previously non-selected.
John L. DeWitt-primary career in logistics and currently commanding Army War College
Frank W. Rowell-May have had health issues (Disability Retirement as of 1/1/1941)
Walter Krueger-senior only by placement on the Congressional approval list (same DOR)
and George C. Marshall-Deputy Chief of Staff before selection-Selectee as Chief of Staff. Already had Roosevelts respect.
With the benefit of hindsight, had Marshal not been available Kruger would have been a fair choice. Drum & DeWitt were neither as astute or lucky politically. One wonders what the Brits would have thought of him?
I'd guess Walter Krueger and Archibald Nye might have gotten along quite well, both being former enlisted. Brooke might have been challenging; Dill, probably not.

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Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 24 Apr 2021 23:23

Kruger Had attended & taught at Naval schools, and sat on the Army/Navy joint board. That might have provided some stratigic insight in dealing with the questions of strategy and operations concerning the Europe.

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Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 24 Apr 2021 23:37

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
24 Apr 2021 23:23
Kruger Had attended & taught at Naval schools, and sat on the Army/Navy joint board. That might have provided some stratigic insight in dealing with the questions of strategy and operations concerning the Europe.
Krueger - with an e - was a very accomplished individual. His papers are at UT:

https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tamu ... 00077.html

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Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by rcocean » 25 Apr 2021 16:21

Krueger was never seriously considered for the slot, for several reasons. First, he didn't have the "People skills" required. Based on the Eichelberger's letters and everything else I"ve read, he was a tough, no nonsense officer, who was low on charm, and not very eloquent. Of course, being an S.O.B didn't stop Admiral King, but how many of those can you have at one time?

Kruger was promoted to Brig. General in 1936, Its telling that in September1938, that he didn't stay in Washington DC as part of the C-O-S office, wasn't made Chief of Infantry nor given a Department, instead he was given command of the 16th infantry Brigade. In Feb 1939 was made Corps commander.

By Comparison, prior to being selected MacArthur had commanded a Corps and the Philippine Department. Marshall had been Deputy COS and and aide to Pershing while Black Jack was COS, and Craig had been a Major General since 1924, had commanded the Panama Canal Zone, and been President of the War College. Krueger just didn't have the resume. He was a Unit/Army commander, a fighter, not staff officer or high level administrator. More like Patton than Ike.

Krueger was also born in Germany and came to the USA as a young boy. I wonder how FDR and the Anti-Nazis in his cabinet would have viewed that. It probably didn't win him any points.

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Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Apr 2021 17:49

My point still stands. He'd been a better choice than Drum or DeWitt. I suspect that like King he'd have developed sufficient 'people skills'. How King helped resolved the Navys PR problem and occasionally manipulated the press is a understudied aspect of the man. Krueger was also very smart and adaptable.

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Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 28 Apr 2021 05:27

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
25 Apr 2021 17:49
My point still stands. He'd been a better choice than Drum or DeWitt. I suspect that like King he'd have developed sufficient 'people skills'. How King helped resolved the Navys PR problem and occasionally manipulated the press is a understudied aspect of the man. Krueger was also very smart and adaptable.
Krueger was a graduate of the Army War College and the Naval War College, and had taught at both, as well as the expected branch courses, served in the war plans staff and joint board planning staff, had organized and taught in an OCS-type program, and spoke and read multiple languages. He was certainly an option, as you well point out. As far as the human factor goes, he seems to have mentored several successful generals, and managed to keep MacArthur happy while commanding in combat successfully, which surely ranks as a major accomplishment.

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Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by rcocean » 28 Apr 2021 15:53

Pretty much all his subordinates "kept MacArthur happy' in the SW Pacific. The only exceptions are Brett, a failed AF General, the Navy chief before Kincaid, and a few divisional commanders. With the divisional commanders, its Krueger and Eichelberger who recommended their relief, and MacArthur reluctantly agreed. MacArthur like Patton was a rather easy-going boss. its humorous that "Nice guys" Ike and Bradley could be difficult to work for, but you'd never know it from reading Pop History. Ike had furious temper, and many times his subordinates wouldn't approach him on certain subjects because of that.

A funny example, is that Ike wanted nothing to do with Truman during his Presidency, and several of aides thought it looked bad that the current and previous Presidents wouldn't appear together. They wanted Ike to patch things up, but it took quite a while, because none of this aides wanted to make Ike angry.

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