New

Eisenhower takes command

Eisenhower takes command


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Following his arrival in London, Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower takes command of U.S. Although Eisenhower had never seen combat during his 27 years as an army officer, his knowledge of military strategy and talent for organization were such that Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall chose him over nearly 400 senior officers to lead U.S. forces in the war against Germany. After proving himself on the battlefields of North Africa and Italy in 1942 and 1943, Eisenhower was appointed supreme commander of Operation Overlord–the Allied invasion of northwestern Europe.

Born in Denison, Texas, in 1890, Eisenhower graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1915. Out of a remarkable class that was to produce 59 generals, Eisenhower ranked 61st academically and 125th in discipline out of a total of 164 graduates. As a commissioned officer, his superiors soon took note of his organizational abilities, and appointed him commander of a tank training center after the U.S. entrance into World War I in 1917. In October 1918, he received the orders to take the tanks to France, but the war ended before they could sail. Eisenhower received the Distinguished Service Medal but was disappointed that he had not seen combat.

Between the wars, he steadily rose in the peacetime ranks of the U.S. Army. From 1922 to 1924, he was stationed in the Panama Canal Zone, and in 1926, as a major, he graduated from the Army’s Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, at the top of a class of 275. He was rewarded with a prestigious post in France and in 1928 graduated first in his class from the Army War College. In 1933, he became aide to Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur, and in 1935 he went with MacArthur to the Philippines when the latter accepted a post as chief military adviser to that nation’s government.

Promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel while in the Philippines, Eisenhower returned to the United States in 1939 shortly after World War II began in Europe. President Franklin Roosevelt began to bring the country to war preparedness in 1940 and Eisenhower found himself figuring prominently in a rapidly expanding U.S. In March 1941, he was made a full colonel and three months later was appointed commander of the 3rd Army. In September, he was promoted to brigadier general.

After the United States entered World War II in December 1941, Army Chief of Staff Marshall appointed Eisenhower to the War Plans Division in Washington, where he prepared strategy for an Allied invasion of Europe. Promoted to major general in March 1942 and named head of the operations division of the War Department, he advised Marshall to create a single post that would oversee all U.S. operations in Europe. Marshall did so and on June 11 surprised Eisenhower by appointing him to the post over 366 senior officers. On June 25, 1942, Eisenhower arrived at U.S. headquarters in London and took command.

In July, Eisenhower was appointed lieutenant general and named to head Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of French North Africa. As supreme commander of a mixed force of Allied nationalities, services, and equipment, Eisenhower designed a system of unified command and rapidly won the respect of his British and Canadian subordinates. From North Africa, he successfully directed the invasions of Tunisia, Sicily, and the Italian mainland, and in December 1943 was appointed Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. Operation Overlord, the largest combined sea, air, and land military operation in history, was successfully launched against Nazi-occupied Europe on June 6, 1944. On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. By that time, Eisenhower was a five-star general.

After the war, Eisenhower replaced Marshall as army chief of staff and from 1948 to 1950 served as president of Columbia University. In 1951, he returned to military service as supreme commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Pressure on Eisenhower to run for U.S. president was great, however, and in the spring of 1952 he relinquished his NATO command to run for president on the Republican ticket.

In November 1952, “Ike” won a resounding victory in the presidential elections and in 1956 was reelected in a landslide. A popular president, he oversaw a period of great economic growth in the United States and deftly navigated the country through increasing Cold War tensions on the world stage. In 1961, he retired with his wife, Mamie Doud Eisenhower, to his farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, which overlooked the famous Civil War battlefield. He died in 1969 and was buried on a family plot in Abilene, Kansas.


Eisenhower takes command - HISTORY

During World War II, Dwight D. Eisenhower took a cruise around the Isle of Capri. On seeing a large villa, he asked about it and learned that it was to be his quarters. He inquired about the neighboring villa as well, and learned that it would soon belong to Army Air Force General Carl Spaatz.

&ldquoDamn it,&rdquo Eisenhower said, &ldquoThat&rsquos not my villa and that&rsquos not General Spaatz&rsquos villa! None of these will belong to any general as long as I&rsquom boss around here. This is supposed to be a center--for combat men--not a playground for the brass.&rdquo

Eisenhower was never one for setting himself apart. Raised on a farm in Kansas, Eisenhower kept set times for meals and bible study. After high school he went to West Point and was an average student who enjoyed sports. Sadly, he didn&rsquot make the baseball team. &ldquoNot making the baseball team at West Point,&rdquo Eisenhower later said, &ldquowas one of the greatest disappointments of my life, maybe my greatest.&rdquo

During the war years, Eisenhower earned his five stars because he proved to be a diligent, effective leader who could think strategically. After the war, Eisenhower became president of Columbia University and later, the 34th President of the United States. But Eisenhower didn&rsquot achieve his leadership successes because he was particularly charismatic or because he was a brilliant orator with sweeping visions. He was a leader because he was adept at maneuvering within political circles. He preferred to move agendas forward and get things done rather than advance his own ego.


More Comments:

John J. McLaughlin - 6/18/2010

I have not as yet read the book but intend to shortly. I wanted to add that the concept of "unified command" is rooted in the principles articulated by General Albert C. Wedemeyer in his "Victory Program" which of which he was the chief author.Wedemeyer attended the German Kriegsakademia in the critical years 1937-1938, and learned all the German tactics of "Blitzkrieg". The Victory Program was written in the spring of 1941 and approved by President Roosevelt in September 1941. It contemplated a cross channel invasion into France in the summer of 1943, and incorporated all the German tactics of combined air and ground attack at a single point.

Eisenhower was summoned to Washington shortly after Pearl Harbor, and shortly after that became head of the War Plans Division replacing General Gerow. He thus became Wedemeyer's boss. Eisenhower signed on to all the concepts of the Victory Plan and Wedemeyer under the guidance of Eisenhower up dated the plans to include actual D-Day operations.

Over time Wedemeyer's efforts were marginalized and most of the credit for the D-Day operational plans went to Eisenhower and Marshall.


Eisenhower takes command - HISTORY

By Cole Kingseed
Gen. Omar Bradley.

Great commanders need great subordinates. In the campaigns in the Mediterranean and European Theaters of World War II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower was ably served by a number of extraordinary officers, including Mark W. Clark, George S. Patton Jr., and Omar Bradley. Each of Ike’s subordinates contributed mightily to Allied victory, but in the final analysis it was the unheralded Bradley who proved to be Ike’s indispensible lieutenant.

Of the four commanders destined to play a leading role in Europe, Eisenhower was the relative newcomer, but by mid-1942, he had surpassed Clark, Patton, and Bradley in Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall’s estimation. According to historian Martin Blumenson, within six months of Eisenhower’s assumption of command of the European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army, known as ETOUSA, the remaining three settled in as “satellites of Ike.”

Eisenhower and Patton: A Close Friendship

Although six years Eisenhower’s senior at the United States Military Academy, Patton was Eisenhower’s oldest friend. While Patton captured headlines for his frontline leadership in World War I, Eisenhower was confined to Camp Colt, Pennsylvania, where he trained the fledgling tank corps. Following the war, he and Patton crossed paths at Camp Meade in 1919, where the two developed a lasting friendship. At the time, Eisenhower was an untested warrior, while Patton was a legitimate war hero, having received the Distinguished Service Cross for gallantry in action during the Meuse-Argonne offensive. At Meade, Patton commanded the light tanks of the 304th Brigade, while Eisenhower was second in command of the 305th Brigade, composed of newly manufactured Mark VIII Liberty tanks.

It was through Patton that Eisenhower met his mentor, General Fox Conner, who asked for the young Eisenhower to serve as his executive officer in Panama. Patton later bragged that, by sharing his notes with Eisenhower in 1925, Eisenhower graduated number one in his class at Fort Leavenworth the following year. Patton and Eisenhower maintained a lively correspondence between the wars, but much of the original correspondence was lost in transit when Eisenhower shipped to the Philippines in 1935.
[text_ad]

On the eve of World War II, Lt. Col. Eisenhower, tired of desk duty, wrote his old friend, soon to be promoted to brigadier general commanding the 2nd Armored Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia, and requested command of one of Patton’s armored regiments. Patton responded that it seemed highly probable that he [Patton] would be selected for command of one of the next two armored divisions that were being created and that Eisenhower should transfer immediately to the Armored Corps and request assignment with Patton. Patton preferred Ike as his division chief of staff but would support Eisenhower for immediate reassignment if the latter “wanted to take a chance.” Instead of working for Patton, Eisenhower was assigned elsewhere, but their paths crossed briefly in 1941 during the Texas-Louisiana maneuvers of early autumn. One year later, Patton was commanding the Western Task Force that landed at Casablanca during the invasion of North Africa.

Mark Clark: Eisenhower’s Second in Command

Second to Patton in Eisenhower’s esteem before the war was Mark Clark, known to his closest friends as Wayne. Clark was two years Eisenhower’s junior at West Point, but the small size of the corps of cadets allowed familiarity among the classes. Like Patton, Clark was a decorated veteran of the Great War. The two had no contact until 1938 when Eisenhower came to the United States from the Philippines. In October, while en route to his home station, Ike stopped at Fort Lewis, Washington, and saw Clark. The following year, Clark was instrumental in having Eisenhower reassigned to Lewis. Eisenhower reported for duty on New Year’s Day. Two years later, at the conclusion of a series of war games, Clark, now serving on the General Staff, recommended Eisenhower’s assignment to the War Plans Division in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Clark’s and Eisenhower’s careers would be inexorably linked for the remainder of the war.

When Eisenhower arrived in London in June 1942, he was accompanied by Clark, now in command of II Corps and responsible for training the American divisions now arriving in the United Kingdom. When Patton was designated commander of the western invasion force in North Africa in August, Clark reluctantly accepted Eisenhower’s invitation to relinquish command of his corps and to serve as Ike’s second in command in the capacity of Deputy Supreme Allied Commander. In that role, Clark would be the chief planner for Operation Torch.

Omar Bradley: A Spy in Patton’s Headquarters

Bradley, in turn, had the longest relationship with Eisenhower, dating back to their days on the Hudson. Both entered West Point in the summer of 1911, although Bradley was a late arrival. Like Eisenhower, Bradley was a distinguished athlete. While Ike favored football, Bradley excelled in baseball. Both selected infantry as their branch of choice. Prior to graduation, Ike wrote a brief portrait of Bradley in West Point’s yearbook, Howitzer. Ever prescient, even at this early age, Eisenhower opined that Bradley’s most “promising characteristic is ‘getting there,’ and if he keeps up the clip he’s started, some of us will someday be bragging to our grandchildren that, ‘Sure, General Bradley was a classmate of mine.’” Oddly enough, the two future commanders had little, if any, contact in the interwar years.

Their orbits finally came together in the aftermath of the Casablanca Conference of January 1943. By that time, Marshall had already designated Clark as Fifth Army commander on December 1, 1942, a personal blow to Patton, who coveted army-level command himself. Eisenhower had endorsed Marshall’s selection but noted that even though Patton came “the closest to meeting every requirement made of a commander,” Clark would deliver since Fifth Army was temporarily a training command and the “job was one largely of organization and training and in these fields Clark had no superior.”

During the fighting in North Africa, General Omar Bradley (right) confers with Lieutenant General Kenneth Andersen, commander of the British First Army, as they inspect positions in Tunisia.

Eisenhower’s problems worsened in February when Field Marshal Erwin Rommel inflicted a devastating defeat on U.S. forces at Kasserine Pass. Relieving the American corps commander, Eisenhower installed Patton in command of II Corps on March 5, 1943. Patton went to work on rehabilitating II Corps and rectifying the operational situation. To assist Eisenhower, General Marshall dispatched Bradley to North Africa to act as Ike’s “eyes and ears.” Ike immediately made Bradley available to Patton for any duty Patton desired. Not content to have “a spy” in his headquarters, Patton made Bradley his deputy commander.

Within weeks, Patton led II Corps to its first significant victory in Tunisia. Now that the first offensive phase was completed, Eisenhower nominated Bradley to command II Corps, while Patton returned to his job of preparing the Western Task Force for the invasion of Sicily, now scheduled for July. On July 10, the date of the amphibious landing, Patton’s command was upgraded to army level, and he assumed command of the Seventh Army. Bradley remained in command of II Corps and slogged it up the middle of Sicily while Patton garnered the headlines with his dash to Palermo, then to Messina. It was a brutal campaign that lasted a month, but the Allied victory restored the prestige of the U.S. Army. At the conclusion of Operation Husky, Ike had three lieutenant generals in theater: Clark, Patton, and Bradley in that order of seniority.

The Rise of Bradley, the Fall of Patton

Sicily marked the emergence of Bradley as Eisenhower’s most valued subordinate. Both Bradley and Patton had performed well, and Ike was quick to compliment each on his respective performance. In the midst of the recent campaign, Eisenhower had instructed war correspondent Ernie Pyle to “go and discover Bradley.” In a number of subsequent dispatches, Pyle characterized the less flamboyant Bradley as “the G.I.’s general,” making “no bones about the fact that he was a tremendous admirer” of the II Corps commander. On the eve of the invasion of France in 1944, Pyle recollected that he had spent three days with Bradley in Sicily and did not “believe he had ever known a person to be so unanimously loved and respected by the men around and under him.”

Near the town of South Caterina, Sicily, General Omar Bradley (right) confers with
Major General Terry Allen, commander of the U.S. 1st Infantry Division. In Sicily, Bradley served as a corps commander in General George Patton’s Seventh Army.

Bradley’s ascent mirrored Patton’s fall. In August 1943, the publicity surrounding Patton’s slapping of two soldiers in a field hospital severely tarnished his reputation as a field commander. On August 24, Eisenhower praised Patton’s recent conduct of the campaign, noting that “the operations of the Seventh Army in Sicily are going to be classed as a model of swift conquest by future classes in the War College in Leavenworth.” Then came the caveat. “Now in spite of this, George Patton continues to exhibit some of those unfortunate personal traits of which you and I have always known and which during this campaign caused me some most uncomfortable days.”

Recognizing Patton’s future potential, Ike informed Marshall that Patton “possesses qualities that we cannot afford to lose unless he ruins himself.” Patton was, in Ike’s opinion, a preeminent combat commander. Never slowed by caution, fatigue, or doubt, Patton drove his subordinates ruthlessly, and they in turn “turned in magnificent performances in the late show.” Despite this drive, Patton was apt at times “to display exceedingly poor judgment and unjustified temper.”

In spite of these character flaws, Eisenhower remained determined to keep Patton on the team. Two weeks later, Eisenhower backed up his assessment by submitting his list for promotion to permanent major general. Describing Patton, Ike noted that, based on his performance to date, Patton’s leadership of the Seventh Army was “close to the best of our classic examples.” In short, Patton was undoubtedly the “best rounded combat leader in our service.”

In the aftermath of the slapping incidents, however, Ike informed Marshall that under no conditions would he recommend Patton be elevated beyond army-level command. What’s more, Ike assured his chief that “the volatile offensive-minded Patton would always serve under the more even-handed Bradley.”

Mark Clark Takes Command of the Italian Campaign

Writing to Marshall, Eisenhower also addressed Clark’s recent performance. Although Clark had not participated in the conquest of Sicily, he remained the “ablest and most experienced officer we have in planning of amphibious operations…. In preparing the minute details of requisitions, landing craft, training of troops and so on, he has no equal in our Army.” Still, Clark was untested in combat and until he received “battle test in high command,” Eisenhower would suspend final judgment.

A Sherman tank of the U.S. Fifth Army moves inland after landing at Salerno, passing a German tank knocked out of action during fighting in the area.

Ike’s endorsement of Clark’s potential was a far cry from his ringing endorsement of Clark on the eve of Operation Torch, when Ike had nominated Clark for the Distinguished Service Medal for his role in a secret mission to negotiate Vichy French support during the upcoming invasion. If Clark was destined for a larger role in the war, he would have to prove it on the battlefield, or those commanders who had experienced combat command [Patton and Bradley] would surely eclipse him.

Clark would have his opportunity in September when the Fifth Army invaded the Italian mainland at Salerno. Ike would have the opportunity to observe him there, and nothing indicated that Clark rose to the potential that Ike had anticipated in the early stages of the war. Part of the reason lay in Eisenhower’s subsequent reassignment to command the Allied invasion of France. Despite his close ties to the Mediterranean Theater where he had earned his combat spurs, Ike soon became preoccupied with the greater challenge of planning Operation Overlord.

Bradley in Charge of the Invasion of France

Bradley, on the other hand, was “running absolutely true to form … possessing brains, a fine capacity for leadership, and a thorough understanding of the requirements of battle.” More important, Bradley “has never caused me one moment of worry.” Summing up his assessment of Bradley, Ike stated that although Bradley lacked some of the extraordinary and ruthless driving power that Patton could exert at critical moments, he still had “such force and determination that even in this characteristic, he was among our best…. He is a jewel to have around.” He informed Marshall that he preferred to keep Bradley in theater, at least temporarily, but Eisenhower soon relented.

Putting personal preferences aside, on August 28, Ike gave Bradley a ringing endorsement and strongly recommended Bradley to head the American army designated for the upcoming invasion of France in 1944. “The truth of the matter,” he informed Marshall, “is that you should take Bradley and, moreover, I will make him available on any date you say.” Bradley received his orders on September 3 and left for England on the 8th. Bradley’s selection over his former chief from North Africa and Sicily was a bitter blow to Patton, almost as bad as when he was informed that Clark would receive command of the Fifth Army.

For Patton, the fall of 1943 was a period of terrible uncertainty. “I seem to be third choice,” he lamented in his diary, “but I will end up on top.” Perhaps, but Patton owed his diminished status to his temper and lack of control. Had he not slapped those soldiers, it would have been difficult for Eisenhower not to have named him as chief American planner for Overlord, the invasion of France, now scheduled for spring 1944.

During the difficult early hours of D-Day, General Bradley gazes toward the coast of France. The situation on Omaha Beach was in doubt to such an extent that Bradley considered withdrawing those ashore and diverting later waves to Utah Beach.

Just how far Patton had fallen was evident in Ike’s secret cable to General Marshall on December 23. Having been named supreme commander for the invasion of Northwest Europe two weeks earlier, Eisenhower expressed his opinion that when army group commanders became necessary in France he profoundly hoped to designate an officer who had had combat experience in this war. His preference for army group commander, when more than one American army was operating in Overlord, was Bradley. One of Bradley’s army commanders should be Patton, Ike opined, as “we should not repeat not lose Patton’s services somewhere as an army commander.”

Clark Falls Out of Favor

As for Clark, he remained far detached from the scene. Even before the Overlord commander had been named, the Mediterranean, and Clark by extension, became a secondary theater in the European war. Clark did not help himself by his inept supervision of the amphibious attack at Salerno. The mismanagement of the exploitation phase led Ike to replace the American corps commander on the scene, Maj. Gen. Ernest J. Dawley, in whom neither Ike nor Clark had confidence. Many observers felt Clark should also have been relieved.

Ike, too, was dissatisfied with his friend Clark, but firing Clark would have been a public relations disaster. And so, Ike compromised, giving Clark nominal support, but informing Marshall that Clark was “not as good as Bradley in winning, almost without effort, the complete confidence of everyone around him, including his British associates.” Nor was Clark “the equal of Patton in his refusal to see anything but victory … but he is carrying his full weight and, so far, has fully justified his selection for his present important post.” It did not take Marshall long to read between the lines.

To make matters worse, Clark lacked the thorough understanding of working with allies, an absolute requirement in Eisenhower’s book. In mid-December, Ike chastised Clark for not informing his superior, British General Harold Alexander, of his recent visit to Sicily. Such an oversight, said Eisenhower, gave the perception of discourtesy to Alexander. These “little points of courtesy must be observed with far greater care in an Allied command than in a purely nationalistic one,” cautioned Ike.

Bradley and Eisenhower’s Invasion Plans

Ike soon followed Bradley to England in January 1944 and immediately assumed his duties as supreme commander. Also arriving later in the month was George Patton, who received command of Third Army. Not destined as the initial assault army, which Bradley was to command, Third Army was designated the follow-up force once the lodgment area reached sufficient size to accommodate two American field armies. At that time, Bradley would be elevated to army group commander.

On July 24, 1944, Lieutenant General Omar Bradley receives the oak leaves to his Distinguished Service Medal from his commanding officer, General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In mid-February, Eisenhower received his directive from the Combined Chiefs of Staff to “enter the continent of Europe and to undertake operations, in conjunction with the other United Nations, aimed at the heartland of Germany and the destruction of its armed forces.” February through early June marked intense preparations for D-Day. During that period, Ike increasingly depended on Bradley to plan the American portion of the invasion, while Patton was restricted to public appearances in support of Fortitude, the Allied deception plan designed to convince the Germans that Patton would spearhead the real invasion at Calais.

“World War II’s Odd Couple”

D-Day was one of the most important dates in military history as forces under command of General Eisenhower landed 130,000 soldiers and nearly 15,000 airborne troops. Casualties were excessive, particularly at Omaha Beach, owing in some part to inadequate aerial and naval bombardment. Bradley deserved some of the blame, for he had dismissed several reports from commanders, chiefly Maj. Gen. Charles Corlett, who had amphibious experience in the Pacific. In spite of the setbacks, Ike’s forces were ashore and they meant to stay.

The subsequent battle of the lodgment area and the stalemate in Normandy found Eisenhower frustrated with his principal land subordinates, Bernard Montgomery and Omar Bradley. Ike reserved his harshest criticism for Monty, whose failure to take Caen on D-Day, a highly unrealistic objective, soon led to stalemate on the eastern flank of the invasion area. Bradley, too, was stymied until late July, when his brilliantly conceived Operation Cobra ruptured the German defense at St. Lo and led to the American breakthrough in Normandy. One week later, Ike activated Third Army headquarters in France, and Patton spearheaded the breakout that eventually reached the French capital on August 25.

On an inspection flight along the Western Front on September 9, 1944, General George S. Patton, Jr. (left) and General Omar Bradley
reveal their strain and fatigue during the campaign to liberate Western Europe from the Nazis.

From Normandy to the German border, Eisenhower had nothing but praise for Bradley and Patton. Bradley, ever cautious but utterly dependable in Ike’s opinion, directed the American portion of Ike’s broad front advance to the German frontier. That campaign contributed to the continued dissolution of his relationship with Patton. Bradley and Patton were never close friends, but both realized that they owed much of their respective success to the other. Historian Blumenson characterized their relationship as “World War II’s Odd Couple.” He was undoubtedly correct, for neither commander liked the other.

Had Bradley had his way, Patton would not have commanded an army in the European Theater. Bradley considered Patton profane, vulgar, too independent, and not a team player. For his part, Patton thought Bradley was overly cautious, indecisive at critical moments, and lacking the resolve to follow through when the operational opportunity presented itself. Moreover, Bradley did his best to publicize the efforts of his other army-level commanders to the detriment of Patton. Lt. Gen. Courtney Hodges, who succeeded Bradley in command of First U.S. Army, received the highest praise from Bradley, who always considered Patton not much more than a publicity hound.

The Battle of the Bulge: Patton’s Brilliance, Bradley’s Blunder

By mid-December, the Allied advance approached the Rhine River. The German counteroffensive in the Ardennes on December 16 produced Bradley’s worst moment and Patton’s most brilliant campaign. The massive enemy attack caught Eisenhower’s headquarters by complete surprise. In an effort to coordinate the Allied response, Ike transferred all forces north of the bulge to Montgomery’s command, a move that Bradley interpreted as “the worst possible mistake Ike could have made.” It was the right move on the supreme commander’s part, but Bradley’s feelings were hurt. Fortunately, George Patton’s brilliant turn north relieved the pressure on the southern side of the Bulge and broke the encirclement of Bastogne.

General Omar Bradley, the G.I. General, often watched his soldiers train in England as they prepared for the D-Day invasion. Here, he observes a 60mm mortar team servicing its weapon.

To assuage Bradley’s feeling of demotion, Ike cabled Marshall on December 21 and requested that the chief of staff consider elevating Bradley to four-star rank. Despite internal criticism of Bradley’s delayed reaction to the enemy’s attack, Ike noted that “Bradley has kept his head magnificently and has proceeded methodically and energetically to meet the situation.” Knowing that Marshall had heard of inter-Allied criticism, Ike assured his chief, “In no quarter is there any tendency to place any blame upon Bradley. I retain all my former confidence in him.” Since Congress was not currently in session, Bradley’s promotion was delayed until March 1945.

At the conclusion of the Battle of the Bulge, Eisenhower took stock of the relative merits of each of his American commanders to that point of the war. Confiding in his personal diary, the supreme commander compiled an order of merit for 38 officers based primarily upon his conclusions as to the value of services each officer had rendered in the war and only secondarily upon his opinion as to his qualifications for future usefulness. It was apparent that Ike still valued the services of his three principal subordinates at the beginning of the war.

On the Top of Ike’s List

Even prior to the final push into the heartland of Germany, Eisenhower confirmed that Bradley had eclipsed both Patton and Clark. Bradley’s other army-level commanders ranked farther down the list. Ike rated Bradley first, listing his outstanding characteristics as “quiet, but magnetic leader able, rounded field commander determined and resourceful modest.” Patton appeared fourth on Eisenhower’s order of merit, with his principal qualifications being “dashing fighter, shrewd, courageous.” Next was Clark, as “clever, shrewd, capable splendid organizer.” The officers whom Bradley sought to advance in Ike’s estimation at Patton’s expense were far distant from the flamboyant Third Army commander.

How much did Eisenhower value Bradley by the end of the war? Following the official deactivation of Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force at midnight, July 13, 1945, Ike penned a rather formal letter of appreciation of their services to all his former principal subordinates in the Allied organization.

To Bradley he wrote, “In my opinion, you are pre-eminent among the Commanders of major battle units in this war. Your leadership, forcefulness, professional capacity, selflessness, high sense of duty and sympathetic understanding of human beings, combine to stamp you as one of America’s great leaders and soldiers.” The former supreme commander signed the message “From your old friend.” No greater tribute could be paid to the “G.I. General.”

Cole Kingseed is a retired United States Army colonel. He resides in New Windsor, New York.


Dwight D. Eisenhower on the Camps

“The same day [April 12, 1945] I saw my first horror camp. It was near the town of Gotha. I have never felt able to describe my emotional reactions when I first came face to face with indisputable evidence of Nazi brutality and ruthless disregard of every shred of decency. Up to that time I had known about it only generally or through secondary sources. I am certain, however that I have never at any other time experienced an equal sense of shock.

“I visited every nook and cranny of the camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position from then on to testify at first hand about these things in case there ever grew up at home the belief or assumption that `the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda.’ Some members of the visiting party were unable to through the ordeal. I not only did so but as soon as I returned to Patton’s headquarters that evening I sent communications to both Washington and London, urging the two governments to send instantly to Germany a random group of newspaper editors and representative groups from the national legislatures. I felt that the evidence should be immediately placed before the American and British publics in a fashion that would leave no room for cynical doubt.”

And on page 439

“Of all these [Displaced Persons] the Jews were in the most deplorable condition. For years they had been beaten, starved, and tortured.”

And in “Ike the Soldier: As they knew him” (G.P. Putnam and Sons, New York, 1987) Merle Miller quotes Eisenhower speaking on April 25th 1945 to the members of Congress and Journalists who had been shown Buchenwald the day before:

“You saw only one camp yesterday. There are many others. Your responsibilities, I believe, extend into a great field, and informing the people at home of things like these atrocities is one of them… Nothing is covered up. We have nothing to conceal. The barbarous treatment these people received in the German concentration camps is almost unbelievable. I want you to see for yourself and be spokesmen for the United States.” [pages 774-5]


Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

(History.com) June 25 - Following his arrival in London, Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower takes command of U.S. forces in Europe. Although Eisenhower had never seen combat during his 27 years as an army officer, his knowledge of military strategy and talent for organization were such that Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall chose him over nearly 400 senior officers to lead U.S. forces in the war against Germany. After proving himself on the battlefields of North Africa and Italy in 1942 and 1943, Eisenhower was appointed supreme commander of Operation Overlord--the Allied invasion of northwestern Europe.

Born in Denison, Texas, in 1890, Eisenhower graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1915. Out of a remarkable class that was to produce 59 generals, Eisenhower ranked 61st academically and 125th in discipline out of a total of 164 graduates. As a commissioned officer, his superiors soon took note of his organizational abilities, and appointed him commander of a tank training center after the U.S. entrance into World War I in 1917. In October 1918, he received the orders to take the tanks to France, but the war ended before they could sail. Eisenhower received the Distinguished Service Medal but was disappointed that he had not seen combat.

Between the wars, he steadily rose in the peacetime ranks of the U.S. Army. From 1922 to 1924, he was stationed in the Panama Canal Zone, and in 1926, as a major, he graduated from the Army's Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, at the top of a class of 275. He was rewarded with a prestigious post in France and in 1928 graduated first in his class from the Army War College. In 1933, he became aide to Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur, and in 1935 he went with MacArthur to the Philippines when the latter accepted a post as chief military adviser to that nation's government.

Promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel while in the Philippines, Eisenhower returned to the United States in 1939 shortly after World War II began in Europe. President Franklin Roosevelt began to bring the country to war preparedness in 1940 and Eisenhower found himself figuring prominently in a rapidly expanding U.S. Army. In March 1941, he was made a full colonel and three months later was appointed commander of the 3rd Army. In September, he was promoted to brigadier general.

After the United States entered World War II in December 1941, Army Chief of Staff Marshall appointed Eisenhower to the War Plans Division in Washington, where he prepared strategy for an Allied invasion of Europe. Promoted to major general in March 1942 and named head of the operations division of the War Department, he advised Marshall to create a single post that would oversee all U.S. operations in Europe. Marshall did so and on June 11 surprised Eisenhower by appointing him to the post over 366 senior officers. On June 25, 1942, Eisenhower arrived at U.S. headquarters in London and took command.

In July, Eisenhower was appointed lieutenant general and named to head Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of French North Africa. As supreme commander of a mixed force of Allied nationalities, services, and equipment, Eisenhower designed a system of unified command and rapidly won the respect of his British and Canadian subordinates. From North Africa, he successfully directed the invasions of Tunisia, Sicily, and the Italian mainland, and in December 1943 was appointed Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. Operation Overlord, the largest combined sea, air, and land military operation in history, was successfully launched against Nazi-occupied Europe on June 6, 1944. On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. By that time, Eisenhower was a five-star general.

After the war, Eisenhower replaced Marshall as army chief of staff and from 1948 to 1950 served as president of Columbia University. In 1951, he returned to military service as supreme commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Pressure on Eisenhower to run for U.S. president was great, however, and in the spring of 1952 he relinquished his NATO command to run for president on the Republican ticket.

In November 1952, "Ike" won a resounding victory in the presidential elections and in 1956 was reelected in a landslide. A popular president, he oversaw a period of great economic growth in the United States and deftly navigated the country through increasing Cold War tensions on the world stage. In 1961, he retired with his wife, Mamie Doud Eisenhower, to his farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, which overlooked the famous Civil War battlefield. He died in 1969 and was buried on a family plot in Abilene, Kansas.


On This Day: Eisenhower takes command of U.S. forces in Europe

In 1876, U.S. Army Gen. George Custer and his force of 208 men were killed by Chief Sitting Bull's Sioux warriors at Little Big Horn in Montana.

In 1942, U.S. Army Gen. Dwight Eisenhower took command of the U.S. World War II forces in Europe.

In 1950, North Korean forces invaded South Korea, beginning the Korean War.

In 1951, CBS aired the first color television broadcast. At the time, no color TV sets were owned by the public.

In 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision interpreted as barring prayer in public schools.

In 1973, White House attorney John Dean told a U.S. Senate committee that U.S. President Richard Nixon joined in a plot to cover up the Watergate break-in.

In 1991, Slovenia and Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia, sparking civil war.

In 1993, Kim Campbell was sworn in as Canada's first woman prime minister, taking the post after the retirement of Brian Mulroney. Campbell was prime minister until November, leaving office after her Progressive Conservative Party was defeated in the federal election.

In 1994, Japanese Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata resigned two months after taking office rather than face a no-confidence vote by Parliament.

In 1997, about half of Mir's power supply was knocked out when an unmanned cargo ship collided with the Russian space station and put a hole in it.

In 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president of Iran.

In 2006, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by militants from the Gaza Strip. He was released Oct. 18, 2011.

In 2009, entertainment superstar Michael Jackson, known as "the king of pop," a vast influence on the music scene of his day, died of cardiac arrest at age 50 while preparing a comeback.


Individuals must take care of themselves and their families and be vigilant to preserve their liberty.

CENTRAL QUESTIONS
Why is it important for a leader to take responsibility for decisions in a republic of self-governing citizens?

  • Ask the students the central question about responsibility in a self-governing society.
  • Why is it important for a leader to take responsibility for decisions in a republic of self-governing citizens?
  • Follow up by asking them, what would happen in a self-governing republic in which leaders did not take responsibility?

ANALYZING PRIMARY SOURCES

  • Ask students, what is a primary source? Can you give an example?
  • Explain that primary sources include diaries, letters, government documents, speeches, and newspapers that allow us to study the people of the past and their actions. Primary sources help to give us insights into why a person might have acted in a certain manner. Those insights can help us make some reasonable judgments about whether a person’s actions were virtuous and
    for the good of society.
  • Ask students, can the content of a primary source be affected by whether it is intended for a private or public audience?
  • Explain that what one writes for private use only, such as a diary, might be more honest and open. How one acts or what one writes in private might reveal a great deal about character. On the other hand, one might still advance an agenda if the person thinks that those actions or words will be seen by the larger public.
  • Also, explain how the content of a public document in a republican self-governing society might be influenced by the character of the speaker or writer. A leader in a republican society might try to persuade whereas in a dictatorship the leader might simply try to command. Moreover, a virtuous leader in a republic may have a grand moral vision that will help to shape public opinion for the good of society. Finally, the content of a public document may be devoted to promoting some idea or agenda more than what is written in a diary. Citizens in a self-governing society must be vigilant and critical of their leaders to ensure that the character of their leadership is virtuous, promotes the public good, and supports a healthy civil society.

Patton and Eisenhower’s Friendship During the Interwar Years

As a young officer in World War One, George S. Patton was part of the newly formed United States Tank Corps of the American Expeditionary Forces. He then commanding the U.S. tank school in France before being wounded while leading tanks into combat near the end of the war. During the interwar period, Patton remained a central figure in the development of armored warfare doctrine in the U.S. Army. He served in numerous staff positions throughout the country. It is here that he struck up a friendship with another young officer, Dwight David Eisenhower. The two men bonded over their shared military enthusiasm and love of strategy. But it was mostly over their love of tanks.

Patton’s return from the conflict in Europe was marked by the “hangover” of war familiar to many veterans. The sudden transition from the highly-charged experience of combat, where one is com-manding men in life-or-death situations, to domestic tranquility can be jarring and difficult. Patton felt the loss of camaraderie and sense of purpose. He also faced uncertainty about his career in peacetime. For a man driven by a belief in his own destiny to lead troops in war-fare, peace was more frightening than war. Making the situation even more painful, it was the practice in the U.S. Army to reduce returning officers to the rank they held before the war. Patton lost his rank of colonel and reverted to captain.

During these interwar years, Patton met another officer whose destiny would be bound up with his own. In the autumn of 1919, he was introduced to Eisenhower, known to his friends as Ike. Both men were commanding tank units. Eisenhower had not been sent off to France during the war but had established and run the largest tank training center in the United States—Camp Colt, at Get-tysburg, Pennsylvania. In many ways Patton and Eisenhower were strikingly different. Patton could be painfully direct. At times he was an insufferable egotist, and he often sought to intimidate with a well-practiced scowl. His wealthy background allowed him to enjoy an upper-crust way of life in a hardscrabble army. Eisenhower was self-effacing and came from dirt-poor beginnings. His disarming smile charmed everyone who met him. Those who knew both men at this early stage of their military careers had the feeling that George Patton would achieve greatness. Eisenhower, on the other hand, was usually underrated, his easygoing manner masking a burning ambition. Few would have predicted that Eisenhower would become the most brilliant star of the West Point class of 1915—the “class the stars fell on.”

While Eisenhower was attending the army’s Command and General Staff College from 1925 to 1926 at Fort Leavenworth, Patton sent him his own very detailed notes from the course. Eisenhower graduated first in his class, presumably with some help from his friend’s insights and notebook. Patton sent Ike a congratulatory note , remarking that while he was pleased to think that his notes had been of some assistance, “I feel sure that you would have done as well without them.” It is likely, though, that Patton felt that his notes were the primary reason for Eisenhower’s success at the college.

Years later, recalling his relationship with Patton, Eisenhower wrote, “From the beginning he and I got along famously. Both of us were students of current military doctrine. Part of our passion was our belief in tanks—a belief derided at the time by others.” The two men shared a detailed knowledge of the mechanical workings of tanks and an appreciation of their potential strategic uses beyond mere assistance to the infantry.

There was a massive and rapid demobilization of the United States Army at the end of the World War I. By June 1920, the regular army was reduced to only 130,000 men. The American public embraced a pacifism inspired by a vision of the future in which war was a relic of the barbaric past. The League of Nations, which emerged from “the war to end all wars,” embodying President Woodrow Wilson’s idealistic hopes for international understanding, would peacefully settle future disputes among nations. America settled into a period of inno-cence and isolation. In 1922 the United States military ranked seventeenth in size among nations with a standing army.

Patton decried this national mood and the dismantling of the army in a letter to his sister dated October 18, 1919:

The United States in general and the army in particular is in a hell of a mess and there seems to be no end to it . . . . We disregard the lessons of History—The red fate of Carthage the Rome of shame under the Praetorian guard—and we go on regardless of the VITAL necessity of trained patriotism—HIRING an army . . . . Even the most enlightened of our politicians are blind and mad with self delusion. They believe what they wish may occur not what history teaches will happen.

In this eviscerated post-war army, trying to build support for the tank proved an impossible task. The leadership had no interest in making room for a new weapon in the shrunken army. Nor was there any enthusiasm in Congress, given the country’s isolationist mood, for appropriating funds for the military. In 1933 General Douglas MacArthur noted that the few tanks that the army had were “completely useless for employment against any modern unit on the battle-field.”

Like their fellow junior officers, Patton and Eisenhower suffered post-war reductions in rank, deplorable living conditions, and miserable pay. They both contemplated leaving the service, but they both stuck it out, just as a later generation of officers, in the post-Vietnam era—men like Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell—would again rebuild the army into the world’s greatest military force. A passionate belief in the crucial role that tanks could play in the future and the will to make it happen seemed to sustain both men during this period. “George and I and a group of young officers thought . . . [t]anks could have a more valuable and more spectacular role. We believed . . . that they should attack by surprise and mass . . . . We wanted speed, reliability and firepower.”

The two men once took a tank completely apart, down to the nuts and bolts, and reassembled it, apparently to satisfy their curiosity and to understand every detail of its intricate assembly. Over endless dinners and drinks they would debate and discuss tank tactics and strategy, expanding their discussions to include a small but growing circle of like-minded men. Winning converts was not easy, but Patton and Eisenhower were zealots.

Decades later, in a February 1, 1945 memo, Eisenhower ranked the military capabilities of his subordinate American generals in Europe. He ranked Bradley and Army Air Force General Carl Spaatz at number one, with Walter Bedell Smith number two. Patton was number three. Ike revealed his reasoning in a 1946 review of the book Patton and His Third Army: “George Patton was the most brilliant commander of an army in the open field that our or any other service produced. But his army was part of a whole organization and his operations part of a great campaign.”

This quote is a good encapsulation of their friendship that began in the late 1910s. Ike thought Patton to be a leader of men exemplar. But he was only as good as the company in which he fought. Better yet—the tank company in which he fought.

This article is part of our larger selection of posts about the George S. Patton. To learn more, click here for our comprehensive guide to General Patton.

You can also buy the book by clicking on the buttons to the left.


Watch the video: 1950 Eisenhower Becomes NATOs Supreme Commander Allied Forces Europe (October 2022).

Video, Sitemap-Video, Sitemap-Videos