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to the press, articles, pamphlets, or papers, his opinions on matters concerning the service to which he belonged.” 27
This was true to an even greater event in the United States for there was no thought that the person who accepted a commission in the Armed Forces thereby became a second-class citizen. Least of all would General Scott have entertained such a notion. The general had what would be called today an “outgoing" personality. Whether he was pressing the cause of his friends or advancing claims of his own, he was extremely vocal in presenting a case. Commissioned in the Army by President Jefferson, Scott-still in his twenties—became an outstanding hero of the War of 1812 and after the war was one of four officers retained in the rank of brigadier general of the Regular Army, holding also the brevet rank of major general.28
Scott began dabbling in political affairs in 1822 when he gave support to the candidacy of John C. Calhoun for the Presidential nomination. He also engaged in controversies with the Secretary of War and the President over claims (based on his brevet) of rank and precedence in the Army. In a communication which would undoubtedly shock present day military analysts he even requested leave in order to "seek relief in some form, from the Congress". against a decision of President Adams in the matter of his claims as against those of General Macomb as General in Chief of the Army.
General Scott added greatly to his laurels as a military commander by his brilliant strategy during the Mexican War. Largely as a result, his name was placed in nomination for the Presidency in the Whig convention in 1848, but he did not become the Whig candidate until 1852. Franklin Pierce (also a Mexican War general and the Democratic candidate), defeated Scott who, as accepted practice of the time, had remained in the military service.30
In the new Pierce administration Scott at once became involved in one of the most famous controversies involving civil-military affairs in the United States. Pierce's Secretary of War was Jefferson Davis, hardly a pliant individual. Between Davis and Scott there arose a bitter dispute that was to last throughout Davis' tenure as Secretary of War. Scott was the commanding general of the Army and as such argued that his immediate superior was the President (as Commander in Chief). The controversy between Davis and Scott continued throughout Pierce's administration and toward its close its was obvious that both men were writing with the intention of reaching the public.31 Although the entire affair was unfortunate, it supplies an interesting comparison with our own times. Despite charges of “insubordination,” “groveling vices,” and "want of truth” 82 by the civilian Secretary and replies by Scott such as "compasion is always due to an enraged imbecile,” 33 the cry of "militarism” was never raised. 3. General McClellan and the Civil War
Of all the myths of supposed military attempts to gain supremacy over the civil authority none would seem to be more enduring than that surrounding Gen. Geo. B. McClellan and none continues to be perpetuated more by modern writers on the Civil War.84 This myth turns on what McClellan wrote rather than
27 Geoffrey Penn, "Up Funnel, Down Screw !”: The Story of the Naval Engineer, London : Hollis & Carter, 1955, p. 91.
28 Scott gainéd fame as the leading field commander at the battles of Chippewa and Lundy's Lane. Of Chippewa, Henry Adams, never given to excessive praise, wrote: “The battle of Chippewa was the only occasion during the war when equal bodies of regular troops met face to face, in extended lines on an open plain in broad daylight, without advantage of position; and never again after that combat was an army of American Regulars beaten by British troops. Small as the affair was * * * it gave to the U.S. Army a character and pride it had never before possessed.” History of the United States, vol. VIII, p. 45. Scott received votes of thanks from the State Legislatures of New York and Virginia, presentation swords, and much other acclaim for his leading role in these actions.
29 Charles Winslow Elliott,“Winfield Scott," New York : Macmillan, 1937, p. 248. 30 Ibid., chs. XIII, XIV, XXXVI, XLV, passim. 31 Ibid., ch. XLVI, passim. 32 Quoted, Elliott, ibid., p. 658. 33 Quoted, Leonard D. White, “The Jacksonians," New York: Macmillan, 1954, p. 196. 34 Interestingly, Ganoe's careful judgment is often overlooked. Wrote he: “When Mr. Stanton became Secretary of War, Mr. Lincoln decided that there should be a movement of the forces. Accordingly there was issued the first of the series of pernicious 'War Orders.' This one fixed a 'general movement of the land and naval forces' for February 22, Such a conception was full of color [i.e., Washington's Birthday] but absurd to anyone of military experience. McClellan realized that battle movements are dependent upon tactical and strategical factors rather than sentimental dates. When he proposed transferring the Army of the Potomac by water so as to attack Richmond, the President vetoed the plan, and ordered an advance on Manassas Junction. It took a whole month of argument to get any accession to McClellan's idea. In the meantime the great opportunity had passed. According to the Constitution the President was commander in Chief, but the Constitution could not in a twinkling make him a trained soldier *." Ganoe, op. cit., pp. 273-274.
on his actions. Rather like Scott, McClellan was adept with the sword, but was his own worst enemy with the pen. Strikingly, his critics then and now have based their charges of a desire for military dictatorship on a chance phrase or paragraph in his letters. His actions might be considered rather more important. As one analyst of military affairs has written: "Even in the trying days after the first Battle of Bull Run when McClellan seemed to embody the military virtues which would preserve the Union, neither he nor his staff did anything which deviated from their loyal service to the civil authority as represented by President Lincoln and the Congress, although much has been made of a chance phrase in one of McClellan's letters to his wife." 35
The strongest refutation as to any desire of military dominance over the civil authority, however, is given by an Army officer actually present when General McClellan said farewell to the Army of the Potomac on November 10, 1862. Wrote Lt. Col. Richard B. Irwin: “As he rode between the lines, formed almost of their own accord to do honor for the last time to their beloved commander, grief and disappointment were
every face * * *
In the simple, touching words of the gallant and accomplished Walker: 'Every heart was filled with love and grief; every voice was raised in shouts expressive of devotion and indignation *.' In all that these brave men did, in all that they suffered
never, perhaps, were their devotion and loyalty more nobly proved than by their instant obedience to this order, unwisely wrung from the President as many of them believed it to have been, yet still for them, as American soldiers, as American citizens, an implicit mandate. The men who could talk so glibly of ‘praetorian guards' knew little of the Army of the Potomac.” 36
Then, as now, in the United States, old soldiers fade away, they don't try to overthrow the Government. 4. President Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt gave a great deal of impetus to the commander in chief clause of the Constitution. Never one to consider the powers of the President in a limited fashion, he “took Panama," sent the fleet on a world cruise as a symbolic act of American imagination in political warfare, and maintained a constant interest in military and naval affairs. His view of the role of the military is, then, of more than passing interest in any survey of civil-military relationships.
As President, Theodore Roosevelt saw the role of the military as that of military "experts.” Hence, he believed that sound military policy could best be formulated through the advice of professional military people since civilians could hardly possess the know-how of strategy to perform such a task. T. R. emphasized the role of the military in a letter to his newly selected Secretary of the Navy in 1904 when he pointed out that the industrial side of the Navy was important but not to regard it as “an end instead of as a means” since the policy side was much more important for “it is much easier to provide ships and weapons *** than to study and apply the methods of using them aright, so that a fleet can be made the most of in accordance with the great fundamental principles underlying the art of war and the laws of strategy and tactics.” 87
The President went on to underscore the importance of military advice by stating that "Secretary Moody [the retiring Secretary), after long discussion with Admiral Dewey and other high officers, recognized that the Secretary of the Navy must have responsible advice on military questions. * * *” 38 The President believed that machinery should be created the better to provide such military advice and thought that “there should be legislation to establish such an advisory board on military questions, evolving this board from the general board [of professional naval officers] which has been in existence for 412 years and which Secretary Moody has done all he could to develop.”
President Theodore Roosevelt, although always deeply interested in military and naval affairs, never set himself up as a master of strategy. He understoodperhaps because he was a student of military history—that the civil authority must place heavy reliance on the considered opinions of professional military officers not only in strictly military matters but also in directly related areas
35 Atkinson, op. cit., p. 18.
86 Richard B. Irwin, "The Removal of McClellan,” “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, New York: The Century Co., 1889, vol. III, p. 104.
37 Roosevelt to Morton. Elting E. Morison, ed., “The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt,” Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1951, vol. IV, pp. 847–848.
38 Ibid., p. 848. 30 Ibid.
such as those involving grand strategy. This is revealed by his complaint when the Armed Forces changed their recommendations on the location of a base in the Philippines. Wrote T. R.: “Of course when assertions * * * are made to a layman, whether he be President or a Member of Congress, the layman assumes and has a right to assume that those making them are supposed to recommend what is best under actual conditions. * * *” 40 5. President Woodrow Wilson and Gen. Leonard Wood
Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood, Chief of Staff of the Army 1910–14, was widely recognized as the leading military proponent of preparedness. From the time of his appointment as Chief of Staff he had not hesitated to urge on both the Congress and the public the necessity for strong national defense forces. He was the moving spirit behind two summer training camps for young men at Monterey and Gettysburg in 1913 and many Americans, including President Wilson's first Secretary of War, Lindley M. Garrison, considered him an authority on what was then called preparedness. 41 President Wilson's confidential adviser, Colonel House, for example, noted on April 16, 1914, in writing Wilson, "I had a long talk with Leonard Wood about the Army's preparedness. We discussed the international situation. * * *" 42
With the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 the “preparedness" issue quickly became front-page news in the United States. Wood, now commanding general of the Army's Eastern Department, continued to press strongly for greater defense capabilities. On November 3, 1914, he and Colonel House had lunch following which House wrote to Wilson urging “a great constructive work for the Army" so that the United States could command respect in the world.48 Wilson's annual message to the Congress December 8, 1914, did not sound the call for preparedness and General Wood was openly critical of administration policy.* In a speech to the Merchants' Association in New York City only a week after Wilson's message, Wood said that America did not have a firstclass power's capacity for waging war and that the country that would send its people into battle without proper training was “a murderer.” The theme of unpreparedness was taken up from the naval side by the head of the Naval War College, Rear Adm. Austin M. Knight, in a public speech the following January in New York. The President was unhappy about these incidents and directed the Secretaries of War and Navy to make his displeasure known to the officers concerned. 45
Undaunted, General Wood went ahead (in 1915 and 1916) with his campaign for "preparedness." He wrote books, canvassed the eastern universities in the interest of universal military training, made many public speeches, and created a special camp at Plattsburg, N.Y., for giving military training to business and professional people. 46
President Wilson was obviously not pleased with this, the more so since Wood, a Republican, was a close associate of Theodore Roosevelt and other prominent Republican critics of the Wilson administration. Nevertheless, the President did not silence General Wood. One view is that Wilson was influenced by the idea that to do so would have serious political repercussions on the Democratic Party. It is interesting that Mr. Tumulty, Wilson's secretary and a keen political observer, wrote to him in the late summer of 1915 that "the whole country wishes effective preparedness and will ruthlessly cast aside any man or party who stands in the way of the carrying out of this program. 47
40 Quoted, Albert C. Stillson, "Military Policy Without Political Guidance : Theodore Roosevelt's Navy,'' Military Affairs, vol. XXV (1961), p. 20.
41 Bernardo and Bacon, op. cit., pp. 301–334, passim. See also Otto L. Nelson, Jr., “National Security and the General Staff," Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1946, pp. 132-138. General Wood had been the senior line general in June 1909, when he was selected for the position of Chief of Staff.
42 Charles Seymour, "The Intimate Papers of Colonel House," Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1926, vol. I, pp. 296–297.
43 Ibid., pp. 298–299.
44 Some idea of the lack of understanding of military affairs in the United States during this time is given in a statement by Secretary of State Bryan that “if this country needed a million men * * * the call would go out at sunrise and the sun would go down on a million men in arms.
45 Ray Stannard Baker, "Woodrow Wilson: Life and Letters," Garden City, N.Y.; Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1937, vol. VI, pp. 3–7; Arthur S. Link, ""Wilson: The Struggle for Neutrality,” Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1960, pp. 141-143; Herman Hagedorn, "Leonard Wood," New York: Harper & Bros., 1931, vol. II, p. 151.
46 Bernardo and Bacon, op. cit., pp. 331–335 ; Baker, op. cit., pp. 7-14; Hagedorn, op. cit., vol. II, passim. ; Seymour, op. cit., vol. II, pp. 19–20.
47 Tumulty to Wilson, Aug. 9, 1915, Woodrow Wilson Papers, Library of Congress.
It is quite possible, however, that Wilson sincerely believed that General Wood should be allowed rather wide latitude in speaking about military affairs. The President was widely read in American history and politics and was acutely conscious of our great tradition of full and free discussion of public affairs. Only those who take a most critical view of Wilson could believe that partisan political influence alone determined his position in refusing to silence General Wood. Then too, Wilson was always cognizant of the powers vested by the Constitution in Congress in the military field and may have thought that free discussion of national defense should not be foreclosed because of this factor.
In any event, the President's action is significant in the annals of U.S. military affairs. Looking back from the vantage point of almost 50 years, President Wilson's decision not to silence General Wood was wise and increases his stature as a great President. Public debate over “preparedness” did not harm America; instead, it strengthened our democratic institutions. One can only conclude that the debate over military policy from 1914 to 1917, heated though it was, was far preferable to stifling the military critics of the Wilson administration. It proved once again that our system has tremendous vitality and that expressions of opinion by military people are not to be equated with “militarism."
President Kennedy apparently accepts the Wilsonian doctrine. When national defense policy was criticized during the 1960 election campaign he quoted with approval the words of Senator Taft as a warning for the future. Said Mr. Kennedy: “If you permit appeals to unity to bring an end to criticism, we endanger not only the constitutional liberties of our country, but even its future ex
Unlike the situation surrounding the “preparedness” movement from 1914 to 1917, there was no serious controversy over defense measures between members of the military and the executive branch in the period before the Second World War. There are some things of interest, however, in the President's relations with the service chiefs and with the civilian heads of the War and Navy De partments. 6. President Franklin D. Roosevelt
No President has placed greater reliance in the Commander in Chief clause of the Constitution than Franklin D. Roosevelt.49 F. D. R. came to appreciate the supreme importance of military power in a situation of actual war. He was apparently much less cognizant of strategy and the appliaction of military factors in time of peace especially as a military decision would be viewed by the military of another nation. A striking example of this is given from testimony available after World War II. Adm. James O. Richardson, commander in chief of the U.S. Fleet (as it was then designated) from 1940 to 1941, has testified that he was invited by the Chief of Naval Operations to confer with President Roosevelt at the White House on October 8, 1940. Admiral Richardson has stated :
“I took up the question of returning to the Pacific coast all of the fleet except the Hawaiian detachment. The President stated that the fleet was retained in the Hawaiian area in order to exercise a restraining influence on the actions of Japan. I stated that in my opinion the presence of the fleet in Hawaii might influence a civilian political government, but that Japan had a military government which knew that the fleet was undermanned, unprepared for war, and had no train of auxiliary ships without which it could not undertake active operations. Therefore, the presence of the fleet in Hawaii could not exercise a restraining influence on Japanese action. I further stated we were more likely to make the Japanese feel that we meant business if a train were assembled and the fleet returned to the Pacific coast, the complements filled, the ships docked, and fully supplied with ammunition, provisions, stores, and fuel, and then stripped for war operations." To this Admiral Richardson goes on to say:
"The President said in effect, 'Despite what you believe, I know that the presence of the fleet in the Hawaiian area, has had, and is now having, a restraining influence on the actions of Japan.'
62 61 ܕܕ ܕ
48 Speeches, op. cit., remarks at Denver, Sept. 23, 1960, p. 341.
,49 E. S. Corwin. “The President: Office and Powers," New York: New York University Press, 1957, fourth revised edition, ch. VI, and especially pp. 250–252.
80 “Pearl Harbor Attack,” hearings, Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, 79th Cong., 1st sess., Washington : Government Printing Office, 1946, pt. I, pp. 265–266.
61 Emphasis supplied.
Whereupon the Admiral replied :
"Mr. President, I still do not believe it, and I know that our fleet is disadvantageously disposed for preparing for or initiating war operations." **
But if the President tended at times to think of himself as a strategist, he also directed the professional military chiefs to come to him directly rather than go through the civilian Secretaries of War and Navy. He thought of the service chiefs as his personal advisers on military affairs rather than as subordinates of the civilian Secretaries.54
Franklin Roosevelt must also be credited with appreciating the fact that the Nation's military planners should not be isolated from foreign policy considerations. In 1938, for example, when Secretary of State Cordell Hull proposed a State-War-Navy liaison committee and suggested Assistant Secretaries from the Department as members, the President gave his approval but instead of civilians from the War and Navy Departments he directed that these departments be represented by the Army's Chief of Staff and the Chief of Naval Operations.65
Fleet Admiral King has also pointed out President Roosevelt's preference for close relations between the Chief Executive and his highest professional military advisers. He notes that he was made “directly responsible to the President" when he became commander in chief, U.S. Fleet, and that from the beginning of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in January 1942, they “reported directly" to F.D.R.56
When it is remembered that in the years following World War II there has been a growing tendency for layer upon layer of civilian Secretaries to come between the professional military chiefs and the Chief Executive, civil-military relationships during and immediately before the Second World War are well worth restudy.
C. THE MILITARY AND THE COLD WAR
1. The cold war and the military-foreign policy mix
Although our political and intellectual spokesmen profited by the experience of the short-of-war situation during the years 1940-41, the war itself, and much more by the cold and peripheral warfare from 1946 onward, they—and we Americans generally-still do not seem to be fully aware of the nuances involved in the interrelations of military power and foreign policy. There is a tendencysome might go so far as to call it an unconscious death wish to believe that a posture of sweet reasonableness will somehow moderate, somehow exercise, the Communist imperative of world domination.
The period of uneasy and partial truce or, more precisely, of cold war which has existed from 1946 down to the present time reveals a certain ambivalence in both our attitude toward and our understanding of the role of force in the conduct of foreign policy. At times we seem to have grasped the fact that military power has taken on a new but no less decisive role in the shifting sands of world politics. At other times we seem to forget this basic fact and to believe or at least to hope that we can find easy solutions to the problems that beset us. Especially has this mixed mood been true with reference to the military. Many of our intellectuals, writers, columnists, commentators, and publicists came to understand what our first Secretary of Defense, James V. Forrestal, meant when he said that foreign policy was the other side of the coin of military policy.
They could see, too, that with this development the military would increasingly be called upon to give advice, to plan, to speak out in areas in which they had not done so in the past. While there were some cries of "militarism,” most well-informed Americans were not disconcerted by the broader role of the military in the post-World War II period. But it should be noted that the acceptance of the military's new role in the formulation of national policy was
63 Ibid. 54 Mark S. Watson, "Chief of Staff : Prewar Plans and Preparations,” in U.S. Army in World War II Series, Washington : Government Printing Office, 1950, pp. 5–7.
55 Ibid., pp. 89-90 ; Mr. Watson states that “at the outset the liaison was neither completely trustful nor completely effective. It did not gain appreciably in effectiveness. The record of meetings of the committee indicates that the initiative came generally from the State Department, whose representative assumed the chairmanship” (p. 91). There had also been created for diplomatic-military liaison a War Council composed of the President, Secretaries of State, War, and Navy, the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Chief of Naval Operations, and occasionally in attendance, the head of the semiautonomous Army Air Forces.
66 Ernest J. King and Walter M. Whitehill, "Fleet Admiral King: A Naval Record,” New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1952, pp. 355, 366–367.