1-248 Editorial Note on War College Assignment, August 1927

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Editorial Note on War College Assignment

August-September 1927

The Army War College—founded in 1903—held its classes in a Stanford White-designed building at the old Washington Barracks in southwest Washington, D.C., a twenty-minute walk from downtown. From its inception, the college was closely allied with the army General Staff and was specially charged with training staff officers and developing war plans. When Major General James W. McAndrew became commandant in 1919, he set out to change the college’s image as simply a planning adjunct to the General Staff. He reorganized the curriculum to emphasize academic instruction rather than field problems and to prepare his students for exercising high command. The instructors used lectures, problems, war games, and map maneuvers in their efforts to provide the students with guidance and experience in commanding large units and to develop their decision-making skills.

For Marshall, the new post of War College instructor meant leaving duty with troops for a desk job in the city, a prospect he did not enjoy. Adding to his worries was Lily’s health. She had never been robust and had declined alarmingly during the past few months. A leisurely trip across the continent from San Francisco, and several weeks’ rest at her mother’s home in Lexington, Virginia, had produced no improvement in her condition.

In the latter part of July, John McAuley Palmer lent the Marshalls his Washington apartment while they tried to organize their new white-columned, brick house at the college. Marshall struggled to prepare for the coming school year. But Lily’s condition continued to worsen; she soon had to enter Washington’s Walter Reed Hospital for medical tests.

Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), p. 309.

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