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Memorandum for General Clark
September 22, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
I am inclosing pages 10 to 14 of the Surgeon’s statement regarding the prevention of loss of manpower from psychiatric disorders. I am taking this direct method to reach you because I know how deeply immersed you are in the conduct of actual operations and their logistics as well as related administrative matters. Please read these pages.
I have formed no conclusions myself except that I am much impressed with whatever can be done to break the strain of too long employment of the individual in active operations.
I am sending these same pages to Eisenhower in France and to MacArthur.1
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. Mark Clark replied that “psychiatric casualties have been of great concern to me since last winter” and later in the Cassino area fighting when the “casualties from psychiatric causes were fairly high.” Since operations against the Gothic Line had begun, good troop morale had meant few psychiatric casualties. “It appears clear from the report which you sent me, which was based largely on Fifth Army experience, that susceptibility to psychiatric breakdown is directly related to length of time in combat.” Shortage of Infantry replacements was a continuing and serious problem. (Clark to Marshall, October 6, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
On October 11, Secretary of War Stimson read the surgeon general’s August 31, 1944, health report. Stimson observed that it “gave a rather appalling analysis of what our infantrymen are confronting in the present war in the way of psychosis.” The strain on the army’s replacement system, wherein a division could be kept in the line for a long period by continual replacement of casualties, “has fallen on the diminishing number of old men in each unit who never get any relief.” (October 11, 1944, Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 48: 134-35].)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers 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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), p. 601.