5-151 Memorandum for General Handy, June 4, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: June 4, 1945

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for General Handy

June 4, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]


SUBJECT: Section 8, Basic Plan for Post-War Army1

In general I am in agreement with the G-3 recommendation and yours, otherwise I have these comments to make:

It seems to me there is far too much of detail in this sort of a paper at this particular time. One has to search through a series of little paragraphs to make sure that this, that or the other great fundamental is covered. For example:

I think it very important to clearly state certain fundamental policies in very general terms as an introduction. I attach great importance to a broad understanding by everybody of the vital necessity in our Army to continuously strive for the development of more expeditious methods of instruction. By this, I mean the development of methods which facilitate the preparation of an Army for war in an emergency and also which permit the adequate instruction of the citizen soldier without too great a loss of time from his civil pursuits. Along with this would go the importance of developing expertness on the part of Regular personnel in methods of instruction. Benning [i.e., the Infantry School], I feel, made a great contribution in this war through the education of officers in the art of instructing. I found great deficiencies in other services which had to be corrected over a long period of time. There is, I think, a natural tendency at the present time to assume everybody has an understanding and a general capacity as of the present date, forgetting the deficiencies of four and five years ago. There has always been a lack of understanding on the part of the War Department of the great importance of facilitating the instruction of the citizen components, individual soldiers and units. As our Army is bound to be one of citizen soldiers, this phase of our training is of first and fundamental importance and should be so stated.

I would like the entire Section 8 gone over again with a view to generalizing more and particularizing less. There will be plenty of time in the future to get down to details.

There is another portion of the report that is open to question in my mind. I refer to Paragraph 1D of Part 2, with regard to the operation of schools in which more than one component of the Army is involved. What I do not like about the paragraph as now phrased is charging the War Department with the operation of the school. The War Department should determine the policy, the course and the allocation of students, though the proposal of the individuals should come forward from the Ground Forces, Air Forces and Service Forces. But I do not think it a wise business to involve the War Department in operations as has been the custom in the past. The War Department is seldom a successful operator.2


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. In mid-March, Marshall had approved Sections 1 through 4 and 7 (5 was nearly complete) of the War Department Basic Plan for the Post-War Military Establishment. Section 8 was titled “Training Organization Plan”; Part 1 concerned training of a balanced army and Part 2 army schools. Records pertaining to the Basic Plan are in NA/RG 165 (OCS, 370.01).

2. An August 17, 1945, summary memorandum signed by Major General Ray E. Porter, director of the Special Planning Division, which had been drafting the Basic Plan, noted that Section 8 had “been rewritten in accordance with the Chief of Staff’s directive to General Handy dated 4 Jun 45.” (See NA/RG 165 [OCS, 370.01, Sec. V, Case 46].)

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. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 210-211.


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