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Memorandum for General Richardson
May 19, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
I think it important that your Service begin a preparation of the public mind for the inevitable reactions from the maneuvers. I mean this:
These large maneuvers will involve long marches, lack of water, dust, heat, missed meals, and a multitude of discomforts that will require a high state of discipline, or otherwise we will have a volume of unsoldierly complaints. They will be a test not only of tactics and technique, but more particularly of the seasoned State of the Army and the character of discipline that we have developed since last fall.
If the public gets the right point of view and if the men at the same time acquire somewhat the same point of view, I think we will hear very little of unfavorable reactions. It should be easy to play this up because everyone has been told so much of the fortitude and endurance displayed by the German troops, as their most marked characteristic which determined their ability to undergo exceptional hardships and continue the campaign through Flanders into France at a high speed. “If they can do it, we can do it” is the motto to be unobtrusively hung up.
I think you ought to make a staff study of this and get under way a deliberate campaign of education.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr. (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), p. 516.