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Memorandum for the Under Secretary of War
March 30, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
With reference to your memorandum on parades, I agree that in general parades have a beneficial effect on both public and military morale.1 Current instructions of the Secretary of War provide for the fullestpossible participation of Army personnel and equipment in civilian observance of Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Armistice Day.
The decision to refrain from parading troops on Army Day was made with the approval of the President after a rather long consideration of the various aspects of the matter. The decision was promulgated to the Army on March 4th and I think that it is now too late to change if such was thought to be advisable.2 Participation on the holidays mentioned above would seem a reasonable answer to the morale needs.
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. Under Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson had written that he preferred the army to stage more street parades and to authorize parades for Army Day, as in previous years. More parades would promote a “popular spirit in support of the war” and serve to “tie the people closer to the Army and build up their pride in the Army.” He argued that the troops enjoyed parades held in cities near the camps and that the improved troop morale compensated for the small amount of time lost from training. Countering the point that parades were banned as a means to conserve transportation, Patterson argued that the amount of transportation used for parades was “trifling compared to the waste in transportation going on all over the country for purposes unconnected with winning the war.” (Patterson Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, March 20, 1943, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 370.7].)
2. Army Day parades and dinner celebrations were banned since such celebrations were in conflict with conservation of transportation, fuel, and food, and were “inconsistent with the present intensified training program.” (New York Times, March 4, 1943, p. 21.)
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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 621-622.