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Memorandum on Women’s Army Corps1
April 6, 1944 Washington, D.C.
The constantly increasing shortages in manpower make it imperative for the Army to intensify its efforts to build up the strength of the Women’s Army Corps. A new drive is therefore to be launched which must be strongly supported by all concerned.
The Women’s Army Corps is now an integral part of the Army and a highly essential part of our war effort. Its units have met their responsibilities with efficiency and are rendering an invaluable service. However, reports indicate that there are local commanders who have failed to provide the necessary leadership and have in fact in some instances made evident their disapproval of the Women’s Army Corps. The attitude of the men has quickly reflected the leadership of their commanders, as always.
All commanders in the military establishment are charged with the duty of seeing that the dignity and importance of the work which women are performing are recognized and that the policy of the War Department is supported by strong affirmative action.
G. C. Marshall
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.
1. This memorandum was distributed to all War Department General Staff and Special Staff divisions, overseas commanders, Army Ground Forces down to tactical units, as well as Army Air Forces, Army Service Forces, and Defense Commands down to posts, camps, and stations.
On March 16 Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby, director of the Women’s Army Corps, reported that the “attitude of soldiers toward women in the military services” was a serious deterrent to recruiting. (Hobby Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, March 16, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 324.5 WAC]. For previous discussion of recruitment and publicity for the W.A.C., see editorial note #4-307, Papers of George Catlett Marshall [4: 359-60], and Marshall Memorandum for the Bureau of Public Relations, January 26, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-212 [4: 246-48].) A few days later she reported that anti-W.A.C. statements had been made by some high-ranking officers, most of whom were combat officers who were not familiar with W.A.C. employment. Citing a major general’s remark in a national magazine that he “fortunately” had no experience working with the W.A.C. and he did not want any Wacs in his command, Colonel Hobby noted: “The attitude of the officers and enlisted men in the field will never change to the degree desired as long as key personnel, whose expressions can be assumed to reflect the War Department attitude, make statements such as these.” (Mattie E. Treadwell, The Women’s Army Corps, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1954], pp. 274-75.) General Marshall therefore sent the following message.
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), pp. 390-391.