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To Elmer Davis
November 24, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
Dear Mr. Davis:
General Surles tells me that you are of the opinion that the War Department demobilization film, “Two Down and One to Go,” should not be released to the public unless it is revised to include a serial from the Navy Department as to their plan.1
A great deal of thought and planning has been given to this film, since it must serve the purpose of presenting clearly to the troops and to the American public a very important, but very complicated, subject. While the principles of the demobilization plan are quite simple, the mechanics of its operation in the several theaters of war are necessarily involved, and for that reason the thread of logical explanation running through the film should not be interrupted. Moreover, it seems to me particularly important that the film shown to the public should be identical with that shown to the troops.
The Navy Department is facing an entirely different demobilization problem than the Army and its treatment of the subject should not be confused with the Army’s plans. Rather, I think, it should be handled in a separate picture produced and distributed by the Navy.2
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. For previous consideration of this film, see Marshall Memorandum for the Secretary of War, September 29, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-534 [4: 614-15].
2. Davis replied that even though the navy had no desire to be included in the film and had no similar film of its own, “probably thirty percent of the theater audience would have relatives in the Navy and they would naturally wonder what happens to their boys. I think the omission of any explanation of the Navy’s attitude from such a showing would be likely to leave a considerable amount of uncertainty if not of soreness in many minds.” (Davis to Marshall, November 25, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) Secretary Stimson ultimately had to take the matter directly to Secretary Forrestal and get a formal statement that the navy did not desire to participate in the film in any way. Davis then withdrew his objections. Showings of the film began at noon on May 10, 1945. (Stimson to the Secretary of the Navy, December 18, 1944; H. Merrill Pasco Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, January 2, 1945; and Brigadier General R. W. Berry Memorandum for the Deputy Chief of Staff, May 10, 1945, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 062.2].)
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. 675.