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To General John J. Pershing
January 27, 1937 Vancouver Barracks, Washington
My dear General:
I just happened on Westrate’s book “Those Fatal Generals” and was delighted to see the write up he gave you.1 To tell the truth, after I had read the dreadful panning he gave each man he touched I was fearful of what he might have to say about your work, knowing how these fellows strive to make their books newsy at whatever cost in accuracy or fairness. I have never heard of him until this book came along. Did you know him, or anything about him?
I am sending this to Tucson, though I am not at all certain that you are there. I sent you a note to that general address during the holidays, and I hope it reached you. General Dawes wrote that he had seen you on your way to Lincoln and the southwest.
Here we are clothed in a deep snow, thought it is not very cold. Every one is intent on skiing on Mt. Hood, which is only an hour and a half drive from the post.
I see by the papers that you are to go with Mr. Gerard to the coronation of King George in May.2 I think you should have been named as the representative of the President. G. is nothing more that a rich man and a one time too talkative official in Berlin.
If you come out to the west coast in the Spring, please arrange to come up here and pay us a visit. You will find it delightful here at that season and the surroundings very beautiful. We would be so pleased and honore[d]3 to have you, and I know we could make you very comfortable in this huge house.
Please bear with my typing. I have not done any for so long that I seldom seem to strike the right key. My clerk is too slow on dictation to be much of a comfort.
With affectionate regards,
G. C. Marshall
Document Copy Text Source: John J. Pershing Papers, General Correspondence, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Document Format: Author-typed letter signed.
1. Concerning his book on American generalship from 1776 to 1918, Edwin V. Westrate noted: “Its basic premise is that if there must be wars, they should he fought more efficiently. It has to do with the vicious toll which victory has not demanded but which we always have paid, the needless slaughter of those whose bitter sacrifice contributed nothing toward the victory but rather served only to prolong the desolating agony of the wars in which they were murdered.” (Those Fatal Generals [New York: Knight Publications, 1936], p. 11.) In Westrate’s opinion, America’s outstanding generals had been George Washington, George H. Thomas, and John J. Pershing: “men who fought wisely, men who won brilliantly, men who never spent blood uselessly.” (p. 288.)
2. President Roosevelt designated James W. Gerard—ambassador to Germany between 1913 and 1917—as “special ambassador” and General Pershing and Admiral Hugh Rodman (U.S.N.A., 1880) as the other United States representatives at the coronation of King George VI on May 12 at Westminster Abbey.
3. Marshall occasionally typed off of the right edge of the paper; the missing letters are supplied in brackets.
Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 519-520.