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To James W. Wadsworth
February 21, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
I have just this moment read your note of February 19th together with the copy of your letter to the “New Republic” of the same date. I have never heard of your losing your temper but if this is an indication of the result, I can only hope that you are prepared to lose it quite frequently in the coming months, to the support of the Army.2
Really I am very grateful to you for your vigorous resentment of this particular derogatory reference to me and my kind.
As I have often told you, and written too through the years, I hold a great admiration for your genuine patriotism and great wisdom in matters of national defense. Recently I have had added reasons for even stronger feelings on the subject due not only to your two splendid statements on the floor of the House, but more particularly to the sound advice you have given me in the present crisis.
With my thanks and warmest regards,
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. Congressman Wadsworth had formerly been a United States Senator from New York.
2. “I confess I have lost my temper,” Wadsworth wrote, over a comment in “the radical minded” journal. The article, lamenting the lag in United States industrial mobilization, stated that the delays were due, in part, to the War Department’s reactionary outlook, particularly blaming former Secretary Woodring and Assistant Secretary Johnson, “both of whom failed in any way to awaken sleeping and decadent army officers, whose social activities and personal well-being conditioned their entire outlook.” (“We Have Repeated Britain’s Mistakes,” New Republic 104 [February 17, 1941]: 230.) This last phrase, Wadsworth told Marshall, “was more than I can stand.” He wrote to the editor that the last three chiefs of staff and their staffs had “long since recognized the fact that the United States Army was not keeping pace with modern developments,” but until 1939 their recommendations for increased appropriations for modernization had been rejected by the Roosevelt administration. “To call these officers decadent is atrocious, and to say that their social activities and personal well-being condition their entire outlook is at once silly and false. No intelligent person knowing these men and knowing the facts would indulge in such a slander.” (Wadsworth to the Editor, The New Republic, enclosed in Wadsworth to Marshall, February 19, 1941, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected]. The letter and the editors’ response are in New Republic 104 [March 10, 1941]: 342-43.)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers 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), pp. 426-427,