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To Major General George V. H. Moseley
October 29, 1934 [Chicago, Illinois]
I received your note of October 22nd, and have gone over your discussion of Training Methods very carefully.1 I agree with you in practically every thing you said. Sometimes a little more vigorously than you put the matter. But it is delightful to find a Corps Area Commander so keenly on the job regarding these basic matters.
I spent the five years of my stay at Benning trying to make the practical dominate the theoretical, trying to compress five pages of technique into a single paragraph of practical direction. Since coming to the National Guard I have been more than ever impressed with the near futility of drowning everybody in an elaborate technique of forms and fashions, all going back to static warfare as a basis. I have had long correspondence with General Heintzelman on this subject. He seems to agree with me, but the difficulty is putting it over.
I suppose our entire trouble rests on the fact that we do not have large forces to maneuver frequently each year. Certainly no country that concentrates yearly large bodies of troops, would evolve the staff methods that have been grafted on to our paper army. It fell to me in the World War to actually write more detail orders, and to actually prepare orders for large forces, than I believe any other officer in the Army, but what may have been the right method over there is certainly not the right practice for the first two or three months of a war with partially trained troops.
I appreciate your comment regarding my future, and I am very sorry you are not in the position to bring it about.2
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Illinois National Guard, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Moseley, who had recently seen Marshall at the National Guard convention in Nashville, Tennessee, inclosed in his October 22 letter some remarks on training he had made to the War Department. The inclosure is not in the Marshall papers.
2. Moseley ended his October 22 letter by saying: “I hope you will guard your health carefully for if there is any justice in this man’s army, there must be much in the future for you." (GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Illinois National Guard].)
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. 438-439.