2-301 To Willard K. Smith, November 12, 1940

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: November 12, 1940

To Willard K. Smith1

November 12, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]

My dear Captain Smith:

I received your note of November 18th [8th], and a copy of MERCURY with your article on Military History. I had not seen this, and am very glad you gave me the opportunity.2

I have always been puzzled, and still am puzzled, as to the most effective method of presenting various phases of our military history to the public. At present we are laying, I suppose, quite a foundation for future military history, and I am inclined to think that the mature minds of today will have been so deeply impressed by the conflicting presentations of columnists, radio commentators, etc. that they will not in their lifetime acquire an accurate appreciation of the situation, however well done the future historical presentations of the cause and effects of this period.

I would like very much to see your article on the German effort in the production of ordnance equipment.3

Faithfully yours,

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed letter.

1. Smith, who signed his letter “former Captain, Ordnance, A.E.F.,” was the editor of News and Opinion, a New York City publication.

2. Marshall’s American Historical Association speech on December 28, 1939 (Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-094. [2: 123-27]), Smith wrote, had inspired him “to prepare an article setting forth the unpalatable facts of our previous military efforts.” He had difficulty in getting the story published, “because editors generally admitted the same tendency to gloss over our deficiencies of which you complained.” (Smith to Marshall, November 8, 1940, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].) Smith’s “The Legend of American Invincibility” was published in American Mercury 51 (November 1940): 295-302.

3. Smith had also written another article: “Is Germany’s `Secret Weapon’ Work?” Nation’s Business 28 (November 1940): 2-22, 8-89.

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), p. 348.

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