World War II was a critical period for America, not to mention the world as well. Throughout all the fighting and bloodshed, Americans returned home successful. Over 700,000 soldiers were disabled after the war, thankful for their lives. All the success and happiness of this country wouldn’t have been possible if not for the bravery, courage, and strategies of our U. S. Generals. They provided the smarts, the morale, and motivation for our soldiers, navy, and airforce to come out victorious and recognized as the best in world history.
The five major generals (George Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, Omar Bradley, and Douglas MacArthur) shall never be forgotten as the best generals America has ever had. General George C. Marshall was Army Chief of Staff during World War II. General Marshall planned some important strategies against the Japanese. He was born on December 31, 1880, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and was educated at Virginia Military Institute. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry in 1901 and served in the Philippine Islands from 1902 to 1903.
During World War I he served as chief of operations with the U. S. First Army in France. He became a colonel in 1918 and received wide military recognition for his handling of troops and equipment during the Saint Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne operations. From 1919 to 1924 he was aide to the U. S. commander in chief, General John Pershing, and during the next three years he saw service in China. Marshall taught in various army schools and organizations from 1927 to 1936, when he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general.
In 1939 Marshall was appointed U.S. army chief of staff with the rank of general. He directed U. S. preparations for war over two years, and after the nation’s entry into World War II in December 1941, he was chiefly responsible for the training, organization, and deployment of U. S. troops in all sectors of the fighting, and for the appointment of commanders in all major operations. As one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s principal advisers on strategy, Marshall participated in the Allied conferences at Casablanca, Quebec, Tehran (Teheran), Yalta, and Potsdam.
In 1944 he was promoted to the rank of General of the Army. When he retired in 1945, President Harry S. Truman appointed him special representative, with the rank of ambassador, to China. He spent two years in China attempting to mediate the differences between the Chinese Communist and Nationalist leaders, but was unsuccessful. (Alexandria, pg. 24) One of Marshall’s briefings was called Operation Downfall, which was Marshall’s final blow against the city of Hirohito. This strategy had two parts in able to be accomplished.
The first part was named Code Olympic and the main priority would be to send 815, 548 American soldiers to invade Kyushu, which was the southernmost part of the Japanese islands, and overwhelm anyone or anything that stood in their way. The second part was called Operation Coronet, which was the invasion of Honshu. In Code Olympic, there were 31,000 American casualties in only 30 days but this did not distract General Marshall. In the words of General George Marshall, “It is a grim fact that there is not an easy, bloodless was to victory in war.
The Japanese knew they were defeated, so both sides negotiated or peace. On June 5, 1947 George C. Marshall created a document called the Marshall Plan. This document stated that during the post-war, America should help the infrastructure of Europe, which was facing famine and an economic crisis. This document lead to the Economic Cooperation of 1948 and it restored Europe’s industrial and agricultural productivity. (Stone, pg. 119) Th Marshall plan was followed by the Conference for European Economic Co-operation and Development.
The two main countries that joined this plan were Great Britain and France. The invitation was sent to the governments of Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Yugoslavia. Unfortunately, Russia refused to be part of the plan. As time goes by, many other countries refuse to be involved. The organization held limited meetings and in March 18, 1947 they hold their final meeting. econdworldwar. com)
Dwight D. Eisenhower (or “Ike”) can arguably be considered as the best general of World War II. On the morning of October 14, 1890, Dwight David Eisenhower was born in a two-story frame house at the corner of Lamar Avenue and Day Street in Denison, Texas. Ike was the only one of David and Ida Eisenhower’s seven children born in Texas. The future leader of the free world in war and peace was born in a railroad neighborhood, with the family home nestled within a few yards of three railroad lines.
He showed great leadership and courage as he graduated in his officer class. In 1918 he received the rank of Major in the military hierarchy and remained the same rank for a long 16 years. Later he was assigned chief of war plans in 1941 after receiving the attention of General George Patton. Dwight Eisenhower was American military leader and 34th president of the United States. He was the supreme commander of the Allies in Europe during World War II and the first Supreme Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces.
As a soldier he commanded the invasion of Normandy and, in the Battle of Bulge, the defeated Germany’s last offensive. As president he ended the Korean Warin 1953, launched the Interstate Highway System, built up America’s nuclear arsenal, and kept peace while pursuing a policy of containing Communism throughout the world. (Stone, pg. 57-58) Under Eisenhower’s command, 100,000 American troops and landed in nearly nine sites in North Africa on November 8, 1942. They overwhelmed the Vichy government and seized many French colonial ports in Cassablanca in Morocco and Oran and Algiers in Algeria.
Eisenhower hoped he could finish the final steps of his plan within two weeks, which was to move his army to the coastal cities of Tunis and Bizerte, Tunisia because of Axis reinforcements and a possible defeat. On the other side of the war, Hitler sent in the reinforcements only one day after the American invasion and stopped the Allies in Tunis. Under command for the Axis powers was General Erwin Rommel, who was before driven from Egypt by Britain’s General Bernard Law Montgomery. Seeking revenge for his previous defeat, Rommel attacked the Allies and forced them to retreat fifty miles to Kasserine Pass. (Alexandria, pg. )
General Eisenhower was also part of Operation Overlord. This strategy was to assault the German occupied Western Europe and ease the pressure of the Soviets. Eisenhower scheduled the invasion date for Monday, June 4, 1944. He would send aircraft carrying paratroopers, who could not be seen at night as they were covered in darkness. Luckily the moonlight identified their drop zones. A low tide aided seaborne forces by exposing mines and other deadly traps planted by the Germans offshore. At Eisenhower’s command, Overlord’s 175,000 assault troops, 5000 ships and craft, 50,000 vehicles and 11,000 aircraft bombarded Normandy.
The German defense only contained of 30,000 troops and 3,500 vehicles. After a long bloody battle, the Allies prevailed over the Axis Powers. (Stone, pg. 87-89) George S. Patton was a well-educated man who went to West Point. He was a great athlete, but unfortunately didn’t do so well in Mathematics and French. He participated in the 1912 summer Olympic games where he performed swimming, cross-country running, shooting and riding. In the swimming event, he collapsed from exhaustion and was received by the aid of a boat hook. He placed 5th place overall.
In 1916, Patton joined Woodrow Wilson to pursue Poncho Villa. Patton single handedly took out three soldiers. This was the start of a real American fighter. (Blumenson, pg. 21) One of the reasons why Patton was so successful was methods strategy using both skill and pinpoint tactics. One of his tactics would be properly using his Third Army, which originated in August 1st, 1944 at approximately 1200 hours. The Third Army astonished the world in terms of statistics and challenged the imagination of many. The Third Army only had one general order, to seek out the enemy, trap him, and destroy them.
The Germans never knew what to expect from Patton or his American Blitzkrieg because their fighting methods were so different than other generals were. They tore open German lines and trapped thousands of soldiers. Most were either killed or surrendered. (www. angelfire. com/il/georgespattonjr/patinfo. html) The significance of the Third Army is that they constantly attack. They would fight anyplace, anytime, rain, snow, sleet, or shine. The thing about the Third Army was that they knew the value of teamwork, plus their great general.
You could often consider them as the Army on Wheels because of their numerous vehicles moving supplies all them time. This is why they were sometimes called the Red Ball Express. Patton composed his Army of different specifications such as, infantry, tankers, tank destroyers, courageous front line men, and engineers all willing to sacrifice their lives for their country. General Patton once said, “No matter how small your job might seem, it’s important in the vast scheme of things. Every job is important. ” (Comptons Interactive Encyclopedia) Patton’s Third Army will also be known for its determination.
The Germans were under constant attack and pressure and were given no time to occupy and regroup. The Third Army just keeps giving punishment to anyone in their way. At one time, General Patton forced the Germans to retreat up to the Moselle River and the Third Army would actually have to slow down, not because they had to regroup or re-supply, but to let the other Allied forces catch up. (Blumenson, pg. 264) Omar Nelson Bradley was born in a log cabin on February 12, 1893. He received a good education and became a star baseball player in Moberly High School.
General of the Army Omar Nelson Bradley played a critical role in World War II. He supported the formation of tank forces and promoted the growth and development of new airborne forces. His best contribution to the war was the development of the officer candidate school or OCS. The OCS turned thousands of lieutenants needed to lead platoons of an eighty-nine division Army. The OCS alone produced over 45,000 officers. Bradley was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U. S. Army in 1915. By the end of World War I he had advanced to the rank of major.
Between the two world wars, Bradley was on duty at various army posts and attended successively the Infantry School in Fort Benning, Georgia. He attained the rank of major general in 1942. In 1943 he assumed command of the U. S. II Corps in the North African campaign of World War II. Later in 1943 he participated in the invasion of Sicily and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. In 1944 Bradley commanded the U. S. First Army throughout the Normandy campaign and the newly created U. S. Twelfth Army Group throughout the remainder of the war.
He was made a full general in March 1945, which was three months later he was appointed head of the Veterans Administration. (Boyer, pg. 181) General Bradley was part of Operation Overlord as were many generals in the operation. During this operation Bradley thought that airborne landings to limit enemy access would confuse the German defense. He therefor ordered the 82nd and 101st airborne division to be dropped behind Utah Beach on D-Day. Then he decided that the 1st and 29th Infantry divisions would lead the assaults on Omaha Beach. At 0630 hours the American troops and Allies struck Normandy.
The fight on Omaha beach was disastrous. The terrain was in favor of the Germans and unexpected reinforcements joined the fight. There were heavy casualties and allied vehicles and ships were destroyed from afar. Bradley was worried about the catastrophe but the Americans were determined to win the war. Finally the V-Corps sent 35,000 ashore and took the Normandy coast at the cost of 2,500 casualties. On June 9th, Bradley moved his headquarters ashore. Operation Huskey was another brutal fight against the Germans and Italians for General Bradley.
Both the Germans and Italians weren’t surprised by Bradley’s airforce dropping onto enemy lines, however, when this war was over it would have taken thirty-eight days for it to be completed. Although the Americans and British took hold of Sicily, Italy refused to give in to the war. The Allies allowed German forces to escape into the straits of the Italian inland. Bickering over America and Britain resulted as to who would receive the glory for leading the assault. Although, the Americans now have learned a great deal about war because if flawless airborne landings that have helped out divisions come out successful in battle.
Also, for the first time, America has successfully taken a field army into war. It was the war in Sicily that considered Bradley as the “Soldier’s General. ” (www. odedodea. edu/k-12/d-day/GVPT/Omar/Omar. html) General Douglas MacArthur was a very unique man. MacArthur was born on Jan. 26, 1880, on an Army reservation in Little Rock, Ark. On December 8th, 3:40AM when he received a phone call he exclaimed, “Pearls Harbor! It should be our strongest point! ” He was an immaculate man who changed his uniform at least twice during the day and reads the Bible regularly.
His father, Arthur, also received a Medal of Honor in the American Civil War and was a veteran of the Spanish-American War. Following his father, Douglas couldn’t escape his destiny as General in the Philippines. He had much experience in war before for he was a decorated hero in World War I, a superintendent at West Point, and Army Chief of Staff. Young MacArthur graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, N. Y. , in 1903 with the highest scholastic record achieved by any cadet in 25 years. When the United States entered World War I, he helped organize the Rainbow Division and served with distinction.
One of MacArthur’s worst experiences was his experience of the Siege of Bataan. To both sides in the conflict, the four months between the launch of the great Japanese Pacific offensive and the fall of Bataan have felt like an eternity. For the Americans and Filipinos, the war started badly, with the destruction of the B-17 force at Clark Field on December 8. After that, the main Japanese invasion force quickly shredded MacArthur’s army two weeks later. By New Year’s Day the Japanese occupied Manila. The successful retreat into Bataan was called War Plan Orange.
Although, by the time the last of the troops had made their way into Bataan on January 6, their fate was already sealed. There were approximately 26,000 civilian refugees joining 80,000 troops, there was simply not enough food to go around. Despite fighting courageously against an enemy with superior firepower, MacArthur’s forces were pushed steadily back and grew weaker by the day. (Stone, pg. 29) It wasn’t long before the Japanese got desperate for labor and began shipping prisoners from the Philippines to work camps throughout Asia.
This movement was accelerated in late 1944 as MacArthur neared, and by the time he returned, about 2/3rd of the POWs were gone. As bad as the conditions were in the Philippines, perhaps the worst part of the entire war for these men was the sea journey itself. Thousands died on the “hell ships,” and became victims of suffocation, starvation, and disease. Even Allied air and submarine attacks killed them. When MacArthur’s forces landed at Leyte in October of 1944, it sent a thrill through those in the rest of the Philippines as well, boosting their determination to hold on.
In each phase of MacArthur’s Philippines campaign, guerrillas provided invaluable help, not only harassing the Japanese from behind their lines, but supplying much needed intelligence and guidance to the returning American armies. At one point the Japanese attempted to wipe out the naval base at Cavite on Manila Bay. General MacArthur considered the Philippines as captured. Now the Japanese controlled both the air and the Philippines. MacArthur finally planned a main invasion at Lingayen Gulf, which was one hundred miles north of Manila, and for the strike to be nothing more than a distraction.
MacArthur moved North to face a Japanese army of 7,000 soldiers. Once again, MacArthur made a defensive retreat from the north. MacArthur had to stand firm at his position with only a small portion of men in a defensive situation. To gain some time, they set explosives from every retreat line and detonated them so they wouldn’t be followed. (Stone, pg. 49) In conclusion, these five men were America’s finest, courageous, and most brilliant men to walk the battlefields of the earth. They took the time and the patience to plan our futures by defeating our enemies.
If they weren’t alive to do what they’ve done decades ago, what would have become of us. Of all the U. S. Generals in World War II, General George Patton Jr. proved to be the best. His attitude, enthusiasm, and brilliant strategies allowed him to be the toughest man in the history of the United States. It seemed as if he and his Third Army were invincible and could never have been defeated. America is proud to have these men fight for our country and the world will be forever peaceful. As General Douglas MacArthur once said, “A good soldier never dies, he just fades away. “