The Chief of Staff: The Military Career of General Walter Bedell Smith by D. K. R. CrosswellThe Chief of Staff: The Military Career of General Walter Bedell Smith by D. K. R. Crosswell

The Chief of Staff: The Military Career of General Walter Bedell Smith

byD. K. R. Crosswell

Hardcover | August 1, 1991

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The functions of staff officers in U.S. military history have been largely ignored by historians who have preferred to focus on the role of the combat officer. This examination of the career of General Walter Bedell Smith, Chief of Staff to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and his valuable contribution to Allied success, represents an effort to fill a void in the current historiography of U.S. participation in Europe in World War II. While specifically looking at Smith's military career from his entry into the Indiana National Guard on his sixteenth birthday to his retirement from the U.S. Army as a four-star general 39 years later, the volume is also a general investigation of the role of Chief of Staff and a critical study of the interwar U.S. Army and its participation in the campaigns of the Mediterranean and Northwest Europe during World War II. The institutional and attitudinal structure that produced the generation of American officers that commanded armies and manned higher headquarters is thoroughly evaluated in this volume. D.K.R. Crosswell concludes that the normative influences of the Army's advance schools conditioned the U.S. approach to war in Europe: Eisenhower and Smith's "broad front strategy" is seen as a product of their Leavenworth educations. Smith's relationships with Eisenhower and George C. Marshall are also seen as important formative influences. Despite a paucity of personal papers and no prior book on Smith, Crosswell had access to a wealth of primary materials in the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas and the resources of the Combat Studies Library at the Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas. Substantial collections of materials at thefederal research facilities in Washington, the U.S. Army Military History Institute holdings in Carlisle Barracks, Pa., and the George C. Marshall Library in Lexington, Va., were consulted. Personal interviews with surviving World War II officers and an examination of British sources were conducted to give the most complete picture of Smith to date. The Chief of Staff is divided into four major sections: "Bedell Smith and Officership in the U.S. Army, 1917-1939"; "The Towering Figure: George C. Marshall"; "The First Campaign: The Mediterranean"; "Northwest Europe," and an epilogue which covers Smith's post-Army years. The 14 chapters present Smith as perhaps the best example of the World War II "military manager." He emerges from these pages as a central figure of the period and his contributions within the Allied sphere proved fundamental to eventual battlefield success. Seven maps of World War II major theaters of operation from Morocco to Normandy and never-before-published archival photographs are included. Military history and World War II buffs won't want to miss this splendid read which will also appeal to academic military historians, libraries and research facilities, as well as current and retired military officers. The book is ideal supplemental reading for courses in U.S. military history.
Title:The Chief of Staff: The Military Career of General Walter Bedell SmithFormat:HardcoverDimensions:464 pages, 9.54 × 6.46 × 1.15 inPublished:August 1, 1991Publisher:GREENWOOD PRESS INC.

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0313274800

ISBN - 13:9780313274800

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Editorial Reviews

?Crosswell's superb study of the military career of "Beetle" Smith is the first book-length analysis of one of the least known senior American officers in WW II. A military manager rather than a martial leader, Smith saw combat in WW I, followed by a succession of staff and training assignments during the 1920s and '30s. In 1939 he was transferred to Army Chief of Staff George Marshall's headquarters in Washington. Winning Marshall's confidence during the hectic American buildup for war, Smith soon emerged as the mainspring in organizing the US and British staff apparatus for planning and coordinating coalition warfare. When Eisenhower was selected to lead the American invasion of North Africa, he asked for Smith as his Chief of Staff. The "Ike-Beetle" team proved to be an ideal match; in Africa and later in Europe, Eisenhower provided the leadership that kept the Allied coalition together while Smith provided the staff management that made it effective. Well written, thoroughly researched, and carefully documented, this biography of Smith's military career is highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.??Choice