This is the eighth of some hundred contemplated volumes covering the Army's part in World War II. This particular volume is written from the viewpoint of the Staff of the Army's high command. The Operations Division of the General Staff was the general headquarters within the General Staff with which General marshall exercised his over-all Army command. Its history presents problems which are likely to arise in future wars. These problems may not all be solved by an Army staff in the future in view of current unification, but what they were and how they were solved is of interest not only to the soldier, but to the diplomat and statesman as well as others.
Dr. Ray S. Cline was a Junior Fellow at Harvard and served in the Office of Strategic Services. In 1946 he was assigned to the Operations Division of the War Department General Staff to write its history. The results shows a great amount of effective research and understanding from within that Division. Its viewpoint is from within and emphasizes the action taken by the Division in carrying out the policies of the high command.
In reading this book, its point of view must be kept in mind and at the same time the fact that General Marshall's character and military knowledge dictated the decisions must not be lost sight of. It must be further remembered that he was in touch with commanders in the field in making these decisions and had great respect for their views. General Marshalls' views will be presented more fully in other volumes on the Army high command.
15 January 1951.
Maj. Gen., U.S.A.
Chief of Military History
This volume is the history of a military staff. It describes the way a number of men worked together, defined their common responsibilities, and carried out their common aims. It also explains the ways in which the group as a whole changed and the ways in which it remained unchanged during the course of years as its individual members came and departed. In short, it is an institutional biography. It traces the origins, development, and mature characteristics of the Operations Division of the War Department General Staff. This Division was the principal staff agency of the high command in the U. S. Army during World War II.
Since the Operations Division, on its establishment in March 1942, inherited the staff and responsibilities of a predecessor agency, the War Plans Division, this history treats both staffs, but describes the wartime institution more fully and systematically. The attention paid the War Plans Division and other parts of the Army contemporaneous with it is intended only to provide the information necessary to an understanding of developments in the World War II period. Similarly, the information about the many agencies and staffs that came in contact with the Operations Division (or OPD, as it was usually called) is presented merely to illuminate the work the OPD did.
The Operations Division was charged with the responsibility under the Chief of Staff for the Army's part in the strategic planning and direction of operations in World War II. The Department of the Army plans to deal with the strategy story in other volumes of the series. The groundwork for these prospective volumes has already been laid down in a series of monographs written by the author and his associates, and this material has been freely used where needed for the present volume. Some examples of the things OPD did have been chosen to illustrate the kind of staff OPD was.
Army officers will argue for years whether OPD was a "good thing." The narrative here presented cannot settle any such argument, but it is designed to show that a serious military problem existed and that the creation of OPD provided a solution to it--not the only possible solution and not necessarily the best solution, but a solution. It is my hope to provide officers of the armed forces and other interested readers with information in which they may find precedents and analogies bearing on various possible solutions of their own problems in the future. The volume in its present form is based on a longer and more fully annotated version that may be consulted in the Office of the Chief of Military History, U. S. Army.
For the preparation of this work my associates and I have had complete freedom of access to the files in the Department of the Army. Documentary research has been supplemented by ample opportunity to interview a great many of the men whose work is here recorded. A common problem for all historians of World War II is the sheer mass of the records. Those of OPD alone filled several vault rooms. Even with a good deal of research assistance, it is impossible for a single historian within a span of three years to canvass and assess all of the available documentary material on a given subject. This work records the first round of the battle with the documents and provides through its footnotes a guide for future scholars. A combined bibliographical note and guide to footnotes will be found at the end of the volume.
I have tried in general to follow the common usage of the English language. After three years of reading in Army files, I am not altogether sure how well I have succeeded. Like other large government institutions in the United States, the Army normally conducts its business in a vocabulary of administrative or official prose. This technical language has its uses, and some of the terms that Army officers habitually employ cannot be translated unambiguously. For this reason I have chosen in many cases to follow the usage of the men whose work is described.
Credit for initiating work on this volume belongs to Maj. Harvey A. DeWeerd, Associate Editor of the Infantry Journal in 1945 and now Professor of History in the University of Missouri. On 8 October 1945 Major DeWeerd was authorized by Lt. Gen. John E. Hull, then Chief of OPD, to prepare a history of the Division. Two OPD officers were assigned to aid Major DeWeerd. Lt. Col. John B. Morgan, assistant executive of OPD during the latter part of the war, served for about six months as research associate and special adviser on the complex administrative ways of the War Department. Maj. Darrie H. Richards worked on this project as an associate historian for more than two years, contributing not only scholarship but also reliable guidance to information about Army doctrine and custom.
After a few weeks of exploratory research, Major DeWeerd invited me to join him as an associate historian. Before the project was well under way, the condition of Major DeWeerd's health required him to leave Washington. In January 1946 I took over professional direction of the OPD historical project, and on 29 March 1946 was formally authorized to continue the preparation of a history of OPD. This project remained in the Operations Division (Plans and Operations Division after June 1946) until July 1947, when it was transferred to the Historical Division (redesignated Office of the Chief of Military History in March 1950) and integrated with the Army history in which this volume now appears. The author owes a debt of gratitude, notable both in its magnitude and in the sense that it cannot be repaid, to two civilian associate historians, Maurice Matloff and Edwin M. Snell. As Mr. Snell, Mr. Matloff, and Major Richards progressed with research on Army strategic planning, their findings became more and more in developing a working hypothesis about wartime military staff work in
Washington. Both in the formulation of ideas and the discovery of facts this aid has been invaluable. Furthermore, Mr. Matloff and Mr. Snell collaborated in the research and writing for Chapter XII, "The Midwar International Military Conferences," and Chapter XV, "Links with the Overseas Theaters." Final responsibility for these chapters, as for others, rests with the author, but credit for most of the work on Chapter XII is due to Mr. Matloff and on Chapter XV to Mr. Snell. Mr. Matloff also carried out original research on countless topics essential to the completion of the volume, and Mr. Snell rendered invaluable aid as an uncompromising critic and craftsman with regard to both matter and form of the entire text.
The acknowledgment given above indicates that research and writing for this history was planned as a true team enterprise. In the author's opinion only a co-operative effort can achieve scholarly results in a reasonable length of time from research on any broad topic in the fertile but nearly unbroken fields of contemporary government documents. This volume is much more substantial than it would have been had the facts and judgments in it been discovered by only one historian and sifted through only one mind. The author's task of research and writing has been greatly lightened by the co-operation of his entire staff. In addition to those already mentioned the staff included, during the main period of work on this volume, Mrs. Helen McShane Bailey, whose research on Army personnel and administrative policies was invaluable, and Mrs. Evelyn Cooper, Miss Grace Waibel, Miss Martha Kull, Mr. Martin Chudy, Mrs. Virginia Bosse, Miss Variana Albright, Miss Marcelle Raczkowski, Mr. William Oswald, and Mrs. Edna Jernigan.
To the many officers of the Operations Division who gave every support and encouragement to this work as well as invaluable historical information, I express grateful acknowledgment. Among them are several whose assistance has been especially notable: Brig. Gen. Thomas North and Col. William A. Walker, under whose administrative direction the history was launched; the wartime War Plans Division and OPD chiefs, Lt. Gen. Leonard T. Gerow, General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gen. Thomas T. Handy, and Lt. Gen. John E. Hull; and Col. George A. Lincoln, Col. William W. Bessell, Jr., and Col. Vincent J. Esposito, who made detailed and illuminating comments on the complex work of OPD in the later war years.
Credit is also due to those records experts who were familiar with the wartime document files and who gave unstinted assistance to the author and his associates. Miss Alice M. Miller and Mr. Joseph Russell, custodians of the OPD files, and Mrs. Clyde Hillyer Christian and Mr. Robert Greathouse of the Historical Records Section, Adjutant General's Office, where most OPD records were placed while this volume was in progress, were particularly helpful.
Within the Historical Division the Chief Historian, Dr. Kent Roberts Greenfield, has been unsparing of his time and special knowledge. The chiefs of the Division, Maj. Gen. Harry J. Malony and Maj. Gen. Orlando Ward, have made
valuable comments out of their personal experience, especially on the pre-Pearl Harbor period. Dr. Stetson Conn, acting Chief Historian during the absence of Dr. Greenfield, provided most helpful suggestions and guided the manuscript through the review process with skill and understanding. Col. Allison R. Hartman, Chief of the World War II Branch, has advised and assisted in the work at every stage. The volume was shepherded through the technical and production maze by Lt. Col. Harrison M. Markley, Chief of the Production Control Section, World War II Branch. Final editing has been done by Mr. W. Brooks Phillips, Associate Editor; copy editing by Miss Mary Ann Bacon; and indexing by Miss Martha Kull. To all of these, and to other members of the Historical Division who have assisted in this work as a part of their common enterprise, I wish to express my sincere appreciation.
I am indebted in a very special way to those former members of the Historical Division who encouraged me by their example and advice to enter the special field of military history, in particular to Professor Charles H. Taylor, Professor Walter L. Wright, Professor Roy Lamson, Col. John M. Kemper, and Col. Allen F. Clark, Jr. Most of all, in this respect as in every other, my special thanks are due to my wife, Marjorie Wilson Cline, whose editorial writing on the Historical Division's early AMERICAN FORCES IN ACTION series first aroused my interest in the Army historical program. Finally, the author is deeply indebted to the Society of Fellows, Harvard University, and especially to its Chairman, Professor C. Crane Brinton, for extending an already long leave of absence to include the period of research on this volume.
13 October 1950.
RAY S. CLINE
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