CHIEF OF STAFF: PREWAR PLANS AND PREPARATIONS. By Mark Skinner Watson. (1950, 1985, 1991; 551 pages, 5 tables, 4 charts, 11 illustrations, bibliographical note, glossary, index, CMH Pub 1-1.)

From September 1938 to 7 December 1941 it became increasingly probable that the United States would have to fight in World War II. The central theme of this volume is the decisions and recommendations made by General Marshall as Chief of Staff with a view to preparing the Army for that event. The author explores and presents the successive situations and problems that confronted the Chief of Staff in making these decisions and recommendations, in order to enable the reader to see why and how historic judgments were reached and then to show how and through whom they were translated into action. Since General Marshall and the officers under him were involved in almost every problem confronting the nation in the decisive years covered, this book is a slice of national history.

In 1938-39 the Army was ill prepared even to defend the nation against attack; the public and Congress were determined to avoid war and ignorant of military requirements. The foreign policy of the United States was in debate, and the policies that the President followed in this period of doubt soon raised a conflict between the request for aid and the demands of national rearmament. Amid this confusion the services had to prepare for the worst. The present volume is an account of the methodical and often inspired planning and preparations, repeatedly interrupted and readjusted, but pursued

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until order emerged from confusion, so that, despite the shock of Pearl Harbor, the nation could within a year pass to the offensive in a two-front war.

Within the scope of the Army's own planning and preparations the book includes subjects that, for the period after Pearl Harbor, will be treated in many separate volumes of the United States Army in World War II- strategy, logistics, the mobilization and organization of men and industrial resources, recruiting and training of troops and officers, the role of air power, and the defense of the Western Hemisphere. The author considers these and other topics in their complex interrela-tionships during the instructive early period of uncertainty, overstrain, improvisation, trial and error, and radical readjustments. It is a necessary preface to the accounts of the war itself.

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