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The following program is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The word will will. Nine hundred. Yes. Great.
Last time again man this is exactly. The fan I want. The Eisenhower years. A Chronicle in sound of the life of white Eisenhower produced by extension radio television at Kansas State University this week torch. Over lower. Yesterday. The sun by Saturday. Night 41. A date which will live in infamy. The United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire
of the pan. It had started the events of the past two years which inevitably pulled the United States toward war or climax by Pearl Harbor. Now the US was involved in a global war in both Europe and Asia less than three months before Dwight Eisenhower had received his first star temporary brigadier general because of his age he had figured Colonel was to be his highest rank. But his story was to change that. On December 12 the 41 while Eisenhower was stationed at Fort Sam Houston Texas. A call came from the War Department in Washington from the off. So the Chief of Staff General George Marshall Eisenhower was to report to Marshall as soon as possible orders would follow later. I kry action disappointment and dismay recalled by his long time friend and wartime aide Harry butcher. Like most regular army officers he preferred to be in the field with the men and where the action was no action anyway. He had had a long tour of duty in
Washington as aide an assistant to General MacArthur when MacArthur was chief of staff and in that position had become well schooled in administrative problems of the War Department. So Harry was called back at the beginning of the war for this very important job. Ike took the first plane he could get. It broke down in Dallas. He caught a train and on December 14th Eisenhower arrived in Washington. Historian Stephen Ambrose. He got into a cab. Didn't have a place to live. And went right over to the old state where in a building. Where the War Department headquarters were at that time. When it got just being built. He went in to report to Marshall. And Marshall had him sit down. And for. About 20 minutes Michael outlined the situation in the Pacific and after this.
Briefing is what amounted to. Myself suddenly looked up. And. Looked Ike. Straight in the eye and said. What should we do. You know I could just come. From Texas he had been thinking about the Pacific at all because he had served out there for three years with MacArthur and that was the appeal. For Marshall. And Marshall didn't know that MacArthur thought very well like. What should we do he said. And I you know are kind of. Bland for a second. And said Will you give me a few hours. And Marshall said Sure fine and turned his attention immediately to other. Problems that he had sitting on his desk. And I know I sat there for three hours and thought about it. And typed out a little two page memorandum. Which he entitled steps to be taken. In the heart of what he was what he said was Do everything you can to defend the Philippines but recognize that they've already been lost and start immediately to build up a base in Australia for the counterattack.
And Marcia looked it over and. Asked Eisenhower why he wanted to make an effort to say the Philippines and Eisenhower said for psychological reasons. Purposes of morale back in the States and around the Philippines we can't just. We certainly can't just abandon the Filipinos to the Japanese I mean some effort to save the. Marsh looked at him and said I agree with you. Do your best to save. And dismissed Eisenhower. But with the dismissal maidenhead of the war plans division far eastern desk at that moment on he was on his way. Being on his way meant for Ike 16 to 20 hours a day seven days a week until Mamie joined him in February Ike lived with his brother Milton in Falls Church Virginia. And during that period Ike never saw the house in daylight his usual hour of arrival home in the evening. Being midnight during that time he was immersed in the problems of a Pacific War. There were seemingly insurmountable problems mostly in that there wasn't enough enough men machine's time. In those early months of the war the
Eisenhower Marshall relationship began to grow. And in March of 42 came an incident that I created called the turning point in his career. The incident recalled by General Eisenhower and Stephen Ambrose Marshall leaned back in a chair and said Now you know in the last war the staff officers got all the promotions. And the officers in the field the line officers didn't get anything. That always seemed to me terribly unfair Marshall said. In this war it's going to be different. And that's why the promotions are going to go to the line officers. Who are out in the field doing the real work of the army. And the staff officers are going to get any promotions they're just going to do their job. Now take your case he said looking at Eisenhower. I know you've been recommended for a major general by three or four people. I know the Kaiser among others thinks that at the minimum you ought to be commanding an army corps. In this war and I'm very glad that people have second high opinion of you. But you're very useful to me here and you're going to stay right here at this desk for the whole of the one you're not going to get any promotions. Well I reacted very bitterly. Because I just thought it was unfair
what he said to me. And as he recounted later he just figured that with everything else he was putting up with. Like he was working 14 hours a day to 16 hours a day. So without and he wasn't getting any field commands which of course is what he had dreamed of. With all that he figured he was putting up with enough and he didn't have to be lectured to. Sorrow. Without thinking and just letting it. As the kids would say today letting it all hang out he looked at my show and said General I don't give one damn about your promotions. He got up from his chair. And then very angrily. Strode across the room to the door. The long office high point out the gate. And I turned around and I felt so ashamed of myself for it but in a I didn't bring this right after the war started. And then. I kind of agree that the famous Eisenhower grand. As he retired eight years later he said I thought I saw the corners of General Marshall's Moskow up and two days later I had a memorandum on my desk and he just recommended me for Major General for
their only duty but it was a turning point in the Eisenhower career. His relationship with George Marshall grew on both a professional and personal basis. It was almost a father son relationship I think my favorite story about their relationship. It. Seems to me to tell volumes about about Marshall. More really than does not ising is one that. The general told me a couple of times and I'll now talk. Take on the general drone talk as if it were him in our speaking. You know he would say. General Marshall was. Over than I was. By light years he was my intellectual superior. He had more character in his little finger than anyone I know including myself has been a homebody. He was a man who made my entire career possible. A man whom I look for direction at every crucial moment of my life. So you know. The General had such a high regard and he never called me anything.
But Eisenhower. And I never called him anything but General. Except once he slept. And we had a victory parade in New York City after the war and we are writing together an open train car he slept in called me I like. To make up for to use the word Eisenhower four times in the next sentence. But the day that I was elected president. He called me. The day after the election to congratulate me. And he called me Mr. President. And he never called me a name but Mr. President for the rest of his life while the Eisenhower Marshall relationship grew Ike's relationship with his old boss Douglas MacArthur deteriorated. Later MacArthur was to accuse both Eisenhower and Marshall of ignoring him and the war in the Pacific. Again Stephen Ambrose for all of his greatness Macassar had. Streaks of personal pettiness in. One of which showed up in a wonderful way during the war. Somewhere in the Southwest Pacific. MacArthur find a lieutenant colonel who was just ice age
who was bald headed and had a big grand. And he read back and will write to pictures from the crisis headquarters of Oso MacArthur busily at work at his desk. Almost all of them will show in the background standing in a file cabinet. This lieutenant colonel looking just like I hire. People who look either say yeah it was all deliberate it was. To show the world where Eisenhower really stood with Carter's estimation he was just a file clerk. With the fall of a 10 and may in 1942 Eisenhower who now headed the war plans division turned his attention toward Europe. I concluded the allies must hate the Germans and Italians and most important must give the Russians some relief by drawing off German troops concentrated on the Russian front. His strategy called for a cross-channel invasion as soon as possible. Ike's planning days in Washington though were numbered. On June 25th the forty two General Marshall surprised him with the announcement that Eisenhower was now the commanding general of the European theater. His headquarters was to be in London 12 days later he received
his third star. 1942 was the scene of almost nightly German air raid. The British people were still to war and they were frequently nettled by the American press. American soldiers tended to Brank had more money than their British counterparts and could show a British girl a big evening. The trouble with the Yanks is they're overpaid oversexed overfed and over here Ike's immediate problem to change that attitude. In fact his ability to get people to work together would prove to be his most valuable asset. Eisenhower biographer and author Kenneth S. Davis just required a certain kind of genius. This this was something one where we're not to headquarters from the allies this is one headquarters and what you had in you which you had a British or an American alternate layer as it were fused together in one integral unit and
and this took a lot of doing. He had to he was as much of a hero to the British as he was the Americans which in those circumstances was something Eisenhower aide Harry butcher. He often said when we were sitting at the end of a day discussing the events of the day that Napoleon had always undertaken to fight allies he liked to fight allied because it was easy to split off one ally and get him high Slater's and and get him out of the fray and gradually tear down the allies so that they would be weakened. And Eisenhower recognized that this was a weakness in our own allied command which we call United Nations. And his greatest effort was spent in trying to keep
the interests of the various allies wound up together. He had a way of chastising any American officer who was critical say of the British he would say I could say well if that American wants to criticize the British I'll just have to consider sending him back home on a slow boat on an escort. That is the sound of a tank. The sound of the war in North Africa in the summer of 1942 as Rommel's Afrika Corps delivered a series of devastating hit and run blows to the British Army. While Generals Eisenhower and Marshall called for a cross-channel thrust to engage the Germans. Churchill demanded an invasion of North Africa first. He got it. Eisenhower though opposed was named commander in chief of that
operation code named torch set for November of 1900 to some 16 days before the British began a massive attack on Rommel that artillery pulverized the Germans and Italians the British followed with fleets of tanks punching holes in the enemy lines. On November 4th the battle was over. You got to roll. With It. We already had that. Goldman got in the ring and gave it a glorious and I think victory in what I think should be called the Battle of the Operation Torch called for a threefold invasion of North Africa and the French colonies of Morocco and Algeria. But they were controlled by Vichy France governed by Marshall Patton who had collaborated with the Germans. The military strongman was Admiral John Dahl though not pro-German Dahlan was loyal to Bataan and bitterly and I British. And the question then was whether or not the French would fight the invading troops. The political military fighters Drew
Eisenhower into his first big and highly criticized decision that deal with Stephen Ambrose Eisenhower's attitude was it by making this deal with. The commander in chief of Vichy France his armed forces. He spared. For Asian American troops and. First of all painful process of having to fight French. And a second law freed them up so that they could turn their attentions to the Germans in Tunisia. And indeed these were some of the results of that. The deal of violence every bugger. It was important to the allied effort in North Africa because he had standing with the French and we were and our French French area where the French had great influence with the Arabs and control pretty much control the country had influence on the transport protection in the rear.
And General I thought and with respect to the invasion of Africa that is success must depend more upon political than upon military factors. And one was a political factor who begat was also a military asset. So the political repercussions are really very bad from it. And I think it could have been avoided I think the mistake that I made was. To repeat myself that. There was no alternative to dealing with our own. For him there wasn't in the sense of when allowed the deal to go up but North African invasion was relatively bloodless and the allies began their push for Tunis Operation Torch brought Eisenhower in close contact with three of the war's most important generals Patton Bradley and Montgomery Ike knowing patentability with tanks put him in charge of the Casablanca operation Patton controversial flamboyant effective. He was a great commander for what became a kind of action. George never did like
the slow tough work and bloody work of breaking through a line. But you had him in the open with tanks that is and his army forces an armored infantry. And I'll tell you the man had no we got to know General Patton very well. He was two persons really he was the man they public saw. And then he was very personable. Another person he was and talk about a loss of a friend in the war and cried right there and tears flowed down his cheek. And within five minutes if he was in front of troops he would be a showman which he was a showman and a great leader. Months later in Sicily Patton would strike a soldier in a hospital and call him a coward. But the incident nearly resulted in Patton's being relieved of his command. Terry Butcher recalls they face slapping is that Patton told me about personally afterward.
He said in World War One where he'd been in France a friend of his had been shell shocked and he was coddled by the nurses and by the doctors of the field hospital was sent back home with him was in a psychiatrist care and never did get over it was just a broken human being. He says what if somebody had just slapped him at the right moment and shot him back into reality he would never have been a wrecked human being and that's what was in my mind when I slap the face of this soldier who was simply scared to death. We don't like to think of any American officer. Treating energy that way. But Patton had his reasons for also for the campaign in North Africa. Eisenhower called on another old friend Omar Bradley one day General Marshall was in Algiers and he said you ought to have someone that you trust go around and just want to be your eyes and ears he called it and I said Well
all right you guys suggested we went over numbers names and he had one name me if I doubt Bradley I said that's the guy I want because a great friend and I trust him and I think he's good. Actually I had predicted way back in 1915 that Wright is going to jump and then we'd be bragging or grandchildren Jenrette if we had of course a brilliant war record. General Bradley in my opinion was the finest field general right out in the field than this guy. Please produce asked for me to come over to Algiers and be his personal representative in the field misconstruction a very simple. You go to places such places and she said sayings if you think I would want to do it if I had the time so that staying in Algiers about four days getting briefed and all I want up to the front and to Corps headquarters to corps was in command of all of the American
troops on that front and I was up there then and Patton came up and took command of the two corps and Patton just kept adding expressions he didn't want any damage by there. He put it a little stronger than that. So he wanted made be made deputy corps commander. But that still didn't move the spy bench as he called it because I had to have somebody to be his personal representative and and look things over that. If he would do it would prove he would look over if he had time. And so he appointed General Burwell came over and took my place as a barrier and I became his deputy corps commander Patton and I have an alternate I'd stay in headquarters one day go out in the field next dag on the FI and he'd stay at headquarters. So one of the other heaviest was always there at headquarters to make decisions and the others out with the troops torch also brought Ike in to command a British
Field Marshal Montgomery and a relationship that would prove at times Rocky Stephen Ambrose the first time I saw him at my grammar he went I know his forces were in Tunisia battling the Germans there and the Mahdi had just won the battle of melamine and had chased Rommel back so there I was now entering Tunisia. In the British Eighth Army was about to join up with Eisenhower's forces. In. Southern Tunisia and was then going to come under Eisenhower's command. And I said I went out. To. Tripoli where my government was at the time to. Chat with him. They came back from that interview with. Real insights into my gummies character. Here. He wrote to Marshall about it. Said that he had been impressed by. My gummy staff and the kind of staff work that they were doing at Montgomery's direction of it. But Montgomery personally said. It's so blown up over his victory at alland. In a sudden Turman to protect the reputation that he has gained there. That I'm sure he will
never again in this war launch an attack until he is absolutely certain of victory. There are a lot of good things you can say about you know who want to attack until they're sure of victory. Specially if you're their superior and I start to really appreciate this with Patton for example. On any kind of tactical action. As often as not it would be a risky thing and you don't know how it was going to come out when my company launched an attack it was going to work. Now it might be months after you learn to attack. The horizon Oh my god relationship revolved around Eisenhower pushing Montgomery to do things that my country said he wasn't ready to do yet still the British and Americans cooperated and it was Ike who fuse the allies. It was Ike who engendered trust and friendship. And one day I got a call from the aide to the British admiral Admiral Cunningham and the aide said. My master would like to know if it would
be possible for the British to help the Americans celebrate the Fourth of July. And I said Well that was a celebration and part of getting our freedom from the British is I say that's true and we'd like to help you celebrate that. So we. This was Don and one of the music things that happened it was held. The celebration was held on the parade grounds but limited grounds of the old Hotel San George and Algiers which was the headquarters. And after it was over I fell in step with a British brigadier who was on the staff intelligence officer and I said it is very sporting of you British to give the Americans a salute on this day in recognition of our obtaining our freedom from your country. He said Yes we're quite considerate and as a matter of fact we don't
know how we could have ever gotten to where we are today if we'd had to drag you fellows along all these years. It was camaraderie and kidding and it worked. On February 24 the 43 Dwight Eisenhower the man who had phoned at one time he would retire as a colonel became a full four star general. Terry Butcher recalls I had made a bet with him that he would have the four star by a certain date and that date came in and I lost a bet and almost the next day early evening a. Villa quarters in Algiers. I had taken a phone call from the aide to Admiral Ramsey. And this. Aide has said to me as I say but your congratulations to your lord and master he has received his four star and I said Well how did you find out. Well this is on the BBC SO I CAN I had been playing
ping pong. I went back to the ping pong room and I said congratulations. It was water on Mars on your four star. I put out my hand and he didn't put out his hand. He says Damn those people they give something out I don't know anything about this officially I haven't heard a damn thing for the War Department and then brought in the phone rang at the signal office and I got a message there from Amy. Congratulations on your four star. I just don't man he said I haven't heard a thing officially about I got to congratulation my wife with a baby sees God in the radio you'll hear it first. Why don't the word of Papa tell me these things. It was a visual memory. As I christened his fourth start he endured his first major battle defeat and recovering the battle of the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia where Rommel's Afrika car convulsed
before fleeing and broke through Allied lines. But by March the Allies were making significant advances and by May 7th the German and Italian forces surrendered unconditionally then followed Sicily in July taken in five weeks. Mostly to depose in Italy and in September the new government surrender. Allied forces go ashore and see if the Germans retreat to defensive positions and stubbornly exact heavy prices for Italian soil. By now Dwight Eisenhower is the best known soldier in New York. In December of 1993. He will be named supreme allied commander. He will command overlord. The cross-channel invasion of Normandy. And the largest military action in history.
The Eisenhower years produce by extension Radio-TV a Kansas State University on a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The producer narrator is Ralph pike. Music for the Eisenhower years was composed by Gail Kubrick. Performed by the Kansas State University Chamber Symphony conducted by Luther 11 good. Our thanks to National Educational Television and CBS News. For providing materials used in this week's broadcast. Next week. The day. The prelude. This is. From. This is
The Eisenhower years
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Torch to Overlord
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Chicago: “The Eisenhower years; 4; Torch to Overlord,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 6, 2023,
MLA: “The Eisenhower years; 4; Torch to Overlord.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 6, 2023. <>.
APA: The Eisenhower years; 4; Torch to Overlord. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from