Beetle: The Life of General Walter Bedell Smith (American Warrior Series)

Beetle: The Life of General Walter Bedell Smith (American Warrior Series)

D.K.R. Crosswell

Language: English

Pages: 1088

ISBN: 081313658X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A valued adviser and trusted insider in the highest echelon of U.S. military and political leaders, General Walter Bedell Smith began his public service career of more than forty years at age sixteen, when he joined the Indiana National Guard. His bulldog tenacity earned him an opportunity to work with General George C. Marshall in 1941, playing an essential role in forming the offices of the Combined and Joint Chiefs of Staff; and after his appointment as chief of staff to Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1942, Smith took a central part in planning and orchestrating the major Allied operations of World War II in Europe. Among his many duties, Smith negotiated and signed the surrenders of the Italian and German armed forces on May 7, 1945.

Smith's postwar career included service as the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and undersecretary of state. Despite his contributions to twentieth-century American military and diplomatic history, the life and work of Smith have largely gone unappreciated. In Beetle: The Life of General Walter Bedell Smith, D. K. R. Crosswell offers the first full-length biography of the general, including insights into his close relationships with Marshall and Eisenhower.

Meticulously researched and long overdue, Beetle sheds new light on Eisenhower as supreme commander and the campaigns in North Africa, Italy, and Europe. Beetle is the fascinating history of a soldier, diplomat, and intelligence chief who played a central role in many decisions that altered mid-twentieth-century American history.

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life, became available. As late as the end of September, British officers constituted nearly two-thirds of AFHQ’s complement.20 As would be the case throughout the war, one of the biggest organizational headaches involved structuring and managing political and civil affairs and psychological warfare. Smith inherited separate civil administration, political affairs, and psychological warfare sections. Mack, from the Foreign Office, headed the political staff; Freeman, seconded from the State

would incur.”44 Smith still recommended intervention, limited to air and naval support. Eisenhower called Smith and Radford to the White House for talks on 2 April. Resisting aggression was an abstract but guiding principle of American foreign policy, and it melded with the founding premise of the Truman Doctrine, which held that the United States must avert the spread of communism anywhere. Reinforced by the Korean War experience, this magnified areas of peripheral importance, such as

Ruhr employing British Second and U.S. First Armies, the possibility still loomed that Montgomery would exercise some species of overall command. Bradley adamantly refused to surrender command of Hodges. Bradley’s solution involved a two-army envelopment of the Ruhr; Hodges would penetrate through the Aachen Gap and cross the Rhine in the vicinity of Cologne, while Patton cleared the Saar, crossed the Rhine and Main, and executed the main drive north from Frankfurt. Devers would close on the

Chester Hanson, Robert McClure, Arthur Nevins, and Orlando Ward; the Clay Blair and John Hull collections; and the oral histories of Mark Clark, Theodore Conway, Thomas Handy, and Carter Magruder. A reviewer once labeled Everett Hughes the “deep throat” of the Allied commands in Europe, and he did not mean it as praise. He did Hughes a disservice. A man of considerable gravitas, Hughes enjoyed unparalleled access to Eisenhower and Patton, and his diary and papers, housed in the Manuscripts

divisions (546,000 men) to be put into the field one year after the outbreak of hostilities. The legislation granted the WDGS statutory expression but never defined command relationships, assigning it the narrowest roles in planning and oversight of mobilization; it also preserved the old bureaus and added new ones for the combat arms. Most of the wartime missions performed by the WDGS were lost under the terms of the 1920 legislation and reverted to the bureau chiefs. Because the “Army of the

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