Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

Many historians advised me not to pursue this topic for my first book, mostly because of their concern that insufficient archival records existed to support a detailed analysis of Lesley McNair’s career. I did receive encouragement from a few individuals, but most reminded me that no single source of “McNair Papers” exists...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvii

I owe a great many people my deepest gratitude for helping me complete this project. I began my academic journey as a military historian while pursuing a master of military arts and sciences degree with a specialty in history. My thesis adviser and first mentor as a budding historian, Dr. Christopher Gabel, helped me...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-26

General George C. Marshall once called General Lesley J. McNair “the brains of the Army” in recognition of the exceptional intellectual capacity that he demonstrated throughout his career, particularly during the process of organizing and training the hastily mobilized US army that fought during...

Part I. Innovation in Peace and War

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1. From Cadet to Commander: Birth of an Innovator

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pp. 29-45

By analyzing in detail the early years of McNair’s four-decade-long career in both staff and command positions, during peace and war, the first few chapters of this book reveal much about his varied experiences and the sources of his ideas about modern warfare, which, once developed as a young officer, he championed...

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2. World War I

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pp. 46-62

The United States observed the outbreak of World War 1 with both dismay and a sense of detachment. Although some citizens supported American involvement in the war, most Americans expressed the determination to remain neutral, a predisposition espoused by President Woodrow Wilson. However, as historian Ronald...

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3. McNair: War Planner

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pp. 63-78

Major McNair departed Fort Leavenworth in December 1920 and arrived in Hawaii after a brief period of leave on February 13, 1921.1 Like all his peers who missed the opportunity to attend the Leavenworth schools as a result of the World War but who later served as instructors there, McNair also departed with credit...

Part II. Interwar Education and Training

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4. Professor of Military Science and Tactics at Purdue

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pp. 81-98

While military officers such as Lesley McNair debated the meaning of the army’s experience in the Great War and prepared for the likelihood of another such conflict, much of American society rejected out of hand the idea of American involvement in another European war. Simultaneously a pacifist movement spread...

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5. The Army War College Class of 1928–1929

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pp. 99-123

McNair received the opportunity to build on the war planning experience he gained in Hawaii as a student at the US Army War College (AWC), class of 1928–1929.1 Like all AWC attendees after the World War, McNair received an education emphasizing practical work that included participation in many student...

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6. Getting Over the Hump

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pp. 124-146

Upon his graduation from the Army War College (AWC), McNair returned to his basic branch, serving as the deputy commandant of the Field Artillery School for the next four years. Although McNair served in a largely administrative position, he contributed significantly to innovative efforts the gunnery department pursued...

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7. Rise to Prominence, 1935–1940

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pp. 147-170

As a result of the attention he gained for his excellent performance in key positions at the Field Artillery School and as a district commander (and periodically acting corps area commander) serving with the Civilian Conservation Corps, Mc-Nair had developed throughout the early 1930s into one of the army’s up-andcoming...

Part III. World War II: The Culmination of a Career

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8. Protective Mobilization

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pp. 173-213

Throughout the first half of the 1930s, President Roosevelt had remained focused inward, concerned about America’s struggle with the Depression and his New Deal while showing little interest in international affairs, economic or otherwise. The American people’s attitudes reflected that of their government. Even in the...

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9. Training the Army Ground Forces

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pp. 214-245

Having accomplished a major transformation of Command and General Staff School (CGSS), and continuing to influence the modernization of US army doctrine, organization, and equipment, McNair departed Fort Leavenworth for his new duties in Washington, DC. In ways strikingly similar to 1917, America found...

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10. The Army Ground Forces at War

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pp. 246-311

The reorganization of March 1942 elevated McNair to Army Ground Forces (AGF) command, the highest level of responsibility that he held throughout his forty years of service, but ironically, at least initially he possessed even less ability to influence the decision-making process within the War Department than he had...

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Epilogue

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pp. 312-332

Although Lesley McNair served exclusively in staff positions during World War II, he routinely visited commanders in the field to observe training and evaluate leadership directly. This desire to see the results of his organization and training efforts firsthand led him to visit combat troops at the front on two occasions during...

Notes

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pp. 333-384

Bibliography

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pp. 385-396

Index

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pp. 397-412

Back Cover

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