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Generals of the Army

Marshall, MacArthur, Eisenhower, Arnold, Bradley

edited by James H. Willbanks. foreword by General Gordon R. Sullivan, USA (Ret.)

Publication Year: 2013

Formally titled "General of the Army," the five-star general is the highest possible rank awarded in the U.S. Army in modern times and has been awarded to only five men in the nation's history: George C. Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Henry H. Arnold, and Omar N. Bradley. In addition to their rank, these distinguished soldiers all shared the experience of serving or studying at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where they gained the knowledge that would prepare them for command during World War II and the Korean War. In Generals of the Army, James H. Willbanks assembles top military historians to examine the connection between the institution and the success of these exceptional men. Historically known as the "intellectual center of the Army," Fort Leavenworth is the oldest active Army post west of Washington, D.C., and one of the most important military installations in the United States. Though there are many biographies of the five-star generals, this innovative study offers a fresh perspective by illuminating the ways in which these legendary figures influenced and were influenced by Leavenworth. Coinciding with the U.S. Mint's release of a series of special commemorative coins honoring these soldiers and the fort where they were based, this concise volume offers an intriguing look at the lives of these remarkable men and the contributions they made to the defense of the nation.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Series: American Warriors Series


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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p. vii-vii

Maps and Illustrations

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pp. viii-x

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pp. xi-xii

The eminent British historian John Keegan once referred to Fort Leavenworth as one of the United States Army’s “most sacred places.”* Fort Leavenworth was established in 1827 to support the opening of the West. In 1881 it became the Army’s schoolhouse to capitalize on the lessons learned from the American Civil War. Today the U.S....

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pp. 1-4

Five-star flag rank is the highest rank awarded within the U.S. military establishment in modern times. There were four five-star fleet admirals and five five-star Generals of the Army named during World War II and the years immediately after. To put those promotions in the proper context, it is appropriate to review the evolution...

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1. Officer Education and the Fort Leavenworth Schools, 1881–1940

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pp. 5-18

For many people, the term Army education refers to the various institutions by which men and women first enter the Army—the military academy at West Point, the Reserve Officers Training Corps, or perhaps basic combat training. In fact, however, these schools are only the first steps in military education. Like any other...

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2. George Catlett Marshall

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pp. 19-62

Among those individuals who have risen to the top of the military profession, George C. Marshall stands out as one of the most remarkable. As the leader of the U.S. Army and Army Air Forces in World War II, a senior military adviser to the president, and the chief American representative in the Allied coalition, he was perhaps the...

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3. Douglas MacArthur

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pp. 63-112

Douglas MacArthur was undoubtedly the most polarizing of America’s five-star generals. General George C. Kenney, MacArthur’s World War II air commander, remarked: “Very few people really know Douglas MacArthur. Those who do, or think they do, either admire him or dislike him. They are never neutral on the subject.”...

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4. Dwight D. Eisenhower

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pp. 113-146

General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower has come to represent many things to many different people of several generations. For the veterans of World War II, he was the commanding general who planned and oversaw the initial landings in North Africa and Italy. Next, as supreme Allied commander of Europe, he...

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5. Henry H. "Hap" Arnold

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pp. 147-182

Henry “Hap” Arnold holds a unique place in the pantheon of five-star generals. Not only does Arnold have the distinction of being named the only General of the Air Force, a title bestowed on him after the U.S. Air Force became its own separate service in 1947, but he also held the title General of the Army when he was appointed...

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6. Omar Nelson Bradley

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pp. 183-232

Omar Nelson Bradley became the last general to reach five-star rank, doing so well after the completion of World War II and a year after the creation of the position of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In many ways he was also the most unusual of those to attain this exalted rank. There was nothing of the showmanship that MacArthur brought...

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pp. 233-236

In the seventy years since World War II, Fort Leavenworth has remained the crossroads for the officer corps of the United States Army, the place where field-grade officers receive an educational experience designed to prepare them for the rest of their careers. The challenges that the United States has faced during that period...

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pp. 237-238

We would like to thank Bob Ulin of the Command and General Staff College Foundation, who played a key role in the genesis of this project. A special thanks to Foundation trustee Richard Brown and his wife, Christine, for financial support that made this project possible. We would also like to thank Stephen Wrinn of the University...


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pp. 239-242


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pp. 243-268

E-ISBN-13: 9780813142128
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813142135

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: American Warriors Series