Louis Johnson and the Arming of America: The Roosevelt and Truman Years

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Forgot password? Old Password. New Password. Password Changed Successfully Your password has been changed. As a prominent interwar American Legionnaire and a shrewd, manipulative politico, Johnson adroitly solidified veterans' support for President Franklin D.

Louis A. Johnson

In June he accepted the War Department subcabinet post with a supposed presidential promise of the top spot—a claim the authors judge unprovable. Johnson's intense ambition, statutory responsibilities as assistant secretary, and passionate commitment to preparedness led to his infamous feud with the more budget-minded and isolationist Woodring. Roosevelt finally dismissed both of them in mid McFarland told this story well three decades ago, but he and Roll add new detail and credit Johnson, despite the turmoil he caused, with invaluable service in readying the nation for war.

Presidential Role Models: FDR, Truman, and Reagan with Walter Russell Mead

After serving as the president's personal representative to India in , Johnson ran an I. Farben affiliate under the alien property custodian until As Truman's campaign finance chairman in , he performed such prodigious fund-raising feats that Truman "owed Louis Johnson his presidency" p.

In reward, and because Johnson was experienced and tough, Truman named him Secretary of Defense in March McFarland and Roll closely analyze Johnson's volte-face from a decades-long champion of military preparedness to an ardent defense budget cutter under Truman. They argue that Johnson and Truman, lacking a coherent strategic defense policy, sincerely believed that U. They also point out the legitimate need for secretarial loyalty to the president and the popularity of Johnson's economy measures.

Louis Johnson and the Arming of America: The Roosevelt and Truman Years by Keith D. McFarland

But they conclude that Johnson's presidential ambitions ultimately outweighed everything else and led him to rationalize serious military deterioration. Those ambitions were crushed when Truman fired him in September because of his conniving against Secretary of State Dean Acheson, resistance on Asia policy, and political liability resulting from severe criticism of military unreadiness for the Korean War. Victory -- whether on the front lines of today's Long War or in the air, space and cyberspace surrounding tomorrow's foes -- will be determined in large part by the expertise of our Airmen.

Lifelong education is a crucial part of being a professional warrior and professional reading enhances our warrior ethos.

There is no room in our Air Force for anyone "too busy" to expand his or her horizons. That is why I consider professional reading an imperative for every Airman: officers, enlisted, and civilians.

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It is why I make reading an essential part of my day even as Chief of Staff. This year my reading list includes eleven books. I fully expect this will be a small subset of the books you read and the information you take in this year.


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You owe it to yourself, our Air Force, and our nation to continually increase your knowledge. My reading list is one small step in this direction. Every quarter this year I will highlight a few books from my list and explain why they are pertinent to your development.

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For this first quarter, I've selected three books: one from our joint military heritage; another on our mission, doctrine and profession; and a final selection from world events. McFarland and David L. Roll, is an informative biography on former Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson.

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