Democracy

Can American Democracy Survive Cold War? by Harry Howe Ransom

By Harry Howe Ransom

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General Bliss was assigned the task of investigating and explaining the situation to the President: I told him that the law creating the General Staff made it its duty “to prepare plans for the national defense”; that I was President of the [Army] War College when the General Staff was organized in 1903; that from that time until then [1915] the College had studied over and over again plans for war with Germany, England, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, etc. I said that if the President took the action threatened, it would only make patent to everybody [that] which pretty much everybody knew and would create a great political row, and, finally, it would be absurd.

On many of the most important strategic decisions, Secretary Hull sat on the sidelines while Roosevelt worked closely with his small informal “war cabi­ net”: James F. Byrnes, Samuel Rosenman, Harry Hopkins, Admiral William D. Leahy, serving as the President’s personal military chief of staff, and, sporadically, the Army and Navy chiefs. Victory by defeating the enemy’s armed forces became the basic aim of national policy, with little thought given to the longer-range political goals beyond this immediate objec­ tive.

44. 24 Can American Democracy Survive Cold War? ” In this “dictatorship” the virtual elimination of the Secretary of State from the highest policy and strategy councils was perhaps the most significant change. On many of the most important strategic decisions, Secretary Hull sat on the sidelines while Roosevelt worked closely with his small informal “war cabi­ net”: James F. Byrnes, Samuel Rosenman, Harry Hopkins, Admiral William D. Leahy, serving as the President’s personal military chief of staff, and, sporadically, the Army and Navy chiefs.

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