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The Rise of the G.I. Army, 1940-1941: The Forgotten Story of How America Forged a Powerful Army Before Pearl Harbor

The Rise of the G.I. Army, 1940-1941: The Forgotten Story of How America Forged a Powerful Army Before Pearl Harbor

by Paul Dickson


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In September 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland and initiated World War II, a strong strain of isolationism existed in Congress and across the country. The U.S. Army stood at fewer than 200,000 men—unprepared to defend the country, much less carry the fight to Europe and the Far East. And yet, less than a year after Pearl Harbor, the American army led the Allied invasion of North Africa, beginning the campaign that would defeat Germany, and the Navy and Marines were fully engaged with Japan in the Pacific.

The story of America’s astounding industrial mobilization during World War II has been told. But what has never been chronicled before Paul Dickson’s The Rise of the G. I. Army, 1940-1941 is the extraordinary transformation of America’s military from a disparate collection of camps with dilapidated equipment into a well-trained and spirited army ten times its prior size in little more than eighteen months. From Franklin Roosevelt’s selection of George C. Marshall to be Army Chief of Staff to the remarkable peace-time draft of 1940 and the massive and unprecedented mock battles in Tennessee, Louisiana, and the Carolinas by which the skill and spirit of the Army were forged and out of which iconic leaders like Eisenhower, Bradley, and Clark emerged; Dickson narrates America’s urgent mobilization against a backdrop of political and cultural isolationist resistance and racial tension at home, and the increasingly perceived threat of attack from both Germany and Japan.

An important addition to American history, The Rise of the G. I. Army, 1940-1941 is essential to our understanding of America’s involvement in World War II.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802158697
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 04/20/2021
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 272,847
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Paul Dickson is the author of more than sixty nonfiction books, including Sputnik: The Shock of the Century and The Bonus Army: An American Epic (with Thomas B. Allen), and books on electronic warfare and war slang. He concentrates on writing about the American language, baseball, and 20th century history. He lives in Garrett Park, Maryland.

Table of Contents

Prologue ix

Chapter 1 A Rude Awakening 1

Chapter 2 The Tree Army to the Rescue 23

Chapter 3 A "Phoney" War Abroad and a Mock War at Home 43

Chapter 4 For the Want of a Nail 72

Chapter 5 "Your Number Came Up": The 1940 Peacetime Draft 100

Chapter 6 Assembling the New Army: "The Blind Leading the Blind" 122

Chapter 7 The Battle of Tennessee and the "Yoo-Hoo" Incident 148

Chapter 8 "Over the Hill in October": Treason, Sabotage, and the Vote 168

Chapter 9 Stagecraft: The Extraordinary Preparations for the War in Louisiana 190

Chapter 10 The Battle of the Bayous 209

Chapter 11 Promotion and Purge 241

Chapter 12 The Carolinas: The Final Scrimmage 251

Chapter 13 December 7, 1941 279

Chapter 14 "Little Libya," Irish Maneuvers, and Operation Torch 293

Chapter 15 Victory Laps: V-E, V-J, and-Later-the Double V 317

Acknowledgments 351

Bibliography 355

Notes 369

Index 415

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