Saturday 5 January 2013
Photo, above: Allied leaders, WWII, on HMS Prince of Wales for the Atlantic Charter conference, 1941. See: Hour Two, The Generals, by Thomas E. Ricks.
HMS Prince of Wales, a 35,000-ton King George V class battleship built Birkenhead, England, was completed in March 1941. In late May, while still not fully operational, she was sent into action with the German battleship Bismarck and received significant damage from heavy gunfire. Following repairs, Prince of Wales carried Prime Minister Winston Churchill across the Atlantic to Newfoundland. There, on 9-12 August, Churchill joined U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the Atlantic Charter conference, the first meeting between the two English-speaking leaders of what was emerging as the "Grand Alliance" against the Axis powers.
Following her return to British waters, Prince of Wales went to the Mediterranean, where she successfully engaged Italian planes off Malta in late September. Sent to the Far East with the battle cruiser HMS Repulse to counter the swiftly developing Japanese threat in the region, she arrived on 2 December 1941. On 8 December, the day of the Pearl Harbor raid on the other side of the International Date Line, the Japanese landed in northern Malaya. Prince of Wales, Repulse and four destroyers were sent to attack the invasion force. After finding no targets, the British ships were returning to Singapore when, late in the morning of 10 December, they were attacked by a strong force of Japanese high-level bombers and torpedo planes. With no friendly planes to protect them, both heavy ships were hit several times. Repulse sank at about 1230. Prince of Wales capsized and followed her to the bottom less than an hour later. The first capital ships to be sunk by air attack while operating on the high seas, their loss further shocked a naval world already stunned by the events at Pearl Harbor only a few days earlier.
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Saturday 5 Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace, by H. W. Brands. 1 of 4
Saturday 5 Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block B: . The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace, by H. W. Brands. 2 of 4
Saturday 5 Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: . The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace, by H. W. Brands. 3 of 4
Saturday 5 Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block D: The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace, by H. W. Brands. 4 of 4
Random House toots its own horn – with fair cause: this is an important book.
Ulysses Grant rose from obscurity to discover he had a genius for battle, and he propelled the Union to victory in the Civil War. After Abraham Lincoln's assassination and the disastrous brief presidency of Andrew Johnson, America turned to Grant again to unite the country, this time as president. In Brands's sweeping, majestic full biography, Grant emerges as a heroic figure who was fearlessly on the side of right. He was a beloved commander in the field but willing to make the troop sacrifices necessary to win the war, even in the face of storms of criticism. He worked valiantly to protect the rights of freedmen in the South; Brands calls him the last presidential defender of black civil rights for nearly a century. He played it straight with the American Indians, allowing them to shape their own fate even as the realities of Manifest Destiny meant the end of their way of life. He was an enormously popular president whose memoirs were a huge bestseller; yet within decades of his death his reputation was in tatters, the victim of Southerners who resented his policies on Reconstruction. In this page-turning biography, Brands now reconsiders Grant's legacy and provides a compelling and intimate portrait of a man who saved the Union on the battlefield and consolidated that victory as a resolute and principled political leader.
Washington Post adds:
Brands is essentially a storyteller, and a good one. His prose is lucid and colorful. He evokes the atmosphere of Grant's era by filling the book with lengthy excerpts from primary sources—letters, first-person observations and recollections . . . Brands presents vivid and compelling accounts of the complex battles of the Civil War. He explains clearly Grant's strengths as a general: his ability to visualize the entire battlefield in the midst of conflict when others could perceive only chaos, his willingness to take risks and his courage in the face of setbacks.
Saturday 5 Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block A: The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today by Thomas E. Ricks (Oct 30, 2012) . 1 of 4
Saturday 5 Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block B: The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today by Thomas E. Ricks (Oct 30, 2012) . 2 of 4
Saturday 5 Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block C: . The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today by Thomas E. Ricks (Oct 30, 2012) . 3 of 4
Saturday 5 Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block D: The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today by Thomas E. Ricks (Oct 30, 2012) . 4 of 4
By MAX BOOT December 7, 2012 New York Times
Gen. George C. Marshall, the United States Army’s steely chief of staff during World War II, was ruthless in relieving subordinates who didn’t measure up to his exacting standards. Between the time he assumed office in September 1939 and America’s entry into the war on Dec. 8, 1941, he cashiered at least 600 officers — and he wasn’t done yet. Numerous others, including generals, would lose their jobs when they didn’t perform well enough in the caldron of combat. As the veteran military correspondent Thomas E. Ricks notes in his new book, “The Generals,” “Sixteen Army division commanders were relieved for cause, out of a total of 155 officers who commanded Army divisions in combat during the war. At least five corps commanders also were relieved for cause.”
In the place of the duds that he cleared out, Marshall promoted promising young men like Dwight Eisenhower, a colonel until September 1941, who the following year would be named a three-star general and commander in chief of Allied forces in North Africa.
That’s not the way the system works today. Generals still get relieved — the fate suffered by, among others, the commander of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the surgeon general of the Army after a scandal was uncovered in 2007 — but usually only when their political masters intervene. Seldom are Army officers cashiered anymore by their military superiors and especially not for mere failure to perform at the highest level in wartime. Normally it takes a sexual or other scandal to bring down a senior officer. “As matters stand now,” Paul Yingling, then a lieutenant colonel, wrote in a celebrated 2007 article, “a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”
The flip side of the current system is that promotion even for the most successful combat leaders occurs at a glacial pace: Just as there is scant penalty for failure, there is also little short-term promise of reward for outstanding leadership. No one rockets to the top the way Eisenhower did.
How did the Army change so dramatically in the past 60-plus years and what are the consequences for the future of American military power? Those are the questions that Ricks sets out to answer. Readers of his 2006 best seller on the Iraq war, Fiasco, and of his blog, The Best Defense, know that he has strong opinions he does not try to hide. He also has a deep wellspring of knowledge about both military policy and military history. That combination of conviction and erudition allows him to deliver an entertaining and enlightening jeremiad that should — but, alas, most likely won’t — cause a rethinking of existing personnel policies.
Saturday 5 Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block A: Terrible Swift Sword by Joseph Wheelan (Jul 17, 2012) . 1 of 4
Saturday 5 Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Terrible Swift Sword by Joseph Wheelan (Jul 17, 2012) . 2 of 4
Saturday 5 Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Terrible Swift Sword by Joseph Wheelan (Jul 17, 2012) . 3 of 4
Saturday 5 Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block D: Terrible Swift Sword by Joseph Wheelan (Jul 17, 2012) . 4 of 4
History Book Club writes:
Alongside Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, Philip H. Sheridan is the least known of the triumvirate of generals most responsible for winning the Civil War—in large part because his diaries and papers were destroyed in the great Chicago Fire of 1871. Before Sherman’s famous march through Georgia, it was General Sheridan who introduced scorched-earth warfare to the South, and it was his Cavalry Corps that compelled Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. Sheridan’s innovative cavalry tactics and “total war” strategy became staples of twentieth-century warfare. After the war, Sheridan ruthlessly suppressed the raiding Plains Indians much as he had the Confederates—by killing warriors and burning villages—but he also defended reservation Indians from corrupt agents and contractors. Sheridan, an enthusiastic hunter and conservationist, later ordered the U.S. cavalry to occupy and operate Yellowstone National Park to safeguard it from commercial exploitation. With Terrible Swift Sword, Joseph Wheelan has written a compelling new biography of Sheridan, at last restoring this pivotal figure to a place of prominence in mid- to late-nineteenth-century American history.
Saturday 5 Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block A: Deadline Artists--Scandals, Tragedies and Triumphs: More of America's Greatest Newspaper Columns, by John Avlon, Jesse Angelo and Errol Louis (Nov 21, 2012) . 1 of 4
Saturday 5 Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block B: Deadline Artists--Scandals, Tragedies and Triumphs: More of America's Greatest Newspaper Columns, by John Avlon, Jesse Angelo and Errol Louis (Nov 21, 2012) . 2 of 4
We're living in a time when obituaries for the newspaper industry are being written every day. And yet, opinion writing is finding new life online as never before. A new generation deserves access to the best of the past, to classic newspaper writing that combines the immediacy of news with the precision of poetry.
In this new Deadline Artists collection, America’s greatest journalists take on the stories of scandal, tragedy, triumph, and tribute that have defined the spirit of their age. This is history written in the present tense, offering high drama and enduring wisdom. Walk with Jack London in the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake or grieve over the assassination of Abraham Lincoln with Walt Whitman while the blood still dries at Ford’s Theater. Watch as Watergate unfolds, sex scandals explode, the Twin Towers implode, and winning home runs capture the thrill of a comeback capped with a World Series victory.
Contributors include: Jack London, H.L. Mencken, Dorothy Thompson, Richard Wright, Damon Runyon, Shirley Povich, Murray Kempton, Mike Ryoko, Ruben Salazar, Mary McGrory, Mike Barnicle, Molly Ivins, Pete Hamill, Carl Hiaasen, Nicholas Kristof, Leonard Pitts, Steve Lopez, Peggy Noonan, and Mitch Albom.
Saturday 5 Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Deadline Artists--Scandals, Tragedies and Triumphs: More of America's Greatest Newspaper Columns, by John Avlon, Jesse Angelo and Errol Louis (Nov 21, 2012) . 3 of 4
Saturday 5 Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Deadline Artists--Scandals, Tragedies and Triumphs: More of America's Greatest Newspaper Columns, by John Avlon, Jesse Angelo and Errol Louis (Nov 21, 2012) . 4 of 4
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