United States Department of War

The United States Department of War, also called the War Department (and occasionally War Office in the early years), was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army, also bearing responsibility for naval affairs until the establishment of the Navy Department in 1798, and for most land-based air forces until the creation of the Department of the Air Force on September 18, 1947.

The Secretary of War, a civilian with such responsibilities as finance and purchases and a minor role in directing military affairs, headed the War Department throughout its existence.

The War Department existed from August 7, 1789[1] until September 18, 1947, when it split into Department of the Army and Department of the Air Force and joined the Department of the Navy as part of the new joint National Military Establishment (NME), renamed the United States Department of Defense in 1949.

United States Department of War
Seal of the United States Department of War
The seal of the U.S. Department of War.
Department overview
FormedAugust 7, 1789
DissolvedSeptember 18, 1947
Superseding agencies
Department executive
Child Department


Seal of the United States Board of War and Ordnance
The seal of the Board of War and Ordnance, which the U.S. War Department's seal is derived from.
Emblem of the U.S. Department of the Army
The emblem of the Department of the Army, derived from the seal of the U.S. War Department.

Shortly after the establishment of a strong government under President George Washington in 1789, Congress created the War Department as a civilian agency to administer the field army under the president (as commander in chief) and the secretary of war.[2] Retired senior General Henry Knox, then in civilian life, served as the first United States Secretary of War.[3]


Forming and organizing the department and the army fell to Secretary Knox. Direct field command of the small Regular Army by President Washington leading a column of troops west through Pennsylvania to Fort Cumberland in Maryland in 1794 to combat the incipient Whiskey Rebellion on the frontier was an occasion never since used by American Presidents. The Possibility of re-organizing a "New Army" under nominal command of retired President and Major General George Washington and his aide, former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton to deal with the rising tide of maritime incidents between American commerce ships and the new French Republic was authorized by second President John Adams in 1798 and the remote possibility of land invasion was an interesting adventure. On November 8, 1800 the War Department building with its records and files was consumed by fire.[4]


Foundation of the new military academy at West Point along the Hudson River upstream from New York City in 1802 was important to the future growth of the American army. In August 1814 during the Burning of Washington, the United States Department of War building was also burned-however the War and State Department files had been removed-all books and record had been saved; the only records of the War Department lost were recommendations of appointments for the Army and letters received from seven years previous.[4] The multiple failures and fiascos of the War of 1812 convinced Washington that thorough reform of the War Department was necessary. Secretary of War, John C. Calhoun reorganized the department into a system of bureaus, whose chiefs held office for life, and a commanding general in the field, although the Congress did not authorize this position. Winfield Scott became the senior general until the start of the American Civil War in 1861. The bureau chiefs acted as advisers to the Secretary of War while commanding their own troops and field installations. The bureaus frequently conflicted among themselves, but in disputes with the commanding general, the Secretary of War generally supported the bureaus. Congress regulated the affairs of the bureaus in detail, and their chiefs looked to that body for support.[5]

Calhoun set up the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1824, the main agency within the War Department for dealing with Native Americans until 1849, when the Congress transferred it to the newly founded Department of the Interior.[6][7]

American Civil War to 1898

During the American Civil War, the War Department responsibilities expanded. It handled the recruiting, training, supply, medical care, transportation and pay of two million soldiers, comprising both the regular army and the much larger temporary volunteer army. A separate command structure took charge of military operations.

In the late stages of the war, the Department took charge of refugees and freedmen (freed slaves) in the American South through the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands.[8] During Reconstruction, this bureau played a major role in supporting the new Republican governments in the southern states. When military Reconstruction ended in 1877, the U.S. Army removed the last troops from military occupation of the American South, and the last Republican state governments in the region ended.

The Army comprised hundreds of small detachments in forts around the West, dealing with Indians, and in coastal artillery units in port cities, dealing with the threat of a naval attack.[9]


The United States Army, with 39,000 men in 1890 was the smallest and least powerful army of any major power in the late 19th century. By contrast, France had an army of 542,000.[10] Temporary volunteers and state militia units mostly fought the Spanish–American War of 1898. This conflict demonstrated the need for more effective control over the department and its bureaus.[11]

Secretary of War Elihu Root (1899–1904) sought to appoint a chief of staff as general manager and a European-type general staff for planning, aiming to achieve this goal in a businesslike manner, but General Nelson A. Miles stymied his efforts. Root enlarged the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York and established the United States Army War College and the General Staff. He changed the procedures for promotions and organized schools for the special branches of the service. He also devised the principle of rotating officers from staff to line. Concerned about the new territories acquired after the Spanish–American War, Root worked out the procedures for turning Cuba over to the Cubans, wrote the charter of government for the Philippines, and eliminated tariffs on goods imported to the United States from Puerto Rico.

Root's successor as Secretary of War, William Howard Taft, returned to the traditional secretary-bureau chief alliance, subordinating the chief of staff to the adjutant general, a powerful office since its creation in 1775. Indeed, Secretary Taft exercised little power; President Theodore Roosevelt made the major decisions. In 1911, Secretary Henry L. Stimson and Major General Leonard Wood, his chief of staff, revived the Root reforms. The general staff assisted them in their efforts to rationalize the organization of the army along modern lines and in supervising the bureaus.[12]

World War I

The Congress reversed these changes in support of the bureaus and in the National Defense Act of 1916 reduced the size and functions of the general staff to few members before America entered World War I on April 6, 1917. President Woodrow Wilson supported Secretary of War Newton D. Baker, who opposed efforts to control the bureaus and war industry until competition for limited supplies almost paralyzed industry and transportation, especially in the North. Yielding to pressure from Congress and industry, Secretary Baker placed Benedict Crowell in charge of munitions and made Major General George W. Goethals acting quartermaster general and General Peyton C. March chief of staff. Assisted by industrial advisers, they reorganized the supply system of the army and practically wiped out the bureaus as quasi-independent agencies. General March reorganized the general staff along similar lines and gave it direct authority over departmental operations. After the war, the Congress again granted the bureaus their former independence.

In the 1920s, General John J. Pershing realigned the general staff on the pattern of his American Expeditionary Force (AEF) field headquarters, which he commanded. The general staff in the early 1920s exercised little effective control over the bureaus, but the chiefs of staff gradually gained substantial authority over them by 1939, when General George Marshall assumed the office of Army Chief of Staff.

World War II

During World War II, General Marshall principally advised President Franklin D. Roosevelt on military strategy and expended little effort in acting as general manager of the Department of War. Many agencies still fragmented authority, burdening the chief of staff with too many details, making the whole Department of War poorly geared toward directing the army in a global war. General Marshall described the chief of staff then as a "poor command post." President Roosevelt brought in Henry L. Stimson as Secretary of War; after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Secretary Stimson supported General Marshall in reorganizing the army under the War Powers Act of 1941. He divided the Army of the United States (AUS) into three autonomous components to conduct the operations of the War Department: the Army Ground Forces (AGF) trained land troops; the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) developed an independent air arm; and the Services of Supply (later Army Service Forces) directed administrative and logistical operations. The Operations Division acted as general planning staff for General Marshall. By 1942, the Army Air Forces gained virtual independence in every way from the rest of the army.[13]


After World War II, the Department of War abandoned the organization of General George Marshall for the fragmented prewar pattern while the independent services continually parried efforts to reestablish firm executive control over their operations. The National Security Act of 1947 split the War Department into the Department of the Army and the Department of the Air Force, and the Secretary of the Army and Secretary of the Air Force served as operating managers for the new Secretary of Defense.

Office space

State, War, & Navy Building - Washington, D.C.
State, War, and Navy Building in 1917

In the early years, between 1797 and 1800, the Department of War was headquartered in Philadelphia; it moved with the other federal agencies to the new national capital at Washington, District of Columbia, in 1800. In 1820, headquarters moved into a building at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, adjacent to the Executive Mansion, part of a complex of four matching brick Georgian/Federal style buildings for Cabinet departments with War in the northwest, Navy in the southwest and to the other side: State to the northeast and Treasury in the southeast. The War Department building was supplemented in the 1850s by a building across the street to the west known as the Annex and became very important during the Civil War with President Abraham Lincoln visiting the War Office's telegraph room for constant updates and reports and walking back and forth to the "Residence". The original 1820 structures for War and Navy on the west side of the now famous White House was replaced in 1888 by construction of a new building of French Empire design with mansard roofs, the "State, War, and Navy Building" (now the Old Executive Office Building, and later renamed to honor General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower), built in the same location as its predecessors.

By the 1930s, the Department of State squeezed the War Department from its office space, and the White House also desired additional office space. In August 1939, Secretary of War Harry H. Woodring and Acting Chief of Staff of the Army George C. Marshall moved their offices into the Munitions Building, a temporary structure built on the National Mall during World War I. In the late 1930s, the government constructed the War Department Building (renamed in 2000 as the Harry S Truman Building) at 21st and C Streets in Foggy Bottom, but upon completion, the new building did not solve the space problem of the department, and the Department of State ultimately used it and continues to use it into the present day.[14]

Coming into office with World War II breaking out in Europe, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson faced with the situation of the War Department spread through the overcrowded Munitions Building and numerous other buildings across Washington, D.C., and suburban Maryland and Virginia.[15][16] On July 28, 1941, Congress authorized funding for a new Department of War building in Arlington, Virginia, which would house the entire department under one roof.[17] When construction of the Pentagon was completed in 1943, the Secretary of War vacated the Munitions Building and the department began moving into the Pentagon.


The United States Secretary of War, a member of the United States Cabinet, headed the War Department.

The National Security Act of 1947 established the National Military Establishment, later renamed the United States Department of Defense. On the same day this act was signed, Executive Order 9877 assigned primary military functions and responsibilities[18] with the former War Department split between the Department of the Army and Department of the Air Force.

In the aftermath of World War II, the American government (among others around the world) decided to abandon the word 'War' when referring to the civilian leadership of their military. One vestige of the former nomenclature are the Army War College, Naval War College and the Air War College, which still train U.S. military officers in battlefield tactics and the strategy of war fighting.

Seal of the department

The date "MDCCLXXVIII" and the designation "War Office" are indicative of the origin of the seal. The date (1778) refers to the year of its adoption. The term "War Office" used during the Revolution, and for many years afterward, was associated with the Headquarters of the Army.

See also


  1. ^ "The Establishment of the Department of War - US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". house.gov. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
  2. ^ Chap. VII. 1 Stat. 49 from "A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U. S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774–1875". Library of Congress, Law Library of Congress. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  3. ^ Richard H. Kohn, Eagle and Sword the Beginnings of the Military Establishment in America (1975) ch 6
  4. ^ a b Methods, United States War Dept Board on Business (17 August 1889). "Business Methods in the War Department: Report of the Board Appointed in Compliance with the Request of the Senate Select Committee to Investigate the Methods of Business in the Executive Departments". U.S. Government Printing Office – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Charles M. Wiltse, John C. Calhoun, Nationalist, 1782–1828 (1944) pp. 142–54
  6. ^ William S. Belko, "'John C. Calhoun and the Creation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs: An Essay on Political Rivalry, Ideology, and Policymaking in the Early Republic," South Carolina Historical Magazine 2004 105(3): 170–197. ISSN 0038-3082
  7. ^ Francis P. Prucha, The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians (Abridged Edition 1986) excerpt and text search
  8. ^ George R. Bentley, A History of the Freedmen's Bureau (1955)
  9. ^ Robert Marshall Utley, Frontier Regulars: The United States Army and the Indian, 1866–1891 (1984)
  10. ^ Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (1987) p. 154, 203
  11. ^ Graham A. Cosmas, An Army for Empire: The United States Army and the Spanish–American War (1971)
  12. ^ Warren Zimmermann, First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power (2002)
  13. ^ Elting E. Morison, Turmoil and Tradition: A Study of the Life and Times of Henry L. Stimson (1960).
  14. ^ Goldberg, Alfred (1992). The Pentagon: The First Fifty Years. Office of Secretary of Defense / Government Printing Office. pp. 4–9.
  15. ^ "Intro – Secretaries of War and Secretaries of the Army". United States Army Center of Military History. 1992. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
  16. ^ Vogel, Steve (2007). The Pentagon – A History: The Untold Story of the Wartime Race to Build the Pentagon and to Restore it Sixty Years Later. Random House. pp. 29–33.
  17. ^ Goldberg, Alfred (1992). The Pentagon: The First Fifty Years. Office of Secretary of Defense / Government Printing Office. p. 22.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-01-14. Retrieved 2014-06-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)


  • Cline, Ray S. Washington Command Post: The Operations Division, United States Army in World War II. (1950)
  • Coffman, Edward M. The Regulars: The American Army, 1898–1941 (2007) excerpt and text search
  • Coffman, Edward M. The hilt of the sword: the career of Peyton C. March (1966), on World War I
  • Hewes, James E. From Root to McNamara: Army Organization and Administration, 1900–1963. (1975)
  • Koistinen, Paul A. C. Beating Plowshares into Swords: The Political Economy of American Warfare, 1606–1865 (1996) excerpt and text search
  • Koistinen, Paul A. C. Mobilizing for modern war: the political economy of American warfare, 1865–1919 (1997)
  • Koistinen, Paul A. C. Planning War, Pursuing Peace: The Political Economy of American Warfare, 1920–1939 (1998) excerpt and text search
  • Koistinen, Paul A. C. Arsenal of World War II: the political economy of American warfare, 1940–1945 (2004)
  • Shannon, Fred. The Organization and Administration of the Union Army 1861–1865 (2 vol 1928) vol 1 excerpt and text search; vol 2 excerpt and text search
  • Pogue, Forrest C. George C. Marshall, Volume 2: Ordeal and hope, 1939–1942 (1967)
  • Pogue, Forrest C. George C. Marshall, organizer of victory, 1943–1945 (1973)
  • White, Leonard D. The Federalists: a Study in Administrative History, (1948).
  • White, Leonard D. The Jeffersonians: A Study in Administrative History, 1801–1829 (1965)
  • White, Leonard D. The Jacksonians: A Study in Administrative History, 1829–1861. (1965)
  • White, Leonard D. The Republican Era, 1869–1901 a Study in Administrative History, (1958)
  • Wilson, Mark R. The Business of Civil War: Military Mobilization and the State, 1861–1865 (2006) excerpt and text search

External links

External images
1945 War Department Organization
Bureau of Insular Affairs

The Bureau of Insular Affairs was a division of the United States Department of War that oversaw civil aspects of the administration of several territories from 1898 until 1939.

Don't Be a Sucker

Don't Be a Sucker is a short film produced by the United States Department of War released in 1943, and adapted as a slightly shorter version in 1947. It has anti-racist and anti-fascist themes, and was made to educate viewers about prejudice and discrimination. The film was also made to make the case for the desegregation of the United States armed forces. It is held for preservation by the U.S. National Archives.

Engineering Division

The Engineering Division was a division of the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps in the United States Department of War. It was formed on 31 August 1918, under the direction of Lt Col Jesse G. Vincent, to study and design American versions of foreign aircraft. It was later renamed Engineering Division, Air Service and then in 1926 Material Division Air Corps. It was based at McCook Field, and in October 1927 moved to Wright Field.

Foggy Bottom

Foggy Bottom is one of the oldest late 18th- and 19th-century neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. Foggy Bottom is west of the White House and downtown Washington, in the Northwest quadrant, bounded roughly by 17th Street NW to the east, Rock Creek Parkway to the west, Constitution Avenue NW to the south, and Pennsylvania Avenue NW to the north. Much of Foggy Bottom is occupied by the main campus of the George Washington University (GWU). Foggy Bottom is thought to have received its name due to its riverside location, which made it susceptible to concentrations of fog and industrial smoke, an atmospheric quirk. The Foggy Bottom neighborhood not only borders Downtown Washington D.C., but also borders the very affluent neighborhood of Georgetown as well. Residents of Foggy Bottom also have convenient access to Georgetown University as well.

The United States Department of State gained the metonym "Foggy Bottom" when it moved its headquarters to the nearby Harry S Truman Building, originally planned and constructed to be the new United States Department of War headquarters building, from the State, War, and Navy Building (now known as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building) near the White House in 1947.

Freedmen's Bureau

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, usually referred to as simply the Freedmen's Bureau, was an agency of the United States Department of War to "direct such issues of provisions, clothing, and fuel, as he may deem needful for the immediate and temporary shelter and supply of destitute and suffering refugees and freedmen and their wives and children."The Freedmen's Bureau Bill, which established the Freedmen's Bureau on March 3, 1865, was initiated by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and was intended to last for one year after the end of the Civil War. The Freedmen's Bureau was an important agency of early Reconstruction, assisting freedmen in the South. The Bureau was made a part of the United States Department of War, as it was the only agency with an existing organization that could be assigned to the South. Headed by Union Army General Oliver O. Howard, the Bureau started operations in 1865. Throughout the first year, its representatives learned that these tasks would be very difficult, as Southern legislatures passed laws for Black Codes that restricted movement, conditions of labor, and other civil rights of African Americans, nearly duplicating conditions of slavery. The Freedmen's Bureau controlled a limited amount of arable land.The Bureau's powers were expanded to help African Americans find family members from whom they had become separated during the war. It arranged to teach them to read and write, considered critical by the freedmen themselves as well as the government. Bureau agents also served as legal advocates for African Americans in both local and national courts, mostly in cases dealing with family issues. The Bureau encouraged former major planters to rebuild their plantations and urged freed blacks to return to work for them, kept an eye on contracts between the newly free laborers and planters, and pushed whites and blacks to work together in a free labor market as employers and employees rather than as masters and slaves.In 1866, Congress renewed the charter for the Bureau. U.S. President Andrew Johnson, a southern Democrat who had succeeded to the office following Lincoln's assassination, vetoed the bill because he believed that it encroached on states' rights, relied inappropriately on the military in peacetime, and would prevent freed slaves from becoming independent by offering too much assistance. By 1869, the Bureau had lost most of its funding at the hands of southern Democrats and as a result was forced to cut much of its staff. By 1870 the Bureau had been weakened further due to the rise of Ku Klux Klan violence across the South, whose members attacked both blacks and sympathetic white Republicans, including teachers. Northern Democrats were against the program painting it as a program that would make African Americans "lazy".In 1872, Congress abruptly abandoned the program, refusing to approve renewal authorizing legislation. It did not inform Howard, who had been transferred to Arizona by U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant to settle hostilities between the Apache and settlers. Grant's Secretary of War William W. Belknap was hostile to Howard's leadership and authority at the Bureau. Belknap aroused controversy among Republicans by his reassignment of Howard.

Here Is Germany

Here Is Germany is a 1945 American propaganda documentary film directed by Frank Capra. Like its companion film, Know Your Enemy: Japan, the film is a full-length exploration of why one of the two major Axis countries started World War II and what had to be done to keep them from "doing it again".

The film opens with scenes of everyday life in Germany, described by narrator Walter Huston. It shows people such as housewives, mailmen, farmers and policemen at work, and notes that these people were not so different from Americans, and seem like people Americans can understand. Anthony Veiller then interrupts with "Or can we?", as the film then switches to a montage of Nazi concentration camps and piles of dead bodies. The narrator notes that this is not the only time that Germany has unleashed war on the world, stating that while its generation fought the "Nazis", its fathers fought the "Huns" (pejorative term for Germany during World War I), and its grandfathers remember the "Prussians". The narrator states that it was all part of the same German lust for conquest. The militarism of the Prussian state is identified as the bad idea that triumphed over several other trends in German thought.

Going even further back to identify the cause of this 150 years, the film informs us that while America, Britain, and France were forming their democratic traditions, Germany was a group of 300 medieval feudal states, not one of them with a constitution or parliament. The film traces the rise of Prussia from Frederick the Great through Otto von Bismarck, telling the audience that the Prussian state was organized as an instrument of aggressive conquest, dominated first by aristocratic landowners, militarists and state officials, later joined by those big industrialists with ties to the militarists and their Imperial Government (such as Krupp and Thyssen). The development of a military-industrial dominated state in the founding of the Prussian-dominated German Empire in 1870 climaxes in the catastrophe of World War I. When the nationalist militarists knew that they were beaten, according to the film, they allowed democratic parties to take the reins of power and immediately set about destabilising and discrediting the new republic. Once accomplished they found a stooge in Adolf Hitler, who would finally destroy the liberal Weimar Republic with the addition of a 5th pillar - party thugs.

The film depicts the Third Reich from this perspective, seeing Nazism as simply a continuation of the aggressive German tradition, promoted by the military–industrial complex (those businesses dependent on government contracts for arms). It does not quite make clear that the Party confounded its nationalist supporters by absorbing them, and becoming then only real power in Germany. The film says that Poles, Italians, Belgians, and Americans were murdered by the Germans. The Nazi persecution of Jews is not explicitly mentioned, but in the initial sequence of Nazi atrocities it shows the bones of "men, women and children: sent to be exterminated in a German death factory". The film also shows what are alleged to be "objects of art, made from human skin."

The film finishes with a list of different things that are being done to prevent Germany from starting another World War, chief among them the total conquest and control of the German state. Several specific examples include the destruction of Nazi art and literature, the creation of new textbooks to be taught to youth in Germany, a strong Allied military presence in Germany, the destruction of most of German war industry and the remaining industry controlled by the allies, and the removal of high ranking leaders from power. No mention of the Nuremberg trials are given here, as they began November 19, 1945, and instead the film shows a German army officer blindfolded with hands tied and shot at a post.

The film ends with a short cautionary speech, where Anthony Veiller notes that for Germany, "We have rid him of Hitler, and the General staff, and Nazism, and militarism, but we have not rid him of Frederick, and Bismark, and the Kaiser, of his history and his traditions. That he must do for himself. Until he does, he is still a potential enemy of civilization. Only when he does can he take his place in the society of man. Then, and then only, will the German farmer, the German mailman, the German cop be like the folks back home. Then, and then only, can beautiful Germany, industrious Germany, cultured Germany join the peaceful nations of the world."

Military Information Division (United States)

The Military Information Division (MID) was the first military intelligence branch of the United States Army and the United States Department of War, operating from 1885 to 1903.

Military Intelligence Division (United States)

The Military Intelligence Division was the military intelligence branch of the United States Army and United States Department of War from May 1917 (as the Military Intelligence Section, then Military Intelligence Branch in February 1918, then Military Intelligence Division in June 1918) to March 1942. It was preceded by the Military Information Division and the General Staff Second Division and in 1942 was reorganised as the Military Intelligence Service.

Office of the Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines

The Office of the Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government (OMACG) was created in 1935 upon the initiative of President Manuel L. Quezon by the Philippine and American governments for the purposes of developing a system of national defense for the Commonwealth of the Philippines by 1946. OMACG's recommendations were adopted by the Philippine National Assembly in Commonwealth Act Number 1, the National Defense Act of 1935.The Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government was U.S. General Douglas MacArthur, who was assisted by Major Dwight Eisenhower and Major James Ord; along with four officers from the Philippine Department, under Major General Lucius Holbrook (1936-1938) and Major General Grunert (1940-1941), as well as retired Lieutenant Colonel Sidney L. Huff. and Major Fredreich Walter Seefeld ( U.S. Army Retired)OMACG produced a plan calling for a gradual 10-year build up so that the Philippines would have small regular and reserve armies, an air force, and a fleet of torpedo boats (the Offshore Patrol). The tactical organization of this army was based on divisions of ~7,500 troops.

Ordnance, Oregon

Ordnance is a ghost town in Umatilla County, Oregon, United States, southwest of Hermiston on Interstate 84/U.S. Route 30, near the intersection with Interstate 82. In 1941, the United States Department of War commissioned the establishment of Umatilla Ordnance Depot in northern Umatilla County; it was later renamed Umatilla Army Depot and then Umatilla Chemical Depot. The town was named after the depot, and Ordnance post office was established in 1943. By the 1960s, Ordnance was no longer a community.

Our Job in Japan

Our Job in Japan was a United States military training film made in 1945, shortly after World War II. It is the companion to the more famous Your Job In Germany. The film was aimed at American troops about to go to Japan to participate in the 1945–1952 Allied occupation, and presents the problem of turning the militarist state into a peaceful democracy. The film focused on the Japanese military officials who had used the traditional religion of Shinto, as well as the educational system, to take over power, control the populace, and wage aggressive war.

No personal credits are given by the titles for Our Job in Japan. Theodor S. Geisel, better known by his pen name Dr. Seuss, wrote the film, and Elmo Williams edited it. Both men were working as part of a military film production unit headed by Frank Capra.At the time, the film was considered sympathetic to the Japanese, and its distribution was apparently suppressed by Douglas MacArthur in his capacity as the overall commander of the Allied forces occupying Japan. A detailed discussion of the film has been given by John W. Dower in his book, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II.Our Job in Japan was the basis for the longer, commercially released film Design for Death (1947).

Strategic Services Unit

The Strategic Services Unit was an intelligence agency of the United States government that existed in the immediate post–World War II period. It was created from the Secret Intelligence and Counter-Espionage branches of the wartime Office of Strategic Services.

Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy was instrumental in preserving the two branches of the OSS as a going-concern with a view to forming a permanent peace-time intelligence agency. The unit was established on October 1, 1945 through Executive Order 9621, which simultaneously abolished the OSS. The SSU was headed by General John Magruder.In January 1946, a new National Intelligence Authority was established along with a small Central Intelligence Group. On April 2, 1946 the Strategic Services Unit was transferred to the new group as the Office of Special Operations and a transfer of personnel began immediately.

In 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency was established under the 1947 National Security Act, incorporating the Central Intelligence Group. In August 1952, the Office of Special Operations was combined with the Office of Policy Coordination to form the Directorate of Plans.

Thomas Eckert

Thomas Thompson Eckert (23 April 1825 – 20 October 1910) was an officer in the U.S. Army, Chief of the War Department Telegraph Staff from 1862–1866, United States Assistant Secretary of War from 1865–1867 and an executive at Western Union.

Thomas L. McKenney

Thomas Loraine McKenney (21 March 1785 – 19 February 1859) was a United States official who served as Superintendent of Indian Affairs from 1824–1830.

McKenny was born on March 21, 1785, in Hopewell, Maryland. He was the oldest of five boys, and was raised and received his education at Chestertown, Maryland. McKenney was a Quaker, which influenced his approach to interactions with Native Americans.After the abolition of the U.S. Indian Trade program in 1822, then Secretary of War John C. Calhoun created a position without legislation within the War Department entitled Superintendent of Indian Affairs (this later became part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs). McKenney was appointed to this position, and held it from 1824-1830. McKenney was an advocate of the American Indian “civilization” program, becoming an avid promoter of Indian removal west of the Mississippi River. President Andrew Jackson dismissed McKenney from his position in 1830 when Jackson disagreed with his opinion that “the Indian was, in his intellectual and moral structure, our equal.”

McKenney died in New York City in February 1859.

Training Within Industry

The Training Within Industry (TWI) service was created by the United States Department of War, running from 1940 to 1945 within the War Manpower Commission. The purpose was to provide consulting services to war-related industries whose personnel were being conscripted into the US Army at the same time the War Department was issuing orders for additional matériel. It was apparent that the shortage of trained and skilled personnel at precisely the time they were needed most would impose a hardship on those industries, and that only improved methods of job training would address the shortfall. By the end of World War II, over 1.6 million workers in over 16,500 plants had received a certification. The program continued post-war in Europe and Asia, where it aided reconstruction. It is most notable in the business world for inspiring the concept of kaizen in Japan.

United States Secretary of War

The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War", had been appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation between 1781 and 1789. Benjamin Lincoln and later Henry Knox held the position. When Washington was inaugurated as the first president under the Constitution, he appointed Knox to continue serving as Secretary of War.

The Secretary of War was the head of the War Department. At first, he was responsible for all military affairs, including naval affairs. In 1798, the Secretary of the Navy was created by statute, and the scope of responsibility for this office was reduced to the affairs of the United States Army. From 1886 onward, the Secretary of War was in the line of succession to the presidency, after the Vice President of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President pro tem of the Senate and the Secretary of State.

In 1947, with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947, the Secretary of War was replaced by the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Air Force, which, along with the Secretary of the Navy, have since 1949 been non-Cabinet subordinates under the Secretary of Defense. The Secretary of the Army's office is generally considered the direct successor to the Secretary of War's office although the Secretary of Defense took the Secretary of War's position in the Cabinet, and the line of succession to the presidency.

United States Under Secretary of War

The Under Secretary of War was a position created by an act of 16 December 1940 (54 Stat. 1224). At the same time, section 5a of the National Defense Act (1920) was amended to allow the United States Secretary of War to assign his responsibilities for procurement to any of his subordinates. The statute formerly assigned these responsibilities to the United States Assistant Secretary of War. The Assistant Secretary of War, Robert P. Patterson was nominated and confirmed in the post. The Secretary of War delegated his responsibilities for procurement to the Under Secretary on 28 April 1941. By November 1941 the Office of the Under Secretary of War (OUSW) employed 1,136 people, of whom 257 were military officers and the remainder civilians.

White House Communications Agency

The White House Communications Agency (WHCA), originally known as the White House Signal Corps (WHSC) and then the White House Signal Detachment (WHSD), was officially formed by the United States Department of War on 25 March 1942 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The organization was created to provide secure normal, secret, and emergency communications requirements in support of the President. The organization provided mobile radio, Teletype, telegraph, telephone and cryptographic aides in the White House and at "Shangri-La" (now known as Camp David). The organizational mission was to provide a premier communication system that would enable the President to lead the nation effectively.

Your Job in Germany

Your Job In Germany is a short film made for the United States War Department in 1945 just before Victory in Europe Day (VE). It was shown to US soldiers about to go on occupation duty in Germany. The film was made by the military film unit commanded by Frank Capra and was written by Theodor Geisel, better known by his pen name Dr. Seuss.

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