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For a short while only can morale be stimulated by the dope of a false propaganda. Then like a drug, the more the victim swallows, the more has to be prescribed. Finally, it ceases to work at all. In war there is no substitute for military victory. Combat is not magic; wishful thinking is. Therefore it becomes the soldier to look at war through the eyes of a soldier and not through those of the magician.
If battles could be won by large type and overstatement, there would soon be no soldiers left in the world. The injunction of the Apostle Paul: "Let all things be done decently and in order," is a counsel of strength through moderation which is not to be lost on those who are shaping the thinking of military personnel.
The retort courteous of the 1918 Army: "Altogether boys! some etc." is the inevitable response of the American soldier to boastfulness, windiness, and empty talk. The essence of success in a doctrine which is based upon truth is to be found in emphasis upon the fundamental justice of the national cause and a proper reckoning of the odds in the present struggle. Our case will not be helped by lies or distortions.
The war aim of the Armed Forces of the United States is the total defeat of the Axis Powers. It was agreed at the Casablanca conference that there would be no terms to the Axis short of unconditional surrender. Thus, in shaping the attitude of the Armed Forces, there is no room for discussion of anything short of total military victory over the enemy. Short of this goal "peace feelers" do not interest us.
The force of the arms of the United States is being directed toward putting an end to the rule of gangsterism in international affairs, and equally toward the reestablishing of order in the world society and the restoration of law as the rule of action in the intercourse of nations. We fight to preserve for our own people and for people throughout the world the chance to learn or to continue learning how to govern themselves and how to live with one another.
Toward that end, it is of supreme importance not only that the Armed Forces of the United States be kept mindful of the war aims of Nation, but that they be counseled to such fullness of understanding of the world in which they live and self-discipline of spirit on behalf of their country, that they will be able and zealous to discharge their dual responsibility as citizen-soldiers in the immediate post-war period.
The men and women of the United States Army should know better than any, or instruction should inform them, that the only possible justification for war is the fashioning of a less imperfect peace; also that military victories are indeed meaningless if the peace arrangements built upon them satisfy the victor less than the arrangements that led up to the war. Such arrangements must eventuate in an organization of both local and world society which seeks to be constructire rather than destructive, for such is the definition of peace.
The attainment of such an organization is one-half of the mission of the United States Army. The military half of its mission is discharged with arms; the responsibilities of the peace are to be met in terms of foresightful citizenship which include frank recognition of the nature of military power in the modern world and what that power implies for the future peace and welfare of the United States and of the world. In point are the words of the Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall: “I think we have got to compress theories with realities. We will have to bear in mind the inevitable human reactions of the post-war aversion to military matters and of the taxpayers' passion to reduce military expenditures. We will have to take the nations of the world as they are, the prejudices and passions of the people as they exist, and, with those considerations, develop a method so that we can have a free America in a peaceful world.” We must not only build our security but keep it secure.
The Armed Forces and the Nation
The men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States are citizens of a democracy. They, like the government, are the servants of the people. Were they to become its masters, democracy would perish. In time, the majority will be returned to civil life and will have the same privileges and duties as other citizens. They will exert political force according to the validity and vigor of their political ideas. They should not expect to do more than that. Hence irresponsible talk about the political implications of the growing strength of the Armed Forces, epitomized in such phrases as “this Army will return some day and run the country,” is only for those who have not yet taken an accurate measure of their wartime responsibility. It is not a proper subject for those who are conditioning the thinking of military personnel. The Army is serving the people; not expecting to dominate them.
Change and Understanding
Not only the best trained, best equipped, but also the best informed Army in the world: this expressed aim makes plain the mission of these responsible for informing the soldier of the United States. This definition makes clear the military alliance between training, supply, and
information for the soldier. Information at all levels is an indispensable item in his mental equipment. The task of orienting him to the realities of the world he lives in comprises two broad areas: First, the war, its causes, issues, and progress; second, organized life as it changes under the vast pressures of war's energy.
In a certain sense, the soldier at war freezes in his mind the civil world of home which he left to join the Army. All during his service, it is that fixed image of home which he remembers and looks forward to on his discharge. But something he does not consciously count on is happening at home—the heavy demands of the war on the civilian front are changing many of the faces and conditions of life there. These changes come to seem natural to those at home whom they currently affect. Without his preparation for them, they will seem abrupt and bewildering to the returned soldier. Army information services should be alive to the evolutions and new ways on the home front, and share them with the armed forces.
The time calls for the United States soldier to think positively on these subjects rather than to take a negative attitude. To help him do so is to emphasize the nature of the world in which we live, with its changes in ways of war, new inventions and technologies, the shrinkage of distances, all of which bring closer than ever before the nature of opposing ideologies. Democracy--the source of our convictionfaces competing ideas at close quarters in this new world. To understand his own national faith in relation to competing ideas is the United States soldier's right, and more, his duty. For the very future for which he fights cannot come into being unless he will be well enough informed as a citizen to carry out that which he fought for as a soldier.
Equality of Arms and Services
The equal importance of all arms and services in the victory formula is to be understood and respected at all times as a working principle by information service personnel, not as a matter of adherence to a military doctrine but because it is common sense and consistent with a true understanding of war. The maintenance of this principle need not entail any sacrifice of the esprit which comes of a soldier's pride in his own service. But to inspire any arm generally with a contempt for any other arm, while it may give a temporary lift to morale, will assuredly lead to a relaxation of those precautions which alone can guard it from surprise by the enemy.
Offensive and Defensive
While it is necessary to inspire troops with an eagerness for action and a desire to carry the war against the enemy, a well-rounded con
cept of the nature of war begins with the understanding that the offensive and defensive are equal halves of the whole plan, that final success comes from the balancing of arms around these two central ideas, in their reciprocal relationship, and that troops acting on the defensive are not therefore to be considered in an inferior position to those engaged in offensive action. Today's defensive may be the offensive of tomorrow.
Only a small part of war involves actual fighting. But the larger part is ill-conceived of as a mere period of waiting for the moment of combat to arrive. Stages of training and preparation are anything but passive periods in the over-all fight. Certain troops, because of the essential limitations of their mission, may seldom or never come into actual fighting contact with the enemy. They should not be allowed to think less of themselves for that; nor should battle troops be allowed to think less of them. Within the organization of a battling army there is no unimportant job and no room for fixed degrees of job importance. “For the want of a nail a shoe was lost Let all troops be kindled with an understanding of each outfit's indispensable place in the military scheme of things. At all stages and in all situations it is a function of information services to help vitalize the soldier with a strong consciousness of his personal responsibility in relation to the nature and importance of the mission of his particular branch or outfit.
Conduct of the War
It is neither the privilege nor the duty of any personnel connected with Army information services to dispute current military policy and strategy, or to advise superior commanders about military operations, or to cavil about the manner in which troops are being employed, or to express disagreement with what is being done by the military or the political leadership either of the United States or of the United Nations. Information--not criticism.
Past Military Policy
The Armed Forces of the United States are to be considered receptive to discussion of the elements of background in our national military policy. The presentation of such material should be at all times reasonable, dispassionate, and conditioned by an awareness that the major weaknesses in our past military policy had their origins in our historical and traditional belief in our own ocean-guarded immunity from attack. The soldier is not expected to deny or ignore
the political and economic implications of isolationism, but the soundest manner of presenting the question to him is to point out that because of American indifference to military problems and to the national defense situation, what should have been a technical problem was permitted to become a political issue. Matters of fact are not to be confused with matters of opinion. The national defense must be considered a subject of commanding importance to men and women of the Army and the providing of information which will stimulate active interest in the problem is to be desired at all times. The truth about the past carries over into the present.
All warfare is retaliation, all acts of war are reprisals, and everything appertaining to the enemy is a military objective. Consequently, such expressions as “reprisal raids” or “retaliatory measures" may be all right for civilians but they are not for soldiers. The "eye-for-aneye” principle is old testament doctrine. In war's new testament, if your enemy shoots your toe, you shoot his head.
Confidence in his weapons being one of the chief supports of the fighting man, nothing will be said by information services to shatter or disturb that confidence.
The Home Front
1. The Armed Forces of the United States are entitled to an objective, impartial, and editorially accurate presentation of news developments along the home front. The purpose of such presentations is to inform and not to incite.
2. Information of such character that it is likely to add to the discontent or homesickness or sense of frustration of troops is to be handled with the extreme of discretion, it being kept in mind that among the primary purposes of information service to the armed forces are the strengthening of discipline and the - upbuilding of morale, and that these purposes are thwarted where ire and resentment are directed against social and political forces within the interior. Make soldiers, not malcontents.
3. Information within a nation which is benefited by a free press is not edited as if there were constant danger that the citizen would become chagrined and rebellious at the discovery that his country is not