Seventy-five years later, Operation Overlord, better known as D-Day, is part of the American story, but at the time, the when and the where were hardly inevitable. This was a far more involved process for the U.S. than many realize and William Leahy was at the heart of this debate. This meant that in overall terms the United States, under Leahy’s watchful eye, fought a war almost evenly balanced between Europe and the Pacific but weighed slightly more toward the latter. Born and raised in Boston, he graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut before working on Wall Street for two years. WorldCat record id: 727776088. “Bill,” he said, “if we have a war, you’re going to be right back here helping me to run it.” Leahy was then sixty-four. Furthermore, the two men could relax together over a meal, a cocktail or a cigarette, a bond that FDR, under enormous stress and facing failing health, particularly valued. Both Churchill and Stalin eventually understood how much Leahy was valued by Roosevelt and by the end of the war treated him with great respect. In this conversation O’Brien sheds light on Admiral Bill Leahy’s momentous contributions to U.S. strategy and foreign policy in the critical years during and following World War II, as well as his personal style of discreetly exercising influence as “the second most powerful man in the world.”. Churchill preferred fighting the Germans up through Italy or in the Balkans, as he put it, in the “soft-underbelly” of Europe. If Leahy disagreed he would rarely say so outright, but instead, in a friendly manner, start asking questions of the plan being proposed and in doing so hopefully highlight its weaknesses. This sort of comment might be regarded as typical Rooseveltian insincere stroking but in this instance FDR meant what he said. Sen. Patrick Leahy says "literally half of the Senate" — his Republican colleagues — "had to break their word, contradicting every argument they made four years ago about the American people needing a voice during election year vacancies" https://t.co/uScvfX9o80 pic.twitter.com/qn719XfcZX — CBS News (@CBSNews) October 12, 2020 At the end of World War II the United States dominated world politics. He had the ability to read people and situations and adjust his own responses in such a way to appeal to those with whom he interacted—without revealing his true opinions. The Soviet dictator had no time for indirect approaches through the Mediterranean. How would you describe Admiral Leahy’s personal style of leadership and management? He wanted an invasion of France as soon as possible so as to engage as many units of the German Army as possible, thereby taking the pressure off his own beleaguered troops fighting at the edges of Eastern Europe. "The life of Franklin Roosevelt's most trusted and powerful advisor, Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief"-- (National Archives and Records Administration), At a luncheon meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, circa 1943. or On the mantelpiece was an order Leahy signed in the White House in August 1945 to General of the Army George C. Marshall, the service chief of staff, and Fleet Admiral … Leahy's influence declined precipitously upon the death of FDR but then quickly revived as Truman found that he, too, needed the (now) five-star admiral's sage advice. He also wanted the U.S. to support democratic movements around the world—in a mostly non-militarized way. He started discussing such a role with Leahy in the spring of 1939, and the two men honed the specifics of the role during the coming years. This points out the big difference between what Leahy believed and how he has been portrayed. Discussions over whether the U.S. should have invaded France in 1943 or 1944, or whether it should fight a Germany-First war are perhaps the most famous examples of this. Dmitry Filipoff is CIMSEC’s Director of Online Content. To this day the class is the only one to have five members reach 4-star rank while on active duty (and one to reach 5-star). It was during this debate that the importance of Leahy’s relationship with Roosevelt was fully felt. It had half the world’s economic product and its most advanced armed forces. Above: NAZI GERMANY & ITS ALLIED/ OCCUPIED TERRITORIES IN 1945. Vernon, Iowa, a speck of a town more than 4,000 miles from Hitler’s Fortress Europe. Report. Admiral Leahy confers with Puerto Rican officials about new post as Governor. California Do Not Sell My Info When it came to the war against Germany, Leahy’s vision was the one the United States followed more than any other chief’s. Enter your email address to join CIMSEC as a "Subscription-Only" Member and receive notifications of new posts by email. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. Leahy cared about the control of communications, dominating the seas, and wearing down the enemy with sea and air power. Washington, D.C., June 14. CIMSEC had the opportunity to discuss with Phillips Payson O’Brien his latest book, The Second Most Powerful Man in the World: The Life of Admiral William D. Leahy, Roosevelt’s Chief of Staff. The victory secured the Great Lakes region for the United States and ended the threat of invasion from that quarter. Convention Speeches (68) Debates (171) Party Platforms (100) Transition Documents (419) Miscellaneous (456) Opposition Party Responses (30) Post Presidential Remarks (9) Congressional (32) Franklin D. Roosevelt. Most significantly, Truman himself had read it. He certainly wanted the United States to toughen up its policy vis-a-vis the Soviet Union after the end of World War II, and did not believe the wartime alliance was going to continue. Truman almost immediately after becoming president asked Leahy for briefings on relations with the Soviet Union. For the two years before FDR died, Leahy was the most influential policymaker in the White House, as Harry Hopkins (who was more influential in 1942 when Leahy became chief of staff) saw his influence decline. Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy stood at the crossroads of power during and after World War II, but few people know who he was, or what he did. When Admiral William Leahy retired as Chief of Naval Operations in August 1939, President Roosevelt personally awarded him the Distinguished Service Medal. "The life of Franklin Roosevelt's most trusted and powerful advisor, Admiral William D. Leahy [1875-1959], Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief. He did not want to try an invasion in 1943, which Marshall supported, because Leahy believed it was an unnecessary risk which could result in high U.S. casualties (and he also believed it would deprive the war against Japan of needed equipment). Advertising Notice From 1942-1949, he was Chief of Staff to Presidents F.D. “We have met the enemy and they are ours…” Oliver Hazard Perry's immortal dispatch to Major General William Henry Harrison after the Battle of Lake Erie, 10 September 1813, "We have met the enemy and they are ours-- two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop." William D. Leahy, Fleet Admiral and CNO, 1937-1939, was an 1897 graduate of the U.S. The best way to defeat the Germans, Marshall insisted, was to invade France as soon as possible. Privacy Statement He first made him governor of Puerto Rico, so that Leahy could help build up naval bases in the Caribbean. After brilliantly leading American forces to victory in World War II, Fleet Admiral Nimitz, the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas, hauled down his flag at Pearl Harbor and relieved Fleet Admiral King as Chief of Naval Operations. That plan, however, soon clashed headlong with the need to keep skilled personnel working in the economy to produce war material. Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was now president, highly valued Leahy's diplomatic skills and he now appointed him governor of Puerto Rico. Contact him at Content@cimsec.org. Every morning in the White House, the admiral met privately with the president for a full briefing of the state of the war. Captain 'Spiv' Leahy, who has died aged 94, was one of the outstanding aviators of his age. In December 1944 Leahy was promoted to the five star rank of fleet admiral. A sideshow in southern Europe held no interest for them. Wallace had no idea that Leahy was working to undermine his position when he was Secretary of Commerce under Truman. In 1943 and 1944 the U.S. fought two different wars. 32nd President of the United States: 1933 ‐ 1945. Following the death of his close friend President Roosevelt and the end of WWII, Admiral Leahy continued to be highly influential in the Truman administration and played a major role in many critical postwar questions. There, at a small liberal arts college, Admiral William D. Leahy, the highest-ranking member of the American military, was set to give a commencement speech before an assemblage of reporters. A Leahy-like policy of greater restraint and less cost could be the natural choice for the U.S. Phillips Payson O’Brien is a professor of Strategic Studies at the University of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland. However, once this was ruled out, Leahy enthusiastically supported D-Day in 1944, and helped force the British to accept this position at the grand strategic conferences in Washington, Quebec, Cairo, and Tehran which were held in 1943. At the end of the conferences there was no way out—it was a crushing defeat for Churchill, one that hit him so hard that he suffered a nervous breakdown shortly thereafter and went incommunicado from the British government for a few weeks in an attempt to recover. A crisis ensued and hard choices needed to be made in the second half of 1942 about what would be built, and even more controversially, what would have to be cut. Admiral Leahy frequently interacted with many well-known individuals of the WWII era, including those known for their strong personalities such as Admiral Ernest King, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and others. “The following week on Sept. 12 th, Knutson accused the President of sending a plane to pick up Fala. There, at a small liberal arts college, Admiral William D. Leahy, the highest-ranking member of the American military, was set to give a commencement speech before an assemblage of reporters. Cookie Policy Burnhaven (Burnsville) 952-891-0300; Farmington (Farmington) 651-438-0250; Galaxie (Apple Valley) 952-891-7045; Heritage (Lakeville) 952-891-0360; Inver Glen (Inver Grove Heights) 651-554-6840; Pleasant Hill (Hastings) 651-438-0200; Robert Trail (Rosemount) 651-480-1200 Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Admiral William D. Leahy, who is scheduled to be the next governor of Puerto Rico met today at his office with a group of Puerto Rican political leaders to discuss his new post. Phillips Payson O'Brien is the author of The Second Most Powerful Man in the World: The Life of Admiral William D. Leahy, Roosevelt’s Chief of Staff, and professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland. 56 White House counsel Clark Clifford also read the speech and was “deeply impressed by [its] sweep and sense of history.” 57 Most significantly, Truman himself had read it. However, his heart was not in it. Naval Academy. Leahy was the only man in the auditorium who knew this cataclysm was coming. Faced with such obstinacy, Churchill had to give in. The Navy, on the other hand, sent at least 90 percent of its strength (including one of the largest air forces in the world) to fight Japan. No need to register, buy now! Leahy was the most important person in the government, except for Roosevelt, in determining these priorities. His directness was a God-send to Leahy and Roosevelt, who took advantage of it throughout the talks. In the case of Roosevelt, this was special. Library Web Page. He was not apologetic about American power or influence, he just did not believe that much could actually be accomplished by interventions in other countries. In our focus on the where and when, however, what is almost always overlooked is the what. What was his influence on wartime grand strategy and the conduct of WWII? Leahy took over as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs holding very different strategic priorities from the Chief of Staff of the Army, George Marshall. Maybe Leahy’s greatest role in this regard was how he shaped Truman’s most important speech on Soviet relations, his Navy Day address of late 1945 and, even more surprisingly, Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech of 1946. Also present are USSR Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov (far left); Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham, R.N., and Air Chief Marshall Sir Charles Portal, R.A.F. I have seen all of these abominations in other parts of the world paid as the price of not resisting invasion, and I have no thought that the inhabitants of this state of my birth have any desire for peace at that price…”. Smithsonian Institution, (Time Life Pictures / US Army Signal Corps /The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images), (© Museum of Flight / CORBIS / Corbis via Getty Images). Correspondence, diaries, writings, notes, scrapbooks, photographs, and other papers relating to Leahy's naval and diplomatic career. Discussions over whether the U.S. should have invaded France in 1943 or 1944, or whether it should fight a Germany-First war are perhaps the most famous examples of this. Kaltenborn news analysis: H.V. Though not the most deeply intellectual, Leahy had a way of getting a job done that was invaluable. Title: Admiral Leahy confers with Puerto Rican officials about new post as Governor. When Churchill heard the Navy Day address, he decided to press ahead with an address of his own, which became known as the Iron Curtain speech. He wanted to wait until 1944, when he believed that the U.S. would have such an overwhelming advantage on the sea and in the air that any invasion could get ashore and stay ashore without too many casualties. Though it is still the world’s leading power today, it is no longer as dominant as it was then. The establishment of a strong working relationship with Truman allowed Leahy to keep influence in a few areas—most importantly relations with the Soviet Union. (Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives), Dmitry Filipoff is CIMSEC’s Director of Online Content. Leahy was Roosevelt’s confidant and sounding board for decisions great and small, from the allocation of forces to the prioritizing of military production. Leahy was the only chief who supported the invasion of North Africa in 1942, better known as the Torch Landings. Commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy in 1899, Leahy advanced to the rank of admiral and the post of Chief of Naval Operations, 1937-1939. On the other hand, someone like the left-wing Wallace, about whom Leahy was intensely skeptical, seemed to think that the admiral was a friend or at least thought well of him when that was certainly not the case. The Kyushu operation, in effect, contemplated the taking of another island from which to bring increased air power against Japan. There, at a small liberal arts college, Admiral William D. Leahy, the highest-ranking member of the American military, was set to give a commencement speech before an assemblage of reporters. Great Britain, on the other hand, believed the Allies should have a Germany-first policy. Secretary of State Byrnes and Chief of Staff Admiral Leahy both read the speech and provided their input, and both overwhelmingly approved it. In the case of Leahy, he came across someone who was happy not to be in the limelight, but motivated to serve his interests first and foremost. After meeting him, Truman decided he wanted to keep Leahy on as his chief of staff, and by 1946 they were even on the road to becoming friends. Given the ideological challenge to the Affordable Care Act and the extensive, supportive precedent, it would be extraordinary for the Supreme Court not to defer to Congress in this matter that … Formerly at the University of Glasgow, he moved to St Andrews in 2016. Whenever the British acted like they might once again oppose the invasion, either the president or the admiral would say that they needed to launch D-Day because they had promised the Russians. Naval Academy in May 1893 from the Ninth Congressional District of Wisconsin. As a Navy man—and more importantly, as the first chairman of the newly-formed Joint Chiefs of Staff—Leahy had a different opinion. There, at a small liberal arts college, Admiral William D. Leahy, the highest-ranking member of the American military, was set to give a commencement speech before an assemblage of reporters. Roosevelt and Harry S Truman. 0:29 [PDF] The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King--The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea. When you combine this with his lack of interest in personal publicity, it was a powerful cocktail and made him stand out in a Washington DC populated by people who were always on the lookout for personal glory. Marshall, on the other hand, was stiff and unfriendly with the president—he famously glared at Roosevelt when the president casually called him “George.” As a result, the two hardly ever met alone. In late 1942, Marshall believed that an invasion should occur in 1943—he was partial towards a landing in Brittany—and that the United States should send almost all its available men and equipment to Great Britain to prepare for such an attack. To allow this to happen, Roosevelt kept Leahy employed. The Soviets were expanding their boundaries of operations in the oceans, including sailing into the Gulf of Mexico. (Cryppie): Mike Lambert, The Conservative Wahoo (Defense): Bryan McGrath, The Navy's Grade 36 Bureaucrat (Admin and Bureacuracy), Vietnam’s Struggles in the South China Sea: Challenges and Opportunities, Revamping Wargaming Education for the U.S. Department of Defense. After the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt Leahy continued as chief of staff under Harry S. Truman. A close advisor to both presidents, he thought a Japanese surrender could be arranged without use of the atomic bomb and without an invasion of the Japanese mainland. Fleet Admiral William Daniel Leahy (May 6, 1875 – July 20, 1959) was an American naval officer who served as the senior-most United States military officer on active duty during World War II.He held multiple titles and was at the center of all the major military decisions the United States made in World War II. From September 1939 to November 1940, Leahy served as Governor of Puerto Rico after Roosevelt removed Blanton Winship over his role in the Ponce massacre. Admiral William D. Leahy, who is scheduled to be the next governor of Puerto Rico met today at his office with a group of Puerto Rican political leaders to discuss his new post. However by this time Roosevelt had made the decision that if a war did break out in the near future he would want to bring Leahy back to help him run it. From the description of Memorandum, January 7, 1937. The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King--The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea (English Edition) eBook: Borneman, Walter R.: Amazon.de: Kindle-Shop (NOTE: Leahy was a staunch (and successful) defender of the U.S. Navy's war efforts in the Pacific, ensuring 90 percent of the Navy's assets were directed toward the war against Japan. Leahy, like Dwight D. Eisenhower, was unable to persuade Truman against dropping the atom bomb on … Not only would this preserve British troop reserves, in his view, it would also open up the Mediterranean, restoring the quickest lifeline to India, the jewel of the crown in the British Empire and a colony that Churchill, for one, was desperate to hold onto. In this, Leahy walked arm-in-arm with Chief of Naval Operations Ernest King. Leahy is little remembered. Both of these positions were a sign of the special trust the president had in the admiral. Browse more videos. Understanding Leahy’s strong support for Torch helps explain why Roosevelt backed the operation over the strong opposition of Marshall and King almost immediately after Leahy became Chief of Staff. The admiral suffered from congestive heart failure and severe gastro-intestinal problems which caused him to lose weight. Leahy was worried that if the Japanese were allowed to entrench themselves in their Pacific empire while the U.S. threw everything into the war against Germany, that it would have devastating consequences. Admiral Watkins served as Chief of Naval Operations as the relationship between the United States and the Soviets began to deteriorate toward the end of the Cold War. Speaking with a bluntness that impressed Leahy, Stalin disparaged any plan of Churchill’s that did not make D-Day the focus of Anglo-American operations in 1944. War Admiral. His father Michael Arthur Leahy (1838–1921) was a successful lawyer and Civil War veteran, and William had wanted to attend West Point and follow in his father's footsteps. Appointment of Admiral Leahy as Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief. President Roosevelt in conference with General Douglas MacArthur, Admiral Chester Nimitz, and Admiral William D. Leahy while on tour in Hawaiian Islands in 1944. “Part of this any price is slavery, dishonor of your women, destruction of your homes, denial of your God. Until the end of his time in office he did his best to keep the United States from becoming an interventionist power in the Middle East. Indeed, it was the very reason he was in Iowa in the first place. Not long after Pearl Harbor was attacked, President Roosevelt approved an arms construction plan of enormous depth and breadth which was nicknamed the Victory Program. 56 White House counsel Clark Clifford also read the speech and was “deeply impressed by [its] sweep and sense of history. Aside from FDR, no American did more to shape World War II than Admiral William D. Leahy--not Douglas MacArthur, not Dwight Eisenhower, and not even the legendary George Marshall. Find the perfect nimitz macarthur stock photo. Leahy was thus strongly opposed to committing the vast majority of American forces on a very risky 1943 invasion of France. Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. During World War II, he was Chief of Staff to the President of the United States and presided over the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Leahy accompanied Roosevelt to Tehran for a talk with Churchill and the Soviet Union’s leader, Joseph Stalin. Leahy once addressed graduating midshipmen, “all have to a greater or lesser degree something else that is intangible…a combination of loyalty to ideals, tradition, courage, devotion, clean living, and clear thinking…it reaches far beyond the corps and comradeship.” Two decades later, Roosevelt was in the White House, and Leahy had risen to the top position in the Navy. From 1942-1949, he was Chief of Staff to Presidents F.D. One might describe Leahy’s stance on foreign policy as robust non-interventionism. However, he attended the United States Naval Academy, graduating 14th in his class of 47 in 1897. In fact, the Allied high command had bickered over it for more than two years. It seems from the moment that Leahy met Roosevelt in 1913 he found a way to appeal to the young politician, to behave in such a way that earned Roosevelt’s trust. In the event, the speech was completed on board the train and shown to Truman, Byrnes and Admiral Leahy. Winston Churchill remarked that the “Japanese homeland was in chaos and on the verge of collapse.” Admiral Leahy described the bomb as a “barbarous weapon” and said that the Japanese knew they were completely defeated due to an effective blockade. He recounts many personal encounters with Marshal Petain of Vichy France and describes the other prominent personalities and conflicts there. Huge collection, amazing choice, 100+ million high quality, affordable RF and RM images. Hepburn, Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Naval Operations, Rep. Carl Vinson, Chairman of the House Naval LCCN2016874896.tif 10,132 × 8,103; 156.61 MB Birthday-Ball-Lucille-Ball-Leahy-Life-1944.jpg 680 × 710; 302 KB Roosevelt and Harry S Truman. William Daniel Leahy, (born May 6, 1875, Hampton, Iowa, U.S.—died July 20, 1959, Bethesda, Maryland), American naval officer who served as personal chief of staff to President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II.. Leahy graduated from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, in 1897 and was assigned as midshipman to the battleship Oregon. The following day the Democratic House Majority Leader John McCormack denied the reports and quoted Admiral Leahy as saying “the story about Fala, the president’s dog, is made out of whole cloth. Born in Hampton, Iowa, where his father, Michael Leahy … Keep up-to-date on: © 2020 Smithsonian Magazine. When news of the landing broke the next morning, June 6, 1944, Leahy’s mission at hand was complete—America’s top military man was seen out on a photo op in an Iowa corn field, distracting attention away from the invasion. WorldCat record id: 741354726. His lifelong friend and fellow Admiral Thomas Hart claimed that Leahy was a “born diplomat” who “always gets on with others.” In social situations Hart claimed that Leahy could be as “comfortable as an old shoe.”. Beyond the close personal relationship between Leahy and Roosevelt, the admiral had a number of key skills. Senator George W. Norris, Senator Joseph C. O'Mahoney, Admiral William D. Leahy, and Judge Girard at a formal dinner. Leahy is little remembered. He disagreed strongly with Truman over the U.S. decision to recognize Israel for instance, which he believed would lead to decades-long religious war in the region—a war that would eventually drag in the U.S. (Naval History and Heritage Command), Usually strategy in WWII is seen as some great debate over where and when military force should be used. Maybe Leahy’s greatest role in this regard was how he shaped Truman’s most important speech on Soviet relations, his Navy Day address of late 1945 and, even more surprisingly, Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech of 1946. Trusting individual the victory secured the great Lakes region for the first chairman of newly-formed! 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