Forrestal, James, 1892-1949

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Secretary of the Navy.

From the description of Papers, 1934-1951. (Navy Department Library, Naval History & Heritage Command). WorldCat record id: 50447510

Ehm was a lieutenant in the Naval Reserve during World War II.

From the description of Letter, February 7, 1947. (Naval War College). WorldCat record id: 704566262

James V. Forrestal (1892-1949) was a Wall Street businessman who played an important role in U.S. military operations during and immediately after World War II. From 1940 to 1949 Forrestal served as, in order, assistant to President Roosevelt, Under Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Navy, and the first Secretary of Defense.

He was instrumental in the buildup of the Navy during World War II and an important figure in the development of the unified National Military Establishment (NME) following the war.

From the description of James V. Forrestal papers, 1907-1958 (bulk 1940-1949) (Princeton University Library). WorldCat record id: 424637160

James V. Forrestal (1892-1949) was a Wall Street businessman who played an important role in U.S. military operations during and immediately after World War II. From 1940 to 1949 Forrestal served as, in order, assistant to President Roosevelt, Under Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Navy, and the first Secretary of Defense. He was instrumental in the buildup of the Navy during World War II and an important figure in the development of the unified National Military Establishment (NME) following the war.

Forrestal began his career on Wall Street in 1916 as a bond salesman for William A. Read and Company (later Dillon, Read and Company), a banking firm that was rising in importance at that time. Except for serving in the Navy from 1917 to 1919, Forrestal remained at William A. Read and Company until 1940. Because of his success as a bonds salesman, he was made a partner in the firm in 1923 and became the "right-hand man" of the head of the firm, Clarence Dillon. Forrestal became vice-president in 1926 and company president in 1937.

Forrestal left Wall Street in June 1940 to take a position as assistant to President Roosevelt, serving as his liaison for handling the national defense program. Soon after, in August, Roosevelt appointed Forrestal to the new post of Under Secretary of the Navy under Secretary Frank Knox. The new position was designed to handle contracts, tax and legal affairs, and to serve as liaison with other government agencies. Congress had just passed the Two-Ocean Navy Act, and it fell to Forrestal to implement the expansion of the Navy it required. Under Forrestal's leadership, the procurement and production program facilitated the rapid construction of navy ships and equipment, which reached record production levels, and the Navy grew from 158,000 to 3.6 million individuals. He also established public relations offices to promote national recognition of the Navy's role in the war and worked with War Secretary Robert Patterson to solve problems of raw material supplies through a plan designed by Ferdinand Eberstadt, a close advisor to Forrestal throughout his military career.

After the death of Frank Knox in May 1944, Forrestal was appointed Secretary of the Navy, having already established his reputation as a highly capable administrator. Favoring a business-like approach, Forrestal instituted a reduction of ceremony and utilized business methods to manage the Navy and encourage production. To this end, he visited the plants to inform workers about the progress of the war and the needs of the Navy and formed the Navy Industrial Association to bring together Navy personnel and significant civilian suppliers. To better understand the needs of the Navy, Forrestal travelled to Europe twice and three times to the Pacific and undertook a study of military logistics and strategy through extensive reading. As Secretary, he oversaw the Navy in the last year of the war and the following two years of demobilization.

After the end of World War II in 1945, Forrestal argued against demobilizing too rapidly. Instead, he advocated a program of universal military training and cautioned that the nation's military strength must be maintained to enforce a lasting peace. He was, however, initially a staunch opponent of President Truman's plan to unify the Army and the Navy into a single department of national defense. Forrestal argued that the department would be too large for its head to have any meaningful understanding of it, forcing him to rely too heavily on his military advisors. He was also concerned that unification would shift the primary method of defense from naval aircraft carriers to air force bombers with atomic weapons which he felt would weaken American's military position. When President Truman continued to support unification, Forrestal enlisted Ferdinand Eberstadt to develop a compromise plan. Eberstadt's plan, which formed the basis for the National Security Act of 1947, established a single military department called the National Military Establishment (NME). The NME, led by the Secretary of Defense, combined the departments of War and the Navy and established the Department of the Air Force. However, the plan retained some of the original structure of the U.S. military by making the heads of each department somewhat independent, coordinated by the Secretary of Defense but not directly subordinate to him. The Act also established the National Security Council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Central Intelligence Agency.

In September 1947, Forrestal was appointed the first Secretary of Defense. In this position, he was responsible for coordinating the activities of the U.S. military and developing national defense policy. As the first secretary, it was Forrestal's formidable task to enact the unification of the departments required by the National Security Act, coordinating the activities of the previously-independent Army (War) and Navy and overseeing the formation of the new Department of the Air Force. One of his chief obstacles proved to be the structure of the NME itself, which provided the Secretary of Defense with too little authority over the heads of the military departments. Another significant challenge was obtaining a sufficient budget for the department at a time when President Truman demanded a reduction in military spending. The limited funds exacerbated the competition between the military branches over resources. The challenges were further increased by the escalating tensions of the Cold War during Forrestal's tenure.

Despite the difficulties, Forrestal identified several important accomplishments in his first report as Secretary of Defense in December 1948, among them the development of short- and long-range strategic plans, an integrated NME budget, the definition of roles within the NME, the coordination of service procurement efforts, and the establishment of overseas unified commands. He also identified several factors that would facilitate further progress, including the significant strengthening of the Secretary of Defense's authority as well as changes to other structural elements of the NME. Many of his recommendations were part of the 1949 amendments to the National Security Act voted into law in August 1949, although by that time Forrestal had already left his post. Forrestal resigned as Secretary of Defense on March 28, 1949 and was succeeded by Louis Johnson, previously Assistant Secretary of War.

James Vincent Forrestal was born on February 15, 1892 in Beacon, New York to James and Mary A. (Toohey) Forrestal. He began his college education at Dartmouth College in 1911 and transferred to Princeton University the next year as a member of the Class of 1915. At Princeton, Forrestal was chairman of The Daily Princetonian, a member of the student council, and voted "most likely to succeed" by his class. After Princeton, Forrestal briefly held positions at the New York World, the New Jersey Zinc Company, and the Tobacco Products Corporation before beginning his career on Wall Street. Forrestal married Josephine Ogden, a columnist for Vogue magazine, in October 1926. They had two sons, Michael and Peter. Forrestal committed suicide on May 23, 1949 at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland while being treated for depression and occupational fatigue similar to that suffered by service men in battle. Upon being informed of his death, President Truman said "This able and devoted public servant was as truly a casualty of the war as if he had died on the firing line."

From the guide to the James V. Forrestal Papers, 1907-1958, 1940-1949, (Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections)

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creatorOf Records of the American National Red Cross. 1881 - 2008. Official Administrative Documents
referencedIn Rogers, Edith Nourse, 1881-1960. Papers, 1854-1961 (inclusive), 1881-1961 (bulk). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
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creatorOf Forrestal, James, 1892-1949. James Forrestal additional papers, 1917-1958. Princeton University Library
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creatorOf Griffith, Charles Edmund, 1892-1964. Papers. Dartmouth College Library
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referencedIn Papers, ca.1905-1989 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
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referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. Bombardment of Iwo Jima ; Routine activities aboard USS Plaice ; Signalman, Japanese air attack ; USS England transfers supplies at sea ; Secretary of Navy arrives at NAS, Honolulu, The Hawaiian Islands ; F.E.A. garden project at Guam
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OP. CROSSROADS
referencedIn Audiovisual Collection. 1957 - 2006. Photographs Relating to the Administration, Family, and Personal Life of Harry S. Truman. 1957 - 2004. Photograph of President Harry S. Truman with Cabinet and Family Leaving the Capitol
creatorOf Lyndon Baines Johnson Archives Collection. 1931 - 1968. Famous Names Correspondence Files
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referencedIn Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. 1860 - 1985. War Films. 1942 - 1945. FIREPOWER
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referencedIn Willcutts, David. Reminiscences, April 1, 1945-March, 1946. Naval War College, Henry E. Eccles Library
referencedIn Sherlock and William C. Hibbs collection, Hibbs, Sherlock and William C. collection, 1909-2002, 1909-1968 William L. Clements Library , University of Michigan
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creatorOf James V. Forrestal Papers, 1907-1958, 1940-1949 Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections.Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. Public Policy Papers.
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. 1860 - 1985. Army - Navy Screen Magazine. 1943 - 1958. ARMED FORCES SCREEN REPORT, NO. 102
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OP. CROSSROADS quot;Aquot; DAY ON PANAMINT - OFF BIKINI
referencedIn "March of Time" Collection. 1934 - 1951. "March of Time" Assorted Films. 1935 - 1953. The Harry Truman Administration United States. National Archives and Records Administration
referencedIn Albert Joseph Engel Papers, 1885-1960 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Records of the Army Staff. 1903 - 2009. Top Secret Decimal Files
referencedIn President's Secretary's Files (Truman Administration). 1945 - 1960. Personal Files. 1945 - 1953. Roosevelt, Eleanor: General [2 of 3]. 1945 - 1953. Letter from Eleanor Roosevelt to Harry S. Truman
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referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1804 - 1983. Navy Motion Picture Film Productions. 1939 - 1947. Army-Navy Screen Magazine, Number 1
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. NAVY DAY: PRESIDENT TRUMAN BOARDS USS MISSOURI
referencedIn Larkin, Felix E. (Felix Edward), 1909-. Papers, 1947-1951. Harry S Truman Library
referencedIn Arthur H. Vandenberg papers, 1884-1974, 1915-1951 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OP. CROSSROADS quot;Aquot; DROP DAMAGE - BIKINI
referencedIn Osborne, John, 1907-1981. John Osborne papers, circa 1900-1983 (bulk 1941-1983). Library of Congress
referencedIn Ferdinand Eberstadt Papers, 1868-1970, 1935-1965 Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections.Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. Public Policy Papers.
creatorOf Eastman, Max C., 1916-. Max C. Eastman papers, 1944-1964. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn James Martin Barnes Papers, circa 1918-1958, (bulk 1943-1945) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OP. CROSSROADS
referencedIn Carpenter, Walter Samuel, 1888-1976. Business papers, 1926-1975. Hagley Museum & Library
referencedIn Julius A. Krug Papers, 1936-1950, (bulk 1941-1949) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Frank Knox Papers, 1898-1954 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Smedberg, William R. Oral history reminiscences of VADM Smedberg. Naval War College, Henry E. Eccles Library
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referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OP. CROSSROADS SECNAV ARRIVES ABOARD USS PANAMINT - BIKINI
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creatorOf Leslie, Frank P. Frank P. Leslie papers, 1903-1972 (bulk 1940-1970). Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Alsop, Joseph, 1910-1989. Papers of Joseph and Stewart Alsop, 1699-1989 (bulk 1937-1989). Library of Congress
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. COMMISSIONING OF FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (CVB-42) NAVY DAY PRESIDENTIAL REVIEWS
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creatorOf Eberstadt, Ferdinand, 1890-1969. Ferdinand Eberstadt papers, 1868-1969 (bulk 1924-1969) Princeton University Library
referencedIn Flynn, Edward J. (Edward Joseph), 1891-1953. Papers, 1913-1963, 1931-1952 (bulk) Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
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creatorOf Pollock, James K. (James Kerr), 1898-1968. James Kerr Pollock papers, 1920-1968. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
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referencedIn Nash, Ruth Cowan, 1901-. Papers: Series I-IV, 1905-1990 (inclusive) [microform]. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
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referencedIn President's Secretary's Files (Truman Administration). 1945 - 1960. Diaries Files. 1947 - 1953. 1947. 1947 - 1953. Diary Entry of Harry S. Truman
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referencedIn Frank P. Leslie papers., 1903-1972. Minnesota Historical Society.
creatorOf Engel, Albert J. (Albert Joseph), 1888-1959. Albert Joseph Engel papers, 1885-1960. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
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referencedIn Philibert, Helene. Papers, 1947-1964. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library
referencedIn Deyo, Morton L. (Morton Lyndholm), 1887-1973. Papers of Morton L. Deyo, 1911-1981 (bulk 1911-1954). Library of Congress
referencedIn Tjaarda, John, 1897-1962. Papers of John Tjaarda, 1900-1962 (bulk 1926-1958). Detroit Public Library, Detroit Main Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alsop, Joseph, 1910-1989. person
associatedWith Alsop, Joseph W. (Joseph Wright), 1876-1953 person
associatedWith Alsop, Stewart. Joseph Alsop and Stewart Alsop papers. 1699-1989 person
associatedWith Baldwin, Hanson Weightman, 1903-1991. person
correspondedWith Barnes, James Martin, 1899-1958. person
associatedWith Baruch, Bernard M., Jr., 1902-1992. person
associatedWith Berry, Robert Wallace, 1898- person
associatedWith Blackford, Staige D. (Staige Davis), 1898-1949. person
correspondedWith Bloch, Claude Charles, 1878-1967. person
associatedWith Brown Brothers, Harriman & Co. corporateBody
correspondedWith Brown, John Mason, 1900-1969 person
associatedWith Burden, W. Douglas (William Douglas), 1898-1978. person
associatedWith Burke, Arleigh A., 1901-1996. person
correspondedWith Bush, Vannevar, 1890-1974. person
correspondedWith Bynner, Witter, 1881-1968 person
associatedWith Carpender, Arthur S. (Arthur Schuyler), 1884-1960. person
associatedWith Carpenter, Donald F. (Donald Fell), 1899-1985. person
associatedWith Carpenter, Walter Samuel, 1888-1976. person
associatedWith Connecticut Historical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Dearborn, Frederick M. (Frederick Myers), b. 1876 person
associatedWith Deyo, Morton L. (Morton Lyndholm), 1887-1973. person
associatedWith Doggett, Leonard Allison, 1888-1975. person
correspondedWith Eastman, Max C., 1916- person
associatedWith Eberstadt, Ferdinand, 1890-1969. person
associatedWith EDITH NOURSE ROGERS, 1881-1960 person
associatedWith Ehm, Charles A., Jr. person
associatedWith Engel, Albert J. (Albert Joseph), 1888-1959. person
associatedWith Estelle Philibert. person
associatedWith Fletcher, Frank Jack. person
associatedWith Flynn, Edward J. (Edward Joseph), 1891-1953. person
associatedWith Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965. person
associatedWith Frank, Jerome, 1889-1957. person
associatedWith Germer, Adolph. person
associatedWith Greenewalt, Crawford H., 1902-1993. person
associatedWith Griffith, Charles Edmund, 1892-1964. person
associatedWith Halsey, William Frederick, 1882-1959. person
associatedWith Harriman, W. Averell (William Averell), 1891-1986. person
associatedWith Helene Philibert. person
associatedWith Jaffe, Louis I. (Louis Isaac), 1888-1950. person
associatedWith Keenan, Joseph Berry, 1888-1954. person
associatedWith Knowles, Herbert Bain, 1894- person
correspondedWith Knox, Frank, 1874-1944. person
correspondedWith Krug, Julius A. (Julius Albert), 1907- person
correspondedWith Krug, Julius A. (Julius Albert), 1907-1970. person
associatedWith Kunze, Alfred M. person
correspondedWith Land, Emory Scott, 1879-1971. person
associatedWith Larkin, Felix E. (Felix Edward), 1909- person
associatedWith Lerner, Max, 1902- person
associatedWith Lerner, Max, 1902-2001. person
associatedWith Leslie, Frank P. person
associatedWith Lord, Mary Pillsbury, 1904-1978. person
associatedWith Lovett, Robert A. (Robert Abercrombie), 1895- person
correspondedWith Marquand, John P. (John Phillips), 1893-1960 person
associatedWith Mary (Pillsbury) Lord, 1904-1978 person
associatedWith McNamara, James Francis. person
associatedWith Moody, Blair, 1902-1954 person
associatedWith Morison, Samuel Eliot, 1887-1976. person
associatedWith Nash, Ruth Cowan, 1901- person
correspondedWith Nation (New York, N.Y. : 1865). corporateBody
associatedWith Osborne, John, 1907-1981. person
associatedWith Oxnam, G. Bromley (Garfield Bromley), 1891-1963. person
associatedWith Page, Arthur W. (Arthur Wilson), 1883-1960. person
associatedWith Parsons, William Sterling, 1901-1953. person
associatedWith Patterson, Robert Porter, 1891-1952. person
associatedWith Philibert, Helene. person
associatedWith Pollock, James K. (James Kerr), 1898-1968. person
associatedWith Price, Byron, 1891-1981. person
associatedWith Riley, William Edward, 1897- person
associatedWith Rogers, Edith Nourse, 1881-1960. person
associatedWith RUTH BALDWIN (COWAN) NASH, 1901-1993 person
associatedWith Ruthven, Alexander Grant, 1882- person
associatedWith Sherrod, Robert Lee, 1909- person
correspondedWith Sherwood, Robert E. (Robert Emmet), 1896-1955 person
associatedWith Sikkenga, William J. person
associatedWith Simpson, B. Mitchell (Benjamin Mitchell), 1932- person
associatedWith Smedberg, William R. person
associatedWith Snyder, Charles Philip, 1879-1964. person
associatedWith Stewart, John Quincy, 1894-1972. person
correspondedWith Tjaarda, John, 1897-1962. person
associatedWith United States. Dept. of Defense corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Navy corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Navy Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Navy Dept. Civilian Advisory Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Virginia. corporateBody
associatedWith Vandenberg, Arthur H. (Arthur Hendrick), 1884-1951 person
associatedWith Vinson, Fred M., 1890-1953. person
associatedWith Walton, Marion person
associatedWith Walton, Marion, b. 1899. person
associatedWith Willcutts, David. person
associatedWith Williams, Charl Ormond, 1885-1969. person
associatedWith Wilson, Eugene E. person
correspondedWith Yarnell, Harry E. (Harry Ervin), 1875-1959. person
associatedWith Yuter, Seymour C., person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Soviet Union
United States
United States
United States
Japan
United States
Subject
Military departments and divisions
Military administration
National security
Cabinet officers--United States
American history/20th century
Statesmen--20th century
Cabinet officers--20th century
American politics and government
Military policy
Reconstruction (1939-1951)
Military departments and divisions--United States
Cold War
National security--United States
World War, 1939-1945--Naval operations, American
Princeton (Ship)
Cabinet officers
World War II
World War, 1939-1945--United States
Military administration--United States
World War, 1939-1945
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1892-02-15

Death 1949-05-22

English

Information

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Ark ID: w6m90c4v

SNAC ID: 25328801