1936 Kaiserreich AAR
Throughout the 19th century the USA remained of limited importance to the Great Powers, despite her powerful position in the Americas, an attitude that was re-enforced by America's policy of isolationism and adherence to the Monroe Doctrine. The staunch isolationist position of the country was almost changed in the early 20th century thanks to the outbreak of the Weltkrieg, due to German ‘belligerence’, particularly with regards to its unrestricted U-boat campaign against Britain, which had the affect of pushing the US towards the Entente powers. However from mid-1915 (after the sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-boat), Germany chose to change this policy in an attempt of reconciliation- the move succeeded and the USA remained out of the Weltkrieg as a combatant. Unfortunately for the United States, German victory in the war and the consequent revolution in France led to an over-reliance on Britain for trade, which collapsed when the Home Isles descended into the chaos of their own revolution. In the decade since these events the USA has struggled economically as Germany extended her domination around the world and sought to protect and expand her own economic power. The nation struggled diplomatically too as President after President chose to maintain isolationist policies, and this has led to the USA being regarded as a ‘nobody’ in international politics, making it even harder for her to get a foothold in foreign markets. On top of these troubles the regime now faces mounting internal dissent and a political polarisation in parts of the country- with the 1936 presidential elections drawing ever closer. The long established Republican-Democratic domination is now being challenged by two groups - the Combined Syndicates of America and the America First Union. With a mounting crisis at home and a complete lack of prestige overseas things are not looking good for the United States of America.
An Unpopular President
President Hoover, a trained engineer, deeply believed in the Efficiency Movement, which held that the government and the economy were riddled with inefficiency and waste, and could be improved by experts who could identify the problems and solve them. When the Wall Street Crash of 1929 struck less than eight months after he took office, Hoover tried to combat the ensuing Great Depression with volunteer efforts, public works projects such as the Hoover Dam, tariffs such as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, an increase in the top tax bracket from 25% to 63%, and increases in corporate taxes, none of which produced economic recovery during his term.
Hoover's stance on the economy was based largely on voluntarism. From before his entry to the presidency, he was a proponent of the concept that public-private cooperation was the way to achieve high long-term growth. Hoover feared that too much intervention or coercion by the government would destroy individuality and self-reliance, which he considered to be important American values. Both his ideals and the economy were put to the test with the onset of the Great Depression. At the outset of the Depression, Hoover claims in his memoirs that he rejected Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon's suggested "leave-it-alone" approach, and called many business leaders to Washington to urge them not to lay off workers or cut wages. Lee Ohanian, from UCLA, has argued that Hoover adopted pro-labor policies after the 1929 stock market crash that "accounted for close to two-thirds of the drop in the nation's gross domestic product over the two years that followed, causing what might otherwise have been a bad recession to slip into the Great Depression".
Calls for greater government assistance increased as the U.S. economy continued to decline. Hoover rejected direct federal relief payments to individuals, as he believed that a dole would be addictive, and reduce the incentive to work. He was also a firm believer in balanced budgets, and was unwilling to run a budget deficit to fund welfare programs. However, Hoover did pursue many policies in an attempt to pull the country out of depression. In 1929, Hoover authorized the Mexican Repatriation program to combat rampant unemployment, reduce the burden on municipal aid services, and remove people seen as usurpers of American jobs. The program was largely a forced migration of approximately 500,000 Mexicans and Mexican Americans to Mexico. In June 1930, over the objection of many economists,
Congress approved and Hoover signed into law the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act. The legislation raised tariffs on thousands of imported items. The intent of the Act was to encourage the purchase of American-made products by increasing the cost of imported goods, while raising revenue for the federal government and protecting farmers. However, economic depression now spread through much of the world, and other nations increased tariffs on American-made goods in retaliation, reducing international trade, and worsening the Depression.
The Stipend March
Thousands of out of work men and their families demonstrated and camped out in Washington, D.C., during June 1932, calling for immediate governmental assistance to the unemployed and elderly. Although offered money by Congress to return home, some members of the "Stipend army" remained. Washington police attempted to remove the demonstrators from their camp, but they were outnumbered and unsuccessful. Shots were fired by the police in a futile attempt to attain order, and two protesters were killed while many officers were injured. Hoover sent U.S. Army forces led by General Douglas MacArthur and helped by lower ranking officers Dwight D. Eisenhower and George S. Patton to stop a march. MacArthur, believing he was fighting a communist revolution, chose to clear out the camp with military force. In the ensuing clash, hundreds of civilians were injured. Hoover had sent orders that the Army was to not move on the encampment, but MacArthur chose to ignore the command. "
At 4:45 p.m., commanded by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the 12th Infantry Regiment, Fort Howard, Maryland, and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, supported by six battle tanks commanded by Maj. George S. Patton, formed in Pennsylvania Avenue while thousands of civil service employees left work to line the street and watch. The Stipend Marchers, believing the troops were marching in their honor, cheered the troops until Patton ordered the cavalry to charge them—an action which prompted the spectators to yell, "Shame! Shame!"
Shacks that members of the Stipend Army erected on the Anacostia Flats burning after the confrontation with the military.
After the cavalry charged, the infantry, with fixed bayonets and adamsite gas, an arsenical vomiting agent, entered the camps, evicting protesters, families, and camp followers. The protesters fled across the Anacostia River to their largest camp and President Hoover ordered the assault stopped. However Gen. MacArthur, feeling the Stipend March was a Communist attempt to overthrow the U.S. government, ignored the President and ordered a new attack. Fifty-five protesters were injured and 135 arrested.
During the military operation, Major Dwight D. Eisenhower served as one of MacArthur's junior aides. Believing it wrong for the Army's highest-ranking officer to lead an action against fellow Americans, he strongly advised MacArthur against taking any public role: "I told that dumb SOB not to go down there," he said later. "I told him it was no place for the Chief of Staff." Despite his misgivings, Eisenhower later wrote the Army's official incident report which endorsed MacArthur's conduct.
Rise Of An SOB
MacArthur entered West Point on 13 June 1899, and his mother also moved there to a suite at Craney's Hotel, overlooking the grounds of the Academy. Hazing was widespread at West Point at this time, and MacArthur and his classmate Ulysses S. Grant III were singled out for special attention by southern cadets as sons of generals with mothers living at Craney's. After Cadet Oscar Booz left West Point after being hazed and subsequently died of tuberculosis, there was a congressional inquiry. MacArthur was called to appear before a special Congressional committee in 1901, where he was testified against cadets implicated in hazing, but downplayed his own hazing even though the other cadets gave the full story to the committee. Congress subsequently outlawed acts "of a harassing, tyrannical, abusive, shameful, insulting or humiliating nature", although hazing continued. MacArthur was a corporal in Company B in his second year, a first sergeant in Company A in his third year and First Captain in his final year. He played left field for the baseball team, and academically earned 2424.12 merits out of a possible 2470.00 or 98.14, the third highest score ever recorded, graduating first in his 93-man class on 11 June 1903. At the time it was customary for the top-ranking cadets to be commissioned into the United States Army Corps of Engineers, so MacArthur was commissioned as a second lieutenant in that corps
On 21 April 1914, President Woodrow Wilson ordered the occupation of Veracruz. A headquarters staff was sent to the area that included MacArthur, who arrived on 1 May 1914. MacArthur realized that the logistic support of an advance from Veracruz would require the use of the railroad. Finding plenty of railroad cars in Veracruz but no locomotives, MacArthur set out to verify a report that there were a number of locomotives in Alvarado, Veracruz. For $150 in gold, he acquired a handcar and the services of three Mexicans, whom he disarmed. MacArthur and his party located five engines in Alvarado, two of which were only switchers, but the other three locomotives were exactly what was required. On the way back to Veracruz, his party were set upon by five armed men. The party made a run for it and outdistanced all but two of the armed men, whom MacArthur shot. Soon after, the party were attacked by a group of about fifteen horsemen. MacArthur took three bullet holes in his clothes but was unharmed. One of his companions was lightly wounded before the horsemen finally decided to retire after MacArthur shot four of them. Further on, the party were attacked a third time by three mounted men. MacArthur received another bullet hole in his shirt, but the party, using their handcart, managed to outrun all but one of the mounted men. MacArthur shot both that man and his horse, and the party had to remove the horse's carcass from the track before proceeding
In 1919, MacArthur became Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, which Chief of Staff Peyton March felt had become out of date in many respects and was much in need of reform. When MacArthur moved into the superintendent's house with his mother in June 1919, he became the youngest superintendent since Sylvanus Thayer in 1817. However, whereas Thayer had faced opposition from outside the Army, MacArthur had to overcome resistance from graduates and the academic board.
MacArthur's vision of what was required of an officer came not just from his recent experience of combat in latin America but also from that of the occupation of the Philippines. The military government of the Philippines had required the Army to deal with political, economic and social problems but he had found that many West Point graduates had little or no knowledge of fields outside of the military sciences. Cadet and staff morale was low and hazing "at an all-time peak of viciousness". MacArthur's first change turned out to be the easiest. Congress had set the length of the course at three years. MacArthur was able to get the four-year course restored.
During the debate over the length of the course the New York Times brought up the issue of the cloistered and undemocratic nature of student life at West Point. Also, starting with Harvard University in 1869, civilian universities had begun grading students on academic performance alone, but West Point had retained the old "whole man" concept of education. MacArthur sought to modernize the system, expanding the concept of military character to include bearing, leadership, efficiency and athletic performance. He formalized the hitherto unwritten Cadet Honor Code in 1922 when he formed the Cadet Honor Committee to review alleged honor code violations. Elected by the cadets themselves, it had no authority to punish, but acted as a kind of grand jury, reporting offenses to the commandant. MacArthur attempted to end hazing by using officers rather than upperclassmen to train the plebes.
Instead of the traditional summer camp at Fort Clinton, MacArthur had the cadets trained to use modern weapons by regular army sergeants at Fort Dix; they then marched back to West Point with full packs. He attempted to modernize the curriculum by adding liberal arts, government and economics courses, but encountered strong resistance from the Academic Board. In Military Art classes, the study of the campaigns of the American Civil War was replaced with the study of those of World War I. In History class, more emphasis was placed on the Far East. MacArthur expanded the sports program, increasing the number of intramural sports and requiring all cadets to participate. He allowed upper class cadets to leave the reservation, and sanctioned a cadet newspaper, The Brag, forerunner of today's West Pointer. He also allowed cadets to travel to watch their football team play, and gave them an allowance of $5.00 a month. Professors and alumni alike protested these radical moves. Most of MacArthur's West Point reforms were soon discarded, but over the following years, his ideas would become accepted and his innovations slowly restored In October 1922, MacArthur left West Point to assume command of the Military District of Manila. MacArthur's friendships with Filipinos like Manuel Quezon offended some people. "The old idea of colonial exploitation", he later conceded. On 17 January 1925 he was promoted, becoming the Army's youngest major general
By 1930, MacArthur was still, at age 50, the youngest of the U.S. Army's major generals, and best known. He left the Philippines on 19 September 1930 and for a brief time was in command of the IX Corps Area in San Francisco. On 21 November, MacArthur was sworn in as Chief of Staff of the United States Army, with the rank of general. The onset of the Great Depression forced Congress to make cuts in the Army's personnel and budget. Some 53 bases were closed, but MacArthur managed to prevent attempts to reduce the number of regular officers from 12,000 to 10,000. MacArthur's main programs included the development of new mobilization plans. He grouped the nine corps areas together under four armies, which were charged with responsibility for training and frontier defense. He also negotiated the MacArthur-Pratt agreement with the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral William V. Pratt. This was the first of a series of inter-service agreements over the following decades that defined the responsibilities of the different services with respect to aviation. This agreement placed coastal air defense under the Army. In March 1935, MacArthur activated a centralized air command, General Headquarters Air Force under Major General Frank M. Andrews
Although MacArthur's support for a strong military, and his public criticism of pacifism and isolationism, made him unpopular the President extended MacArthur's term as Chief of Staff.