Rearming the French

Rearming the French

Rearming the French

Rearming the French

Excerpt

The original intent of the European Theater of Operations series was to portray the history of ground combat as carried on by U.S. forces in western and central Europe during World War II. Very early in the planning devoted to this series it became apparent that two subjects were of such grand import and interest as to require separate treatment. For this reason volumes were prepared and published on the history of the supreme command and the logistical support of the U.S. armies that fought in the European Theater of Operations. Research for these two volumes unraveled one continuing but tangled thread which did not quite fit into the fabric of the series as a whole. This was the problem posed by the French national forces serving under U.S. command and by the rearmament of these forces to permit their effective employment in the fight for the liberation of their homeland. The problems of command and decision involved in French rearmament and in the logistic support furnished to the French forces reached outside of the European Theater of Operations. It was decided, therefore, to devote a special study to the history of French rearmament. This decision was supported by the fact that the United States had once again embarked on the business of supplying weapons and other material assistance to potential Allies, and that such military assistance appeared to have become a continuing feature of U.S. policy.

An author was available who had exceptional qualifications for a task recognized from the first as complex and delicate. A scholar who had studied history at the Lycée of Limoges, France, and received his Ph.D. at Western Reserve University, Marcel Vigneras had served in the French Army in both World Wars, although in World War II seconded to duty as an American citizen with the Office of Strategic Services in 1943. He was a member of the faculty at Smith College before World War II. At the close of the war he joined the Historical Division, European Theater of Operations, then in France. At present Dr. Vigneras is continuing research on military problems as a member of the Operations Research Office, from which he was granted leave to complete the present volume.

HUGH M.COLE

Chief, European Section, 1947-1952 . . .

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