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Major John S. Winslow1 to George C. Marshall
February 18, 1937 Warsaw, [Poland]
My dear General Marshall:
Remembering your attempt to give our army a modern drill regulation for close and open order work, I was much struck by the enclosed clipping from the Times which came out some days ago. Though the writer is Liddell Hart, in all probability, you may find some useful arguments to advance if you ever go after the War Department again.2
The Czechs use the modern column of threes whereas the Polish formation is similar to ours. The Poles have a regular force of about 260,000 men well disciplined, high morale, and in splendid physical condition but they have little modern equipment and no industrial system to produce it. Their political leaders, and I believe also the military, are tied to the past and their national vanity is so great that any idea from abroad meets intense opposition. They are highly secretive and suspicious and as I have not gained their confidence my supply of information from official channels is nil.
The Czechs on the other hand have a broad base of private industry which together with the Government arsenals provides a flow of first rate modern armament, but the appearance of their troops is much below that of the Poles.
A month ago I motored to Prague via Berlin and returned via Breslau. The German preparations are so great that any tourist must be impressed by them. The details of the military-political situation are very complex but the key to Europe’s future is in Berlin and the problem which agitates every foreign office is simply when and where will Hitler embark on an inevitable military adventure. At the moment there is little expectation of war this spring or summer but though no one wants a war there is a general conviction that a German attack must be faced before many years.
To me it is apparent that every day the value of training mobility and skill becomes greater and the value of gross weight (numbers) becomes less. Our plans for great forces of militia and reserves are popular because they provide many jobs but confronted by a modern European army of even half their number they might stop bullets but nothing else. Training and physical condition were never at such a premium as now. . . .
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Vancouver Barracks, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter signed.
1. Winslow, a United States Naval Academy graduate (1914), served briefly with The New York National Guard (1916) before securing a commission in the United States Army Field Artillery. He knew Marshall from the time he served at sixth corps Area headquarters in Chicago, Illinois (mid-1934 until mid-1936). He was then detailed as military attach