Walter Kruerger was certainly our most obscure four-star combatant commander in WWII and I occasionally, in my readings, wondered how he had reached that pinnacle.
A new book - perhaps his only biography - explores Krueger's career and it seems he made his stars as America's leading interwar military theorist. He was the successor to Upton and Palmer.
His theories make thin reading today, but he is interesting on the subject of military organization.
From the new bio:
Krueger was thus an Uptonian in regard to the crucial issue of military preparedness. In several important ways, Krueger was even more Uptonian than other, more notable army leaders. Whereas some envisioned importnat contributions the citizen soldier could make, Krueger, in contrast, saw none.Actually, Krueger saw citizen soldiers contributing through universal military training followed by assignment to a two-tiered reserve system. This is in advance of the 1920 Act that attempted to implement Palmer's thinking about a two-tiered reserve system. Krueger:
Germany's strength does not rest upon the organization of its Army ... but upon its military system, universal service ... the Germans are, indeed, a "Nation in arms," and it is safe to say that, should war come, as it surely will, Germany will give a good account of herself.That was written before WWI and Krueger seems more Palmerite than Uptonian:
Krueger advocated a national conscription of 125,000 men per year, with each new conscript serving for two years, giving the army a strength of 250,000 men. After serving two years ... each young man would "pass to the 1st reserve, in which he would remain three years, then to the 2nd Reserve, where he would remain for two years...The 2nd Reserve would have carried a 15 days per year annual training requirement.
Before and after WWI, Krueger held a number of positions as a Regular assigned to different National Guard liaison or advisor duties. Kevin Holzimmer, author of the Krueger bio, notes that "by at least 1936," Krueger surrendered the core Uptonian principle of a defense based mainly on the Regular Army and he was saying:
[It was] not until 1920 that we finally adopted a military policy that gave us a good army, the Army of the United States, with its three components, the Regular Army, the National Guard, and the Organized Reserves.This is Wadsworth-Palmerism, it is in line with what the military believes and practices even today, and so it may be that Krueger, as an influential interwar theorist, played a serious role in delivering the ultimate victory of General Palmer's views over General Upton's.