Diary of Dwight D. Eisenhower

March 18, 1939

A situation has arisen that looks desperately serious for the prospects of ultimate success in the MacA. defense plan. Our annual mobilization (for training purposes only) was limited by the General to 10 days for units comprising 1937 graduates only. Even with this limited number it looks as if we’d have plenty of trouble. About half the reserve officers so far contacted have said they cannot report for 10 days training, and because of our lack of reserve officers, we have not enough, in any event, to assign to T. of O. strength. We continue to suffer from the great error made in 1936 when it was decided to abandon a gradual process of development, beginning with officers, N.C.O.’s, and overhead, in favor of training hordes of draftees. We must swing back quickly and attempt to correct the error, or else.

The worst thing about the present situation is that it indicates a general indifference, if not antagonism, to the defense plan. An intensive, intelligent, educational program must be undertaken. This was urgently recommended to Gen. 3 yrs. ago –but he pooh-poohed the idea of its necessity.

I’m starting a campaign, using every available means to get this year’s mobilization in shape, but it wil be touch and go –and the long range problem will not be solved until we’ve shifted emphasis to the production of numbers of good reserve officers, & developed a real public opinion in support of the plan.