Beetle: The Life of General Walter Bedell Smith by D.K.R. CrosswellA valued adviser and trusted insider in the highest echelon of U.S. military and political leaders, General Walter Bedell Smith began his public service career of more than forty years at age sixteen, when he joined the Indiana National Guard. His bulldog tenacity earned him an opportunity to work with General George C. Marshall in 1941, playing an essential role in forming the offices of the Combined and Joint Chiefs of Staff; and after his appointment as chief of staff to Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1942, Smith took a central part in planning and orchestrating the major Allied operations of World War II in Europe. Among his many duties, Smith negotiated and signed the surrenders of the Italian and German armed forces on May 7, 1945.
Smiths postwar career included service as the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and undersecretary of state. Despite his contributions to twentieth-century American military and diplomatic history, the life and work of Smith have largely gone unappreciated. In Beetle: The Life of General Walter Bedell Smith, D. K. R. Crosswell offers the first full-length biography of the general, including insights into his close relationships with Marshall and Eisenhower.
Meticulously researched and long overdue, Beetle sheds new light on Eisenhower as supreme commander and the campaigns in North Africa, Italy, and Europe . Beetle is the fascinating history of a soldier, diplomat, and intelligence chief who played a central role in many decisions that altered mid-twentieth-century American history.
Beetle: The Life of General Walter Bedell Smith
Army general , diplomat, and administrator who served as chief of staff for U. Smith began his military career as an enlisted man in the Indiana National Guard —15 and in was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry in the U. He fought briefly in World War I , and, advancing through grades, he served in the United States and the Philippines and taught in the U. In February he was named secretary of the U. Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.
Immediately after the war, he was the ambassador to the Soviet Union and, from , he directed the Central Intelligence Agency. Bedell Smith's military career began in when he joined the Indiana National Guard and ended almost 40 years later when he retired as a four-star general in the U. Initially, he envisioned himself fighting battles on the front lines but because of his impressive organizational skills, he ended up working for General George C. Marshall, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the head of America's military forces after the president. As the allies fought in North Africa, Italy, France, and Germany, Bedell Smith was known by top military and political leaders as an effective and efficient manager.
Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, But for patient readers, especially scholars of the war, the findings are well worth the effort to study this biography. His pre- and postwar activities are summarized, but not examined in the same minute detail as his activities from to Born in , Smith was not a product of West Point. His military career began as an enlisted man in the Indiana National Guard. Because of his incisive mind, capacious memory, and attention to detail, he qualified for officer training as the U.
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Some say that "Beetle" Smith, as he was called by contemporaries, had the countenance of a Bulldog and needed that temperment to fill the assigned role as hatchet man for an affable Supreme Allied Commander, Dwight D. He may have acquired that, along with a brusque manner and a salty vocubulary, in his first service as a Private in the Indiana National Guard. He entered the U. When General George C. He moved up to Secretary in September and in Febraury was named U. Secretary of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.