Harry Hines Woodring
Harry Hines Woodring
|53rd United States Secretary of War|
September 25, 1936 – June 20, 1940
|President||Franklin D. Roosevelt|
|Preceded by||George Dern|
|Succeeded by||Henry L. Stimson|
|25th Governor of Kansas|
January 12, 1931 – January 9, 1933
|Lieutenant||Jacob W. Graybill|
|Preceded by||Clyde M. Reed|
|Succeeded by||Alf Landon|
Harry Hines Woodring
May 31, 1887
Elk City, Kansas, U.S.
|Died||September 9, 1967 (aged 80)|
Topeka, Kansas, U.S.
|Education||Lebanon Business University|
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
Harry Hines Woodring (May 31, 1887 – September 9, 1967) was an American politician. A Democrat, he was the 25th Governor of Kansas and was Secretary of War in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration from 1936 to 1940. He was previously the United States Assistant Secretary of War from 1933 to 1936.
Harry Hines Woodring was born in 1887 in Elk City, Kansas, the son of farmer and Union Army soldier Hines Woodring. He was educated in city and county schools and at sixteen began work as a janitor in the First National Bank of Neodesha, Kansas. He attended Lebanon Business University in Lebanon, Indiana, for one year, which gained him employment as a bookkeeper and assistant cashier of the First National Bank in Elk City.
Woodring soon became assistant cashier at the First National Bank of Neodesha. Woodring moved up quickly to become vice president and owner of the bank until he enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army. He was later commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Tank Corps in World War I. He was elected department commander of the American Legion in Kansas then in 1928 he sold his banking business to enter politics.
Woodring won the Kansas gubernatorial election of 1930 in a controversial three-way race with Republican Frank Haucke and write-in candidate and goat-gland transplantation specialist, John Brinkley. Brinkley won the most votes, but the state only counted ballots with J. R. Brinkley written in, disqualifying tens of thousands of ballots with variants like John Brinkley written in. Woodring himself admitted he would have lost, had all Brinkley's votes been counted. Woodring served as governor of Kansas from 1931 to 1933. As the only Democrat elected to a statehouse office, his efforts to cut expenditures were largely blocked by Republicans, so he cut his own salary and the highway department, the one place where Democrats had control.
Woodring served as Assistant Secretary of War from 1933 to 1936, with supervision over procurement matters. He was promoted and served as Secretary of War under President Franklin Roosevelt from 1936 to 1940. He projected the recommendations of his predecessor for increasing the strength of the Regular Army, National Guard, and the Reserve Corps. During his tenure he directed a revision of mobilization plans to bring personnel and procurement into balance and stressed the need to perfect the initial (peacetime) protective force.
A strict non-interventionist, Woodring came under pressure from other cabinet members to resign in the first year of World War II. Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes met with Roosevelt at least twice to call for Woodring's firing, but FDR was at first unwilling to do so, instead appointing outspoken interventionist Louis A. Johnson as Woodring's assistant secretary of war. Woodring and Johnson were immediately at odds, and quickly reached the point where they refused to speak to each other. On June 20, 1940, Roosevelt ended the struggle by finally firing Woodring, replacing him with long-time Republican politician Henry Stimson. Woodring remained isolationist, opposing the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940.
Woodring ran unsuccessfully for Governor of Kansas in 1946, and for the Democratic Party nomination for that post in 1956.
- Encyclopedia of Kansas
- "Harry Hines Woodring". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
- Brock, Pope (2008). Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam. Crown Publishing. pp. 160–162. ISBN 978-0-307-33988-1. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
- Lee, R. Alton (2002). The Bizarre Careers of John R. Brinkley. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 127–129. ISBN 0-8131-2232-5. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
- "Harry Hines Woodring". Kansapedia. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
- "KS Governor". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
- "Harry Hines Woodring". The Evening Independent. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
- Goodwin 1994, p. 23–24.
- Goodwin 1994, p. 71.
- "F.D.R. Favors Conscription But Woodring Is Opposed". St. Petersburg Times. August 3, 1940. p. 1. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
- Book Reviews From Parameters, Autumn 2006, pp. 124–49.
- Bell, William Gardner (1992). "Harry Hines Woodring". Secretaries of War and Secretaries of the Army. United States Army Center of Military History. CMH Pub 70-12. Archived from the original on December 14, 2007. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
- Harry Hines Woodring at Find a Grave
- National Governors Association
- The Evening Independent
- Publications concerning Kansas Governor Woodring's administration available via the KGI Online Library