Talk:Robert A. Lovett
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What was your reason for moving the last section of the article to the talk page? Please offer justification either on the talk page or in your edit explanation if you care to move the section again. Morrowulf 07:56, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
Secretary of Defense (as put back in article)
When Lovett became secretary of defense, the end of the Korean War was not yet in sight. His main concern continued to be the long-range rearmament program. Like Marshall, Lovett believed that the United States erred seriously at the end of World War II by disintegrating the military.
When the Korean conflict happened, he designed the rearmament program intended both to meet the demands of the Korean conflict and to serve as a deterrent and mobilization base in future military emergencies. As Lovett put it, "Heretofore this country has only had two throttle settings one, wide-open for war, and the other, tight-shut for peace. What we are really trying to do is to find a cruising speed."
Lovett argued for large monetary budgets to carry on the Korean conflict and to improve U.S. defensive strength, asking for large sums of money and arguing strenuously against additional congressional cuts, emphasizing the need to expand Army, Navy, and Marine Corps forces. He argued toward working toward a goal of 143 Air Force wings (as compared with 95 then authorized) and a larger military. Lovett did not get all that he wanted. The actual amount his department received for 1953 came to about $44.2 billion, almost $13 billion less than the previous year. He had asked for initially $71 billion, later reducing his requests to $49 billion.
Lovett's efforts to meet rearmament and preparedness goals suffered in 1952 from a major dispute between the federal government and the steel industry. Truman tried to avert a threatened strike, caused mainly by a wage dispute, by taking over the steel mills in April 1952. The strike occurred after the Supreme Court overruled Truman's seizure order. Lovett supported the president's action as essential to maintaining defense production and expressed serious concern about the strike's effects on the nation's military capabilities. Even so, he noted that "the last six months of 1952 saw the most significant increases in the military effectiveness of the United States since the beginning of partial mobilization."
By the end of the Truman administration, the Defense Department had met successfully the challenges of the Korean War mobilization and embarked on a long-term preparedness effort.
Besides the preparedness issue, Lovett inherited a number of other matters that were still unresolved in the early 1950s, including the proper military role of nuclear weapons. Lovett's stands on the nuclear weapons question and other major military issues generally followed those of his predecessors. He strongly supported universal military training, regarding it as the only viable long-term approach to building a reserve force, and thus making possible a smaller regular military establishment. A firm proponent of NATO, he played an important role when the NATO Council in February 1952 adopted force goals totaling 50 divisions and 4,000 aircraft to be achieved at the end of 1952.
Despite a relatively smooth administration, Lovett felt a growing dissatisfaction with the existing defense organization. Although he recognized that real unification could result only from an evolutionary process and not legislative edict, as the end of his term approached he discerned the need for changes in the National Security Act beyond those made in 1949. Commenting about unification at a press conference a week before he left office, Lovett observed that the Department of Defense would have to be reorganized substantially if the United States became involved in a major conflict. He put forward his recommendations in a long letter to President Truman on 18 November 1952, proposing clarification of the secretary of defense's relationship to the president, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the military departments; redefinition of JCS functions; reorganization of the military departments; and reorganization and redefinition of the functions of the Munitions Board and the Research and Development Board.
Lovett meant his recommendations for practical consideration by his successor, and they indeedplayed an important role in the formulation of a reorganization plan during the early months of the Eisenhower administration. Concerned about the need for an orderly post-election changeover in the Department of Defense, Lovett met several times during the transition period with the incoming secretary, Charles E. Wilson, and made sure that he was thoroughly briefed on current issues. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Guroadrunner (talk • contribs) 08:00, 5 March 2007 (UTC).
The Personal Side
During the 1980s, in handwritten correspondence with this writer, Robert A. Lovett expressed some late life regrets. Although he was a great grandson of William Parish Chilton he never tried to learn about his g-grandfather's life & times. Robert saw Chilton 2nd cousins (including my father) only at Christmas, at the Locust Valley Estate.
In 1922, Lavinia Lovett used $2000 of personal funds to underwrite the private printing of a Chilton Hymnal with hymns & music by her first cousin. She never told her husband or son, and Robert A. Lovett only learned this from me circa 1982.
A second regret Robert expressed was that, when his mother Lavinia Chilton Abercrombie died on 28 November 1928, he was east bound on the White Star Line ship =Homeric=. News of his mother's death reached him by wireless, and he cried in his cabin at being unable to attend ceremonies with family. My grandfather (most grateful for the hymnbook $$$) and my father attended. The burial took place in pouring rain. When my grandfather got home to Mt. Vernon, and closed the door, he never left the house again. He died the following February 1929 of PKD.