Thursday, March 7, 2013

If We Fail

     D-Day was a success -- Thank God.  But if it had gone poorly,  Eisenhower had a statement ready to release just in case.  What is fascinating is that it appears to be quickly scribbled on a piece of paper.  It is short, precise, and in it he accepts any and all blame.  Here's the entire transcript:

"Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone."

*He accidentally dated the letter July 5. It should have been June 5. 

     I think it is interesting that he had the courage to accept the possibility that they may fail, and realize any failure would be his, and his alone.  He didn't publicize that, of course.  Troop morale was critical in the coming landings.  I also wonder how other leaders collect their thoughts "just in case."  Do they quickly scribble something out and put it somewhere private, never to be read until many years later?  Destroy it if not necessary? (And feign self-confidence, "yes, I knew we would succeed.")  Playing the "what if" game is not my thing, but we can say with some degree of certainty that in response to the question, "what would Eisenhower have said if D-Day failed?" 

66 words.  That's what he would have said.

No comments:

Post a Comment