Wedemeyer, Albert C.

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Wedemeyer, Albert C. (1896–1989), World War II general and diplomat.A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Wedemeyer graduated from West Point in 1919. His service in the regular army included tours in the Philippines and China (1923–25, 1930–34). Two years as an exchange student at the German Kriegsakademie in Berlin (1936–38) gave him insight into the Blitzkrieg.

Brought to the War Plans Division of the U.S. Army General Staff by Gen. George C. Marshall in 1941, Wedemeyer became the primary author of the “Victory Plan”—the prophetic prewar document that visualized mobilizing U.S. resources for all‐out war with the Axis, and outlined the broad operational strategy that eventually brought victory. As a member and then head of the Strategy and Policy Group of the wartime Operations Division of the General Staff, he participated in the joint councils that managed the war.

Upon the recall of Gen. Joseph Stilwell in 1944, Wedemeyer assumed the twin posts of U.S. China theater commander and Allied chief of staff to Chiang Kai‐shek, the Nationalist president of China. He achieved effective working relations with China; after the war, he recommended continued U.S. support of Chiang's Nationalist government in its struggle with Mao Zedong's Communists. When a postwar effort by the Truman administration to arrange a political coalition of China's warring factions failed, Wedemeyer again was dispatched to East Asia (1947) on a fact‐finding mission.

In the wake of the Communist victory in China (1949), Wedemeyer held that, although China had indeed not been “ours to lose,” it had been ours to push over the brink. Had China remained friendly to the West, neither the Korean War nor the Vietnam War would have occurred.

Wedemeyer retired from the army in 1951. His memoirs (1958) sharply criticized U.S. and British war policies, arguing that better leadership might have altered a costly struggle in which one set of tyrants—the Nazis and Fascists—were thoroughly defeated, only to facilitate the rise of another—the Communists.
[See also China‐Burma‐India Theater.]

Bibliography

Albert C. Wedemeyer , Wedemeyer Reports!, 1958.
John Keegan , Six Armies in Normandy, 1982.
Keith E. Eiler, ed., Wedemeyer on War and Peace, 1987.

Keith E. Eiler

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