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The Purge of the Thirtieth Division by Major General Henry Dozier Russell is the only known written work by any of the eighteen National Guard division commanders mobilized in1940 and 1941. It chronicles from a National Guard perspective many of the challenges and growing pains experienced by the Army in the critical months leading up to its entry into World War II. Through Russell, the reader gains insight into the vast cultural differences between the Regular Army and the National Guard at the time. Russell's memoir offer an invaluable source of a commander's first-hand account of how his division trained and fared during the 1940 Louisiana Maneuvers, and 1941 Tennessee and Carolina Maneuvers, respectively, in its preparation for overseas deployment. The narrative also contains a compelling account of the relations and tensions between Regulars and National Guardsmen. It was a scathing indictment of the Regular Army high command for what he perceived to be unfair treatment of National Guard officers during World War II. He cited many examples to bolster his claims, and contended that the U.S. Army, under Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, was out to "get" the Thirtieth Division and other National Guard divisions. He further contended that the Army believed that a non-Regular officer should not advance beyond the grade of lieutenant colonel. His memoir, which he privately printed, pulled no punches. His first-hand account was very critical of how a number of senior Regular Army officers handled affairs with his division that led to his relief as the division commander. Russell completed his memoir in 1947 and subsequently printed 500 copies, which he distributed to senior National Guard officers. He did not sell any of the books, nor were they intended for or made available to the general public. Although there was a demand for additional copies, he did not print any more. The republication of The Purge of the Thirtieth Division is intended to expand the scholarship on the history of World War II and the history of the U.S. Army.
About the Author
Henry Dozier Russell (1889-1972) commanded the Thirtieth Infantry Division upon its mobilization for federal service in 1940 until he was relieved of the unit's command in 1942. He later commanded the newly created Forty-Eighth Infantry Division (National Guard) until his retirement in 1951. Lawrence M. Kaplan is the command historian for U.S. Army Cyber Command and the author of Homer Lea: American Soldier of Fortune and editor of The Artillery Service in the War of the Rebellion. He lives in Reston, Virginia.