Description: In the eyes of the American public excellence is often overshadowed by brilliance of personality. This is particularly true in the portrayal of many of the country's military leaders in World War II. A prime example of this phenomenon is Douglas MacArthur, whose larger than life persona made him a newspaper fixture during the war despite a series of strategic and tactical blunders that would have led to the sacking of a less visible (and publicly popular) leader. At the level of divisional commanders, this triumph of brilliance over excellence is best exemplified by the two primary leaders of the country's 1st Infantry Division, Terry de la Mesa Allen and Clarence R. Huebner. One was a hard-drinking, swashbuckling leader who led by almost the sheer force of his personality; the other, a plain spoken, demanding officer who believed that organization, planning and attention to detail were the keys to superior battlefield performance. The leadership differences between Allen and Huebner have been documented in multiple publications. What has not been documented is the life of the truly overshadowed general - Huebner. Huebner's transition to the leadership of the 1st Infantry Division (1st ID) constitute only a small period in a military career that spans almost fifty years and two world wars. Huebner's story is cyclic in that throughout his life, his actions regularly complete a full circle with a return to key organizations, areas or relationships from where they started. In many respects, Huebner's story parallels the 20th century biography of the army itself. His is an American military story. This thesis is focused on Huebner's life in the years prior to the 1st ID's landing at Omaha Beach.
Date: May 2006
Creator: Flaig, Steven