Mark W. Clark
Mark Wayne Clark (1 May 1896 – 17 April 1984) was a senior officer of the United States Army who saw service during World War I and World War II and the Korean War. He was the youngest lieutenant general (three-star general) in the United States Army during World War II.
Calculated Risk (1950)
- This book is dedicated to the men and women of many nationalities who fought and died serving with the Fifth Army and the 15th Army Group in Italy. Never did a commander have more to be proud of than I in being associated with these selfless individuals.
- A soldier's life in combat is an endless series of decisions that mean success or failure, and perhaps life or death for himself or his comrades. The rifleman crawling through the rubble of a bombed-out street must decide on the best moment to escape enemy fire as he dodges from one doorway to the next. He must take a chance. The general seeking to break an enemy defense line and destroy his forces must decide just when and how to strike and precisely to what extent he dare weaken one sector of his front in order to mass overpowering strength at the main point of attack. He, too, must take a chance, although, in the stilted phraseology of military communiqués, he calls it a "calculated risk".
- p. 1
- On Memorial Day we visited the American cemetery at Anzio and saw the curving rows of white crosses that spoke eloquently of the price that America and her Allies had paid for the liberation of Italy. If ever proof were needed that we fought for a cause and not for conquest, it could be found in these cemeteries. Here was our only conquest: all we asked of Italy was enough of her soil in which to bury our gallant dead.
- p. 6
- The story I would like to tell, I thought then, is the story of the men who lie here. Nothing can blur my memory of their tenacity and devotion to duty, of their refusal to be awed by seemingly insurmountable odds, by the swirling dust of the Salerno, by the treacherous mud of the Liri Valley,, or by the stinging snows of the high Apennines. Some chapters of their story I could not hope to tell. No one could tell them who was not there day after day in the foxholes that filled with water before they were half dug, and on the rocky peaks where not even a pack mule could gain a footing. But I can tell a part of the story. I can tell how and why the turn of the wheel of war took the men of the Fifth Army to Italy and what was behind the orders that sent them into battle at Salerno, on the Volturno, at Cassino, and on the flat and barren little strip of hell known as the Anzio beachhead; and I can give at least a glimpse of the bravery and sacrifices, not only of the Americans but of dozen other nationalities who fought their way into the not-so-soft underbelly of the Axis. They are men who paid heavily for their page in history. Testimony to their courage is the fact that they won 56 of the 255 Congressional Medals of Honor awarded to our Army during the entire war. I am proud to have had an opportunity to share in their calculated risk in the Mediterranean.
- p. 7
- Our difficulties with the Russians increased, but I never really blamed Konev. He obviously was merely carrying out instructions. He even had a sense of humor about it occasionally. Once when we were discussing Austrian politics, the name of the Communist party leader, Ernst Fischer, was mentioned. Jokingly, I said: "Well, I don't like him because he is a Communist." Konev grunted. "That's fine," he said. "I don't like him either because he's an Austrian Communist."
- p. 477
- On another occasion, I decided to give Konev, who liked to hunt, a custom-built rifle, with a silver plate on the stock inscribed "To Marshal Konev, from his friend, General Clark." I wasn't sure he would get it if I simply delivered it to his headquarters, so I had an officer take it to him. I didn't even get an acknowledgement from Konev, although I saw him on several official occasions. Finally, about three weeks after I had sent the gun, I walked to lunch with him after the commissioners' meeting. Speaking through an interpreter, I asked if he had received the gun. "Yes". "Ask the marshal whether he liked it." "Yes". "I just wondered," I said. "I hadn't received any acknowledgement." "Well, you didn't send any ammunition."
- p. 477
From the Danube to the Yalu (1954)
- To Renie, my five-star wife- who for thirty years has inspired me to do my utmost in the service of my country. To her love, courage, sacrifices, understanding and guidance I attribute whatever success I may have achieved.
- I emphatically disagree with statements of so-called military experts that victory was ours for the taking at any time during my period of command with the limited forces at our disposal and without widening the scope of the conflict. Korea's mountainous terrain literally soaks up infantry. We never had enough men, whereas the enemy not only had sufficient manpower to block our offensives, but could make and hold small gains of his own.
- p. 2
- The Air Force and the Navy carriers may have kept us from losing the war, but they were denied the opportunity of influencing the outcome decisively in our favor. They gained complete mastery of the skies, gave magnificent support to the infantry, destroyed every worthwhile target in North Korea and took a costly toll of enemy personnel and supplies. But as in Italy, where we learned the same bitter lesson in the same kind of rugged country, our air power could not keep a steady stream of enemy supplies and reinforcements from reaching the battle line. Air could not "isolate" the front. This made it a footslogger's war. To have pushed that war to a conclusion in the mud and mountains of Korea would have required more trained divisions, more supporting air and naval forces, would have incurred staggering casualties and could not have been attempted with any hope of success unless we had lifted the self-imposed tactical restrictions which gave the enemy a sanctuary north of the Yalu. I believe, however, that we could have obtained better truce terms, shortened the war and saved lives, if we had got tougher faster.
- p. 2-3
- Korea was my first experience of fighting a shooting war and a conference table war at the same time. But I had two years of head-knocking with the Russians to teach me what it is that the Communists respect: FORCE.
- p. 3
- My doubts were based on my conviction that the Communist enemy is a voracious beast. The more he is given, the hungrier he becomes. And as long as we of the free nations continue to lead from fear, to react from fright, he will be a well-fed enemy.
- p. 4
- No war is ever fought exactly like any other before it, and history is full of stories of commanders who came to grief trying to follow an old pattern of victory once too often. Whatever is new in tactics, equipment or method must be taught at the squad level before a soldier gets into combat.
- p. 25
- But the foundation of ROK military power was the South Korean infantryman, courageous, tireless, hungry for the knowledge that would give him more power as a fighting man, disciplined and willing to die in the service of the cause for which his country fought and bled. You didn't have to tell a South Korean that communism was evil. It was an evil that had blighted his country and he saw it all around him, wherever he went.
- p. 173
- I remember an incident when, as Chief of Army Field Forces, I went to Fort Benning, Georgia, to watch the instruction of the first class of Korean officers sent to America. I have seen a lot of training in my years of experience in the Army, but never had I seen more attentive concentration on the instructor. Not a Korean shifted his eyes from the instructor once during the session. It appeared to me that each Korean officer felt that in some way the mere physical process of unbroken sight of the instructor would speed the process by which he learned from the American teacher.
- p. 175
- After I went to the Far East I witnessed this same concentration time after time in the schools the Koreans established for their officers and noncoms. The students would squat on their haunches for hours listening to an instructor explain something like the care and use of a light machine gun. They would focus their eyes on the instructor almost without blinking. Never once did a single student that I saw let his gaze wander. I even tested them. They knew who I was, and in addition the short-statured Oriental has a compulsion to look at a tall man. During the class sessions I witnessed I deliberately strolled behind the instructor, looking at the students. I thought certainly some of the Korean students would break their concentration on the instructor and sneak a glance at me. I didn't catch a one. I made it a practice to make this test often during visits to ROK training schools. Never once did I catch an eye looking my way. I have never in my life been so impressed with the intensity of military students.
- p. 175
- The ROK Army military schools system was patterned exactly after ours, as was their naval training system. The ROKs during the war developed a Korean West Point and a Korean Annapolis. They created their own war college to give their officers more education as they showed capacity for higher command. All the senior instructors and most of the junior instructors have been through our schools as well as their own. They taught by our American methods, with our American weapons and from translated versions of our American military texts and manuals.
- p. 176
- I consider the South Koreans one of our greatest allies, a people who know communism and hate it and are not afraid to die fighting it.
- p. 329
- World War II was an era in which America came of age as a world power. We had and we still have many lessons to learn. It was not surprising, perhaps, that we celebrated a victory when in reality we had not won the war. We had stopped too soon. We had been too eager to go home. We welcomed the peace, but after more years of effort and expenditure we found that we had won no peace.
- p. 493
- In the Italian campaign we had demonstrated as never before how a polyglot army could be welded into a team of allies with the strength and unity and determination to prevail over formidable odds. But in Austria and elsewhere in postwar Europe, we had learned another lesson about allies. The Russians were not interested in teamwork. They wanted to keep things boiling. They were ready to resort to lying, to betrayal, to the repudiation of solemn pledges. They were accustomed to the use of Force. They were skilled in exploiting any sign of weakness or uncertainty or appeasement. This was their national policy.
- p. 493
- Once I said to Konev, "You've made ten demands at this Council meeting that we can't meet. But suppose I should say, 'All right. We agree to all ten demands.' Then what would you do?" "Tomorrow," he said, "I'd have ten new ones."
- p. 493
- Having seen the Red Army and Russian diplomacy in action, my own belief is that there is nothing the Soviets would not do to achieve world domination. But I am convinced that also that they respect force; perhaps they respect nothing in the world except force. And when confronted with strength and determination, they stop, look, and listen.
- p. 494
- This new kind of war, this contest between the benefits of two ways of life, may foreshadow the nature of the final world struggle between the democracies and communism. Perhaps both sides, with the frightening instruments of total destruction in their hands, may decide that these terrible weapons must never be used. I pray fervently that this be true, not only because of the lives that would be saved, but also because I know America can reap a greater harvest from peace than can her enemies. But peace will be granted us only if we are strong, if the Russians and their followers know we are strong and if they are convinced that we have the determination and courage to use that strength to achieve a military victory the next time we are called to war against communism.
- Closing words, p. 330
Quotes about Clark
- Speaking candidly as a private citizen, Mark Clark tells of his running battle with the Communists from 1945 on. In vivid terms he describes the Korean conflict- the war we might have won.
- Description on the front dust jacket of Mark Clark's second memoirs, From the Danube to the Yalu (1954)
- General Clark walked the campus like a retired deity and ignored the general run of cadets.
- Pat Conroy, on Clark's time as President of The Citadel from 1954-1965, in The Boo (1970), p. 5
- Graduation was nice. General Clark liked it. The Board of Visitors liked it. Moms and Dads liked it. And the Cadets hated it, for without a doubt it ranked as the most boring event of the year. Thus it was in 1964 that the Clarey twins pulled the graduation classic. When Colonel Hoy called the name of the first twin, instead of walking directly to General Clark to receive his diploma, he headed for the line of visiting dignitaries, generals, and members of the Board of Visitors who sat in a solemn semi-circle around the stage. He shook hands with the first startled general, then proceeded to shake hands and exchange pleasantries with every one on the stage. He did this so quickly that it took several moments for the whole act to catch on. When it finally did, the Corps went wild. General Clark, looking like he had just learned the Allies had surrendered to Germany, stood dumbfounded with Clarey number one's diploma hanging loosely from his hand; then Clarey number two started down the line, repeating the virtuoso performance of Clarey number one, as the Corps whooped and shouted their approval. The first Clarey grabbed his diploma from Clark and pumped his hand vigorously up and down. Meanwhile, his brother was breezing through the hand-shaking exercise. As both of them left the stage, they raised their diplomas above their heads and shook them like war tomahawks at the wildly applauding audience. No graduation is remembered so well.
- Pat Conroy, in The Boo (1970), p. 33
- One problem the museum has always had in the eyes of some cadets is its worship of General Mark Clark. One whole room of the museum is dedicated to the propagation of Clark's exploits through two wars. The room itself is dark, an inner sanctum lit with tabernacle lights, and smoking with a kind of mystical incense which seems to compliment the godly aura of the man himself... Statues of Clark, pictures of Clark, letters from Clark, letters to Clark, speeches by Clark, and a seemingly endless amount of Clark memorabilia helps make the museum a monument to his career. If any pictures were available of Clark walking on water or changing wine into water, they would be dutifully placed in the museum by people who suffer guilt feelings that The Citadel has never produced an international figure of its own.
- Pat Conroy, on The Citadel Museum, in The Boo (1970), p. 95.
- King even bit back at Army compliments when he considered them presumptuous. Once, Major General Mark Clark sent King a telegram from England praising the work of a Navy captain on his planning staff and recommending the man's promotion to rear admiral. Marshall later told Clark, "Let me tell you what happened. King and I were having a terrible argument on something. We couldn't agree at all. I was trying to get him in a good humor to get him softened up for this thing and I thought I had, and then the door opened and he came stomping into my office, put the telegram on my desk, and said, "Read that." I read it, and King said, "Who the hell is Clark??"
- Johnathan W. Jordan, American Warlords: How Roosevelt's High Command Led America to Victory in World War II (2015), p. 149
- Clark had a tremendous flair for public relations and was a well-known figure but he was also a skilled and popular commander. His nickname was Eagle in Allied High Command parlance.
- John Keegan (editor), Who's Who in World War II (1995), p. 34
- Biography from the Korean War Encyclopedia
- General Mark W. Clark - TIME magazine cover (7 July 1952)
- From the Liberation of Rome to the Korean Armistice - General Mark Wayne Clark interview - (1975) at Three Monkeys Online
- on YouTube
- Historical Sound from General Clark (some statements with German translation)
- Papers of Mark W. Clark, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library
- Finding aid for the Mark W. Clark Oral History, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library
- Mark W. Clark Collection in The Citadel Archives & Museum