U S Reliance of the National Guard During WWII Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

U.S. Reliance of the National Guard

The National Guard is a private army (militia) of the United States of America. The United States' Constitution has authorized this militia and has also specified the different functions and roles of the National Guard in the federal and state governments. According to the Article 1 of the Section 8 in the United States' Constitution, the Congress has been granted the authority "to call forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions" ("National Guard," 2013). The power to organize, arm and discipline the militia was handed over to the Congress. However, it was the responsibility of the states to appoint the officers and train the militia. The second Amendment consisted of further provisions regarding the regulation of militia ("National Guard," 2013).

In general, the National Guard is answerable to the state jurisdiction when there is peace. The governors have the authority to put down and suppress local turmoil and disorders buy sing the National Guard. The 1967 riots in Newark and Detroit are such examples when the governors made use of the National Guard to sort out and deal with the domestic overwhelming circumstances. The National Guard is also used for helping in the occurrence of disasters on a local level, for example floods, earthquake, thunderstorms etc. When there is war, the National Guard is made a part of the United States' active service whereby the President of the country also acts as the commander-in-chief ("National Guard," 2013).

The equipment and human resources of the National Guard are standardized to match with the army regulations of the United States of America. The recruitment or mobilization is voluntary and the federal government is responsible for giving the compensation to those who are appointed. The volunteers are even paid for their time spent in field training or drill periods ("National Guard," 2013).

World War II and United States' Reliance on National Guard during this Period

World War II, the greatest and most brutal war in the human history was started in 1939 and took six years to end. It was an international conflict that involved all the great powers in the world at that time. The two opponents were categorized as the Allies (Great Britain, France, China and USA) and the Axis (Germany, Italy, Japan and USSR) ("World War II," 2013).

As Europe became involved in the Great War II in September 1939, the United States of America's Army ranked 17th in the world (Doubler, 2003). In order to augment this force, the National Guard could play a decisive part even though this militia was not well-equipped or appropriately trained to fight in such a great armed conflict. However, when President Roosevelt observed the circumstances, he wasted no time in approving the increase of size of the Guard to be included in the American Army. He also approved more appropriate training for the voluntary soldiers but still it didn't comply with the wishes of the Army to get people more trained for the war. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was uncertain and doubtful in taking such a big decision/action for the masses that were isolationist for the most part (Sligh & Beaumont, 1992).

On the other hand, the Army was also hesitant in making attempts for training and reorganizing the National Guard. One of the major reasons why the United States of America decided to rely on the National Guard during World War II was that the Guard's officer unit was represented by the National Guard Association that had the possession of one of the most efficient and effective lobbies at that point in time (Sligh & Beaumont, 1992).

War In Europe

The armed forces of Nazi Germany were let loose and allowed to run riot by Adolf Hitler on September 1, 1939 morning. This unleashing of forces was done against Poland. The people in Europe who were already afraid of the commencement of another war after the brutal conflict of World War I held their breath to look out for the actions of France and Great Britain against this German action. The two super powers thrown in the towel accepting the demands and threats of Hitler previously. On the other hand, when the Munich Agreement was violated by Hitler, the Allies made the firm decision of standing behind Poland to support it. Thus, they declared war on September 3 after which the world witnessed the brutal events of World War II (Sligh & Beaumont, 1992).

America's Entrance in World War II

It is extremely important to mention here that after the World War I came to a conclusion, the Americans wanted to stay out of this European conflict. The American government and people did not waste any time in realizing that their participation in the World War I had been a catastrophic and unfortunate mistake and they must not involve themselves in any bloody war in the future again. They adopted policies for reducing apprehensions and for maintaining a tough protective military shield. The late period of 1920s was an adverse and unlucky time for the United States as the country suffered the Great Depression. This period in history made millions of Americans suffer. Even though Great Depression affected the other countries as well but it was majorly in United States of America that people continued to suffer for many years (Winkler, 2000).

Moreover, the United Kingdom and France were indebted to the United States but they did not pay their debts to USA when the country was in need. This betrayal forced America to revise its foreign policy and the country adopted a strategy of neutrality, putting down the lid for the external world. Thus, the United States adopted a policy of segregation and self-reliance and started to concentrate more on the domestic affairs. These were the main reasons why American government and people avoided entering the World War II (Winkler, 2000).

However, it was also not a surprise for the Americans that the Europe was now involved in yet another brutal war as this was inevitable according to continuous proclamations of the twentieth-century isolationists. It was the belief of a number of Americans that Europeans' antagonism, domestic political contentions and old grudges would make them indulge in violent behavior sooner or later (Sligh & Beaumont, 1992).

However, President Roosevelt was profoundly apprehended by the events in Europe. He had given more attention to the national problems during his first term but his distress increased in the late 1930s when he saw Italy, Germany, Italy and Japan rising and thus, he was sure that his country would unavoidably become a part of the World War II (Fleming, 2001). The Congress and people in America had an isolationist attitude and this made him devise a plan that not only helped towards nation's defense rebuilding but also made sure that Hitler's opponents are abundantly aided. According to Robert A. Divine, a famous historian, "Roosevelt shared the isolationist desire to keep the United States out of armed conflict, yet he also followed a seemingly interventionist policy of rendering aid to anti-fascist nations" (Sligh & Beaumont, 1992, p. 5)


At the same time, this inescapable involvement in World War II put the Army of the United States of America and General George Catlett Marshall ("Marshall, George Catlett," 2013), just then installed chief of staff, in dilemma. They were faced with the critical issue of acquirement of enough men and material that were required for the United States' defense and the Western Hemisphere in order to get protection in case the European war's expansion. Similar to President Roosevelt, Marshall was also opposed by the Congress that was under a strong influence of isolated, conservative and sponsor politics (Bunting, 2005). In addition to this, the National Guard Association of the United States (NGA) also did not make it easy for Marshall to execute his task with ease. This was because NGA was working as a rather independent military force that had strong connection with the political lobby in the country (Sligh & Beaumont, 1992).

As it represented the voice of the officers in the Guard, the NGA was after the Federal dollars and wanted to play as a major participant in the defense of the country. However, both Marshall and the NGA were unsuccessful in realizing that the World War II will change the American society's way of raising and maintaining its armed forces for the next four decades. The time proved that the Army and the National Guard did not remain what they used to be before the World War II (Sligh & Beaumont, 1992).

The United States Army that General Craig gave out to Marshall was not at all at high ebb. As already mentioned, it was rated as the seventeenth best army in the world. Regardless of the fact that Congress was persistently persuaded by Roosevelt for increasing the defense expenses; the United States' Army only had about 180,000 officers and men. 50,000 troops gave out their services in Hawaii…

Cite This Essay:

"U S Reliance Of The National Guard During WWII" (2013, October 24) Retrieved January 20, 2018, from

"U S Reliance Of The National Guard During WWII" 24 October 2013. Web.20 January. 2018. <

"U S Reliance Of The National Guard During WWII", 24 October 2013, Accessed.20 January. 2018,