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Ernest King

Birthdate: 23. November 1878
Date of death: 25. June 1956

Ernest Joseph King was Commander in Chief, United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations during World War II. As COMINCH-CNO, he directed the United States Navy's operations, planning, and administration and was a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was the United States Navy's second most senior officer in World War II after Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, who served as Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief.

Born in Lorain, Ohio, King served in the Spanish–American War while still attending the United States Naval Academy. He received his first command in 1914, leading the destroyer USS Terry in the occupation of Veracruz. During World War I, he served on the staff of Vice Admiral Henry T. Mayo, the commander of the United States Atlantic Fleet. After the war, King served as head of the Naval Postgraduate School, commanded a submarine squadron, and served as Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics. After a period on the Navy's General Board, King became commander of the Atlantic Fleet in February 1941.

Shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II, King was appointed as Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet. In March 1942, King succeeded Harold Stark as Chief of Naval Operations. In December 1944, King became the second admiral to be promoted to fleet admiral. King left active duty in December 1945 and died in 1956. Wikipedia

„Any man facing a major decision acts, consciously or otherwise, upon the training and beliefs of a lifetime.“

—  Ernest King

Context: Any man facing a major decision acts, consciously or otherwise, upon the training and beliefs of a lifetime. This is no less true of a military commander than of a surgeon who, while operating, suddenly encounters an unsuspected complication. In both instances, the men must act immediately, with little time for reflection, and if they are successful in dealing with the unexpected it is upon the basis of past experience and training. As any decisions that I made during World War II sprang from the forty-four years' service that were behind me in 1941, I wish to acquaint the reader with the background of my professional life so that he may better understand their origins.

p. viii

„War has changed little in principle from the beginning of recorded history. The mechanized warfare of today is only an evolution of the time when men fought with clubs and stones, and its machines are as nothing without the men who invent them, man them and give them life.“

—  Ernest King

p. viii
Context: War has changed little in principle from the beginning of recorded history. The mechanized warfare of today is only an evolution of the time when men fought with clubs and stones, and its machines are as nothing without the men who invent them, man them and give them life. War is force- force to the utmost- force to make the enemy yield to our own will- to yield because they see their comrades killed and wounded- to yield because their own will to fight is broken. War is men against men. Mechanized war is still men against men, for machines are masses of inert metal without the men who control them- or destroy them.

„No fighter ever won his fight by covering up- by merely fending off the other fellow's blows. The winner hits and keeps on hitting even though he has to take some stiff blows to be able to keep on hitting.“

—  Ernest King

Excerpt from a late March 1942 memorandum King wrote to President Roosevelt, urging against adopting the policy of those most concerned with defending the continental United States. It is unknown if the memorandum was actually ever seen by the President. The entire memorandum is quoted by Thomas B. Buell in his book Master of Sea Power: A Biography of Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King (1980), p. 193.

/ 1940s

„It must be the key idea of all hands that we will make the best of what we have.“

—  Ernest King

Excerpt from Atlantic Fleet Confidential Memorandum 2CM-41, sent on 24 March 1941. As quoted in History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume One: The Battle of the Atlantic, September 1939-May 1943 (1948) by Samuel Eliot Morison, p. 52

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„I'll never forgive the Army for not taking at least part of the blame for Pearl Harbor. That was why I didn't like Stimson.“

—  Ernest King

King's comment after the war on Henry L. Stimson, who was United States Secretary of War during World War II, while speaking to Commander Walter Muir Whitehill, who wrote King's memoirs for him. As quoted in American Warlords: How Roosevelt's High Command Led America To Victory In World War II (2016), p. 473

„The way to victory is long.
The going will be hard.
We will do the best we can with what we've got.
We must have more planes and ships- at once.
Then it will be our turn to strike.
We will win through- in time.“

—  Ernest King

King's first statement as Commander-in-Chief, United States fleet, sent on 24 December 1941. As quoted in History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume Three: The Rising Sun in the Pacific, 1931-April 1942 (1948) by Samuel Eliot Morison, p. 255

„There is work in plenty for all hands- officers and men.“

—  Ernest King

Excerpt from Atlantic Fleet Confidential Memorandum 2CM-41, sent on 24 March 1941. As quoted in History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume One: The Battle of the Atlantic, September 1939-May 1943 (1948) by Samuel Eliot Morison, p. 52

„SUSPEND ALL OFFENSIVE ACTION. REMAIN ALERT.“

—  Ernest King

King's final wartime message to Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander, United States Pacific Fleet, sent by cable on August 14, 1945. As quoted in American Warlords: How Roosevelt's High Command Led America To Victory In World War II (2016), p. 467.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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