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AwardsPresidential Medal of Freedom
Army Distinguished Service Medal (3)
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General Albert Coady Wedemeyer (July 9, 1896 – December 17, 1989)[1] was a United States Army commander who served in Asia during World War II from October 1943 to the end of the war. Previously, he was an important member of the War Planning Board which formulated plans for the Invasion of Normandy. He was General George Marshall's chief consultant when in the Spring of 1942 he traveled to London with General Marshall and a small group of American military men to consult with the British in an effort to convince the British to support the cross channel invasion. Wedemeyer was a staunch anti-communist. While in China during the years 1944 to 1945 he was Chiang Kai-shek's Chief of Staff and commanded all American forces in China. Wedemeyer supported Chiang's struggle against Mao Zedong and in 1947 President Truman sent him back to China to render a report on what actions the United States should take. During the Cold War, Wedemeyer was a chief supporter of the Berlin Airlift.

Early life

He was born on July 9, 1896, in Omaha, Nebraska, and was a graduate of the Creighton Preparatory School. In 1919, he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

Prewar career

Between 1936 and 1938, Wedemeyer was one of two U.S. Army officers who attended, as exchange students, the Kriegsakademie, in Berlin.[2]

Soon after graduation from this school, he attended, as one of many international observers, the German Army grand maneuvers of 1938. When he returned to Washington that year, Wedemeyer analyzed Germany's grand strategy and dissected German thinking. Wedemeyer thus became the U.S. military's foremost authority on German tactical operations, whose "most ardent student" was George C. Marshall.[3] Wedemeyer was greatly influenced and his career aided by his father-in-law, Lieutenant General Stanley Dunbar Embick, the Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of the War Plans Division of the United States War Department.

World War II

At the outbreak of World War II, Wedemeyer was a lieutenant colonel assigned as a staff officer to the War Plans Division.[4] Notably, in 1941 he was the chief author of the "Victory Program", which advocated the defeat of Germany's armies in Europe as the prime war objective for the United States. This plan was adopted and expanded as the war progressed. Additionally, Wedemeyer helped to plan the Normandy Invasion.[citation needed]

China-Burma-India Command

General Wedemeyer arriving in Chungking, 1944.

In 1943, Wedemeyer was reassigned to the South-East Asia Theatre to be Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander of the South East Asia Command (SEAC), Lord Louis Mountbatten.

On October 27, 1944, General Wedemeyer received a telegram from General George C. Marshall directing him to proceed to China to assume command of U.S. forces in China, replacing General Joseph Stilwell (1883–1946). In his new command, Wedemeyer was also named Chief of Staff to the Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. The telegram contained a host of special instructions and limitations on Wedemeyer's command when dealing with the government of Nationalist China. Wedemeyer later recalled his initial dread over the assignment, as service in the China theater was considered a graveyard for American officials, both military and diplomatic.[5] When Wedemeyer actually arrived at Stilwell's headquarters after Stilwell's dismissal, he was dismayed to discover that Stilwell had intentionally departed without seeing him, and did not leave a single briefing paper for his guidance, though departing U.S. military commanders habitually greeted their replacement in order to thoroughly brief them on the strengths and weaknesses of headquarters staff, the issues confronting the command, and planned operations.[1] was a United States Army commander who served in Asia during World War II from October 1943 to the end of the war. Previously, he was an important member of the War Planning Board which formulated plans for the Invasion of Normandy. He was General George Marshall's chief consultant when in the Spring of 1942 he traveled to London with General Marshall and a small group of American military men to consult with the British in an effort to convince the British to support the cross channel invasion. Wedemeyer was a staunch anti-communist. While in China during the years 1944 to 1945 he was Chiang Kai-shek's Chief of Staff and commanded all American forces in China. Wedemeyer supported Chiang's struggle against Mao Zedong and in 1947 President Truman sent him back to China to render a report on what actions the United States should take. During the Cold War, Wedemeyer was a chief supporter of the Berlin Airlift.

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