World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Henry L. Stimson

Article Id: WHEBN0000088843
Reproduction Date:

Title: Henry L. Stimson  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Jacob M. Dickinson, William Howard Taft, Frank B. Kellogg, Pearl Harbor advance-knowledge conspiracy theory, United States Secretary of War
Collection: 1867 Births, 1950 Deaths, American Colonial Period of the Philippines, American Expatriates in the Philippines, American People of World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration Cabinet Members, Governors-General of the Philippines, Harvard Law School Alumni, Hoover Administration Cabinet Members, New York Lawyers, New York Republicans, People from Huntington, New York, Phillips Academy Alumni, Presidents of the New York City Bar Association, Recipients of the Distinguished Service Medal (United States), Taft Administration Cabinet Members, Truman Administration Cabinet Members, United States Army Officers, United States Attorneys for the Southern District of New York, United States Secretaries of State, United States Secretaries of War
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Henry L. Stimson

Henry L. Stimson
45th United States Secretary of War
In office
May 22, 1911 – March 4, 1913
President William Howard Taft
Deputy Robert Shaw Oliver
Preceded by Jacob M. Dickinson
Succeeded by Lindley M. Garrison
Governor-General of the Philippines
In office
December 27, 1927 – February 23, 1929
Appointed by Calvin Coolidge
Deputy Eugene Allen Gilmore
Preceded by Leonard Wood
Succeeded by Eugene Allen Gilmore
46th United States Secretary of State
In office
March 28, 1929 – March 4, 1933
President Herbert Hoover
Deputy Joseph P. Cotton
William R. Castle, Jr.
Preceded by Frank B. Kellogg
Succeeded by Cordell Hull
54th United States Secretary of War
In office
July 10, 1940 – September 21, 1945
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Deputy Robert P. Patterson
John J. McCloy (1941–1945)
Preceded by Harry Hines Woodring
Succeeded by Robert P. Patterson
Personal details
Born Henry Lewis Stimson
(1867-09-21)September 21, 1867
New York City, New York, United States
Died October 20, 1950(1950-10-20) (aged 83)
Huntington, New York, United States
Resting place St. John Church,
Cold Spring Harbor, New York, United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mabel Wellington White Stimson
(1866 – 1955)
Parents Lewis Atterbury Stimson (surgeon)
Candace Wheeler Stimson
Alma mater Yale College
Harvard Law School
Profession Lawyer, Diplomat, Administrator
Religion Presbyterian
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Army
Rank Colonel Colonel
Battles/wars World War I

Henry Lewis Stimson (September 21, 1867 – October 20, 1950) was an American statesman, lawyer and Republican Party politician and spokesman on foreign policy. He served as Secretary of War (1911–1913) under Republican William Howard Taft, and as Governor-General of the Philippines (1927–1929). As Secretary of State (1929–1933) under Republican President Herbert Hoover, he articulated the Stimson Doctrine which announced American opposition to Japanese expansion in Asia. He again served as Secretary of War (1940–1945) under Democrats Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, and was a leading hawk calling for war against Germany. During World War II he took charge of raising and training 13 million soldiers and airmen, supervised the spending of a third of the nation's GDP on the Army and the Air Forces, helped formulate military strategy, and oversaw the building and use of the atomic bomb.


  • Early career 1
  • Secretary of War (1st term) 2
  • World War I 3
  • Nicaragua and Philippines 4
  • Secretary of State 5
  • Secretary of War (2nd term) 6
    • Japanese American internment 6.1
    • General Patton 6.2
    • Morgenthau Plan 6.3
    • Atomic bomb 6.4
    • Stimson's vision 6.5
  • Later years and death 7
  • Recognition and honors 8
  • In popular culture 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • Further reading 12
    • Primary sources 12.1
  • External links 13

Early career

Stimson aged 10, with Mimi the cat.
Stimson as a young lawyer.

Stimson was born in

Party political offices
Preceded by
Charles Evans Hughes
Republican Nominee for Governor of New York
Succeeded by
Job Hedges
Political offices
Preceded by
Jacob M. Dickinson
U.S. Secretary of War
Served under: William Howard Taft

Succeeded by
Lindley M. Garrison
Preceded by
Eugene Allen Gilmore
Governor-General of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Eugene Allen Gilmore
Preceded by
Frank B. Kellogg
U.S. Secretary of State
Served under: Herbert Hoover

Succeeded by
Cordell Hull
Preceded by
Harry H. Woodring
U.S. Secretary of War
Served under: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman

Succeeded by
Robert P. Patterson
  • Obituary, New York Times, October 21, 1950
  • Henry Stimson Center
  • Annotated bibliography for Henry Stimson from the Alsos Digital LIbrary
  • Sherman Genealogy Including Families of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, England By Thomas Townsend Sherman
  • Burial site of Henry L. Stimson at Find A Grave
  • verbatim copy of "Stimson Diary" entries regarding Atomic Bomb, Dec 1944 to Sept 1945

External links

  • Stimson, Henry and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War. (1948) (memoirs)

Primary sources

  • Bonnett, John. "Jekyll and Hyde: Henry L. Stimson, Mentalite, and the Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb on Japan." War in History 1997 4(2): 174-212. Issn: 0968-3445 Fulltext: Ebsco
  • Gerber, Larry G. "Stimson, Henry Lewis"; American National Biography Online February 2000.
  • Gerber, Larry G. The Limits of Liberalism: Josephus Daniels, Henry Stimson, Bernard Baruch, Donald Richberg, Felix Frankfurter and the Development of the Modern American Political Economy (1983).
  • Hodgson, Godfrey. The Colonel: The Life and Wars of Henry Stimson, 1867-1950 (1990). popular biography
  • Jordan, Jonathan W., American Warlords: How Roosevelt's High Command Led America to Victory in World War II (NAL/Caliber 2015).
  • Malloy, Sean L. Atomic Tragedy: Henry L. Stimson and the Decision to Use the Bomb Against Japan (2008)
  • Morison, Elting E. Turmoil and Tradition: A Study of the Life and Times of Henry L. Stimson (1960), scholarly biography
  • Newman, Robert P. "Hiroshima and the Trashing of Henry Stimson" The New England Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 1 (Mar., 1998), pp. 5–32 in JSTOR
  • Schmitz, David F. Henry L. Stimson: The First Wise Man (2000)

Further reading

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ see Malloy, Ch. 1, "The Education of Henry L. Stimson"
  7. ^
  8. ^ David F. Schmitz, Henry L. Stimson: the first wise man (2001) pp 39-41
  9. ^ Richard N. Current, "How Stimson Meant to 'Maneuver' the Japanese," Mississippi Valley Historical Review Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jun., 1953), pp. 67-74 in JSTOR
  10. ^ Herman, Arthur. Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II, pp. 83-4, 90, 94, 112-15, 121, 125-6, 139, 141, Random House, New York, NY, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4000-6964-4.
  11. ^ Kieth Eiler, Mobilizing America: Robert P. Patterson and the War Effort (Cornell U.P. 1997)
  12. ^ Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas, The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made: Acheson, Bohlen, Harriman, Kennan, Lovett, and McCloy (1986)
  13. ^ a b c
  14. ^
  15. ^ Hodgson, Godfrey. The Colonel: The Life and Wars of Henry Stimson, 1867-1950 (New York: Knopf, 1990), p 259.
  16. ^ Atkinson, Rick, The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy 1943-1944, New York: Henry Holt & Co., ISBN 978-0-8050-8861-8 (2007), p. 147.
  17. ^ Carlo D'Este, Patton: A Genius For War, New York: HarperCollins, ISBN 0-06-016455-7 (1995), p. 536
  18. ^ D'Este, Patton: A Genius For War, p. 543
  19. ^
  20. ^ Arnold A. Offner, "Research on American-German Relations: A Critical View" in Joseph McVeigh and Frank Trommler, eds. America and the Germans: An Assessment of a Three-Hundred-Year History (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990) v2 p. 176; see also Michael R. Beschloss, The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945 (2002)
  21. ^ Sean Malloy, Atomic Tragedy: Henry L. Stimson and the Decision to Use the Bomb Against Japan The Manhattan Project, Department of Energy at]
  22. ^ Dec. 22, 2009. Retrieved August 7, 2010.
  23. ^
  24. ^ for "revisionists" who reject use of the bomb, see Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb (1996) and
  25. ^ Henry L. Stimson, On Active Services in Peace and War (1948) p. 636
  26. ^ Michael Kort, The Columbia guide to Hiroshima and the bomb (2007) p. 179
  27. ^ See Bonnett, John. "Jekyll and Hyde: Henry L. Stimson, Mentalite, and the Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb on Japan." War in History 1997 4(2): 174-212. Issn: 0968-3445 Fulltext: Ebsco
  28. ^ McGeorge Bundy, Danger and Survival: Choices about the Bomb in the First Fifty Years (1988)
  29. ^ Robert P. Newman, "Hiroshima and the Trashing of Henry Stimson" The New England Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 1 (Mar., 1998), pp. 5-32 in JSTOR
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^


See also

In the alternate history short story "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" by Lawrence Watt-Evans contained in Alternate Presidents, Stimson succeeded Hoover as President in 1936, defeating Roosevelt. He once again defeated Roosevelt in 1940.

Stimson has been portrayed in nearly a dozen movies and television shows about World War II and its aftermath, including Truman (1995), Truman at Potsdam (1995), Fat Man and Little Boy (1989), Day One (1989), War and Remembrance (1988), Race for the Bomb (1987), Churchill and the Generals (1981), Oppenheimer (1980), Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), and The Beginning or the End (1947).[36]

In popular culture

Stimson is also commemorated by the New York City Bar Association, where he served as President from 1937 to 1939, with the Henry L. Stimson Medal. The medal is awarded annually to outstanding Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

Stimson's name graces the Henry L. Stimson Middle School in Huntington Station, Long Island; a residential building on the campus of Stony Brook University; as well as a dorm at his alma mater Phillips Academy.

The Benjamin Franklin-class ballistic missile submarine USS Henry L. Stimson (SSBN-655) was commissioned in 1966.

The Henry L. Stimson Center, a private research institute in Washington, DC, advocates what it says is Stimson's "practical, non-partisan approach" to international relations.[35]

Mount Stimson in Montana's Glacier National Park is named after Stimson, who in the 1890s hiked and assisted George Bird Grinnell in surveying the area and later supported creating the park.

Recognition and honors

Two months after leaving office, in November 1945, Stimson suffered a heart attack from which he recovered.[31] In the summer of 1950, Stimson fell and broke his leg, after which he was confined to a wheelchair. On October 20, one month after his 83rd birthday, he succumbed to complications from a second heart attack.[32] Stimson died at his estate Highhold in [34]

[30] Stimson officially announced his retirement on September 21, 1945. Afterwards, he wrote his memoirs with the aid of

Later years and death

In 1931, when Japan invaded Manchuria, Stimson, as secretary of state, proclaimed the famous "Stimson Doctrine." It said no fruits of illegal aggression would ever be recognized by the United States. Japan ignored it. Now, according to Stimson, the wheels of justice had turned and the "peace-loving" nations (as Stimson called them) had the chance to punish Japan's misdeeds in a manner that would warn aggressor nations never again to invade their neighbors. To validate the new moral order, he believed, the atomic bomb had to be used against civilians. The question for Stimson was not one of whether soldiers should use this weapon or not. Involved was the simple issue of ending a horrible war, and the more subtle and more important question of the possibility of genuine peace among nations. Stimson's decision involved the fate of mankind, and he posed the problem to the world in such clear and articulate fashion that there was near unanimous agreement mankind had to find a way so that atomic weapons would never be used again.[27][28][29]

In retrospect historians debate whether the impact of continued blockade, relentless bombing, and the Russian invasion of Manchuria would have somehow forced the Emperor to surrender sometime in late 1945 or early 1946 even without the atomic bombs (though not without very large numbers of allied casualties).[24] But Stimson saw well beyond the immediate end of the war. He was the only top government official who tried to predict the meaning of the atomic age—he envisioned a new era in human affairs. For a half century he had worked to inject order, science, and moralism into matters of law, of state, and of diplomacy. Once again, Stimson defied all criticism about his age by proving that he was still as prescient and on top of his game as ever. The impact of the atom, he foresaw, would go far beyond military concerns to encompass diplomacy and world affairs, as well as business, economics and science. Above all, said Stimson, this "most terrible weapon ever known in human history" opened up "the opportunity to bring the world into a pattern in which the peace of the world and our civilization can be saved." That is, the very destructiveness of the new weaponry would shatter the ages-old belief that wars could be advantageous. It might now be possible to call a halt to the use of destruction as a ready solution to human conflicts. Indeed, society's new control over the most elemental forces of nature finally "caps the climax of the race between man's growing technical power for destructiveness and his psychological power of self-control and group control--his moral power."[25][26]

Stimson's vision

The Manhattan Project was managed by Major General Groves (Corps of Engineers) with a staff of reservists and many thousands of civilian scientists and engineers. Nominally Groves reported directly to General Little Boy" (the Hiroshima bomb) dropped within hours of its earliest possible availability — it was; Japan was to be forced to surrender and the bombing of Hiroshima August 6 would likely be a finishing blow for Tokyo. When prompt concession did not come, he pressed for Truman to drop "Fat Man" on Nagasaki on August 9.[23]

As Secretary of War, Stimson took direct personal control of the entire atomic bomb project, with direct supervision over General Leslie Groves, head of the Manhattan Project. Both Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman followed Stimson's advice on every aspect of the bomb, and Stimson overruled military officers when they opposed his views.[21][22]

Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson ready for his Truman cabinet in August 1945.

Atomic bomb

Stimson, a lawyer, insisted — against the initial wishes of both Roosevelt and Churchill - on proper judicial proceedings against leading war criminals. He and the United States Department of War drafted the first proposals for an International Tribunal, and this soon received backing from the incoming President Truman. Stimson's plan eventually led to the Nuremberg Trials of 1945-1946 that have had a significant impact on the development of International Law.

What Stimson most feared, however, was that a subsistence-level economy would turn the anger of the German people against the Allies and thereby "obscure the guilt of the Nazis and the viciousness of their doctrines and their acts". Stimson pressed similar arguments on President Harry S. Truman in the spring of 1945.[20]

Stimson strongly opposed the

Morgenthau Plan

On November 21, 1943, the news broke that General slapped an enlisted man suffering from nervous exhaustion at a medical evacuation hospital in Sicily.[16] The incident caused a storm of controversy, and members of Congress called for Patton to be relieved of command. General Dwight D. Eisenhower opposed any move to recall General Patton from the European theater saying privately, "Patton is indispensable to the war effort - one of the guarantors of our victory."[17] Stimson and McCloy agreed; Stimson told the Senate that Patton would be retained because of the need for his "aggressive, winning leadership in the bitter battles which are to come before final victory."[18]

General Patton

Stimson authorized the release of Japanese Americans from camp in May 1944, but postponed allowing them to return to the West Coast until after the November elections to avoid controversy in Roosevelt's upcoming campaign.[13]

Although Stimson believed it was "quite impossible" to determine the loyalty of Japanese Americans and eventually came to support the army's incarceration program, he remained unconvinced on the legality of the policy: "The second generation Japanese can only be evacuated either as part of a total evacuation, giving access to the areas only by permits, or by frankly trying to put them out on the ground that their racial characteristics are such that we cannot understand or trust even the citizen Japanese. The latter is the fact but I am afraid it will make a tremendous hole in our constitutional system."[15]

As the Western Defense Command began circulating civilian exclusion orders, a new debate formed regarding Japanese Americans in the then-territory of Hawaii. Stimson joined other officials to push for the exclusion of all "enemy alien" Japanese from the Islands.[13] (Japanese immigrants were prohibited by law from naturalization and were therefore classified as enemy aliens regardless of their residential status.) However, Japanese Hawaiians were the largest ethnic group in the territory and the foundation of the Island's labor force; mass removal was infeasible both economically and politically, and Stimson's proposal quickly fell through.[14]

Stimson was initially opposed to the mass removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast, but he would eventually give in to pro-exclusion military advisers and secure Roosevelt's final approval for the incarceration program. The administration was split in the wake of Pearl Harbor, with Justice Department officials arguing against "evacuation" on one side and Army and War Department leaders demanding immediate relocation on the other. At this point still opposed to the idea of wholesale eviction, Stimson spent much of January 1942 fielding calls from military advisers and West Coast politicians on the potential threat of Japanese American fifth columnists. By February, John McCloy and others from the pro-exclusion camp had won him over. On February 11, Stimson and McCloy briefed the President in a phone conference; Roosevelt gave his Secretary of War the go-ahead to pursue whatever course he saw fit, and McCloy contacted Karl Bendetsen to begin formulating a removal strategy immediately after. Roosevelt granted Stimson final approval to carry out the eviction of West Coast Japanese Americans on February 17, and two days later Executive Order 9066 authorized the establishment of military zones excluding certain persons.[13]

Japanese American internment

Stimson was 73 years old when he took the reins as Secretary of War and many critics doubted that a man of his age could tackle a job this enormous, however he defied all naysayers and plunged into the task with "an energy that men 20 years his junior could not have mustered".

After World War II broke out in Europe, President Franklin D. Roosevelt returned Stimson to his post at the head of the War Department. The choice of Stimson, a conservative Republican, was a calculated effort by the president to win bipartisan support for what was considered an almost inevitable US entrance into the war. Ten days before the Attack on Pearl Harbor, Stimson entered in his diary the following statement: [Roosevelt] brought up the event that we are likely to be attacked perhaps next Monday, for the Japanese are notorious for making an attack without warning, and the question was what we should do. The question was how we should maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.*[9] During the war, Stimson directed the expansion of the military, managing the conscription and training of 13 million soldiers and airmen and the purchase and transportation to battlefields of 30% of the nation's industrial output.[10] He worked closely with his top aides Robert P. Patterson (who succeeded Stimson as Secretary),[11] Robert Lovett (who handled the Air Force), and John J. McCloy (Assistant Secretary of War).[12]

Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson with Col. Kyle (right) arrive at the Gatow Airport in Berlin, Germany to attend the Potsdam Conference (July 16, 1945).

Secretary of War (2nd term)

In 1930-31, Stimson was the Chairman of the U.S. delegation to the London Naval Conference of 1930. In the following year, he was the Chairman of the U.S. delegation to World Disarmament Conference in Geneva. That same year, the United States issued the "Stimson Doctrine" as a result of the Japanese invasion of Manchuria: the United States refused to recognize any situation or treaty that limited U.S. treaty rights or that was brought about by aggression. Returning to private life at the end of Hoover's administration, Stimson was an outspoken advocate of strong opposition to Japanese aggression.

Stimson returned to the cabinet in 1929, when President Herbert Hoover appointed him Secretary of State. Both served until 1933. When he moved to Washington, D.C., Stimson lived in the Woodley Mansion. He lived there until 1946, when he resigned from office.

The U.S. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson (right) and Frank B. Kellogg, at the leaving from the State Department, (July 25, 1929).

Secretary of State

In 1927, Stimson was sent by President Calvin Coolidge to Nicaragua to negotiate an end to the civil war taking place there. Stimson wrote that Nicaraguans "were not fitted for the responsibilities that go with independence and still less fitted for popular self-government". Later, after he'd been appointed Governor-General of the Philippines (succeeding General Leonard Wood), an office he held from 1927 to 1929, he opposed Filipino independence for the same reason.

Nicaragua and Philippines

Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, he was a strong supporter of Britain and France, but also supported the nation's neutrality policy. He called for preparation of a large, powerful army and was active in the privately funded Plattsburg Training Camp Movement to train potential officers. When war came in 1917 Stimson was one of eighteen officers selected by former President Theodore Roosevelt to raise a volunteer infantry division, Roosevelt's World War I volunteers, for service in France in 1917. President Woodrow Wilson refused to make use of the volunteers and the unit disbanded. Stimson served the regular U.S. Army in France as an artillery officer, reaching the rank of colonel in August 1918.[8]

World War I

In 1911, President Elihu Root, improving its efficiency prior to its vast expansion in World War I. In 1913, following the accession of President Woodrow Wilson, Stimson left office.

Secretary of War (1st term)

Stimson was defeated as Republican candidate for Governor of New York in 1910.

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Stimson U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Here, he made a distinguished record prosecuting antitrust cases. Stimson later served from 1937 to 1939 as president of the New York City Bar Association, where a medal honoring service as a U.S. Attorney is still awarded in his honor.

In July 1893, Stimson married the former Mabel Wellington White, a great-great granddaughter of American founding father Roger Sherman and the sister of Elizabeth Selden Rogers. An adult case of mumps had left Stimson infertile[7] and they had no children.

[6], a future Secretary of War and Secretary of State, became a major influence on and role model for Stimson.Elihu Root, graduating in 1890, and joined the prestigious Wall Street law firm of Root and Clark in 1891. He became a partner in 1893. Harvard Law School He graduated in 1888 and attended [5], a secret society that afforded many contacts for the rest of his life.Skull and Bones. He joined Phi Beta Kappa where he was elected to Yale College He then attended [4][3] He was a Phillips trustee from 1905 to 1947, serving as president of the board from 1935 to 1945.[2]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.