Term of Award

Spring 2002

Degree Name

Masters of Arts in History

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of History

Committee Chair

Charles S. Thomas

Committee Member 1

Alan C. Downs

Committee Member 2

E. Thomas McMullen

Committee Member 3

Paul A. Rodell


In all the great military conflicts throughout history, there have been little known individuals possessing remarkable abilities to organize, train, and lead troops to victory. Oftentimes such individuals lead lives of distinction on and off the battlefield They are, in the eyes of their men, true heroes, not only for their victories, but because of the path that led them to victory.

Walter Krueger's humble beginnings and subsequent rise to the rank of four star general show that the road he traveled was long and at times arduous. He still remains a forgotten soldier at the dawn of a new century. Had he been as eager to bask in the spotlight as his superior Douglas MacArthur, certainly all of America would know his name and bookshelves would possess volumes chronicling his life.

But outside a military historian's world, the name Walter Krueger conjures no memones There are no serious studies of his life to date, with the possible exception of Professor William Leary's 1985 article taken from his book We Shall Return':MacArthur's Commanders and the Defeat of Japan, 1942-1945. Though a quality, well-researched piece, Leary confines his treatment to the military aspects of Krueger's life, particularly World War Two. While Krueger embodied the military life, there is material buried in archives, historical societies, and libraries, that reveals the man beyond the uniform.

In my thesis, "Steady Ascension," I have expanded considerably on Leary's work, adding a more personal note to Krueger's existence By following the man from boyhood in Indiana to civic-minded retiree in San Antonio, Texas, 1 hope to give readers a thorough understanding of Krueger's life and reputation as a soldier's general. From a man who enlisted as a private in 1898 to a four-star general who stood on the battleship Missouri while Japan surrendered in 1945, Walter Krueger stands as an achievement of the common soldier. Lacking the financial and scholastic advantages many of his counterparts had, Krueger persevered to the highest rank and proved his is as worthy of respect and praise as anyone who has led an army in the field of battle.

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