The school of experience: George W. Goethals, professional development, and reform in the U.S. Army, 1876-1907 Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • McGovern, Rory
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • In the culminating achievements of a lengthy U.S. Army career, George W. Goethals completed the Panama Canal and managed the effort to sustain over two million soldiers abroad during the final year of World War I. At the outset of that career, neither he nor the Army was prepared to accomplish these missions. This thesis studies not only Goethals's life and career up to 1907 when he was ordered to Panama, but also the Army's reforms, methods of developing rising officers, and attitudes about formal training and education during that period. Ultimately, it finds that Goethals's career was shaped by a small amount of training and the interplay of his own talent, personal connections, and luck. It also suggests that prevailing attitudes about training and education helped create an institutional culture that was at odds with structural reforms implemented by Secretary of War Elihu Root after the Spanish American War.
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  • In Copyright
  • Glatthaar, Joseph
  • Master of Arts
Graduation year
  • 2014

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