Leading the Generals and Admirals
FDR appointed and commanded an extraordinary group of military leaders during World War II. Their names - including George Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower, Chester Nimitz, Ernest King, Hap Arnold and Douglas MacArthur - are still remembered by Americans.
A confident Commander in Chief, Roosevelt moved aggressively to centralize strategy and high command in the White House. He devised the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1942 to advise him. Together, he and his lieutenants virtually created the modern American military. The armed services grew from just 334,473 active duty personnel in 1939 to 12,123,455 in 1945. The Army and Navy modernized and expanded and, with FDR's endorsement, American air power increased dramatically. The President also supported new agencies like the Office of Strategic Services (precursor to the CIA) and the Office of Scientific Research and Development (which included the Manhattan Project the developed the atomic bomb).