General Lyman L. Lemnitzer papers

Collection ID: 
Record Group MSS SP 063
4.5 linear feet
Collecting Area: 



Biographical Note

    Lyman Louis Lemnitzer (1899-1988), General, United States Army, was a soldier, military planner, negotiator, educator, and diplomat.  A 1920 graduate of West Point, he served as Assistant Chief of Staff of the Allied Forces Headquarters under General Dwight D. Eisenhower during World War II, Commander-in-Chief of the Far East Command (June 1955-July 1957) Chief of Staff, U.S. Army (July 1959-September 1960); Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (October 1960-September 1962); Commander-in-Chief, U.S. European Command (November 1962-May 1969); and Supreme Allied Commander Europe (January 1963-July 1969).


    Lemnitzer was born in Honesdale, Pennsylvania on August 29, 1899, the son of a shoe manufacturer William L. Lemnitzer and his wife Hannah Blockberger.  He graduated from Honesdale High School in June 1917, and the following year he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1920.  In 1923 he married Katherine Mead Tyron.  They had two children, a son William Lyman and daughter Lois.


    During the decade and a half prior to the outbreak of World War II, Lemnitzer (in his own words) “alternated between duty with troops and service as a student and instructor at Army schools.”  He first served in a Coast Artillery unit, where won renown as one of the Army’s outstanding marksmen, and was awarded the National Team Gold Medal.  Afterward, he completed two tours of duty at Fort Mills, Corregidor in the Philippines (December 1923-March 1926; and July 1931-August 1934).  These tours of duty were punctuated by service as an instructor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (1926-1930, 1934-1935) and the Coast Artillery School (1936-1939).  As an officer with a promising career, Lemnitzer was chosen to attend the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1936 and the Army War College at Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1939-1940.  A member of the last pre-war class of the Army War College, Lemnitzer established a reputation as a thorough and imaginative planner. 


    World War II gave Lemnitzer an opportunity to demonstrate his talents as a planner, organizer and administrator.  In late 1941 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, after joining the War Plans Division of the War Department General Staff.  In this position and later with General Headquarters, the U.S. Army General Headquarters and the Army Ground Forces he participated in the planning for mobilization and training of the huge American wartime army that would carry out the invasion of North Africa, known as Operation Torch.


    Promoted again in June 1942, this time to Brigadier General, Lemnitzer served as Commander of the 34th Antiaircraft Artillery Brigade in England.  His familiarity with the plans for the forthcoming North African campaign led to an additional assignment with General Eisenhower’s Allied Forces Headquarters as Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations.  In this capacity he secretly contacted friendly French officials to smooth the way for the Allied invasion of North Africa.  Later in 1943 as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Fifth U.S. Army in North Africa, he served first with General Mark Clark in the Tunisian campaign and then with Field Marshall Sir Harold Alexander in Italy.  Lemnitzer showed particular skill in handling staff issues, and resolving conflicting interests in the army of the Allies.


    In the position of Chief of Staff, working under Field Marshall Alexander, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies in Italy, Lemnitzer took part in the negotiations with Marshal Badoglio that led to the capitulation of Italy, as well as discussions with Marshal Tito and Soviet Marshal


Tolbukhin to coordinate the final Allied military operations in Southern Europe against the German forces.  In May of 1944 he was promoted to Major General, and the following March entered Switzerland in civilian clothes to direct the discussions with German representatives that resulted in the unconditional surrender of the German armies on May 2, 1945.  


    After the War, Lemnitzer’s close relations with European military leaders and planning experience made him a natural choice to head the U.S. Delegation to the Military Committee of Five (Brussels Pact) powers meeting in London in 1948.  He not only participated in drafting the NATO Treaty, but presented it to the U.S. Senate for ratification.  Also, on the basis of his experience as a military diplomat, Lemnitzer was named the first Director of the Office of Military Assistance under Secretary of Defense James Forrestal.  In the meantime, from August 1947- October 1949, he returned to military educational pursuits as Deputy Commandant of the National War College at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C..


    In 1950, at the age of 51, General Lemnitzer engaged in parachute training before assuming command of the Eleventh Airborne Division and the Seventh Infantry Division during the Korean War.  He commanded American troops in the battles of Heartbreak Ridge, The Punch Bowl,  Mundung-ni Valley, and in the fighting in the Chorwon Valley, winning the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry.  In August 1952 he was promoted to Lieutenant General and in 1955 he became Commander of the Eighth U.S. Army and later Commander-in-Chief U.S. Forces, Far East Command (1955-1957).


    In July of 1957, General Lemnitzer returned to Washington to take up the duties of Vice Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army.  Among his accomplishments in this role, was his influence on the final decision regarding the relationship between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the space research programs of the Army.  He also was the U.S. Military representative at the meetings in London and Karachi of the Baghdad Pact Organization, later known as the Central Treaty Organization.  In March 1959 General Lemnitzer was named to succeed General Maxwell Taylor as U.S. Army Chief of Staff.  The following Year on August 15, President Eisenhower nominated him as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He was confirmed by the Senate, and served in this capacity until the fall of 1962.  His tenure as Chairman involved him the major European issues of the time, including the impact of the Soviet Sputnik program and the Berlin Crisis.  But his most difficult and controversial role involved the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, for which he shared some of the blame.  


    When President John F. Kennedy looked for a successor to General Lauris Norstad, as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR), Lemnitzer was the logical chioce, since no military leader, not even Eisenhower, had a longer association with NATO.  As SACEUR from 1963 to 1969, he helped to implement the new military doctrine known as “flexible response,” a policy designed to reduce NATO’s dependence upon nuclear arms by increasing the deterrence of conventional forces.  He also guided the Alliance through major challenges such as the Warsaw Pact’s invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the French withdrawal from NATO in 1966 under President Charles de Gaulle.  General Lemnitzer retired on September 1, 1969.  In a White House ceremony the previous July, President Nixon awarded him the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal, the U.S. Navy Distinguished Service Medal and the U.S. Air Force Distinguished Service Medal.


   In retirement Lemnitzer remained active as a sought-after speaker, advocate and adviser.  He was a tireless proponent of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, lecturing throughout the country about the importance of the Alliance and often testifying before Congress.  He was Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Citadel, Chairman and President of the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and a member of the Rockefeller Commission on CIA Activities within the United States.  In 1982 Kent State University named its Center for NATO Studies in his honor.  General Lemnitzer died on November 12, 1988 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  His wife Katherine, who died in 1994 is buried with him. 


Scope and Contents Note


            The Papers of General Lyman L. Lemnitzer (1899-1988), who retired from the United States Army in July 1969, after serving as Commander of the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East from March 1955 until July 1957; Army Chief of Staff from July 1957 until his appointment as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September 1960; and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO from 1963 to 1969,  is comprised of the General’s personal, military and political correspondence, records, reports, publications, and speeches, as well as many letters, cards, documents and ephemera related to the social and philanthropic activities of his wife Katherine Tyron Lemnitzer (1901-1994).  In addition to these materials, the collection contains numerous newspaper and magazine articles, documenting the activities of the General and Mrs. Lemnitzer, their family, friends and associates, as well as some family records.


            These records reflect General Lemnitzer’s activities as Assistant Chief of Staff of the Allied Forces Headquarters under General Dwight Eisenhower during World War II; as Deputy Commandant of the National War College; as the first Director of the Office of Military Assistance; as Commander of the 11th Airborne Division and 7th Infantry Division in Korea; as Commander of the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East; as Chief of Staff for the Army, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and as Commander of the U.S. Forces in Europe and Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.  They also reflect his testimony on national security matters before the Senate Armed Services Committee and his work on the Rockefeller Commission to investigate the allegations against the Central Intelligence Bureau.  The materials related to Katherine Lemnitzer document her leadership and involvement with social and philanthropic organizations such as the American Red Cross, the Army Wives Council and the Army Distaff Foundation, the Pusan Children’s Charity Hospital and the War Widows of Seoul. 


            Several topics within the collection, including General Lemnitzer’s duties as SACEUR within SHAPE, Katherine Lemnitzer’s charitable activities in Korea and among U.S. Army dependents and their relationship with numerous godchildren, overlap series within the collection due to original and processing organizational arrangements.  



Arrangement Note

   The Lemnitzer papers span the period from Lemnitzer’s service in the Tenth Coastal Artillery unit at Fort Adams during the early 1920’s until his wife’s death in 1994.  The collection is composed of  eleven series: (1) biographical materials, including magazine and newspaper articles, academic transcripts, honors, vitas, and oral history interviews; (2) General Lemnitzer’s writings and speeches; (3) the correspondence of General and Katherine Lemnitzer, both official and personal, including greeting cards; (4) the activities of General and Katherine Lemnitzer, ranging from charitable activities, dinner and entertainment functions, army social functions, membership on advisory boards; Masonic and civic activities, as well as political activities and lobbying; (5) photographs; (6) printed materials; (7) newspaper clippings; (8) memorabilia; and (9) personal papers, such as family financial, legal and medical records; (10) subject files for miscellaneous materials and (11) oversize materials.  The eleven series occupy eighteen boxes.

Administrative Information


Restrictions on access: Special restrictions apply: Series 3.2 Personal Correspondence, Series 9: Personal Papers: selected files of medical and legal information are restricted. Enquiries concerning the status, use and restrictions of the General Lyman L. Lemnitzer Collection should be addressed to the Special Collections Research Center,Temple University Libraries. Temple University does not hold intellectual rights to the writings in the collection.


Acquisition information: Purchased on 24 February 2010.


Citation: [Following the identification of the items and series], General Lyman L. Lemnitzer papers, 1923-1994, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries





Box 1

Series 1—Biographical Materials




·         Army Chief of Staff/Department of the Army

·         Autographs

·         Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

·         Chief of Staff-Portrait

·         Commander, 11th Airborne Division, 1950-51

·         Commemorations

·         Director-Office of Military Assistance (under Sec. of Defense James Forrestal)

·         (Early Career)-Tenth Coastal Artillery (1920’s-1930’s)

          Far East Command (1955-1960)

·         Film: “The Lemnitzer Story”

·         Genealogy

·         Honors and awards

·         Interment

·         Military Committee of Five Powers (Brussels Pact)/NATO

·         Museum Displays/Memorabilia

·         National War College

·         Oral histories

·         Papers and Archives


·Box 2  

Series 1—Biographical Materials, Cont.




·         Resumé[s]

·         Retirement

·         Seventh  Infantry Division Command, Korea (1951-1952)

·         SHAPE (1963-1969)

·         Tributes and Roasts

·         U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

·         West Point—Class of 1920

·         World War II


Box 3

Series 2 —Writings and Speeches




·         Acolades

·         Articles and publications by General Lemnitzer

·         Brookings Seminar on U.S. Foreign Policy (June 20-July 2, 1949)

·         Congressional Hearings and Testimonies

·         Eulogies

·         International and U.S. Defense Policy Issues

·         Lectures & Seminars

·         Legislative Concerns of General Lemnitzer

·         Lemnitzer on (an Unnamed) Secretary of Defense

·         Lemnitzer’s Support for President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative [Star Wars]


Box 4

Series 2 —Writings and Speeches, Cont.




·         Memos, Notes and Maxims [Mostly undated]

·         Official Statements/News Releases

·         Papers Reviewed/Critiqued by Gen. Lemnitzer

·         Speeches  (1 of 2)

·         Speeches  (2 of 2)

·         Testimonies before Congress

·         Vietnam “Post-mortem”


Box 5

Series 3—Correspondence.  This series is broken into three subseries: (1) Official Correspondence, (2) Personal Correspondences and (3) Greeting Cards.


            Subseries 3.1 Official Correspondence.  This subseries contains a number of important letters between General Lemnitzer and prominent military colleagues, among them SACEURs General Lauris Norstad and General A.J. Goodpaster and Admiral John S. McCain,   Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific.  It also contains letters to and from Lemnitzer to major political figures such as Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, as well as to former Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton.  Often the subject matter of the letters is inconsequential; however, they often shed light on Lemnitzer’s views on specific military policies and political decisions.  See several examples below:


*27 March, 1967 General Lauris Norstad writes to encourage Gen Lemnitzer on the occasion of the French withdrawal from NATO, and the removal of SHAPE headquarters to Mons, Belgium.  He says that although this represents a new direction, “with the dedicated service of its members, its contribution to the cause of peace and security should be undiminished.” 

*26 June 1970  General Lemnitzer tells former Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton that an Armed Forces Day Luncheon in Scranton, PA gave him an opportunity “to explain why I thought that President Nixon’s Cambodian decision was a sound one” and why he considered it “long overdue.” 

*1 June 1972  General Lemnitzer writes to Admiral John S. McCain to commend the Presidental decision “to mine the harbors of North Vietnam and to destroy their ability to receive and move war supplies.”    





·         General Lemnitzer’s Official Correspondence (1945-1955)

·         General Lemnitzer’s Official Correspondence (1955-1963)

·         General Lemnitzer’s Official Correspondence (1963-1969)

·         General Lemnitzer’s Official Correspondence-Post-Retirement  (1969-1988)

                        (Restriction on SFC Walter P. Stuckert material)

·         General Lemnitzer’s Official Documents  and Memoranda

·         Katherine Lemnitzer’s Official Correspondence (1955-1960)

·         Katherine Lemnitzer’s Official Correspondence-Quarters #1 (1960-1963)

·         Katherine Lemnitzer’s Official Correspondence-SHAPE (1963-1969)


 Subseries 3.2   Personal Correspondence.  Although the bulk of this subseries is comprised of thank you notes and family business, the volume of Katherine Lemnitzer’s personal correspondence with the wives of several powerful figures, such as Korean President Syngman Rhee and the Chinese Nationalist President  Chiang Kai-Shek, suggests the close relationship that the Lemnitzers had with these Asian leaders.




·         Personal Letters to General and Katherine Lemnitzer (1950-1969)

·         General Lemniter’s Personal Correspondence (1949-1962)

·         General Lemnitzer’s Personal Correspondence (1963-1969)

·         General Lemnitzer’s Personal Correspondence - Post Retirement (1969-1988)

·         Katherine Lemnitzer’s Personal Correspondence (1956-63)


Box 6

Series 3—Correspondence.  Subseries 3.2   Personal Correspondence, Cont.


·         Katherine Lemnitzer’s Personal Correspondence (1963-1969)

            Katherine Lemnitzer’s Personal Correspondence (1970-     )

            Katherine Lemnitzer’s Personal Correspondence (Undated)

·         Letters to and from Lois Lemnitzer Simpson (Daughter) (Restricted)

         Correspondence from William L. Lemnitzer (Son) (Restricted)

·         Correspondence regarding (General) William L. Lemnitzer (Son) (Restricted)

·         Letters from godchildren (Restricted)

·         Personal Greeting Cards to  General and Katherine Lemnitzer

·         Christmas Cards (Special)


Boxes 7-8

Series 3--Correspondence.  Subseries 3.3 Greeting Cards


Box 9

Series 4—Activities




·         Army Distaff Foundation

         Army & Officers’ Wives Clubs and Councils

·         Katherine Lemnitzer’s Army Social Activities (Far East) (1955-60)

·         Katherine Lemnitzer’s Army Social Activities, Fort Myer (1960-63)

·         Ceremonies—Far East (1955-60)

·         Katherine Lemnitzer’s Charitable Activities—Far East—Red Cross, Girl Scouts

·         Katherine Lemnitzer’s Charitable Activities—SHAPE

·         Citadel—Advisory Board

·         Conferences

·         Consulting Boards

·         Dinner  Functions—Far East  (1955-60)


Box 10

Series 4—Activities


·         Foreign Affairs Organizations

·         General and Katherine Lemnitzer’s Itineraries (Far East) (1955-60)

·         General  and Katherine Lemnitzer’s  Itineraries (1960-63)

·         General  & Katherine Lemnitzer’s Itineraries—SHAPE (1963-69)

          General Lemnitzer’s Itineraries and Schedules--Post  Retirement

·         Hobbies/Leisure Activities

·         Lobbying

          Luncheons, Dinners, and Ceremonies (1951-1959)

·         Luncheons, Dinners, and Ceremonies (1960-1969)


Box 11

Series 4—Activities


·         Masonic & Civic Activities

·         National Security Organizations

          Officers’ Clubs

·         Official Expenses

·         Official Functions,  Dinners and Entertainment—SHAPE (1963-1969)

·         President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (1975)

·         Retirement Dinner Functions

·         SHAPE-Official Functions (1963-69)

·         University of Ryukyus (Korea) & other Korean projects

·         Veteran’s and Conservative Associations

·         War Widows of Seoul (1956)


Box 12

Series 5—Photographs



          Awards & Honors

·         Far East-Red Cross-Photos

          God children

          Katerine Lemnitzer and Daughter Lois

          Masonic Activities

·         Military Colleagues (Photographs with fellow officers)

·        Photos of Mrs. Lemnitzer and Daughter Lois (Tokyo, 1957)

         General Lemnitzer as SACEUR (SHAPE)

         World War II--Army General Staff (1942)



Box 13

Series 6—Printed Materials



          Articles and Publications by General Lemnitzer

          Brochures, Flyers & Post Cards

          Diplomatic and Foreign Affairs Publications

          Extra Copies of Publications

          Military Publications

          News Services & News Magazines

          Printed Materials about General Lyman and Katherine Lemnitzer

          SHAPE Publications (1962, 1968)

          Various Magazines


Box 14

Series 7—News Clippings



          Authorization of Appropriation for Military Procurement, FY 1970

          Bay of Pigs Affair

          Chief of Staff

          The Citadel

          Congressional Testimonies

          Far East Command

          Gen. Alexander Haig

          Gen. Lyman  & Katherine Lemnitzer

          “Ike” and Other Lemnitzer Colleagues

·         Korean War

          Korean Adoptions Program

          Lois Lemnitzer’s Wedding

          Military Assistance Program (1949)

          President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (1976)

          Reagan Presidency

·         SHAPE

·         Vietnam Conflict

·         Wayne County News Coverage (Local)

·         West Point--U.S. Military Academy

·         World War II


Box 15

Series 8—Memorabilia






Series 9—Personal Papers (Restricted)




·         Army Medical Records

          Automobile Accident-Philippines (1934)

·         Banking Correspondence and Documents

          Estate of Katherine Lemnitzer  (1994)

·         Family business and financial records

          Financial statement of Mrs. William L. Lemnitzer (1947)

·         Inventory of Personal Assets (1939, 1961-66)

·         Pet Certification Records

·         Receipts

          Report of Robbery at Honesdale Residence

·         Retirement Documents

          World War II--Veterans Compensation


Box 16

Series 10—Subject Files




          Anecdotes, Humor & Cartoons


          Biographies (Eisenhower, T.D. White, Omar Bradley)

          Calling Cards


          Christmas Lists (Children)

·         Graduation Exercises

·         Maps


·         Military Uniforms and Medals

·         Miscellaneous Lectures (attended)

          Miscellaneous Memoranda


Box 17

Series 10, Subject Files, Cont.


          Political Associates and Contemporaries

          Religious Observances & Values

          Retirement Ceremonies (for colleagues)

          Speeches (Extra copies)

          Speeches  & Testimonies (by others)


Box 18

Series 11—Oversize Materials



          Biographies & Chronologies

          Citadel--Recommendations of Advisory Committee


          Itinerary of CINCFE.  Visit to Saigon, 18-23 January, 1957

          Maps of Far East

          Miscellaneous News Clippings

          National Archives Oral History Interview (1966)

          Previdi (Draft) Profile of Gen. Lemnitzer for R. R. Love’s Army Chiefs of Staff

          West Point--Class of 1920