Mark W. Clark

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Mark Wayne Clark (May 1, 1896 - April 17, 1984) was an American general during World War II and the Korean War.

Clark was a descendent of Revolutionary leader George Rogers Clark. He was born in Madison Barracks, New York, but spent much of his youth in Illinois. Clark graduated from West Point in 1917. He had gained an early appointment to the military academy, but lost time from illnesses. He was appointed to the rank of captain in the infantry in 1917 and served in France during World War I in the 11th Infantry, where he was wounded.

Between the wars, Clark served as a deputy commander of the Civilian Conservation Corps. He attended the Command and General Staff School in 1935 and the Army War College in 1937.


World War II

During World War II, He was the Deputy Commander for Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa. He landed by submarine weeks before the invasion to negotiate with the Vichy French at Cherchell on October 21 22, 1942.

Clark was the youngest officer to become Lt. General in 1943, and was given command of the US Fifth Army shortly before the Salerno landings in Italy in September 1943 after being named the . In December 1944 he assumed command of the British/American 15th Army Group, putting him in command of all ground troops in Italy. His conduct of operations remains controversial, particularly the attack on Monte Cassino, the slow progress of conquering Italy, and the failure to entrap and capture German units during the Battle of the Winter Line, when Clark sent his units towards Rome, in an attempt to be the first to enter the city, rather than to exploit a gap in the German positions. As a result of Clark's actions, the Gothic Line was not broken for another year, and the provisional governments and safe areas which the Allies had encouraged the Italian Partisans to set up were smashed by the German Army, at great loss to the partisans.

Because of problems Americans had in Italy, some people had a low opinion of General Clark. Doctor Charles Schueller - a former Army Captain who served from October 1942 - February 1946 felt Clark was wrong to attempt going up the Apennines. In the book Hometown Heros: Dubuque Remembers WWII, Schueller had this to say;

"Bonehead General Mark Clark; he was the first man in history to think that he could go up the Apennines Mountains, but there was only one road, and that one hugged the coast. And the rest of it was mountains, and you had to fight your way up.

"Monte Cassino - I was there. Mark Clark, in his wisdom, thought that was the highest promontory mountain, and that the Germans were using that as a lookout and could see where we were. Well, what the hell, they didn't need it, they had the rest of the mountains, and they didn't need that damn place. And the Germans had respected the monks and their culture, because the Germans did not go in there.

"But Clark got the idea that the Germans in the monastery were the reason they couldn't make any headway up the mountains...So they decided to bomb the hell out of it."1

At the war's end he was Commander of Allied Forces in Italy and, later, U.S. High Commissioner of Austria. Returning home, he commanded the U.S. Sixth Army.

During and After the Korean War

During the Korean war, he took over as commander of the United Nations forces in April 1952, succeeding General Matthew Ridgway. It was Clark who signed the cease fire agreement with North Korea in 1953.

After retiring from the army, General Clark served (1954-66) as president of The Citadel military academy, at Charleston, S.C. He wrote two volumes of memoirs: Calculated Risk (1950) and From the Danube to the Yalu (1954).

Mark Clark's quick rise from field officer through general officer ranks has been attributed to his relationship with Generals George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower.

External links


1. Koontz, Ian M.D. et Al. Hometown Heros: Dubuque Remembers WW II. 2001: Woodward Communications, Inc. Dubuque, Iowa.

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