Smith, Walter Bedell

Smith, Walter Bedell,

1895–1961, U.S. general, b. Indianapolis, Ind. He enlisted (1910) in the Indiana National Guard, won a commission in the U.S. army (1918), and advanced to the rank of lieutenant general (1943). Secretary (1941–42) to the general staff, he became (1942) the U.S. secretary to the combined chiefs of staff, and as Dwight D. EisenhowerEisenhower, Dwight David
, 1890–1969, American general and 34th President of the United States, b. Denison, Tex.; his nickname was "Ike." Early Career

When he was two years old, his family moved to Abilene, Kans., where he was reared.
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's chief of staff (1942–45) he signed the surrender terms with Italy (1943) and with Germany (1945). Smith served (1946–49) as ambassador to the USSR, director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1950–53), and undersecretary of state (1953–54). He wrote My Three Years in Moscow (1950) and Eisenhower's Six Great Decisions: Europe 1944–1945 (1956).


See biography by D. K. R. Crosswell (2010).

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Smith, Walter Bedell

(1895–1961) soldier, diplomat; born in Indianapolis, Ind. With no college education, he began as a National Guardsman in 1910 and rose slowly through the ranks of the regular army until Gen. George Marshall brought him to Washington in 1939 to assist in the build-up of the army. By 1942 he was secretary of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and from 1942 to 1945 he was Eisenhower's chief of staff, in which position he helped plan and carry out the invasions of North Africa, Sicily, and Normandy. President Truman appointed him ambassador to the Soviet Union (1946–49) and then director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1950–53). Under President Eisenhower he served as under secretary of state (1953–54).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.