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Collection Guide
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Register of the Walter Campbell Short papers, 1863-1991
75012  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Arrangement
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: Walter Campbell Short papers, 1863-1991
    Date (inclusive): 1863-1991
    Date (bulk): 1938-1946
    Collection Number: 75012
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of the Material: In English with some materials in Spanish and French
    Physical Description: 6 manuscript boxes, 14 oversize boxes, 3 motion picture film reels (17.9 linear feet)
    Abstract: Writings, correspondence, defense statements, photographs, film, scrapbooks, certificates, clippings, congressional prints, and other printed matter relating to Lieutenant General Walter Campbell Short, especially his military career and investigations of defense preparations at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Lt. Gen. Short was in command of the Hawaiian Department of the United States Army at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequently held responsible for the defeat, along with Admiral Husband E. Kimmel.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: Short, Walter Campbell, 1880-1949.

    Arrangement

    The collection is organized into eleven series: Biographical File, Correspondence, Speeches and Writings, Pearl Harbor Investigations File, Isabel Dean Short File, Walter Dean Short File, Photographs, Printed Matter, Motion Picture, Oversize Material, and Memorabilia.

    Access

    The collection is open for research.

    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Walter Campbell Short papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1975 with increments in 1985 and 1991.

    Accruals

    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Biographical Note

    Walter Campbell Short was born on March 30, 1880 in Fillmore, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1901 and briefly taught mathematics at Western Military Academy before he was commissioned into the United States Army in 1902. Short was stationed in France during World War I and served as a member of the 1st Division’s general staff and then as assistant chief of staff for the 3rd Army. During this time he earned the Distinguished Service Medal and became an officer of the French Legion of Honour.
    Prior to World War II, Short experienced a fairly successful career as a training and staff officer and earned the rank of major general. He served in a variety of locations such as the Presidio of San Francisco, Alaska, New York, the Philippines, Mexico, Germany, and Puerto Rico. In 1914 Short married Isabel Dean Short (1893-1984), daughter of Walter C. Dean who was mayor of Oklahoma City from 1927-1931. They had one son together, Walter “Dean” Short (1920-1993). Dean graduated from West Point Academy in 1942 and married Emily Harrison Irby in 1944. Dean and Emily Short had four children together: Emily Harrison Short, Walter Dean Short Jr., Margaret Isabel Short, and Carolyn Irby Short.
    On February 8, 1941 Walter Campbell Short was appointed to Commander the Hawaiian Department of the United States Army and granted the temporary rank of lieutenant general. He held this position until December 17, 1941, when following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he was relieved of his command and reduced to the rank of major general. The Roberts Commission was formed at this time, appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to investigate and report on the facts of the events leading to the attack. This commission issued their findings in late January of 1942 and stated in their report that both Lt. Gen. Short and Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, were unprepared for the attack and charged them with dereliction of duty.
    Lt. Gen. Short retired from the military in February of 1942 and took a position heading the traffic department at Ford Motor Company in Dallas, Texas. He retired from this position in 1946.
    At the conclusion of World War II, a new investigation was launched by Congress to investigate the events surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor. This new investigation was headed by ten members of Congress known as the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, or the Pearl Harbor Committee. During the investigation proceedings, Short gave testimony admitting to personal errors of judgement, but argued that Washington had not given him enough warning that an attack was imminent nor had he been supplied with adequate resources for an air defense. Despite testimony from both Lt. Gen. Short and Adm. Kimmel during the proceedings, the committee ultimately concluded that both men were responsible for the defeat.
    On March 9, 1949, Lt. Gen. Short died of a chronic heart condition. Fifty years after his death, on May 25, 1999, the United States Senate passed a non-binding resolution that exonerated Short and Kimmel from the charge of dereliction of duty. This resolution also included a statement urging the president to restore both men to their full war-time ranks; however, the recommendation was never carried out.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Writings, correspondence, defense statements, photographs, film, scrapbooks, certificates, clippings, congressional prints, and other printed matter relating to Lieutenant General Walter Campbell Short, especially his military career and investigations of defense preparations at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    United States. Army--Officers.
    United States. Commission to investigate and report the facts relating to the attack made by Japanese armed forces upon Pearl Harbor in the territory of Hawaii on December 7, 1941.
    United States. Congress. Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack.
    Motion pictures.
    Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941.
    World War, 1939-1945--United States.