USMC Small Wars Manual 1940 ed.

Duty Honor Country

Active member
I broke down and got a copy of the Small Wars Manual. Here are quotes that I feel are importnant. I will put more on as I read and find the time to post them here.

USMC Small Wars Manual

"Lessons of History"

Members of the native insurgent forces blend into the rest of the population, becoming "innocent peasant workers" when it suited their fancy. The enemy could be anywhere...Reliable information would be hard to obtain becuase hostile symathizers, intermingled with the population would try to deceive the Marines amd would force friendly natives to withhold accurate information.

While the Marines were extending their control over the host country, they were to develop a native army or "constabulary," which would ultimately assume responsibility for internal and external defence.

Once "free and fair" elections were conducted, natives would assume control of their country's domestic affairsand the 5th and final phase would begin. The Marines would withdraw from the interior and sail away from the pacified country, leaving prehaps a legation guard behind

...The Marines could not employ maximum force to obtain their objectives. Instead, they were to use as little violence as possible, avoiding bitterness that would interfere with diplomatic moves and obstruct the return to peace. Violence alone could not achieve American goals becuase the intervention had to deal with nonmilitary causes of insergency.
The Marines' own psychology would have to be different fromthat of regular wars. In a conventional conflict one aroused courage in troops by instilling hatred of the enemy. In a small war, it would be necessary to be ruthless and firm at times; yes the Marines would be dealing with a native population as well as the enemy (though the distinction between the two may not always be clear) and their relations with the people had to be tolerant, sympathetic and kind.
The manual discussed at length how to handle the host countty's population. Iturged careful study of natives, to understadn thier customs, their racial qualities, thier psychology, and their history. Before landing, officers were to talk to enlisted men about the "racial characteristics" of the host country. All ranks were to be indoctrinated in the proper attitude toward civilians.

The manual warned Marines not to judge native by American standards and give due consideration to their pride, their religions, their class distinction and other social customs...Marines were not to issue orders that needlessly damage people's self-esteem nor to make people suffer humiliation punishments...Warning that reprisals and other drastic punitive measure might "create sympathy for the revolutionists, destroy lives and property of innocent people, and have adverse effect on the descipline of out troops.