* World War I biographies : Josephus Daniels

World War I: Biographies-- Josephus Daniels (United States, 1862-1948)

Figure 1.--Here we see former Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels with Adm. McCully and his Russian children. Click on the image for information about the children. The photograph was dated January 28, 1921.

Josephus Daniels was born in North Carolina during the Civil War (1862). He became the state's most important newspaper editor. He used the paper to promote a progressive agenda. He like quite a number of progrssives at the time was a vicious racist. It is amazing the people now being called racist. But here you have a real, unabashed and very influential racist. He was involved in the Wilmington insurrection (1898). As editor of the Raleigh News and Observer, the state's major newspaper, he became influential in the Democratic Party. He helped Woodrow Wilson win the Democratic nomination (1912). North Carolina voiting Democratic was a given as it was part of the Solid South. Wilson rewarded Daniels with the post of Secretary of the Navy (1913). Wilson of course was not offended with Daniel's racism because he himself was a confirmed racist. He knew nothing about the Navy and had no naval experience. Daniels would be Navy Secretary throughout World War I. His Assistant Secreatry was his not verty loyal Franklin Roosevelt. Daniels was not particularly engaged as Navy Secretary and left it largely to Roosevlt to run the Department. He was a stern moralist and confirmed teetoaler who banned alcohol aboard U.S. Navy ships. He also banned prostitution near naval bases. But he did mnakje some important decisions that would have an impact on World War II. Daniels set up the Naval Consulting Board to encourage inventions that had military potenbtisl. Daniels asked Thomas Edison to chair the Board. Daniels would also be the first Secretary of the Navy to sponsor naval aviation. He established the first naval air station at the Pensacola Navy Yard. He took a very foreward looking view and saw thar 'aircraft must form a large part of our naval force for offensive and defensive operations.' [Carrison, p. 117.] Before leaving office he oversaw another moralistic campaign this time with questionable tactics -- the Newport Naval Sex Investigation for which he and Roosevelt would becriticized by Congress. Despite his disloyalty, Daniels never broke with Roosevelt and supported his later presidential aspirations. President Roosevelt in turn, appointed him Ambassador to Mexico, not the most politic appointment. Daniels as Secretary of Navy had ordered the bombardment of the Mexican port of Veracruz (1913).


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Created: 8:47 AM 10/8/2020
Last updated: 8:47 AM 10/8/2020