Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
Teaser Image

Clay, Lucius DuBignon (1897–1978)

U.S. Army general who served as military governor in Germany. Born on 23 April 1897 at Marietta, Georgia, Lucius Clay graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1918 as an army engineer. He was an instructor at West Point between 1924 and 1928. He also served on General Douglas MacArthur's staff (1937); had charge of the construction of the Red River Dam near Denison, Texas (1938–1940); and headed the Civil Aeronautics Authority Defense Airport Program (1940–1941). In the latter position, he oversaw the expansion and improvement of 277 airports and the construction of 197 new ones.

In March 1942, Clay was promoted to brigadier general (the youngest in the army) and appointed assistant chief of staff for matériel. Rising to major general that December, he oversaw both military procurement and production. In November 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower called him to Europe to take on the herculean task of rejuvenating for Allied supply the French port of Cherbourg, which the Germans had destroyed. On leave from the army, he was next deputy chief of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion in Washington (December 1944 to April 1945).

Clay returned to Europe at the end of the war as a lieutenant general and Eisenhower's civilian affairs deputy, and in March 1947, he became U.S. military governor in Germany. In that position, he played a key role in rebuilding western Germany. When the Soviet Union imposed a blockade of Berlin in 1948, Clay recommended the Western Allies attempt an airlift, which President Harry S Truman approved. Days after the blockade ended in May 1949, Clay retired. He was one of the few occupying generals to have a street named after him (Clay Allee in Berlin). Clay was then chairman of the board of the Continental Can Corporation, although he carried out several special governmental assignments as well. He died in Chatham, Massachusetts, on 16 April 1978.

T. Jason Soderstrum


Further Reading
Backer, John H. Winds of History: The German Years of Lucius DuBignon Clay. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1983.; Clay, Lucius DuBignon. Decision in Germany. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1950.; Smith, Jean Edward. Lucius D. Clay: An American Life. New York: Henry Holt, 1990.
 

©2011 ABC-CLIO. All rights reserved.

  About the Author/Editor
  Introduction
  Essays
  A
  B
  C
  D
  E
  F
  G
  H
  I
  J
  K
  L
  M
  N
  O
  P
  Q
  R
  S
  T
  U
  V
  W
  X
  Y
  Z
  Documents Prior to 1938
  1939 Documents
  1940 Documents
  1941 Documents
  1942 Documents
  1943 Documents
  1944 Documents
  1945 Documents
  Images
ABC-cLIO Footer