- Birth name:
- Robert Strange McNamara
- Date of Birth:
- 6 July 1916 San Francisco, California, USA
Robert S. McNamara was born in San Francisco, California on June 9, 1916. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1937 with a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Philosophy. He went on to earn a Masters degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1939 and had a job of teacher here from 1940 to 1943. He left in 1943 to join the Army Air Force, where he was awarded the Legion of Merit and promoted to lieutenant colonel before going on inactive duty in April 1946. After leaving the military he was hired by Henry Ford II who wanted educated people to help him modernize the Ford Motor Company that was near bankruptcy after years of bad management by its founder, Henry Ford. He was elected as a director of the company in 1957, and became the president in 1960. His short stay as president came to an end in January 1961 when President John F. Kennedy appointed him as Secretary of Defense.In October 1962, he was one of the key officials in the Cuban Missile Crisis. During the Vietnam War, McNamara found himself increasingly at odds with the administration's policies, particularly when Lyndon Johnson became president after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. His growing opposition to both US involvement in Vietnam and deployment of a major missile defense shield troubled military officials. Robert McNamara resigned from office on 29 February 1968. President Johnson awarded McNamara the Medal of Freedom and the Distinguished Service Medal. He became president of the World Bank Group of Institutions in April of 1968, retiring in 1981. Since his retirement he has written 5 books and spoken on a variety of humanitarian subjects, which earned him numerous honorary degrees and prizes.