President Roosevelt to MacArthur: Get out of the Philippines

President Roosevelt to MacArthur: Get out of the Philippines

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President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders Gen. Douglas MacArthur out of the Philippines, as the American defense of the islands collapses.

The Philippines had been part of the American commonwealth since it was ceded by Spain at the close of the Spanish-American War. When the Japanese invaded China in 1937 and signed the Tripartite Pact with fascist nations Germany and Italy in 1940, the United States responded by, among other things, strengthening the defense of the Philippines. General MacArthur was called out of retirement to command 10,000 American Army troops, 12,000 Filipino enlisted men who fought as part of the U.S. Army, and 100,000 Filipino army soldiers, who were poorly trained and ill prepared. MacArthur radically overestimated his troops’ strength and underestimated Japan’s determination. The Rainbow War Plan, a defensive strategy for U.S. interests in the Pacific that was drawn up in the late 1930s and later refined by the War Department, required that MacArthur withdraw his troops into the mountains of the Bataan Peninsula and await better-trained and -equipped American reinforcements. Instead, MacArthur decided to take the Japanese head on–and he never recovered.

On the day of the Pearl Harbor bombing, the Japanese destroyed almost half of the American aircraft based in the Philippines. Amphibious landings of Japanese troops along the Luzon coast followed. By late December, MacArthur had to pull his forces back defensively to the Bataan Peninsula–the original strategy belatedly pursued. By January 2, 1942, the Philippine capital of Manila fell to the Japanese. President Roosevelt had to admit to himself (if not to the American people, who believed the Americans were winning the battle with the Japanese in the Philippines), that the prospects for the American forces were not good–and that he could not afford to have General MacArthur fall captive to the Japanese. A message arrived at Corregidor on February 20, ordering MacArthur to leave immediately for Mindanao, then on to Melbourne, Australia, where “You will assume command of all United States troops.” MacArthur at first balked; he was fully prepared to fight alongside his men to the death if necessary. MacArthur finally obeyed the president’s order in March.

President Roosevelt to MacArthur: Get out of the Philippines - HISTORY


"We're the battling bastards of Bataan:
No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam,
No aunts, no uncles, no nephews, no nieces,
No rifles, no planes, or artillery pieces,
And nobody gives a damn."

This doggerel verse reflects the strong sense of betrayal felt by MacArthur's troops on Bataan.

MacArthur is shocked to learn that the Philippines had been abandoned by the United States to its fate

On 4 February 1942, the submarine Trout arrived at Corregidor to transfer Philippine Treasury gold to a safe place and evacuate Lieutenant Colonel Warren J. Clear, an intelligence officer. Before departing, Clear revealed to MacArthur that the Arcadia Conferences, held in Washington between 22 December 1941 and 14 January 1942, and involving the chiefs of staff of the United States and Britain, had produced agreement between the United States and Britain "that only the minimum of force necessary for the safeguarding of vital interests in other theaters should be diverted from the operations against Germany". In a study that the US Army planners had produced on 3 January 1942, they demonstrated that MacArthur's plan for reinforcement of the Philippines from Australia was impractical while the Japanese ruled the seas in the western Pacific. The Army planners described MacArthur's plan as "an entirely unjustifiable diversion of forces from the principal theater - the Atlantic".

After his escape to Australia, Macarthur is pictured with his chief of staff Major General Richard Sutherland.

MacArthur was deeply shocked to learn that he and his command had effectively been abandoned to the Japanese by President Roosevelt. President Quezon was enraged by the news, and sent a cable to Roosevelt requesting immediate independence for the Philippines so that his government could negotiate a state of neutrality with the Japanese. Despite his bombastic press releases that had proclaimed his intention to defend the Philippines to the last man, MacArthur gave substantial support to Quezon's request. Roosevelt was appalled by the proposal and rejected immediate independence. With the intention of shaming the Philippine president, Roosevelt indicated willingness to allow Quezon to surrender the Filipino troops if they had no stomach to continue fighting and leave the Americans to fight the Japanese alone. As expected, Quezon was shamed by the offer and declared his willingness to fight beside the American troops to the end. See: Richard Connaughton, "MacArthur and Defeat in the Philippines", (2001) at pages 260-265.

MacArthur was rebuked for supporting Quezon in a separate cable. He was ordered by General Marshall "to proceed rapidly to the organisation of your forces and defences so as to make your resistance as effective as circumstances will permit and as prolonged as humanly possible." In his angry response to Washington on 11 February 1942, MacArthur insisted that he intended "fighting my present battle position in Bataan to destruction.." (Emphasis added by author). See Connaughton, at p. 265.

MacArthur manipulates public opinion to facilitate his escape from the Philippines

Despite his poor military judgment and other failings as a commander, MacArthur had a talent for self-promotion and cultivation of the media. He established a public relations office on his island stronghold of Corregidor in Manila Bay. During the siege of the Bataan Peninsula, while his desperate troops were starving, fighting, and dying in order to obey his order to hold their defensive lines to the end, MacArthur passed his time on Corregidor promoting an image of himself in American minds as the "Hero of the Pacific". He bombarded the American media with extravagant and self-adulatory press releases that hailed his military genius and determination to fight to the last man in his command. These press releases mostly ignored the heroic resistance of the American and Philippine troops and attributed full credit for delaying the Japanese capture of Bataan to MacArthur's brilliance as a commander. His former Chief of Staff in the Philippines and Australia, Major General Richard K. Sutherland conceded that MacArthur personally wrote or approved all of his self-adulatory press releases.

In his history of MacArthur in the Philippines, Richard Connaughton wrote:

"In the first three months of the war, MacArthur or his staff wrote 142 communiques 109 of which mentioned one man, MacArthur. They carried brave, exciting, heartwarming, gripping though often imaginary accounts as to how MacArthur's guile, leadership, and military genius had continually frustrated the evil intentions of Japan's armed forces. His picture appeared on the cover of Time at the end of 1941 and, early in the new year, the effect of these press releases upon the American public served to whip them up into a frenzy of fawning adulation of MacArthur, American hero."

MacArthur's accounts of his brilliant defence of the Philippines were splashed across newspapers in the United States where the war news had been uniformly grim since Pearl Harbor. MacArthur had quickly transferred to a bank in the United States the "reward" of $500,000 given to him by President Quezon in early January 1942, and as he had no close relatives in the United States, it is not unreasonable to suspect that MacArthur did not intend to end his military career sharing the hardships of a Japanese prison camp with his troops. MacArthur's self-glorification was aided by his powerful friends in the American media and politics who hailed him as the "Hero of the Pacific", and helped to promote a myth that he was a military genius who could not be allowed to fall into Japanese hands when Bataan and Corregidor inevitably fell.

President Roosevelt and senior army officers in Washington had become aware of the emptiness of MacArthur's boast that his troops would stop the Japanese on the beaches of the Philippines. They knew that MacArthur had compromised the defence of the Philippines by allowing his effective air power to be eliminated on the ground despite nine hours advance warning of such a risk. They also knew that MacArthur had inflicted unnecessary suffering on his troops by failing to prepare Bataan for a lengthy defence.

The phrase "to destruction" in MacArthur's cable to Washington of 11 February 1942 sent a clear message that he intended to sacrifice himself and his family in defence of the Philippines, and the words caused alarm in Washington. Roosevelt was very conscious that MacArthur's extravagant and self-serving press releases from Corregidor had made him a hero in the eyes of many Americans. The Democrats were facing tough mid-term Congressional elections in November, and Roosevelt was aware that MacArthur had powerful political support from the Republican side of politics. General Marshall urged Roosevelt to permit his old West Point classmate to be evacuated from the Philippines to take up a new command before the Japanese overran the defenders. General Dwight D. Eisenhower (later to become 34th President of the United States) had served as chief of staff under MacArthur in the Philippines in 1939. Eisenhower was aware of MacArthur's talent for self-agrandisement, and he had serious reservations about MacArthur's military competence. He urged Roosevelt not to bow to public pressure by saving MacArthur from sharing capture with his troops.

President Roosevelt also had strong doubts about MacArthur's military competence, but he was faced with enormous pressure in the United States to save the "Hero of the Pacific" from the Japanese and give him a new command. Although reluctant to do so, Roosevelt bowed to public opinion and political pressure. He decided to offer MacArthur a new command in the Pacific region. When the senior admirals of the United States Navy informed Roosevelt that they would not serve under MacArthur, Roosevelt decided to offer MacArthur an appointment as Supreme Commander, South-West Pacific Area (SWPA) with his headquarters in Australia. MacArthur would not be told that Roosevelt and Churchill had agreed at the Arcadia Conference in late December 1942 that the South-West Pacific, including Australia, would be relegated to the status of a secondary theatre of war while the Allies concentrated on defeating Germany.

US Army Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall, contacted MacArthur in early February 1942 to mention the President's offer of a new command in Australia and to suggest that MacArthur consider leaving the Philippines with his family and his most senior staff officer before the Japanese overran the defenders of Bataan.

MacArthur discussed General Marshall's proposal with his senior staff officers, and they agreed with him that the American position in the Philippines was hopeless and that they and MacArthur could best serve their country by leaving their troops to fight on to the end while they escaped to Australia. MacArthur advised General Marshall that he was prepared to leave the Philippines. On 22 February 1942, President Roosevelt reluctantly ordered MacArthur to leave the Philippines and take up the new command in Australia.

MacArthur prepares to abandon his troops to the Japanese

MacArthur realised that his departure for Australia could be misunderstood by his abandoned troops, and he requested time to prepare the groundwork for his departure from the battlefield with his senior staff officers. Before leaving them, MacArthur gave his desperate troops false hope of reinforcements. MacArthur assured them that many thousands of fresh troops were on their way, with strong air support, to relieve the beleaguered American and Philippine forces on Bataan. He ordered them to fight on until these reinforcements arrived. The promise of a relieving force from the United States was a cruel lie, and MacArthur knew it to be so. The order to sick and starving troops to fight on in a hopeless cause doomed them to greater suffering than they might otherwise have experienced.

On 11 March 1942, MacArthur departed for Australia under cover of night with his wife, his son, his son's nanny, and a large contingent of his closest and most trusted staff officers. Although ordered by General Marshall to take only one senior staff officer with him to Australia, MacArthur disobeyed the order and left the Philippines with fourteen staff officers, including his Chief of Staff, Major General Richard Sutherland. These staff officers were notorious for their sycophancy and lack of combat experience, and became known in Australia as the "Bataan Gang".

MacArthur left behind his starving troops, female army nurses, and many civilians to face the fury of a Japanese Army frustrated and angered by the stubborn resistance of the American and Filipino troops. With MacArthur's departure, Major General Jonathan M. Wainwright assumed command of American Army Forces in the Philippines with the temporary rank of Lieutenant General and the certain knowledge that he and his command were doomed to death or capture.

From the safety of Australia, MacArthur orders his troops to fight to the end

From the safety of Australia, MacArthur sent the following callous message to General Wainwright:

"I am utterly opposed under any circumstances or conditions to the ultimate capitulation of this command (i.e. the Philippines). If food fails, you will prepare and execute an attack upon the enemy".

Speaking of MacArthur's order to his sick and starving troops to fight to the end, and his infamous lie that reinforcements were on the way from the United States, one of the abandoned Americans on Bataan, Brigadier General William E. Brougher, probably expressed the views of most of them when he described the order and lie as:

"A foul trick of deception played on a large group of Americans by a commander-in-chief and his small staff who are now eating steak and eggs in Australia".

President Roosevelt to MacArthur: Get out of the Philippines - HISTORY

By Eric Niderost

Lieutenant John Bulkeley knew something was in the wind when General Douglas MacArthur invited him for an informal lunch at his headquarters on Topside, the highest elevation on the island fortress of Corregidor. The date was March 1, 1942, and American and Filipino forces on nearby Bataan were besieged by a powerful Japanese army. Lacking adequate air cover, wracked by tropical disease, MacArthur’s men where short of supplies, ammunition, and hope.

In spite of everything, the self-described “Battling Bastards of Bataan” fought grimly on, upsetting the Japanese timetable of conquest. But it was clear they could not hold forever. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had ordered MacArthur to escape to Australia, and the general decided part of the journey would be made by patrol torpedo (PT) boat.

“It’ll be a Piece of Cake”

After lunch MacArthur took the young Navy lieutenant out to a nearby field that was strewn with rubble and pockmarked with Japanese bomb craters. MacArthur told Bulkeley that he had been ordered to Australia, and once there he hoped to return with an army to relieve the beleaguered garrison. The general wanted Bulkeley’s PT-boats to take him through the Japanese air and sea blockade off Luzon and proceed to Mindanao, some 580 miles south. MacArthur and a small party would then proceed to Australia by air.

Bulkeley could scarcely believe his ears. “But General MacArthur, sir,” the lieutenant replied, “wouldn’t it be safer for you to get to Mindanao by submarine or by air?” MacArthur dismissed the suggestion with a smile. “They won’t be expecting me to make my breakout by PT-boats. Besides, I’ve got great faith in you and your boys. Well, Johnny, do you think you can pull it off?”

The lieutenant’s doubts—if he had any—were melted away by the warmth of MacArthur’s praise. He was young, confident in his own abilities, and possessed of an adventurous spirit. “General,” he replied with alacrity, “it’ll be a piece of cake.”

Lt. John Bulkeley: A Naval Man by Birth

In some respects, Lieutenant John Duncan Bulkeley had prepared for this mission his entire life. He came from a family with a long and distinguished naval background. If anyone had seafaring in his blood, it was Bulkeley. One ancestor, Charles Bulkeley, had served with John Paul Jones during the Revolution, while another forebear had been aboard Admiral Horatio Nelson’s HMS Victory at Trafalgar in 1805.

It was natural for Bulkeley to attend the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, but he had the misfortune to graduate in 1933, during the depths of the Great Depression. Because the Navy was so small at the time, there were not enough slots for new officers. He did not get his formal commission until 1934. Bulkeley soon showed himself to be a clever and resourceful young officer who had a taste for swashbuckling adventure. These qualities would stand him in good stead in the Philippines.

Once, aboard a civilian steamer en route from Norfolk to Washington, D.C., Bulkeley noticed four Japanese passengers who looked suspicious. This was in the mid-30s, and though there were rising tensions the United States and Japan were still at peace. He was informed that one of the quartet was the Japanese ambassador, but Bulkeley was not so sure.

Thinking they might be spies, Bulkeley slipped into the ambassador’s cabin and secured the diplomat’s briefcase. Eventually he took the briefcase, which he imagined was full of secret intelligence, and slipped over the side with his ill-gotten “treasure.” When he proudly reported to naval headquarters, official reaction was less than complimentary. An ashen-faced official took the briefcase, and later Bulkeley was told to keep his mouth shut about the incident.

The Boats That Captured Bulkeley’s Imagination

Ensign Bulkeley was a magnificent anachronism, a swashbuckling hero in the mold of John Paul Jones or Stephen Decatur. In the 1930s modern warfare seemed a matter of steel ships and big guns, not raw courage and individual initiative. Bulkeley needed a place where he could exhibit the very qualities that seemed out of place in an increasingly mechanized world.

Luckily for Bulkeley, he found out about PT-boats. These little craft were something new in naval warfare, and they were much disparaged by Navy brass who thought only in terms of big capital ships. Fast as a speedboat and supremely maneuverable, they were best handled by men of daring and skill. “Whatever in the hell these PTs were,” Bulkeley later admitted, “they captured my imagination. I couldn’t wait to sink my heart and soul into the program.”

Lieutenant (j.g.) Bulkeley was given command of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 3, which consisted of PT-31, PT-32, PT-33, PT-34, PT-35, and Bulkeley’s flagship, PT-41. Squadron 3 boasted a compliment of 11 officers and 68 men. In general, each boat had a crew of two officers and 10 to 12 men. The PT-boats were of the latest design, 77-footers that came equipped with four 21-inch torpedo launchers and two pairs of 50-caliber machine guns in power turrets.

By the late summer of 1941, it was clear that Japan and the United States were on a collision course. War was coming, though no one knew when, and there was a sense of urgency in the air. Bulkeley’s command was selected for rapid deployment in the Philippines, even though with six boats he had only half a squadron. The second half was supposed to follow later but never arrived because of Pearl Harbor.

Squadron 3 arrived in Manila on August 28, 1941, where it joined the Asiatic Fleet. Admiral Thomas Hart, commander of the Asiatic Fleet, was not impressed. Until the crisis with Japan heated up in the late 1930s Asia was considered a backwater. Hart had one heavy cruiser, USS Houston, and a ragtag collection of mostly antiquated destroyers, submarines, and other vessels. He had hoped for an aircraft carrier, some cruisers, or a battleship or two.

Oddly enough, Bulkeley found a champion in Douglas MacArthur. The general knew that the Philippines consisted of some 7,000 islands both large and small. PT-boats could easily negotiate the maze of islands and channels, all the while packing a punch with their deadly torpedo tubes. Originally, the new 77-foot long boats were to have been sent to the British under Lend-Lease. MacArthur was largely responsible for Squadron 3 being sent to the Philippines.

War Comes to the Philippines

War came to the islands on December 8, 1941. After receiving news of Pearl Harbor, MacArthur seemed to have been gripped by a kind of inertia. At first he even refused permission for the U.S. Army Air Forces, Far East to bomb Japanese-held Formosa. The situation was made worse by fog-shrouded fields and additional mistakes by MacArthur’s various subordinates.

The Japanese achieved tactical surprise when they attacked Clark Air Field some nine hours after Pearl Harbor. MacArthur’s air force was almost completely wiped out, most of it on the ground. Outclassed and now without air cover, Admiral Hart ordered most of the Asiatic Fleet to leave the Philippines. Bulkeley’s tiny Squadron 3 remained the Navy’s only offensive weapon in the islands.

On December 10, 1941, a swarm of Japanese bombers attacked the Cavite Naval Base, where Bulkeley’s Squadron 3 was headquartered. Once again, the raid was spectacularly successful from the Japanese point of view. Cavite was shattered, with flames and black coils of smoke rising high into the sky. But Bulkeley managed to get his boats out into the open water of Manila Bay before the first bombs fell, so all escaped unscathed.

Lieutenant Robert Kelly commanded PT-41 and accompanied Lieutenant John Bulkeley and PT-34 during the operation to evacuate MacArthur from the Philippines. This photo was taken in 1943 following Kelly’s promotion to lieutenant commander.

The Japanese saw the PT-boats, and the temptation to sink a few of these impudent little waterbugs was just too great. Enemy planes dove down like birds of prey, but as soon as they released their bombs, the PT-boats had skidded away. For the next few minutes the PT-boats zigzagged across Manila Bay, engaging in a kind of deadly cat and mouse game with an exasperated enemy.

The PT-boats sliced though the bay, their bows kicking up a white and foamy wake, and rooster tails of water spray kicked up behind the darting craft. Chattering .50- and 30-caliber machine guns peppered the sky with a hail of bullets, and within a short time three Japanese planes had been shot down. The Japanese planes withdrew, having failed to sink a single PT-boat. Squadron 3’s happiness at downing the planes was tempered by the loss of its base.

FDR’s Decision to Save MacArthur

In the meantime, MacArthur had ordered a withdrawal into the Bataan peninsula. The Japanese 14th Army, battle hardened and confident, had landed, and the Filipino-American forces were unable to stop them. The roughly 80,000 defenders of Luzon actually outnumbered the Japanese, but the strength was more apparent than real. The American 31st Infantry and the crack Philippine Scouts formed the backbone of the defense, but together they numbered only about 25,000 or so. The rest were raw Filipino recruits, barely trained and ill equipped.

By March 1942, the Filipino-American forces had been fighting for three months. MacArthur put up a brave, even bombastic, front, assuring all that help was on the way. But in his heart he knew that the Philippines had been written off. The defeat of Hitler seemed more compelling, and the United States adopted a “Europe first” policy. But in a time of gloom, when the Japanese were winning victory after victory and the Allies were hard pressed on battlefields throughout the globe, MacArthur’s defiance gave Americans a reason to hope.

President Roosevelt was faced with a dilemma. Even before the war, MacArthur had been one of his most famous and flamboyant generals. Roosevelt disliked MacArthur and had considered him a potential political rival in peacetime. The president had little regard for MacArthur the man, but MacArthur the general had become a hero in the eyes of an adoring American public. The Japanese were almost salivating in anticipation of his capture. Some propaganda even had MacArthur being hanged in Tokyo as a “war criminal.”

This simply could not be allowed to happen. MacArthur, the symbol of the American war effort, could not fall into Japanese hands. Then, too, Australia was in imminent danger of Japanese invasion, or so it seemed at the time. The great British fortress of Singapore had fallen to the Japanese, with thousands of Australian soldiers becoming POWS, and on February 19 Darwin, Australia, had suffered a heavy air raid.

MacArthur had spent years in Asia and was considered something of an authority on the Oriental mind. His loss would be a bitter blow. To stabilize a seemingly deteriorating situation in the Southwest Pacific, reassure worried allies, and to save an American “hero,” Roosevelt decided to order MacArthur to escape to Australia.

MacArthur’s ‘Illogical’ Choice: Escape by PT-Boat

When the order reached him, the general’s first reaction was one of outrage. It was as if leaving would show cowardice in the face of the enemy. He thundered and gestured to his staff, dramatically waving a paper that supposedly had his signature of resignation on it. MacArthur said he would resign his command and fight on as a volunteer on Bataan.

MacArthur was a genuinely brave man but so prone to theatrics it is hard to tell if he was putting on a show or sincere in his threats. At last he calmed down and decided the first leg of his journey would be by PT-boat. This flew in the face of all logic. In fact, Admiral Hart and other officials had already successfully escaped by submarine. An earlier proposal had MacArthur and his party leaving by the submarine Permit for the trip to Mindanao. From there, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers would fly him to Australia.

But MacArthur was insistent. He would go by PT-boat or not at all. He had utter confidence in Lieutenant Bulkeley. During the last three months MacArthur had had Bulkeley report to him almost every day. He got to know the young lieutenant, who had a swashbuckling, flamboyant flair so much like his own. In spite of the age difference and the fact that they were from rival branches of the military, they were in some respects kindred spirits. MacArthur developed an affection for the younger man, calling him that “bold buckaroo with the cold green eyes.”

This photograph shows speed and heavy armament of the U.S. Navy PT-boat. As the boat’s powerplant churns an impressive wake, torpedo tubes may be seen on its starboard side.

The idea of being trapped underwater in a steel coffin of a submarine while enduring a depth charge attack was not to MacArthur’s liking. If he had to go, he wanted to go down fighting, even if the only weapon at hand was a .45-caliber pistol. Then, too, the idea of breaking through the supposedly all but impenetrable Japanese blockade had enormous appeal. It was a blow to Japanese “face.”

Bulkeley’s Challenging Task

By early March, Bulkeley’s boats were in pretty bad shape. They had participated in a number of raids against the Japanese with varying degrees of success. But there were few if any spare parts, and much had been lost during the destruction of the squadron’s Cavite base on December 10. The submarine tender Canopus improvised as best it could, making spare parts and repairing those that were wearing out.

Unfortunately, Japanese bombing raids made it all but impossible to work during the day, which meant there was sometimes a backlog of repair orders. If that was not bad enough, the squadron’s precious fuel supply had been compromised, and Bulkeley strongly suspected sabotage. The gasoline was filled with large quantities of soluble wax, which clogged gas strainers and carburetor jets.

Some Filipino watchmen were searched, and blocks of paraffin were found in some kegs they had brought aboard. Bulkeley ordered their arrest as saboteurs. “I ought to shoot the bastards myself,” Bulkeley raged, but the damage was done. It was soon found that most of the wax could be strained out by filtering the gas through an old army hat. Still, the engines had to be checked regularly, and there was no guarantee they would continue to run normally from day to day.

There seemed to be an increased Japanese naval presence in the area. Allied radio broadcasts let the cat out of the bag by announcing repeatedly that General MacArthur was going to take command in Australia. The Japanese were eager to capture MacArthur, and if he was taken “running away” the propaganda coup would be that much greater.

Four PT-boats would be used in the breakout operation. They would all leave from different locations so as not to arouse the suspicion of any spies that might be lurking around. The four boats were supposed to rendezvous at 8 pm on the evening of March 11, 1942, off the turning buoy outside the minefields at the entrance to Manila Bay.

Bulkeley’s own 41 boat would carry General MacArthur, Mrs. Jean MacArthur, their four-year-old son Arthur, and his Chinese nurse, Ah Cheu. General Richard Sutherland, MacArthur’s chief of staff, would also be aboard, as well as Captain Herbert Ray, Lieutenant Colonel Sidney Huff, and Major Charles H. Morhouse, the latter coming along as MacArthur’s personal physician.

Lieutenant Robert Kelly’s PT-34 would have Admiral Francis W. Rockwell, commander of the 16th Naval District, as a passenger, as well as General Richard Marshall, deputy chief of staff, Colonel Charles Stivers, and Captain Joseph Pickering. PT-35 and PT-32 each held a complement of staff officers. The journey was dangerous but well planned under the circumstances. If the boats were spotted, evasive action was to be used. If attacked, PT-41 would make a run for it while the others attempted a delaying action.

“By Guess and by God”

The little convoy continued though the moonless night, just making out the dim silhouette of Apo Island before sweeping around Cabra Island and making a sharp left into the Mindoro Strait. After that, the boats proceeded southeast into the Sulu Sea. At first the sea was moderate, at least for Navy men, but their landlubber passengers started to feel queasy almost at once. The real misery began when the wind whipped up a frothy sea that included 15- to 20-foot swells. Many began to feel the gut-clenching pangs of nausea, including General MacArthur himself.

Though most of the passengers felt seasick, General MacArthur was in some respects the most seriously ill. Drenched and lashed by waves that crashed over the bow, stung by spray that drove against his skin like “pellets of birdshot,” MacArthur soon emptied the contents of his stomach into the raging Sulu Sea. Thereafter, all he could do was to go below and collapse wretchedly on a mattress, his face hollow-eyed and chalky white with continued dry retching.

MacArthur’s torment was mental as well as physical. He could not help feeling that he had abandoned his post in time of war, leaving his men to face possible death and captivity. Huddled in PT-41’s pitch-black interior, buffeted by the sea and his own raw emotions, Douglas MacArthur experienced what was probably, literally and figuratively, the darkest moment of his life.

Photographed inside their headquarters tunnel on the island of Corregidor on March 1, 1942, General Douglas MacArthur (left) and his chief of staff, Major General Richard Sutherland, ponder a situation that is growing more desperate by the minute.

By around 3 am it was clear the four boats had lost contact with one another. The next rendezvous point was supposed to be Tagauayan Island. Lieutenant Kelly’s 34 boat arrived first, navigating “by guess and by God.” Kelly sent two men ashore, who scrambled up the island’s 500-foot hill to act as lookouts for both enemy aircraft and the other three PT boats.

Meanwhile, Bulkeley was having his own troubles. He maneuvered PT-41 closer to shore in an effort to seek calmer waters. It was a calculated risk because there were uncharted reefs in the area, ready to gouge a hole into the hull of any unwary vessel. Yet danger lurked in another quarter, and when Bulkeley found out about it his rage knew no bounds.

Rendezvous at Tagauayan

PT-32 was under the command of Lieutenant (j.g.) Vincent Schumacher, and just before dawn he spotted a “strange, unidentified craft” to his rear. He cleared for action and seriously considered launching his torpedoes and opening up with his .50-caliber machine guns. At the last minute Schumacher decided to make a run for it instead, and 20 spare drums of gasoline were tossed over the side to make the boat lighter.

The sun’s light was growing stronger, and another look through his binoculars told Schumacher the embarrassing truth. The “unknown vessel” was PT-41. When the two boats met, Bulkeley dressed the young lieutenant down in no uncertain terms. If PT-32 had opened fire, all passengers and crew aboard PT-41 might have been killed.

After this near disaster, Bulkeley led the two boats to Tagauayan, where they rejoined Kelly and PT-34. There was no time to rest. Decisions had to be made. In the back of Buckley’s mind there was one worry. Where was PT-35? In the meantime, MacArthur called for an impromptu conference. The submarine Permit was scheduled to arrive at the island the next day. Should they transfer to the sub or continue the final leg of the trip by PT-boat?

Admiral Rockwell felt that they should continue with the PT-boats. There was always the possibility that Permit would not show up as planned. Bulkeley was perfectly willing to proceed but warned his passengers that the proposed night journey would be rough since they would be going across the open sea. MacArthur decided that they would continue to travel by PT-boat but felt they should start at 6 pm when it was still light.

In the end Schumacher and PT-32 would temporarily stay behind at Tagauayan, his mission to contact Permit and relay the message that the 41 and 34 boats were proceeding to Mindanao. Once he delivered the message, he would go to Panay, around 125 away, for repairs and fuel before continuing on to Cagayan, Mindanao. Schumacher’s passengers were divided between the departing 34 and 41 boats.

A Rough Journey For Douglas MacArthur

Unfortunately, Bulkeley’s prediction proved correct. The Sulu Sea was rougher than they had experienced on the first leg of the journey. Once again, MacArthur lay on a mattress, violently seasick, and most of his staff was in the same condition. But the sea was not the only enemy to confront. A Japanese cruiser was seen on the far horizon to the south. If it continued in that direction, it would be on an intercept course with MacArthur’s tiny flotilla.

Thinking quickly, Bulkeley ordered the PT-boats to turn west into the setting sun at maximum speed. Somehow they escaped detection. But once again the weather turned bad with rough seas and rain squalls. Bulkeley and his crews had never been in these waters, and for the most part navigation was by dead reckoning. They managed to reach the southern tip of Negros Island, then groped their way to Silino Island, which was sighted at 2 am.

Suddenly, Japanese searchlights lit the sky, probing fingers of light that explored the darkness. There were Japanese shore batteries in the area, and the engines of the PT-boats had been heard. Luckily, the Japanese had apparently mistaken the sounds as airplane engines, not surface craft. But their escape from Japanese artillery seemed to be the only small fragment of luck in what proved to be a miserable night.

Monstrous waves assaulted the tiny PT-boats, threatening to send them to the bottom, and there was a very real danger that someone might be swept overboard. Bulkeley and his officers and men were all feeling the strain since they had not slept for two days. But once again, it was MacArthur who seemed the worst off. Mental anguish over leaving, constant seasickness, and numbing, bone-weary fatigue had left the general in a semiparalyzed, at times almost catatonic, state.

The general could not sleep, so he talked to one of his aides, Lt. Col. Huff. Huff later recalled the incident with a mixture of incredulity and concern. MacArthur’s “great general” façade, the imperious face he usually displayed, slipped off to reveal the vulnerable human being beneath. It was almost surreal because MacArthur poured out his heart to the startled aide.

He talked about how he had tried for years to persuade Congress to provide adequate money for the defense of the Philippines, but in the main these pleas had fallen on deaf years. MacArthur, his voice choking with emotion, recalled how hard it was to leave Corregidor. The storm-tossed conversation was a kind of catharsis for the general, purging him of the regrets and anxieties he had harbored for such a long time.

Then, suddenly, the moment was over the granite façade was back in place, and MacArthur was his usual curt, imperious self. The general promised he would make Huff a full colonel, then wished him a good night.

Following his harrowing escape from the Philippines with his father and mother, young Arthur MacArthur receives a much needed haircut in Melbourne.

“You’ve Taken Me Out of the Jaws of Death”

Dawn came, and even though there was a risk in traveling by daylight, everyone’s spirits revived. The seas were also calmer, and the wind had died down. It was not long before they sighted the peninsula just west of Cagayan. On the big island of Mindanao, this was their final Philippine destination. Once on Mindanao, MacArthur and his party would be flown out by B-17 bomber to Australia.

It was the morning of March 13, 1942. There was still a chance that Cagayan was occupied by the Japanese, and all were relieved to see that was not the case. When PT-41 nosed up to the dock, MacArthur stood at the prow, almost as if posing for history. Whatever the general’s faults, ingratitude was not one of them. Before he departed for the airfield, there was still a task to be done.

MacArthur approached Bulkeley and told him that he would award every officer and man of his unit the Silver Star for gallantry. Both men must have been quite a sight. MacArthur’s eyes were red-rimmed, and his face was speckled with the stubble of an unshaved beard. His uniform, usually immaculate, was rumpled and stained. Bulkeley, too, had a growth of beard, and his hair was longer than regulation length.

“You’ve taken me out of the jaws of death,” MacArthur told Bulkeley, “and I won’t forget it.” And to his credit, the general never did.

A 1,500-Mile Flight From Mindanao

The next step for MacArthur’s party was Del Monte airfield, located on a plantation owned by the familiar pineapple company. The general was outraged when he finally arrived at the airfield. Instead of the three B-17s he had expected, there was only one battered bomber. There were three days of anxious waiting while MacArthur demanded better transport.

Originally, four B-17s had departed Australia, but two were forced back by engine trouble and a third ran into a rain storm and crash landed into the sea. Two crewmen had been killed, but after four hours in the water the surviving crew managed to swim ashore in the Philippines. The fourth Flying Fortress managed to reach Del Monte, though with damaged turbo superchargers and bad brakes.

General MacArthur’s outrage knew no bounds. According to some stories, he was not too happy with the battered plane’s pilot either. Lieutenant Harl Pease, 24, was an officer who looked like he was barely out of high school, though his looks were deceiving.

MacArthur heated up the radio waves with demands for new and better airplanes. Maj. Gen. George Brett, commander of the USAAF in Australia, eventually sent two B-17E Flying Fortresses to pick up the general and his entourage. One, No. 41-2447, was flown by Lieutenant Frank Bostrom, and the other, No. 41-2429, was piloted by Captain William Lewis, Jr. Each bomber was loaded with supplies for the troops in the Philippines, including quinine and other badly needed items.

It was clear the 1,500-mile flight fromMindanao to Australia was not going to be a “milk run.” At one point their path took them between two major Japanese airbases. Nevertheless, the two bombers took off and arrived safely at Del Monte around 10 pm on March 16. There were supposed to be three bombers, but one did not leave Australia because of a fuel leak.

It was decided that two B-17s were adequate for the task, provided MacArthur’s party would leave behind all baggage. This was done, but the two aircraft were cramped with both passengers and flight crew.

Arriving in Australia

It was just after midnight on March 17, 1942, when the two overburdened bombers struggled to get into the air. Engines sputtering and straining, the B-17s just managed to get airborne. Though MacArthur’s party must have been glad to leave the Philippines after so much danger, joy soon turned to nausea. Most were airsick the entire 10-hour flight to the land Down Under.

When the planes approached Darwin, Australia, they were informed by radio that their designated airfield was under attack by the Japanese. MacArthur’s two bombers were diverted to Bachelor Field, some 45 miles south of Darwin. The general remarked to Sutherland, “It was close, but that’s the way it is in war. You win or lose, live or die—and the difference is just an eyelash.”

Jean MacArthur and four-year-old Arthur were exhausted, and it was necessary to give the boy intravenous fluids. The general’s party boarded two Australian National Airways DC-3s for the trip to Alice Springs, where the nearest rail line was located. At the time Alice Springs was rough and primitive, more like a 19th-century Tombstone than a community located in the British realm.

MacArthur’s staff flew ahead to Adelaide, but since Jean refused to board a plane again the general traveled on a special train. The train was a steam engine pulling three wooden cars, and it took 70 hours to cross the 1,028 miles of narrow-gauge track. MacArthur was becoming disillusioned because he realized he had been told gross exaggerations if not outright lies.

Earlier, Washington had assured him that there was a massive buildup of American men, equipment, and matériel in Australia. There was a buildup, but nowhere near what he had been led to expect. He was not going to immediately return to the Philippines with an army at his back, and the truth hurt. Nevertheless, he put on a brave face. When he reached Terowie Railway Station on March 20, he gave an impromptu speech stressing the fact that he had come out of the Philippines, but “I shall return.”

The PT-Boat Escape: A Foolhardy Decision

In retrospect, Roosevelt’s decision to take General MacArthur out of the Japanese trap was a wise one. MacArthur was knowledgeable about the Far East, but above all he was a good and occasionally brilliant general who was the living embodiment of the military to the American people. His death or capture would have been a psychological blow to the Allied cause, a cause already reeling from the shock of many defeats.

By the same token, MacArthur’s insistence on PT-boats was foolhardy and almost reckless in the extreme. Going by PT-boat exposed the general, his family, and all his companions to unnecessary risk. The weather was bad, and they managed to avoid detection from Japanese shore batteries, surface ships, and aircraft by sheer luck. Above all the boats were worn out, dangerously in need of repair and overhaul.

If MacArthur had been lost at sea, killed, or captured, his breakout would have been a mere footnote of history, another entry in the growing list of Allied failures early in the war. But he did make it to Australia, thus providing one of the most exciting episodes of World War II.


Thank you for the amazing story. Our nation was built on the backs of heroes that should never be forgotten.

I am writing about the cook Willard Reynolds that was on PT-34 and eventually killed at Cebu, This gives me a insight of what he went through during the McArthur evacuation.

Written by Robbin M. Dagle

Updated Sep 8, 2020 5:41:41 PM

Here are five controversies you probably didn't know about the general. Photo from INTRAMUROS ADMINISTRATION/FACEBOOK

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — World War II ended 75 years ago on September 2, when Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender aboard the USS Missouri. In his speech, General Douglas MacArthur, supreme commander of the Allied Forces, recalled how the Japanese succumbed to its imperialist aspirations:

“But alas, the knowledge thereby gained of Western science was forged into an instrument of oppression and human enslavement. Freedom of expression, freedom of action, even freedom of thought were denied through appeal to superstition, and through the application of force.”

Today, MacArthur’s warning is eerily resonant. Myths of supremacy still drive nations to exclude and take advantage of others. Tyrants create cults of personality to rally their base and oppress their enemies.

MacArthur was himself prone to such delusions. Historian William Manchester called him the “American Caesar,” extolled for his genius and bravery, but fatally flawed in his hubris and ambition.

Here in the Philippines, where collective memory of the war is quickly fading, MacArthur’s legacy remains steadfast. He is best known for making and keeping his promise to Filipinos: “I shall return.” This earned the respect and adulation from the people, who even named him then as “Defender and Liberator of the Philippines.”

Recently, the Intramuros Administration held an online event with historians to discuss MacArthur’s mixed yet enduring legacy. Here are five controversies you probably didn't know about the general.

Quezon, MacArthur, and the $500,000 payment

Manuel Quezon was so sure of winning the presidency in 1935 that he asked his long-time friend MacArthur a year prior to beef up the Philippines’ national defense. Ricardo Jose, professor at UP Diliman’s Department of History, said that MacArthur probably saw the post as an “adventure,” having already reached the heights of military service as Chief of Staff. It was also a homecoming of sorts for the general, who started his military career in the country in 1903.

MacArthur, who requested Quezon for “adequate living quarters,” was given the luxurious penthouse suite of the Manila Hotel. (The room is still available for guests.) The two were even compadres, acting as godparents to each other’s sons.

But just as world war became more imminent, MacArthur was suddenly hard to reach for Quezon. Jose said that MacArthur was probably “distracted,” spending more time with his family and watching movies. This frayed ties between the two, as Quezon sought counsel from other officers of the Philippine Army and Major Dwight Eisenhower, MacArthur’s chief aide.

MacArthur and Quezon would later reconcile after Japan’s surprise attack on the Philippines. Quezon even gave MacArthur a payment of $500,000 for his services to the Commonwealth. While legal, this proved to be controversial as American officers were generally prohibited to take money from foreign governments. Jose believes that Quezon “was trying to make amends” to MacArthur and was also “probably trying to get MacArthur to call for more US aid.” Quezon made similar offers to Eisenhower, who refused, and to MacArthur’s chief of staff General Richard Sutherland, who accepted.

MacArthur's return to the Philippines almost didn't happen. MacArthur (photo center) and the Allies had to first claw their way back up and defeat the Japanese forces in New Guinea. Photo from the US ARMY/PUBLIC DOMAIN

Caught unprepared?

MacArthur assured Quezon that the Philippines “can be defended” in the event of war, given proper funding. Despite this assurance, some have blamed MacArthur for the Filipinos’ lack of preparation when the Japanese finally attacked.

Jose attributes the ill-prepared Filipino forces to gaps in funding and execution. “The reality was usually different from what was on paper,” he says. MacArthur “pushed and pushed” for more reinforcements and equipment from the Americans and thought that everything would be ready by March 1942.

Japan attacked on December 8, 1941. Hours after their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese planes bombed Clark and Iba airfields, decimating the Philippines’ air fleet (which was still mostly on the ground when the Japanese attacked). There were not enough planes to counter Japan’s air power. The enemy also attacked from the beaches, landing in Lingayen Gulf. The plan was to deploy torpedo boats to defend the Philippine coastline and pepper the beaches with heavy artillery. This never happened. MacArthur, an Army man, also left out the US Navy’s Asiatic Fleet in his plans. Jose says the Army-Navy rivalry may have influenced the general’s decision.

Cooperating with the Japanese

As the occupation of Manila was imminent, MacArthur declared the capital an “open city” on December 26, 1941 to prevent further destruction. War Plan Orange was now in effect — troops had to abandon defense of the beaches, withdraw to Bataan and Corregidor, and blow up bridges along the way to obstruct the enemy.

MacArthur, Quezon, and select cabinet officials had to escape before the Japanese arrived. Before leaving, the general met with the cabinet at Quezon’s Marikina residence. Here, MacArthur reportedly told Jose P. Laurel, Jorge B. Vargas, and other cabinet members to “cooperate” with the Japanese, but not to take an oath of allegiance. MacArthur had denied this account, but Jose says most of those present in the meeting remembered the general’s words “very clearly.”

Laurel, who was associate justice of the Supreme Court when war broke out, would later become president of the Japanese-sponsored Second Philippine Republic in 1943. Vargas, who was mayor of Manila when it was declared an open city, was named chair of the Philippine Executive Commission, the interim government set up by the Japanese before the Second Republic.

‘Dugout Doug’

Meanwhile in Corregidor Island, MacArthur set up his wartime headquarters at Malinta Tunnel. Here, they constantly monitored updates from nearby Bataan, where Filipino and American troops had retreated. Bataan’s rugged terrain was strategic for holding off the Japanese while awaiting reinforcements from the Americans.

MacArthur only visited his troops in Bataan once on January 10, 1942. Some viewed this as cowardice and lack of leadership, at a time when his men needed a morale boost. This earned him the nickname “Dugout Doug,” as in hiding inside a tunnel while his troops faced death. Jose is not sure why MacArthur did not visit Bataan often, but perhaps, MacArthur wanted to maintain a “more mystical and untouchable” aura.

In Corregidor, MacArthur maintained a brave face. According to Jose, MacArthur was never photographed wearing a helmet. Sometimes, he exposed himself “needlessly” to enemy air attacks and did not seek shelter during ongoing air raids.

MacArthur almost did not return

Despite the Allied Forces’ gallant stand, Bataan and Corregidor fell to the Japanese by April-May 1942. By then, MacArthur and his family had already left the Philippines in a daring escape to Australia, upon orders from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was in Melbourne where he promised Filipinos: “I shall return.”

This almost did not happen. MacArthur and the Allies had to first claw their way back up and defeat the Japanese forces in New Guinea. The Americans were also divided on where to go from there.

Two years later, and fresh off victories in New Guinea, Roosevelt called MacArthur for a meeting in Hawaii to strategize the invasion of Japan. The plan was to proceed to enemy-held Formosa (now Taiwan), thus bypassing the Philippines. MacArthur vigorously opposed the plan since it would be more strategic to retake Luzon first and stage the invasion from there, rather than fighting it out in hostile Formosa.

But James Zobel, director of the MacArthur Memorial Library and Museum in Virginia, USA, said that it was probably MacArthur’s moral plea that eventually convinced Roosevelt to change his mind. For the general, bypassing the Philippines would mean leaving thousands to die, betraying their commitment to the Filipino people, and diminishing America’s standing in the world.

2 thoughts on &ldquo Franklin D. Roosevelt and Douglas MacArthur -Similar Men, Different Legacies 4-6-06 &rdquo

Don’t know if this came up in your studies but they were distant cousins as well, both descendants of Ezra and Elizabeth Perry, as am I.
• Ezra Perry-Elizabeth Burgess
• Deborah Perry- Capt. Seth Pope
• Capt. Lemuel Pope- Elizabeth Hunt
• Mercy Pope-Caleb Church
• Joseph Church-Deborah Perry
• Deborah Perry=Joseph Church
• Deborah Church-Capt. Warren Delano
• Warren Delano Jr- C Robbins
• Sara Delano-James Roosevelt

And for MacArthur-
Ezra Perry

10th Generation — 7th Great-grandfather of Douglas MacArthur
Ahnentafel No: 654
Birth Date: ABT 1625
Birth Location:
Christening Date:
Christening Location:
Death Date: 16 Oct 1689
Death Location: Sandwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts
Burial Date:
Burial Location: Old Town Cemetery, Sandwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts
Spouse Name: Elizabeth Burgess
Marriage Date: 12 Feb 1651
Marriage Location: Sandwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts
Child: Deborah Perry

Oops, I see that you have included that in your article. Missed it first time through. So, did they know they were related?


A military brat, Douglas MacArthur was born 26 January 1880, at Little Rock Barracks, Little Rock, Arkansas, to Arthur MacArthur Jr., a U.S. Army captain, and his wife, Mary Pinkney Hardy MacArthur (nicknamed "Pinky"). [1] Arthur Jr. was a son of Scottish-born jurist and politician Arthur MacArthur Sr.. [2] Arthur Jr. would later receive the Medal of Honor for his actions with the Union Army in the Battle of Missionary Ridge during the American Civil War, [3] and be promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. [4] Pinkney came from a prominent Norfolk, Virginia, family. [1] Two of her brothers had fought for the South in the Civil War, and refused to attend her wedding. [5] Of the extended family, MacArthur is also distantly related to Matthew Perry, a Commodore of the U.S. Navy. [6] Arthur and Pinky had three sons, of whom Douglas was the youngest, following Arthur III, born on 1 August 1876, and Malcolm, born on 17 October 1878. [7] The family lived on a succession of Army posts in the American Old West. Conditions were primitive, and Malcolm died of measles in 1883. [8] In his memoir, Reminiscences, MacArthur wrote "I learned to ride and shoot even before I could read or write—indeed, almost before I could walk and talk." [9]

MacArthur's time on the frontier ended in July 1889 when the family moved to Washington, D.C., [10] where he attended the Force Public School. His father was posted to San Antonio, Texas, in September 1893. While there MacArthur attended the West Texas Military Academy, [11] where he was awarded the gold medal for "scholarship and deportment". He also participated on the school tennis team and played quarterback on the school football team and shortstop on its baseball team. He was named valedictorian, with a final year average of 97.33 out of 100. [12] MacArthur's father and grandfather unsuccessfully sought to secure Douglas a presidential appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, first from President Grover Cleveland and then from President William McKinley. [13] After these two rejections, [14] he was given coaching and private tutoring by Milwaukee high school teacher Gertrude Hull. [15] He then passed the examination for an appointment from Congressman Theobald Otjen, [11] scoring 93.3 on the test. [16] He later wrote: "It was a lesson I never forgot. Preparedness is the key to success and victory." [16]

MacArthur entered West Point on 13 June 1899, [17] and his mother also moved there, to a suite at Craney's Hotel, which overlooked the grounds of the academy. [18] Hazing was widespread at West Point at this time, and MacArthur and his classmate Ulysses S. Grant III were singled out for special attention by southern cadets as sons of generals with mothers living at Craney's. When Cadet Oscar Booz left West Point after being hazed and subsequently died of tuberculosis, there was a congressional inquiry. MacArthur was called to appear before a special Congressional committee in 1901, where he testified against cadets implicated in hazing, but downplayed his own hazing even though the other cadets gave the full story to the committee. Congress subsequently outlawed acts "of a harassing, tyrannical, abusive, shameful, insulting or humiliating nature", although hazing continued. [19] MacArthur was a corporal in Company B in his second year, a first sergeant in Company A in his third year and First Captain in his final year. [20] He played left field for the baseball team and academically earned 2424.12 merits out of a possible 2470.00 or 98.14%, which was the third-highest score ever recorded. He graduated first in his 93-man class on 11 June 1903. [21] At the time it was customary for the top-ranking cadets to be commissioned into the United States Army Corps of Engineers, therefore, MacArthur was commissioned as a second lieutenant in that corps. [22]

MacArthur spent his graduation furlough with his parents at Fort Mason, California, where his father, now a major general, was serving as commander of the Department of the Pacific. Afterward, he joined the 3rd Engineer Battalion, which departed for the Philippines in October 1903. MacArthur was sent to Iloilo, where he supervised the construction of a wharf at Camp Jossman. He went on to conduct surveys at Tacloban City, Calbayog City and Cebu City. In November 1903, while working on Guimaras, he was ambushed by a pair of Filipino brigands or guerrillas he shot and killed both with his pistol. [23] He was promoted to first lieutenant in Manila in April 1904. [24] In October 1904, his tour of duty was cut short when he contracted malaria and dhobi itch during a survey on Bataan. He returned to San Francisco, where he was assigned to the California Debris Commission. In July 1905, he became chief engineer of the Division of the Pacific. [25]

In October 1905, MacArthur received orders to proceed to Tokyo for appointment as aide-de-camp to his father. A man who knew the MacArthurs at this time wrote that: "Arthur MacArthur was the most flamboyantly egotistical man I had ever seen, until I met his son." [27] They inspected Japanese military bases at Nagasaki, Kobe and Kyoto, then headed to India via Shanghai, Hong Kong, Java and Singapore, reaching Calcutta in January 1906. In India, they visited Madras, Tuticorin, Quetta, Karachi, the Northwest Frontier and the Khyber Pass. They then sailed to China via Bangkok and Saigon, and toured Canton, Tsingtao, Peking, Tientsin, Hankow and Shanghai before returning to Japan in June. The next month they returned to the United States, [28] where Arthur MacArthur resumed his duties at Fort Mason, still with Douglas as his aide. In September, Douglas received orders to report to the 2nd Engineer Battalion at the Washington Barracks and enroll in the Engineer School. While there he also served as "an aide to assist at White House functions" at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt. [29]

In August 1907, MacArthur was sent to the engineer district office in Milwaukee, where his parents were living. In April 1908, he was posted to Fort Leavenworth, where he was given his first command, Company K, 3rd Engineer Battalion. [29] He became battalion adjutant in 1909 and then engineer officer at Fort Leavenworth in 1910. MacArthur was promoted to captain in February 1911 and was appointed as head of the Military Engineering Department and the Field Engineer School. He participated in exercises at San Antonio, Texas, with the Maneuver Division in 1911 and served in Panama on detached duty in January and February 1912. The sudden death of their father on 5 September 1912 brought Douglas and his brother Arthur back to Milwaukee to care for their mother, whose health had deteriorated. MacArthur requested a transfer to Washington, D.C., so his mother could be near Johns Hopkins Hospital. Army Chief of Staff, Major General Leonard Wood, took up the matter with Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, who arranged for MacArthur to be posted to the Office of the Chief of Staff in 1912. [30]

On 21 April 1914, President Woodrow Wilson ordered the occupation of Veracruz. MacArthur joined the headquarters staff that was sent to the area, arriving on 1 May 1914. He realized that the logistic support of an advance from Veracruz would require the use of the railroad. Finding plenty of railroad cars in Veracruz but no locomotives, MacArthur set out to verify a report that there were a number of locomotives in Alvarado, Veracruz. For $150 in gold, he acquired a handcar and the services of three Mexicans, whom he disarmed. MacArthur and his party located five engines in Alvarado, two of which were only switchers, but the other three locomotives were exactly what was required. On the way back to Veracruz, his party was set upon by five armed men. The party made a run for it and outdistanced all but two of the armed men, whom MacArthur shot. Soon after, they were attacked by a group of about fifteen horsemen. MacArthur took three bullets in his clothes but was unharmed. One of his companions was lightly wounded before the horsemen decided to retire after MacArthur shot four of them. Further on, the party was attacked a third time by three mounted men. MacArthur received another bullet hole in his shirt, but his men, using their handcar, managed to outrun all but one of their attackers. MacArthur shot both that man and his horse, and the party had to remove the horse's carcass from the track before proceeding. [31]

A fellow officer wrote to Wood recommending that MacArthur's name be put forward for the Medal of Honor. Wood did so, and Chief of Staff Hugh L. Scott convened a board to consider the award. [32] The board questioned "the advisability of this enterprise having been undertaken without the knowledge of the commanding general on the ground". [33] This was Brigadier General Frederick Funston, a Medal of Honor recipient himself, who considered awarding the medal to MacArthur "entirely appropriate and justifiable". [34] However the board feared that "to bestow the award recommended might encourage any other staff officer, under similar conditions, to ignore the local commander, possibly interfering with the latter's plans" consequently, MacArthur received no award at all. [35]

Rainbow Division

MacArthur returned to the War Department, where he was promoted to major on 11 December 1915. In June 1916, he was assigned as head of the Bureau of Information at the office of the Secretary of War, Newton D. Baker. MacArthur has since been regarded as the Army's first press officer. Following the declaration of war on Germany on 6 April 1917, Baker and MacArthur secured an agreement from President Wilson for the use of the National Guard on the Western Front. MacArthur suggested sending first a division organized from units of different states, so as to avoid the appearance of favoritism toward any particular state. Baker approved the creation of this formation, which became the 42nd ("Rainbow") Division, and appointed Major General William A. Mann, the head of the National Guard Bureau, as its commander MacArthur was its chief of staff, with the rank of colonel. At MacArthur's request, this commission was in the infantry rather than the engineers. [36]

The 42nd Division was assembled in August and September 1917 at Camp Mills, New York, where its training emphasized open-field combat rather than trench warfare. It sailed in a convoy from Hoboken, New Jersey, for France on 18 October 1917. On 19 December, Mann was replaced as division commander by Major General Charles T. Menoher. [37]

Champagne-Marne Offensive

The 42nd Division entered the line in the quiet Lunéville sector in February 1918. On 26 February, MacArthur and Captain Thomas T. Handy accompanied a French trench raid in which MacArthur assisted in the capture of a number of German prisoners. The commander of the French VII Corps, Major General Georges de Bazelaire, decorated MacArthur with the Croix de Guerre. Menoher recommended MacArthur for a Silver Star, which he later received. [38] The Silver Star Medal was not instituted until 8 August 1932, but small Silver Citation Stars were authorized to be worn on the campaign ribbons of those cited in orders for gallantry, similar to the British mention in despatches. [39] When the Silver Star Medal was instituted, it was retroactively awarded to those who had been awarded Silver Citation Stars. [40] On 9 March, the 42nd Division launched three raids of its own on German trenches in the Salient du Feys. MacArthur accompanied a company of the 168th Infantry. This time, his leadership was rewarded with the Distinguished Service Cross. A few days later, MacArthur, who was strict about his men carrying their gas masks but often neglected to bring his own, was gassed. He recovered in time to show Secretary Baker around the area on 19 March. [41]

MacArthur was promoted to brigadier general on 26 June. [42] In late June, the 42nd Division was shifted to Châlons-en-Champagne to oppose the impending German Champagne-Marne Offensive. Général d'Armée Henri Gouraud of the French Fourth Army elected to meet the attack with a defense in depth, holding the front line area as thinly as possible and meeting the German attack on his second line of defense. His plan succeeded, and MacArthur was awarded a second Silver Star. [43] The 42nd Division participated in the subsequent Allied counter-offensive, and MacArthur was awarded a third Silver Star on 29 July. Two days later, Menoher relieved Brigadier General Robert A. Brown of the 84th Infantry Brigade of his command, and replaced him with MacArthur. Hearing reports that the enemy had withdrawn, MacArthur went forward on 2 August to see for himself. [44] He later wrote:

It was 3:30 that morning when I started from our right at Sergy. Taking runners from each outpost liaison group to the next, moving by way of what had been No Man's Land, I will never forget that trip. The dead were so thick in spots we tumbled over them. There must have been at least 2,000 of those sprawled bodies. I identified the insignia of six of the best German divisions. The stench was suffocating. Not a tree was standing. The moans and cries of wounded men sounded everywhere. Sniper bullets sung like the buzzing of a hive of angry bees. An occasional shellburst always drew an angry oath from my guide. I counted almost a hundred disabled guns various size and several times that number of abandoned machine guns. [45]

MacArthur reported back to Menoher and Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett that the Germans had indeed withdrawn, and was awarded a fourth Silver Star. [46] He was also awarded a second Croix de guerre and made a commandeur of the Légion d'honneur. [47]

Battle of Saint-Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensive

The 42nd Division earned a few weeks rest, [48] returning to the line for the Battle of Saint-Mihiel on 12 September 1918. The Allied advance proceeded rapidly and MacArthur was awarded a fifth Silver Star for his leadership of the 84th Infantry Brigade. [49] He received a sixth Silver Star for his participation in a raid on the night of 25–26 September. The 42nd Division was relieved on the night of 30 September and moved to the Argonne sector where it relieved the 1st Division on the night of 11 October. On a reconnaissance the next day, MacArthur was gassed again, earning a second Wound Chevron. [50]

The 42nd Division's participation in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive began on 14 October when it attacked with both brigades. That evening, a conference was called to discuss the attack, during which Charles Pelot Summerall, commander of the First Infantry Division and V Corps, telephoned and demanded that Châtillon be taken by 18:00 the next evening. An aerial photograph had been obtained that showed a gap in the German barbed wire to the northeast of Châtillon. Lieutenant Colonel Walter E. Bare—the commander of the 167th Infantry—proposed an attack from that direction, where the defenses seemed least imposing, covered by a machine-gun barrage. MacArthur adopted this plan. [51] He was wounded, but not severely, while verifying the existence of the gap in the barbed wire. [52] As he mentioned to William Addleman Ganoe a few years later while superintendent at West Point, MacArthur personally led a reconnaissance patrol of soldiers into no man's land at night to confirm the gap that Bare mentioned to him earlier. The Germans saw them and shot at MacArthur and the squad with artillery and machine guns. MacArthur was the sole survivor of the patrol, claiming it was a miracle that he survived. He confirmed that there was indeed a huge exposed gap in that area due to the lack of enemy gunfire coming from that area. [53]

Summerall nominated MacArthur for the Medal of Honor and promotion to major general, but he received neither. [54] Instead he was awarded a second Distinguished Service Cross. [55] The 42nd Division returned to the line for the last time on the night of 4–5 November 1918. [56] In the final advance on Sedan. MacArthur later wrote that this operation "narrowly missed being one of the great tragedies of American history". [57] An order to disregard unit boundaries led to units crossing into each other's zones. In the resulting chaos, MacArthur was taken prisoner by men of the 1st Division, who mistook him for a German general. [58] This would be soon resolved by the removal of his hat and long scarf that he wore. [59] His performance in the attack on the Meuse heights led to his being awarded a seventh Silver Star. On 10 November, a day before the armistice that ended the fighting, MacArthur was appointed commander of the 42nd Division. For his service as chief of staff and commander of the 84th Infantry Brigade, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. [60]

His period in command was brief, for on 22 November he, like other brigadier generals, was replaced, and returned to the 84th Infantry Brigade. The 42nd Division was chosen to participate in the occupation of the Rhineland, occupying the Ahrweiler district. [61] In April 1919, they entrained for Brest and Saint-Nazaire, where they boarded ships to return to the United States. MacArthur traveled on the ocean liner SS Leviathan, which reached New York on 25 April 1919. [62]

Superintendent of the United States Military Academy

In 1919, MacArthur became Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, which Chief of Staff Peyton March felt had become out of date in many respects and was much in need of reform. [63] Accepting the post allowed MacArthur to retain his rank of brigadier general, instead of being reduced to his substantive rank of major like many of his contemporaries. [64] When MacArthur moved into the superintendent's house with his mother in June 1919, [65] he became the youngest superintendent since Sylvanus Thayer in 1817. [66] However, whereas Thayer had faced opposition from outside the Army, MacArthur had to overcome resistance from graduates and the academic board. [67] MacArthur's vision of what was required of an officer came not just from his recent experience of combat in France but also from that of the occupation of the Rhineland in Germany. The military government of the Rhineland had required the Army to deal with political, economic and social problems but he had found that many West Point graduates had little or no knowledge of fields outside of the military sciences. [65] During the war, West Point had been reduced to an officer candidate school, with five classes graduated in two years. Cadet and staff morale was low and hazing "at an all-time peak of viciousness". [68] MacArthur's first change turned out to be the easiest. Congress had set the length of the course at three years. MacArthur was able to get the four-year course restored. [69]

During the debate over the length of the course, The New York Times brought up the issue of the cloistered and undemocratic nature of student life at West Point. [69] Also, starting with Harvard University in 1869, civilian universities had begun grading students on academic performance alone, but West Point had retained the old "whole man" concept of education. MacArthur sought to modernize the system, expanding the concept of military character to include bearing, leadership, efficiency and athletic performance. He formalized the hitherto unwritten Cadet Honor Code in 1922 when he formed the Cadet Honor Committee to review alleged code violations. Elected by the cadets themselves, it had no authority to punish, but acted as a kind of grand jury, reporting offenses to the commandant. [70] MacArthur attempted to end hazing by using officers rather than upperclassmen to train the plebes. [71]

Instead of the traditional summer camp at Fort Clinton, MacArthur had the cadets trained to use modern weapons by regular army sergeants at Fort Dix they then marched back to West Point with full packs. [71] He attempted to modernize the curriculum by adding liberal arts, government and economics courses, but encountered strong resistance from the academic board. In Military Art classes, the study of the campaigns of the American Civil War was replaced with the study of those of World War I. In History class, more emphasis was placed on the Far East. MacArthur expanded the sports program, increasing the number of intramural sports and requiring all cadets to participate. [72] He allowed upper class cadets to leave the reservation, and sanctioned a cadet newspaper, The Brag, forerunner of today's West Pointer. He also permitted cadets to travel to watch their football team play, and gave them an allowance of $5 ($80 in modern dollars [73] ) a month. Professors and alumni alike protested these radical moves. [71] Most of MacArthur's West Point reforms were soon discarded but, in the ensuing years, his ideas became accepted and his innovations were gradually restored. [74]

Army's youngest major general

MacArthur became romantically involved with socialite and multi-millionaire heiress Louise Cromwell Brooks. They were married at her family's villa in Palm Beach, Florida on 14 February 1922. Rumors circulated that General Pershing, who had also courted Louise, had threatened to exile them to the Philippines if they were married. Pershing denied this as "all damn poppycock". [75] In October 1922, MacArthur left West Point and sailed to the Philippines with Louise and her two children, Walter and Louise, to assume command of the Military District of Manila. [76] MacArthur was fond of the children, and spent much of his free time with them. [77]

The revolts in the Philippines had been suppressed, the islands were peaceful now, and in the wake of the Washington Naval Treaty, the garrison was being reduced. [78] MacArthur's friendships with Filipinos like Manuel Quezon offended some people. "The old idea of colonial exploitation", he later conceded, "still had its vigorous supporters." [79] In February and March 1923 MacArthur returned to Washington to see his mother, who was ill from a heart ailment. She recovered, but it was the last time he saw his brother Arthur, who died suddenly from appendicitis in December 1923. In June 1923, MacArthur assumed command of the 23rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Division. On 7 July 1924, he was informed that a mutiny had broken out amongst the Philippine Scouts over grievances concerning pay and allowances. Over 200 were arrested and there were fears of an insurrection. MacArthur was able to calm the situation, but his subsequent efforts to improve the salaries of Filipino troops were frustrated by financial stringency and racial prejudice. On 17 January 1925, at the age of 44, he was promoted, becoming the Army's youngest major general. [80]

Returning to the U.S., MacArthur took command of the IV Corps Area, based at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia, on 2 May 1925. [81] However, he encountered southern prejudice because he was the son of a Union Army officer, and requested to be relieved. [82] A few months later, he assumed command of the III Corps area, based at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, which allowed MacArthur and Louise to move to her Rainbow Hill estate near Garrison, Maryland. [81] However, this relocation also led to what he later described as "one of the most distasteful orders I ever received": [83] a direction to serve on the court-martial of Brigadier General Billy Mitchell. MacArthur was the youngest of the thirteen judges, none of whom had aviation experience. Three of them, including Summerall, the president of the court, were removed when defense challenges revealed bias against Mitchell. Despite MacArthur's claim that he had voted to acquit, Mitchell was found guilty as charged and convicted. [81] MacArthur felt "that a senior officer should not be silenced for being at variance with his superiors in rank and with accepted doctrine". [83]

In 1927, MacArthur and Louise separated, and she moved to New York City. [84] In August that year, William C. Prout—the president of the American Olympic Committee—died suddenly and the committee elected MacArthur as their new president. His main task was to prepare the U.S. team for the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. [85] MacArthur saw the team as representatives of the United States, and its task was to win medals. "We have not come 3,000 miles", he told them, "just to lose gracefully." [86] The Americans had a successful meet, winning the most medals and setting various records. [87] Upon returning to the U.S., MacArthur received orders to assume command of the Philippine Department. [85] In 1929, while he was in Manila, Louise obtained a divorce, ostensibly on the grounds of "failure to provide". [88] In view of Louise's great wealth, William Manchester described this legal fiction as "preposterous". [89]

Chief of Staff

By 1930, MacArthur was 50 and still the youngest and one of the best known of the U.S. Army's major generals. He left the Philippines on 19 September 1930 and for a brief time was in command of the IX Corps Area in San Francisco. On 21 November, he was sworn in as Chief of Staff of the United States Army, with the rank of general. [90] While in Washington, he would ride home each day to have lunch with his mother. At his desk, he would wear a Japanese ceremonial kimono, cool himself with an oriental fan, and smoke cigarettes in a jeweled cigarette holder. In the evenings, he liked to read military history books. About this time, he began referring to himself as "MacArthur". [91] He had already hired a public relations staff to promote his image with the American public, together with a set of ideas he was known to favor, namely: a belief that America needed a strongman leader to deal with the possibility that Communists might lead all of the great masses of unemployed into a revolution that America's destiny was in the Asia-Pacific region and a strong hostility to the British Empire. [92] One contemporary described MacArthur as the greatest actor to ever serve as a U.S Army general while another wrote that MacArthur had a court rather than a staff. [93]

The onset of the Great Depression prompted Congress to make cuts in the Army's personnel and budget. Some 53 bases were closed, but MacArthur managed to prevent attempts to reduce the number of regular officers from 12,000 to 10,000. [94] MacArthur's main programs included the development of new mobilization plans. He grouped the nine corps areas together under four armies, which were charged with responsibility for training and frontier defense. [95] He also negotiated the MacArthur-Pratt agreement with the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral William V. Pratt. This was the first of a series of inter-service agreements over the following decades that defined the responsibilities of the different services with respect to aviation. This agreement placed coastal air defense under the Army. In March 1935, MacArthur activated a centralized air command, General Headquarters Air Force, under Major General Frank M. Andrews. [96]

One of MacArthur's most controversial acts came in 1932, when the "Bonus Army" of veterans converged on Washington. He sent tents and camp equipment to the demonstrators, along with mobile kitchens, until an outburst in Congress caused the kitchens to be withdrawn. MacArthur was concerned that the demonstration had been taken over by communists and pacifists but the General Staff's intelligence division reported that only three of the march's 26 key leaders were communists. MacArthur went over contingency plans for civil disorder in the capital. Mechanized equipment was brought to Fort Myer, where anti-riot training was conducted. [97]

On 28 July 1932, in a clash with the District police, two veterans were shot, and later died. President Herbert Hoover ordered MacArthur to "surround the affected area and clear it without delay". [98] MacArthur brought up troops and tanks and, against the advice of Major Dwight D. Eisenhower, decided to accompany the troops, although he was not in charge of the operation. The troops advanced with bayonets and sabers drawn under a shower of bricks and rocks, but no shots were fired. In less than four hours, they cleared the Bonus Army's campground using tear gas. The gas canisters started a number of fires, causing the only death during the riots. While not as violent as other anti-riot operations, it was nevertheless a public relations disaster. [99] However, the defeat of the "Bonus Army" while unpopular with the American people at large, did make MacArthur into the hero of the more right-wing elements in the Republican Party who believed that the general had saved America from a communist revolution in 1932. [92]

In 1934, MacArthur sued journalists Drew Pearson and Robert S. Allen for defamation after they described his treatment of the Bonus marchers as "unwarranted, unnecessary, insubordinate, harsh and brutal". [100] Also accused for proposing 19-gun salutes for friends, MacArthur asked for $750,000 to compensate for the damage to his reputation. [101] In turn, the journalists threatened to call Isabel Rosario Cooper as a witness. MacArthur had met Isabel, a Eurasian teenager, while in the Philippines, and she had become his mistress. MacArthur was forced to settle out of court, secretly paying Pearson $15,000. [102]

In the 1932 presidential election, Herbert Hoover was defeated by Franklin D. Roosevelt. MacArthur and Roosevelt had worked together before World War I and had remained friends despite their political differences. MacArthur supported the New Deal through the Army's operation of the Civilian Conservation Corps. He ensured that detailed plans were drawn up for its employment and decentralized its administration to the corps areas, which became an important factor in the program's success. [103] MacArthur's support for a strong military, and his public criticism of pacifism and isolationism, [104] made him unpopular with the Roosevelt administration. [105]

Perhaps the most incendiary exchange between Roosevelt and MacArthur occurred over an administration proposal to cut 51% of the Army's budget. In response, MacArthur lectured Roosevelt that "when we lost the next war, and an American boy, lying in the mud with an enemy bayonet through his belly and an enemy foot on his dying throat, spat out his last curse, I wanted the name not to be MacArthur, but Roosevelt". In response, Roosevelt yelled, "you must not talk that way to the President!" MacArthur offered to resign, but Roosevelt refused his request, and MacArthur then staggered out of the White House and vomited on the front steps. [106]

In spite of such exchanges, MacArthur was extended an extra year as chief of staff, and ended his tour in October 1935. [105] For his service as chief of staff, he was awarded a second Distinguished Service Medal. He was retroactively awarded two Purple Hearts for his World War I service, [107] a decoration that he authorized in 1932 based loosely on the defunct Military Badge of Merit. MacArthur insisted on being the first recipient of the Purple Heart, which he had engraved with "#1". [108] [109]

Field Marshal of the Philippine Army

When the Commonwealth of the Philippines achieved semi-independent status in 1935, President of the Philippines Manuel Quezon asked MacArthur to supervise the creation of a Philippine Army. Quezon and MacArthur had been personal friends since the latter's father had been Governor-General of the Philippines, 35 years earlier. With President Roosevelt's approval, MacArthur accepted the assignment. It was agreed that MacArthur would receive the rank of field marshal, with its salary and allowances, in addition to his major general's salary as Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines. [110] It would be his fifth tour in the Far East. MacArthur sailed from San Francisco on the SS President Hoover in October 1935, [111] accompanied by his mother and sister-in-law. He brought Eisenhower and Major James B. Ord along as his assistants. [112] Another passenger on the President Hoover was Jean Marie Faircloth, an unmarried 37-year-old socialite. Over the next two years, MacArthur and Faircloth were frequently seen together. [113] His mother became gravely ill during the voyage and died in Manila on 3 December 1935. [114]

President Quezon officially conferred the title of field marshal on MacArthur in a ceremony at Malacañan Palace on 24 August 1936, and presented him with a gold baton and a unique uniform. [115] The Philippine Army was formed from conscription. Training was conducted by a regular cadre, and the Philippine Military Academy was created along the lines of West Point to train officers. [116] MacArthur and Eisenhower found that few of the training camps had been constructed and the first group of 20,000 trainees did not report until early 1937. [117] Equipment and weapons were "more or less obsolete" American cast offs, and the budget was completely inadequate. [116] MacArthur's requests for equipment fell on deaf ears, although MacArthur and his naval advisor, Lieutenant Colonel Sidney L. Huff, persuaded the Navy to initiate the development of the PT boat. [118] Much hope was placed in the Philippine Army Air Corps, but the first squadron was not organized until 1939. [119] Article XIX of the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty banned the construction of new fortifications or naval bases in all Pacific Ocean territories and colonies of the five signatories from 1923 to 1936. Also, military bases like at Clark and Corregidor were not allowed to be expanded or modernized during that 13-year period. For example, the Malinta Tunnel on Corregidor was constructed from 1932 to 1934 with condemned TNT and without a single dollar from the U.S. government because of the treaty. This added to the numerous challenges facing MacArthur and Quezon. [120]

MacArthur married Jean Faircloth in a civil ceremony on 30 April 1937. [121] Their marriage produced a son, Arthur MacArthur IV, who was born in Manila on 21 February 1938. [122] On 31 December 1937, MacArthur officially retired from the Army. He ceased to represent the U.S. as military adviser to the government, but remained as Quezon's adviser in a civilian capacity. [123] Eisenhower returned to the U.S., and was replaced as MacArthur's chief of staff by Lieutenant Colonel Richard K. Sutherland, while Richard J. Marshall became deputy chief of staff. [124]

While in Manila, MacArthur joined an American branch of the Freemasons on 17 January 1936 and participated in a ceremony with 600 Master Masons. On 13 March, he was promoted to the 14th class (Rosicrucian high class association). [125] [ better source needed ] Eventually, at the time of the occupation of Japan, MacArthur belonged to Manila Lodge No. 1 and was in the 32nd Masonic rank. [126] [127]

Philippines campaign (1941–1942)

Defense of the Philippines

On 26 July 1941, Roosevelt federalized the Philippine Army, recalled MacArthur to active duty in the U.S. Army as a major general, and named him commander of U.S. Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE). MacArthur was promoted to lieutenant general the following day, [128] and then to general on 20 December. [129] On 31 July 1941, the Philippine Department had 22,000 troops assigned, 12,000 of whom were Philippine Scouts. The main component was the Philippine Division, under the command of Major General Jonathan M. Wainwright. [130] The initial American plan for the defense of the Philippines called for the main body of the troops to retreat to the Bataan peninsula in Manila Bay to hold out against the Japanese until a relief force could arrive. [131] MacArthur changed this plan to one of attempting to hold all of Luzon and using B-17 Flying Fortresses to sink Japanese ships that approached the islands. [132] MacArthur persuaded the decision-makers in Washington that his plans represented the best deterrent to prevent Japan from choosing war and of winning a war if worse did come to worse. [132]

Between July and December 1941, the garrison received 8,500 reinforcements. [133] After years of parsimony, much equipment was shipped. By November, a backlog of 1,100,000 shipping tons of equipment intended for the Philippines had accumulated in U.S. ports and depots awaiting vessels. [134] In addition, the Navy intercept station in the islands, known as Station CAST, had an ultra-secret Purple cipher machine, which decrypted Japanese diplomatic messages, and partial codebooks for the latest JN-25 naval code. Station CAST sent MacArthur its entire output, via Sutherland, the only officer on his staff authorized to see it. [135]

At 03:30 local time on 8 December 1941 (about 09:00 on 7 December in Hawaii), [136] Sutherland learned of the attack on Pearl Harbor and informed MacArthur. At 05:30, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, General George Marshall, ordered MacArthur to execute the existing war plan, Rainbow Five. Instead, MacArthur did nothing. On three occasions, the commander of the Far East Air Force, Major General Lewis H. Brereton, requested permission to attack Japanese bases in Formosa, in accordance with prewar intentions, but was denied by Sutherland Brereton instead ordered his aircraft to fly defensive patrol patterns, looking for Japanese warships. Not until 11:00 did Brereton speak with MacArthur, and obtained permission to begin Rainbow 5. [137] MacArthur later denied having the conversation. [138] At 12:30, nine hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, aircraft of Japan's 11th Air Fleet achieved complete tactical surprise when they attacked Clark Field and the nearby fighter base at Iba Field, and destroyed or disabled 18 of Far East Air Force's 35 B-17s, caught on the ground refueling. Also destroyed were 53 of 107 P-40s, 3 P-35s, and more than 25 other aircraft. Substantial damage was done to the bases, and casualties totaled 80 killed and 150 wounded. [139] What was left of the Far East Air Force was all but destroyed over the next few days. [140]

MacArthur attempted to slow the Japanese advance with an initial defense against the Japanese landings. MacArthur's plan for holding all of Luzon against the Japanese collapsed as it spread out the American-Filipino forces too thin. [141] However, he reconsidered his overconfidence in the ability of his Filipino troops after the Japanese landing force made a rapid advance after landing at Lingayen Gulf on 21 December, [142] and ordered a retreat to Bataan. [143] Within two days of the Japanese landing at Lingayen Gulf, MacArthur had reverted to pre-July 1941 plan of attempting to hold only Bataan while waiting for a relief force to come. [141] However, this switching of plans came at a grueling price Most of the American and some of the Filipino troops were able to retreat back to Bataan, but without most of their supplies, which were abandoned in the confusion. [144] Manila was declared an open city at midnight on 24 December, without any consultation with Admiral Thomas C. Hart, commanding the Asiatic Fleet, forcing the Navy to destroy considerable amounts of valuable materiel. [145] The Asiatic Fleet's performance was not very optimal during December 1941. While the surface fleet was obsolete and was safely evacuated to try to defend the Dutch East Indies, there were over two dozen modern submarines assigned to Manila – Hart's strongest fighting force. The submariners were confident, but they were armed with the malfunctioning Mark 14 torpedo. They were unable to sink a single Japanese warship during the invasion. [146] MacArthur thought the Navy betrayed him. The submarines were ordered to abandon the Philippines by the end of December after ineffective attacks on the Japanese fleet, only returning to Corregidor to evacuate high-ranking politicians or officers for the rest of the campaign. [147]

On the evening of 24 December, MacArthur moved his headquarters to the island fortress of Corregidor in Manila Bay arriving at 21:30, with his headquarters reporting to Washington as being open on the 25th. [148] [149] A series of air raids by the Japanese destroyed all the exposed structures on the island and USAFFE headquarters was moved into the Malinta Tunnel. In the first-ever air raid on Corregidor on 29 December, Japanese airplanes bombed all the buildings on Topside including MacArthur's house and the barracks. MacArthur's family ran into the air raid shelter while MacArthur went outside to the garden of the house with some soldiers to observe and count the number of bombers involved in the raid when bombs destroyed the home. One bomb struck only ten feet from MacArthur and the soldiers shielded him with their bodies and helmets. Filipino sergeant Domingo Adversario was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart for getting his hand wounded by the bomb and covering MacArthur's head with his own helmet, which was also hit by shrapnel. MacArthur was not wounded. [150] Later, most of the headquarters moved to Bataan, leaving only the nucleus with MacArthur. [151] The troops on Bataan knew that they had been written off but continued to fight. Some blamed Roosevelt and MacArthur for their predicament. A ballad sung to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" called him "Dugout Doug". [152] However, most clung to the belief that somehow MacArthur "would reach down and pull something out of his hat". [153]

On 1 January 1942, MacArthur accepted $500,000 from President Quezon of the Philippines as payment for his pre-war service. MacArthur's staff members also received payments: $75,000 for Sutherland, $45,000 for Richard Marshall, and $20,000 for Huff. [154] [155] Eisenhower—after being appointed Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force (AEF)—was also offered money by Quezon, but declined. [156] These payments were known only to a few in Manila and Washington, including President Roosevelt and Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, until they were made public by historian Carol Petillo in 1979. [157] [158] While the payments had been fully legal, [158] the revelation tarnished MacArthur's reputation. [158] [159]

Escape from the Philippines

In February 1942, as Japanese forces tightened their grip on the Philippines, President Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to relocate to Australia. [160] On the night of 12 March 1942, MacArthur and a select group that included his wife Jean, son Arthur, Arthur's Cantonese amah, Ah Cheu, and other members of his staff, including Sutherland, Richard Marshall and Huff, left Corregidor. They traveled in PT boats through stormy seas patrolled by Japanese warships, and reached Del Monte Airfield on Mindanao, where B-17s picked them up, and flew them to Australia. MacArthur ultimately arrived in Melbourne by train on 21 March. [161] [162] His famous speech, in which he said, "I came through and I shall return", was first made on Terowie railway station in South Australia, on 20 March. [163] Washington asked MacArthur to amend his promise to "We shall return". He ignored the request. [164]

Bataan surrendered on 9 April, [165] and Corregidor on 6 May. [166]

Medal of Honor

George Marshall decided that MacArthur would be awarded the Medal of Honor, a decoration for which he had twice previously been nominated, "to offset any propaganda by the enemy directed at his leaving his command". [167] Eisenhower pointed out that MacArthur had not actually performed any acts of valor as required by law, but Marshall cited the 1927 award of the medal to Charles Lindbergh as a precedent. Special legislation had been passed to authorize Lindbergh's medal, but while similar legislation was introduced authorizing the medal for MacArthur by Congressmen J. Parnell Thomas and James E. Van Zandt, Marshall felt strongly that a serving general should receive the medal from the President and the War Department, expressing that the recognition "would mean more" if the gallantry criteria were not waived by a bill of relief. [168] [169]

Marshall ordered Sutherland to recommend the award and authored the citation himself. Ironically, this also meant that it violated the governing statute, as it could only be considered lawful so long as material requirements were waived by Congress, such as the unmet requirement to perform conspicuous gallantry "above and beyond the call of duty". Marshall admitted the defect to the Secretary of War, acknowledging that "there is no specific act of General MacArthur's to justify the award of the Medal of Honor under a literal interpretation of the statutes". Similarly, when the Army's adjutant general reviewed the case in 1945, he determined that "authority for [MacArthur's] award is questionable under strict interpretation of regulations". [169]

MacArthur had been nominated for the award twice before and understood that it was for leadership and not gallantry. He expressed the sentiment that "this award was intended not so much for me personally as it is a recognition of the indomitable courage of the gallant army which it was my honor to command". [170] At the age of 62 MacArthur was the oldest living active-duty Medal of Honor recipient in history and as a four-star general, he was the highest-ranked military servicemember to ever receive the Medal of Honor. Arthur and Douglas MacArthur thus became the first father and son to be awarded the Medal of Honor. They remained the only pair until 2001, when Theodore Roosevelt was posthumously awarded for his service during the Spanish–American War, Theodore Roosevelt Jr. having received one posthumously for his gallantry during the World War II Normandy invasion. [171] MacArthur's citation, written by Marshall, [172] read:

For conspicuous leadership in preparing the Philippine Islands to resist conquest, for gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against invading Japanese forces, and for the heroic conduct of defensive and offensive operations on the Bataan Peninsula. He mobilized, trained, and led an army which has received world acclaim for its gallant defense against a tremendous superiority of enemy forces in men and arms. His utter disregard of personal danger under heavy fire and aerial bombardment, his calm judgment in each crisis, inspired his troops, galvanized the spirit of resistance of the Filipino people, and confirmed the faith of the American people in their Armed Forces. [173]

As the symbol of the forces resisting the Japanese, MacArthur received many other accolades. The Native American tribes of the Southwest chose him as a "Chief of Chiefs", which he acknowledged as from "my oldest friends, the companions of my boyhood days on the Western frontier". [174] He was touched when he was named Father of the Year for 1942, and wrote to the National Father's Day Committee that:

By profession I am a soldier and take pride in that fact, but I am prouder, infinitely prouder to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build the father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentialities of death the other embodies creation and life. And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son when I am gone will remember me, not from battle, but in the home, repeating with him our simple daily prayer, "Our father, Who art in Heaven." [174]

New Guinea Campaign

General Headquarters

On 18 April 1942, MacArthur was appointed Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA). Lieutenant General George Brett became Commander, Allied Air Forces, and Vice Admiral Herbert F. Leary became Commander, Allied Naval Forces. [175] Since the bulk of land forces in the theater were Australian, George Marshall insisted an Australian be appointed as Commander, Allied Land Forces, and the job went to General Sir Thomas Blamey. Although predominantly Australian and American, MacArthur's command also included small numbers of personnel from the Netherlands East Indies, the United Kingdom, and other countries. [176]

MacArthur established a close relationship with the prime minister of Australia, John Curtin, [177] and was probably the second most-powerful person in the country after the prime minister, [178] although many Australians resented MacArthur as a foreign general who had been imposed upon them. [179] MacArthur had little confidence in Brett's abilities as commander of Allied Air Forces, [175] [180] [181] and in August 1942 selected Major General George C. Kenney to replace him. [182] [183] Kenney's application of air power in support of Blamey's troops would prove crucial. [184]

The staff of MacArthur's General Headquarters (GHQ) was built around the nucleus that had escaped from the Philippines with him, who became known as the "Bataan Gang". [185] Though Roosevelt and George Marshall pressed for Dutch and Australian officers to be assigned to GHQ, the heads of all the staff divisions were American and such officers of other nationalities as were assigned served under them. [176] Initially located in Melbourne, [186] GHQ moved to Brisbane—the northernmost city in Australia with the necessary communications facilities—in July 1942, [187] occupying the Australian Mutual Provident Society building (renamed after the war as MacArthur Chambers). [188]

MacArthur formed his own signals intelligence organization, known as the Central Bureau, from Australian intelligence units and American cryptanalysts who had escaped from the Philippines. [189] This unit forwarded Ultra information to MacArthur's Chief of Intelligence, Charles A. Willoughby, for analysis. [190] After a press release revealed details of the Japanese naval dispositions during the Battle of the Coral Sea, at which a Japanese attempt to capture Port Moresby was turned back, [191] Roosevelt ordered that censorship be imposed in Australia, and the Advisory War Council granted GHQ censorship authority over the Australian press. Australian newspapers were restricted to what was reported in the daily GHQ communiqué. [191] [192] Veteran correspondents considered the communiqués, which MacArthur drafted personally, "a total farce" and "Alice-in-Wonderland information handed out at high level". [193]

Papuan Campaign

Anticipating that the Japanese would strike at Port Moresby again, the garrison was strengthened and MacArthur ordered the establishment of new bases at Merauke and Milne Bay to cover its flanks. [194] The Battle of Midway in June 1942 led to consideration of a limited offensive in the Pacific. MacArthur's proposal for an attack on the Japanese base at Rabaul met with objections from the Navy, which favored a less ambitious approach, and objected to an Army general being in command of what would be an amphibious operation. The resulting compromise called for a three-stage advance. The first stage, the seizure of the Tulagi area, would be conducted by the Pacific Ocean Areas, under Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. The later stages would be under MacArthur's command. [195]

The Japanese struck first, landing at Buna in July, [196] and at Milne Bay in August. The Australians repulsed the Japanese at Milne Bay, [197] but a series of defeats in the Kokoda Track campaign had a depressing effect back in Australia. On 30 August, MacArthur radioed Washington that unless action was taken, New Guinea Force would be overwhelmed. He sent Blamey to Port Moresby to take personal command. [198] Having committed all available Australian troops, MacArthur decided to send American forces. The 32nd Infantry Division, a poorly trained National Guard division, was selected. [199] A series of embarrassing reverses in the Battle of Buna–Gona led to outspoken criticism of the American troops by the Australians. MacArthur then ordered Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger to assume command of the Americans, and "take Buna, or not come back alive". [200] [201]

MacArthur moved the advanced echelon of GHQ to Port Moresby on 6 November 1942. [202] After Buna finally fell on 3 January 1943, [203] MacArthur awarded the Distinguished Service Cross to twelve officers for "precise execution of operations". This use of the country's second highest award aroused resentment, because while some, like Eichelberger and George Alan Vasey, had fought in the field, others, like Sutherland and Willoughby, had not. [204] For his part, MacArthur was awarded his third Distinguished Service Medal, [205] and the Australian government had him appointed an honorary Knight Grand Cross of the British Order of the Bath. [206]

New Guinea Campaign

At the Pacific Military Conference in March 1943, the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved MacArthur's plan for Operation Cartwheel, the advance on Rabaul. [207] MacArthur explained his strategy:

My strategic conception for the Pacific Theater, which I outlined after the Papuan Campaign and have since consistently advocated, contemplates massive strokes against only main strategic objectives, utilizing surprise and air-ground striking power supported and assisted by the fleet. This is the very opposite of what is termed "island hopping" which is the gradual pushing back of the enemy by direct frontal pressure with the consequent heavy casualties which will certainly be involved. Key points must of course be taken but a wise choice of such will obviate the need for storming the mass of islands now in enemy possession. "Island hopping" with extravagant losses and slow progress . is not my idea of how to end the war as soon and as cheaply as possible. New conditions require for solution and new weapons require for maximum application new and imaginative methods. Wars are never won in the past. [208]

Lieutenant General Walter Krueger's Sixth Army headquarters arrived in SWPA in early 1943 but MacArthur had only three American divisions, and they were tired and depleted from the fighting at Battle of Buna–Gona and Battle of Guadalcanal. As a result, "it became obvious that any military offensive in the South-West Pacific in 1943 would have to be carried out mainly by the Australian Army". [209] The offensive began with the landing at Lae by the Australian 9th Division on 4 September 1943. The next day, MacArthur watched the landing at Nadzab by paratroops of the 503rd Parachute Infantry. His B-17 made the trip on three engines because one failed soon after leaving Port Moresby, but he insisted that it fly on to Nadzab. [210] For this, he was awarded the Air Medal. [211]

The Australian 7th and 9th Divisions converged on Lae, which fell on 16 September. MacArthur advanced his timetable, and ordered the 7th to capture Kaiapit and Dumpu, while the 9th mounted an amphibious assault on Finschhafen. Here, the offensive bogged down, partly because MacArthur had based his decision to assault Finschhafen on Willoughby's assessment that there were only 350 Japanese defenders at Finschhafen, when in fact there were nearly 5,000. A furious battle ensued. [212]

In early November, MacArthur's plan for a westward advance along the coast of New Guinea to the Philippines was incorporated into plans for the war against Japan. [213] [214] Three months later, airmen reported no signs of enemy activity in the Admiralty Islands. Although Willoughby did not agree that the islands had been evacuated, MacArthur ordered an amphibious landing there, commencing the Admiralty Islands campaign. He accompanied the assault force aboard the light cruiser Phoenix, the flagship of Vice Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, the new commander of the Seventh Fleet, and came ashore seven hours after the first wave of landing craft, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star. [215] It took six weeks of fierce fighting before the 1st Cavalry Division captured the islands. [216]

MacArthur had one of the most powerful PR machines of any Allied general during the war, which made him into an extremely popular war hero with the American people. [217] In late 1943–early 1944, there was a serious effort by the conservative faction in the Republican Party centered in the Midwest to have MacArthur seek the Republican nomination to be the candidate for the presidency in the 1944 election, as they regarded the two men most likely to win the Republican nomination, namely Wendell Willkie and Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York, as too liberal. [217] For a time, MacArthur, who had long seen himself as a potential president, was in the words of the U.S historian Gerhard Weinberg "very interested" in running as the Republican candidate in 1944. [217] However, MacArthur's vow to "return" to the Philippines had not been fulfilled in early 1944 and he decided not to run for president until he had liberated the Philippines. [218]

Furthermore, Weinberg had argued that it is probable that Roosevelt, who knew of the "enormous gratuity" MacArthur had accepted from Quezon in 1942, had used his knowledge of this transaction to blackmail MacArthur into not running for president. [219] Finally, despite the best efforts of the conservative Republicans to put MacArthur's name on the ballot, on 4 April 1944, Governor Dewey won such a convincing victory in the Wisconsin primary (regarded as a significant victory given that the Midwest was a stronghold of the conservative Republicans opposed to Dewey) as to ensure that he would win the Republican nomination to be the GOP's candidate for president in 1944. [218]

MacArthur bypassed the Japanese forces at Hansa Bay and Wewak, and assaulted Hollandia and Aitape, which Willoughby reported being lightly defended based on intelligence gathered in the Battle of Sio. MacArthur's bold thrust by going 600 miles up the coast had surprised and confused the Japanese high command, who had not anticipated that MacArthur would take such risks. [220] Although they were out of range of the Fifth Air Force's fighters based in the Ramu Valley, the timing of the operation allowed the aircraft carriers of Nimitz's Pacific Fleet to provide air support. [221]

Though risky, the operation turned out to be another success. MacArthur caught the Japanese off balance and cut off Lieutenant General Hatazō Adachi's Japanese XVIII Army in the Wewak area. Because the Japanese were not expecting an attack, the garrison was weak, and Allied casualties were correspondingly light. However, the terrain turned out to be less suitable for airbase development than first thought, forcing MacArthur to seek better locations further west. While bypassing Japanese forces had great tactical merit, it had the strategic drawback of tying up Allied troops to contain them. Moreover, Adachi was far from beaten, which he demonstrated in the Battle of Driniumor River. [222]

Philippines Campaign (1944–45)


In July 1944, President Roosevelt summoned MacArthur to meet with him in Hawaii "to determine the phase of action against Japan". Nimitz made the case for attacking Formosa. MacArthur stressed America's moral obligation to liberate the Philippines and won Roosevelt's support. In September, Admiral William Halsey Jr.'s carriers made a series of air strikes on the Philippines. Opposition was feeble and Halsey concluded, incorrectly, that Leyte was "wide open" and possibly undefended, and recommended that projected operations be skipped in favor of an assault on Leyte. [223]

On 20 October 1944, troops of Krueger's Sixth Army landed on Leyte, while MacArthur watched from the light cruiser USS Nashville. That afternoon he arrived off the beach. The advance had not progressed far snipers were still active and the area was under sporadic mortar fire. When his whaleboat grounded in knee-deep water, MacArthur requested a landing craft, but the beachmaster was too busy to grant his request. MacArthur was compelled to wade ashore. [224] In his prepared speech, he said:

People of the Philippines: I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil—soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come dedicated and committed to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring upon a foundation of indestructible strength, the liberties of your people. [225]

Since Leyte was out of range of Kenney's land-based aircraft, MacArthur was dependent on carrier aircraft. [226] Japanese air activity soon increased, with raids on Tacloban, where MacArthur decided to establish his headquarters, and on the fleet offshore. MacArthur enjoyed staying on Nashville ' s bridge during air raids, although several bombs landed close by, and two nearby cruisers were hit. [227] Over the next few days, the Japanese counterattacked in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, resulting in a near-disaster that MacArthur attributed to the command being divided between himself and Nimitz. [228] Nor did the campaign ashore proceed smoothly. Heavy monsoonal rains disrupted the airbase construction program. Carrier aircraft proved to be no substitute for land-based aircraft, and the lack of air cover permitted the Japanese to pour troops into Leyte. Adverse weather and tough Japanese resistance slowed the American advance, resulting in a protracted campaign. [229] [230]

By the end of December, Krueger's headquarters estimated that 5,000 Japanese remained on Leyte, and on 26 December MacArthur issued a communiqué announcing that "the campaign can now be regarded as closed except for minor mopping up". Yet Eichelberger's Eighth Army killed another 27,000 Japanese on Leyte before the campaign ended in May 1945. [231] On 18 December 1944, MacArthur was promoted to the new five-star rank of General of the Army, placing him in the company of Marshall and followed by Eisenhower and Henry "Hap" Arnold, the only four men to achieve the rank in World War II. Including Omar Bradley who was promoted during the Korean War as to not be outranked by MacArthur, they were the only five men to achieve the title of General of the Army since the 5 August 1888 death of Philip Sheridan. MacArthur was senior to all but Marshall. [232] The rank was created by an Act of Congress when Public Law 78–482 was passed on 14 December 1944, [233] as a temporary rank, subject to reversion to permanent rank six months after the end of the war. The temporary rank was then declared permanent 23 March 1946 by Public Law 333 of the 79th Congress, which also awarded full pay and allowances in the grade to those on the retired list. [234] [235]


MacArthur's next move was the invasion of Mindoro, where there were good potential airfield sites. Willoughby estimated, correctly as it turned out, that the island had only about 1,000 Japanese defenders. The problem this time was getting there. Kinkaid balked at sending escort carriers into the restricted waters of the Sulu Sea, and Kenney could not guarantee land based air cover. The operation was clearly hazardous, and MacArthur's staff talked him out of accompanying the invasion on Nashville. As the invasion force entered the Sulu Sea, a kamikaze struck Nashville, killing 133 people and wounding 190 more. Australian and American engineers had three airstrips in operation within two weeks, but the resupply convoys were repeatedly attacked by kamikazes. [236] During this time, MacArthur quarreled with Sutherland, notorious for his abrasiveness, over the latter's mistress, Captain Elaine Clark. MacArthur had instructed Sutherland not to be bring Clark to Leyte, due to a personal undertaking to Curtin that Australian women on the GHQ staff would not be taken to the Philippines, but Sutherland had brought her along anyway. [237]

The way was now clear for the invasion of Luzon. This time, based on different interpretations of the same intelligence data, Willoughby estimated the strength of General Tomoyuki Yamashita's forces on Luzon at 137,000, while Sixth Army estimated it at 234,000. MacArthur's response was "Bunk!". [238] He felt that even Willoughby's estimate was too high. "Audacity, calculated risk, and a clear strategic aim were MacArthur's attributes", [239] and he disregarded the estimates. In fact, they were too low Yamashita had more than 287,000 troops on Luzon. [240] This time, MacArthur traveled aboard the light cruiser USS Boise, watching as the ship was nearly hit by a bomb and torpedoes fired by midget submarines. [241] His communiqué read: "The decisive battle for the liberation of the Philippines and the control of the Southwest Pacific is at hand. General MacArthur is in personal command at the front and landed with his assault troops." [242]

MacArthur's primary concern was the capture of the port of Manila and the airbase at Clark Field, which were required to support future operations. He urged his commanders on. [243] On 25 January 1945, he moved his advanced headquarters forward to Hacienda Luisita, closer to the front than Krueger's. [244] He ordered the 1st Cavalry Division to conduct a rapid advance on Manila. It reached the northern outskirts of Manila on 3 February, [245] but, unknown to the Americans, Rear Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi had decided to defend Manila to the death. The Battle of Manila raged for the next three weeks. [246] To spare the civilian population, MacArthur prohibited the use of air strikes, [247] but thousands of civilians died in the crossfire or Japanese massacres. [248] He also refused to restrict the traffic of civilians who clogged the roads in and out of Manila, placing humanitarian concerns above military ones except in emergencies. [249] For his part in the capture of Manila, MacArthur was awarded his third Distinguished Service Cross. [250]

After taking Manila, MacArthur installed one of his Filipino friends, Manuel Roxas—who also happened to be one of the few people who knew about the huge sum of money Quezon had given MacArthur in 1942—into a position of power that ensured Roxas was to become the next Filipino president. [251] Roxas had been a leading Japanese collaborator serving in the puppet government of José Laurel, but MacArthur claimed that Roxas had secretly been an American agent all the long. [251] About MacArthur's claim that Roxas was really part of the resistance, the American historian Gerhard Weinberg wrote that "evidence to this effect has yet to surface", and that by favoring the Japanese collaborator Roxas, MacArthur ensured there was no serious effort to address the issue of Filipino collaboration with the Japanese after the war. [252] There was evidence that Roxas used his position of working in the Japanese puppet government to secretly gather intelligence to pass onto guerillas, MacArthur, and his intelligence staff during the occupation period. [253] [254]

One of the major reasons for MacArthur to return to the Philippines was to liberate prisoner-of-war camps and civilian internee camps as well as to relieve the Filipino civilians suffering at the hands of the very brutal Japanese occupiers. MacArthur authorized daring rescue raids at numerous prison camps like Cabanatuan, Los Baños, and Santo Tomas. At Santo Tomas Japanese guards held 200 prisoners hostage, but the U.S. soldiers were able to negotiate safe passage for the Japanese to escape peacefully in exchange for the release of the prisoners. [255] [256] [257]

After the Battle of Manila, MacArthur turned his attention to Yamashita, who had retreated into the mountains of central and northern Luzon. [258] Yamashita chose to fight a defensive campaign, being pushed back slowly by Krueger, and was still holding out at the time the war ended, much to MacArthur's intense annoyance as he had wished to liberate the entire Philippines before the war ended. [259] On 2 September 1945, Yamashita (who had a hard time believing that the Emperor had ordered Japan to sign an armistice) came down from the mountains to surrender with some 100,000 of his men. [259]

Southern Philippines

Although MacArthur had no specific directive to do so, and the fighting on Luzon was far from over, he committed his forces to liberate the remainder of the Philippines. [260] In the GHQ communiqué on 5 July, he announced that the Philippines had been liberated and all operations ended, although Yamashita still held out in northern Luzon. [261] Starting in May 1945, MacArthur used his Australian troops in the invasion of Borneo. He accompanied the assault on Labuan, and visited the troops ashore. While returning to GHQ in Manila, he visited Davao, where he told Eichelberger that no more than 4,000 Japanese remained alive on Mindanao. A few months later, six times that number surrendered. [262] In July 1945, he was awarded his fourth Distinguished Service Medal. [263]

As part of preparations for Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan, MacArthur became commander in chief U.S. Army Forces Pacific (AFPAC) in April 1945, assuming command of all Army and Army Air Force units in the Pacific except the Twentieth Air Force. At the same time, Nimitz became commander of all naval forces. Command in the Pacific therefore remained divided. [264] During his planning of the invasion of Japan, MacArthur stressed to the decision-makers in Washington that it was essential to have the Soviet Union enter the war as he argued it was crucial to have the Red Army tie down the Kwantung army in Manchuria. [265] The invasion was pre-empted by the surrender of Japan in August 1945. On 2 September MacArthur accepted the formal Japanese surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri, thus ending hostilities in World War II. [266] In recognition of his role as a maritime strategist, the U.S. Navy awarded him the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. [267]

Protecting the Emperor

On 29 August 1945, MacArthur was ordered to exercise authority through the Japanese government machinery, including the Emperor Hirohito. [268] MacArthur's headquarters was located in the Dai Ichi Life Insurance Building in Tokyo. Unlike in Germany, where the Allies had in May 1945 abolished the German state, the Americans chose to allow the Japanese state to continue to exist, albeit under their ultimate control. [269] Unlike Germany, there was a certain partnership between the occupiers and occupied as MacArthur decided to rule Japan via the Emperor and most of the rest of the Japanese elite. [270] The Emperor was a living god to the Japanese people, and MacArthur found that ruling via the Emperor made his job in running Japan much easier than it otherwise would have been. [271]

MacArthur took the view that a few "militarist" extremists had "hijacked" Japan starting in 1931 with the Mukden Incident, the Emperor was a pro-Western "moderate" who had been powerless to stop the militarists, and thus bore no responsibility for any of the war crimes committed by the Japanese between 1931 and 1945. [271] The American historian Herbert P. Bix described the relationship between the general and the Emperor as: "the Allied commander would use the Emperor, and the Emperor would cooperate in being used. Their relationship became one of expediency and mutual protection, of more political benefit to Hirohito than to MacArthur because Hirohito had more to lose–the entire panoply of symbolic, legitimizing properties of the imperial throne". [272]

At the same time, MacArthur undermined the imperial mystique when his staff released the famous picture of his first meeting with the Emperor, the impact of which on the Japanese public was electric as the Japanese people for the first time saw the Emperor as a mere man overshadowed by the much taller MacArthur instead of the living god he had always been portrayed as. Up to 1945, the Emperor had been a remote, mysterious figure to his people, rarely seen in public and always silent, whose photographs were always taken from a certain angle to make him look taller and more impressive than he really was. No Japanese photographer would have taken such a photo of the Emperor being overshadowed by MacArthur. The Japanese government immediately banned the photo of the Emperor with MacArthur on the grounds that it damaged the imperial mystique, but MacArthur rescinded the ban and ordered all of the Japanese newspapers to print it. The photo was intended as a message to the Emperor about who was going to be the senior partner in their relationship. [273]

As he needed the Emperor, MacArthur protected him from any effort to hold accountable for his actions, and allowed him to issue statements that incorrectly portrayed the emerging democratic post-war era as a continuation of the Meiji era reforms. [274] MacArthur did not allow any investigations of the Emperor, and instead in October 1945 ordered his staff "in the interests of peaceful occupation and rehabilitation of Japan, prevention of revolution and communism, all facts surrounding the execution of the declaration of war and subsequent position of the Emperor which tend to show fraud, menace or duress be marshalled". [275] In January 1946, MacArthur reported to Washington that the Emperor could not be indicted for war crimes on the grounds:

His indictment will unquestionably cause a tremendous convulsion among the Japanese people, the repercussions of which cannot be overestimated. He is a symbol which unites all Japanese. Destroy him and the nation will disintegrate. It is quite possible that a million troops would be required which would have to be maintained for an indefinite number of years. [276]

To protect the Emperor from being indicted, MacArthur had one of his staff, Brigadier General Bonner Fellers tell the genrō Admiral Mitsumasa Yonai on 6 March 1946:

To counter this situation, it would be most convenient if the Japanese side could prove to us that the Emperor is completely blameless. I think the forthcoming trials offer the best opportunity to do that. Tojo, in particular should be made to bear all responsibility at his trial. I want you to have Tojo say as follows: "At the imperial conference prior to the start of the war, I already decided to push for war even if his majesty the emperor was against going to war with the United States." [277]

From the viewpoint of both sides, having one especially evil figure in the form of General Hideki Tojo, on whom everything that went wrong could be blamed, was most politically convenient. [277] At a second meeting on 22 March 1946, Fellers told Yonai:

The most influential advocate of un-American thought in the United States is Cohen (a Jew and a Communist), the top adviser to Secretary of State Byrnes. As I told Yonai. it is extremely disadvantageous to MacArthur's standing in the United States to put on trial the very Emperor who is cooperating with him and facilitating the smooth administration of the occupation. This is the reason for my request. "I wonder whether what I said to Admiral Yonai the other day has already been conveyed to Tojo?". [278] [279]

MacArthur's attempts to shield the Emperor from indictment and to have all the blame taken by Tojo were successful, which as Herbert P. Bix commented, "had a lasting and profoundly distorting impact on the Japanese understanding of the lost war". [278]

War crimes trials

MacArthur was responsible for confirming and enforcing the sentences for war crimes handed down by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. [280] In late 1945, Allied military commissions in various cities of the Orient tried 5,700 Japanese, Taiwanese and Koreans for war crimes. About 4,300 were convicted, almost 1,000 sentenced to death, and hundreds given life imprisonment. The charges arose from incidents that included the Rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March and Manila massacre. [281] The trial in Manila of Yamashita was criticized because he was hanged for Iwabuchi's Manila massacre, which he had not ordered and of which he was probably unaware. [282] Iwabuchi had killed himself as the battle for Manila was ending. [283]

MacArthur gave immunity to Shiro Ishii and other members of Unit 731 in exchange for germ warfare data based on human experimentation. This was similar to Operation Paperclip, in which the European Theater's generals granted immunity to numerous scientists involved in rocket and jet development, even if they were high ranking Nazi Party members. [284] He also exempted the Emperor and all members of the imperial family implicated in war crimes, including princes such as Chichibu, Asaka, Takeda, Higashikuni and Fushimi, from criminal prosecutions. MacArthur confirmed that the emperor's abdication would not be necessary. [285] In doing so, he ignored the advice of many members of the imperial family and Japanese intellectuals who publicly called for the abdication of the Emperor and the implementation of a regency. [286] MacArthur's reasoning was if the emperor were executed or sentenced to life imprisonment there would be a violent backlash and revolution from the Japanese from all social classes and this would interfere with his primary goal to change Japan from a militarist, feudal society to a pro-Western modern democracy. In a cable sent to General Dwight Eisenhower in February 1946 MacArthur said executing or imprisoning the emperor would require the use of one million occupation soldiers to keep the peace. [287]

Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers

As Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) in Japan, MacArthur and his staff helped Japan rebuild itself, eradicate militarism and ultra-nationalism, promote political civil liberties, institute democratic government, and chart a new course that ultimately made Japan one of the world's leading industrial powers. The U.S. was firmly in control of Japan to oversee its reconstruction, and MacArthur was effectively the interim leader of Japan from 1945 until 1948. [288] In 1946, MacArthur's staff drafted a new constitution that renounced war and stripped the Emperor of his military authority. The constitution—which became effective on 3 May 1947—instituted a parliamentary system of government, under which the Emperor acted only on the advice of his ministers. It included the famous Article 9, which outlawed belligerency as an instrument of state policy and the maintenance of a standing army. The constitution also enfranchised women, guaranteed fundamental human rights, outlawed racial discrimination, strengthened the powers of Parliament and the Cabinet, and decentralized the police and local government. [289]

A major land reform was also conducted, led by Wolf Ladejinsky of MacArthur's SCAP staff. Between 1947 and 1949, approximately 4,700,000 acres (1,900,000 ha), or 38% of Japan's cultivated land, was purchased from the landlords under the government's reform program, and 4,600,000 acres (1,860,000 ha) was resold to the farmers who worked them. By 1950, 89% of all agricultural land was owner-operated and only 11% was tenant-operated. [290] MacArthur's efforts to encourage trade union membership met with phenomenal success, and by 1947, 48% of the non-agricultural workforce was unionized. Some of MacArthur's reforms were rescinded in 1948 when his unilateral control of Japan was ended by the increased involvement of the State Department. [291] During the Occupation, SCAP successfully, if not entirely, abolished many of the financial coalitions known as the Zaibatsu, which had previously monopolized industry. [292] Eventually, looser industrial groupings known as Keiretsu evolved. The reforms alarmed many in the U.S. Departments of Defense and State, who believed they conflicted with the prospect of Japan and its industrial capacity as a bulwark against the spread of communism in Asia. [293]

In 1947 MacArthur invited the founder and first executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Roger Nash Baldwin, to teach the Japanese government and people about civil rights and civil liberties. MacArthur also asked him to do the same for southern Korea, which MacArthur was responsible for when it was under U.S. Army occupation. MacArthur ignored members of the House Un-American Activities Committee and the FBI who believed that Baldwin was a Soviet-loving communist. He wanted a civil liberties expert to quickly introduce western-style civil rights to the Japanese and thought conservatives would take too long. Baldwin helped found the Japan Civil Liberties Union. In a confidential letter to ACLU leaders the anti-militarist and very liberal Baldwin said about MacArthur, "His observation on civil liberties and democracy rank with the best I ever heard from any civilian — and they were incredible from a general." [294]

Japan's hereditary peerage, called kazoku, that lasted for over a millennium in different but essentially similar forms, was abolished by the new Japanese constitution that was heavily influenced by MacArthur. This was similar to the European peerage system involving princes, barons and counts that were not part of the royal family. Also, the extended royal family, called ōke and shinnōke, was abolished and stripped of all rights and privileges, transforming into commoners immediately. The only Japanese that were allowed to call themselves a part of royalty or nobility after the U.S. occupation were the emperor and about 20 of his direct family members. This action by MacArthur and the writers of the constitution helped transform Japan drastically by abolishing all of the old extended royal family class and the nobility class. [295]

MacArthur ruled Japan with a very soft-handed approach. He legalized the Japanese Communist Party despite reservations from the United States government out of a desire for Japan to be truly democratic and invited them to take part in the 1946 election, which was also the first ever election to allow women to vote. He ordered the release of all political prisoners of the Imperial Japanese era, including communist prisoners. The first May Day parade in 11 years in 1946 was greenlit by MacArthur also. On the day before the May Day celebrations, which would involve 300,000 Japanese communists demonstrating with red flags and pro-Marxism chants in front of the Tokyo Imperial Palace and the Dai-Ichi Building, a group of would-be assassins led by Hideo Tokayama that planned to assassinate MacArthur with hand grenades and pistols on May Day were stopped and some of its members were arrested. Despite this plot the May Day demonstrations went on. MacArthur stopped the Communist Party from gaining any popularity in Japan by releasing their members from prison, conducting landmark land reform that made MacArthur more popular than communism for the rural Japanese farmers and peasants, and allowing the communists to freely participate in elections. In the 1946 election they won only 6 seats. [296] [297] [298]

MacArthur was also in charge of southern Korea from 1945 to 1948 due to the lack of clear orders or initiative from Washington, D.C. [299] There was no plan or guideline given to MacArthur from the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the State Department on how to rule Korea so what resulted was a very tumultuous 3 year military occupation that led to the creation of the U.S.-friendly Republic of Korea in 1948. He ordered Lieutenant General John R. Hodge, who accepted the surrender of Japanese forces in southern Korea in September 1945, to govern that area on SCAP's behalf and report to him in Tokyo. [300] [301]

In 1948, MacArthur made a bid to win the Republican nomination to be the GOP candidate for president, which was the most serious of several efforts he made over the years. [302] MacArthur's status as one of America's most popular war heroes together with his reputation as the statesman who had "transformed" Japan gave him a strong basis for running for president, but MacArthur's lack of connections within the GOP were a major handicap. [303] MacArthur's strongest supporters came from the quasi-isolationist, Midwestern wing of the Republicans and embraced men such as Brigadier General Hanford MacNider, Philip La Follette, and Brigadier General Robert E. Wood, a diverse collection of "Old Right" and Progressive Republicans only united by a belief that the U.S. was too much involved in Europe for its own good. [304] MacArthur declined to campaign for the presidency himself, but he privately encouraged his supporters to put his name on the ballot. [305] MacArthur had always stated he would retire when a peace treaty was signed with Japan, and his push in the fall of 1947 to have the U.S sign a peace treaty with Japan was intended to allow him to retire on a high note, and thus campaign for the presidency. For the same reasons, Truman subverted MacArthur's efforts to have peace treaty signed in 1947, saying that more time was needed before the U.S. could formally make peace with Japan. [306] Truman in fact was so worried about MacArthur becoming president that in 1947 he asked General Dwight Eisenhower (who, similar to Truman, did not like MacArthur either) to run for president and Truman would happily be his running mate. In 1951 he asked Eisenhower again to run to stop MacArthur. Eisenhower asked, "What about MacArthur?" Truman said, "I'm going to take care of MacArthur. You'll see what happens to MacArthur." [307] [308]

Without a peace treaty, MacArthur decided not to resign while at the same time writing letters to Wood saying he would be more than happy to accept the Republican nomination if it were offered to him. [309] In late 1947 and early 1948, MacArthur received several Republican grandees in Tokyo. [310] On 9 March 1948 MacArthur issued a press statement declaring his interest in being the Republican candidate for president, saying he would be honored if the Republican Party were to nominate him, but would not resign from the Army to campaign for the presidency. [311] The press statement had been forced by Wood, who told MacArthur that it was impossible to campaign for a man who was not officially running for president, and that MacArthur could either declare his candidacy or see Wood cease campaigning for him. [311] MacArthur's supporters made a major effort to win the Wisconsin Republican primary held on 6 April 1948. [312] MacArthur's refusal to campaign badly hurt his chances and it was won to everybody's surprise by Harold Stassen. [313] The defeat in Wisconsin followed by defeat in Nebraska effectively ended MacArthur's chances of winning the Republican nomination, but MacArthur refused to withdraw his name until the 1948 Republican National Convention, at which Governor Thomas Dewey of New York was nominated. [314]

In an address to Congress on 19 April 1951, MacArthur declared:

The Japanese people since the war have undergone the greatest reformation recorded in modern history. With a commendable will, eagerness to learn, and marked capacity to understand, they have from the ashes left in war's wake erected in Japan an edifice dedicated to the supremacy of individual liberty and personal dignity, and in the ensuing process there has been created a truly representative government committed to the advance of political morality, freedom of economic enterprise, and social justice. [315]

MacArthur handed over power to the Japanese government in 1949, but remained in Japan until relieved by President Harry S. Truman on 11 April 1951. The San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed on 8 September 1951, marked the end of the Allied occupation, and when it went into effect on 28 April 1952, Japan was once again an independent state. [316] The Japanese subsequently gave MacArthur the nickname Gaijin Shogun ("The foreign Shogun") but not until around the time of his death in 1964. [317]

South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu

On 25 June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, starting the Korean War. [318] The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 82, which authorized a United Nations Command (UNC) force to assist South Korea. [319] The UN empowered the American government to select a commander, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously recommended MacArthur. [320] He therefore became commander-in-chief of the UNC, while remaining SCAP in Japan and Commander-in-Chief, Far East. [321] All South Korean forces were placed under his command. As they retreated before the North Korean onslaught, MacArthur received permission to commit U.S. ground forces. All the first units to arrive could do was trade men and ground for time, falling back to the Pusan Perimeter. [322] By the end of August, the crisis subsided. North Korean attacks on the perimeter had tapered off. While the North Korean force numbered 88,000 troops, Lieutenant General Walton Walker's Eighth Army now numbered 180,000, and he had more tanks and artillery pieces. [323]

In 1949, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General of the Army Omar Bradley, had predicted that "large scale combined amphibious operations . will never occur again", but by July 1950, MacArthur was planning just such an operation. [324] MacArthur compared his plan with that of General James Wolfe at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, and brushed aside the problems of tides, hydrography and terrain. [325] In September, despite lingering concerns from superiors, MacArthur's soldiers and marines made a successful landing at Inchon, deep behind North Korean lines. Launched with naval and close air support, the landing outflanked the North Koreans, recaptured Seoul and forced them to retreat northward in disarray. [326] Visiting the battlefield on 17 September, MacArthur surveyed six T-34 tanks that had been knocked out by Marines, ignoring sniper fire around him, except to note that the North Korean marksmen were poorly trained. [327]

On 11 September, Truman issued orders for an advance beyond the 38th parallel into North Korea. MacArthur now planned another amphibious assault, on Wonsan on the east coast, but it fell to South Korean troops before the 1st Marine Division could reach it by sea. [328] In October, MacArthur met with Truman at the Wake Island Conference, with Truman emulating Roosevelt's wartime meeting with MacArthur in Hawaii. [329] The president awarded MacArthur his fifth Distinguished Service Medal. [330] Briefly questioned about the Chinese threat, MacArthur dismissed it, saying that he hoped to be able to withdraw the Eighth Army to Japan by Christmas, and to release a division for service in Europe in January. He regarded the possibility of Soviet intervention as a more serious threat. [331]

On 20 October MacArthur flew to the Sukchon-Sunchon area of North Korea, north of Pyongyang, to supervise and observe an airborne operation by the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. This was the first of two airborne operations done by UN forces during the Korean War. MacArthur's unarmed airplane was subject to attack by enemy aircraft known to be based at Sinuiju. MacArthur received a Distinguished Flying Cross for supervising the operation in person. [332]

A month later, things had changed. The enemy were engaged by the UN forces at the Battle of Unsan in late October, which demonstrated the presence of Chinese soldiers in Korea and rendered significant losses to the American and other UN troops. Nevertheless, Willoughby downplayed the evidence about Chinese intervention in the war. He estimated that up to 71,000 Chinese soldiers were in the country, while the true number was closer to 300,000. [333] He was not alone in this miscalculation. On 24 November, the Central Intelligence Agency reported to Truman that while there could be as many as 200,000 Chinese troops in Korea, "there is no evidence that the Chinese Communists plan major offensive operations". [334]

That day, MacArthur flew to Walker's headquarters and he later wrote:

For five hours I toured the front lines. In talking to a group of officers I told them of General Bradley's desire and hope to have two divisions home by Christmas . What I had seen at the front line worried me greatly. The R.O.K. troops were not yet in good shape, and the entire line was deplorably weak in numbers. If the Chinese were actually in heavy force, I decided I would withdraw our troops and abandon any attempt to move north. I decided to reconnoiter and try to see with my own eyes, and interpret with my own long experience what was going on . [335]

MacArthur flew over the front line himself in his Douglas C-54 Skymaster but saw no signs of a Chinese build up and therefore decided to wait before ordering an advance or withdrawal. Evidence of the Chinese activity was hidden to MacArthur: the Chinese Army traveled at night and dug in during the day. [333] For his reconnaissance efforts, MacArthur was nonetheless awarded the honorary combat pilot's wings. [335]

The next day, 25 November 1950, Walker's Eighth Army was attacked by the Chinese Army and soon the UN forces were in retreat. MacArthur provided the chief of staff, General J. Lawton Collins with a series of nine successive withdrawal lines. [336] On 23 December, Walker was killed when his jeep collided with a truck, and was replaced by Lieutenant General Matthew Ridgway, whom MacArthur had selected in case of such an eventuality. [337] Ridgway noted that MacArthur's "prestige, which had gained an extraordinary luster after Inchon, was badly tarnished. His credibility suffered in the unforeseen outcome of the November offensive . " [338]

Collins discussed the possible use of nuclear weapons in Korea with MacArthur in December, and later asked him for a list of targets in the Soviet Union in case it entered the war. MacArthur testified before the Congress in 1951 that he had never recommended the use of nuclear weapons. He did at one point consider a plan to cut off North Korea with radioactive poisons he did not recommend it at the time, although he later broached the matter with Eisenhower, then president-elect, in 1952. In 1954, in an interview published after his death, he stated he had wanted to drop atomic bombs on enemy bases, but in 1960, he challenged a statement by Truman that he had advocated using atomic bombs. Truman issued a retraction, stating that he had no evidence of the claim it was merely his personal opinion. [339] [340] [341]

In April 1951, the Joint Chiefs of Staff drafted orders for MacArthur authorizing nuclear attacks on Manchuria and the Shantung Peninsula if the Chinese launched airstrikes originating from there against his forces. [342] The next day Truman met with the chairman of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, Gordon Dean, [343] and arranged for the transfer of nine Mark 4 nuclear bombs to military control. [344] Dean was apprehensive about delegating the decision on how they should be used to MacArthur, who lacked expert technical knowledge of the weapons and their effects. [345] The Joint Chiefs were not entirely comfortable about giving them to MacArthur either, for fear that he might prematurely carry out his orders. [342] Instead, they decided that the nuclear strike force would report to the Strategic Air Command. [346]

Removal from command

Within weeks of the Chinese attack, MacArthur was forced to retreat from North Korea. [347] Seoul fell in January 1951, and both Truman and MacArthur were forced to contemplate the prospect of abandoning Korea entirely. [348] European countries did not share MacArthur's world view, distrusted his judgment, and were afraid that he might use his stature and influence with the American public to re-focus American policy away from Europe and towards Asia. They were concerned that this might lead to a major war with China, possibly involving nuclear weapons. [349] Since in February 1950 the Soviet Union and China had signed a defensive alliance committing each to go to war if the other party was attacked, the possibility that an American attack on China would cause World War III was considered to be very real at the time. In a visit to the United States in December 1950, the British prime minister, Clement Attlee, had raised the fears of the British and other European governments that "General MacArthur was running the show". [350]

Under Ridgway's command, the Eighth Army pressed north again in January. He inflicted heavy casualties on the Chinese, [351] recaptured Seoul in March 1951, and pushed on to the 38th Parallel. [352] With the improved military situation, Truman now saw the opportunity to offer a negotiated peace but, on 24 March, MacArthur called upon China to admit that it had been defeated, simultaneously challenging both the Chinese and his own superiors. Truman's proposed announcement was shelved. [353]

On 5 April, Representative Joseph William Martin Jr., the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, read aloud on the floor of the House a letter from MacArthur critical of Truman's Europe-first policy and limited-war strategy. [354] The letter concluded with:

It seems strangely difficult for some to realize that here in Asia is where the communist conspirators have elected to make their play for global conquest, and that we have joined the issue thus raised on the battlefield that here we fight Europe's war with arms while the diplomats there still fight it with words that if we lose the war to communism in Asia the fall of Europe is inevitable, win it and Europe most probably would avoid war and yet preserve freedom. As you pointed out, we must win. There is no substitute for victory. [355]

In March 1951 secret United States intercepts of diplomatic dispatches disclosed clandestine conversations in which General MacArthur expressed confidence to the Tokyo embassies of Spain and Portugal that he would succeed in expanding the Korean War into a full-scale conflict with the Chinese Communists. When the intercepts came to the attention of President Truman, he was enraged to learn that MacArthur was not only trying to increase public support for his position on conducting the war, but had secretly informed foreign governments that he planned to initiate actions that were counter to United States policy. The President was unable to act immediately since he could not afford to reveal the existence of the intercepts and because of MacArthur's popularity with the public and political support in Congress. However, following the release on 5 April by Representative Martin of MacArthur's letter, Truman concluded he could relieve MacArthur of his commands without incurring unacceptable political damage. [356] [357]

Truman summoned Secretary of Defense George Marshall, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Omar Bradley, Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Averell Harriman to discuss what to do about MacArthur. [358] They concurred MacArthur should be relieved of his command, but made no recommendation to do so. Although they felt that it was correct "from a purely military point of view", [359] they were aware that there were important political considerations as well. [359] Truman and Acheson agreed that MacArthur was insubordinate, but the Joint Chiefs avoided any suggestion of this. [360] Insubordination was a military offense, and MacArthur could have requested a public court martial similar to that of Billy Mitchell. The outcome of such a trial was uncertain, and it might well have found him not guilty and ordered his reinstatement. [361] The Joint Chiefs agreed that there was "little evidence that General MacArthur had ever failed to carry out a direct order of the Joint Chiefs, or acted in opposition to an order". "In point of fact", Bradley insisted, "MacArthur had stretched but not legally violated any JCS directives. He had violated the President's 6 December directive [not to make public statements on policy matters], relayed to him by the JCS, but this did not constitute violation of a JCS order." [360] Truman ordered MacArthur's relief by Ridgway, and the order went out on 10 April with Bradley's signature. [362]

In a 3 December 1973 article in Time magazine, Truman was quoted as saying in the early 1960s:

I fired him because he wouldn't respect the authority of the President. I didn't fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that's not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail. [363]

The relief of the famous general by the unpopular politician for communicating with Congress led to a constitutional crisis, [364] and a storm of public controversy. Polls showed that the majority of the public disapproved of the decision to relieve MacArthur. [365] By February 1952, almost nine months later, Truman's approval rating had fallen to 22 percent. As of 2021 [update] , that remains the lowest Gallup Poll approval rating recorded by any serving president. [366] [367] As the increasingly unpopular war in Korea dragged on, Truman's administration was beset with a series of corruption scandals, and he eventually decided not to run for re-election. [368] Beginning on 3 May 1951, a Joint Senate Committee—chaired by Democrat Richard Russell Jr.—investigated MacArthur's removal. It concluded that "the removal of General MacArthur was within the constitutional powers of the President but the circumstances were a shock to national pride". [369]

MacArthur Given $500,000

It is island of Luzon in the Philippines, January 1942. Another Philippine island, Corregidor, trembles under Japanese bombs as American and Filipino defenders wait for help that will not come.

The U.S. War Department wants Philippines President Manuel Quezon evacuated from Corregidor to avoid capture, but Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East, says it's too hazardous to attempt.

A month later, Quezon hands, the general $500,000 from the Philippine treasury. MacArthur accepting the money in violation of Army regulations, changes his mind. Quezon and his family leave Corregidor by U.S. submarine.

The story is fact, and it has been known and debated among MacArthur historians for the past year, although it has not been widely known outside academic circles.

The exact meaning of the MacArthur-Quezon transaction is uncertain. However, its discovery in war records poses new questions about one of America's war heroes.

The issues were raised in an account by historian Carol M. Petillo in last February's edition of the Pacific Historical Review, based on records she uncovered during research for her doctoral dissertation.

The Pacific Historical Review, published by the University of California Press, is the official publication of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association.

[prof. Norris Hundley, editior of the historical review, says that before articles are published, they are sent to other scholars in the field who check for accuracy.]

The documents Petillo found in the National Archives showed that on Jan. 3, 1942, Quezon directed by executive order that $640,000 from the Philippine treasury be conveyed to the personal bank accounts of MacArthur and three members of his staff "in recognition of outstanding service to the Commonwealth of the Philippines."

Quezon said that the "recompense and reward" was for "distinguished service" from Nov. 15, 1935, to Dec. 30, 1941.

The transactions, made by radio grams from Corregidor to the Chase National Bank of the City of New York, placed $500,000 in MacArthur's account according to the records. Major Gen. Richard K. Sutherland, MacArthur's chief of staff, received $75,000 Brig. Gen. Richard J. Marshall Jr., the deputy chief of staff, received $45,000 and Lt. Col. Sidney L. Huff, MacArthur's personal aide, recieved $20,000.

Petillo wrote that records indicate that President Roosevelt, Secretary of War Henry Stimson and Secretary of the interior Harold Ickes knew about the transaction but apparently did not interfere with it.

Now on the faculty of the history department at Boston College, Petillo said it would be "simplistic" to interpret the money as a "bribe" by Quezon to get MacArthur to evacuate him, but that MacArthur's acceptance of the money appears "morally questionable."

Several historians familiar with the war period and MacArthur, who died in 1964 and whose 100th birthday anniversary was Saturday, said in interviews that they are convinced that Petillo's research is accurate. But some cautioned that her conclusions about the Quezon gift are nebulous and cannot be substantiated.

William Manchester, author of the popular biography of MacArthur, "American Caesar" said he was "skeptical" of her findings, although he admitted he had not read her account of the story.

During 52 years of often brilliant, sometimes controversial military service, MacArthur became a national hero. His firing by President Truman in 1952 for disobeying orders in the Korean War brought a storm of protest in America.

Evidence of the Quezon gift did not surface until Petillo's research in 1977-78. She said she picked up "hints" of the transaction, but did not understand their meaning until she found Quezon's "Executive Order No.1" among Sutherland's in the National Archives.

"It was not unusual, given the Spanish tradition in the Philippines of paying for whatever you got," she said. "So it was not unusual, from Quezon's perspective, and he would probably have wanted to bring pressure to bear wherever possible on Corregidor."

According to Petillo's research, orders for the transfers of funds were not transmitted to the War Department until Feb. 15, 1942. The War Department assured the Chase bank that the transfers should be made, and Roosevelt, Stimson and Ickes were informed, according to Petillo. Word was sent to Corregidor about Feb. 19 that the transfers had been completed, she said.

"It is significant that after several statements arguing that Quezon could not safely be evacuated, MacArthur, one day after the transfer of funds was ordered, reversed his position and decided that president's evacuation indeed could be achieved," Petillo wrote. "On Feb. 20, just after he received verification of the transfer, this decision was carried out and Quezon headed south toward the unoccupied islands."

Records show that on Feb. 19, Quezon apparently gave MacArthur 1,280,000 Phlippine pesos to cover the payments in the case the orders radioed to the bank were not carried out.

On Feb. 25, after the transfers were completed, MacArthur returned the pesos to Lt. Col. Manuel Roxas, who was in charge of the Philippine treasury.

Roxas remained in the Philippines and during the Japanese occupation collaborated with the enemy. When the Philippines were recaptured, MacArthur arrested several other collaborators, but allowed Roxas to remain free, Petillo notes.

"Perhaps Roxas' signature on the sheet attached to Executive Orders No. 1 was a reminder of the recipients of the $64,000 of the confidential exchange which Roxas had witnessed on Corregidor," Petillo wrote.

MacArthur went to the Philippines in 1935 as military adviser, remaining on active duty with the Army. But in 1937, he retired from the Army, rather than be reassigned in the United States. With World War II approaching, MacArthur and his staff were transferred back into the Army in July 1941.

MacArthur and the three officers thus, were again subject to regular Army rules that apparently would have prohibited them from accepting the gift, according to Petillo.

Dr. Forrest Pogue, biographer of Gen. George C. Marshall, said he doesn't question that the transaction occured.

"There has always been some talk that MacArthur got a very good thing out of that," he said. "She [Petillo] is the first to really get into it. I don't think there was anything illegal about it, nothing corrupt. And by modern standards of pay it was not all that much."

MacArthur’s Navy Jane Moorhead

T here are many famous maritime stories from the Second World War which have stood the test of time, Dunkirk among them, but none more so than the little unknown Australian story of the ketch, Jane Moorhead.

The Jane Moorhead was built at Sydney Cove in 1885 by Sir Thomas Moorhead and christened in honour of his eldest daughter, Jany. The Jane was used primarily in the colony of New South Wales as a timber transporter along the main waterways of the Hawkesbury river.

As the c olony grew, the Jane sailed for Hobart in Van Diemens Land where she continued to service the penal colony of Port Arthur.

After Federation in 1901, the Jane was purchased by Peter Grant Hay in 1923, owner of ships chandlers and merchants, Coulson Hay & Co. in Melbourne for transport of his Kentdale hops in the Derwent Valley of Tasmania to Carlton & United Breweries, and later his Richmond Brewery in Melbourne.

At the outbreak of war in the Pacific in 1941, the United States Army, led by General Douglas MacArthur in Manila, was tasked with the creation of an auxiliary ships service from Australia, which would become the essential lifeline of the Australian and Allied forces in New Guinea.

The Small Ships Section was founded by wealthy yachtsmen A. Bruce and J. Sheridan Fahnestock of Long Island, N.Y., who were family friends of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt. They, their mother, friends and scientists had conducted two famed South Seas exploring expeditions in 1934 and 1940 aboard 65-foot and 137-foot schooners sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History and other institutions. During the 1940 expedition, they gathered hydrographic data for the U.S. Hydrographic Office and the British Admiralty.

From their experience sailing among the islands, the Fahnestocks concluded that a small fleet of craft, similar to “the little ships” at Dunkirk could be used for supply operations in the Pacific. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941, they began work on “Mission X” in Washington, D.C. Logistics, communications and engineering specialists, along with the Fahnestock group, worked to devise a secret plan to relieve the Philippines.

However, after the fall of Singapore on the 15th of February 1942, it soon became clear to Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall that the first priority was to stop the Japanese from advancing to Australia. Maj. Arthur R. Wilson met with Sheridan Fahnestock in early January 1942 and asked if he and his brother could return to the Pacific as Army officers to put together a small ships service from Australia. On the 19th of February 1942, the Japanese bombed Darwin.

In March 1942, Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to depart the Philippines. After arriving in Australia, MacArthur determined that New Guinea would be its new defensive line. In July, Japanese forces occupied the New Guinea north shore at Buna and MacArthur would spend the next two years evicting them. The Navy’s Pacific Fleet had virtually abandoned MacArthur since Pearl Harbour, citing submerged uncharted reefs along the coast would have little or no room for its warships to maneuver without grounding.

Meanwhile, the Fahnestocks, members of their exploring group, and other officers arrived in Australia in the spring of 1942. Fahnestock’s visit to Melbourne included a general inspection of US troops stationed at Sandown Racecourse, owned by Peter Grant Hay, at which time an agreement was struck between Grant Hay, his brewery and US Army officials on the 26th November 1942 to supply Richmond beer to US and Allied troops in Egypt and North Africa, including the requisition of his ship, the Jane Moorhead.

Grant Hay was also a first cousin of Lt. General Sir Leslie Morshead, who was based in New Guinea at the time. From Melbourne, MacArthur began to hire and requisition vessels through Coulson Hay & Co. and enlist the unlikely crews from towns across Australia’s eastern and southern coasts.

Under the terms of a reverse lend-lease agreement, the US Army acquired a colorful assortment of vessels: fishing trawlers, ferries, island traders, pearl luggers, coconut plantation boats, coastal schooners and tugboats, among these the 72-foot Jane Moorhead.

In October 1942, the first orders were placed with shipyards around Australia for new vessels, which along with Australian Army and Navy orders, created a ship building boom for large boat builders in the capital cities, and tiny ship yards dotted around the coast in places like Ulladulla and Taree.

The boats were then dispatched to Sydney to be reinforced, painted grey and given an identification number “S” under an American flag.

The Grace Building in York Street, Sydney, was the HQ for “Mission X” and included military personnel and civilian specialists whose objective was to defeat the advancing Japanese Forces in the Pacific.

The flotilla soon embarked on its journey north, carrying metal matting for airstrips high-octane gasoline trucks, jeeps and bulldozers spare parts guns and ammunition mail boots and helmets medical supplies, dehydrated, canned and powdered food, and Richmond beer.

As a result, MacArthur’s early forces and supplies for the New Guinea campaign landings at Pongani were ferried entirely by the small fleet craft assembled by the Fahnestocks and Grant Hay’s from Melbourne.

The crews faced some of the most tracherous ocean environments, crossing thousands of kilometres of uncharted waters. The monsoon rains, heat and humidity caused pneumonia and bronchitis malaria, dengue fever, scrub typhus, jungle rot, and dysentery were rampant leeches infested the creeks, and sharks and crocodiles inhabited coastal waters.

They sheltered by day under the cover of jungle estuaries, and delivered their cargo by night, returning with the wounded and the dead. Smaller boats remained in makeshift ports as transports and to deliver cargo to beachheads and along rivers.

The Jane Moorhead (S-63) was the first ship to see action in the campaign. Although the oldest vessel in U.S. service, the Jane with a crew of eight was from all accounts a die-hard seaworthy vessel, repurposed and refitted with three .50 caliber machine guns with no refrigeration, electricity or toilet facilities. The men slept in the captain’s cabin and foc’sle or on the deck at night.

The Jane’s first big mission came during the assault on Pongani at Tambu Bay, a battle that resulted in 9,000 American and Australian casualties, half again as many as at Guadalcanal. The Jane carried soldiers and ammunition from Wanigela to Pongani.

During the landing, the troops and supplies were offloaded onto double-hulled native dugouts pushed through the breakers by the men standing naked in the surf. A few hours later, the Jane turned around and headed back to Wanigela for another load.

The Fahnestocks broadcast news from the expedition to the American public via the NBC radio network. Family friends of President Roosevelt and the brothers, also visited the President before their second expedition.

The Jane came out of the Pongani landings unscathed, however she was bombed and strafed several times at Lae and Dreger Harbor and at Cape Gloucester, New Britain. When she sailed between the islands, she was attacked repeatedly by lone Japanese “Zeros,” aircraft equipped with pontoons and torpedos.

By 1943, approximately 3000 small ships were constructed during the war effort, including freighters, launches, tugs, towboats, lighters, rescue and salvage boats and a large number of barges. An additional 4000 lifeboats and dinghies were built. Around 3000 Australians enlisted in the Small Ships Section during the Second World War.

The Jane’s US and Allied service in the Pacific, is one of many stories in the Small Ships Section recorded in the archives of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and US Army Small Ships Association that is dedicated to the brave men and women who answered our country’s call in its hour of need and helped turn the tide, to victory in the Pacific.

The Small Ships followed the US Army through the Pacific War, island hopping from Papua New Guinea to the Solomon Islands, the Philippines and eventually to Okinawa, Korea and Japan.

Following the Japanese surrender at the Bay of Tokyo in 1945, the Jane returned home to Australia from active service to Homebush Bay, in New South Wales.

The Jane and her sister fleet are the only known Australian vessels in history, to fly under an American flag during the war.

A maritime underwater archaeological survey of the Jane at Homebush Bay is presently being led by James Grant Hay in an effort to have the small ships section recognised by the U.S and Australian Government Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal.

Campaign for the Presidency

Douglas MacArthur, despite the thought of many at the time, did not plan on running for President, nor did he particularly support those movements that did. It was not until he was endorsed by the Senator from Ohio, Robert Taft, that he placed any seriousness in running for the nomination. Still, he could not do much campaigning on his own since he was deployed as the Supreme Allied Commander in the Pacific, and he refused to entertain the notion of resigning from the military before he knew he was going to be Commander in Chief. Instead, he contacted national newspapers back in the states, and had them interview him wherever he was the dispatches were then sent back to the states. At the behest of Taft, film crews were also sent to produce political news reels, the closest that MacArthur could come to talking to the American people at large.

Douglas MacArthur

Douglas MacArthur was born at the Little Rock Barracks in Arkansas, where he began his life of discipline with the United States Army. His parents were Civil War hero Lt. General Arthur MacArthur and Mary Pinkney Hardy MacArthur. Douglas would grow up to be a highly intelligent, heroic, egotistical and controversial five-star general. Early years As a child, Douglas traveled to remote sections of New Mexico with his parents and his elder brother, Arthur, as they were posted to various dusty military outposts. The environs of Fort Selden, New Mexico, provided for Douglas a life that included learning to ride and shoot before even learning to read and write. In 1883, when Douglas was three years old, his other brother, Malcolm, died. Douglas` older brother, Arthur, would later attend the U.S. Naval Academy. A naval captain, he was eventually killed in 1923.

Young Douglas soon learned that a MacArthur must first become a scholar and gentleman. At the age of six, Douglas transferred with his family to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, then three years later to Washington, D.C., where Captain MacArthur took a post in the War Department. During those early years in Washington, Douglas became close to his grandfather, Judge Arthur MacArthur, from whom he learned valuable life skills. MacArthur`s education MacArthur began his education at the West Texas Military Academy in 1893, and gained many valuable intellectual skills. He received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1898. After four years, Douglas finished at West Point first in his 93-person class.

First assignment In 1904, MacArthur was promoted to first lieutenant for excellence achieved while working in the Philippines with the Army Corps of Engineers. Because of his service there, he soon found himself touring Asia with his father. Directly following his assignment in Asia, he was assigned to the War Department during the Theodore Roosevelt years, becoming an official observer with the Vera Cruz Expedition. His next assignment, at the staff college at Leavenworth, became a troubling time for MacArthur when his father died in 1912. He was transferred to the War Department in Washington. While there, Chief of Staff Leonard Wood (a friend of his father) comforted MacArthur and gave him some much-needed motivation, providing his military career a fresh start. In 1915, MacArthur was promoted to major, and the following year he became the Army`s first public relations officer, promoting the Selective Service Act of 1917 to the American people. World War I MacArthur commanded the 42nd "Rainbow" Division on the Western Front of France. He put together the 42nd Division by accumulating National Guard Units before the war. He and his men fought with determined loyalty and courage, gaining a sense of superior fighting prowess. MacArthur became the most decorated American soldier of the war. His mission successfully completed, and after sustaining two combat wounds, MacArthur earned 13 decorations and was cited seven additional times for bravery. In August 1918, upon his promotion to brigadier general (the youngest ever in the army) MacArthur became the commander of the 84th Infantry Brigade. Three months later, at the age of 38, he became the youngest divisional commander in France. Following the war, MacArthur returned to West Point, becoming appointed the youngest superintendent in the institution`s 117 years of existence. Over the next three years, MacArthur doubled West Point`s size and modernized the academy`s curriculum.

Promotion to chief of staff MacArthur returned to the Philippines and took charge of the Army`s Philippine Department. While in command, he renewed a friendship with the island`s top politician, Manuel Quezon, whom he had known for more than 30 years. While MacArthur and Quezon failed in their attempt to get the former named governor of the Philippines, President Herbert Hoover settled differences by promoting MacArthur to four-star general and Army Chief of Staff, in 1930. However, because of The Great Depression, his new job was difficult. Americans ignored MacArthur`s warnings about the gaining momentum of world fascism. A persistent decline in the Army`s strength, as well as damage done to his reputation from the Bonus March of 1932, when he led army troops in routing impoverished World War I vets from the capital, forced MacArthur to look for new ideas and other opportunities. MacArthur retired from the Army in 1937, one year after the President of the Philippines, Manuel Quezon, appointed him Field Marshal of the Philippine Army. Although MacArthur was still a commander, it was not the same. In 1941, MacArthur was recalled to active duty as the U.S. prepared to enter World War II. Marriage Following the divorce of his first marriage with Louise Cromwell Brooks in 1928, MacArthur found another, lifelong companion, Jean Marie Faircloth. Shortly after the couple arrived in Manila, his mother, "Pinky," passed away. His soon-to-be wife, 37-year-old Jean, comforted MacArthur through the loss of his mother. The 58--year-old general became a father with the birth of his son, Arthur MacArthur IV. However, their delightful life in Manila slowly became engulfed by an ever-expanding Japanese empire.

World War II President Franklin D. Roosevelt named MacArthur commander of all U.S. Army forces in the Far East in July 1941. While preparing the U.S. military for the Philippine islands` full independence (scheduled for 1946), MacArthur would soon find out just how cunning and powerful the Japanese could be in the Pacific. Despite General Dwight D. Eisenhower`s direct assistance from Washington, MacArthur did not have the resources to build a force capable of holding off the Japanese. The attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, was the crushing point of MacArthur`s army in the Philippines. His army and air force were quickly pulverized, and by January, the remainder of his men were forced onto the Bataan Peninsula. While his forces struggled to survive, MacArthur could only watch from his command on the island of Corregidor at the mouth of Manila Bay. In March 1942, President Roosevelt made MacArthur commander of the Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific and ordered him to go to Australia. Under cover of night, a U.S. Navy torpedo boat spirited MacArthur and his family from Corregidor to the southern Philippines. They flew to Australia from there. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on April 1, 1942. It was in Australia that he uttered his famous promise, "I shall return." For the next three years, Douglas MacArthur would fight for his promise. Regaining momentum in the Pacific MacArthur spent much of 1942 accumulating men and matériel. Late that year, he commenced his mighty offensive against the Japanese. By early 1944, his soldiers were victorious in most of New Guinea, New Britain, the Solomons, and the Admiralty Islands. On October 20, 1944, his forces invaded Leyte Island in the Philippines. He trudged ashore with his men at Leyte. By doing so, MacArthur fulfilled his promise to return. Six months later, all of the Philippines were liberated from the Japanese. MacArthur was promoted to five-star general of the army in December 1944. In April 1945, he took command of all American army forces in the Pacific. On August 14 of that year, President Harry S. Truman announced the Japanese assent to the Allied surrender terms, and made MacArthur supreme commander of the Allied Powers. It became MacArthur`s job to receive the surrender — and to rule Japan. The Japanese surrender took place aboard the battleship Missouri on September 2, 1945. MacArthur established his headquarters in Tokyo and became the sole administrator of the military government in Japan. He gained the respect of the Japanese, who feared a harsh rule, because MacArthur`s firm, but fair methods proved otherwise. MacArthur introduced reforms designed to convert Japan into a democratic country. The Korean War and the general`s finale The Korean War began in 1950. After North Korean Communists invaded South Korea in 1950, MacArthur was appointed the Supreme United Nations commander. After the Chinese Communists entered the war on the side of the North Koreans, MacArthur wanted to attack the Chinese mainland. His enthusiasm for pushing on and attacking areas of China was not shared by President Truman. On April 11, 1951, MacArthur was relieved of his command by the president. MacArthur, always straightforward with his opinions, had publicly disagreed with Washington`s campaign stategies, which in the American system of government, military leaders are not permitted to do. General Matthew B. Ridgway replaced MacArthur and stabilized the military situation near the 38th parallel. Coming home MacArthur came home to a hero`s welcome and defended his policies in an address before a joint session of Congress, which ended:

Douglas MacArthur Is One of America's Most Famous Generals. He's Also the Most Overrated

T his Veteran&rsquos Day, as we remember those men and women we&rsquove sent into battle, we should also take a moment to remember the fateful decisions, sometimes tragically bad ones, our commanders made that put our fighting forces directly and often needlessly in harm&rsquos way.

In that dubious department, few generals in modern history come close to Douglas MacArthur.

From time to time, President Donald Trump (he who pleaded the bone spurs defense to avoid service in Vietnam) has rather audaciously taken it upon himself to grade various American military figures, past and present. Most recently, he made headlines by calling James Mattis, his own former Secretary of Defense, &ldquothe world&rsquos most overrated general.&rdquo By contrast, during the 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly declared that Douglas MacArthur was his &ldquofavorite general.&rdquo At rallies, Trump would invoke MacArthur&rsquos name almost as though he were in direct communication with his ghost. &ldquoGeneral MacArthur,&rdquo Trump said, &ldquois spinning in his grave when he sees what we do.&rdquo

While it&rsquos preposterous to think the president reads works of biography or military history, his proclaimed affinity for the so-called American Caesar makes perfect sense: Egomaniacs tend to admire other egomaniacs. It&rsquos well known that MacArthur was an incorrigible gloryhound, a man infatuated with the vertical pronoun. He was brilliant, yes, but usually the first to admit it. He was incapable of admitting an error or taking responsibility when things went wrong&mdashwhich they often did during his watch. He loved the trappings of power and stayed eternally vigilant to the micro-nuances of publicity. (If Twitter had been around during his time, he surely would have mastered it.) MacArthur refused to listen to inconvenient information, and he seldom cultivated or appreciated experts&mdashhe was the expert. It was said that he didn&rsquot have a staff he had a court.

&ldquoI have returned,&rdquo MacArthur said with typical bombast when he waded ashore at Leyte, apparently forgetting that an entire army and navy got him there. For MacArthur, it was all about him. &ldquoMacArthur,&rdquo President Eisenhower once said, &ldquocould never see a sun, or even a moon for that matter, in the heavens, as long as he was the sun.&rdquo

Still, MacArthur was wildly popular in his day, almost a demigod among a considerable swath of the American public, and he still enjoys a kind of cult following among those who like their generals to strike Napoleonic poses and carry themselves with a certain swagger. Something about MacArthur&rsquos persona resonated deeply within certain right-wing and reactionary elements of the American population. His fans loved the vainglory, the corncob pipe, the quavering tones, the martial romance. He spoke of decisive thrusts, of hammers and anvils and smiting blows. He made war sound magisterial and grand.

In recent years, however, historians have reassessed Douglas MacArthur&mdashnot just his command style, but particular decisions he made, and particular episodes from his long and controversial career. In modern evaluations, more often than not, &ldquoDugout Doug&rdquo comes up short.

In the summer of 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression, MacArthur personally commanded a contingent of troops, accompanied by tanks, that trampled and teargassed thousands of unarmed World I veterans­­&mdashthe so-called Bonus Marchers&mdashwho&rsquod gathered to peacefully protest in Washington, DC. MacArthur, convinced the gathering was all part of a vast communist conspiracy, drove the veterans out of the city, burned their shelters, and destroyed their belongings. In the process, one veteran was shot to death, and many wounded.

Nine years later, in the critical moments immediately after Pearl Harbor, for reasons that have never been adequately explained, MacArthur kept his fleet of planes in the Philippines clustered wingtip to wingtip on the tarmac for hours, providing an astonishingly convenient target for the Japanese aerial attack that any other commander would have seen coming. Predictably, the Japanese soon arrived and, in a matter of minutes, destroyed most of MacArthur&rsquos air force.

A few months later, he escaped to Australia, leaving his beleaguered forces on Bataan and Corregidor to suffer and die. (True, President Roosevelt ordered him to leave, but the better part of honor would have told him to countermand that order and stick with his command, no matter what.) The last American holdouts on Bataan, starving for food and ammunition, had no choice but to surrender, in what became the largest capitulation in American history (unless one counts Appomattox). And that was only the beginning of the horrors MacArthur&rsquos men endured: The Bataan Death March soon followed, and then three years in squalid Japanese-run prison camps.

Later, during the American island-hopping campaign across the Pacific, the U.S. Marines sustained more than 7,000 casualties on the tiny coral atoll of Peleliu while capturing a Japanese airstrip in order to support MacArthur&rsquos planned invasion at Mindanao. But in a late reversal, MacArthur decided to bypass Mindanao in favor of Leyte, thus obviating the need for the Peleliu runway. By that point, however, the Marines were committed to fight at Peleliu, and while MacArthur moved on, the Navy commanders stubbornly (and stupidly) stuck with the plan. Peleliu proved one of the costliest engagements of the Pacific war, yet the battle should never have happened. The island could have been avoided altogether.

In September 1950, during the Korean War, MacArthur is rightly credited for the Inchon invasion&mdashthe monumental amphibious landing he led there was an enormously risky but spectacularly successful undertaking. However, when approaching Seoul a few days later, MacArthur ordered his forces to unleash a hellish bombardment of the capital. Taking the city could have been accomplished in far less devastating ways, but the &ldquosupreme commander&rdquo was determined to liberate Seoul by a curious deadline he&rsquod set for himself. MacArthur, who claimed to have a unique understanding of the &ldquoAsiatic mind,&rdquo believed the North Korean occupiers were profoundly attentive to numerology. It was thus imperative, he insisted, that the capital be reclaimed exactly three months after the start of the war. Meeting this seemingly arbitrary deadline, he said, would strike a devastating blow in the hearts and psyches of the enemy. That many thousands of South Korean civilians would be maimed and killed by the wholesale shelling of the capital did not seem to bother him. And indeed many thousands were killed.

Yet nothing from MacArthur&rsquos long career of highly questionable actions (or inactions) could match his record in Korea during the weeks that followed.

After capturing Seoul and advancing to the 38th Parallel, MacArthur sniffed a far bigger prize. Why not keep on going? Why not seize Pyongyang? Why not drive all the way to the Yalu River, North Korea&rsquos border with China, and unite the entire peninsula? What a triumph this would be, what a blow against Communism, against Stalin, against totalitarian regimes everywhere. If MacArthur could pull it off, it would be the crowning moment of his career.

So, inevitably, the mission crept. Here was a classic case of hubris and overreach: Having achieved a tremendous victory with the Inchon landing, MacArthur felt invincible. He ordered his men to race headlong for the Yalu. The war would be over by Christmas, he said, and everyone could go home.

What he didn&rsquot know was that hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers were already streaming across the Yalu and getting into position to attack MacArthur&rsquos onrushing armies. Mao&rsquos troops were preparing a trap deep in the mountains of North Korea&mdashat a number of places, including the soon-to-be legendary Chosin Reservoir. As one prominent Army general wrote, MacArthur had come to resemble &ldquoa Greek hero of old, marching to an unkind and inexorable fate.&rdquo

How did MacArthur blunder so badly? How could he miss more than 300,000 Chinese soldiers? Once the intelligence finally came in loud and clear, he and his staff of sycophants continued to dismiss it, suppress it, or willfully misinterpret its import. In so doing, they recklessly put tens of thousands of American and other United Nations troops in mortal danger. The result was catastrophic: One of the worst defeats, and one of the most ignominious withdrawals, in American military history.

It was, in some senses, a repeat of his debacle at Bataan. Only in this case, MacArthur had been outwitted and outflanked by a guerrilla army with no air force, crude logistics, and primitive communications, an army with no tanks and precious little artillery. As David Halberstam put it, MacArthur had &ldquolost face not just before the entire world, but before his own troops, and perhaps most important of all, before himself.&rdquo

All of this happened because MacArthur was almost criminally out of touch with reality. He had created a hermetic universe and a top-down structure that maintained a stubborn hostility to facts. In Tokyo, he was busy running the occupation (brilliantly, it must be said&mdashplaying emperor was a job for which he was perfectly suited). But in Korea, he was a classic absentee general&mdashhe never slept a single night on Korean soil during the whole conflict, and would only occasionally fly over from Japan for a quick photo-op or aerial reconnaissance.

So in November and December of 1950, the men on the ground in Korea were left to claw their way out of the ordeal that MacArthur had created for them. Some of them, like the men of the First Marine Division, fought ferociously and with great ingenuity as they bashed their way out of the mountains around the Chosin Reservoir and marched to the safety of the sea&mdashinflicting staggering casualties on the Chinese along the way. But they never forgot the name of the man who put them in that tragic and unnecessary predicament, who never took responsibility for the fiasco, and who never thanked or apologized to them after they suffered and battled and froze across the barrens of North Korea on his behalf. The Chosin veterans I&rsquove spoken to detest MacArthur with a passion undiminished by the years. &ldquoThat man tried to kill me,&rdquo a Chosin Marine named Duane Trowbridge told me last year when we visited MacArthur&rsquos mausoleum in Norfolk as part of a veterans tour. &ldquoBut what can I say?&rdquo Trowbridge added with a grin. &ldquoI refused to cooperate.&rdquo

After Mao&rsquos intervention, General MacArthur made, according to some sources, increasingly strident calls to use atomic bombs against the Chinese, and even suggested sowing a permanent radioactive zone, a kind of nuclear fence, along the Manchurian border. In April of 1951, he was relieved of his command by President Truman. &ldquoI didn&rsquot fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was,&rdquo Truman later said. &ldquoI fired him because he wouldn&rsquot respect the authority of the president.&rdquo

Many scholars have tended to overlook or minimize MacArthur&rsquos long catalogue of dangerous missteps and bad decisions, perhaps in part because he was just such an interesting and odd character. Historians find him fascinating, and why wouldn&rsquot they? Practically everything he said was quotable, and practically everything he did, on the surface at least, seemed dashing and bold. He was a master of military theater, with a gift for putting himself at the photogenic nexus between the martial and the political. His fabulous career cut a wide path through much of American history. In narrative terms, he was a gift that keeps on giving.

But it&rsquos also true&mdashand Veteran&rsquos Day seems a fitting time to remember it&mdashthat MacArthur&rsquos judgment, clouded by his gargantuan ego, was sometimes deeply, dangerously flawed. The men who fought under him, and the civilians who happened to get in his way, often paid a terrible price.

Yes, Mr. Trump, Douglas MacArthur was one of our most storied and celebrated generals. He may also have been our most overrated one.

This story has been updated to reflect that there is not a consensus among historical sources about General MacArthur calls to use nuclear weapons.

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