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Old December 12th, 2012, 12:35 PM   #11
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When I said about dropping nuclear bombs on China, I meant MacArthur, not MacGyver.
I know.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 12:54 PM   #12

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And yet in WW2, from the advance from New Guinea to the Philippines and V-J Day, MacArthur lost fewer men than Eisenhower did in the Battle of the Bulge.
And how many did each of them command for the operations in question?

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He was personally brave, even to the point of being reckless, including actions at the Leyte landings where he advanced beyond his own lines and could have been shot dead by Japanese snipers. And the Inchon landings were a brilliantly executed and planned operation that essentially destroyed the North Korean Army as a fighting force.
Bravery is a fine thing given that it is not reckless. Leading from the front makes sense for a brigade commander (perhaps even a divisional one), but not for an army commander and certainly not for a theater commander. Nobody is questioning his personal courage, but that is much less important than personal judgment for a theater commander; in that, MacArthur was sadly lacking.

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Despite his faults, of which there are plenty, MacArthur is probably still one of the best commanders of the WW2 era.
On that, we will have to agree to disagree.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 01:01 PM   #13

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My grandfather fought under his command, and he didn't have a high opinion of him.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 01:03 PM   #14

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But he must have had some qualities that allowed him to reach the position he did?
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Old December 12th, 2012, 02:22 PM   #15
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But he must have had some qualities that allowed him to reach the position he did?
As far as I know, he lived through a long military career, "specialized" in the asian matters, and had some diplomatic-political abilities (much more than military ones).

He was effective and admired in Japan in the occupation years.

I was criticizing (sp?) his military and humane qualities.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 03:00 PM   #16

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What was MacArthur's relationship with Eisenhower like?
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Old December 12th, 2012, 03:32 PM   #17

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What was MacArthur's relationship with Eisenhower like?
I'll have to check on the World War II period, but I'm pretty sure Ike thought MacArthur handled the Bonus Marchers thing badly. Dougy went a little over the top in that one. I don't think MacArthur felt Eisenhower was qualified to command in the ETO.

In my own view, what stands out as a major flaw that MacArthur shared with McClellan was a rather empirical view of themselves matched against their civilian bosses. Both demonstrated a contempt for the constitutional authority of the President as commander in chief. McClellan declared in a letter to his wife that he believed he could be dictator after his reappointment to command of the Army of the Potomac. Neither thought civilians should have anything to do with the military prosecution of wars. MacArthur would give public lip service about a soldier just following the orders of his commander in chief, but he forever carried a general dislike for presidential authority as established in the constitution.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 03:56 PM   #18
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But he must have had some qualities that allowed him to reach the position he did?
MacArthur was a "legacy" in that his father was a career army officer who rose to lieutenant general (3* in USA). Arthur MacArthur had won the Congressional Medal of Honor in the Civil War. Douglas was also "awarded" the Medal in the Philippines - a PR move because of the defeat.

MacArthur was a courageous soldier who was decorated both in the Philippine Insurrection and also in France with the 42nd Division, of which he became GOC. He was superintendant of West Point in the 1920s, had a role in the court martial of Billy Mitchell, and was Chief of Staff before retiring in 1935. In the Mitchell case he heard all about the arguments concerning air power.

As he had served five tours in the Philippines, he was appointed military advisor to the Philippine President, partly as a preparation for Philippine Independence, projected for 1945, and partly to remove him as a candidate for US President in the 1936 election.

I don't know that MacArthur was a great commander, but he was an experienced and competent soldier and diplomat. IMO, with what was available in the Philippine Islands in 1941/42, Napoleon could not have defended them. Inchon was both a tactical and strategic triumph in my VERY humble opinion.

MacArthur was dramatic, egotistical and often vindictive to many subordinates. A complex person; how surprising.

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Old December 12th, 2012, 04:08 PM   #19
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What was MacArthur's relationship with Eisenhower like?
When Eisenhower worked for MacArthur, the two of them engaged in shouting matches, and Ike said he was surprised MacArthur did not fire him. Along with other US army officers, Eisenhower was disgusted with MacArthur when he accepted the rank of "Field Marshal" of the nonexistent Philippine army.

Despite all that, I think there was a grudging respect between the men. Evidently, MacArthur did not think Ike was up to the job of commanding in the North African theater, but that was George Marshall's decision, and Marshall was among the best brains the US army ever produced.

Ike is supposed to have said "I studied acting under General MacArthur for years." Probably something to that.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 04:21 PM   #20
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What was MacArthur's relationship with Eisenhower like?
MacArthur was once quoted as saying that "Eisenhower was one of the best clerks I ever had", but then again, MarArthur really was in love with himself-it wasnt just a summer thing.

The man had an ego the size of a mature elephant. While personally courageous, I tend to think of him literally as a 5 star drama queen.

General Patton, no shrinking violet himself was ordered by MacArthur to disperse the bonus army. Patton was to later say that he wouldnt serve under Mac ever again for that reason.

When MacArthur was brilliant, he was outstanding-the Inchon landings and generally speaking his WWII island hopping ideas. I think his forte was in the offensive because when faced with a defensive situation, he really stunk at it.

When MacArthur screwed up, he REALLY screwed up-The P.I. in the early part of WWII, and later, when the P.I. was to be taken, his island hopping trolley jumped the tracks. He wanted revenge and he wasnt going to be denied. Fast forward to Korea-once again the military in the Pacific was not close to being prepared, in fact, we didnt have a single full strength army division in the area. And for that, we nearly got our butts kicked off the Korean peninsula by a tin pot 3rd rate country.

Again, in the same war after the Inchon landings and we have the enemy pinned at the Yalu river, report after report comes down warning of chinese troops and Mac ignores the inconvienient truth...after all, he promised to have the troops home by Christmas. Too bad nobody told the quarter of a million Red troops in the area!

Oh, and as to the Medals of Honor FDR wanted to pass out to the theater commanders, Mac took his with great fanfare. Eisenhower refused his, stating that the CMH was to be awarded for Valor, and he had not personally seen combat, so had not earned it.
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