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Old December 12th, 2012, 04:30 PM   #21

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The story on Eisenhower and MacArthur, or so it goes, is that Ike was once asked by a woman if he knew General MacArthur. His reply was "Yes, I studied drama under General MacArthur for four years in the Philippines." He also reportedly remarked that the wrong general was abandoned in the Philippines. Here's a more serious article on their relationship.

Dwight D. Eisenhower: Douglas MacArthur's Aide in the 1930s


Personally, I think MacArthur's actions with the Bonus Marchers show how much of a damn he really gave for the American soldier.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 04:35 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Viperlord View Post
The story on Eisenhower and MacArthur, or so it goes, is that Ike was once asked by a woman if he knew General MacArthur. His reply was "Yes, I studied drama under General MacArthur for four years in the Philippines." He also reportedly remarked that the wrong general was abandoned in the Philippines. Here's a more serious article on their relationship.

Dwight D. Eisenhower: Douglas MacArthur's Aide in the 1930s
How would you rate Nimitz? I only ask because those that believe MacArthur was a fool, and the southern portion of the Pacific War was something anyone could have accomplished, that reflects on Nimitz as well in a way with the northern push.

I personally admire the hell out of Nimitz, but there are those who disagree, including mothers of marines killed at Tarawa. What do you think about old Chester?
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Old December 12th, 2012, 04:37 PM   #23

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MacArthur badly bungled the Philippines in 41-42. He was supposed to retreat to Bataan/Corregidor and hold as long as possible. Instead, against the professional judgement of nearly everyone, he decided that the Philippines should be defended from the beaches. He moved supplies to forward dumps which were quickly captured or destroyed by the Japanese. By the time he realized he should retreat to Bataan it was too late. Those troops starved because MacArthur, in one of his delusional moods, believed that an ill-trained and undermanned and badly equipped Philippine Army could defend thousands of miles of coast line.
When Quezon left the islands he awarded MacArthur and other AMerican officers a bonus total of hundreds of thousands of dollars, which MacArthur had no problem accepting the largest share.

As for Buna/Goda vs the Bulge....so? He had fewer casualties than the Germans at Stalingrad as well. The myth of low casualties comes straight from MacArthurs "dispatches" which he claimed came "from the front". Every single one mentioned MacArthur, and usually only MacArthur. "The Supreme Commander took the field today....", meaning he arrived at Port Moresby which was only a mountain range away from the front.
MacArthur was adamant that Rabaul be taken by assault, until the JCS decided to bypass it. Then he claimed credit for the strategy.

History is starting to be a little more objective when it comes to this man. He was fascinating, brilliant, petty, egotistical, jealous. His treatment of his Australian allies, who furnished the bulk of troops for a year, was shameful.

Inchon? Yes. Then Yalu, which was a thorough debacle. He was the perfect choice to lead the Occupation, though. His imperious nature fit very well with his unique position in Japanese culture.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 04:50 PM   #24

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It was George Marshall's idea to award MacArthur the CMH to blunt propaganda over his leaving the Phillipines. Marshall writes in the official citation, "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." Whatever. MacArthur reportedly accepted the medal on behalf of the troops on Bataan and Corregidor, sharing the glory. He did not, however, share the $500,000 that Quezon paid him after they left the islands.



.org/wiki/Douglas _ http://en.wikipedia MacArthur#Philippines_Campaign_.281941.E2.80.9342. 29
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Old December 12th, 2012, 04:51 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
How would you rate Nimitz? I only ask because those that believe MacArthur was a fool, and the southern portion of the Pacific War was something anyone could have accomplished, that reflects on Nimitz as well in a way with the northern push.

I personally admire the hell out of Nimitz, but there are those who disagree, including mothers of marines killed at Tarawa. What do you think about old Chester?
With this, you are getting into both strategic changes that came with developing situations in the Pacific Theater, and also the impact of the USN's War Plan Orange. (I say the navy's plan because that is what drove the strategic train in the Pacific from 1919 onward.)

Nimitz deserves his own thread IMO. Why are the mothers of Marines at Tarawa any different from the mothers of Marines at Guadalcanal or Saipan or Iwo Jima, or dozens of other crap holes in the Pacific? Nimitz could not conduct a war without casualties.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 04:55 PM   #26

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And how many did each of them command for the operations in question?
Both had a fair number of campaigns under their belts during WW2. My prime source on MacArthur's actions comes from William Manchester's "American Caesar." Analyzing MacArthur's "resposibility" can be tricky because of how the Pacific Theater was divided in terms of command. Nimitz got the Central Pacific and kept it as a traditional Navy command, while MacArthur got the Southwest Pacific. The tricky part is that MacArthur's involvement was only in "land" operations...

His main campaigns of WW2 were part of the drive across New Guinea and isolating the Japanese fortress of Rabal and then moving in the general direction of the Philippines. This would include the Pelilu landings and the landings on Leyte and then the final fight against General Yamashita for the rest of the Philippines Island chain. He was on track to command the US forces landing in Japan when the atomic bombs were dropped and the war ended.

The time for these campaigns went from late 1942 until 1945 when the war ended. In this, MacArthur faced fairly large numbers of Japanese troops. Much of it was done by being able to bypass and isolate Japanese strongpoints and leaving them to whither on the vine as it were. It wasn't a direct fight, but it did the job, and largely saved American lives.

Eisenhower was in command for a similar number of campaigns in Europe. He had command of Allied Units landing in French North Africa for operation Torch, which essentially had him equal to Harold Alexander (Monty's superior in the Mediterranean theater) in the overall Allied command in 1942. Shortly after North Africa fell he would be promoted to command of the entire Western Allied forces, and would bear the responsibility of approving the plans for Sicily, Italy, Normandy, and outlining the overall plan to invade Germany.

Manchester's comparison between MacArthur and Eisenhower is comparing the casualties suffered for MacArthur from 42 to 45 and the casualties suffered by Eisenhower over the space of a single battle in the winter of 44-45.

Which was an interesting revelation to Manchester who, as a former Marine, had originally set out to write that MacArthur was a callous man who would fight to the last Marine available. His research found his original theory wrong and that much of the Marine casualties in WW2 in the Pacific were the responsibility of the Navy Admirals in their direct chain of command. MacArthur, for example was not involved with the landings on Tarawa, Eniwetok, Saipan, Iwo Jima, or Okinawa.

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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.
I don't entirely dissagree. I believe the men that MacArthur passed were fairly urgent that he return to the Allied lines in that incident. However, I think there one must remember that MacArthur was among the oldest of America's generals in WWII. His father was a veteran of the American Civil War and he was born in a time when the concept of army and theater commanders NOT being close to the line of fire being somewhat absurd in the Victorian Era. And MacArthur wasn't the only one in that regard. My mom's been reading a book on General Marshall, and has gotten to a point in which Marshall is touring the Normandy landing areas from a destroyer with Winston Churchill. Churchill supposedly refused to leave until he could fire a gun. I've seen in another book focusing on the end of WW2 in which Churchill was touring a German city that had either been bombed to rubble or damaged by the fighting and when Ike learned Churchill was there... he sent men to retrieve the Prime Minister because the area where Churchill was at was not entirely secure...

It is an element of the "Victorian" era that I think one sees in men like Churchill and MacArthur. Given the violent nature of 20th Century wars, it probably was a poor decision on MacArthur's part, but was still a major part of his character... to be showy and flamboyant, which Manchester describes as one of MacArthur's greatest flaws in spite of his skills as a general.

MacArthur liked being the center of attention and even took credit for the "victory" in the Battle of the Coral Sea. MacArthur actually played no role in the fight, as it was entirely a naval battle, BUT it occured in his part of the Pacific Theater which allowed him to make some claim to the credit. He was also notorius for undervaluing the work done by subordinates for him. Which would actually make his interactions with Ridgeway in Korea fairly interesting.

And MacArthur's showmanship also brough him heavily into politics. While George Patton was just as personally flamboyant with regard to chasing glory, Patton was apolitical and had no real desire to be a politician. MacArthur ran for the GOP nomination several times, but never got out of the primaries, and ran the occupation of Japan like he was an Emperor, himself, which would probably set up his later fights with Truman that would get him fired.

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On that, we will have to agree to disagree.
To a great extent, saying who was the best and other similar statements are always subjective to the opinion of the historian. It'll always depend on what facts the historians values highly. MacArthur had a fair number of flaws and a personality that didn't really win him that many friends. As a result, he's generally ben an officer who is either loved or hated.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 05:02 PM   #27
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With this, you are getting into both strategic changes that came with developing situations in the Pacific Theater, and also the impact of the USN's War Plan Orange. (I say the navy's plan because that is what drove the strategic train in the Pacific from 1919 onward.)

Nimitz deserves his own thread IMO. Why are the mothers of Marines at Tarawa any different from the mothers of Marines at Guadalcanal or Saipan or Iwo Jima, or dozens of other crap holes in the Pacific? Nimitz could not conduct a war without casualties.
You are certainly right about that, Tarawa was something that is over-dramatized in something I have either seen or read, I can't remember. I wish there were more Amtracs available to get over that pesky reef at Tarawa, but I do not believe it reflects on Nimitz. Casualties were to be expected.

I would say that MacArthur's defeat in the Philippines was a product of the US not being ready for war in the Pacific, just as the British in Singapore were not ready. I do not believe that Depression Era events that should be blamed on Roosevelt can fairly be blamed on MacArthur.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 05:04 PM   #28

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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.
No matter what, he's respected in the Philippines.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 05:13 PM   #29

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I would say that MacArthur's defeat in the Philippines was a product of the US not being ready for war in the Pacific, just as the British in Singapore were not ready. I do not believe that Depression Era events that should be blamed on Roosevelt can fairly be blamed on MacArthur.
The Great Depression started in 1929. FDR was not innaugurated until 1933. Please stop deciding every problem in American history was a Democrat's fault. In addition, the the incident with the Bonus Army that was dispersed by the army was done by Herbert Hoover's orders.

FDR did face an incident with a Bonus Army in 1933, but it was smaller, and FDR's solution was to promise them jobs in the CCC, which most of them agreed to.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 05:17 PM   #30
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You are certainly right about that, Tarawa was something that is over-dramatized in something I have either seen or read, I can't remember. I wish there were more Amtracs available to get over that pesky reef at Tarawa, but I do not believe it reflects on Nimitz. Casualties were to be expected.

I would say that MacArthur's defeat in the Philippines was a product of the US not being ready for war in the Pacific, just as the British in Singapore were not ready. I do not believe that Depression Era events that should be blamed on Roosevelt can fairly be blamed on MacArthur.
Back to War Plan Orange...after WW I, the Navy Dept and the War Dept both agreed the Philippines were indefensible in the event of war with Japan. One of the early potential strategic plans included a fortified naval base in the Philippines from which the navy could conduct operations. The development of air power (and also the example of the Russian base at Port Arthur in 1904) wrecked that idea along with the Washington Naval Treaty (1922) which prohibited improvements to fortifications in the P.I.

The navy expected all US positions west of 180 degrees to fall to Japan...Wake, Guam, P.I. The navy would plan for its advance across the central Pacific, and the P.I. were to be bypassed.

It is not that the US was not prepared for war in the Pacific. The US pretty much expected what happened (not Pearl), and resources were not going to be lavished on the Philippines if they were obviously toast. The navy would prepare for its counter offensive on its own terms and with its lines of supply intact and pretty much invulnerable.

Tarawa was a Japanese position that was not accessible to US intelligence, and could not be adequately surveyed in advance of the campaign. It happens.
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