Douglas Macarthur: 4 screw ups?

Jul 2016
8,392
USA
I recently read in Marching Orders, by Bruce Lee, that Eisenhower was against using the bomb on Japan for moral reasons, as were a great many others.. MacArthur was against using it because he wanted to lead the largest invasion in world history. In Hasting's book, Armageddon, he tells how, while all the other casualty estimates ran in the hundreds of 1000's, even millions, MacArthur insisted that there would be no more than 31,000 American casualties. He really did not care how many bodies he had to stand on to achieve that pinnacle.
Most, including MacArthur and Eisenhower, were only against the use of Atomic Bombs in hindsight, as they were not read in on the Manhattan Project, they didn't know of the Bomb's existence until a few days before they were dropped, if that.

Richard B. Frank, Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire, has this to say about MacArthur's casualty estimates. One, MacArthur gave two figures, the first was in the millions, the second figure was more precise because Truman demanded specifics. MacArthur's numbers were the following for Olympic and Coronet:

D-Day - D+30 = 50,800 battle casualties
D+31 - D+60 = An additional 27,150 battle casualties
D+61 - D+90 = An additional 27,100 battle casualties

* Note, MacArthur's staff deducted casualties who could return to duty, which are the majority. And did not count those lost to sickness or injured in accidents, which accounted for roughly 1/4-3/4 of total losses.

Overall, casualty estimation is like water dowsing, its bull. The boss (Truman) wants an estimate to make a political decision but its completely impossible to give a detailed response. There are simply too many factors to consider, and most of them are unknown. Realistically, considering the level of resistance, the manner in which the Japanese had correctly guessed the invasion beaches, their use of kamikaze (air, ground, naval), if the US had attempted any conventional invasion it would have been worse than any of the casualty estimates given by Nimitz, MacArthur, or those of the Joint Chiefs.

Lastly, those who were read in on the atomic bombs at the level of the Joint Chiefs were thinking of using between 10-12 atomic bombs tactically just to support the Kyushu invasion. Which further illustrates how impossible it would have been to estimate US casualties.
 
Oct 2014
145
In an ultimate "Spirt of the Game" (SOTG) state of
The Navy wanted to invade Taiwan, not The PI.
Source(s) please.


http://www.history.army.mil/books/70-7_21.htm

says that the Luzon Versus Formosa debate was more a Wash. DC vs. field COs in the PTO. In particular, all the
PTO Navy commanders wanted to invade at least part of the PI. according to this source.

Before this debate, there was a conference in Jan. 1944 between Nimitz, Halsey, and MacArthur representatives.

Strategic planning for coalition warfare, 1943-1944 by Maurice Matloff p. 455-57

had: "Most surprising feature was the general feeling that greater
emphasis should be placed upon [naval / amphib ops] along the New Guinea
axis to the Philippines rather than those across the Central Pacific."

So it implies that the USN COs in the PTO supported a Philippine invasion,
at least at that point.

I certainly recognize that the 2 sources listed above may be wrong, but
without a strong source contradicting them beyond an unsupported
assertion I'm inclined to believe them.


Quezon giving MacArthur $500,000 in gold when he abandoned Corregidor had more to do with his desire to return than anything else. He was paid to do it.
That may very well be true, and I won't ask for a source there. I very
much doubt Mac would admit that in writing!

But it was not MacArthur's decision to make, those responsibile for invading
the Philippines were FDR and the JCS.
 
May 2018
98
Houston, TX
Not sure of the original reference, but I have read that FDR once said something like this:
"The president privately said of (Huey) Long that along with General Douglas MacArthur, 'He was one of the two most dangerous men in America.'".
 

royal744

Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
9,940
San Antonio, Tx
Had the US forces invaded Japan instead of liberating the Philippines first, they would have to go through a costly struggle just considering by the blood shed at Iwo Jima.

Also, liberating the Philippines 1st was a strategic move since the Philippines lied in between Japan and their source of oil and supplies in Indonesia as well as being a way station to most of their army stationed at the south.

The Philippines was so important to the Japanese that they gathered most of their forces to maintain sway over it. That's why the largest naval battle in history, the Battle of Leyte gulf occurred in Philippine waters.

Sent from my CHM-U01 using Tapatalk
Mostly, I was referring to the disastrous battle of Manila. I said in a previous post that the Phillipines could be by-passed, or at least delayed. The US was already in Leyte. The battle of Manila could have been delayed, although the US had no way of knowing the rogue admiral had decided to defend it to the death.

By the time the US arrived at Leyte, the Japanese Empire’s strategic position in the Philippines astride the Indonesian archipelago’s oil supply lines was already effectively curtailed. Occupation of all of the Philippines was not necessary to disrupt oil shipments to Japan. American and Dutch submarines had, by this time, severely reduced Japan’s ability to resupply dwindling oil supplies.
 

royal744

Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
9,940
San Antonio, Tx
Emphasized section is the most important part of the quote.
Absolutely ZERO evidence offered for this assertion.

Earlier in this thread, evidence WAS provided that ALL the PTO
commanders favored invading at least some of the Philippines.

I would be very interested if there is EVIDENCE contradicting
that. But sorry, random opinions do NOT cut it in historical discussions.
You’re right, of course. I don’t have a smoking gun that says, “I invaded the Philippines because of my towering megalomania” - Douglas Macarthur. Multiple, repeated statements by Macarthur about “I shall return” couldn’t possibly mean that he intended to return to the Philippines before there was any strategic reason (or army, for that matter) to do so.

Ego has a great deal to do with how things play out.
 
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royal744

Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
9,940
San Antonio, Tx
Actually, the old notion that Hiroshima caused the Japanese to surrender is most likely a myth. The overwhelming weight of evidence suggests that the prospect of Soviet Russia entering the conflict was the decisive factor influencing the Japanese government to throw in the towel. With the benefit of hindsight, the atomic bomb was probably unnecessary. Here's a good article that lays it out:

The Bomb Didn't Beat Japan: Stalin Did | Foreign Policy

Interestingly, MacArthur was one of the very few senior American officials who suspected (as early as March 1945) that a dovish coalition was forming in Tokyo, and who urged (mostly unheeded) the Pentagon and the State Department to be alert for conciliatory gestures. If U.S. diplomacy had been more adroit, it is possible - even likely - that the enemy surrender could have been induced even sooner.

That map is from 1942, when MacArthur was indeed merely the commander of the Southwest Pacific Area. After April 1945 however, he was promoted to become commander in chief of all Army and Air Force units in the Pacific, which erased the old boundary lines of his authority.

As a result of this, there were a lot of arguments post-April 1945 about who held responsibility for what in the Pacific. The snafu over Malaya was only one of many things that had to be straightened out in conference.

The U.S. was anti-colonialist in nature - there is an important distinction. Anti-imperialism on the other hand, was mostly a matter of semantics.
I completely disagree with this.

The Kwantung Army that the Russians sliced through like a knife through hot butter, was barely a shadow of what it had once been. Most of its offensive power had been transferred to the Pacific where Japan was being beaten and beaten badly by the Americans and its allies.

I’m fascinated that anyone would propose that that the Russian attacks were anything but a minor sideshow to the main action. The Japanese Empire was fighting for its life and the situation on the mainland was becoming more desperate with each passing day, so naturally, the Japanese would look overseas to figure out if they needed to surrender. Nonsense and whole cloth. Maybe there is a secret prize for coming up with an alternative history of the Pacific War. If so, this one isn’t it.
 
Jan 2015
3,190
Rupert's Land ;)
Mostly, I was referring to the disastrous battle of Manila. I said in a previous post that the Phillipines could be by-passed, or at least delayed. The US was already in Leyte. The battle of Manila could have been delayed, although the US had no way of knowing the rogue admiral had decided to defend it to the death.

.
Agreed.
They could have occupied Mindanao, and used it as a base to clear the Philippines of all Japanese air and sea power, leave the Luzon garrison to sit until surrender.

Mac probably thought he was doing the right thing in liberating Manila, but the civilian price was too high
 
Sep 2012
938
Spring, Texas
The IJA troops under Yamamoto evacuated Manila and went North into the mountains. The Naval Commander of the Japanese troops in Manila (included base troops and a Naval Landing Force) decided he wanted to dig in and bleed the oncoming American Army. MacArthur left a very expensive Hotel Apartment in Manila when he went to Corregidor. He found the hotel destroyed.

Pruitt
 
Sep 2012
938
Spring, Texas
The IJA troops under Yamamoto evacuated Manila and went North into the mountains. The Naval Commander of the Japanese troops in Manila (included base troops and a Naval Landing Force) decided he wanted to dig in and bleed the oncoming American Army. MacArthur left a very expensive Hotel Apartment in Manila when he went to Corregidor. He found the hotel destroyed after the battle.

Pruitt
 

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