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Douglas MacArthur history buffs?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by Bisi, Mar 8, 2013.

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  1. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    I’ve been seeing ads for this new Tommie Lee Jones movie “Emperor”. I believe it is about the occupation of Japan, Douglas MacArthur, and the Emperor. I haven’t seen the movie and probably won’t. Being a somewhat history buff this movie’s ad got me to thinking about Douglas MacArthur. I was just wondering your opinion of the General?

    Myself I’m kind of divided. He had a great career before WWII even started. But on the other hand he lost his Air Force on Dec 8 in the Philippines, 24 hours after Pearl Harbor. They hung Short and Kimmel for the losses at Pearl and they had no real advance warnings. Then he went on his island hopping campaign in the S. Pacific. He did a fabulous job rebuilding postwar Japan. Then Korea. Over confident at first resulting in heavy US losses, but then the landings at Inchon were brilliant.

    Just wondering what you guys thought?

    I’m guessing this new movie will be a box office flop. Why? Thanks to our government schools, I’m betting less than 20% of the population has even heard of MacArthur. And that 20% is oldsters who don’t go to movies anymore.
     
  2. chiefjon

    chiefjon Active Member

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    I was about 10 or so when Harry Truman fired MacArthur. It was my earliest recollection of my parents reaction to that "damn democrat" belittling the general. I have read MacArthur's speech to congress and in tribute to him always used the "MacArthur circle of stars" as my rank designation when I became a police chief. I am sure his military record had it's ups and downs, but if we had followed his advice and taken all of North Korea, we would not have the issues over there we have today. Patton and MacArthur were the two generals who called it correctly and the interference of political forces created much of our present day ills. I have several coins from the far east which were used as currency in memorial to MacArthur. I am a big fan.

    Jon Schorle
     
  3. 9point3

    9point3 Well-Known Member

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    Claimed to be the most decorated US serviceman ever
     
  4. chiefjon

    chiefjon Active Member

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    I thought Audie Murphy was the most decorated soldier.
     
  5. 9point3

    9point3 Well-Known Member

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    Audie was of WW2 but Mac had a much longer career and 3 major wars plus a lil one in Mexico





    Medal of Honor


    Distinguished Service Cross with two oak leaf clusters


    Army Distinguished Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters

    Navy Distinguished Service Medal

    Silver Star six oak leaf clusters, represented by one silver and one bronze oak leaf cluster

    Distinguished Flying Cross

    Bronze Star with Valor device

    Presidential Unit Citation six oak leaf clusters, represented by one silver and one bronze oak leaf cluster

    Air Medal

    Purple Heart with one oak leaf cluster

    Philippine Campaign Medal

    Mexican Service Medal

    World War I Victory Medal with five battle clasps (Aisne-Marne, Champagne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne and Defensive Sector)

    Army of Occupation of Germany Medal

    American Defense Service Medal with “Foreign Service” clasp

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two silver service stars and arrowhead device

    World War II Victory Medal

    Army of Occupation Medal with “Japan” clasp

    National Defense Service Medal posthumously eligible for bronze service star

    Korean Service Medal with three bronze service stars and arrowhead device

    United Nations Service Medal
     
  6. Chichay

    Chichay TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Bisi,

    Don't forget the Philippines is on the other side of the international date line. While the Japanese attack on US possessions in the Pacific was nearly simultaneous and considering the time difference, MacArthur might have had only a few hours notice at best.

    Chichay
     
  7. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Quote: <i> Then Korea. Over confident at first resulting in heavy US losses, but then the landings at Inchon were brilliant."</i>

    Not quite correct on the time line.

    The beginning of the Korea War went badly because MacAuthur had no choice but to buy time with what little occupation troops he had available in Japan, along with totally unsuitable armor. (M24 Chaffee light tanks are no match for the Soviet T34 tanks used by the North Koreans. The M24 was used in the Japan occupation because of the light bridge construction.) Groups like Task Force Smith were almost wiped out by the North Koreans as they bought time with their lives. There was no other choice.

    Inchon was brilliant. At that point, for all practical purposes, the war was won.

    The problem was, our original stated goal was to drive the North Koreans back across the 38th Parallel. We did that. MacAuthur and others pushed to eliminate the communist threat from Korea by force.

    Personally I believe this was the correct decision, but here's where it gets dicey...

    China started making noises about US troops getting close to their border. If several different sources are factual, and I do not find error with them, the Chicoms were willing to accept the South Korean army (ROK) on their border and a unified Korea under the South Koreans, but would not tolerate US troops in North Korea, especially near their border. A lot of this had to do with MacAuthur shooting his mouth off about eliminating communism.

    You mention MacAuthur's over confidence. That was a big factor but so was his utter stupidity in ignoring warning signs from China. In October 1950 our troops captured and also killed some Chicoms operating in North Korea. When interrogated these Chicoms gave what was pretty factual info about several Chinese armies that crossed the Yalu into Korea. MacAuthur arbitrarily dismissed this intel. And Gen. Ned Almond derisively referred to the Chicoms as "Chinese laundrymen". Well these "Chinese laundrymen" kicked the crap out of us.

    Also, as brilliant as Inchon was, the drive to the Chinese border was very poorly executed. Because of the mountainous terrain, MacAuthur split his army in two. This left a huge gap with no contact between them, and the Chicoms exploited that very well. The Chicoms also exploited our tendency to stay on roads in the bottom of valleys while they took the high ground. That MacAuthur allowed this deplorable situation to happen speaks of bad over confidence and frankly I would assert gross negligence. Basically he threw caution to the wind, figuring victory was complete and this was a clean up operation, totally ignoring the Chinese threat. Leaving forces that vulnerable could be cited as incompetence.

    Well we all know what happened. We got kicked back down below the 38th. MacAuthur wanted more troops, use of nukes, wanted to get the Taiwanese involved in an invasion of Red China, defied civilian authority, etc. At the time it was thought Korea was a diversion to pull our military resources from Europe, giving the Soviets a chance to invade. (Ironic in hindsight how we underestimated the Chinese communists but overestimated the Soviets.)

    And MacAuthur got sacked for violating direct presidential orders. As he should have been. In fact, Gen. Matthew Ridgeway, before he replaced Walker, when the Joint Chiefs were complaining about MacAuthur's insubordination, told them to fire him. Ridgeway reports the Joint Chiefs were basically cowed by MacAuthur.

    So yes, MacAuthur was overconfident, but that time line was AFTER the Inchon invasion.
     
  8. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    As for the movie, I'll watch it, but I'll wait for it to come to the cheap neighborhood theater for $4. I just don't see this as being a big screen epic worthy of a $12 ticket.

    I have the Gregory Peck movie "MacAuthur" on DVD. Most of you have probably seen this movie. It's a pretty fair assessment of MacAuthur.

    One thing in the trailer for the new movie that raised my eyebrows was when Tommy Lee Jones says, "Bring me the Emperor". Aside from his tone of voice, which sounded like he was ordering a steak, this line directly conflicts with the earlier MacAuthur movie and historical observations.

    MacAuthur said that he was not going to go see the Emperor. He would wait for the Emperor to come to him. On that day he thought the Japanese people would no longer view him as a god.

    The salient point is Tommy Lee Jones is ordering up the Emperor like steak, while MacAuthur is known to have patiently waited in order to make a political point.

    So which version is correct? I believe the older movie is correct, but, perhaps the new trailer is taking something out of context. I'll wait until it's at the cheap theater to find out.
     
  9. jbailey

    jbailey Active Member

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    Brian has it pretty much nailed on McAuthur, but is probably too kind in his opinion of him. After Pearl Harbor he did have time to secure his aircraft but chose not to. In Korea MacAuthur, who had overall command, split the Marine forces and the Army forces at Chosin and we know how that turned out. Marine general O.P. Smith did things his way in violation of MacAuthur's orders and saved his Marines and what was left of the Army's 31st Infantry Regiment which suffered 90% casualities. MacAuthur was all about MacAuthur. A great book on the subject of American generals is " The Generals , American Military Command from World War II to Today " by Thomas E. Ricks. The book does a lot to explain why the US military is in the position it is today as regards the wars we have fought since WWII.
     
  10. drgondog

    drgondog Member

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    I agree Brian's general observations. There is some back channel discussions that the Chinese were threatened with nuclear strikes if they entered the war - and that Truman got (understandably) cold feet when theJoint Chiefs observed that using our nuclear arsenal on China would be disastrous relative to opposing USSR in Europe. If so that would explain to a degree why MacArthur was confident that China would stay on the North of Yalu.

    As to his legacy? I am of the opinion that he was our best and in the company of Lee and Patton with Grant, Jackson, and maybe George Marshall for different reasons.

    I would recommend American Caesar and Goodbye Darkness by Manchester.

    Manchester - former Marine self admitted MacArthur hater -and planned an 'expose' but ended up having great respect for his accomplishments.

    MacArthur was a master of 3 Dimenional war and his campaign in the Pacific to retake Phillipines should be notably masterful - losing fewer troops than US lost at Normandy

    He is a lighting rod - but there is a reason the Sovs, Brits and French study the three at their own Military academies for brilliant Military Tactitians

    Nobody is lukewarm on him.
     
  11. gailmk67

    gailmk67 Member

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    Correct me if I am wrong but one things you are forgetting about McAuthur is that he also ordered US troops to fire on US veterans on US soil during the depression. The veterans as I understand were protesting and engaged in the execution of their constitutional right of free assembly. That alone earns him a thumbs down from me.

    Regards, Joe
     
  12. SF SGM

    SF SGM Member

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    Last time I checked, no one had ever found a copy of the msg ordering him to leave the Phillipines. Not a big fan but just my thoughts.

    Van
     
  13. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    Brian, I was thinking the same thing about this movie. I thought I would wait until it came out at the discount theatre to see it. That might not happen though because today I heard they were going to doze the local discount place. The owner says he can't afford to digitize his place, which all movies are going to.

    I checked the front line cinemas in this area and they aren't even showing "Emperor". I don't think this movie will be around long. I still suspect the main movie goers whom are under the age of 35 have never even heard of Douglas MacArthur so they would have no interest in the film.

    The first bombs didn't fall on the Philippines until almost 10 hrs after MacArthur was told about the attack from Washington. In fact Hap Arnold chief of the Army Air Corp warned the folks in the Philippines to not let their aircraft get caught on the ground like they did in Hawaii. The official US plan for the defense of the Philippines from Japan was the "Orange Plan" which was to retreat to Bataan and hold out there. Even though it was the official US plan MacArthur didn't like it because it meant abadoning Manila. He was going to fight em on the beaches. Well he did and lost a hugh amount of supplies that should have went to Bataan.

    Who knows? The Philippines would have probably been lost anyway. I still wonder what Short and Kimmel thought about MacArthur being awarded the CMH by Roosevelt for the defense of Bataan while they were hung out to dry for Pearl.
     
  14. dhip

    dhip Active Member

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    Well,all I know is my mother was in the hospital fretting over what to name me,a nurse suggwsted Douglas after the General.And,as thyey say,that is that.


    Doug H.(pa)
     
  15. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Quote: <i>"Correct me if I am wrong but one things you are forgetting about McAuthur is that he also ordered US troops to fire on US veterans on US soil during the depression"</i>

    Absolutely true.

    From Wikipedia:

    Police shooting

    The marchers remained at their campsite waiting for President Hoover to act. On July 28, 1932, Attorney General William D. Mitchell ordered the police to remove the Bonus Army veterans from their camp. When the veterans moved back into it, they rushed two policemen trapped on the second floor of a building. The cornered police drew their revolvers and shot two veterans, William Hushka and Eric Carlson, who died later.[10][11]

    William Hushka (1895–1932) was an immigrant to the United States from Lithuania. When the U.S. entered World War I in 1917, he sold his butcher shop in St. Louis, Missouri and joined the United States Army. After the war he lived in Chicago, Illinois.[11] Hushka is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

    Eric Carlson (1894 – July 28, 1932) was a U.S. veteran from Oakland, California. He fought in the trenches of France in World War I.[11][12][13] He was interred in Arlington National Cemetery.[14]

    When told of the shootings, President Hoover ordered the army to evict the Bonus Army from Washington.

    U.S. Army intervention

    At 4:45 p.m., commanded by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the 12th Infantry Regiment, Fort Howard, Maryland, and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, supported by six battle tanks commanded by Maj. George S. Patton, formed in Pennsylvania Avenue while thousands of civil service employees left work to line the street and watch. The Bonus Marchers, believing the troops were marching in their honor, cheered the troops until Patton ordered the cavalry to charge them—an action which prompted the spectators to yell, "Shame! Shame!"

    After the cavalry charged, the infantry, with fixed bayonets and adamsite gas, an arsenical vomiting agent, entered the camps, evicting veterans, families, and camp followers. The veterans fled across the Anacostia River to their largest camp and President Hoover ordered the assault stopped. However Gen. MacArthur, feeling the Bonus March was a attempt to overthrow the U.S. government, ignored the President and ordered a new attack. Fifty-five veterans were injured and 135 arrested.[11] A veteran's wife miscarried. When 12-week-old Bernard Myers died in the hospital after being caught in the tear gas attack, a government investigation reported he died of enteritis, while a hospital spokesman said the tear gas "didn't do it any good."[15]

    During the military operation, Major Dwight D. Eisenhower, later the 34th President of the United States, served as one of MacArthur's junior aides.[16] Believing it wrong for the Army's highest-ranking officer to lead an action against fellow American war veterans, he strongly advised MacArthur against taking any public role: "I told that dumb son-of-a-bitch not to go down there," he said later. "I told him it was no place for the Chief of Staff."[17] Despite his misgivings, Eisenhower later wrote the Army's official incident report which endorsed MacArthur's conduct.[
     
  16. beeper

    beeper Member

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    MacArthur was responsible for a lot of Americans Soldiers killed and/or captured by crossing the 38th parallel thereby ignoring a direct and specific order from the Commander & Chief. One million Chinese crossed the border of Manchuria, as they said they would, and slaughtered the NATO Troops all the way back to Pusan, again. While MacArthur may have been somewhat of a tactical genius, he can be put put in the same category of egotistical genius much like Patton and Lee. Read and believe your own headlines and make fatal field errors that cost thousands of lives. Lee made his while fighting Gettysburg.

    the beeper
     
  17. Johnny

    Johnny Well-Known Member

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    No respect for MacArthur . It was his idea to invade Peleliu, highest causality rate in the Pacific war. The US then simply bypassed the island.
     
  18. SF SGM

    SF SGM Member

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    Here is a trivia question for you guys. Who commanded the pt boat that evaced Douglas and family and what was his highest award?
     
  19. Johnny

    Johnny Well-Known Member

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    Lt. John Duncan Bulkeley

    sliver star? He became an admiral.
     
  20. SF SGM

    SF SGM Member

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    Johnny,

    Right man, Medal of Honor. Never really studied the Navy during WWII but there are some really interesting individuals and facts. One I did find interesting was that the Navy conducted the only land invasion of homeland Japan during the war, they blew up a train and what is even more ironic is that it was conducted by a submarine crew..

    Van
     
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