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Thread: MacArthur's version of history

  1. #1
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    Default MacArthur's version of history

    Can't recall if I've posted this before, but it came up on some mystery of the internet.

    Laughable for anyone with detailed knowledge, but predictable for MacArthur and his acolytes who give new meaning to hagiography.

    Worth reading just to see how far up himself MacArthur was, ably assisted by his fawning staff.

    http://www.history.army.mil/books/ww...acArthur%20V1/
    ..
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    Default Re: MacArthur's version of history

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Can't recall if I've posted this before, but it came up on some mystery of the internet.

    Laughable for anyone with detailed knowledge, but predictable for MacArthur and his acolytes who give new meaning to hagiography.

    Worth reading just to see how far up himself MacArthur was, ably assisted by his fawning staff.

    http://www.history.army.mil/books/ww...acArthur%20V1/
    I'm surprised he allowed his "General Staff" the credit for preparing them and didn't call a press conference claiming he wrote everything himself...

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    Default Re: MacArthur's version of history

    Perhaps the corncob-smoker wanted to have someone to blame for any "mistakes" noticed ? Yours from the Government Service, JR.

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    Default Re: MacArthur's version of history

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I'm surprised he allowed his "General Staff" the credit for preparing them and didn't call a press conference claiming he wrote everything himself...
    Must have pissed him off immensely to have died and lost control of his publicity and censorship, thus demonstrating to his considerable disappointment that he lacked the eternal godlike powers he exercised while alive.

    From the introduction in the link:
    While he lived, General MacArthur was unwilling to approve the reproduction and dissemination of the Reports, because he believed they needed further editing and correction of some inaccuracies. His passing permits publication but not the correction he deemed desirable. In publishing them, the Department of the Army must therefore disclaim any responsibility for their accuracy.
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    Default Re: MacArthur's version of history

    Was MacArthur the whole problem?

    The more I read about the man, the more it appears that he got away with lack of control by the Army / Joint Chiefs of Staff / President because of, during WWII and Korea, fears about his presidential ambitions, and other fears about removing a giant of personal propaganda who managed to intimidate the people above him and influence politicians and people below him with his own bullshit.

    From a purely technical viewpoint, a couple of the greatest mistakes were in Japan making him commander of Allied forces and in Korea commander of UN forces, although in both cases this meant primarily American forces, but which allowed him to shift between his US and international commands when it suited him.

    The man bordered on certifiably paranoid with his idiotic notions along the lines that "Washington would rather see MacArthur lose the war than America win it".

    Apart from his magnificent personal promotion bureau and censorship and surrounding 'yes men', the essence of his leadership as an operational commander was that he was weak in defence despite confident proclamations that he was invulnerable, but occasionally lucky in offence when much better manned and equipped than the enemy.

    While this was recognised at various military and political levels, nobody was game to get rid of him which, eventually, was probably the main factor which led to the Korean debacle.

    Although MacArthur was full of conceit in thinking that he could finish the Korean War by Christmas in the year of great US advances, those advances involved disobeying the intent of his vague orders he was given and a failure to rein him in when he was going too far.

    The point that interests me now is not about MacArthur per se, but a comparison with British control of its commanders in WWII.

    I'm happy to be corrected, but even allowing for Monty in full flight I can't think of a British or Commonwealth commander who managed to be the tail wagging the dog in the way MacArthur did, nor can I think of a British Prime Minister or Cabinet disposed to placate a commander in fear of him running for political office while still in the field. As for Stalin and his commanders ....

    Nor can I think of any other American commander whose tail managed to wag the Washington dog, although there were many much better commanders in the field than MacArthur.

    I suggest that the critical factors were MacArthur's semi-pathological conceit which led to his relentless self-promotion, censorship and personal propaganda.

    Imagine how much quicker he would have got to the Philippines if he hadn't diverted so many senior officers to his personal propaganda.
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    Default Re: MacArthur's version of history

    There's no question that by 1951, perhaps due to a sharp decline of his temperament, skills, and lucidness with age - Gen. Douglas MacArthur malingered over the single greatest intelligence and command failures in American military history during the Korean War. His utter contempt for, and lack of awareness of, the Chinese PLA "Volunteers" threat is maddening as it was clear they were being captured by the thousands by mid-to-late 1950. He appears almost blind and senile, especially comparison with more able commanders like Gen. Matthew Ridgway.

    I think I would even take Gen. Mark Clark over Mac, and that's saying something I think. But as for Ridgway, he managed to turn around a battered and tactically ill-trained U.S. Army with only a few short weeks of retraining and emphasis on leadership and transform it into a killing machine that bludgeoned the "Red Hordes" by adding tactical acumen to the already potent U.N. technology and firepower advantages and restroed their morale. Ridgway's successive regime to MacArthur's stands in sharp contrast in his understanding of the political dimensions of the war as well as the limitations of American power in lieu of the potential nuclear threat and total war. This stands again in sharp contrast to a panicking MacArthur publicly calling for the use of atomic weapons in tactical strikes. Something that not only had the potential to spiral into Armageddon, but also fed into communist propaganda of the "soft, weak" capitalists melting away in the face of dogged, and ruthless revolutionary Asian socialists....

    So in essence, while MacArthur was not the only headache the Allies had, he was a Prima donna whose declining skills no longer merited his outright contempt for civilian authority and military competitors alike...
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 12-22-2014 at 05:37 PM.

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    Default Re: MacArthur's version of history

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    There's no question that by 1951, perhaps due to a sharp decline of his temperament, skills, and lucidness with age - Gen. Douglas MacArthur malingered over the single greatest intelligence and command failures in American military history during the Korean War. His utter contempt for, and lack of awareness of, the Chinese PLA "Volunteers" threat is maddening as it was clear they were being captured by the thousands by mid-to-late 1950. He appears almost blind and senile, especially comparison with more able commanders like Gen. Matthew Ridgway.

    I think I would even take Gen. Mark Clark over Mac, and that's saying something I think. But as for Ridgway, he managed to turn around a battered and tactically ill-trained U.S. Army with only a few short weeks of retraining and emphasis on leadership and transform it into a killing machine that bludgeoned the "Red Hordes" by adding tactical acumen to the already potent U.N. technology and firepower advantages and restroed their morale. Ridgway's successive regime to MacArthur's stands in sharp contrast in his understanding of the political dimensions of the war as well as the limitations of American power in lieu of the potential nuclear threat and total war. This stands again in sharp contrast to a panicking MacArthur publicly calling for the use of atomic weapons in tactical strikes. Something that not only had the potential to spiral into Armageddon, but also fed into communist propaganda of the "soft, weak" capitalists melting away in the face of dogged, and ruthless revolutionary Asian socialists....

    So in essence, while MacArthur was not the only headache the Allies had, he was a Prima donna whose declining skills no longer merited his outright contempt for civilian authority and military competitors alike...
    I haven't made a close study of it, but my impression is that MacArthur succeeded in getting America, and UN forces, unnecessarily and heavily involved in Korea by going past the 38th parallel with a view to pressing on northwards to inflict a complete defeat on North Korea to achieve reunification, despite this exceeding the intent of his somewhat vague orders.

    As MacArthur advanced, Truman and Washington became less willing to stake everything on MacArthur's campaign and more so once the Chinese came in as it was a diversion from the main game in Western Europe and other concerns about containing the spread of communism around the globe.

    MacArthur's arrogant determination to exceed his orders to show what a genius he was in defeating local and world communism, combined with a growing lack of support in Washington for his actions and a failure by Washington to bring him to heel, actually created the circumstances which required China to intervene to prevent its encirclement and to demonstrate that it had teeth, which in turn led to MacArthur contemplating using nuclear weapons despite not all that much earlier having assured Washington that US troops would be home by Christmas.

    It seems to me that MacArthur's hubris and defiance of his orders created the conditions for China's involvement and then, as a consistently unimpressive commander on the defensive, he panicked and wanted to nuke them to retrieve the disaster and correct the damage to his reputation he had created all by himself. Nonetheless, this would not have occurred if Washington had pulled him into line. I think that those above MacArthur ultimately bear greater responsibility for the Korean problem as it was their job and within their power to control him, but they baulked at doing so. The same might be said of the UN as he was, after all, commanding UN forces.
    ..
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    Montesquieu

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