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Thread: Who was the most overrated personality of WW2?

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    Default Who was the most overrated personality of WW2?

    This person could be a politician or general, or anyone with any significance for that matter. I'm going to cast my vote for Charles de Gaulle. I will give him credit for probably being the one most responsible for saving France by going to Britain in 1940 and rallying the French people, and by keeping French interests prominent with the Allied High Command at the strategy table. But he was not a likable personality. He was stubborn and inflexible, and he refused to place himself in a second tier position when he was fortunate to even be at the same table with FDR, Churchill, and the other great generals of the time. What is your opinion? Was it Rommel, Bradley, MacArthur, Monty, or someone else?

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    Default Re: Who was the most overrated personality of WW2?

    General Douglas Macarthur hands down! He should have been court-martialed for his failure on December 8th, and he was lucky he got the order to leave the Philippines from FDR. It was downright shameful that he refused to concur to give General Wainwright the Medal of Honor, and his strutting about as dictator of Japan was despicable. While his Inchon plan was ingenious, he finally got what he deserved at the hands of President Truman who dismissed him for insubordination during the Korean War.
    Last edited by Laconia; 07-09-2016 at 11:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Who was the most overrated personality of WW2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Laconia View Post
    General Douglas Macarthur hands down! He should have been court-martialed for his failure on December 8th, and he was lucky he got the order to leave the Philippines from FDR. It was downright shameful that he refused to concur to give General Wainwright the Medal of Honor, and his strutting about as dictator of Japan was despicable. While his Inchon plan was ingenious, he finally got what he deserved at the hands of President Truman who dismissed him for insubordination during the Korean War.
    I'm not a Mac fan either, but I think he handled the Japanese occupation rather well if imperfectly...

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    Default Re: Who was the most overrated personality of WW2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I'm not a Mac fan either, but I think he handled the Japanese occupation rather well if imperfectly...
    I agree. His handling of the Japanese Occupation was probably his best accomplishment. I'm not too wild about anything else he did.

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    Default Re: Who was the most overrated personality of WW2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Laconia View Post
    General Douglas Macarthur hands down! He should have been court-martialed for his failure on December 8th
    Perhaps, but by which country?

    Leaving aside the technical status of the Philippines at the time as effectively an American possession on the way to independence around 1946, was MacArthur a greater disgrace to the Philippines, which employed him at great cost to defend it (and from which he departed with a lot of loot) or to the US, to which he reverted as a commander shortly before the war?

    I'd argue that he failed the Philippines the most by failing to live up to his assurances that he had prepared it well to defend itself in the years leading up to the war, and failed the US not much less by his equally confident but baseless assurances to the same effect in the immediate pre-war period. That makes him perhaps the only Allied, or any, commander of a nation to fail completely both nations he served and assured he could defend successfully in the lead up to WWII, and to lose one of them to the enemy, solely by his own spectacular hubris and incompetence.

    Conversely, once he had overcome his failure and the panic that his undeserved career was over, and engaged in his usual machinations to conceal his incompetence in the early phases of the SWPA 1942-43, he grew into the role of a theatre commander and did reasonably well as he gained masssive logistical and other support and notably directly and indirectly from the USN throughout his campaigns and especially from the Australian land forces which with his boundless and unreasoning contempt fought most of his land war in 1942-43. His greatest achievement was, however, creating and expanding a massively successful personal propaganda machine run by a sorry bunch of senior "yes men" who persuaded the public and many in US and Australian government that MacArthur was the greatest military genius in the history of the world and the sole repository of Western knowledge about Japan and its Emperor, presumably gained from close association with the unrelated people, cultures and government of the Philippines.

    MacArthur was in historical terms undoubtedly "a great man" of his time but, viewed against his many "great man" contemporaries, he was as a commander and especially a civilian political aspirant to the US Presidency eventually gained by Eisenhower, whom he described as "the best clerk I ever had", just an "also ran". This is amply demonstrated by his failed and ham-fisted 1944 tilt at the Presidency, which is outstanding for the obsequiousness of his attempts to curry favour with people he thought might help him win office.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 07-13-2016 at 11:18 AM.
    ..
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    Default Re: Who was the most overrated personality of WW2?

    Outstanding candidate for the most overrated, especially given the mythology surrounding the supposed Desert Fox, is Rommel.

    Panicked and stopped in the approach to Dunkirk.

    Lost in North Africa.

    Lost on the Western Front.

    Committed suicide.

    Subsequently admired by many, who obviously know nothing about his achievements or lack of them, as a military genius.
    ..
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    Default Re: Who was the most overrated personality of WW2?

    By the way ... sorry that imi is leaving. All the best to him. But, really, some of his recent posts have been hard to defend, whether on grounds of historical argument or of, I suppose, taste. Best regards, JR.

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    Default Re: Who was the most overrated personality of WW2?

    Quote Originally Posted by JR* View Post
    By the way ... sorry that imi is leaving. All the best to him. But, really, some of his recent posts have been hard to defend ....
    And much, much harder to understand for those of us accustomed to rational analysis of historical evidence.
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    Default Re: Who was the most overrated personality of WW2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Perhaps, but by which country?

    Leaving aside the technical status of the Philippines at the time as effectively an American possession on the way to independence around 1946, was MacArthur a greater disgrace to the Philippines, which employed him at great cost to defend it (and from which he departed with a lot of loot) or to the US, to which he reverted as a commander shortly before the war?

    I'd argue that he failed the Philippines the most by failing to live up to his assurances that he had prepared it well to defend itself in the years leading up to the war, and failed the US not much less by his equally confident but baseless assurances to the same effect in the immediate pre-war period. That makes him perhaps the only Allied, or any, commander of a nation to fail completely both nations he served and assured he could defend successfully in the lead up to WWII, and to lose one of them to the enemy, solely by his own spectacular hubris and incompetence.

    Conversely, once he had overcome his failure and the panic that his undeserved career was over, and engaged in his usual machinations to conceal his incompetence in the early phases of the SWPA 1942-43, he grew into the role of a theatre commander and did reasonably well as he gained masssive logistical and other support and notably directly and indirectly from the USN throughout his campaigns and especially from the Australian land forces which with his boundless and unreasoning contempt fought most of his land war in 1942-43. His greatest achievement was, however, creating and expanding a massively successful personal propaganda machine run by a sorry bunch of senior "yes men" who persuaded the public and many in US and Australian government that MacArthur was the greatest military genius in the history of the world and the sole repository of Western knowledge about Japan and its Emperor, presumably gained from close association with the unrelated people, cultures and government of the Philippines.

    MacArthur was in historical terms undoubtedly "a great man" of his time but, viewed against his many "great man" contemporaries, he was as a commander and especially a civilian political aspirant to the US Presidency eventually gained by Eisenhower, whom he described as "the best clerk I ever had", just an "also ran". This is amply demonstrated by his failed and ham-fisted 1944 tilt at the Presidency, which is outstanding for the obsequiousness of his attempts to curry favour with people he thought might help him win office.
    Very well said. He did do a great job though of clearing Washington D.C. of all those unarmed WWI veterans during their "Bonus March". What a pompos A$# he was.
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    Default Re: Who was the most overrated personality of WW2?

    Mac attended the Texas Military Institute (still here) when he was a young man while his father, Arthur, was stationed at Ft Sam Houston in San Antonio. His mother had a powerful influence over him until she died. When he went to West Point, she moved there to keep an eye on him. He was apparently justly honored for his fearlessness during the FirstWorld War, earning a Congressional Medal of Honor as a rule, thus achieving the same rarified honor that his father did. Mac always possessed a high opinion of himself, had a certain charisma, but was seemingly always a distant sort of character. I am unaware of any close friendships that he had during his life, but he did surround himself with worshipful sycophants. He had the impulses of an authoritarian which probably helped him in Japan postwar and in Manila pre-war. He didn't so much as speak as orate and he expected those nearest to him to pay rapt attention. Interestingly, during the Korean War he spent not a single night on the peninsula, flying home to Tokyo every night. His son, Arthur is not cut from the same cloth and lives quietly in New York City. He sits on he board of an organization related to his father's exploits but I am given to understand that his main interests were in the theatre. My across the street neighbor where I live was the director of all military hospitals in Japan under Macarthur during the occupation and had frequent contact with the family.

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    Default Re: Who was the most overrated personality of WW2?

    Though he was not in strict terms military, he was an overrated Personality,(Aside from being Britain's leading Traitor) so i'll put up William Joyce, known to the Allies as "Lord Haw Haw" Male counterpart of Axis Sally. From his image, it looks like someone had set about giving him a "Glasgow smile"
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    Last edited by tankgeezer; 07-10-2016 at 11:36 AM.

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    Default Re: Who was the most overrated personality of WW2?

    Quote Originally Posted by tankgeezer View Post
    Though he was not in strict terms military, he was an overrated Personality,(Aside from being Britain's leading Traitor) so i'll put up William Joyce, known to the Allies as "Lord Haw Haw" Male counterpart of Axis Sally. From his image, it looks like someone had set about giving him a "Glasgow smile"
    I like your choice.

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    Default Re: Who was the most overrated personality of WW2?

    Quote Originally Posted by tankgeezer View Post
    Though he was not in strict terms military, he was an overrated Personality,(Aside from being Britain's leading Traitor) so i'll put up William Joyce, known to the Allies as "Lord Haw Haw" Male counterpart of Axis Sally. From his image, it looks like someone had set about giving him a "Glasgow smile"
    Any of those propaganda meisters were simply laughed at by the troops. They were a waste of time and money, though I heard they played good music.

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    Default Re: Who was the most overrated personality of WW2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Laconia View Post
    Any of those propaganda meisters were simply laughed at by the troops. They were a waste of time and money, though I heard they played good music.
    There was probably a chance they demoralized some, especially Axis Sally with her "What's your wife doing tonight?" sorts of taunts. But there is no question they also entertained Allied troops with the music and probably did them more good than harm...

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    Default Re: Who was the most overrated personality of WW2?

    William Shirer knew him when he was boadcasting out of Berlin. At first he avoided him but eventually inevitably spent some time with I'm during air raids. Shirer said that a he had a fair sense of humor and that his wife was also an ardent Nazi. Shirer said that the scars on his face were gained during street brawls in his pre-war years.

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