My journey to finishing “The Pacific War Trilogy” continues. I am at 10% of the third book, on track to completing it in H1 this year.
Today I would like to share with you another take-away.
Douglas MacArthur gained favor of almost all American people due to his strategy towards the media during the war.
He had been leveraging his popularity to request for more power and more support to his strategy.
He requested to command all forces, air, land and sea, in the Pacific War Theater.
He requested to recover Philippines before attacking Japan in its inner defense circle, even though this might delay the war by up to 6 months.
Some top generals believed that he valued his own commitment to “Return to Philippines” more than winning the war, which was the end goal.
Of course, he was not getting what he wanted, because luckily people with higher ranks were rationale and had the right attitude.
Then, people believed he would participate in the presidential election against Roosevelt.
Even though he would have had no chance anyway, this incident gave his supporters an opportunity to accuse Roosevelt and other people at the top for letting political opinions interfere with the War strategy.
Putting it bluntly, MacArthur’s requests were not granted because he was a potential opponent in the election.
And just then, big strategic decisions needed to be made.
With a series of victories in the Pacific against the Japanese, Allies needed to fix their strategy to keep the momentum.
And it was clear that they needed to attack the Japs in its inner circle of defense, and not Philippines, Japs’ well-fortified outer defense.
And the decision was not to be delayed.
But the shadow of accuse would not disappear. The only way to avoid it would be to give MacArthur what he wanted and risk tens of thousands more of American lives.
The fact was that the US leadership made the right decision, knowing that they would be wronged by some people.
That is real courage and sacrifice! That is real leadership!
Also, people will eventually learn the truth.
MacArthur was so favored during the war and even after the war by the public.
Then Korea war happened. MacArthur finally tasted the bitterness of his arrogance.
And present day, people increasingly learned his mistakes during the war, especially his inability to avoid “Another Pearl Harbor”, where majority of US air forces in Philippines were also destroyed on the ground by Japanese air raid, after “Pearl Harbor” with ample time for him to react. It was reported that his air-force generals requested repeatedly for his orders and he just ignored all of them.
Also the fact that he accepted 500K USD from the Philippines president, which is equivalent to 8 Million USD today, was compared to Eisenhower who rejected the offer from the same president.
It is almost impossible to hide the truth forever, especially so in the current age.
People will get their “justice”.