Notes from American Caesar

Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964
by William Manchester

For The U.S. War Against Asia
by William P. Meyers

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History notes

All [page numbers] reference Amerian Caesar, Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964 by William Manchester. Published by Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1978, ISBN 0-316-54498-1.

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Despite strings being pulled, Douglas MacArthur was not able to get into West Point until 1899. After graduating in 1903 he was sent to Manila with the 3rd Engineering Battalion. On an expedition to gather timber he shot and killed two Filipino freedom fighters. [64-65] He conducted a survey of Bataan and became friends with Manuel Quezon and Sergio Osmena before returning to San Francisco in October 1904. [64-65] In October 1905 he was ordered to accompany his father (still a Major General) on a tour of Japan, China, Vietnam, Java, Singapore, Burma and India. [66-67]

After serving in World War I and as head of West Point, in 1922 Douglas was assigned back to the Philippines as Manila military district commander. He “scorned the color line; he cultivated Quezon and his friends, rejoiced in the enthusiasm of his native troops, and tackled every task with zest.” Again he was ordered to survey Bataan. [132]

War Plan Orange was formulated in 1922. Manchester describes Orange as a contingency plan in case Japan invaded the Philippines. American troops were to withdraw to Bataan until a relief expedition could arrive. [133] [contradicted by other sources]

In January 1925 MacArthur returned to the U.S. mainland. [135] He made a third tour of the Philippines started in 1929; he was Manila departmental commander. [141-142] At this time “Japanese sugar workers and entrepreneurs had been pouring into several Philippine communities, notably the Mindanao city of Davao.” Quezon and other Philippine subjects welcomed the Japanese; MacArthur was alarmed by them. [142] At this time American strategy, in case of war with Japan, was to abandon the islands, except perhaps Corregidor. [142-143]

In 1934 Major General Frank Parker, then the commander in the Philippines, reported to Washington that Japanese immigration continued to grow at an alarming rate. [170] Racist views of the Japanese were held by MacArthur and other American officers. “… when he [MacArthur] saw the skill with which Japanese warplanes were flown in the first days of the war, he concluded that the pilots must be white men.” [171] They were afraid of another rebellion by Filipinos, and so issued their native soldiers “cheap pith helmets,” rubber tennis sneakers and “ancient Enfield firearms.”

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