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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The 4th Marines arrived in the Philippines from Shanghai in November 1941. The U.S. naval force in the Philippines in late 1941 consisted of “three cruisers, thirteen destroyers, eighteen submarines” and a “half-dozen PT boats.” [192]

The U.S. military was slow to ship promised men and equipment to the Philippines despite knowing war was imminent. [192-193]

“When a thousand Japanese departed [the Philippines] after FDR’s order freezing their assets, Filipinos crowed.” [193]

MacArthur was not shown Rainbow Five until October 1941 [194-195].

MacArthur’s and U.S. strategic mistake was to try to try to defend the entire island group, preventing landings on beaches or destroying landing forces. “Under the Orange and the revised Rainbow plans, quartermasters were to have stored supplies on Bataan. Now their depots were established at four points on the central plain … Allied troops withdrawing into Bataan would lack provisions for a long siege.” [194]

After FDR agreed, the following cable was sent to MacArthur on November 27:

“Negotiations with the Japanese appear to be terminated to all practical purposes, with only the barest possibilities that the Japanese Government might come back and offer to continue. Japanese future action unpredictable, but hostile action possible at any moment. If hostilities cannot (repeat cannot) be avoided the United States desires that Japan commit the first overt act. The policy should not, repeat not, be construed as restricting you to a course of action that might jeopardize your defense.”

Others received war warnings as well, and of course the Japanese military had attacks ready for when they received orders from Tokyo. [200]

At the time of the Pearl Harbor raid [December 8, 1941], “Some 4887 miles to the east of him, north of the Phoenix Islands, eight U.S. ships packed with planes, tanks, and American infantrymen are plunging through heavy seas toward Manila, shepherded by the heavy cruiser Pensacola.” This is later called the Pensacola convoy. [203]

Despite being informed of Pearl Harbor, General MacArthur failed to take immediate defensive or offensive preparations, resulting in the quick destruction of most of his warplanes and naval support. [205-212]

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