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 Pensacola convoy’s destination was now argued about, including possibly sending it to Europe. [212-213]

Despite the Japanese having air and naval superiority, MacArthur did not change his war strategy of opposing the Japanese at the beaches. That strategy quickly failed. Failure to move supplies to Bataan meant the supplies were lost to the Japanese. [214-215]

“The untrained, undisciplined Filipinos dropped their heavy Enfield rifles and fled.” “Though he would go to his grave insisting that he had been hopelessly outnumbered, on paper MacArthur had almost twice as many soldiers as Homma.” [217]

During the battle of Bataan, MacArthur “ordered the food reserves of his starving infantry companies transferred to the Rock [Corregidor], where they were promptly consumed.”  MacArthur claimed his army was “greatly outnumbered,” which was not true. [230-232] “Men ate roots, leaves, papaya, breadfruit, monkey meat, wild chickens, and wild pigs. Always slender, the Filipino troops, wearing helmets fashioned from coconuts, grew gaunter and gaunter.” “Disease had decimated the Japanese ranks, too. Indeed, at one point MacArthur had more than three times as many effective men as the foe.” [p 237] Roosevelt and MacArthur led the troops to believe they would be resupplied and reinforced, when it was a lie [237, 245 and elsewhere].

While MacArthur remained on Corregidor, in early 1942, Emilio Aguinaldo made a radio broadcast urging him to surrender. The Japanese announced that “Prime Minister Hideki Tojo had decided to grant independence to the islands in the near future.” Philippines Commonwealth President Quezon wanted to cease fighting. On February 8, 1942, with the backing of his cabinet, Quezon send a message to Roosevelt asking for immediate independence, followed by neutralization and the withdrawal of both Japanese and American troops, adding “while perfectly safe itself, the United States has practically doomed the Philippines to almost total extinction to secure a breathing space.” Even High Commissioner Sayre called for granting independence if the U.S could not supply military reinforcements. [246]

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