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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When Japan surrendered MacArthur believed the USSR or Communist Chinese would occupy Manchuria, Korea, and north China. General Albert Wedemeyer (U.S. liaison to Chiang Kai-shek) asked for seven U.S. divisions to help the Nationalists, but MacArthur denied them, believing he needed them elsewhere. But MacArthur believed force should be used to stop further Russian advances. Early on he did not believe Chiang could defeat the Chinese communists. The U.S. military establishment did not believe China was important to U.S. security. MacArthur did not want to send U.S. troops, but to provide air support and more munitions. [535-537] At least as late as 1950 U.S. policy on Formosa was that it was not an area of vital interest. [537]

“Ever since Roosevelt had goaded the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor, the war-making powers of Congress had been atrophying.” [556]

In the Korean War, “Airfields built by Nipponese became invaluable to MacArthur’s Far East Command, Japanese vessels carried UN troops across the Korea Strait, Japanese minesweepers swept both coasts of the peninsula, and Nipponese stevedores volunteered to cross the strait and unload cargo in such front-line ports as Wonsan, Hungnam, and Inchon.” [558]

When two U.S. divisions arrived in Korea (the 24th and 25th), MacArthur expected them to stop the North Korean advance. He figured the North & South Koreans were just inferior soldiers to the Americans. “In fact, the U.S. units began crumbling as fast as those of their new ROK allies.” [558] In August “the long retreat ended. Infantrymen of the 27th Regiment and their ROK buddies dug in their heels and stopped the Red tide at the walls of Taegu.”

MacArthur got into a fight with the Truman administration over Formosa. Truman wanted to defend Formosa but avoid a general war with China. MacArthur felt that to the extent the Nationalists wanted to attack the mainland from Formosa, the U.S. should accommodate them. [567]

MacArthur’s re-invasion of Korea at Inchon led Pravda to compare Seoul to Stalingrad, printing “Every home is defended as a fortress. There is firing behind every stone. When a soldier is killed, his gun continues to fire. It is picked up by a worker, tradesman, or office-worker.” Manchester does not contradict that statement, only noting that Seoul fell to X Corps on Tuesday, September 26, after a battle that started at Inchon on September 15. [581]

A U.N. resolution that called for “the complete independence and unity of Korea,” was interpreted by the U.S. as an okay to invade north Korea. [583]

End of Notes

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