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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General Douglas MacArthur’s grandfather was Arthur MacArthur, a lawyer who became a federal judge. Arthur MacArthur, Jr., began military service in the Civil War. He then served in the West before his father helped him to gain promotion to more important military positions in Washington, D.C. [p. 16-20]

Captain Arthur Jr. married Mary Pinkney Hardy, “Pinky,” in May of 1875. [24] Douglas MacArthur was born January 26, 1880, the third of three sons, at Fort Dodge, Arkansas. [26] Arthur Jr.  At the opening of the Spanish American War he was assigned to the Philippines, where Dewey had already defeated the Spanish Navy. [29] Promoted to Brigadier General under  Major General Wesley Merritt, commanded U.S. forces fighting with the Philippine national army under Emilio Aguinaldo. The Spanish garrison in Manila surrendered after a face-saving fight (only 13 American soldiers died). Arthur was named provost martial general and military governor of Manila. The Philippine Army and government occupied all the forts and cities except Manila. At the Treaty of Paris (December 10, 1898) the Spanish handed the Philippines to the United States rather than to the Filipinos. [29] [See also U.S. Invasion of the Philippines]

MacArthur’s new commanding officer was Major General Ewell S. Otis, who demanded that the Philippine Army disarm. Instead it attacked Manila on February 4, 1899.  MacArthur was the field commander who defeated the Filipinos “in a dozen vicious campaigns.” After defeats in much of Luzon, Aguinaldo and his troops retreated to Bataan. Notably John J. Pershing served as a captain under MacArthur. [29-30]

On May 6, 1900, MacArthur relieved Otis, becoming military governor of the Philippines. “The war continued to drag on.” But when Aguinaldo was captured MacArthur befriended him and his aide Manuel L. Quezon. He also created the Philippine Scouts to fight for the U.S. But “Nothing worked,” so he opted for “Draconian penalties for Filipinos caught helping the guerrilleros.” Because he could not get control of the country President McKinley appointed William Howard Taft to be the civilian head of the U.S. occupation of the Philippines. [30-32]

Taft and MacArthur did not get along. Taft preferred to work with the Filipinos, MacArthur to kill “eight millions of recalcitrant, treacherous and sullen people.” [33]

The Boxer Rebellion was taking place at this time. MacArthur asked to command American forces in China, but instead found himself relieved of all command in July 1901. A Senate investigation was held in which both Taft and MacArthur testified. [34-35]

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