MacArthur - American Caesar (1)

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Jul 29 2007 11 mins   2
Douglas MacArthur was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1880. He was the grandson of a former governor of Wisconsin, and the son of a medal-of-honor-winning military governor of the Philippines. He attended West Point and graduated first in his class. After a brief stint as an aide to his father, he became the chief of staff of the 42nd Rainbow Infantry Division in France during WWI. He led the division through the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and the Battle of St. Mihiel. During the war, he developed a bad relationship with General Pershing.

After the war, he became the superintendent of West Point. Then, he was charged with breaking up the Bonus Army, which had gathered in Washington DC to protest Hoover's treatment of them. After that, he became the head of FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps. Then, he became US Army Forces Commander in the Far East and was stationed in the Philippines. When WWII rolled around for the United States, he led the failed defense of the Philippines. Although he did not do the best job, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. In March 1942, he was instructed to go to Australia to become Supreme Allied Commander of the Southwest Pacific Area. He famously yelled "I shall return" as he sailed away.

MacArthur's actions during WWII and the Korean War will be in the next episode.

For more information, read:
Armchair General (November 2005): Douglas MacArthur
The Guinness Book of Military Blunders by Geoffrey Regan
The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes by Max Hastings
The Pacific War Companion by Daniel Marston
Reader's Digest Illustrated History of WWII
The Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine