Sat, 4 August 2007
As Supreme Allied Commander of the Southwest Pacific Area, Douglas MacArthur led an island-hopping campaign (Operation Cartwheel) known as "hit em where they aint". He avoided major Japanese garrisons and conquered from Australia, up through New Guinea, and to the Philippines. Upon wading ashore at Leyte during the Battle of Leyte, he proclaimed "I have returned". MacArthur was chosen to lead Operation Downfall (the invasion of Japan), but the war ended before the campaign began. After being present at the signing of the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri, MacArthur became the military governor of Japan and led the reconstruction and occupation. One of his most famous acts as the governor was to exonerate Emperor Hirohito.
In 1950, MacArthur became the commander of UN Forces in the Korean War. After North Korea had pushed the South Koreans all the way to Pusan, MacArthur led a giant amphibious left hook into Inchon. He cut off the North Korean supply lines and pushed them all the way back to the Yalu River. MacArthur suggested to Truman that nuclear weapons be used, and he was fired as a result. He gave a famous speech to Congress in which he said, "old soldiers never die, they just fade away". After that, he stayed away from the public (although he almost became a vice presidential candidate) until he died in 1964.
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
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