Monthly Podcast Season Six
In addition to the basic audio tour of the museum and the World War I History Podcast series, the MacArthur Memorial also produces a monthly podcast on different aspects of the MacArthur story. Topics vary, and if you have a special request, please contact Amanda Williams by email.
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In November 2000, the Memorial's Archivist was asked to look at four letters purportedly written by Douglas MacArthur shortly after World War I. The letters were authenticated and today they provide a window into a previously unknown chapter of MacArthur's life. The letters were written to Herta Heuser, a young German Red Cross worker who helped nurse MacArthur back to health during the Occupation of Germany. Sent home in 1919, MacArthur began a correspondence with Herta in which he declared his love for her. Since 2000, more letters from this correspondence have come to light. The letters tell a fascinating story of love and loss. They may also help to explain why MacArthur married his first wife. Few close to him could understand why he married Louise Cromwell Brooks - and why he married her in such haste - but the MacArthur-Heuser letters may point to a broken heart. (11:56)
General MacArthur’s biographers often note that he was regarded with admiration by both John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Generally the MacArthur/Nixon relationship is marginalized in MacArthur biographies, while the MacArthur/Kennedy relationship is highlighted. Nixon however had a long history of being publically pro-MacArthur. He even described MacArthur as “a hero, a presence, an event.” In the end, while his relationship with MacArthur was never deeply personal or close, Nixon was one of the few politicians to articulate MacArthur’s vision of the importance of the Pacific world. (16:07)
When ordered to leave the Philippines in 1942, General MacArthur handpicked a small number of officers to take with him. The “Bataan Gang” as these men were later known, formed the core of his inner circle for the rest of World War II.
Major General William Marquat was a member of General Douglas MacArthur’s “Bataan Gang.” A highly decorated officer of World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, he had a reputation for avoiding the intrigues that often swirled around MacArthur’s staff. He was also instrumental in post-war economics in Japan and served for a time as Commissioner of baseball in Japan. (15:35)
On December 14, 1944, Congress approved the creation of the grade of "General of the Army” and “Fleet Admiral.” Over the next two weeks, seven officers in the American Army and Navy were promoted to these newly authorized ranks. The reason for these promotions was simple. American senior commanders needed to be able to work on equal terms with their Allied counterparts – including but not limited to British field marshals. The officers promoted to this rank in 1944 included: Admiral William Leahy, General George Marshall, Admiral Ernest King, General Douglas MacArthur, Admiral Chester Nimitz, General Dwight Eisenhower, and General Henry “Hap” Arnold. The last two officers to be promoted to this rank were Admiral William Halsey in 1945 and General Omar Bradley in 1950. Since then, while the Army, Air Force, and Navy continue to maintain the rank, it has not been held by an officer in decades. (23:16)
On October 20, 1944, General Douglas MacArthur waded ashore at Leyte to visit the beachhead U.S. soldiers were in the process of establishing. He was also there to deliver a dramatic radio address to the people of the Philippines announcing that the much anticipated liberation of the islands was underway.
Broadcast from the beach (and from a destroyer off the coast), MacArthur’s “I Have Returned” speech generated mixed reviews among the American people. The speech was ridiculed as over-dramatic, emotional, and narcissistic. It was also criticized for having too many references to Christianity. Despite these criticisms, the speech had an electric effect on the Philippines. Couched in such a sacred way, MacArthur's speech quickly produced dividends. Soon his forces and intelligence networks began receiving pledges of support and requests for instructions from Filipinos across the islands - anxious to expel the Japanese and rally to the cause of liberation. (12:12)
Episode Fifty-Six: The Surrender of Japan
On September 2, 1945, representatives of Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender in a ceremony aboard the USS Missouri. General Douglas MacArthur presided over this carefully orchestrated ceremony as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers.
Many of the Allied nations had expressed dissatisfaction with the secrecy of the evening surrender of Nazi Germany in May of 1945, so there was enormous pressure on MacArthur and his staff to ensure that the official end of World War II was impressive, flawless, and well covered by the media. The resulting 23 minute ceremony was painstakingly planned start to finish.
This special podcast in honor of the 70th Anniversary of the surrender will take you behind the scenes of this extraordinary event to explore the participants, the planning, and the various mistakes that threatened to derail the event. (49:37)
Emory Upton is considered one of the most influential reformers of the U.S. Army in American history. He is sometimes referred to as the Army’s version of Alfred Thayer Mahan. A respected combat veteran of the American Civil War, today Upton is remembered for successfully leading infantry against an entrenched enemy and also for suggesting that “excessive civilian control of the military” was the greatest weakness of the U.S. military. Controversial and brilliant, Upton influenced decades of U.S. military thought and his experiences and theories regarding “trench” warfare were proven on the battlefields of World War I.
In 2013, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel David Siry sat down with the Memorial's staff to talk about Upton’s life and legacy. At the time of the interview, LTC Siry was serving as an instructor in American History at the United States Military Academy at West Point. (26:13)
As the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I, John J. Pershing served as a mentor to a generation of generals who later led the United States to victory in World War II. Some of these young officers included: Douglas MacArthur, George C. Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Omar N. Bradley, and George S. Patton.
In 2013, U.S. Army Major Andrew Forney sat down with the Memorial's staff to talk about Pershing's life and legacy. At the time of the interview, Major Forney was serving as an instructor in American History at the United States Military Academy at West Point. (29:57)
From the Scottish Highlands to America, General Douglas MacArthur's ancestors have played prominent roles in world history. As the old Scottish adage goes: "there is nothing older, except the hills, MacArtair and the Devil." This podcast tells the story of the MacArthurs from 1200 AD to the birth of Douglas MacArthur and his son. (17:12)
General Douglas MacArthur reportedly liked Admiral William F. Halsey from the moment he met him – describing him as "blunt, outspoken, [and] dynamic." The feeling was mutual, and Halsey later referred to MacArthur as a lifelong friend.
Throughout his long career, Halsey was an enormously popular commander and famously earned his naval aviator wings in 1935 at the age of 52. Nicknamed “Bull” Halsey, he gained a reputation during World War II as a fighting admiral. Despite his military achievements however, mistakes at Leyte Gulf and during the Typhoon Cobra in 1944 nearly overshadowed his successes. (14:01)
General MacArthur was a self-proclaimed child of the "Blue and Gray." He grew up hearing stories of his father's exploits with the 24th Wisconsin during the American Civil War and his Virginia born mother idolized Robert E. Lee. From West Point, to engineering assignments, to Mexico, parts of MacArthur's early military career would mimic Lee's early career.
In 2013, U.S. Army Captain Mark Ehlers sat down with the Memorial's staff to talk about Robert E. Lee, West Point and leadership. At the time of the interview, Captain Ehlers was serving as an instructor in American History at the United States Military Academy at West Point. (24:44)