General Douglas MacArthur Memorial Podcast

Interested in exploring more about MacArthur and his times? Download one of the MacArthur Memorial’s podcasts!

In addition to the basic audio tour of the museum, 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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Episode Forty One:  The Final Salute

(January 2014)

Episode Forty One: The Final SaluteGeneral Douglas MacArthur died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on April 5, 1964.  Years before, President John F. Kennedy had authorized an elaborate State Funeral for MacArthur.  On the General’s death, President Johnson reaffirmed Kennedy’s directive and ordered that MacArthur be buried "with all the honor a grateful nation can bestow on a departed hero."  Over the next week, MacArthur’s body lay in state at the 7th Regimental Armory in New York City and then in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C, before coming to the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, VA – a place chosen by the General to be his final resting place.  The funeral was held on April 11th, the thirteenth anniversary of MacArthur’s firing by President Truman during the Korean War.  This podcast tells the story of the General’s final days and the impressive funeral that honored his service.   (18:26)

Episode Forty:  MacArthur's Air Force

(January 2014)

Episode Forty: MacArthur's Air ForceThe air war in the Pacific Theater during World War II is often overlooked and over-shadowed by the battles which took place in the skies above Europe.  In the Pacific, the Far East Air Forces – “MacArthur’s Air Force” - operated out of more than 50 different islands, flew over an area larger than the United States, and carried the war from Australia to Japan itself, all while turning men and aircraft around for the next mission as quickly as possible.  Much of the success in the skies in the Pacific was due to the pairing of General Douglas MacArthur and his air chief General George Kenney, and Kenney’s ability to recognize talent and to get the most out of the officers and men under his command.  This podcast tells the story of the creation and the role of the Far East Air Forces in World War II.   (20:48)

Selected Documents:

Commendation from XIII Bomber Command to Ground Crew, March 30, 1945

General Kenney and B-17 Crew

Episode Thirty Nine:  Cabanatuan Raid

(November 2013)

Episode Thirty Nine: Cabanatuan Raid On April 9th 1942, Bataan fell to the Japanese.   The defenders had bravely held out, but the Japanese juggernaut was unstoppable.   As prisoners of war they were forced to march many miles on what became known as the Bataan Death March, only to stop at the infamous Camp O’Donnell, where thousands died from starvation, sickness, and the brutal treatment of their captors.   In the months and years that followed, thousands of American and Filipino soldiers would be subject to atrocities that few could even fathom.   When MacArthur’s forces returned to the Philippines in 1944-45, there were 500 of these American prisoners in a camp called Cabanatuan, on the main island of Luzon.   Intelligence reports indicated that similar camps were being liquidated by the Japanese.   Cabanatuan had to be liberated.   This podcast will explore the fate of these prisoners of Bataan-Corregidor, and how 500 of them were saved in one of the most daring and heroic raids in history.   (18:27)

Selected Documents:

POW Form Letter to Family

Episode Thirty Eight:  The Grand Tour of Asia, 1905-1906

(October 2013)

Episode Thirty Eight: The Grand Tour of Asia, 1905-1906Between 1905-1906, a twenty-five year old Lieutenant Douglas MacArthur traveled through Asia with his father Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur and his mother Mary Hardy MacArthur.   Over a period of nine months, he traveled 19,949 miles from Japan to Calcutta, across the plains of India, to the Khyber Pass in Afghanistan, and south to what is now Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Vietnam.    He then traveled through China before returning to Japan.   Writing of the trip decades later, MacArthur wrote: “[I visited] countless lands so rich in color, so fabled in legend, so vital to history that the experience was without a doubt the most important fact of preparation in my entire life.”    For the rest of his life, and the remaining 45 years of his military career, this journey would inform his thoughts about the political, military, and economic potential of Asia.   This fundamental knowledge would pay massive dividends – guiding and inspiring many of the major decisions he would later make as a senior leader in the region.   (19:30)

Selected Documents:

Arthur MacArthur in Japan

Episode Thirty Seven:  The Forgotten MacArthur

(August 2013)

Episode Thirty Seven: The Forgotten MacArthurArthur MacArthur III, older brother of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, was a United States naval officer for thirty one years.  He was awarded the Navy Cross, the Navy’s second highest award next to the Medal of Honor, and the Distinguished Service Medal for service in World War I.  He was a man of his own making and during his life he never lived in the shadow of his now famous younger brother. He died prematurely, however, in the prime of his life and in the middle of a promising naval career. As a result, he is often considered the “Forgotten MacArthur.”   (21:17)

Selected Documents:

Arthur MacArthur III Service Summary

Naval Academy Information Request – Arthur MacArthur III

Episode Thirty Six:  The Honor Guard

(July 2013)

Episode Thirty Six: The Honor GuardFrench military historian Henri Lachouque once wrote: “An old adage runs ‘There is no Temple without a God and no Throne without a Guard.’  But there are guards and Guards.”  Lachouque was referring to Napoleon’s Imperial Guard, an elite unit which served as the French Emperor’s personal bodyguard and also as his “shock troops” to whom he turned for the most difficult assignments on the battlefield.  Throughout history some of the world’s most colorful and charismatic military leaders have surrounded themselves with a personal guard composed of hand-picked men.  General of the Army Douglas MacArthur’s Honor Guard was one of the most important and visible parts of the General’s official family during the closing months of World War II and throughout the Occupation of Japan.  The members of this elite unit were selected based on their military bearing, intelligence and physical stature, and every combat Division of the U.S. Army in the Pacific was represented in its ranks.  They were the best of the best, because when it came to the security for his Headquarters and family, MacArthur would accept nothing but the finest.   (20:35)

Selected Documents:

Personnel for Guard of Honor

Episode Thirty Five:  The Hazing Scandal

(June 2013)

Episode Thirty Five: The Hazing ScandalOn June 13, 1899, Douglas MacArthur entered the United States Military Academy at West Point.  It was the fulfillment of a boyhood ambition and it was to be the start of his extraordinary military career. But, it was nearly over before it began.  A little over a year into his time at West Point, a controversy erupted over allegations that hazing at West Point had resulted in the death of a cadet.  As details of the hazing at West Point emerged, it ignited a firestorm of controversy.  President William McKinley called for an investigation into the hazing, and some in congress even called for the abolition of the nation’s military academies.  MacArthur would play a central role in this drama.  Called before a military court of inquiry and then a congressional committee, MacArthur was soon making national headlines as he testified about his own experiences as a first year cadet.   (18:56)

Selected Documents:

"Booz Not Fit to Take Part in Fight,” January 18, 1901

"Point Hazing is Denounced at Academy and in Senate,” January 17, 1901

Episode Thirty Four:  The Army’s First Public Relations Officer

(April 2013)

Episode Thirty Four: The Army’s First Public Relations OfficerWhen most people think of General MacArthur, they think of his ability to communicate - his ability to know the value of a good photo-op, his ability to spin stories to reporters and his ability to make dramatic headlines.  In many respects, his media savvy was an innate talent.  In other more technical aspects though, such as understanding the influence of the media, its ability to sway public opinion, and how to use it as a tool to promote an agenda, MacArthur actually had quite a bit of practical experience early on in his career.  From 1916-1918, a young Douglas MacArthur served as the head of the War Departments new Bureau of Information.  In this capacity he served as press censor and the primary liaison between the War Department and the media.  As a result, he is today recognized as the Army’s first public relations officer.  This podcast will discuss this period of service – an important, but often overlooked part of his early career.   (17:39)

Selected Documents:

MacArthur as Press Censor to Mr. Vance C. McCormick, April 16, 1917

Episode Thirty Three:  Baseball Diplomacy and Japan

(April 2013)

Episode Thirty Three: Baseball Diplomacy and JapanBaseball came to Japan in the late nineteenth century and quickly grew in popularity.  As Japanese interest in the sport grew, Japanese leagues and school teams were formed.  Visiting American teams played some of these Japanese teams – and usually won – but even in defeat, Japanese baseball players were learning from the best players in the world and were demonstrating great skill. In 1934, an American All Star team including Babe Ruth, Moe Berg, Clint Brown, Jimmie Foxx, and Lou Gehrig arrived in Japan to play a series of exhibition games.  In one game, Ruth, Gehrig, and Foxx were struck out in quick succession by Eiji Sawamura – a 17 year old Japanese pitcher.  It was an incredible performance by the young pitcher and a sign that Japanese baseball was on the rise. During the Occupation of Japan, General MacArthur would encourage “baseball diplomacy” as a way to not only help rebuild Japanese morale but to create another bridge between the United States and Japan.  Under MacArthur’s tenure, American teams once again traveled to Japan and major Japanese leagues took form.  In later life, MacArthur credited baseball with helping to win the peace in Japan after the war.   (16:52)

Episode Thirty Two:  The Emancipation of Japanese Women

(March 2013)

Episode Thirty Two: The Emancipation of Japanese WomenIn September 1945, with the surrender and occupation of Japan, drastic changes took place that altered the way of life for the Japanese people.  Within an incredibly short period of time, Japanese society experienced a complete social revolution.  The revised Meiji Constitution that came out of the Occupation enfranchised the people of Japan, but most particularly, the women of the country with the inclusion of Articles 14 and 24.  Women who had been denied enfranchisement were suddenly equal partners in the reemerging nation.  General Douglas MacArthur was a vocal supporter of Japanese women’s rights and later explained: “Of all the reforms accomplished by the occupation in Japan, none w as more heartwarming to me than this change in the status of women.”  This podcast will explore the development of women’s rights in Japan during the Occupation.   (15:36)

Selected Documents:

Request for Information for Historian Mary Beard August 29, 1946

Response to Mary Beard’s Information Request September 4, 1946

Episode Thirty One: MacArthur in Brisbane

(February 2013)

Episode Thirty One:  MacArthur in BrisbaneGeneral MacArthur’s arrival in Australia in March of 1942 was an electrifying event for many Australians.  His presence sent a strong signal that the United States was committed to the defense of Australia and to the war against Japan.  MacArthur uttered his famous “I Shall Return” promise in Australia, and it was there that he began gathering forces for the next phase of the war.  By July 1942, MacArthur had located his General Headquarters in Brisbane.  Today, the MacArthur Museum Brisbane commemorates the General’s time in Brisbane and highlights the history of Brisbane during the war.  This podcast focuses on MacArthur’s time in Brisbane and features an interview with
Col. John Dwyer and Col. Phillip Gould of the General Douglas MacArthur Brisbane Memorial Foundation.   (19:20)

Selected Documents:

Prime Minister Curtin to General MacArthur April 15, 1942

Episode Thirty: Eisenhower and MacArthur

(January 2013)

Episode Thirty: Eisenhower and MacArthurIn terms of personality and style, it would be difficult to find two more different men than General MacArthur and General Eisenhower.  Praised by newspapers as “Destiny’s Child,” and “Mars,” General MacArthur was larger than life - dramatic, proud, and aristocratic.  In contrast, General Eisenhower was often described by his contemporaries as personable, steady, and far more practical than MacArthur.  Ten years MacArthur’s junior, Eisenhower would spend a great portion of his career working as MacArthur’s military aide.  Predictably, their relationship was at times tense.  Privately Eisenhower would write that MacArthur was a “genius” one day, and a “baby” the next.  In a similar fashion, MacArthur would write that Eisenhower’s value to the Army was “Superior,” but would later make it clear in his autobiography that he thought himself far superior to Eisenhower.  Publically however, both men always presented a united front – refusing to ever criticize each other in the press.  This podcast will explore the MacArthur-Eisenhower relationship – their similarities, differences, and the tensions.   (20:37)

Selected Documents:

December 7, 1948 Letter

May 15, 1951 Letter

Episode Twenty-Nine: West Point Class of 1903

(November 2012)

Episode Twenty-Nine: West Point Class of 1903A photograph of the United States Military Academy Class of 1903 was taken the day the young men of that class were admitted to the school as plebes in 1899.  Of the 160 that posed for that photograph, 93 of them would graduate four years later. Douglas MacArthur graduated top in this class – and of his classmates, he had the longest career and earned the most honors and decorations.  However, his service was no more dedicated than that of his classmates. Members of his graduating class represented the United States in the Olympics, in World War I, World War II, and were also pioneers in business, academia, and science.  This month’s podcast highlights the many accomplishments of the Class of 1903.   (9:29)

Selected Documents:

Photograph of West Point Class of 1903

Letter from Imogene Shannon Young (daughter of West Point 1903 Grad) To MacArthur

Episode Twenty-Eight: MacArthur for President, 1944

(October 2012)

Episode Twenty-Eight: MacArthur for President, 1944As a boy, General Douglas MacArthur’s mother exhorted him to follow the example of George Washington.  What was implied in this advice was that he should become a general and a president.  As he grew older, his career would take shape with an eye on the White House.  Most American generals with presidential ambitions try to maneuver behind the scenes to be “drafted” for the job by others.  MacArthur was no different.  He would be a potential candidate in 1944, 1948, and 1952, but he would never officially declare himself a candidate and left his campaigning to surrogates.  In the end, he would never become President, but his enormous popularity would put the office tantalizingly within his reach at times.  This podcast will address MacArthur’s 1944 presidential ambitions.  This month’s podcast will examine this meeting and evaluate the effect it had on the Occupation.   (18:58)

Selected Documents:

Report by General Willougby on Meeting with Senator Arthur Vandenberg

Senator Arthur Vandenberg to General MacArthur

Episode Twenty-Seven: Hirohito and MacArthur – The First Meeting

(September 2012)

Episode Twenty-Seven: Hirohito and MacArthur – The First MeetingAssuming his duties as leader of the Occupation of Japan in September 1945, General MacArthur was faced with a daunting task.  No modern occupation had been successful, and history was not in his favor.  Some of the great commanders in history – including Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Wellington, Kitchener, and Petain – had seen their battlefield triumphs unravel in occupations.  However, just a few short weeks into the Occupation of Japan, on September 27, 1945, a single black and white photograph would set the Occupation on track for success.  The photograph captured the first meeting between General MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito of Japan.  This month’s podcast will examine this meeting and evaluate the effect it had on the Occupation.   (18:21)

Selected Documents:

Report by Colonel Bonner Fellers on the Emperor’s Visit, Sept. 28,

Episode Twenty-Six: The Papuan Campaign

(August 2012)

Episode Twenty-Six: The Papuan Campaign of 1932-1943The Papuan Campaign of 1932-1943 was one of the most costly of General MacArthur’s campaigns in the Southwest Pacific.  Casualty rates exceeded those on Guadalcanal, and the learning curve for jungle fighting was particularly steep for American and Australian forces.  The General made mistakes and ruffled the feathers of the U.S. Navy, military leaders in Washington, D.C., and those of his Australian allies.  In the end however, he emerged victorious – confident that he had laid the groundwork for the return to the Philippines and ready to lead the next phase of the drive on Rabaul.   (20:53)

Selected Documents:

Photograph: Jungle Fighting Conditions

MacArthur’s Report on the Papuan Campaign

Episode Twenty-Five: The 1928 Olympics: “A MacArthur Production”

(July 2012)

Episode Twenty-Five:  The 1928 Olympics:  “A MacArthur Production”According to MacArthur biographer William Manchester, “American participation in the 1928 Olympics…was a MacArthur production.”  As President of the U.S. Olympic Committee, MacArthur traveled to Amsterdam with Team U.S.A., marched in the Parade of Nations, and had a front row seat to all of the events.  He would later write of his experiences: “Athletes are among the most temperamental of all persons, but I stormed and pleaded and cajoled.  I told them we represented the greatest nation in the world, that we were there to win, and win decisively.”  Under MacArthur’s leadership and constant encouragement, Team U.S.A. won decisively – winning the medal count and setting more World and Olympic records in international competition than any other nation to that date.   (15:11)

Selected Documents:

MacArthur and members of Team USA aboard the USS Roosevelt

MacArthur Quote on Athletics and America

Episode Twenty Four: Trials For Effect – MacArthur and the Trial of LGEN Yamashita

(June 2012)

Episode Twenty Four: Trials For Effect – MacArthur and the Trial of LGEN Yamashita Following World War II, hundreds if not thousands of Japanese were accused of war crimes.  General MacArthur’s appointment as Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers on August 15, 1945 made him responsible for the prosecution of war criminals.  Though MacArthur called this his “most repugnant duty,” he did not shy away from it.  Lieutenant General Tomoyuki Yamashita was the first to face trial for atrocities committed by Japanese troops.  MacArthur informed his staff that Yamashita’s trial would be the “bellwether” and predictably, his hand was heavy on the proceedings.  In the end, Yamashita was easily convicted.  For some, the trial reeked of victor’s justice.  For others, regardless of the legal irregularities of the trial, command responsibility made Yamashita guilty of the atrocities committed by those under his authority.  This month’s podcast will tell the story of MacArthur’s involvement in the Yamashita trial and the subsequent criticisms of the trial.   (19:54)

Selected Documents:

MacArthur’s Review of the Yamashita Trial

Episode Twenty Three: Vera Cruz, 1914

(May 2012)

Episode Twenty Three: Vera Cruz, 1914In 1914, as tensions between Mexico and the United States heightened, the United States occupied Vera Cruz, Mexico. President Wilson wished to avoid open war, but his generals and the Secretary of War wanted to be prepared for any contingency—even a total invasion of Mexico.  Thirty-four year old Captain Douglas MacArthur was tapped to play a key role in their preparations for war. Sent to Vera Cruz on an intelligence gathering mission, MacArthur trekked deep into enemy territory in search of missing locomotives that the army could use in a potential invasion.  Despite being attacked several times by armed men, he accomplished his mission – garnering his first nomination for the Medal of Honor.  This month’s podcast will tell the story of MacArthur’s Vera Cruz mission – an event he later referred to as “a wild night under the Southern Cross.”   (16:24)

Selected Documents:

MacArthur and the General Staff at Vera Cruz

Episode Twenty Two: The 6th VA Infantry

(April 2012)

Episode Twenty Two: The 6th VA Infantry Douglas MacArthur came from a distinguished military family.  His father Arthur, a Medal of Honor recipient, was a veteran of both the Civil War and Spanish-American War.  Several of MacArthur’s mother’s brothers also served in uniform.  Three of them attended Virginia Military Institute, and of these, two served in the 6th Virginia Infantry during the Civil War.  The 6th Virginia fought in nearly every major engagement in the Virginia theater – including the controversial Battle of the Crater in July 1964 at Petersburg.  This month’s podcast will examine the 6th Virginia and the military service of MacArthur’s maternal uncles – revealing an often overlooked chapter of General Douglas MacArthur’s military ancestry.  (32:02)

Selected Documents:

Transcript: Letter from Edward Hardy April 10, 1864

Frank Logan’s Account of the Capture of the 6th VA’s Flag

Episode Twenty One: POW’s: The Nurses of Bataan and Corregidor

(March 2012)

Episode Twenty One: POW’s: The Nurses of Bataan and CorregidorFor many young women in 1940, being an Army or Navy nurse meant a life of adventure and independence – a thrilling alternative to a normal, routine life.  Those stationed in the Philippines looked forward to a life of luxury – and it was even said that no nurse’s wardrobe was complete without an evening gown and a swimsuit.  All of this changed abruptly on December 7, 1941.  Thrust into a warzone, these nurses found themselves struggling to save lives in the jungles of Bataan and in the tunnels of Corregidor.  Within a year, they would all be prisoners of the Japanese Army.  This month’s podcast provides a brief overview of these women’s military service.  (20:00)

Selected Documents:

Partial List of Nurses Ordered to Report to Ft. Mills, P.I. April 9, 1942

List of Nurses Ordered to Evacuate Corregidor and go to Australia, April 29, 1942

Episode Twenty: MacArthur’s Medal of Honor

(February 2012)

Episode Twenty: MacArthur’s Medal of HonorThe Medal of Honor is the highest honor that any member of the armed forces can receive.  The award is granted to a person who distinguishes “himself by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of…life, above and beyond the call of duty, in action involving actual combat with the enemy.”  General Douglas MacArthur received the Medal of Honor on April 1, 1942.  Prior to this, MacArthur had displayed courageous actions in Vera Cruz, Mexico and in France during World War I which had almost resulted in him receiving the Medal of Honor.  This podcast will explore these early events as well as explain the circumstances surrounding the award of the medal in1942.  (20:54)

Selected Documents:

General Marshall to General Sutherland – Nominating MacArthur for the MOH

MacArthur’s Medal of Honor Citation

Episode Nineteen: The 26th Cavalry Regiment and the Final U.S. Cavalry Charge

(January 2012)

Episode Nineteen: The 26th Cavalry Regiment and the Final U.S. Cavalry ChargeMany people believe that with World War I, the horse became a relic of the past.  This belief is understandable.  More than any other war; the deadly stalemate of World War I proved that muscle and sinew could not resist the crushing force of modern mechanized war or chemical weapons.  Nevertheless, while the horse faded from the battlefields of Western Europe, it did not become completely obsolete.  The final charge of the U.S. Army Cavalry would take place in the Philippines during World War II.  This historic charge pitted the exhausted 26th Cavalry Regiment against a vastly superior enemy force.  This podcast will examine final charge – an event many historians have called a fitting tribute to the legacy of the U.S. Army Cavalry.  (17:16)

Selected Documents:

Photograph of members of the 26th Infantry Regiment in the Philippines

Episode Eighteen: Billy Mitchell and MacArthur

(December 2011)

Episode Eighteen: Billy Mitchell and MacArthurIn 1925, the court martial of Billy Mitchell captured national attention.  The trial was so sensational that it would go on to inspire numerous books and even a movie starring Gary Cooper.  At the center of the controversy was Billy Mitchell, a man who is today recognized as the father of the United States Air Force.  An advocate of air power at a time when few could envision aircraft ever having a major impact on the battlefield, Mitchell would be a martyr for this cause.  Douglas MacArthur was a friend of Mitchell, but was also a member of the jury trying Mitchell.  This month’s podcast will discuss the friendship between the two men and the events surrounding the court martial.  (20:42)

Selected Documents:

Photograph of the Ostfriesland Sinking 1921

Jean MacArthur Oral History: “MacArthur and the Battle of Bismarck Sea”

Episode Seventeen: MacArthur and JFK

(November 2011)

Episode Seventeen: MacArthur and JFKToday, many people are amazed to learn that General MacArthur and President Kennedy admired each other.  Given MacArthur’s track record with Democrats and the generational gap between the two men, this is not surprising.  Despite their differences however, Kennedy and MacArthur actually had a great deal in common – both were patrician and charismatic, both had been raised in an environment that valued drive, success, and destiny, and both had demonstrated courage in war.  More than any other president, Kennedy understood MacArthur – and MacArthur reciprocated – respecting Kennedy far more than his predecessors.  This month’s podcast explores the relationship between the two men.  (20:35)

Selected Documents:

Thank You Letter from John F. Kennedy to General MacArthur, May 8, 1961

Condolences from General MacArthur to Mrs. John F. Kennedy

Episode Sixteen: “I Shall Return” - The Pledge

(October 2011)

Episode Sixteen: “I Shall Return” - The PledgeMany people are familiar with General Douglas MacArthur’s famous “I shall return” pledge. The pledge was made after the General’s successful escape from the Philippines during World War II, and it soon became the cornerstone of his strategy in the Pacific Theatre as well as a rallying cry for the guerilla movement in the Philippines.  Although the pledge is very famous, few people understand how difficult it was to make the promise a reality.  This month’s podcast takes a look at the battles – both military and bureaucratic – that MacArthur fought to honor his promise.   (17:22)

Selected Documents:

“I Shall Return” Propaganda Campaign Information, August 10, 1943

MacArthur to Chief of Staff – Argument in Favor of The Philippines, August 3,

Episode Fifteen: “A Striking Ornament” – the MacArthur Memorial

(September 2011)

Episode Fifteen: “A Striking Ornament” – the MacArthur MemorialMany visitors are curious about the building that houses General Douglas MacArthur’s tomb and museum.  Known today as the MacArthur Memorial, the building was once the City of Norfolk’s City Hall and Courthouse.  Constructed in 1850, the building has played a central role in many local and national dramas over the years.  This month’s podcast delves into the history of the building - from the initial wishes of Norfolk’s citizens to create “a striking ornament” to represent the city, to the building’s eventual role as the MacArthur Memorial.   (18:18)

Selected Documents:

Unfinished Draft of MacArthur’s Speech to Dedicate the MacArthur Memorial – Transcript Included

Episode Fourteen: Wainwright & MacArthur

(August 2011)

Episode Fourteen:  Wainwright & MacArthurThe careers of General Douglas MacArthur and General Jonathan Wainwright are indelibly intertwined with one of the darkest moments in American military history – the fall of the Philippines at the beginning of World War II.  Even though both men received the Medal of Honor for their handling of the doomed situation in the Philippines, Bataan and Corregidor would haunt them for the rest of their lives.  This month’s podcast highlights both men against the backdrop of Bataan and Corregidor.   (22:50)

Selected Documents:

Wainwright Congratulates MacArthur on his Command, July 31, 1941

MacArthur tells Marshall Wainwright is “Unbalanced,” May 9, 1942

Episode Thirteen: Investigating MacArthur’s Decorations

(July 2011)

Episode Thirteen:  Investigating MacArthur’s DecorationsDuring his 52 year military career, General Douglas MacArthur received more than 100 decorations – including the Medal of Honor – making him one of the most highly decorated officers in U.S. military history.   Many of these decorations are on display in the MacArthur Memorial today, and visitors to the Memorial are often curious about the circumstances behind some of these awards. This podcast will provide background information on MacArthur’s three Distinguished Service Crosses, seven Silver Stars, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, and two Purple Hearts.   (16:42)

Selected Documents:

MacArthur’s Air Medal Citation, February 23, 1946

MacArthur’s Distinguished Service Cross Citation, April 18, 1946

Episode Twelve: Superheroes, the Comics, and World War II

(June 2011)

Episode Twelve: Superheroes, the Comics, and World War IIAs part of the material culture of the 1940s, comic books can provide World War II historians with information about everyday people and the times they lived in.   Superman, Captain America, and other superheroes didn’t really fight in World War II, but the comics did influence public perceptions of the war and provide an outlet for national aspirations and fears.  They created a black and white world of heroes and villains, whose adventures were acted out against the backdrop of a very real war and its very real players.  As we will see, even General Douglas MacArthur was featured in the comics!   (17:22)

Selected Documents:

Excerpts from 1942 Biographical Comic about General MacArthur

Episode Eleven: The General’s Mother

(May 2011)

Episode Eleven: The General’s MotherMary “Pinky” Hardy MacArthur was a formidable woman.  General Douglas MacArthur regarded her as one of the dominating factors of his life.  As Army Chief of Staff in the 1930’s, he remarked that she had raised his father to a Lieutenant General’s three stars, and he attributed his own greater success to the fact that she had a much earlier start with him.  This month’s podcast provides a brief overview of the life of “Pinky” and her relationship with her son.   (19:02)

Selected Documents:

Letter from Pinky to her Sister: May 11, 1884

Marriage License for Pinky and Arthur MacArthur

Episode Ten: Truman Fires MacArthur

(April 2011)

Episode Ten: Truman Fires MacArthurOn April 11, 1951, General MacArthur was relieved of his command by President Truman, ending his 52 year military career.  Both men had been increasingly at odds with each other since August 1945 – almost from the day Truman chose MacArthur to accept the Japanese surrender and oversee the occupation.  It was during the Korean War however that their divergent views on U.S. foreign policy and Communist China brought them into open conflict.  This month’s podcast reviews the final events that led to MacArthur’s relief.   (15:32)

Selected Documents:

Truman Informs MacArthur of his Relief, April 11, 1951

Episode Nine: Escape from Corregidor

(March 2011)

Episode Nine: Escape from Corregidor In March 1942, General MacArthur, his wife Jean, his son Arthur, and select members of his staff quietly boarded PT 41 in the Philippines.  They were embarking on a dangerous escape attempt.  Against all odds, the escape was successful, and from the safety of Australia MacArthur would utter the famous promise: “I shall return.”   For the next two and a half years however, those left behind on Bataan and Corregidor knew only captivity, horror, and death.  This month’s podcast examines the escape and MacArthur’s thoughts on leaving.   (23:01)

Selected Documents:

Orders Directing MacArthur to Leave Corregidor (Page 1), February 23, 1942

Orders Directing MacArthur to Leave Corregidor (Page 2), February 23, 1942

Episode Eight: MacArthur, Thurgood Marshall, and Integration during the Korean War

(February 2011)

Episode Eight: MacArthur, Thurgood Marshall, and Integration during the Korean WarOn January 14, 1951, right in the middle of the Korean War, Thurgood Marshall arrived in Japan as a special representative of the NAACP. He had been sent to meet with General MacArthur and to conduct an investigation into irregularities in the courts martial of thirty nine black soldiers. This podcast examines MacArthur and integration during the Korean War through the lens of the issues that brought Thurgood Marshall to Japan and Korea.   (22:05)

Selected Documents:

Correspondence between MacArthur and NAACP Executive Secretary Walter White

Excerpts from Thurgood Marshall’s Investigation

Episode Seven: These Fields of Friendly Strife - The General and Football

(January 2011)

Episode Seven: These Fields of Friendly Strife - The General and FootballToday, few people are aware of General Douglas MacArthur’s contributions to football. As a player, a devoted fan, and an advocate of the sport, MacArthur’s interest in football was both personal and professional. A competitor at heart, he just loved the game. As a leader, he recognized the practical benefit of football on leadership and citizenship. Summing up his feelings about football, MacArthur once explained: “In war and peace, I have found football men to be my greatest reliance.”   (18:07)

Selected Documents:

MacArthur Congratulations to “Red” Blaik on Army Win, December 3, 1944

“Red” Blaik to MacArthur, November 1, 1951

Episode Six: Nine Hours To Disaster - MacArthur’s Pearl Harbor

(December 2010)

Episode Six: Nine Hours To Disaster - MacArthur’s Pearl HarborOn December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack against the United States of America at Pearl Harbor. While December 7th is a date etched in the minds of many Americans, few are aware that a similar attack on American forces took place in the Philippines on December 8, 1941. At the time, General MacArthur was commander of US forces in the Philippines. This month we are going to examine MacArthur’s response to the attacks – something that has bewildered scholars for decades.   (19:36)

Selected Documents:

Warning of Potential Japanese Surprise Attack, Nov. 24, 1941

MacArthur’s Report to the War Department, Dec. 8, 1941

Episode Five: Arthur MacArthur Jr. and the Civil War

(November 2010)

Episode Five: Arthur MacArthur Jr. and the Civil WarDecades before Douglas MacArthur became a household name during World War II and the Korean War, his father Arthur MacArthur, Jr. achieved almost equal military fame during the Civil War. Although he was initially ridiculed by the men of his command at the beginning of his military career in 1862, by the time the Civil War ended he was a recognized war hero and a 20 year old Colonel, affectionately known as the “Boy Colonel.” Arthur MacArthur’s Civil War service would have a major impact on his son Douglas, who was driven throughout his own career to emulate if not surpass his father’s success.   (20:56)

Selected Documents:

Arthur MacArthur’s Brevet Promotions

Saturday Evening Post Article on Arthur MacArthur

Episode Four: The Meeting at Wake Island

(October 2010)

Episode Four: The Meeting at Wake IslandOn October 15, 1950, President Harry S. Truman and General Douglas MacArthur met on Wake Island.  Five and a half years into Truman’s presidency, it was their first meeting.  Given the extreme differences that ultimately emerged between both men, many look to the meeting at Wake Island for hints of the drama to come.  This month’s podcast will address why the meeting took place and what actually happened there.   (19:57)

Selected Documents:

Secretary of Defense Marshall Informing MacArthur of the Meeting, Oct. 10, 1950

Instructions for Explaining the Meeting to the Press, Oct. 11, 1950

Episode Three: Selling Inchon: MacArthur and the 5000 to 1 Gamble

(September 2010)

Episode Three: Selling Inchon: MacArthur and the 5000 to 1 GambleThe amphibious invasion at Inchon in September of 1950 was General MacArthur’s greatest battlefield triumph.  It completely surprised the North Korean forces and altered the momentum of the Korean War.  Although the invasion was ultimately successful, in the beginning there was little support for it and many were convinced that Inchon would be a disaster.  This month, we take a look at how MacArthur ultimately packaged and sold the idea of landing at Inchon to its critics.   (18:58)

Selected Documents:

The Joint Chiefs to MacArthur, Sept. 7, 1950

MacArthur to the Joint Chiefs, Sept. 8, 1950

Episode Two: MacArthur and the Atomic Bomb

(August 2010)

Episode Two: MacArthur and the Atomic BombOn the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we take a look at MacArthur and the atomic bomb – how and when he found out about the bomb, what he knew about the potential targets, and how he reacted to its use on both cities.  As with many things about MacArthur, his thoughts on the bomb were complex.   (22:11)

Selected Documents:

Operation Olympic Casualty Estimate

MacArthur Letter to Professor Carl L. Shermer

Episode One: MacArthur and the Bonus March

(July 2010)

Episode One: MacArthur and the Bonus MarchThis month, we take a look at the Bonus March of 1932 and MacArthur’s actions and decision making during this controversial event.  In popular culture, MacArthur has played the role of villain of the Bonus March – he did after all help to evict homeless and jobless World War I veterans from Washington, D.C. where they had been pressing Congress for benefits.  But is there more to the story?   (24:33)

Selected Documents:

Excerpt, C.B. Marshall Oral History  (reproduced with permission of the Harry S. Truman Library)

Article on John T. Pace Testimony