Monthly Podcast - Season Three

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

(January 2012)

Many 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 19: The 26th Cavalry Regiment and the Final U.S. Cavalry Charge
Episode Twenty: MacArthur’s Medal of Honor

(February 2012)

The 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 20: MacArthur’s Medal of Honor
Episode Twenty One: POW’s: The Nurses of Bataan and Corregidor

(March 2012)

For 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 21: POW’s: The Nurses of Bataan and Corregidor
Episode Twenty Two: The 6th VA Infantry

(April 2012)

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 22: The 6th VA Infantry
Episode Twenty Three: Vera Cruz, 1914

(May 2012)

In 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 23 MacArthur and the General Staff at Vera Cruz
Episode Twenty Four: Trials For Effect – MacArthur and the Trial of LGEN Yamashita

(June 2012)

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 24: Trials For Effect – MacArthur and the Trial of LGEN Yamashita
Episode Twenty-Five: The 1928 Olympics: “A MacArthur Production”

(July 2012)

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 25: The 1928 Olympics: “A MacArthur Production”
Episode Twenty-Six: The Papuan Campaign

(August 2012)

The 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 26: The Papuan Campaign
Episode Twenty-Seven: Hirohito and MacArthur – The First Meeting

(September 2012)

Assuming 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. 27, 1945
Episode 27: Hirohito and MacArthur – The First Meeting
Episode Twenty-Eight: MacArthur for President, 1944

(October 2012)

As 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 28: MacArthur for President, 1944
Episode Twenty-Nine: West Point Class of 1903

(November 2012)

A 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 29: West Point Class of 1903