August 14, 2011
I wonder what the following 19 days were like for those on the front lines of the war. Hostilities had ended, but it wasn't official yet... and surely nobody wanted to be the last casualty of WWII.
The Japanese were pretty worried that some other hothead would decide to do something similar to MacArthur's fleet when it arrived. They went so far as to take all the propellers off the planes to prevent any last-minute stupidity.
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at August 15, 2011 01:55 AM (j42B4)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 15, 2011 07:45 AM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at August 15, 2011 12:01 PM (j42B4)
Sadly, it was a fairly insignificant number of the Japanese high command who decided to die with honor - Dr. Edward Drea records that out of 1500 IJA generals, only 22 committed suicide. My read on the proportion of suicides in the IJN is fairly similar. Too many of the rest were trying to destroy documents, or following the example of the Japanese foreign minister, trying to use the dropping of the atomic bombs to divert attention from Japanese atrocities and war crimes against Allied POWs and civilians (Allied and Asians.).
Some of them probably had second thoughts about not taking the honorably way out when it was their turn to face the hangman later on (Like the Japanese admiral commanding the Wake Island garrison, who found his attempt at covering up his war crimes to have failed utterly.).
Posted by: cxt217 at August 15, 2011 01:26 PM (ob/3N)
Sorry, Avatar, but MacArthur is a sore spot for me.
MacArthur had the same virtues and flaws as Patton and Montgomery. All of them really were great battlefield commanders. All of them were charismatic, great leaders of men.
And all of them were deeply flawed because of their towering egos. You compare them to men who didn't have that kind of ego problems, like Nimitz and Bradley, and you can see that it wasn't an essential part of the makeup of great leaders.
MacArthur's ego made him do stupid things. It ultimately led to him being relieved in Korea by Truman, and if anything Truman was preternaturally patient with the man and put that off. (And Ridgway, who took over, actually fought a smarter and more effective war than MacArthur had.)
His campaign in New Guinea was by all accounts brilliant, considering his terrible logistics and the beastly conditions, and in fact the ground operations during the reconquest of Luzon etc were brilliant, too. But the man simply wouldn't keep his mouth shut.
And I have to give him credit for his performance during the post-war occupation of Japan. There were so many things he did well; but his flaws and his mistakes just stick in my craw.
Referring to it as "MacArthur's fleet" seems typical, because MacArthur was a glory hound and it would have been in character for him to take credit for that.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 15, 2011 04:18 PM (+rSRq)
I'll grant that he knew how to use amphibious landings to his advantage. But his actual generalship wasn't any better than indifferent, at least not until later in the war, by which point he was facing isolated Japanese outposts that he could bypass when necessary. And his political interference simply had no place in the proper conduct of an officer. There's also the matter of all that Filipino money that he ended up with...
Shoot, now I wanna do a MacArthur post.
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at August 15, 2011 10:05 PM (pWQz4)
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