tv Book Discussion on Mac Arthur at War CSPAN July 3, 2016 8:45am-9:32am EDT
fortunate to c-span with us today, and it's great, it's your questions can be heard so that everybody can benefit and so that mr. borneman can really provide a good analysis and explanation in response. walter borneman, i will give you a little background, is a military and political historian, and his work on mcarthur is particularly interesting i just read the book and it's great. it exports its rapid rise. we all know a lot about the outline of macarthur's life, but what i found particularly interesting was the attention he gives to the myth versus reality's of mcarthur and roosevelt's relationship. and would often speak about truman and macarthur's relationship, but the one with president was the is equally compelling.
he has previously written the admiral, which was the winner of the samuel eliot morrison award in naval literature. his commentaries appeared in the "new york times," "washington post" and "wall street journal" and other places. so without continuing for too long we are all here to hear walter borneman. [applause] >> thank you so much. it's wonderful to be here in hyde park, and i indeed going to talk about macarthur, "macarthur at war: world war ii in the pacific" but a really thought i wanted to bring this because of our historic venue. a little bit more about the relationship between douglas macarthur and franklin roosevelt. and permit me if you will to actually start with someone else, admiral william leahy.
now, you roosevelt scholars in the room know him as roosevelt chief of staff. his wartime counselor, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and really a de facto national security advisor long before that position was set up. and four years ago when it published admirals which you mentioned in the introduction, about america's for, fights are admirals, a schedule conflict prevented me from being here at this conference. socketed ya i jumped at the chance to talk about macarthur. but if i'd been here four years ago to talk about leahy and "the admirals" i think i would've mentioned that in five really was the man during the last three years of roosevelt's life who really was the mainstay of his administration and perhaps more to the point is the one who really i think sort of
transitions and explains the roosevelt legacy to truman. okay, how does that relate to macarthur? leahy is a great segue to macarthur because his oldest brother, here's the story, was a classmate of leahy that annapolis. arthur graduated in 1896 and became a navy captain before his untimely death in 1923 of appendicitis. leahy graduated a year behind arthur iii also in 1897 and by no small coincidence, among the best friends was thomas c. hard who would go on to command the asiatic fleet in the philippines in 1941. what that means is that leahy in part of the two people who have known the macarthur family and douglas for the longest period of time.
facing absolute nothing of calling him douglas. and as douglas macarthur goes on to those great hero status, here are two men who are very much on a first name basis with them. if you know anything about douglas macarthur, the are not many people who walked up to him and called him douglas. in fact, his second wife is on record as always calling him general, and referring to him in her soft southern drawl as my general. so it's i think interesting from fdr's standpoint of the man who is so close to him in terms of being a counselor really knows macarthur well. again, on a first name basis. and i think those conversations between fdr and leahy, as leahy serves as his chief of staff, really goes along way to sort of helping roosevelt understand a little bit more who macarthur
is. macarthur and was the serving of each other from the days when roosevelt was assistant secretary of the navy during world war i. macarthur at the point before he shipped off to the trenches of france was actually in the war department working for newton d. baker. interestingly enough on the publicity side of things. and those of you who know macarthur's world war ii record, know that he certainly became a master of publicity, and that fit in very well to his rise really quite rapidly from someone who went think on december 7, 1941, was certainly known. he had been american chief of staff turkey had been always in newspapers for one thing or the other. but let's think a minute, that if he had really retired in the philippines and not excepted franklin roosevelt's recall to active duty in the summer of
1941, he would be a famous guy in history but certainly would not have risen to the level of renowned, that he came to in those critical six months between december 1941-june 1942. my book, "macarthur at war: world war ii in the pacific," israeli that, those four years of macarthur's rise for being okay, known, but certainly not this great american hero of great american general that he would become during the course of that time. and i think it's really fascinating in terms of focusing on the period, to see how he evolves at a number of different levels. let me just tell you quickly a couple of things that are in the book. one of the themes is certainly how he manages to go from, again, being known but certainly
not renowned, on december 7, 1941, through a six-month period of time to what he really is by the sum of 1942 and a man on the scene in terms of the pacific and the main man in terms of the american public. a couple of reasons he does that, very good like we mentioned about managing his publicity, i think there's something to be said that the american public during that time pretty tenuous time, remember we are still not sure what's going to go on in europe. we are shocked by everything at pearl harbor. the american public desperately needs a hero. and i think that douglas macarthur fits that role very, very well. another theme in the book is i really tried to get, i should mention about the myths and everything, really tried to get to the core of this truth about his relationship with the u.s. navy. again, thomas hart who is commanding the american fleet in the philippines in the early
years is one of those persons that does, in fact, call him douglas. at one point macarthur bristled a little bit because admiral hard didn't have that many ships under his command in the asiatic fleet come and macarthur bristled a little bit and said tommy, did yourself a real fleet and then you will belong. but the truth of the matter is that abelard was wearing for start and macarthur was only wearing to start. a couple stars shorthanded love it there in terms of the deal at play. i think in terms of recent books and literature there sometimes the emphasis on contention and a contentious things are. he began to wonder a little bit, how did these people ever really cooperate and actually be able to win a conflict and win a war? i would suggest on the navy side in particular, douglas macarthur, even though he
would never have admitted it, became the beneficiary of the navy, and in particular, admiral team in terms of watching resources, many material poured into the pacific. king convinced the chief, joint chiefs of staff and certainly convinced roosevelt that we had to fight, a two ocean global war. and because of that a number of resources, men and matériel, were poured into the pacific and king, because of that, actually been douglas macarthur's best friend. so there's a lot more to the army navy rivalry than might sometimes be said and just a couple of lines. the other thing i think really ties into that that's important as another theme of my book is macarthur always claim that he was shortchanged in terms of supplies. operating on a shoestring was
his characterization of it. well again, thanks in part to admiral king and his two ocean global war effort, there was a tremendous amount of men and matériel flowing to the southwest pacific. at one point there r. so many ships waiting to be unloaded that george marshall, army chief of staff and actually macarthur's direct commander, has to sent a communiqué to macarthur and say, look, would you please retype and 50 ships unloaded? you are clogging the whole pipeline of supplies. 's i think it was interesting to look at court a master records and other things, and kind of get into that myth a little bit, too. macarthur made some great decisions. he made some great tactical and strategic advances. but the myth that he did everything on a shoestring, i don't think the record really bears that out in terms of the southwest pacific.
let me spend a few minutes with a few minutes with the theme of the think is particularly intriguing, and that's macarthur's role in his evolution as a military commander. i think we have to remember that as the basis of everything, macarthur definitely was a 19th century man. he's a man that goes to west point, graduates first in his class, of course in 1901. and he actually learned horsemanship, very important at that point, but not much to do with horsemanship in world war ii. he learned about static operations in the trenches of world war i. he goes on and becomes superintendent of west point, even when he's in his position as the us army chief of staff during the 1930s, he is on record as saying airplanes, well, you know, i'm not sure that airplanes are that important. he only wants airplanes and
bombers for the army when he learns that the navy is going to get some bombers. so he says the army better get some as well. so on december 7, 1941, i think there's a great expectation i macarthur that something is going to happen in the pacific. but he really anticipates that that war is going to come in the spring of 1942. and he is simply, quite frankly i would say overwhelmed by this speed with which the japanese air, land and sea operations unfold against the philippines in december and january of 1942. macarthur is the one who has basically convinced the war department, and by that we mean both george marshall and ultimately franklin roosevelt, that the philippines can be held. prior to that we always talked
about under the plan orange scenario, that they would be just a defense of manila, and the core on luzon. but roosevelt and marshall have been convinced by macarthur that the army could defend the entire philippine islands. so what that means we've this combined assault of air, land and sea from the japanese side hit in december, macarthur's troops really are overwhelmed. here's the important part of the story and the evolution and the transition of macarthur as a military commander. i think because of a number of things, geographic necessity, the ability to be able to project and operate all over the southwest pacific, he really very quickly has to come to embrace what today we call combined operations. today we take for granted that the air, land, and sea forces
are all going to work together. again, in those days the army and navy were pretty well separate, witness again the car the whole upbringing and military education. so we get to a point that because of those things, macarthur has to begin to embrace combined operations. i would hesitate to call him the father of combined operations, but i think very, very quickly when you look at it as a military commander, you've got to give credit to the fact that he adapts, that he embraces the resources that he has, and that he does go ahead and be able to use air, land, and sea operations together. it's always to his credit, i think, that he gives a lot of great commanders in each of those areas of operation. one of the myths, again of macarthur, is that he is this
lone wolf kind of sitting there brooding and coming up with great strategy and operating by himself. no, no. i don't think that's true. he really put together a great team of subordinates, and that is to his great credit, that he recognize talent, people like george kinney with his air force, people like thomas kinkade was a navy. is a man named dan barbie who ran his amphibious operations. he was called uncle dan the amphibious man a sort of his nickname, that's true. remember, to show this great outpouring of america's and daschle strength and what happened so quickly through 1942 and 1943. ..
and macarthur is the beneficiary of it is this great out touring america's industrial strength in how quickly this country marshaled his assets in order to be able to go to war and prosecute the war. well, of course combined operations, macarthur goes on along the nuke in a coast. he attacks lately, ghosts or the philippines and it really is a
situation that is the together as it named commander, great people in charge of each of those forces of operations and use them with combined things. he's got one other allies that i should mention, to two. the code breaking operation is very important. doesn't always use them totally effectively and by he i really mean his staff at that point. they are not always bracket light. some of the great victories that macarthur has really are based on code breaking. i'm thinking of the great battle of the bismarck cpa again, disability to the pub or japanese forces and had a weak spot. he had a lot of good challengers behind the strategic decisions that he did make. let's spend a few minutes and talk about macarthur and fdr.
as i mentioned, they knew each other for the first world war. just three quick vignettes in terms of their relationship. the first one would be this famous most dangerous man in america quote. for reasons you are battier, i am skeptical. i don't know what you think, but i'm skeptical roosevelt ever made it. macarthur's relationship went back to the pre-world war one days when macarthur was a junior op stare and of course roosevelt assistant secretary of the navy. apart politically they were uncannily a lake at different levels. both had protect david domineering mothers. most webmasters that the theatrical moment in each definitely carried with them and wavering sense of destiny both for themselves and for the
country. it seems clear from both sides later telling the fdr usually addressed macarthur as douglas, one of the few people again who did. that certainly did not exist between fdr and other general spirit george marshall the one-time roosevelt called him george and other general, marco bristled at that a little bit. macarthur was enough of a soldier and also enough of a politician to call macarthur -- the democratic residential nominee franklin d. roosevelt hung up after ranting coffered louisiana's firebrand former governor and then senator huey p. long and demolished --
admonishes age to remember all the times is one of the two most dangerous men in the country. together with the conservative conservative radio priest father charles coughlin, roosevelt shook his head. the other is douglas macarthur. well, let's get under par. recorded by a member of the new deal intelligence via, this quote has been repeated in numerous occasions and accounts of the roosevelt macarthur relationship without much skirt me both of his historical and editorial contacts. according to tie well, roosevelt went on to express to turn that many people who mattered in the great depression wanted strong military leadership, bordering on totalitarianism and were willing to trade liberty for it.
roosevelt stopped short however of suggesting americans are ready to embrace macarthur as the man on horseback and charge the barricades behind him. if roosevelt in deep considered macarthur one of the two most dangerous man in the country, here is the thing. he offered that view while still washington announced later nominated her not yet elect good. he has yet had no experience working with macarthur as chief of staff and it was the highly charged number of the bonus merge, hardly the shining moment of macarthur's career by any standard. there also has to be some scrutiny of rexford talk while as the sole source for this station. tableau was the self-appointed guardian of the new deal legacy. mcarthur was a handy symbol well endowed with charm, tradition and appearance as douglas
suggested and characterized him for stoking fears of military dictatorship prior to roosevelt on aggressive leadership. nonetheless, the dangerous men quotation is repeated in many secondary sources at face value if indeed roosevelt that it, and certainly less than indicative their total relationship. that was to prove much more complex. the story is that macarthur ends up in march made a 33 because john jay pershing is ailing at that point and can't perform the duties. macarthur leaves roosevelt inaugural parade down pennsylvania avenue to the capitol in march of team dirty three and macarthur will go on to serve roosevelt as chief of staff for two and a half more years before he takes assignment
in the philippines. another macarthur roosevelt and yet. it is this retreat from corregidor and the philippines on the levels of support that macarthur is receiving. douglas macarthur was always certain that sinister forces were against it in this was particularly true as he was trying to reform west point during his tenure as chief of staff and especially after roosevelt promoted craig to the position of chief of staff of the army. after pearl harbor, given the situation and the meager in macarthur's eyes, to make her not as men and material making its way to australia it was easy for such fears to really escalate in the spring of 1942. let me suggest to you that the
record particularly from franklin roosevelt standpoint simply does not justify macarthur's paranoia. there's usually three suspects that macarthur is sure to get them. george marshall is the second one and dwight eisenhower a third. i think you've all heard the story that went i got to london, proper british nature and came up to him and said general eisenhower, do you know general macarthur? i could've been macarthur stayed in washington in the philippines supposedly replied madam, i studied dramatic center hand for four years in the philippines. there is that relationship there. the message is particularly from roosevelt and point, there are a number of times he really could've put macarthur out to
dry and there are certainly political implications involved, this whole idea of macarthur and this year is database and everything. i think on all three levels the evidence is that roosevelt, marshall and eisenhower did everything they could spring of 1942. it was a tough job. an impossible job, but they did everything and try to do everything they could in terms of getting rid of getting the boot to the philippines. final quick story and then we'll take some questions. fast-forward to the the summer of 1944. roosevelt is nominated for an unprecedented fourth term. think about that. that is about four months before the election. how long have we been involved in this? 18 months this campaign has going on. a little bit crazy. roosevelt raised almost until the last second to top the
nominated forces of the democratic party in chicago they guess i'll be glad to accept another term. at that time, of course he's about ready -- quite frankly, roosevelt faces a decision. should he go to chicago and appear before a partisan crowd or should he do road trip and go one appear as military commander? he chooses the latter and for the first time in what must be about nine years, he actually is going to meet douglas macarthur face-to-face in honolulu. here's a little bit of that story. to hearty applause, douglas macarthur addressed in the leather flying jacket despite the way he highlighted from a car in stroke personally at the gameplay of the cruiser baltimore. and their last meeting has been when macarthur was chief of
staff. back to admiral way he he uses relationship went back nearly four years at that point and u.s., by the way, never one to stand on much ceremony cut to the quick and dryly remarked, douglas, why don't you wear the right kind of close when you come appear to cs? macarthur gestured through the habits and replied you haven't been where i came from and it's cold up there in the sky. so there they are, the three of them. roosevelt posed between macarthur, the general and his leather jacket for a series of photographs. for macarthur, thinly disguised political agenda. the bursting of his own presidential. they carry an influence in public service workers as well as wildly popular with the
at-large. political mr. roosevelt has greatly benefited it can be benefited it. before a partisan crowd or showcasing his commander-in-chief role. let me tell you the shores during the cartoon that appeared in the washington evening star at that point. jim berryman is the cartoonist and it captures this mood when he depicts macarthur, mimics a vibrant looking after yard commander-in-chief on his sleeve seated at a table labeled pacific war council. macarthur intimate are looking over their shoulder at another fear of ascii art, leaning against the palm tree, cigarette holder in hand, playing around his neck while his hat read not commander-in-chief like the other ones, but democratic nominee. don't mind has become a gentleman, after your commander-in-chief character tells macarthur. he just came to get away from
politics. that is the story. i guess i would just end by saying that disappear as the two of them at honolulu really is more political and military event. to roosevelt's credit, by this point in the war, he is well into the thing does kind of decisions and quite frankly the decision is whether to return to the philippines or whether to rebate for most. he's leaving that up to the joint chiefs. there's lots of stories about macarthur badgering him and roosevelt assuring he would do that. the record shows the decision to go on for macarthur's cherished return to the philippines has really made her the joint chiefs a few months after honolulu.
the only thing that would end with his despite the fact both of these men sort of have a moment of friction, i suggest to you that theirs is a very important partnership in terms of winning the war and i think i might be putting a little bit of what in today's or too much thought, but i think both of them come away from the honolulu conference in july 1944. this may be a little bit more respect with each other as aging warriors and really an appreciation of what its costs, each of them. again, aging warriors that they are to get to that point. that is macarthur award. [applause] i would be delighted to take some questions.
yes, sir. >> shun hybrids from the university. for the abba questioned because macarthur himself talk about the communist infiltration and that is what he was concerned about. my wife susan and myself did research at the hoover presidential library and also as the memos talking about how they are researching communist and are really behind what was going on. do you hold macarthur responsible for what happened and what the statement about the communism was going on. >> or what i've been able to research, a large part of roosevelt actions were because -- macarthur's actions were because she thought they were a significant number of communist involved in that. we talked about his late performance. i think that the macarthur of world war i when he's in the
front and going into the trenches and everything else, if he had been that kind of person match and the bonus march, he might well have gone down to anacostia and sat around the campfire with these men and talked a little bit if he had really felt they were veterans. but he really feels that there is a strong communist influence than i think he takes the opposite extreme and really does come on as strong and quite frankly to use the term military leader. >> another drag on bonus march is macarthur's almost career long tendency towards insubordination. he was ordered by president hoover not to go beyond a certain point and disregarded the order. another subject for another
combination. and subordinate. an old man regardless of reporters were. he relates to the philippines. obsession may be too strong a word. studying literature of macarthur, i come up with the weird obsession with the philippines. cabinet session going way back. i look at a map at the pacific ends the early battles of midway and the various island trains to japan, which were obviously going to invade at some point was not through the philippines. a direct route. you say that the joint chiefs decided on the philippines as part of the strategy after pearl harbor. how necessary was it really for us to go through the philippines at a humongous cost of men? this is a debate that even though it was discussed at
honolulu in july of 44, really doesn't get resolved until that's all. one could say it really doesn't get resolved until there's the final move towards okinawa. i think in a nutshell you are right. macarthur is fixated on the philippines altered the course of the pacific war. the macarthur in the south west, the south civic operations on guadalcanal are really in between both of those fronts. every time the joint chiefs is half once to decide between one front, quite frankly they kicked the can down the road and they still kick the can down the road in the fall of 1944. macarthur early-onset at the philippines were important to the whole drive to get into the
dutch east indies, cut the lines of communications between the natural resources and japan and certainly he had a strong point about that. by the time he's gotten back to the philippines and really gone ahead and move soon 1945. the resources and everything, cut by american severance, the industries to which they run with the bombers. the only thing that began at day in a nutshell is that there seems to be the joint chiefs being able to decide one way or the other twin drive across the pacific to keep the japanese off balance. there's no question on both fronts there were some pretty horrific rattles. >> going into macarthur, i shall
return as opposed to leave. who are you. >> i think that goes to the core. there was basic -- and after he said i shall return. wouldn't it be great if we could say we shall return? that sounds a lot more collaborative. again, that is not douglas macarthur's personality. to his credit, he took it personally that he would go back and do it. it is a personal charge to him. to your point earlier about operations and things come it got to remember that macarthur's father in the civil war, which is where i began the book because it didn't start this. it didn't start it that his father really lead this great
charge of missionary ridge during the civil war. it may not have been the greatest charge of all time, but by the time he got done telling douglas about it, it had become the greatest charge of all time. it was that we would not abridge. it was silent the way of the bridge and it was i shall return. >> to what degree, the battle of midway from a lot of people seems to be a major turning point, to what degree do they participate in that are recited purely naval decision. >> a purely naval decision that comes out of nemesis central operations. macarthur is not involved at all in the battle of midway. precursor of coors for the world war ii world war ii pacific historians as the battle of the
policy. macarthur a month before midway is involved on the periphery of not at least yesterday and naval forces under his command would likely use the word periphery. they're a little bit more actively engaged in that, even though the main fleet element again came out of command. yes, sir. >> i want to commend you for talking about macarthur's utilization of code breaking. my only problem with the bat was he didn't use it when he was in the philippines. we had one of the purple machine. pearl harbor operation of the pearl harbor intelligence station did not. the commander who is in charge of the station cast operation in the philippines that use round-the-clock code breaking
routines along with army and navy and marine personnel were well aware of what was going on with the japanese. they also utilize information from the british with radio fingerprinting. somehow, somewhere along the line they forgot the code breaking early on. i would like you to respond to that. let me just mention that. short and kimmel can the pearl harbor for not being prepared or whatever and they didn't have nearly the intelligence asset macarthur had in the philippines. can you respond to that? >> week at a seminar on that for about a week. the latter part of that in terms of clark field in what happens
in the philippines i write about a lot in the book. it's been the site, but they do spend considerable time on that. the code breaking operation and i don't mean to say that he didn't use them, but it's sort of like the combined operations is the best answer i can give you is that it's going on, but he really hasn't realized how important they are going to become. quite frankly the time that he does realize how important code achiness, george kenney's air force that uses intelligence to find the japanese convoy that's a relief convoy from new guinea and the battle of bismarck and really obliterate that convoy. kind of like the whole air power discussion, see enough power in the power of intelligence makes them pay more attention to it.
in the days of corregidor when they are breathing this stuff, macarthur with this world war i mentality when he got intelligence, he was going out in the front trenches. i think it is one of those many pieces of the combined operation that he's got to get used to and rely on. here he comes. one last question. >> considering the ironman roosevelts comment, how come they can't turn around and make tea and 33 when roosevelt tried to move them out? >> the short answer to that is roosevelt keeps macarthur on for an additional year as chief as bad for two reasons. one, he wants the position. his chosen successor to follow
the card. already working in the depths of the depression to begin to prepare the country or some level of mobilization or world war ii. it's great to have a conservative republican leaning guy go up to the hill as army chief of staff and take some of the flack was named under military budget needs to be increased. if something like about $400,000. it is rather credit for that. i think that whatever reason to keep them around. sitting in their comment error many times that roosevelt could get rid of macarthur.
mormonism has drawn more than its fair share of public discussions given the size of the community. far beyond size the discussion has raged for a long time. religion matters a lot in the united state still. and it found ways matters more than unfair. he can be a polarizing and divisive question as it always has been. americans love to fight about the place religion is in the nation and we have a long time. if this kind of awkwardly in that. not only are they religious minority, but religious minorities to overtime has figured in disproportionately visible ways in the debates about religion and the state. the crosshairs of some really vague arguments about the place of stay in the united states.
i started to experience discomfort about my religious duty once i left the cultural heartland for the marmot settlers had set up their communities. my family when i was young was really the first time when i started to send that people had discomfort with my religious identity. i remember distinctly engraved school having an elementary school teacher respond awkwardly when i explained why i had been gone for a week and then gone back to utah for a general conference from my church. i said the distance that comment created in her discomfort and i
sensed as a kid that she treated me differently thereafter. those are the first experiences realizing that in it isn't being like being an episcopalian or presbyterian. a remark something different in american culture. they have both grown up in utah as well. you know, they had both come from traditional mormon families as well. there's almost something in the latter day saints psyche that kind of mix bags to be misunderstood, expects kind of resistance. that kind of cultural heritage from a very painful past. my folks kind of letting us know you're going to ask. it is. this is part of who we are. this is part of being a part of our people is you're going to have