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tv   Book Discussion on Mac Arthur at War  CSPAN  July 21, 2016 11:26pm-12:12am EDT

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front and this happened over and over. americans were not well trained. they went directly towards the points rather than circling around them like most of the other combatants learned to do they went perfectly against the other objectives like that. >> what was it like dealing with simon and schuster and what is your next? [laughter] for simon and schuster people are wonderful. i cannot tell you the kind of support that i got. most people have a lot of interference. they didn't interfere. the suggestions they were made were good and the most amazing
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thing is they hired a copy editor to go through and check the facts and spellings. they checked the names of these american soldiers and it was remarkable the kind of work they did. i taught english, not history. and as you might expect, i had some discussions with them. they wanted me to explain the unknown soldier was. and i said look if i ask you to people that are going to buy a history book that the soldiers and unknown soldier from france i said i would be laughed out of the whole.
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the general ever a justification for what he did, or did he protect him enough that he never had to deal with them? >> the one thing he did, this isn't the first thing he did something like this to another officer. it had happened before. but he knew the best defense was isa good offense. and after he passed by, he began to complain they are shooting at us from the hill. so that takes a lot to complain about but when you haven't done what you should have done is
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complain about the troops that took the plaintiff would have to happen after the. >> over the course i wrote a lot of press releases and speeches. this was a daily task for me. i collected the three stories i wanted to write. the second one is totally different. it's about a race car driver in indianapolis in the 1930s, wonderful story. then i have a story that i would like to try at some point. i have a friend that lives in williamsburg who is a holocaust survivor and he has a remarkable story that i would like to tell. he's a wonderful man and human
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being that survived this horrible turmoil and cannot just outstandingly. so those are the three. >> what do you say to people who love history? >> -thinking a lot about that. i have to give a speech at washington shuttle in valley forge to the 314th infantry regiment which is a world war i group. the thing i find most irritating having written about world war i is that you find a number of books nowadays throughout history that glorified the war. and i think that we need to have
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a realistic view of what happened. there were lots of mistakes and people dying needlessly. when people begin to talk about making the desert below with radioactivity and invading north korea that we need to pay very close attention to get sucked in that can be so destructive. >> to go back to this magazine, the first account from this reporter kind of seems like he's talking to them. he writes this. nothing of critical historical value can be written about the battle today. the documents, the orders, the reports even for the eyewitness
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story i don't know how there can be an attempt at more than half ton. if i write almost as a diary it's because i saw what anyone could have seen having the credentials to come and go. sleep was a luxury to be seen somewhere and somehow rationed upon the generosity the mud and the cold were democratically everybody. the monotony of the devastation can ever be described. it is a country blasted on the redemption. thank you very much. [applause] thank you all. it's great to see so many
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friends out there.
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maybe his worst fault is the fact that he's a born-again christian who brings the ideology into the presidency. he believes that he was here to fight evil. bush called the president of france on the telephone to try to get them to join in the attack and during the course we are fighting the fourth final judgment. they are on the book of revelations on the new testame testament. that's the center of the universe for many evangelicals and fundamentalists christians and bush generally believed that
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he was here on earth to fight evil. [inaudible conversations]
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good morning and welcome to the roosevelt presidential library. we are glad to have you today. we are very happy about the annual reading festival and thii wonderful turnout for the 75th anniversary which we are celebrating on june 30.30 president roosevelt would be quite pleased to see everyone in this turnout and to know that his library is as he intended it would be used for research and scholarships to continue to explore the issues of his era and how they still have an impact today on political and social life. now i'm going to speak for just a moment about how this works. many of you already know there will be 30 minutes during which he will speak about his book and then we will follow with ten minutes worth of we ask you to go to the microphone because we are fortunate to have c-span with us
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today. it's great if your questions can be heard so that everybody can benefit an in so that he can rey provide a good analysis and explanation in response to. i forgive you a little background. he is a military and political historian. his work is particularly interesting. i just read the book and it's great. he explores a lot about the outline of macarthur's life but what i found particularlyfound t interesting was the attention that he gets to the realities of macarthur and rooseveltsus realt relationship. we often speak about truman and macarthur's relationship and the one with president roosevelt is equally compelling.
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he's previously written about the winner of the award in literature. his commentaries appeared in "the new york times," "washington post," wall street journal and other places. so, without continuing for too long, we are all here to hear walter. plus the >> thank you so much. it's wonderful to be here to talk about macarthur at four, world war ii and th in the paci. but i thought i wanted to frame this because of our historic venue here. a little bit more about the relationship between douglas macarthur and franklin and permit me if you will to actually start with someone else, admiral leahy.
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now you roosevelt scholars in the room you know him as the chief of staff. his wartime counselor, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the de facto national security adviser after the position was set up. four years ago when i published the admirals that you mentionedh in the introduction aboutntione america's five-star admirals a scheduling conflicts prevented me from being at the conference. i jumped at the chance to talkt about macarthur. but if i had been here four years ago to talk about way he and the admirals, he was the man during the last three years of roosevelt's life who was the mainstay of his administration, and perhaps more to the point that one who i think sort of transitions and explains the
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roosevelt legacy to truman. legacy to truman. okay how does that relate tookao macarthur? he is a great segue because his older brother arthur iii, here's the story, was a classmate athea annapolis. arthur graduated in 86 and became a navy captain before hiu untimely death in 23 of appendicitis. flaky graduated a year behind arthur iii also in 1897 and by no small coincidence, among the best friends was thomas hart who would go on to command the fleet in the philippines in 1941. what that means is that lady and heart new the foundation for a
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long period of time. they think absolutely nothing of calling him douglas. and as douglas macarthur goes on to this great status, here are the two men that are o on a firt name basis. if you know anything about douglas macarthur there aren't many people that 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. from the standpoint of the man that is so close to him in terms of being a counselor really knows macarthur while. it really goes a long way to sort of hoping roosevelt.
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they knew each other from the days that roosevelt was assistant secretary of the navy during world war i. interestingly enough on the publicity side of things. someone on december 71941. if he had really retired in the philippines and not accepted franklin roosevelt's recalled to active duty in 1941.
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by the macarthur at war, world war ii in the pacific is really that. those four years. she's not the great hero or the american general that he would become during the course of that time. and i think it is fascinating in terms of focusing on the period to see how he evolves in a number of different levels. let me tell you a couple themes in the book. one of the themes is certainly how he manages to go from again being known but certainly not being renowned on december 71941
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through a six-month period of time to where he really is by the summer of 1942 the main mans on the scene in terms of pacif pacific. it's a pretty tenuous time. we are still not sure what'spl going to go on in europe and wea are shocked by what happened at pearl harbor. h i think douglas macarthur for that role very well. it was the truth of the relationship with the u.s. navy.
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it's one of those persons that does in fact call him douglas. get your self a real fleet and then you will belong to the truth of the matter is admiral hart. there is a little bit there in terms of ego and played a. a. it's how contentious things are and you begin to wonder a bit help obese people cooperate and actually be able to win a conflict and when a war and i would suggest on the navy site in particular douglas macarthur even though he would never have
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admitted it became the h beneficiary of the navy and in particular in terms of watching resources, men and material poured into the pacific he convinced the chief of staff ed convinced roosevelt that we hadh a fight to the poor and because of that, a number of resources they were poured in the pacific and king because of that. it might be said in just a couple of lines. another thing that ties into data that is as important as another theme of my book. macarthur always claimed that he was shortchanged in terms of supplies. operating on a shoestring with
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his characterization of it. thanks in part to the global war effort there's a tremendous amount of men and material fallinflowing to the southwest pacific. there's so manthere is so many g to be unloaded at george marshall, army chief of staff, and actually the directect commander has to communicate to macarthur to say what would you please hurry up and get the ships unloaded because you are clogging the whole pipeline of supplies. so i think it is interesting to look at the records and other things and get through that a little bit. macarthur made some great decisions and tactical advances. but the myth that he did everything on a shoestring i don't think there's that out in the southwest pacific. pacific. let me spend a few minutes with
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the theme of that i think is particularly intriguing and that is the role and his evolution as a military commander. on the basis of everything macarthur was a 19th century m man. he actually learns it's very important at that point it's not to do with world war ii. he learns about the static operations in the trenches of world war i. he goes on and becomes the superintendent of west point and even when he is positioned as the u.s. army chief of staff during the 1930s he's on record as saying airplanes, i'm not sure that they are that important. see only once airplanes and bombers when he learns the navy
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is going to get bombers. i think there's a great expectation that something is going to happen in the pacific. but he really anticipates that the war is coming in 1942 and he quite frankly i would say overwhelmed by the speed with which the air land and sea operations unfold against the philippines in december and january 1942. macarthur is the one that basically convinced the war department, and by that we mean both george marshall and ultimately franklin roosevelt at the philippines can't be held. prior to that, we always talk about under the plan there would
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be justhat therewould be just af manila into the core moves on. that's roosevelt and marshall have been convinced that the army could defend the entire philippine islands. so, what this means is air landl and sea to the japanese side hit in december macarthur's troops are overwhelmed. here's the important part of the story. i think because of a number of things, geographic necessity, the ability to be able to project and offer -- operate, he quickly has to come to embrace what today we call the combined operations. today, we take for granted that they are all going to work
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together. again in those days the army and the needy were separate to navyo witness the whole upbringing and military education. so we get to the poin the pointt because those things, macarthur had to end their -- embrace the combined operations. i think very quickly when you look at him as a military commander, you have to giver, credit to the fact that he adapts and embraces the resources that he has and that he does go ahead and is able to use the air, land and sea operations together. it's always to his credit he gets a lot of great commanders. he is this lone wolf coming up
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with the strategy by himself. i don't think that is true. he put together a great team of subordinates and that is to his great credit people with his air force. they ran the observations and he was called uncle dan, the amphibious man as his nickname.i and you have to remember to show this great outpouring of america's industrial strength. they lead the assault of the war on the north coast of new guinea in the fall of 1942 with literally a dozen or so landing craft and destroyers.
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fast forward two years and they are off for the invasion and there are going to be thousands and thousands of landing craft.e i continue to say not only are the men and women back home at factories and things of importance to this war effort, but the amazing part t part cane commanded an macarthur is beneficiary of it is this great outpouring of america's industrial strength at how quickly this country marshaled its assets in order to be able to go to war. in the combined operations they go on to the coast he goes through the philippines, and it
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is a situation he put together as the supreme commander with people in charge of each of the forces in operations and use them with combined things. he has one other ally i should mention, too. he doesn't always use them totally effectively, and they are not always black-and-white. some of the great victories tha- macarthur has are based on code breaking and the ability to leap over the japanese forces. they are in those strategic decisions he did make.
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let's talk about macarthur and fdr. they knew each other from the first world war and i'm going to give you three quick vignettes in terms of their relationship. the first one would be this most dangerous man in america and for reasons you are about to hear i skip tickle roosevelt ever maden it. when macarthur was a junior officer in the roosevelt as we mentioned assistant secretar sef the navy here'swh the point, pos apart politically. both have protective mothers and both are masters of the moment and each definitely carried with them and unwavering sense of destiny both for themselves and for the country.
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it seems clear telling that if the are usually addressed them as douglas. one of the few people again thaf did. and that certainly didn't exist between fdr and some of the other generals. remember george marshall the one time he called him george instead of genital, marshall bristled at that a little also enough of a politician. but maybe you a quote from the buck macarthubook of macarthur e about the situation. sitting at his office in albany, the governor in new york and the democratic presidential nominee franklin d. roosevelt hung up after a call in louisiana, and then senator and admonished his
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aid to remember all the time he's one of the two most dangerous men in the country. they asked if he was a and roosevelt shook his head. no, he supposedly answered some of the other as douglas macarthur. let's pick apart.father c recorded by the member of the new deal intelligentsia, this quote has been repeated in numerous occasions and accounts of the roosevelt macarthurintelg relationship without i think at least much scrutiny both historical and editorial conte context. they went on to concern my aired in the great depression they wanted strong militarytrong leadership bordering on the totalitarianism" were willing to trade liberty for it. roosevelt stopped short, however, suggesting americans
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were ready to embrace macarthurr and charge the barricades behine them. this roosevelt considered macarthur one of the two most dangerous men in the country, here's the thing. he offered that view while still in outsider not yet elected. he has no experience in the staff and it was the hardly a shining moment by any standardse a. there has to be some scrutiny as the sole source for this characterization. he was the self-appointed guardian of that legacy.. macarthur particularly in theri shadow of the bonus march was a symbol well endowed in thatdowei tradition and military appearance as he suggested and
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characterized him for the fear of the military dictatorship prior to his own aggressive leadership. nonetheless, the dangerous quotation is repeated in many of the sources at face value. if indeed the roosevelt said it, it wasn't indicative of their total relationship and that was to prove much more complex. now of course the story is that macarthur ends up in the march of 43 because john j. pershing is ailing at that point and can't perform the duties it isis macarthur -- leaves roosevelt's inaugural parade down pennsylvania avenue to the capitol in march of 43 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
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philippines. .. so another macarthur roosevelt vignette. it is this retreat from precatory in the philippines, and the level of support again that macarthur is receiving. douglas macarthur i think it was particularlyy true as mcarthur was trying to reform west point during his tenure as chief of staff. and especially after roosevelt promoted mauling craig to the position of chairman of steamboat chief of staff of the army. after pearl harbor, given the deteriorating situation and then meager, amount of material and men making its way to australia,
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think it was easy for such fears to escalate in the spring of 1942. let me suggest to you that the record, particularly from franklin roosevelt's standpoint simply does not justify mcarthur's paranoia. there is usually three suspects that macarthur is sure out to get them. roosevelt is one, george marshall is is one, george marshall is the second, and dwight eisenhower, third. i think you've all heard the story that when i got to london, proper british matron came up to him andr said, general eisenhower's, do you know general macarthur. i, who had been macarthur's aide both aide both in washington and the philippines supposedlym forr replied, know him, him, madam, i study dramatics under him for four years in the philippines.s so there is that relationship there. let let me suggest thatst particularly from roosevelt standpoint, there are a numberut of times that he really could
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have put macarthur out to dry. there were certainly political r implications involved, this idea of macarthur and his hero status and everything. i think on all three levels they evidence is that roosevelt, marshall, and eisenhower did everything they could in the spring of 1942. it was a tough job. it was an impossible job. they did everything and tried to do everything they could in terms of getting relief to the philippines.s. final quick story that will take questions. fast forward to the summer of 1944, roosevelt is nominated for an unprecedented fourth term. te think about that, that that is about four months before the election, how long have we been involved in this? 18 months this this campaign is been going on.
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a little bit crazy, and of course roosevelt weights almost until the last second to tell the nominated forces of the democratic party in chicago that yes, i'll i'll be glad to accept another term.atter for at the time, of course he is about ready, well quite frankly roosevelt faces a decision, should he go to chicago and appear before parsing crowd, or should you do a road trip and go and appear as military commander. he chooses the the lateran for the first time in nine years he is going to meet douglas with macarthur face-to-face and hawaii. macarthur, dressed in a leather lined jacket despite the hawaii heat stroke purposely up the
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gang plank of the cruiser, baltimore. that is what roosevelt took from san diego to honolulu. roosevelt greeted him warmly and macarthur acknowledge that their last meeting had been one macarthur had been when roosevelt he was roosevelt's chief0 of state. back to leahy, whose relationship went back nearly 40 years at that point, and who is by the way, never one to stand on much a ceremony, cut to the quick and dryly remark, douglas, why don't you wear the right kind of close wear the right kind of close when you come up to cs? well, macarthur gestured to thel heavens and reply, well you have not been where i came from, it is, it is cold up there in the sky. so there they are, the three of them, roosevelt post between macarthur and -- the general and its leather jacket and nemitz and his immaculate whites were series of photographs. for macarthur, the session confirmed the trips thinly disguised political agenda. the bursting of his own presidential hopes, we can talk about that in questions if you want. macarthur still carried a considerable influence in
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republican circles. as well as remaining widely popular with the american population at large. rol roosevelt had waived the benefits of a parent for partisan crowd or showcasing his commander-in-chief role. so let me just tell you the short story of the cartoon that appeared in the washington evening star that point. jim. jim berryman is the cartoonist, he captured this mood when he depicts macarthur, nemitz, and a vibrant looking fdr wearing commander-in-chief on his sleeve, seated at a table theiro labeled pacific war council. macarthur macarthur and nemitz are looking over their shoulder and another figure of fdr leaning against the palm tree, cigarette holder in hand, lay around his, while his hat reads, not commander-in-chief like the other one, but democraticmind hm nominee. f
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don't mind him gentleman fdr's commander-in-chief character tells macarthur and nemitz, he, he just came to get away from politics. [laughter] that is the story, i guess i would just end by saying that this appearance of two of them at honolulu really is more of a political than a military event. i think to roosevelt's credits by this point in the war, he is really well into leaving those kind of decisions and quite frankly the decision is whether to return to the philippines, or whether to evade formosa. he is really leaving that up to the joint chiefs. there is lots of stories about macarthur badgering him to do this and roosevelt assuring that yes he would do that, but the record shows that the decision to really go on through design, macarthur's chairs return to the philippines is really made by
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the joint chiefs a few months after honolulu. so the only thing i would end with this set despite the fact that both of these men sort of had their moments of friction, i suggest to you that there is was a very important partnership in terms of winning the war and i think, i might be putting a little bit of words into this sort too much thought, but i think both of them come away from the honolulu conference in july 194044 with a little bit more respect for each other is aging warriors and an appreciation of what it cost each of them, again aging warriors that they are to get to that point. that is macarthur at work. [applause].
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i'd be delighted to take some questions. >> i'm retired from the university of pittsburgh. i have a question dealing with the army because macarthur himself is talking about communist infiltration and that is what he was concerned about. actually my wife and myself did research at the hoover presidential library and also were talking about how they were researching communist and are really behind what's going on. can you tell us, do you hold macarthur macarthur responsible for what happened and was it macarthur statement about the communist threat what was going on. >> from what i have been able to research, i think that a large part of roosevelt's actions wert because -- i'm sorry macarthur's actions were because he really thought there were a significant number of communists involved in that. we could talk about his later performance as it dug out doug
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and not going to -- and things, i think that macarthur, of world war i, when he is in the front and going into the trenches and everything else, if he had been that kind a personage in the bonus march, he might well have gone into and acosta and sat around the campfire with these men and talked a little bit if he really thought their veterans. he really feels a strong communist influence and i think he takes the opposite extreme and really does come on as a strong and quite frankly to use the term pompous military leader that is going to show theseno guys. >> another threat represented by the bonus march is macarthur's almost career long tendency
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towards insubordination. he was ordered by president hoover not to go beyond a certain point and he disregarded the order, that's obviously another subject for another conversation. he was insubordinate agree under tremendous support. he was his own man and regardless of what his orders were. my question cwainea relates to e philippines. obsession obsession may be too strong a word, but i think studying the literature on macarthur, i come up with the word obsession with the philippines. he had an obsession going way back and i look at a map of the pacific and the most directt route from the early battles of midway and various island chains to japan which were obviously going to evade at some point, it was not through the philippines. it is a a direct route north of the you say that the joint chiefs decided on the philippines as part of the strategy after pearl harbor. but how necessary was it really for us to go through the philippines at a humongous cost
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of men? >> this is a a debate that even though it was discussed at honolulu in july of 1944, itwa really does not get resolved until that fall, and really it really doesn't get resolved until there is a final move toward now. i think it a nutshell you are right, macarthur is fixated on the philippines all through the course of the pacific war therea are these two different lines of attack. nemitz and the central pacific and arthur in the southwest pacific. you have to remember that thed south pacific operations on the canal are in between both of those fronts. every time the joint chiefs of staff wants to decide between the priority of one front over another, quite frankly they kick the can down the road and they're still kicking the can down the road in the fall of 1944. macarthur, early on said that the ppp


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