Skip to main content

tv   John Mc Manus Fire and Fortitude  CSPAN  August 24, 2019 10:00am-11:21am EDT

10:00 am
the country. here's a look at some events coming up. next weekend it is the a jc decatur book festival takes place outside atlanta and live saturday from the national book festival hosted by the library of congress in washington dc. later in the fall of course at the brooklyn book festival in new york city and the southern festival of books in nashville. for more information about upcoming book fairs and festivals and to watch our previous festival coverage click our book fairs tab on our website, >> and now, the real reason we are here, tonight's featured author, john mcmanus, is widely considered to be the leading expert on the history of modern american soldiers in combat.
10:01 am
his best-selling book, the debtor those about to die, september hope, and deadly sky. john is curator professor of us military history at missouri university of science and technology. he recently finished a 1-year visiting professorship at the naval academy in annapolis and served as guest commentator in a history channel documentary on d-day. john's latest book, "fire and fortitude: the u.s. army in the pacific war, 1941-1943," is the first installment of a 2-part history of the u.s. army during world war ii. "fire and fortitude: the u.s. army in the pacific war, 1941-1943" covers the tragedies and triumphs of the u.s. army soldiers from pearl harbor to the battles in the macon islands. based on extensive research from government archives and academic collections, "fire and
10:02 am
fortitude: the u.s. army in the pacific war, 1941-1943" is a riveting narrative with a historian's profound insights. help me welcome our featured author, st. louis hometown boy, john mcmanus. you need that. you do. >> thank you, appreciate it. i want to thank my publicist for making this possible, and brent howard who came up with that title "fire and fortitude: the u.s. army in the pacific war, 1941-1943". i would like to thank all of you for making time in your busy schedule tonight.
10:03 am
and and it comes together tonight. the question of where i did grow up. and it is partially because, the remarkable institution. for the world of books and learning and writing so much. what i would like to do is bring it to life for you. let's revise the review of world war ii somewhat, give you a sense how this war shaped our world today. when you check this map you can see the war taking place over a huge vast expanse of geography. one third of the world's surface, massive amounts of
10:04 am
ocean, continent, so vast that there was no way, one theater commander could hope to command it all, from the geographic point of view but because army and navy leaders can never agree on who it would be. it was partially a compromise and the sheer scale inherent in fighting that environment. i also want to address our kind of popular perception the us marine corps fought the entire ground war in the pacific. the army took the vast majority of the fighting and dying in the pacific theater and all of us, no shame if you believe that, the army didn't have much role in the pacific because that is the popular american
10:05 am
memory and i have seen this from very knowledgeable people about world war ii, had an encounter with a tour guide who said at the beginning of the war army and marine corps leaders sat down and decided the army will fight in the pacific. even those who studied the pacific, one of them sat down with me and said the army was in the pacific. that is what we are up against so what i hoped to do is not at all in any shape or form denigrate the marine corps, quite the contrary. the marine corps is not a big service. there has been incredible fighting, not designed for the vast scale of this kind of war. the focus on the army in world
10:06 am
war ii was not designed to minimize the contribution of the marine corps but to show, and you see this in the book, and how to work together, sometimes they did well to gather, learning lessons whether they want to admit it or not they have more in common than otherwise. why the obscurity for the army? several reasons. the germany first policy in world war ii naturally oriented the american thinking to europe and the priority resource went to europe and the priority of posterity has gone to europe. i wouldn't necessarily argue that. the maritime nature of the pto. look at all that ocean. certainly the navy has a massive role in that war.
10:07 am
the domination of douglas macarthur as the lead figure in the pacific war sucking the oxygen out of the room for everyone else, colleagues or otherwise in the army and also on the flipside that might indicate someone of his status was in the pacific, perhaps there were some major army assets and that is true. the unbalanced press coverage of the time. if you are a war correspondent at the time you're probably going to your because a lot more infrastructure to support your communications. it is a bigger war, more press support, easier to get your story back where it needs to go than in some stranded remote pacific islands of history has followed that to some extent. the troubling brutality and racial 70 of the fighting itself which isn't always pleasant to look back and remember when we think of world war ii as a supposed goodwill. i think that is an oxymoron but that is our popular memory of the war. the humiliating nature of the early defeats in which japan
10:08 am
cleaned the allies clocks is not a particularly fun thing to think about either and finally another factor is the exotic alien locales. places that were important at the time but quite forgettable to americans before and after the war, places like guadalcanal, new guinea, wherever it would be. think about subsequent years, world war ii tourism, think about this. you are discussing with your husband or wife the world war ii battlefield tour you want to do and saying should we go to the jungles or guadalcanal or new guinea or should we go to normandy? that is a tough one. it will be hard to sort that one out. that is easy to figure out. in truth, 1.8 million american
10:09 am
soldiers served in pacific asia during world war ii, that doesn't include the army air force, which the air force was part of the army in world war ii. i'm just including ground soldiers, that was the third-largest army this country has ever sent overseas to fight a war behind only the world war ii european theater army, the army carried out by far the most amphibious landings. the marine corps carried out 15 amphibious invasions. the army's eighth army alone in spring of 1945 in the philippines over a 5 week period carried out 35, just that one unit alone. the marine corps mobilized at full strength with 6 divisions, large. the army was almost four times as large in combat units and i'm not even mentioning all the support it had. it gives you a little bit of a broader perspective to think about that a minute. maybe i'm speaking up for these poor guys, the guys in the average pacific theater, g.i.
10:10 am
who did not have the fortune or sense of posterity to fight on a famous european battlefield like normandy or the battle of the bulge or something and receive those accolades but they fought just as hard and in a much tougher environment in my view and i think there war gives us a lot of legacies and a lot of things to learn from so we have established there had been this huge historical gap which attracted me to this story in the first place. in world war ii studies for all these years there are some topics that have been done to death, the dropping of the atomic bomb for instance, the sort of ultra side of the war, the code breaking, we've seen a lot of great work done but -- i wouldn't say it is over with but a lot has been done. this was a little more of a
10:11 am
virgin wilderness. the thing i found his massive amounts of great material, sweet spot for historian, a story that has not been told adequately, loads of treatments to tell it. one of the things i found was a great deal of japanese stuff. japanese soldiers because japanese armed forces did not anticipate any of them would be captured because this was for been in the japanese army. japanese soldiers took diaries, they were not trained to clam up in that regard as americans were and so when they were killed there diaries could be captured and so thousands of those diaries were captured, translated by allied translators and many of them buried deep in the archives. a pretty remarkable story to be found so the japanese perspective so the book as jessica indicated stretches from pearl harbor through the invasion of megan in 1943, certainly a combat chronicle but way more than that, a human
10:12 am
epic dealing with all of this thing, and fabius warfare, sexuality, race, combat, leadership, incredible, vast, human epic, to see the army even all from the in word provincial force to a massive, complex military force capable of carrying out incredible complicated modern operations. you see some themes arise, themes that give meaning to the story and things to learn from all these years later. example these average of the fighting. i indicated that a moment ago. what it foretells is all of subsequent american wars from korea through the 21st century against opponents who largely recognize no rules of war americans would have understood under the geneva convention and in turn the americans themselves from the pacific war
10:13 am
onward through today struggle with their own sense of morality, whether they can hold up to the standard of turnabout against their enemies. that is definitely a harbinger that you see. with a few small exceptions like grenada and canada and mogadishu every subsequent american war has been fought on the asian continent. the pacific war is your harbinger of that. most american wars have been fought and decided on the grounds, though air and sea power is dramatically important but the actual fighting had to take place on the ground and most of the dying to the tune of 90% of our death since world war ii. the pacific war sets that tone and most of the fighting and dying has been done by enemy soldiers. the other thing is american soldiers in the pacific theater in world war ii carried out cultural understanding and present commission in places
10:14 am
like burma, china, the philippines, islands of the south pacific, that you can equate to the special forces mission of a later generation that continues to the 21st century today. you are seeing that in the pacific theater, you're seeing a little of it in the european theater with oss missions and all that but not the same as the pacific and not as great a cultural gulf. the importance of interservice coordination, when you get anywhere without the navy in the pacific, europe, nothing. anyone gets on a ship and goes somewhere. you've got to coordinate with the navy and vice versa much less the marine corps. dealing with allies, some very close to the americans culturally, whatever else you would be amazed how contentious relations are in world war ii.
10:15 am
cultural gap, in the nationalist chinese, the national chinese we is so reminiscent, in the south vietnamese vietnam war. and idealistic force the usa cannot hope to control. with anti-imperialist nationalist movements, and vietnam. as you can imagine there's a lot of battles and personality subjects we could discuss "in depth" to get a full appreciation that you have to buy the book and read it. that is always my necessary us agenda.
10:16 am
and the most representative stories, and by extension the army's experience in the war. let's that with the elephant in the room. a man whose ego on a good day might have fit on the grand canyon possibly. not a good day. in the 60s, a son of a general, very prominent general, macarthur's father was a civil war hero who had gotten a medal of honor, and the turn-of-the-century, 19th, and 20th and that began a long love affair, in the philippines and its people.
10:17 am
many tours of duty in the philippines, loved the place. a brigade commander, what is interesting about macarthur, insight into the psyche, he viewed himself as an outsider. there are always people plotting against him in washington or had other agendas that didn't jibe with him, they were sabotaging him and this and that and the other thing but if you step back more aggressively, it is the ultimate army insight. the son of a general who is able to pull some strings for douglas and his mother whose nickname was pinky would write letters to everyone from general pershing on down to promote douglas's career and great success in doing that. douglas was the younger of two brothers.
10:18 am
his older brother was in the navy and had a prominent career that was going, died in 1921 of appendicitis of all things. a curable thing. douglas's mother absorbed that blow and not long before that her husband had been speaking at a veterans event and collapsed and died. to her, douglas and his life and career meant everything and douglas's career went very well. he become the youngest superintendent of west point, the young army chief of staff at age 50, something his father hadn't done so the sense of mission in doing that, you see this lifelong tendency that the rules don't apply to me. he always had that element about him so he is chief of staff in the early to mid 30s, not a really happy experience for him, conflicted with
10:19 am
roosevelt administration over readiness. nobody wants to spend on military stuff. he ends up not coming back for another term and a return to the philippines at the invitation of an old friend, president who was beginning to stand up and newly independent philippines government. congress passed an act saying we will give the philippines its independence in 1946. they will have armed forces and all that. that is where macarthur comes in in the second half of the 1930s going to the philippines to create the filipino armed forces out of whole cloth. he comes a field marshal in the philippines armed forces, kind of a homicidal. he took someone with him who was acquainted curated who will come to prominence later, dwight eisenhower, might have heard of him. i worked with him, already worked with him when douglas's chief of staff, eisenhower goes to the philippines for 3 years and was done with macarthur after that so the foibles he
10:20 am
dealt with. macarthur was developing a tough situation, putting together any kind of military force because of the diffusion of islands. the philippines are made of 7000 islands, and archipelago no one could control, different traditions and all this stuff. you might have a national guard oriented your it with 35 guys, 6 or 7 languages represented. how did people communicate and work together? no weapons, no money, very frustrating kind of thing. was there an american emissary force? yes, regular forces, engineers coastal artillery types and the philippines scouts and local guys who serve in the army, highly prized to get into the
10:21 am
u.s. army, incredible soldiers. you have on the eve of world war ii a military force unique in american history, a colonial force like the british model, 20 to 25% american and the rest is local guys, armed, trained, equipped and run by americans. he is recalled to active duty on the eve of the war, a 3 star rank and eventually 4-star rank to command this force in the philippines. he has to decide how to defend the philippines if the japanese ever come? the war department has been thinking about this for a long time, i will boil down for you the whole long army doctrine, all these boring things. war plan orange says there is no way to defend the whole archipelago or island, the main
10:22 am
largest island where manila is over here, we just can't do that. was we are going to do is retreat to the peninsula which is excellent defensible ground. a lot of ridges, a lot of mountains, you can stymie the japanese and what we will do is our fleet will have blue water, open ocean engagement with the imperial japanese navy, defeat them and get through to us and reinforce us and we will deal with pushing them out. we are not going to defend the whole coast and defend everything and deal with them later in that sense. to look at that he says no way. we can defend everything. we will defend the coastline and stretch out to an army along the coast and stop the japanese at the water. though he led val arrest leanne disingenuously i believe seldom in american history has a commander so badly mismanaged
10:23 am
the campaign and been perceived by his countrymen of the time into many historians since as a great battle captain, perhaps even a genius. his position is extremely difficult but his errors, mainly this one, discarding war plan orange made things worse. he loses the bulk of his air force within 12 to 16 hours of pearl harbor knowing hostilities commenced. there is a series of complex web that happens, a series of miscommunications that i won't bore you with. he is the guy in charge. the japanese get the drop on them, destroys these aircraft on the ground and what that means is they are going to control the air around the philippines and wans people where they want regardless where they are deployed and that is what happened. later in december we land in
10:24 am
two places, the northern and southern part to set up and it is about their, and move toward manila from both directions. macarthur comes to realize every war plan orange had something to recommend it because his army melted away. you are a philippine army soldier, barely armed, barely trained, up against the better armed and equipped force, you are not outnumbered. that is a myth propagated by macarthur's headquarters and adherence since. you are not outnumbered but don't control the air and sea and that is important. to macarthur's credit he doesn't just cling to the bad plan, he says let's go back to war plan orange and get our
10:25 am
people out of where they are and get them to but an and hope for the best. that makes sense but manila is declared an open city and the japanese take that by the end of the year. the army gets there partially because it is fighting january made it, there is a tremendous consequence on the logistical side. go to the change in plan and other supplies for word.
10:26 am
consequences can't get to where it needs to be. appropriate ja warehouses and japanese parcels in manila. you have terrible consequences that eventuate from this. you are in a dicey situation. macarthur's quartermaster estimated the following situation in the first week of january. 50 days of canned meat or fish,
10:27 am
30 days of flour and canned beans and tomatoes 20 days of writing and that is it. for an army of 80 plus to almost 100,000 not to mention civilians were their too. can you turn to local food resources? not really. the army was slaughtering 30 to 40 animals per day, mainly local caribou which is tough meat, not enjoyable to try to eat for 30 to 40 animals per day which meant 6 ounces of meat per day. what about fishing? japanese air attacks put a end to fishing. what that meant for you as one of macarthur's soldiers is your down to half rations and quarter rations. you are hungry and probably diseased at that point. the japanese are in much better shape, that is good news. they are getting waylaid by
10:28 am
disease, they are way too ambitious trying to launch little amphibious invasions behind allied lines and you are seeing japanese pensions for fighting for the death rather than surrender. the imperial japanese army is fighting really hard and cannot seem to squelch macarthur's army. one imperial japanese army wrote in his diary, in a perimeter that is about to get snuffed out, he wrote that i made up my mind, i will not have a disgraceful ending. it is more honorable to die with a pistol shot than be captured and that is precisely what he and so many others did. the lieutenant general had to bend to reality and ask for
10:29 am
reinforcement and lost faith and other fish to fry and this was a crisis situation. they are still doomed. macarthur will tell his starving troops that help is on the way even though he knew this was not true. he writes a communication, thousands of troops and hundreds of planes, would have to fight their way through. imagine if you read that, this is the head guy, the reality dons on you. the general himself was on an island in manila bay that is where his headquarters is. american engineers turned it into a major fortified island and they blasted lateral
10:30 am
tunnels, where macarthur has his headquarters. macarthur comported himself, encouraged dignity. like many soldiers he's not eating particularly well, then you wait a little bit better but still not that great. 2000 cal a day roughly. a lot of fish and rice, he had constant worry over his wife and 4-year-old son, something i tend to think has been breezed over in many assessments of macarthur. the war department issued his command to evacuate defendants from the philippines because war is in the offing so get him out of there. everyone complied against one.
10:31 am
his young wife jean, his second wife, they were true soulmates, she was in her late 30s, young son arthur, 3 or 4 years old at that point now are stuck. that had to have some sort of bearing on his mindset, whether he would become a pow. and artillery shells, not a good situation. it was disingenuous in the extreme, since to the american public's benefit. we have only been able to document one instance in which he visited and was in a rear area and there was nothing going on, he made the wild claim, rather entertaining to read, farcical in some ways, made the claim that he had done
10:32 am
it in macarthur's old apartment in manila. that happened happened, totally nonsense was another claim a bomb exploded but the great man survived but it is geography swept the nation. people were naming their kids after macarthur, people lobbying for him to be put inside the war effort and all this stuff and he is beginning an underground political campaign a little dicey again. fdr ordered him out on february 2nd. he decided to comply with that and that is a moral conundrum. losing him to captivity would
10:33 am
devastate, fdr doesn't like or trust macarthur. and their personal correspondent they are nice and flowery, very polite people, generally, but they don't trust each other too much. there was something to be gained by getting macarthur out. macarthur complies it is a clandestine estate for him and his family and select members of staff for pt boats and bombers and goes to australia and says i shall return to the philippines and that whole thing. in terms of building an army to get to the philippines, it is almost an article of faith. a messy commission. he will claim when he gets to australia that he left the philippines under the pretense he felt there was a big reinforcement waiting in
10:34 am
australia and he would immediately go back and counter attack the japanese in the philippines. i feel that is a little fatuous that someone of his intelligence knew that couldn't possibly be the case but that is what he will often claim. he accepted half $1 million payment for the philippines treasury. on active duty, that is $8 million in today's money. the average american did not know that. the person who deals with that is jonathan wainwright, the son of a cavalryman in the west point class of 2006, a remarkable guy. wainwright holds on the best he can but he and his command are doomed. in 1942, interesting sort of historical point, ned king, a
10:35 am
georgian who was raised on tales of the civil war. he knew full well the day he surrendered was more or less the same date general lee surrendered to general grant, all he could think about when he surrendered. i would rather die 1000 deaths, that is exactly what king was thinking over and over again. they surrender in april. wainwright and others by june, in total 21,000 americans, four times as many filipinos end of dealing with the horrors of japanese captivity. japanese treated them with neglect or brutality. that is a major theme that i explore. one of the best ways to understand the pow experience in the pacific is through the eyes of this guy, lieutenant colonel harold johnson, west
10:36 am
point class of 1943. this after he becomes a 4-star general, talking about him earlier in life, he was with the philippines scouts, he had been a commander, staff officer, he has to surrender with everybody else and the death march i have heard all about. privatization, hunger, low morale, misery, chaos, exhaustion, thinking of his wife dorothy back home and their kids the situation unlike many other people, what is interesting about johnson, this terrible situation brought out the best in him, not the worst. the vast majority, a struggle for survival. johnson seemed to bring out the best, a hunger for ethics, to
10:37 am
johnson ethics almost equated to life and survival itself. leadership to him was about selflessness and professionalism and as conditions grew worse he became more concerned with others and more spiritual. he will later say god was close and very real. the march claim the lives of 600 americans between 5 and 10,000 filipinos. the survivors, johnson and the others were consigned to camp o'donnell where conditions were even worse. i want to make clear you couldn't have been in the death march, just for those who surrendered. everyone ends up at o'donnell. allied soldiers died in droves, disease, thirst, starvation, a patient arbitrary meeting or execution. the third rate small minded commandant said in an introductory speech we will fight you and fight you for 100 years, he was a true loser, he
10:38 am
was a captain whereas his colleagues were all kernels. he was one of these guys who takes it out on the americans and gave them hell. prisoners waited in line all day under the tropical sun for a canteen of water, chaos reigns, little leadership, the 0 war which was a medical ward men died awash in their own filth. death was easier than life one prisoner reflection, as easy as letting go of a rope. a lot of court people quit hanging on. johnson fell prey to mount nutrition and a terrible case of dysentery that landed him in the 0 court where no one lived but he did. he later said i don't know why, i just know that i came out. others were not as fortunate. by june 1942, 1047 americans had died in o'donnell and between 21, and 26,000 filipinos were treated even
10:39 am
worse. the americans, the filipinos one in 3. most survivors ended up at pow camps where death rates persisted through much of the rest of the summer of 1942 until a bit more food, more medical care begins to stabilize things into conditions you could describe as poor rather than overtly deadly. johnson played a major role. he organized a, seri system to the outside world to help prisoners survive. he was chosen by his fellow prisoners for his job because of his impeccable honesty and consideration for others. he was a student of human nature and quickly figured out how to work with the japanese productively, ingratiating himself with them, building trust and interestingly
10:40 am
deceiving them if it meant he could get more food and medicine for the betterment of his fellow prisoners, so the welfare fund to make sure those who were friendless, didn't get much money to poke us things or get a general welfare fund so they could be taken care of too. that was leadership. he deceived the japanese through audits and out and out lies. he kept a secret diary which is fascinating reading and said my, seri business is booming. death rates plummeted, like stabilize and normalized, the death peter out by the end of the year but it is fair to say johnson, to chief of staff of the united states army by the 1960s began during captivity and emerged as a great leader do a sense of ethics and accountability. i look at the pows and through his eyes and 3 other prisoners, general wainwright ends two private soldiers, to give you a
10:41 am
sense of the larger pow experience. in the meantime the war was starting to turn around for the allies and we go back to the larger map, the allies staved off the japanese invasion of australia and began a counteroffensive in the solomon islands and new guinea. macarthur needed to get new guinea to get back to the philippines and the japanese understood this too. macarthur's forces are operating on a shoestring and constantly complain about that. really did not like the europe first policy and you can understand why. he felt the priority out to go to him. the theaters split up in the south pacific area, fighting at guadalcanal. the battles fought at guadalcanal and new guinea is two different battles, they were not. they were part of the same campaign like chapters of the
10:42 am
same book because the japanese looks at it that way, they will diffuse forces for the detriment of both. it is why things turn out the way they do in 1942. macarthur had pursued a halting counteroffensive by what i will call the fallen and unsupported. the southern hemisphere, september through december, let's make that clear. here is what he is doing. you want to get the nordic coast. he's worried the japanese have bases on the north coast and will use that to come back to the southern coast to go back to australia again. they tried this twice, once by land and sea and by see the
10:43 am
famous battle of coral see. the counteroffensive is designed to never do it again and felt time was of the essence. australians carrying the weight of the war in 1942-43 and americans were starting to gear up for war, they were unprepared. the campaign was going poorly especially where the newly arrived 30-2nd infantry division had run into a terrible nest of japanese fortifications. a thick nest of bunkers, swamps, nowhere to advance and see this stuff. the national guard unit, wisconsin and illinois primarily, trained very well but not necessarily prepared for jungle combat. they are stalemated at the end of november 1942. macarthur is becoming desperate at this point to a man he has known for many years,
10:44 am
lieutenant general, fascinating guy and i would propose to you the best american commander of world war ii you never heard of. west tech a lapse of 1909, worked with macarthur when he was chief of staff, michael berger was the son of a civil war veteran just like macarthur. he was the youngest of 5 children, sort of the baby of the family. no one took that seriously. his father certainly didn't and was a hypercompetitive family which they are trying to seize the father, he is a very successful guy, successful farmer in ohio. michael berger grows up with this year and for achievement and distinction and he found an avenue to do that. being an infantryman in particular. he served in world war i, not the western front in russia
10:45 am
with the us expeditionary force to squelch communism at that stage and he served incredibly valorous we as an intel officer and other small unit leader and also the japanese. michael berger had met and married from an upper-middle-class background and they were soulmates. they had no kids, they had each other and robert's career and robert eichelberger will write to her 2 or 3 times a day throughout world war ii. it is incredible. he is a mini historian that he documents everything at the time. makes it easy. he has dictations he gives later on. remarkable stuff and underutilized.
10:46 am
he is a superintendent at west point, he is itching to get an action and distinguish himself and lead soldiers the way he always knew he could. macarthur briefs him, take luna bob and don't come back alive. okay, wow, those are interesting orders. he says you may be sure i shall always be with you in my thoughts. i think of all the years i have been together you must realize how my admiration, respect and love have increased. he arrives december 1st and finds a mess. strong interlocking reinforced bunkers, poor supply situation, they are living in swamps, diseases, no patrols, one officer described the troops as fever, starved and living a title swamp.
10:47 am
he reluctantly relieved an old friend and classmate of his, forest harding, commander of the 32nd division, never gave him so class reunions were awkward for them after the war. it wasn't like that, didn't have much choice, something had to be done. he orders that it improves the supply situation, reorganize and launch a major attack that failed. it is impractical, everything is jungle and swamp and you have a relative advance you can get a dozen guys through. you hardly have any artillery, any airpower, you're fighting the war on a shoestring. he decides i have to step back and hit these guys a different way. one of the combat soldiers put it they were practically impenetrable. you could look into one of
10:48 am
their bunkers and it look like a jungle. our troops could not fight as units but as individuals. he yields this reality and starts to put pressure on them with smaller units, death by 1000 cuts, not just a matter of sending guys forward to do this. i need to be there with them. he is there every day, december 1942 with a tommy gun in hand or m1 carbine leading people, cajoling them, browbeating them, challenging their manhood, whatever it takes to go forward. constantly roving around, who wants to get the japanese, and leads himself. his key aides are wounded including very close chief of staff, they are very tight. he dodges death many times, loses 30 pounds in a month and
10:49 am
is still writing to emma. torrential rains for down every day, no one could remember when he had been dry. the feet, arms, chests, hideous with jungle rod. macarthur impatiently prodding him while issuing communiqués, leading the troops in combat. he never did that ever. an interesting figure in this sense, loads of valor in his life and career. he's a brave man but intends to puff himself up that much more. something that are commands you can imagine. by the second half of december, the japanese were in even worse shape. they are holding out trying to hold off the americans to wait on reinforcements but never arrive because of guadalcanal. they are malnourished, dying in droves.
10:50 am
what a discouraging and miserable state of affairs. trees have fallen, the hospital and horrible plight. what will happen to us? another soldier wrote every day my comrades i one by one in a provision dispute, quite a few japanese as december came to a end wrote last letters to loved ones much of which did not get through but were captured by the allies was one of the road i would like to write a few lines before i die. we have a fine soul, one that is rare in this world, by chance you married unworthy me and devoted yourself faithfully to me. i will always be grateful. however your devotional is invaded as i will soon die for our country. bit by bit he's -- the soldiers nod away at the japanese perimeter all along this spot. he himself is at the front, and the fighting peters out on january 3rd with the
10:51 am
annihilation of the japanese garrison. the americans buried hundreds of their bodies. some are yellow carcasses that dave richardson wrote. others are sunbleached skeletons. when it ended, eichelberger had won the first american ground victory of world war ii, largely forgotten today. that is unfortunate. trying to get publicity for which he hungers, the distinction for which he so hungers, very accommodating and garrulous with war correspondents, they like him a lot. he was very well-liked throughout the army with a lot of friends. he expects treatment from macarthur. macarthur wants the story to be about macarthur. he doesn't need this other guy competing so he shelves eichelberger for the next year,
10:52 am
he knows he is too good to lose, takes steps behind-the-scenes, the medal of honor nomination from eichelberger into wainwright, wainwright got that toward the end of the war. he holds up the medal of honor and several times folks in the european theater had inquired about eichelberger's services like the normandy invasion and macarthur says i'm not going to let him go. so he will sideline him until he needs them later. eichelberger comes to realize this and this resentment builds. if you have a character flaw it is that hunger for achievement and resentment and the feel sorry for yourself kind of thing. there is a lot of that in their and macarthur builds up but will serve him loyally and have a good relationship with him through their entire time together until 1948 in the
10:53 am
occupation of japan too. nevertheless being able stay with them through much of his life when he looks back on macarthur. in tandem with these victories, the allies begin to continue the advance in new guinea and elsewhere in the pacific so new guinea has a major place to negotiate on the way to the philippines and after that you have the building of a major american presence on what the largest and most for bidding islands with almost no infrastructure of any kind teeming with diseases. no infrastructure crushing heat and humidity, jungles nonsense want, look at new guinea and you have malaria. that is what this is like. you had the allies under control to continue that advance and keep going towards japan. conditions in new guinea presented a greater challenge
10:54 am
than the japanese honestly. the army is fighting two battles, one against the enemy and the other against the jungle. he was so right. average annual rainfall 150 inches. temperatures in the 90s and beyond. we can relate to that. humidity, 90%. jungles and swamps teeming with insects, so much that the pacific war is an interest species war, fighting against the insects and not always winning, 54% of all hospital admissions were due to disease. in 1943, for every soldier, the americans were losing in combat to the japanese, five were down with disease, 5, almost like the civil war. the disease, malaria was usually not fatal so americans lost 12,000 men days a month, when a soldier went down with malaria he spent 24 days in the
10:55 am
hospital and the disease usually recurred. typhus transmitted by little mites in the jungle foliage, another problem, had a 5% fatality rate. by 194317 malaria control units, epidemiologists, entomologists, the insect people, biologists and others were attempting to fight the problem and the main way was spraying insecticides, what they called but bonds. not terribly appealing. the bug bomb, terrible insecticides would do everything in an area. they would also flame mosquito breeding areas with diesel fires and the like. the real solution was pharmaceutical. medics ruthlessly enforced, rather than -- i don't pretend
10:56 am
to be a physician but that is the fix if there was one but it had side effects that were not always pleasing. not very common but a psychosis in 5 of every thousand cases. didn't want to hold the dice on that. there were rumors of stability. remember how that would spread throughout the soldier ranks and be an excuse not to take your pill but what was most ubiquitous was yelling about your skin. you could tell a pacific war veteran, he would have yellowish skin. life in new guinea was hard and brutal, no amenities by american standards. more hours usually low. one battalion commander wrote to his wife there are only four things to keep soldiers happy, fighting, drinking, gambling and women. in new guinea none were available in anything like the
10:57 am
quantity that soldiers desired so they made their own alcohol called jungle juice. a nasty mix of fruit juice, raisins and other things. one fairly typical unit, funny in retrospect, one third of the men were usually too drunk to go on guard duty but could not stand up. because of severe cultural taboos, whether white or black most americans don't find them attractive anyway, venereal disease rates were low, some units had one third infection rate at times, such was the sexual tension in the beginning. medical unit commanders assigned armed guards for female nurses wherever they went. that would protect them from japanese patrols but as one
10:58 am
officer admitted, incidents of sexual harassment, a sad sign of the times, security tightened even more when african-american units came into proximity with white nurses, they posed a special threat. the provost marshal spent thousands of man-hours and untold resources to down homosexuals leading to the resignation of a chaplain, official suspicion of an unnamed general. it seems doubtful whether it is necessary or desirable. a dark underbelly of depression, and mental illness tested among the troops. neuropsychiatrist estimated psychological problems including psychoses and arose sees affected 5% to 10% of soldiers. when extreme case the commander of the 503rd infantry regiment became so despondent he
10:59 am
committed suicide by shooting himself in the heart while on a date with an australian nurse. incredible, isn't it? athletics help more our and other entertainment. they established leads for baseball, softball, football, even ping-pong, outdoor theaters afforded a hugely welcome diversion. there were occasional interruptions by rain or enemy air raids but they did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm for live production. over a 3-month period at one base soldiers at 43 different theaters took 430 different shows. this is the picture you would have seen, really, the logistic built-up, army logisticians and engineers and quartermasters worked miracles in new guinea to carveout these bases under the -- they required 430 tons of material per month in a place with no roads or infrastructure.
11:00 am
ones landing, they were protected from elements, insects, mold, animals, everything from blankets to medicine had to be protected, food stored properly. by the end of 1943 engineers constructed 3 quarters of 1,000,000,000 ft. of warehouse storage space. .. operational runways, 35 bridges, multiple hospitals. in 1943 it can get bigger lecture too. by that same time boasted 12 docs, 37 bridges, 130 culverts, 10 jetties, 20,000 feet of pipeline plus scores of administration building. civilization sprouting out of
11:01 am
nothing. the macarthur theater in the course of the war received 2.1 million measurement tons of material. just a staggering quantity of stuff that absorb so much naval and merchant shipping that the army maintained a small fleet of barges and car cargo vessels in a bully dubbed macarthur's navy. what does that leave us in 1943 comes to an end split theaters, southwest pacific theater under macarthur, hold down here and admiral nimitz controlling much of the rest of the ocean as much as he can at that point. of course the u.s. army alongside the australians is fighting here but i should also mention they are fighting in the solons, obviously guadalcanal, georgia, bella novella, they are fighting up here in alaska. and of course eventually at macon, the last chapter of the book. it's this broad expansion you can see the allies turning the war around. you can see the u.s. army though it's made a lot of mistakes and a lot of
11:02 am
deficiencies, it's maturing into a really formidable modern force with pretty effective leaders who been tested under the most challenging circumstances so in short i believe it's fair to say the army became characterized by its fire and fortitude. thank you [applause] >> let's take questions. >> we have a microphone for questions. >> my father fought in new guinea and he claimed the japanese were using wooden bullets. . [inaudible] >> that's true i found many accounts of that. wooden bullets of course like you said would splinter in the body so it made them worse. they were supposed to be prohibited under the acknowledged rules of warfare at opposite didn't necessarily
11:03 am
matter to the japanese. the americans i should point out come up with a weapon that's infinitely worse called napalm that was not necessarily kosher under the same rules but this implied by 1944 used quite productively in the war. this was a nasty fight in which neither side was observing too many rules. >> raise your hands if you have questions. >> not quite much of a question. i just started reading ã >> i hear that's good. >> i really like your writing i can't wait to start these. i just read colonel kenny's account i think it's called the air palm in the south pacific. >> general kelly ãbgeorge kenney i should've mentioned him. >> right after that i read "one
11:04 am
day a mile, the day after another" the two pretended that the other didn't exist.i think kenny was mentioned one time.i don't think colby or nimitz was mentioned in either one. >> kenny didn't get along with the navy all that well. kenny was a brilliant commander. he becomes macarthur's air commander by 1942 and he's the guy who really turns macarthur onto airpower. and everything it can do. macarthur for all his foibles began to work very productively with outstanding subordinates like kenny, like eichelberger, like admiral daniel barbee, an expert in amphibious warfare and william hawley, macarthur and holly got on famously and that was really good for the american war effort. >> was there any evidence of gas used in the hostilities?
11:05 am
>> neither side used neither side between the u.s. and the japanese used poison gas in the pacific war. however, the japanese and china used loads of it. chemical weapons, biological weapons, you name it. they use so much we are still trying to wrap our minds around how extensive it was. >> i happen to be replacement sent in 1945. 44, pardon me. it was in the headquarters of far east air force. in australia. i came back after a total of seven months out. because i was sent back. i was post polio neuritis
11:06 am
soldier lexi picked up polio? >> in high school. he was diagnosed by a very important major in the first general hospital at holyãi foun myself on the landing ship. and then a transport in the a landi bay and returned to america. i have no secret knowledge and no negative attitude about that was in my organization. and the headquarters in far east air force for the theater were on one mountaintop and
11:07 am
that's where the general kenny had his headquarters. douglas macarthur was on cyclops mountain which was taller by far. he had supporters that permitted him to have his house with his son and daughter when he wanted them. >> at that point his son and wife were back in australia eventually they will join him in the philippines.thank you for your service sir. [applause] >> my wife's father served in india in the army air corps and came back and had trouble conceiving children for many years. and blamed it on his malaria treatment. question for you, when ambrose wrote band of brothers in the hbo movie came out i remember reading a lot of stories about pto veterans started feeling slighted in their stories were told. just curious who somewhat alluded to this but when you've
11:08 am
spoken with veterans and some of the writings, how did that materialize either when they were in theater or after-the-fact coming back? >> that's a really good question. generalizing a lot of people i've known there's a vague whiff of resentment. , yes we respect the normandy invasion and the famous paratroopers. but why don't you look our way a little bit more? what we were doing is pretty important and a rougher go. you see it at the time a little bit too. the best example i give as well the battle of okinawa was raging, i will cover this in the second volume, though the battle of okinawa is raging in may 1945, germany surrenders at that point. the news filter to a lot of combat soldiers and marines who were fighting for their lives on okinawa. the general attitude is great, so what? what does it do for me here? i do think that there is a
11:09 am
sense of maybe being overlooked a little bit but also i should point out americans in world war ii it was almost like this mania for getting credit. i think it's a little bit of an over school format to some extent. understandable. >> i was never negative about anyone or anything in that theater of war. i was there to help and not to criticize as an uninformed person who lived with a mixture of supporters and negative people he was not all bad. >> absolutely. i happen to have the opportunity in 1947 or 1948 as a buyer for a furniture store
11:10 am
to celebrate on my annual trip to new york city. which permitted me to stay in the waldorf-astoria and knowing that douglas macarthur in retirement, or in the penthouse, but worked every day in his place as the chairman of the board that he would leave to go up to connecticut when everybody else was coming out of connecticut to work in new york. >> right he did move to the waldorf. >> he came out at the museum in the garage. as he came out i came to salute and full citizen dress 7:00
11:11 am
a.m. and held my salute until he turned returned salute and started staring at me and tell he got into the flow of traffic heading north on park avenue. [laughter] frankly it was respect because if i was president of the united states or a general of the army, i feel ãbsomebody is always criticizing me. i think he had that too. >> understood. so you have a question? >> my name is robert bock and my wife carol and i have been intertwined rather intimately with the 41st infantry division for quite a few years. [inaudible]
11:12 am
as a result of that relationship we have over the years had an opportunity not only living in australia for a while but also visiting a number of the places that 41st infantry division was involved. one of which was at the battle of san fernando which i understand you have written about in your book. also holy india and hopefully in the next book you will write you will touch rather strongly on the ã >> i do. i can't wait for that. [multiple speakers] >> we had the opportunity to visit a landi and spent six days ãin 1993. what we found is a story in and of itself but with regards to the number of things you've already mentioned, there were as i understand 19 army divisions that have fought in the pacific and some point during world war ii. >> 21 actually. >> there's a book you may use as a reference by chance in
11:13 am
your research for your second book written by a man named francis can. >> most definitely i wrote the board for that book. [laughter] it's a great book. [laughter] >> with regards to the severity of the conflict as far as between gis and japanese soldiers it's my opinion having done a lot of research myself and the japanese in the early days set the ground rules is to how that war was going to unfold. when volume 2 comes out you and i need to get together because we could go over a lot of things. [laughter] also talking about the interface between major general horse but two more questions real quick. [laughter] i'm sorry.
11:14 am
with regards to the events of cannibalism and san fernando in particular toward the end of the fighting and particularly with regards to the guy name harold fisk and also if you can with regards to the battle of salamat what was the strategy between with regards to the aussies making a lot of headway against leah in the 162nd infantry division with the 41st avenue the major operation? >> that's a little later in 1943 the australians were using armor a little bit better than the americans at that point. they had more in place than they will use it especially around go now they will send some to help at buna. the 41st fight at san fernando it's fascinating stuff. they did find evidence of capitalism. among the japanese. you will see that later in the
11:15 am
work some of the airborne units will find that as well. that shows the level of desperation. >> i think we have one more question before we go. >> okay. >> in your next book will you mention ã⌟ >> absolutely. i should have mentioned tonight. i have major chapters in this one on the china burma india theater. in 1942 and that he 43, it's fascinating stuff. lieutenant general joseph who still believe is both the perfect and the worst person for the job.f he has years of experience in china he speaks the language he reads the language he has a great deal of cultural empathy and understanding for the chinese. yet he just cannot brook the corruption and despotic nature he feels of chiang kai-shek's
11:16 am
routine. he so fundamentally constitutionally honest he can't stand anyone else around him who is it. he just cannot quite look at that and look the other way so he's kind of a tragic figure. you see this unfold in this book and then as you mentioned, the next book which covers 1944 and 45 as this epic campaign from american point of view what's called merrills marano, flight infantry unit that will fight under terrible conditions, unreal actually. i cover that a great deal of depth. [applause] >> i morocco and my new book is obituaries and you are watching booktv on c-span2. >> booktv recently attended the gaithersburg book festival in maryland. where reporter susan paige discussed her biography of barbara bush. here's a portion of that program. >> when george w. bush was elected president you may remember that his father said he wasn't going to meadow he wasn't going to offer advice
11:17 am
when it was asked for. george w. bush very rarely asked his father for advice. but his mother did not make this promise. [laughter] and his mother felt empowered to tell him what she thought about what he was doing. tom mentioned barbara was one of two women to be the wife and mother of presidents. the other is abigail adams. if you said that to barbara bush she would noted that abigail adams died before john quincy adams became president. she's the only one who has been the wife and mother of presidents and in a position to influence both of their white house administrations. the issue in which they had the biggest clashes was the course of the iraq war. not the decision to go into iraq by her son but the course of the war after that.
11:18 am
she would be candid with him she would tell him he was listening to the wrong people that he was giving vice president cheney too much power listening to him too much listening to people like cheney and don rumsfeld defense secretary instead of people like james baker and prince brokaw who had advised the first bush administration on these issues and it got to the point where her son told her to knock it off. that he was the president he wasn't under the control of cheney he was making the decisions. at that point she backed off kind of. i've never told the story i didn't put it in the book but just between us and c-span. [laughter] at one point i was interviewing her in the living room and her aide came in and said that george w. bush was on the phone and she said, i will call him back. so she did the interview and
11:19 am
then called him back. >> to watch the rest of susan paige talk visit our website at and type her name or the title of her book "the matriarch" using the search box at the top of the page. >> here is a look at some books being published this week. in radicals, resistance and revenge ãbargues liberals are trying to destroy american values. journalist caitlin moscatello reports on the rise in first-time female candidates since the 2016 election in "see jane win" and "everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die" university of pennsylvania president amy gutman and jonathan marino weigh in on the current state of american healthcare. also being published this week maria rana provides a history of latin america in "silver, sword, and stone". ãbdiscusses the role riders play during the cold war.
11:20 am
in "an conspicuous consumption" science writer tatyana schlossberg describes the impact each of us have on the environment. look for these titles in bookstores this coming week and watch for many of the authors book tv on c-span2. [inaudible background conversations] hello and welcome this evening. with thank you to everyone for being here. we get to get started which is wonderful moment. my name is emma i'm the owner of the iv bookshop and partner here at bird in hand. it's a delight to welcome folks to this space, especially on a hot summer night we all get together to gather together surrounded by carefully curated books. if it's your first time at bergen


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on