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Old 31 March 2017, 11:05
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Korea: Was General MacArthur Right or Wrong?

I don't know enough about the issues to say anything; but I found this article quite interesting for the alleged behind-the-scenes info and dynamic.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/histor...um=socialmedia
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Old 31 March 2017, 11:57
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that is a very interesting read.
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Old 31 March 2017, 13:16
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Bill Brands is a serious, if extremely prolific, scholar. The article's a good summation of the material he develops in his new book. MacArthur was out of line, clearly, and those above him knew it. What Matthew Aid shows us in his recent signals intelligence history is that the declassified signals intelligence reveals that MacArthur had available to him information that the Chinese intervention was coming, and he chose not to process it himself in his decision-making. He was, for lack of a better explanation, simply too arrogant. A damn good commander, but too arrogant to know when not to go too far.
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Old 31 March 2017, 14:54
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This was a perfect example of what happens when Intelligence kowtows to the boss. MacArthur's chief of Intelligence during the Korean war was one of his gang from Bataan, Charles Willoughby. He told MacArthur whatever he wanted to hear not what was reality.
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Old 31 March 2017, 19:13
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From the book cover: "The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War"

In 1951, exactly who would be the second nuclear power involved?
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Old 31 March 2017, 19:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paperpusher View Post
From the book cover: "The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War"

In 1951, exactly who would be the second nuclear power involved?
Russia/USSR.
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Old 1 April 2017, 01:12
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Russia/USSR.
Russia did have a nuclear weapon. The political powers in the US did not have the backbone to decide that our forces were there to win, which is a criticism of why we went there in the first place without that having been decided. It set a very bad precedent. So we have a present day problem that is growing in the form of a North Korea that has a nuclear weapon. NK with a nuclear weapon suggests that MacArthur was right.
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Old 1 April 2017, 08:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paperpusher View Post
Russia did have a nuclear weapon. The political powers in the US did not have the backbone to decide that our forces were there to win, which is a criticism of why we went there in the first place without that having been decided. It set a very bad precedent. So we have a present day problem that is growing in the form of a North Korea that has a nuclear weapon. NK with a nuclear weapon suggests that MacArthur was right.
Hold on. In 1951, the US was far more concerned with the preservation of Western Europe and keeping the Soviets from starting a war there. The political forces had the backbone to do at least something in Korea, rather than nothing (and have the UN collapse as the League had before it), but were constantly mindful that Korea could never be the main engagement. Ramping something up in Korea in MacArthir's eyes meant taking the opportunity to go through Korea into China and get rid of Mao. This was strategically ridiculuous, because a real attack (not just skirmishes) would trigger the Soviet alliance with the Chinese, which would lead to a Soviet offensive in Europe. MacArthur played with fire, and Bradley and the others understood this. MacArthur failed to appreciate that the country could not --should not --do this.
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Old 1 April 2017, 08:57
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Keep in mind also that MacArthur was an Asiaphile, he'd been there forever, and couldn't really see anything beyond the Pacific's horizon.

Any observer of the Korean conflict should have realized the extent of American impudence by the simple example of the Pusan Perimeter, and Task Force Smith's involvement, which was, while heroic in it's engagement, an example of too little, too late, with weak soldiers, to boot.

My Mentor, a MSG Tony Baker, now battling Alzheimers, was in the Army of Occupation in Japan when Korea kicked off. He was bundled into the response force with little to no prep, cast-off WWII weapons and equipment that were worn completely out, and little hope of success.
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Old 1 April 2017, 10:39
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Originally Posted by Armitage12 View Post
Hold on. In 1951, the US was far more concerned with the preservation of Western Europe and keeping the Soviets from starting a war there. The political forces had the backbone to do at least something in Korea, rather than nothing (and have the UN collapse as the League had before it), but were constantly mindful that Korea could never be the main engagement. Ramping something up in Korea in MacArthir's eyes meant taking the opportunity to go through Korea into China and get rid of Mao. This was strategically ridiculuous, because a real attack (not just skirmishes) would trigger the Soviet alliance with the Chinese, which would lead to a Soviet offensive in Europe. MacArthur played with fire, and Bradley and the others understood this. MacArthur failed to appreciate that the country could not --should not --do this.
It really does seem to come down to the political forces. Ousting Mao really does seem to be grandiose to the extreme, but stamping out the NK regime doesn't. To my mind, playing with fire is the essence of military efforts. Without that element, you get Korea, Vietnam, and players to be named later. The real flaw, though, is the concept of "doing something rather than nothing." That seems to translate to getting a bunch of our people killed without having an end game or at least not having the gravel to do it. That is another way of stating that a politician or reasonable facsimile thereof has misused the military. The area was a tricky place then, but we were not facing an apparently unstable individual with nuclear weapons. I don't see any way to view the events back then except through the filter of today's situation.
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Old 1 April 2017, 10:46
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The understanding of history on this site is amazing. I gotta keep reading....

Great article and thank you for posting.
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Old 1 April 2017, 10:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B 2/75 View Post
My Mentor, a MSG Tony Baker, now battling Alzheimers, was in the Army of Occupation in Japan when Korea kicked off. He was bundled into the response force with little to no prep, cast-off WWII weapons and equipment that were worn completely out, and little hope of success.
My dad was with the 25th ID in Japan at the beginning and was part of that response force. He was thrown into the line at Pusan and went up and down the peninsula fighting for a year in the heat and cold. He hated Korea with a vengeance, said it was far worse than Vietnam. Although he didn't talk about it that often, he expressed relief that MacArthur was fired by Truman. After saying that, he'd turn to me and my brother and said if that hadn't happened, it was very likely we'd never been born.
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Old 1 April 2017, 16:11
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The book on Victor "Brute" Krulak by Robert Coram corroborates the lack of preparedness and the "yes" men who surrounded MacArthur, leading to poor decisions. Leadership (as a whole process, not just leaders) is context sensitive and MacArthur wasn't fighting an Island Hopping campaign of WWII anymore (with the mobility and resources that came with it). Post WWII we had drawn down a significant part of our military. We had the benefit of preparing for WWII from a materiel and logistics perspective; situation in Korea simply wasn't the same.
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Old 1 April 2017, 21:26
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Originally Posted by smp52 View Post
We had the benefit of preparing for WWII from a materiel and logistics perspective; situation in Korea simply wasn't the same.
One of the interesting anecdotes my dad talks about from his time in the service is being on a working party loading cold weather gear the Army had to buy back from the military surplus stores to send to Korea.
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Old 1 April 2017, 22:04
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MacArthur was overhyped in WW II and wrong in Korea.
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Old 1 April 2017, 22:07
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I have the pleasure of knowing a Chosin survivor. Every now and then he talks about Inchon, Seoul, but rarely of Chosin. When he does, it is very dark.

When I was stationed with the Cav in Uijong Bu, ROK, part of our sector included being qualified to fly the No Fly Line just south of the DMZ. I was studying the war while I was there from a book called "This Kind of War" by T.R. Fehrenbach. When I would fly that DMZ route, part of my planning included studying a battle from his book that happened in that sector from the air. Was a fascinating education.
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Old 2 April 2017, 17:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigNickT View Post
One of the interesting anecdotes my dad talks about from his time in the service is being on a working party loading cold weather gear the Army had to buy back from the military surplus stores to send to Korea.
Unfortunately true, and sadly we've repeated this mistake multiple times since Korea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverbullet
MacArthur was overhyped in WW II and wrong in Korea.
IMHO, historical impressions may be echoes of the USG's design during WWII in marketing MacArthur (and other major figures) for publicity purposes to keep selling war bonds and maintain state side morale through the war effort.
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Old 2 April 2017, 17:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronCross View Post
The understanding of history on this site is amazing. I gotta keep reading....

Great article and thank you for posting.
Yes.

I'm just reading and soaking up the knowledge.
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Old 2 April 2017, 18:17
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MacArthur did an admirable job (looking at it from the 20,000 foot view) of hyping himself with the media. The Signal Corps created a specific ship (former Revenue Cutter Apache) for public relations work in the SouthWest Pacific Area. It was a floating broadcasting facility for war correspondents that could accompany MacArthur's force as they pushed up towards the Philippines.

There was a reason he was sent to the Philippines in the first place by Roosevelt--to get him out of the way.
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Old 2 April 2017, 18:31
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Russia was involved in the war, but in the back grounds, Some of the American Prisoner were shipped to Russia, an never seen again, or took a Russia wife an stated there. My sister-in-law who has passed away, was a nurse in Japan & Korea dunning the WAR.

I agree with Silverbulett in his statement MacArthur was overhyped in WW II and wrong in Korea
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