Letter to the Editor

Gen. MacArthur

Friday, March 27, 2015

Dear Editor,

Not everyone agreed with President Harry Truman's decision to relieve Douglas MacArthur of his Far Eastern Command in April of 1951.

There was a rumor that he made statements against a policy of the United Nations. Some people were convinced that the general was past his prime at age 71. Others were afraid that his military actions in North Korea would start a ground war with China.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt placed the fate of the Philipines in the hands of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, son of the famous Civil War general Arthur MacArthur, on July 27, 1941.

He called him back to active duty with orders to mobilize the Filipinos and Americans stationed there into an army.

Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Just 10 hours later, Japanese planes bombed the Philippines. About 30 outdated fighters and bombers and some incompleted air bases hampered their defense efforts.

President Manuel Quezon of the Philippines was dying of tuberculosis.

In February 1942, a submarine took him to the Visayan Islands. In March 1942, three PT boats took MacArthur, his wife, young son and some staff members to Australia.

By May 6, 1942, Corregidor had fallen under the control of Japan.

Australia's coast was being attacked by the Japanese. MacArthur went inland to Brisbane. Sixty thousand Australians were waiting for him. They needed his skill and expert military strategy. (Theycheered when they spotted him and paraded in the streets.)

MacArthur kept in contact with the brave Filipinos who fought couragiously against the Japanese.

Nov. 15, 1944, he returned to the Philippines.

In 1945 when Japan surrendered, MacArthur was made Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Japan and the Pacific area.

Contending with the communist Chinese soldiers who aided North Korea was his greatest challenge. (He often paced the floor at night. Staff found him asleep with a Bible in his lap.)

In 2015, we realize he was right about the threat of China to Japan, Koreas, the Philippines and islands of the Pacific.

Guam has soldiers today keeping watch.

President Lyndon Johnson called him one of America's greatest heroes.

"Truman did not understand that the admixture of military strategy with political expediency can produce national disaster," observed Courtney Whitney in the 1956 book, "MacArthur and His Rendezvous with History."

Helen Ruth Arnold,

Trenton, Nebraska

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