MacArthur Podcast Season Two

Episode Seven: These Fields of Friendly Strife - The General and Football

(January 2011)

Today, few people are aware of General Douglas MacArthur’s contributions to football. As a player, a devoted fan, and an advocate of the sport, MacArthur’s interest in football was both personal and professional. A competitor at heart, he just loved the game. As a leader, he recognized the practical benefit of football on leadership and citizenship. Summing up his feelings about football, MacArthur once explained: “In war and peace, I have found football men to be my greatest reliance.”   (18:07)

Selected Documents:

MacArthur Congratulations to “Red” Blaik on Army Win, December 3, 1944

“Red” Blaik to MacArthur, November 1, 1951
Episode 7: These Fields of Friendly Strife - The General and Football
Episode Eight: MacArthur, Thurgood Marshall, and Integration during the Korean War

(February 2011)

On January 14, 1951, right in the middle of the Korean War, Thurgood Marshall arrived in Japan as a special representative of the NAACP. He had been sent to meet with General MacArthur and to conduct an investigation into irregularities in the courts martial of thirty nine black soldiers. This podcast examines MacArthur and integration during the Korean War through the lens of the issues that brought Thurgood Marshall to Japan and Korea.   (22:05)

Selected Documents:

Correspondence between MacArthur and NAACP Executive Secretary Walter White

Excerpts from Thurgood Marshall’s Investigation
Episode 8: MacArthur, Thurgood Marshall, and Integration during the Korean War
Episode Nine: Escape from Corregidor

(March 2011)

In March 1942, General MacArthur, his wife Jean, his son Arthur, and select members of his staff quietly boarded PT 41 in the Philippines.  They were embarking on a dangerous escape attempt.  Against all odds, the escape was successful, and from the safety of Australia MacArthur would utter the famous promise: “I shall return.”   For the next two and a half years however, those left behind on Bataan and Corregidor knew only captivity, horror, and death.  This month’s podcast examines the escape and MacArthur’s thoughts on leaving.   (23:01)

Selected Documents:

Orders Directing MacArthur to Leave Corregidor (Page 1), February 23, 1942

Orders Directing MacArthur to Leave Corregidor (Page 2), February 23, 1942
Episode 9 Escape from Corregidor
Episode Ten: Truman Fires MacArthur

(April 2011)

On April 11, 1951, General MacArthur was relieved of his command by President Truman, ending his 52 year military career.  Both men had been increasingly at odds with each other since August 1945 – almost from the day Truman chose MacArthur to accept the Japanese surrender and oversee the occupation.  It was during the Korean War however that their divergent views on U.S. foreign policy and Communist China brought them into open conflict.  This month’s podcast reviews the final events that led to MacArthur’s relief.   (15:32)

Selected Documents:

Truman Informs MacArthur of his Relief, April 11, 1951
Episode 10: Truman Fires MacArthur
Episode Eleven: The General’s Mother

(May 2011)

Mary “Pinky” Hardy MacArthur was a formidable woman.  General Douglas MacArthur regarded her as one of the dominating factors of his life.  As Army Chief of Staff in the 1930’s, he remarked that she had raised his father to a Lieutenant General’s three stars, and he attributed his own greater success to the fact that she had a much earlier start with him.  This month’s podcast provides a brief overview of the life of “Pinky” and her relationship with her son.   (19:02)

Selected Documents:

Letter from Pinky to her Sister: May 11, 1884

Marriage License for Pinky and Arthur MacArthur
Episode 11: The General’s Mother
Episode Twelve: Superheroes, the Comics, and World War II

(June 2011)

As part of the material culture of the 1940s, comic books can provide World War II historians with information about everyday people and the times they lived in.   Superman, Captain America, and other superheroes didn’t really fight in World War II, but the comics did influence public perceptions of the war and provide an outlet for national aspirations and fears.  They created a black and white world of heroes and villains, whose adventures were acted out against the backdrop of a very real war and its very real players.  As we will see, even General Douglas MacArthur was featured in the comics!   (17:22)

Selected Documents:

Excerpts from 1942 Biographical Comic about General MacArthur
Episode 12: Superheroes, the Comics, and World War II
Episode Thirteen: Investigating MacArthur’s Decorations

(July 2011)

During his 52 year military career, General Douglas MacArthur received more than 100 decorations – including the Medal of Honor – making him one of the most highly decorated officers in U.S. military history.   Many of these decorations are on display in the MacArthur Memorial today, and visitors to the Memorial are often curious about the circumstances behind some of these awards. This podcast will provide background information on MacArthur’s three Distinguished Service Crosses, seven Silver Stars, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, and two Purple Hearts.   (16:42)

Selected Documents:

MacArthur’s Air Medal Citation, February 23, 1946

MacArthur’s Distinguished Service Cross Citation, April 18, 1946
Episode 13: Investigating MacArthur’s Decorations
Episode Fourteen: Wainwright & MacArthur

(August 2011)

The careers of General Douglas MacArthur and General Jonathan Wainwright are indelibly intertwined with one of the darkest moments in American military history – the fall of the Philippines at the beginning of World War II.  Even though both men received the Medal of Honor for their handling of the doomed situation in the Philippines, Bataan and Corregidor would haunt them for the rest of their lives.  This month’s podcast highlights both men against the backdrop of Bataan and Corregidor.   (22:50)

Selected Documents:

Wainwright Congratulates MacArthur on his Command, July 31, 1941

MacArthur tells Marshall Wainwright is “Unbalanced,” May 9, 1942
Episode 14: Wainwright and MacArthur
Episode Fifteen: “A Striking Ornament” – the MacArthur Memorial

(September 2011)

Many visitors are curious about the building that houses General Douglas MacArthur’s tomb and museum.  Known today as the MacArthur Memorial, the building was once the City of Norfolk’s City Hall and Courthouse.  Constructed in 1850, the building has played a central role in many local and national dramas over the years.  This month’s podcast delves into the history of the building - from the initial wishes of Norfolk’s citizens to create “a striking ornament” to represent the city, to the building’s eventual role as the MacArthur Memorial.   (18:18)

Selected Documents:

Unfinished Draft of MacArthur’s Speech to Dedicate the MacArthur Memorial – Transcript Included
Episode 15: “A Striking Ornament” – the MacArthur Memorial
Episode Sixteen: “I Shall Return” - The Pledge

(October 2011)

Many people are familiar with General Douglas MacArthur’s famous “I shall return” pledge. The pledge was made after the General’s successful escape from the Philippines during World War II, and it soon became the cornerstone of his strategy in the Pacific Theatre as well as a rallying cry for the guerilla movement in the Philippines.  Although the pledge is very famous, few people understand how difficult it was to make the promise a reality.  This month’s podcast takes a look at the battles – both military and bureaucratic – that MacArthur fought to honor his promise.   (17:22)

Selected Documents:

“I Shall Return” Propaganda Campaign Information, August 10, 1943

MacArthur to Chief of Staff – Argument in Favor of The Philippines, August 3, 1944
Episode 16: “I Shall Return” - The Pledge
Episode Seventeen: MacArthur and JFK

(November 2011)

Today, many people are amazed to learn that General MacArthur and President Kennedy admired each other.  Given MacArthur’s track record with Democrats and the generational gap between the two men, this is not surprising.  Despite their differences however, Kennedy and MacArthur actually had a great deal in common – both were patrician and charismatic, both had been raised in an environment that valued drive, success, and destiny, and both had demonstrated courage in war.  More than any other president, Kennedy understood MacArthur – and MacArthur reciprocated – respecting Kennedy far more than his predecessors.  This month’s podcast explores the relationship between the two men.  (20:35)

Selected Documents:

Thank You Letter from John F. Kennedy to General MacArthur, May 8, 1961

Condolences from General MacArthur to Mrs. John F. Kennedy
Episode 17: MacArthur and JFK
Episode Eighteen: Billy Mitchell and MacArthur

(December 2011)

In 1925, the court martial of Billy Mitchell captured national attention.  The trial was so sensational that it would go on to inspire numerous books and even a movie starring Gary Cooper.  At the center of the controversy was Billy Mitchell, a man who is today recognized as the father of the United States Air Force.  An advocate of air power at a time when few could envision aircraft ever having a major impact on the battlefield, Mitchell would be a martyr for this cause.  Douglas MacArthur was a friend of Mitchell, but was also a member of the jury trying Mitchell.  This month’s podcast will discuss the friendship between the two men and the events surrounding the court martial.  (20:42)

Selected Documents:

Photograph of the Ostfriesland Sinking 1921

Jean MacArthur Oral History: “MacArthur and the Battle of Bismarck Sea”
Episode 18: Billy Mitchell and MacArthur