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General McArthur leaves

McArthur goes to Australia

00680_1lby Bill In Oz

McArthur in his public communiques from Corregidor in January/February 1942 announced that he would stay at Corregidor in the Philippines and share the fate of his troops. But in late February Roosevelt ordered him to leave and go to Australia. In March 1942, he was instructed to go to Mindanao & fly to Australia from an airfield on the Del Monte pineapple plantation near Bukidnon. Traveling with McArthur were his family and 13 US Army officers from his staff and two naval officers.

McArthur and his party left Corregidor at dusk in three PT Boats on at 6:30 pm on 13 March 1942. The PT boats travelled at night & hid during daylight hours, because of the danger of being spotted by Japanese aircraft or warships. The PT boats travelled the western route past Mindoro & Panay island & then South through the Sulu sea. There was a severe storm during the journey with high 6 meter waves. The boats arrived at Cagayan De Oro on Mindanao on the morning of the 13th of March after a journey of 1200 kilometers.

McArthur then had to wait for the US Air force to send aircraft to pick him up from the Del Monte air field. Two B17’s arrived from Australia just before midnight on the 17th of March.The aircraft were unloaded and then MacArthur party quickly boarded. The aircraft took off again at 1.30 am. for the flight to Australia. The intended destination was Darwin but a Japanese air raid was happening there so they flew on another 50 miles to Batchelor airfield.They landed at 9.00 am after a journey of 2400 kilometers.

After he arrived in Australia, McArthur told the press “that his aircraft had been closely pursued by Japanese fighter planes and had narrowly escaped Japanese bombers as it was landing at Batchelor Field.” This story was good headlines stuff & captured the public imagination but it was all a lie. The wireless operator on McArthur’s flight from Del Monte Field in the Philippines, Master Sergeant Dick Graf, later said that McArthur’s story was a figment of his imagination. The flight to Australia was uneventful & McArthur’s aircraft was never under threat from the Japanese. ( James Dunn )

There is a photo of McArthur standing next to the US Air force B17 just after it landed at Batchelor airfield with his assistant General Sunderland.

(An Aside : Philippine President Manuel Quezon, his family, doctors, chaplain, and senior staff also escaped from the Philippines via the Del Monte airfield on Thursday, March 26, 1942. Quezon & his party escaped from Corregidor before MacArthur by a US submarine. they were then landed at Cagayan De Oro. Two US Air force B-17’s flew from Batchelor near Darwin to collect the Filipino Commonwealth government party. )

At Batchelor Field there were 2 new Australian National Airways DC3’s waiting to take the McArthur party to Melbourne. The DC 3’s cruised at 330 kilometers an hour with a range of 2,400 km. So flying to Melbourne would have taken about 3 days with a refueling & rest stops in Alice Springs and Adelaide. However Mrs MacArthur refused refused to fly any further. McArthur’s young son Arthur was suffering from severe airsickness. McArthur asked for cars to take them all to the nearest railway station. But the nearest rail way station was at the small town of Alice Springs 1600 kilometers away on an unsealed track across dry hot dessert country. The McArthurs then agreed to board the DC3’s to Alice Springs.

While flying to Alice Springs in the middle of Australia, McArthur had the opportunity to see the nature of the Australian continent below him : generally flat, dry & hot dessert country with no rivers and no large towns or cities. In fact the only sign of human presence were a few scattered homesteads of the large 1000 square kilometer cattle ‘stations’ or properties. Similarly in March 1942 the ‘town’ of Alice Springs itself had a population of just 950 people. But in March 1942 there were also roughly 3000 Australian military personnel recently deployed there because of the war. The only important thing about Alice Springs was that it was the end of the narrow gauge railway South to Adelaide.

At Alice Springs, the US party split up. On the 19th of March McArthur, his family and some close officers took a train organised by the Australian government. His son was still sick and his wife refused the offer of flying to Melbourne. The rest of MacArthur’s staff flew down to Melbourne via Adelaide in the DC-3’s McArthur and his family then traveled the 1531 kilometers of narrow gauge track to Adelaide in South Australia. It was not a luxurious train. It was just three wooden carriages with a steam locomotive. Passengers sat in a carriage with two hardboard seats running lengthwise along the carriage. The second carriage was a dining car with a long wooden table. It also had some washtubs full of ice and a wood stove for cooking. To move from one carriage to another the train had to stop.

This journey took another 70 hours. The train travelled through yet more hot flat ‘outback’ desert & salt lake country. There was no air conditioning. In March in this part of Australia the temperature can reach 48 degrees. At night because of the lack of clouds the temperature can fall almost to zero. So it was not a comfortable journey for the US Army commander & his family. They must have been exhausted.

But once again MacArthur had a hands on experience of the Australian ‘Outback.” and it’s physical nature. I think MacArthur realised that in Australia he had a a major military advantage he completely lacked in the compact and vulnerable islands of the Philippines : ‘Depth in defence’ with over 3000 kilometers of desert separating the North coast of Australia from the major populated areas & big cities in the South.

The MacArthur train stopped on 20 March at a very small town named Terowie then a major railway junction. Locals had heard from journalists that MacArthur was on the train and greeted him at the station. It was here in this tiny town that he was asked by Australian newspaper men if he would keep going to the USA. He then made his famous speech :

” “The President of the United States ordered me to break through the Japanese lines and proceed “from Corregidor to Australia for the purpose, as I understand it, of organising an American offensive against Japan, the primary purpose of which is the relief of the Philippines. I came through and I shall return.” ( Peter Dunn website)

Finally on the 21st of March, MacArthur’s journey ended eight days after leaving Corregidor, when his train arrived at Spenser Street Station ( now renamed Southern Cross Station ) in Melbourne. The total distance travelled was 7400 kilometers by small PT boat, planes & 3 different trains. He was welcomed by Frank Forde the Australian Minister for the Army.

I have looked at the various photos of MacArthur available on the WWW. All of them show a fit well built older man. And that is interesting. When the Americans & Filipino troops retreated to Bataan & Corregidor in mid January, they were all placed on a ration of 2000 calories a day. By mid March they were very malnourished and prone to disease like malaria and A G E. Look again at the photo of MacArthur immediately after his arrival at Batchelor on 21/3/1942 (photo above, credits: John Curtin). Or take a look a the Youtube film clip of MacArthur arriving at Spenser’s St. Station in Melbourne. He does not look thin or malnourished at all. He looks fit, strong and proud. Sometimes a picture really does tell a thousand words, if you know what to look at !

Thank you once more to Bill in Oz for this informative article!

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 15. February 2016

35 comments to General McArthur leaves

  • http://philippinediaryproject.com/1942/06/03/june-3-1942/

    Diary of Victor Buencamino June 3, 1942

    Military parade held in Manila yesterday. Lt. Gen. Homma reviewed his victorious Japanese forces. The newspapers say there were many onlookers. It was not so. There were very few and the majority were forced to attend the parade. The people did not applaud the troops. There was none of the usual fanfare and cheers from the crowd. Men, women and even children looked grimly, sadly. I kept thinking of the last line of Zulueta’s prize-winning essay during the Commonwealth regime: “And gods will walk on brown legs.” Were these the gods—these men that tramped in their ugly shoes and drab uniforms? There was something about the way they marched, a sort of automatic shoving of the feet forward, their bodies swaying to the left and right, just forging on and on, wearily, doggedly, fanatically…

  • http://philippinediaryproject.com/1942/05/31/may-31-1942/

    Diary of Ramon A. Alcaraz May 31, 1942

    It is reported that the transfer of the about 6,000 surviving American Bataan Death Marchers from the POW Camp O’Donnell to Cabanatuan is about completed. The new POW Camp in Cabanatuan was the former mobilization and training center of the USAFFE 91st Div. before the war and have better facilities. Judge Roldan informed me the Corregidor POWs that were transported by ship to Manila were paraded and marched to their destinations. Filipino POWs marched to Tutuban Railroad Station, loaded in the train for Capas. The about 3,000 American POWs marched from the Pier to Bilibid Prison in Azcarraga where they are temporarily detained but gradually transferred to Cabanatuan. Judge Roldan speculated that the Americans were transferred from O’Donnell to prevent them further seeing the distressing 500 Filipino POWs dying daily adjacent to their Camp. American POWs death rate in O’Donnell is reportedly much lower at 60 per day.

    • sonny

      After the command “Every man to himself” was issued, my dad who was a 3rd Lt in the USAFFE, chose the Bataan jungles instead of capture by the oncoming Japanese. After the war, he never dropped the politically incorrect epithet “Jap” whenever speaking about the Japanese.

      New documentaries (PBS on the anniversary of Hiroshima) show that the leadership commanded that harakiri was not to be done until at least two of the enemy was first put to the sword or gun. This seems to validate the Japanese behavior/atrocity during the sack of Manila. Bishop Sheen and other theologians have a different take regarding the dropping of the Atomic bomb.

  • http://philippinediaryproject.com/1943/05/27/may-27-1943/

    Diary of Francis Burton Harrison May 27, 1943

    Lunch with Mrs. Luther Bewley, the wife of my old director of education in the Philippines, who is now a prisoner of the Japanese at Santo Tomas. She and her sweet daughter were the last to escape from Corregidor by plane…

    Mrs. Bewley said she saw Manuel Roxas at Dansalan in Mindanao. The Japanese were then only 20 miles away; Roxas refused to come with them, largely on Wainwright’s advice. Filipinos are exceedingly bitter against Quezon for leaving. Mrs. Bewley added that before Pearl Harbor, all Army and Navy officers in the Philippines thought war with Japan could be won in three weeks. Roosevelt knew perfectly of the ill-feeling between the Army and Navy commanders at Pearl Harbor, and did nothing about it.

    Finally, Mrs. Bewley expressed the opinion that Quezon could win back his people upon his return to the Philippines.

    • sonny

      Irineo, Karl, for what it’s worth, just a personal sidenote on Francis Burton Harrison, my wife’s grandfather was one of many justices of the peace commissioned throughout municipalities of the Philippines in American colonial times. These justices were the first line judicial arm of the colonial government on the ground. I’m hoping her grandfather’s judicial record is part of the municipal history/record. Thanks for making the diaries part of this blog. Their generation is long gone and only in memory cells such as this blog.

      • sonny

        should read: “…my wife’s grandfather was one of many justices of the peace commissioned by Gov-Gen Harrison throughout municipalities …”

      • karlgarcia

        Upon my visit to my ancestral house in Mulanay Quezon, I saw a scanned document stating that my Great grand father was a justice of peace but it was written in Spanish,maybe Harrison retained the Spanish documentation or certifications

        • sonny

          Beautiful, Karl. Much honor to your Great grandpa. My mother-in-law had the same document. The missus and her sister do not know what became of the document. My mother-in-law was the last to see it. I didn’t see it but am familiar with other similar ones in Spanish. That heirloom is priceless.

          • karlgarcia

            It was torn,but the names the signatures and the words that read justice for peace can still be read….Priceless.

  • http://philippinediaryproject.com/1943/05/21/friday-may-21-1943/

    Diary of Charles Mock Friday, May 21, 1943

    One week today and we’re all quite comfortable. The early morning was beautiful again and later the cloud banks over the top of Makiling –Washed this morning and weather clear until 6 or so, steady rain since then. It makes a lot of difference not being able to see you and talk with you… Went surveying with Dan and crew this morning, it’s rather fun and takes time. Read and siesta after mongo bean lunch, coco laced with coconut milk –very good. Had a meeting of G.O. and S. Department tonight. I am to have charge of the safety and protection of all camp supplies. That will put me close to the kitchen and I want to get a job there anyway for chow. I feel my appetite increasing with the lack of cigarettes. I certainly had a helluva time tonight at meeting. I suppose I’ll say to hell with it and start smoking again any day now. On the other hand, maybe I’ll wait until I can fondle a Camel and better still an Old Gold with a sip of S and S…

    • http://philippinediaryproject.com/1943/06/04/friday-june-4-1943/

      Diary of Charles Mock Friday, June 4, 1943

      The Filipinos are allegedly evacuating the Y tomorrow and we take possession Sunday—I wonder? Calhoun spoke to the crowd tonight. Said you were very crowded at Santo Tomás and there were no notes allowed thru the line. Food prices had caused CC to request increase from 70-85 cents per day from J, also that the ₱50,000 from abroad, was to be spent on medical supplies and distributed pro rata among the internees. I’m going to be able to take Accounting and another course or two. Guess the History is mine, looks as if I’d have a student or two this time. There were U.S. Army prisoners driving the trucks that came in with concrete tonight. They looked well fed and clothed. Porky refused to let the laundry go out of the camp today—arrangements had supposedly been made for men to send out laundry, but I guess they forgot to ask the captain of the guard.

  • http://philippinediaryproject.com/1942/05/20/may-20-1942/

    Diary of Ramon A. Alcaraz May 20, 1942

    Lt. Col. Nakar’s unsurrendered USFIP Unit in NL were remnants of 11th & 71st Div. cut off from Bataan, reorganized per Gen. MacArthur’s order as 14th Inf. under Lt. Col. Everett Warner USA last Jan 24 to operate as guerrillas in Cagayan Valley. When Bataan surrendered, Warner and fellow USA O’s gave up so Gen. Wainwright appointed Nakar ’32 as new CO, with Maj. Manuel Enriquez ’34, my Tac. O. at PMA, as ExO. Other O’s with him are Lts. Ed Navarro ’40; Melito Bulan ’41; Tanabe, Nery & Quines all ’42.

    • sonny

      “… Quines all ’42 …”

      An uncle on my mother’s side. All memory of him were pictures his wife standing over his grave. This picture repeated many times over. Lucky for those whose remains were recovered for burial, the lot of a country as battleground. RIP Philippine heroes.

  • http://philippinediaryproject.com/1943/05/14/friday-may-14-1943/

    Diary of Charles Mock Friday, May 14, 1943

    Last night was the final at Santo Tomás –Both [Charmian and I] quite upset… It has been very pleasant with Charmian for all these months… Loading started with Sec. 1 at about 6:45 instead 0f 7 as ordered. Whole procedure quite orderly –Darling, I could see you very clearly on the platform as we drove away and could hear or rather see the words your lips formed and I hope you received the same message from me. I love you.

    I’ll try to tell you what happened from that time on. It seemed rather quiet on the streets and only half familiar, I believe it was Tutuban station where we went. I was in the next to last truck as I recall and most of those who had preceded us were lined up in the freight yard on the loading platform with their baggage being searched. I kept my group together and then a J guard came along and ordered us to line up in 3 columns parallel with the tracks. Having done this we were told to unpack for inspection. For the first time one of the guards barked at me because he thought I was not going to pile things to the right of the bag as I unpacked. He was very brief though, slapped my pockets and seemed interested only in the contents with red white and black bag where I had letters etc.

    …Before most of my section had repacked a civilian J told us to move forward and we were counted as we entered the box cars, “slide door pullmans” you know. They were hot and dirty and although I didn’t count, I guess we were close to 60 per car, with baggage made it crowded but not unbearable. The guard closed door on the left side looking forward and the right door was open. A civilian J was in the car with us. Bill and I sat on our luggage near the left front ventilator of the car, he had some candy, cornbread and water which he shared on the trip. There were long stops at Paco Station and Nichols Field. It was hot, particularly when the train was stopped, but the trip didn’t seem too long, though we had to wait a long while at College Station before getting out of the train. Oh yes –3 nurses were on our car, the only one I know was Miss Todd. They were graciously allowed space between the doors, the left one was reopened shortly after leaving the station. There was quite a stink of sweat at first but one got used to it. Not much to be said about the trip, we were allowed out once, near Nichols Field, I think. Dick Harrell was in the same car, a big Nicaraguan in his group insisted on staying at one of the doors. The two Franciscos didn’t help the air much. I touched the metal roof once and very nearly burned my hand. Some were in all metal cars, fortunately ours had wooden sides.

  • http://philippinediaryproject.com/1942/05/13/may-13-1942/

    Diary of Victor Buencamino May 13, 1942

    When it rains, it pours. Another attack against Naric men in Pangasinan. This time Ramon Villasanta, special cashier and disbursing officer in Rosales was held up. ₱5,000, office funds, was taken from him…

    “On Sunday night, May 10th, I slept in Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija. The following morning, I went back to Rosales by calesa. When I arrived at our office premises, I noticed that the office was not yet open and it was past 8 o’clock. This was strange. The office usually opens at seven. I inquired why. Mr. Ernesto Mateo, bookkeeper, told me the story of Mr. Ueno’s death and how Tongson left for Tarlac to report the matter.

    “Now there had been previous threats that the Naric office would be raided. Therefore to play safe, I decided to transfer the office cash amounting to ₱5,000 to Tarlac for safe-keeping. For this reason, I entered the office by the back door. The key was in Mr. Castillo’s possession. Castillo is the warehouseman. I opened the safe, took the money, showed it to Mr. Mateo, and then I secretly deposited it in my bag which contained my clothes.

  • http://philippinediaryproject.com/1943/05/01/april-29-may-1-1943/

    Diary of Francis Burton Harrison April 29-May 1, 1943

    Shoreham Hotel.

    Quezon back from three weeks rest at Miami as guest of the military intelligence service. Originally he had planned to have me spend a fortnight with him to “finish his book” but on arrival there with his family he wired me there was no room available for me in the house which was provided for him. The real reason, however, as Trepp tells me, is that he was absolutely tired out, and spent the whole three weeks sleeping, resting and playing two-handed bridge. Dr. Trepp says that Quezon is in “good physical condition” but he, Trepp, does not know whether the President will live to get back to the Philippines if that is delayed four or five years longer. Quezon is already homesick, and much depressed by this “global strategy” which has postponed the prosecution of the Pacific War in favour of the European theatre. Trepp says Quezon is “wearing down.” He admits it is chiefly a question of spirit, and on this count, Quezon is getting gradually to realize how the cards are stacked against him and his country. Also he is deeply worried as to whether the Filipino leaders will continue to stand by him or whether they are provoked because Quezon and his family are safe in Washington while they are suffering under the Japanese occupation.

    I had only two sizeable conversations with Quezon in these three days. A good deal of our talk was over the attempt he is about to make, after an hour’s conversation he had April 27th with Sumner Welles to get the Administration to pledge itself to two or three principles essential to the future security of the Philippines after the Japanese are expelled. The first of this is the acceptance by the United States after the Philippine Republic is set up, of naval and air bases in the Islands; the ground forces of the air bases to be supplied by the Filipinos. Second, an appropriation of $600,000,000 by the United States to rehabilitate the Philippines, which Quezon thinks would repair all essential damage done by the Japanese and also allow the Filipinos to industrialize the Islands. Third, support by the United States Government of quota laws on immigration into the Philippines in order “to maintain our occidental, Christian civilization.” (This last, of course, refers to Chinese immigration.)

    • sonny

      I hold that a full picture (text & visual) of Pres Manuel Quezon must be kept as part of our National Archives/Memory. I find him truly a father of the modern Filipino nation.

  • http://philippinediaryproject.com/1944/04/29/april-29-1944/

    Clinical Record of President Quezon April 29, 1944

    12:30 A.M. Nembutal — one capsule of 1 1/2 grains given

    5:45 PM woke with persistent cough

    6:00 A.M. (?)

    6:30 AM sleeping

    9:00 AM — 97.7

    Vitamin pill 1/1 after breakfast. Vicks nasal drops instilled to each nostril.

    4:00 P.M. — 99.2

    6:00 P.M. — 99.2

    10:05 P.M. — 99. F.

    10:55 p.m. — (?)

    Note:

    The President would like the temperature taken noted down on this book besides the graphical chart.

    B.M.D.

    11:55 P.M. Vicks nasal drop

  • http://philippinediaryproject.com/1942/04/27/april-27-1942/

    Diary of Victor Buencamino April 27, 1942

    The old ways of eating malagkit rice are again in vogue with the scarcity of wheat flour. There is the puto, a neat mound of boiled rice, served with sugar and grated coconut. Other popular variations: champurado, bibingka, ampaw, palitaw, maja blanca and suman.

    A Philippine Red Cross unit has been formed by the Executive Commission with the approval of the Japanese Army. The newly created Commission is distinct and independent from the present Red Cross Society which is a chapter of the American Red Cross.

    Landings at Cotabato and Parang, Mindanao.

    Overheard a conversation at the dressing room of the Philippine Club between two old friends.

    “Yes siree, now it’s my turn. I was down during the American regime. Now I’m on top. I am a big shot (expanding his chest), if I may say so myself.

    “Well that’s the way with the world. Sometimes you’re up and then you’re down. That’s why they say the world’s round. It turns.”

  • http://philippinediaryproject.com/1942/03/23/march-23-1942-monday/

    Diary of Basilio J. Valdes
    March 23, 1942 – Monday

    Got up at 8 a.m. At 9 a.m. the air raid alarm was sounded. Three planes flew over our camp headed North. Apparently they believe this camp has been abandoned as they did not change their course.

    Shortly after the alarm was sounded Mr. Crawford the manager of Del Monte Pineapple Corporation rushed into the house occupied by the President and his family and took them away, on the grounds that the camp was dangerous. This he did without the knowledge of General Sharp. Absurd. He took them to his house which he built 5 kilometers away from the camp.

    I worked all day arranging my files of telegrams so as to reduce weight.

    Note: I overlooked writing in yesterday’s diary that upon my request Major Soriano spoke to the President regarding my trip, and expressed my points of view. The President answered that he will take me with him to Australia so that I can be with General MacArthur. He believes that it will be hard for me to remain in Mindanao or Cebu as the Commanding Generals are only Brigadier Generals. He added that in view of my rank and position I would be better with General MacArthur where I could observe and study his plan for the offensive. Later I spoke with the President and he reiterated what he had told Soriano.

  • Bill In Oz

    @Karl…Yes you are right Karl…MacArthur followed orders and they absolutely sucked for those left behind…

    There is a considerable published literature by American who were on Bataan and then in the death march and the prison camps… I wonder if there is much Filipino published literature saying what happened from their perspective.. Possibly it is in Tagalog and so cannot access it

    • I think that Filipinos in general have difficulty speaking or dealing with difficult periods so little literatur… it is their deep sensitivity that makes them incapable of dealing well with the scars that such times generate… there is a book coming out now about the Marcos period by Raissa Robles and I highly respect that because it takes courage to deal with a period one has experienced oneself… Philippine society often ridicules what is perceived as weakness.. so victims keep it to themselves.

  • Bill In Oz

    Sorry Irineo & Karl…I was actually trying to do the correct thing..But got confused..Irineo I mistakenly thought when you told me ‘Filipino’ that this meant Philippines is spelt with an F. as well..But now I know…

  • Bill In Oz

    I accidentally found this 1 hour youtube video from 2014 taken at a conference about MacArthur and his impact in Filipines and in Australia.. I had not know of it’s existence till just now.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc0o9Xg_pbo

    • sonny

      Good find, Bill. Watching the video gives an important focus to examining the man. Putting the excerpt from Connaughton with the video is night and day. The video is not a hagiography, I feel. Connaughton’s seems to be blind at the least. Each is looking at the same horizon of events with totally opposite conclusions. The history and recognition of MacArthur’s record is just too overwhelming to give any credit to Connaughton’s evaluation.

      • Bill In Oz

        Yes Sonny, an interesting find..I was a bit disappointed with it as it turned out to be the UK & Filipino consuls here at the microphone..Not academics who have examined the matter..

        I have not read all of Connaughton but what I have seen is indeed an accurate in depth historical report…

        BTW if you want to look at hagiography take a look at the video on Youtube of American Caeser by William Manchester.. It has Manchester reading MacArthur’s own ‘communiques’ to the US high command and the US media…

        High order propaganda !!

  • Bill In Oz

    Karl I am not sure if it fair to say that MacArthur deserted the Filipines..He did get orders from Roosevelt..And I have seen a copy of them. Eisenhower reproduced them in his memoirs of the time.

    But did MacArthur ‘organise’ things to be ordered via his publicity campaign in the USA ? That is a separate question and more open to debate.

    • I hope you don’t mind me correcting you.

      It is Philippines and Filipino.

      All is fair in love and war.This is but one version.

      He just followed orders,but those orders sucked for those left behind.

      • Karl, I have been reminding Bill of this some times, that Filipino sensitivity about the spelling of the country and nationality is very high. Thanks for being the second person to remind him of this – but I think Bill’s insensitivity to that is more on lack of awareness, there are many things he still does not know about the country.

  • MACARTHUR DESERTS “THE BATTLING BASTARDS OF BATAAN” AND ESCAPES TO AUSTRALIA

    “We’re the battling bastards of Bataan:
    No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam,
    No aunts, no uncles, no nephews, no nieces,
    No rifles, no planes, or artillery pieces,
    And nobody gives a damn.”
    This doggerel verse reflects the strong sense of betrayal felt by MacArthur’s troops on Bataan.

    MacArthur is shocked to learn that the Philippines had been abandoned by the United States to its fate

    On 4 February 1942, the submarine Trout arrived at Corregidor to transfer Philippine Treasury gold to a safe place and evacuate Lieutenant Colonel Warren J. Clear, an intelligence officer. Before departing, Clear revealed to MacArthur that the Arcadia Conferences, held in Washington between 22 December 1941 and 14 January 1942, and involving the chiefs of staff of the United States and Britain, had produced agreement between the United States and Britain “that only the minimum of force necessary for the safeguarding of vital interests in other theaters should be diverted from the operations against Germany”. In a study that the US Army planners had produced on 3 January 1942, they demonstrated that MacArthur’s plan for reinforcement of the Philippines from Australia was impractical while the Japanese ruled the seas in the western Pacific. The Army planners described MacArthur’s plan as “an entirely unjustifiable diversion of forces from the principal theater – the Atlantic”.

    After his escape to Australia, Macarthur is pictured with his chief of staff Major General Richard Sutherland.

    MacArthur was deeply shocked to learn that he and his command had effectively been abandoned to the Japanese by President Roosevelt. President Quezon was enraged by the news, and sent a cable to Roosevelt requesting immediate independence for the Philippines so that his government could negotiate a state of neutrality with the Japanese. Despite his bombastic press releases that had proclaimed his intention to defend the Philippines to the last man, MacArthur gave substantial support to Quezon’s request. Roosevelt was appalled by the proposal and rejected immediate independence. With the intention of shaming the Philippine president, Roosevelt indicated willingness to allow Quezon to surrender the Filipino troops if they had no stomach to continue fighting and leave the Americans to fight the Japanese alone. As expected, Quezon was shamed by the offer and declared his willingness to fight beside the American troops to the end. See: Richard Connaughton, “MacArthur and Defeat in the Philippines”, (2001) at pages 260-265.

    MacArthur was rebuked for supporting Quezon in a separate cable. He was ordered by General Marshall “to proceed rapidly to the organisation of your forces and defences so as to make your resistance as effective as circumstances will permit and as prolonged as humanly possible.” In his angry response to Washington on 11 February 1942, MacArthur insisted that he intended “fighting my present battle position in Bataan to destruction..” (Emphasis added by author). See Connaughton, at p. 265.

    MacArthur manipulates public opinion to facilitate his escape from the Philippines

    Despite his poor military judgment and other failings as a commander, MacArthur had a talent for self-promotion and cultivation of the media. He established a public relations office on his island stronghold of Corregidor in Manila Bay. During the siege of the Bataan Peninsula, while his desperate troops were starving, fighting, and dying in order to obey his order to hold their defensive lines to the end, MacArthur passed his time on Corregidor promoting an image of himself in American minds as the “Hero of the Pacific”. He bombarded the American media with extravagant and self-adulatory press releases that hailed his military genius and determination to fight to the last man in his command. These press releases mostly ignored the heroic resistance of the American and Philippine troops and attributed full credit for delaying the Japanese capture of Bataan to MacArthur’s brilliance as a commander. His former Chief of Staff in the Philippines and Australia, Major General Richard K. Sutherland conceded that MacArthur personally wrote or approved all of his self-adulatory press releases.

    In his history of MacArthur in the Philippines, Richard Connaughton wrote:

    “In the first three months of the war, MacArthur or his staff wrote 142 communiques; 109 of which mentioned one man, MacArthur. They carried brave, exciting, heartwarming, gripping though often imaginary accounts as to how MacArthur’s guile, leadership, and military genius had continually frustrated the evil intentions of Japan’s armed forces. His picture appeared on the cover of Time at the end of 1941 and, early in the new year, the effect of these press releases upon the American public served to whip them up into a frenzy of fawning adulation of MacArthur, American hero.”

    at page 225.

    MacArthur’s accounts of his brilliant defence of the Philippines were splashed across newspapers in the United States where the war news had been uniformly grim since Pearl Harbor. MacArthur had quickly transferred to a bank in the United States the “reward” of $500,000 given to him by President Quezon in early January 1942, and as he had no close relatives in the United States, it is not unreasonable to suspect that MacArthur did not intend to end his military career sharing the hardships of a Japanese prison camp with his troops. MacArthur’s self-glorification was aided by his powerful friends in the American media and politics who hailed him as the “Hero of the Pacific”, and helped to promote a myth that he was a military genius who could not be allowed to fall into Japanese hands when Bataan and Corregidor inevitably fell.

    President Roosevelt and senior army officers in Washington had become aware of the emptiness of MacArthur’s boast that his troops would stop the Japanese on the beaches of the Philippines. They knew that MacArthur had compromised the defence of the Philippines by allowing his effective air power to be eliminated on the ground despite nine hours advance warning of such a risk. They also knew that MacArthur had inflicted unnecessary suffering on his troops by failing to prepare Bataan for a lengthy defence.

    The phrase “to destruction” in MacArthur’s cable to Washington of 11 February 1942 sent a clear message that he intended to sacrifice himself and his family in defence of the Philippines, and the words caused alarm in Washington. Roosevelt was very conscious that MacArthur’s extravagant and self-serving press releases from Corregidor had made him a hero in the eyes of many Americans. The Democrats were facing tough mid-term Congressional elections in November, and Roosevelt was aware that MacArthur had powerful political support from the Republican side of politics. General Marshall urged Roosevelt to permit his old West Point classmate to be evacuated from the Philippines to take up a new command before the Japanese overran the defenders. General Dwight D. Eisenhower (later to become 34th President of the United States) had served as chief of staff under MacArthur in the Philippines in 1939. Eisenhower was aware of MacArthur’s talent for self-agrandisement, and he had serious reservations about MacArthur’s military competence. He urged Roosevelt not to bow to public pressure by saving MacArthur from sharing capture with his troops.

    President Roosevelt also had strong doubts about MacArthur’s military competence, but he was faced with enormous pressure in the United States to save the “Hero of the Pacific” from the Japanese and give him a new command. Although reluctant to do so, Roosevelt bowed to public opinion and political pressure. He decided to offer MacArthur a new command in the Pacific region. When the senior admirals of the United States Navy informed Roosevelt that they would not serve under MacArthur, Roosevelt decided to offer MacArthur an appointment as Supreme Commander, South-West Pacific Area (SWPA) with his headquarters in Australia. MacArthur would not be told that Roosevelt and Churchill had agreed at the Arcadia Conference in late December 1942 that the South-West Pacific, including Australia, would be relegated to the status of a secondary theatre of war while the Allies concentrated on defeating Germany.

    US Army Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall, contacted MacArthur in early February 1942 to mention the President’s offer of a new command in Australia and to suggest that MacArthur consider leaving the Philippines with his family and his most senior staff officer before the Japanese overran the defenders of Bataan.

    MacArthur discussed General Marshall’s proposal with his senior staff officers, and they agreed with him that the American position in the Philippines was hopeless and that they and MacArthur could best serve their country by leaving their troops to fight on to the end while they escaped to Australia. MacArthur advised General Marshall that he was prepared to leave the Philippines. On 22 February 1942, President Roosevelt reluctantly ordered MacArthur to leave the Philippines and take up the new command in Australia.

    MacArthur prepares to abandon his troops to the Japanese

    MacArthur realised that his departure for Australia could be misunderstood by his abandoned troops, and he requested time to prepare the groundwork for his departure from the battlefield with his senior staff officers. Before leaving them, MacArthur gave his desperate troops false hope of reinforcements. MacArthur assured them that many thousands of fresh troops were on their way, with strong air support, to relieve the beleaguered American and Philippine forces on Bataan. He ordered them to fight on until these reinforcements arrived. The promise of a relieving force from the United States was a cruel lie, and MacArthur knew it to be so. The order to sick and starving troops to fight on in a hopeless cause doomed them to greater suffering than they might otherwise have experienced.

    On 11 March 1942, MacArthur departed for Australia under cover of night with his wife, his son, his son’s nanny, and a large contingent of his closest and most trusted staff officers. Although ordered by General Marshall to take only one senior staff officer with him to Australia, MacArthur disobeyed the order and left the Philippines with fourteen staff officers, including his Chief of Staff, Major General Richard Sutherland. These staff officers were notorious for their sycophancy and lack of combat experience, and became known in Australia as the “Bataan Gang”.

    MacArthur left behind his starving troops, female army nurses, and many civilians to face the fury of a Japanese Army frustrated and angered by the stubborn resistance of the American and Filipino troops. With MacArthur’s departure, Major General Jonathan M. Wainwright assumed command of American Army Forces in the Philippines with the temporary rank of Lieutenant General and the certain knowledge that he and his command were doomed to death or capture.

    From the safety of Australia, MacArthur orders his troops to fight to the end

    From the safety of Australia, MacArthur sent the following callous message to General Wainwright:

    “I am utterly opposed under any circumstances or conditions to the ultimate capitulation of this command (i.e. the Philippines). If food fails, you will prepare and execute an attack upon the enemy”.

    Speaking of MacArthur’s order to his sick and starving troops to fight to the end, and his infamous lie that reinforcements were on the way from the United States, one of the abandoned Americans on Bataan, Brigadier General William E. Brougher, probably expressed the views of most of them when he described the order and lie as:

    “A foul trick of deception played on a large group of Americans by a commander-in-chief and his small staff who are now eating steak and eggs in Australia”.

    http://www.pacificwar.org.au/Philippines/Macescapes.html

  • MACARTHUR DESERTS “THE BATTLING BASTARDS OF BATAAN” AND ESCAPES TO AUSTRALIA

    “We’re the battling bastards of Bataan:
    No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam,
    No aunts, no uncles, no nephews, no nieces,
    No rifles, no planes, or artillery pieces,
    And nobody gives a damn.”
    This doggerel verse reflects the strong sense of betrayal felt by MacArthur’s troops on Bataan.

    MacArthur is shocked to learn that the Philippines had been abandoned by the United States to its fate

    On 4 February 1942, the submarine Trout arrived at Corregidor to transfer Philippine Treasury gold to a safe place and evacuate Lieutenant Colonel Warren J. Clear, an intelligence officer. Before departing, Clear revealed to MacArthur that the Arcadia Conferences, held in Washington between 22 December 1941 and 14 January 1942, and involving the chiefs of staff of the United States and Britain, had produced agreement between the United States and Britain “that only the minimum of force necessary for the safeguarding of vital interests in other theaters should be diverted from the operations against Germany”. In a study that the US Army planners had produced on 3 January 1942, they demonstrated that MacArthur’s plan for reinforcement of the Philippines from Australia was impractical while the Japanese ruled the seas in the western Pacific. The Army planners described MacArthur’s plan as “an entirely unjustifiable diversion of forces from the principal theater – the Atlantic”.

    After his escape to Australia, Macarthur is pictured with his chief of staff Major General Richard Sutherland.

    MacArthur was deeply shocked to learn that he and his command had effectively been abandoned to the Japanese by President Roosevelt. President Quezon was enraged by the news, and sent a cable to Roosevelt requesting immediate independence for the Philippines so that his government could negotiate a state of neutrality with the Japanese. Despite his bombastic press releases that had proclaimed his intention to defend the Philippines to the last man, MacArthur gave substantial support to Quezon’s request. Roosevelt was appalled by the proposal and rejected immediate independence. With the intention of shaming the Philippine president, Roosevelt indicated willingness to allow Quezon to surrender the Filipino troops if they had no stomach to continue fighting and leave the Americans to fight the Japanese alone. As expected, Quezon was shamed by the offer and declared his willingness to fight beside the American troops to the end. See: Richard Connaughton, “MacArthur and Defeat in the Philippines”, (2001) at pages 260-265.

    MacArthur was rebuked for supporting Quezon in a separate cable. He was ordered by General Marshall “to proceed rapidly to the organisation of your forces and defences so as to make your resistance as effective as circumstances will permit and as prolonged as humanly possible.” In his angry response to Washington on 11 February 1942, MacArthur insisted that he intended “fighting my present battle position in Bataan to destruction..” (Emphasis added by author). See Connaughton, at p. 265.

    MacArthur manipulates public opinion to facilitate his escape from the Philippines

    Despite his poor military judgment and other failings as a commander, MacArthur had a talent for self-promotion and cultivation of the media. He established a public relations office on his island stronghold of Corregidor in Manila Bay. During the siege of the Bataan Peninsula, while his desperate troops were starving, fighting, and dying in order to obey his order to hold their defensive lines to the end, MacArthur passed his time on Corregidor promoting an image of himself in American minds as the “Hero of the Pacific”. He bombarded the American media with extravagant and self-adulatory press releases that hailed his military genius and determination to fight to the last man in his command. These press releases mostly ignored the heroic resistance of the American and Philippine troops and attributed full credit for delaying the Japanese capture of Bataan to MacArthur’s brilliance as a commander. His former Chief of Staff in the Philippines and Australia, Major General Richard K. Sutherland conceded that MacArthur personally wrote or approved all of his self-adulatory press releases.

    In his history of MacArthur in the Philippines, Richard Connaughton wrote:

    “In the first three months of the war, MacArthur or his staff wrote 142 communiques; 109 of which mentioned one man, MacArthur. They carried brave, exciting, heartwarming, gripping though often imaginary accounts as to how MacArthur’s guile, leadership, and military genius had continually frustrated the evil intentions of Japan’s armed forces. His picture appeared on the cover of Time at the end of 1941 and, early in the new year, the effect of these press releases upon the American public served to whip them up into a frenzy of fawning adulation of MacArthur, American hero.”

    at page 225.

    MacArthur’s accounts of his brilliant defence of the Philippines were splashed across newspapers in the United States where the war news had been uniformly grim since Pearl Harbor. MacArthur had quickly transferred to a bank in the United States the “reward” of $500,000 given to him by President Quezon in early January 1942, and as he had no close relatives in the United States, it is not unreasonable to suspect that MacArthur did not intend to end his military career sharing the hardships of a Japanese prison camp with his troops. MacArthur’s self-glorification was aided by his powerful friends in the American media and politics who hailed him as the “Hero of the Pacific”, and helped to promote a myth that he was a military genius who could not be allowed to fall into Japanese hands when Bataan and Corregidor inevitably fell.

    President Roosevelt and senior army officers in Washington had become aware of the emptiness of MacArthur’s boast that his troops would stop the Japanese on the beaches of the Philippines. They knew that MacArthur had compromised the defence of the Philippines by allowing his effective air power to be eliminated on the ground despite nine hours advance warning of such a risk. They also knew that MacArthur had inflicted unnecessary suffering on his troops by failing to prepare Bataan for a lengthy defence.

    The phrase “to destruction” in MacArthur’s cable to Washington of 11 February 1942 sent a clear message that he intended to sacrifice himself and his family in defence of the Philippines, and the words caused alarm in Washington. Roosevelt was very conscious that MacArthur’s extravagant and self-serving press releases from Corregidor had made him a hero in the eyes of many Americans. The Democrats were facing tough mid-term Congressional elections in November, and Roosevelt was aware that MacArthur had powerful political support from the Republican side of politics. General Marshall urged Roosevelt to permit his old West Point classmate to be evacuated from the Philippines to take up a new command before the Japanese overran the defenders. General Dwight D. Eisenhower (later to become 34th President of the United States) had served as chief of staff under MacArthur in the Philippines in 1939. Eisenhower was aware of MacArthur’s talent for self-agrandisement, and he had serious reservations about MacArthur’s military competence. He urged Roosevelt not to bow to public pressure by saving MacArthur from sharing capture with his troops.

    President Roosevelt also had strong doubts about MacArthur’s military competence, but he was faced with enormous pressure in the United States to save the “Hero of the Pacific” from the Japanese and give him a new command. Although reluctant to do so, Roosevelt bowed to public opinion and political pressure. He decided to offer MacArthur a new command in the Pacific region. When the senior admirals of the United States Navy informed Roosevelt that they would not serve under MacArthur, Roosevelt decided to offer MacArthur an appointment as Supreme Commander, South-West Pacific Area (SWPA) with his headquarters in Australia. MacArthur would not be told that Roosevelt and Churchill had agreed at the Arcadia Conference in late December 1942 that the South-West Pacific, including Australia, would be relegated to the status of a secondary theatre of war while the Allies concentrated on defeating Germany.

    US Army Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall, contacted MacArthur in early February 1942 to mention the President’s offer of a new command in Australia and to suggest that MacArthur consider leaving the Philippines with his family and his most senior staff officer before the Japanese overran the defenders of Bataan.

    MacArthur discussed General Marshall’s proposal with his senior staff officers, and they agreed with him that the American position in the Philippines was hopeless and that they and MacArthur could best serve their country by leaving their troops to fight on to the end while they escaped to Australia. MacArthur advised General Marshall that he was prepared to leave the Philippines. On 22 February 1942, President Roosevelt reluctantly ordered MacArthur to leave the Philippines and take up the new command in Australia.

    MacArthur prepares to abandon his troops to the Japanese

    MacArthur realised that his departure for Australia could be misunderstood by his abandoned troops, and he requested time to prepare the groundwork for his departure from the battlefield with his senior staff officers. Before leaving them, MacArthur gave his desperate troops false hope of reinforcements. MacArthur assured them that many thousands of fresh troops were on their way, with strong air support, to relieve the beleaguered American and Philippine forces on Bataan. He ordered them to fight on until these reinforcements arrived. The promise of a relieving force from the United States was a cruel lie, and MacArthur knew it to be so. The order to sick and starving troops to fight on in a hopeless cause doomed them to greater suffering than they might otherwise have experienced.

    On 11 March 1942, MacArthur departed for Australia under cover of night with his wife, his son, his son’s nanny, and a large contingent of his closest and most trusted staff officers. Although ordered by General Marshall to take only one senior staff officer with him to Australia, MacArthur disobeyed the order and left the Philippines with fourteen staff officers, including his Chief of Staff, Major General Richard Sutherland. These staff officers were notorious for their sycophancy and lack of combat experience, and became known in Australia as the “Bataan Gang”.

    MacArthur left behind his starving troops, female army nurses, and many civilians to face the fury of a Japanese Army frustrated and angered by the stubborn resistance of the American and Filipino troops. With MacArthur’s departure, Major General Jonathan M. Wainwright assumed command of American Army Forces in the Philippines with the temporary rank of Lieutenant General and the certain knowledge that he and his command were doomed to death or capture.

    From the safety of Australia, MacArthur orders his troops to fight to the end

    From the safety of Australia, MacArthur sent the following callous message to General Wainwright:

    “I am utterly opposed under any circumstances or conditions to the ultimate capitulation of this command (i.e. the Philippines). If food fails, you will prepare and execute an attack upon the enemy”.

    Speaking of MacArthur’s order to his sick and starving troops to fight to the end, and his infamous lie that reinforcements were on the way from the United States, one of the abandoned Americans on Bataan, Brigadier General William E. Brougher, probably expressed the views of most of them when he described the order and lie as:

    “A foul trick of deception played on a large group of Americans by a commander-in-chief and his small staff who are now eating steak and eggs in Australia”.

  • Bill’s comment on Open Cities was another Eye Opener.

    “In war, in the event of the imminent capture of a city, the government/military structure of the nation that controls the city will sometimes declare it an open city, thus announcing that it has abandoned all defensive efforts. The attacking armies of the opposing military will then be expected not to bomb or otherwise attack the city but simply march in. The concept aims at protecting the city’s historic landmarks and resident civilians from an unnecessary battle.

    Attacking forces do not always respect the declaration of an “open city”. Defensive forces will use it as a political tactic as well.[1] In some cases, the declaration of a city to be “open” is made by a side on the verge of defeat and surrender; in other cases, those making such a declaration are willing and able to fight on but prefer that the specific city be spared.

    According to the Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions, it is forbidden for the attacking party to “attack, by any means whatsoever, non-defended localities”.[2]”

    • Some may have thought that it was an open invitation,because of what happened.

      “Manila was declared an open city on 26 December 1941 by US general Douglas MacArthur during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines.[7] The Imperial Japanese Army ignored the declaration and bombed the city.[8]”

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