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How the U.S. Military Has Prevented Thermo-Nuclear War Today
and Fifty Years Ago Under General Douglas MacArthur

by Donald Phau
November 2012

Page number references to Douglas MacArthur's autobiograpy, Reminiscences, refer to the ____ edition.

Nuclear bomb exploding over Hiroshima, Japan.

The world is now on a razor’s edge of nuclear war with wars in Libya, Syria and threatened war with Iran. The fact that it is the U.S. military’s General Martin Dempsey, as head of the Joint Chiefs who, in the words of Lyndon LaRouche, “has saved the U.S. from extinction,” by stymieing Obama from getting a thermo-nuclear war going, should not come as a big surprise. The role of the U.S. military has been key in the development and the leadership of the United States since the nation’s founding. Many of the founders were military leaders. Our first president was chief of the U.S. Army. The leadership of General Dempsey comes out of the tradition of the military leaders of WWII. One of those military leaders was General Douglas MacArthur.

With the development of nuclear weapons and the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered, but they had already lost all ability to defend themselves.[1] When MacArthur accepted the surrender of the Japanese on the battleship Missouri in 1945, he said “wars were now useless”. Afterwards in his final address to a joint session of Congress, MacArthur challenged the nation to change its ways or face the “Armageddon” of extinction. In that address he said:

“Military alliances, balances of power, leagues of nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war. The utter destructiveness of war now blots out this alternative. We have had our last chance. If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door. The problem is basically theological and involves a spiritual recrudescence and improvement of human character that will synchronize with our almost matchless advances in science, art, literature, and all material and cultural developments of the past 2000 years. It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh.”

Douglas MacArthur lived from 1880 and died in 1964. He was a five star General and an adviser to Presidents including John F. Kennedy before JFK was assassinated. It is virtually impossible to find a truthful account of MacArthur’s life despite the many biographies written about him. Many of those biographies were written by people doing the lying work of the British. Many of those authors amidst their “scholarly” factual account have an underlying hatred and jealousy of MacArthur. These lying biographies are laced throughout with adjectives which reflect the contempt of the authors for the General. They describe him as “egomaniacal”, “imperial”, “dictatorial”. Typical, is the writings of Stanley Weintraub, author of many books about WWII and post-WWII. In the opening of one of his books, MacArthur’s War: Korea and the Undoing of an American Hero, Weintraub writes of MacArthur’s post-war governing of Japan, a country that had been left devastated by WWII which under MacArthur’s leadership was rebuilt into one of the leading nations of the world. Weintraub camouflages his contempt by attacking the press for covering up the “real” MacArthur in their accounts of his administration of Japan. Weintraub writes, “American reporters were more MacArthur boosters than reporters… Lie was good for Americans in imperial MacArthur’s Japan. And toadying to the Shogun in the Dai-Ichi (MacArthur’s headquarters) meant preferential treatment in accommodations, amenities, access to exclusive stories and interviews. MacArthur…kept his wartime swelled head…” A critical reading of “eminent” historian of Presidents, William Manchester’s biography of MacArthur, reflects this hatred for the general. The title of Manchester’s biography, American Caesar, should forewarn the reader what to expect between the covers.

Fortunately, MacArthur wrote his own autobiography; perhaps he suspected that future historical accounts would aim to distort his life. The autobiography is called Reminiscences.

In Reminiscences MacArthur writes of significant early influences on his life from his father Arthur MacArthur and from President William McKinley. His father was a hero in the Civil War, who was promoted to Colonel after leading Union troops to a key battle at the age of nineteen. Later he is made a Lieutenant General, the highest rank in the Army . He was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery in the Civil War. MacArthur’s grandfather was appointed a U.S. Supreme Court Judge by President Grant.

His father, like his son Douglas, was characterized by fearlessness. A senior captain wrote of Arthur MacArthur in the Civil War:

“Arthur was magnificent. He seems afraid of nothing, He’d fight a pack of tigers in the jungle. He has become the hero of the regiment. As you know, vacancies among the officers are now filled by vote and Arthur, by unanimous agreement, has been elevated to the rank of Major.”

Douglas MacArthur

Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Manila, Phillipines.

Douglas MacArthur, reknowned as a great military general, was a creative genius in the tradition of poets, musicians and great American statesmen.

In his early twenties MacArthur heard one of the first speeches William McKinley gave as President. McKinley’s speech focused on explaining to the Philippino people that America, unlike European colonial powers like Spain, was unique compared to other world powers. America had just won a war against Spain, taking the Philippines as its territory. Douglas was then living with his father in the Philippines, who had been appointed by McKinley to govern the new Philippine territory, taken from Spain in the Spanish American War. It was this speech that would guide the young MacArthur throughout his life. Douglas writes in Reminiscences, “I cannot tell you how profound an impression that speech made upon me. Little did I dream, however, that nearly fifty years later that it was to guide my conduct in the occupation of a defeated enemies country.” [page 20].

In the speech McKinley said:

The future of the Philippine Islands is now in the hands of the American people, and the Paris Treaty commits the free and franchised Filipinos to the guiding hand and the liberalizing influences, the generous sympathies, the uplifting agitation, not of their American masters, but of their American emancipators.

Until the Congress should direct otherwise, it will be the duty of the Executive to possess and hold the Philippines, giving to the people there peace and order and beneficent government, affording every opportunity to prosecute their lawful pursuits, and encouraging them in thrift and industry; making them feel and know that we are their good friends, not their enemies; and their good is our aim, that theirs is our welfare, but that neither their aspirations nor ours can be realized, until our authority is acknowledged and unquestioned; and that the inhabitants of the Philippines will be benefitted by this Republic is my unshaken belief; that they will have a kindlier government under our guidance, and that they will be aided in every way possible to be a self-respecting and self-governing people, is as true as that the American people love liberty and have abiding faith in their own government and their own institutions. 

No imperial designs lurk in the American mind. They are alien to American sentiment, thought and purpose. Our priceless principles undergo no change under the tropical sun. They go with a fiat, Why read ye not the changeless truth, the free can conquer but to save?”

For a people who had been living under Spanish colonial rule for hundreds of years, President McKinley sought to educate them to an understanding of the “American System”. They were free of government of imperial rule. The young MacArthur understood what McKinley was doing and he would cherish these ideals his entire life. His spirit to fight against all odds and win, was inspired by these ideas.

The Wars

Douglas detested the first World War’s set piece trench warfare, where the Generals of the European powers treated their soldiers as cattle to be slaughtered. WWI’s battles between Germany, Italy, France and Russia, saw the deaths of millions. In WWI soldiers were sacrificed by massed, head-on battles. The key to MacArthur’s battle successes was his use of the art of surprise. Just as one listens to a work of Beethoven or Mozart, where the composer never writes music that is repetitious and therefore boring, but, when you least expect it, the composer prods your imagination, waking you up so to speak, exciting you to look into the future for new surprise. Douglas MacArthur’s creative spirit was first demonstrated on the field of battle in WWI. He rejected “trench warfare” and always thought of ways to outflank the enemy. He rose to the rank of General leading the first division of American soldiers to arrive in Europe. He changed the positions of his troops and on the offensive he led lightning attacks. He constantly caught the opposing Germans by surprise. In one battle he reported he took thousands of prisoners. Attacked, the Germans were forced to flee their trenches so when the American troops arrived, the German’s coffee was still warm. In another battle, though wounded he led his command to victory. He was awarded a total of five silver stars for bravery during the war, the medal below the medal of honor.

Between Wars

Late in his career MacArthur said that “Surprise is the most vital element in the success of war.” After WWI MacArthur was promoted to chief of staff of the U.S. Army. One of the lies that has been reiterated is of MacArthur’s brutal treatment of the thousands of army veterans who, with the onset of the Depression, had camped out in Washington lawns demanding that they be given extra pay or bonuses for their service. They were called “The Bonus Marchers.” At first 17,000 people were camped out, using every available space in D.C. Franklin Roosevelt, then governor of New York, offered to pay the fares to bring the New York contingent home. After the Washington police were attacked, outnumbered five to one, President Hoover ordered MacArthur to remove the “Bonus Army.” MacArthur writes that he researched the “Bonus Army”, writing “Not more than one in ten of those …was a veteran... A third of the Bonus Marchers had criminal records ranging from drunkenness to murder and rape.” MacArthur put General Perry Miles in command of 600 soldiers who were ordered to remove the Bonus Marchers. MacArthur personally observed their removal. He notes, “I was accompanied by two officers who would write their names in world history, Major Dwight Eisenhower and Major George S. Patton.”

MacArthur writes of the removal setting the record straight.

“Not a shot was fired. The sticks, clubs and stones of the rioters were met only by tear gas and steady pressure. No one was killed and there was no serious injuries on either side.” By evening the area where the veterans were camping out was cleared.”

MacArthur made the following statement on the request of the Secretary of Defense:

“If President Hoover had not acted when he did he would have been faced with a serious situation. Another week might have meant the government was in peril…Had the President not acted when he did he would have been derelict in his duty.” [page 95]

WWII and the Korean War

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt appointed MacArthur as Supreme Commander of the Pacific theatre, promoting him to a five star General. MacArthur’s job was to defeat the Japanese though, he writes that he had at his command less than two per cent of the total U.S. Army . This was less than 100,000 of one million U.S. soldiers stationed outside of the U.S. and even a lesser per centage of the Navy. Though he was never told directly, it was as clear, that Roosevelt and the Joint Chiefs had made defeating the Nazis in Europe as the primary goal. MacArthur would complain but he did the best he could with the resources available.

The Japanese invaded and captured the Philipines. MacArthur retreated with his 40,000 troops to the island of Corregidor off the Philipines coast. Despite heavy daily bombing by the Japanese which had total air superiority, MacArthur, cut off from food and supplies maintained his forces. Surrounded, the Japanese commander sent him a message “Surrender or die”. MacArthur, his troops near starvation, refused to surrender. Roosevelt directly ordered him to leave for Australia, he was considering disobeying his Commander-in-Chief’s order (one way, he thought of resigning from the Army and become a volunteer). He only left for Australia when his own officers convinced him that he could not defy a direct order from the President. His departing words to his troops were broadcast internationally, “I shall return.”

The Japanese outnumbered MacArthur’s forces in men, planes and ships. They captured the Philippines. MacArthur launched his strategy off island hopping, rarely battling the Japanese head-on but cutting off the supplies to the islands where they were heavily entrenched. In the battle of Leyte Gulf, the brilliance of MacArthur’s strategy is shown by the number of dead on both sides. The Japanese, who refused to surrender suffered 80,557 deaths, MacArthur’s 3,320 dead, a ratio of 26 Japanese to one American. Years later the Japanese Emperor said this was the decisive battle of the war.

British Treachery

With the defeat of the Japanese, MacArthur had to contend with a British plan to set up a commission which would divide up the country. The British planned to divide Japan up into sectors like Germany at the end of the war. Japan which is made up of islands would have each island controlled by different countries: the British, French, Russians and the U.S. The British also wanted to put Emperor Hirohito on trial for war crimes. MacArhur would squash all of the British plans. He writes:

“When Washington seemed to be veering toward the British point of view, I had advised that I would need at least one million reinforcements should such an action be taken …”

“I believe that if the Emperor were indicted, and perhaps hanged, as a war criminal, military government would have to be instituted throughout all of Japan and guerilla warfare would probably break out.”

Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito at their first meeting, at the U.S. Embassy, Tokyo, September 27, 1945.

MacArthur had the Emperor’s name stricken from the list of war criminals. Many in Washington said that MacArthur should enter Japan guarded by thousands of U.S. troops, since he would be opposed by millions of Japanese many of them armed. MacArthur understood the oriental mind, when his plane landed in Tokyo to set up his command post to govern Japan, he only brought a few dozen soldiers with him. When he drove to his headquarters in a single car, thousands of armed Japanese soldiers lined the road with their backs to the road as a sign of respect. Washington said to immediately go to the Emperor’s Palace to officially establish American rule. MacArthur instead waited, saying the Emperor would come to him.

Within a few days Emperor Hirohito did come to visit him. In his opening words he said to MacArthur that he offers himself “as the one to bear sole responsibility for every political and military decision made and action taken by my people in the conduct of war.” MacArthur writes “that a tremendous impression swept me. This courageous assumption of a responsibility implicit with death, a responsibility clearly belied the facts which I was fully aware, moved me to the marrow of my bones.” A number of Japanese Generals were tried and hung for war crimes. But for the next five years MacArthur and Hirohito would work closely together to create a modern Japan.

At the wars end the Japanese were starving. Japan had been cut off from its colonies which were the source of its food imports. MacArthur ordered the release of 3,500,000 tons of food supplies, which the Army had built up in the Pacific. He writes “The effect upon the Japanese was electric.” When many in the U.S. Congress protested, MacArthur told them “Give me bread or bullets. I got bread.” MacArthur suggested to the Japanese Prime Minister to set up a health department. They did, and began a mass inoculation program in the schools of 70,000,000 people. Small pox which had been rampant virtually disappeared. Cholera, tuberculosis, and diphtheria, cases of the later were reduced by 86 per cent in three years. His medical officers estimated that 2,000,000 lives were saved in the first two years of the occupation by these health measures.

Many other measures were taken in education, land reform. Women were given the right to vote for the first time. In short MacArthur followed the American system approach that he had learned from his father, William McKinley and Franklin Roosevelt.

But things changed when Roosevelt died and Truman became president. MacArthur saw that Truman was ready to abandon all of China including the Republic of China on Formosa to the communists. MacArthur formed alliances to fight against Truman’s polices which were controlled by the British. One of his allies was a young Congressman from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy. In his book MacArthur quotes from a 1945 speech that Kennedy gave in Salem Mass., where Kennedy criticizes Truman’s policy toward China. In an excerpt Kennedy says :

“During the postwar period began the great split of the minds of our diplomats over whether to support the Government of Chiang Kai-shek or force Chiang Kai-shek out as a price of our assistance to bring Chinese Communists into his government to form a coalition…

“This is a tragic story of China whose freedom we once fought to preserve. What our young men have saved, our diplomats and our President have frittered away.” [page 321]

On the End of War

By the time of the Korean War MacArthur was one of three five star generals in the U.S. Army. The North Koreans had taken over all of Korea. Under his command U.S. soldiers re-conquered all of Korea, again, using the art of surprise. Under his direct command he led a surprise amphibious landing in Korea’s central western port of Inchon. Inchon was a heavily fortified city in North Korea near the South Korean capital, Seoul. The North Koreans never expected that MacArthur would ever get his troops near the city. Inchon was two miles inland and only reachable through a narrow river passage connecting the city to the ocean. The passage was only filled with water deep enough to float a boat for two hours in the morning and two in the evening. The area had one of the highest tides in the world. Except for high tide, at other times of the day the passage turned into two miles of thick mud. A boat that didn’t get in and out during high tide would be hopelessly stuck in mud. Over the objections of virtually his entire general staff MacArthur ordered his army to land at Inchon. On the day of the landing MacArthur personally oversaw the landing of 30,000 US troops capturing Inchon. From there they marched on to Seoul, located 100 miles further inland. He then went on to capture all of Korea.

Red China entered the war reinforcing the North Koreans with millions of troops. When MacArthur was accused of wanting to expand the war in Korea he wrote:

“I have constantly called for the new political decisions essential to a solution. Efforts have been made to distort my position. It has been said that I was in effect a war monger. Nothing could be further from the truth. I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a means of settling international disputes.”

MacArthur wanted to outflank the communist Chinese stopping their invasion of Korea by cutting off their supply lines by a Naval blockade, but the Joint chiefs wrote to him that “a naval blockade off the coast of China would require negotiations with the British in view of the extent of British trade with China through Hong Kong.” Lies were spread that MacArthur wanted to send mass ground forces into Red China . MacArthur writes that he wanted to end the war not spread it. He stated publicly,  a number of times, “Anyone in favor of sending American ground troops to fight on Chinese soil should have his head examined.” [page 389]

His Dismissal

MacArthur writes

”that at one o’clock in the morning, Truman summoned the press to the White House and announced his relief from command of the Far East…he was apparently of the belief I was conspiring in some under handed way with the Republican leadership. This was completely erroneous. I had no part whatsoever in the political situation. Although nominally a Republican, probably because of my attraction to Abraham Lincoln, I had always expressed admiration for the accomplishments of the Democratic Party, and appreciation of its many leaders. Such criticism as I have made have never been of parties, but what I regarded as concrete instances of mistakes and failures of the parties.”

MacArthur first learned of his dismissal through press dispatches over the radio. He writes

“No office boy, no charwomen, no servant of any sort would have been dismissed with such callous disregard for ordinary decencies.”

One of his close aides, then in Washington called his wife to tell her that MacArthur had been removed from command “because there was doubt that I could support the policies of the Administration.”’ It ended his fifteen years in the Pacific since he left Washington.

Today MacArthur’s words are reflected in the action of the Joint Chief of Staff. His spirit, though unseen, can be felt through the actions of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and its head General Dempsey in preventing our current mad president Barack Obama from launching nuclear war.

Whether there is a future for man, whether we explore the solar system and beyond will depend on whether men like General MacArthur and Lyndon LaRouche come forward and assume the leadership of the nation.


[1] In his Reminiscences he writes that by the summer of 1945 the U.S. victories in the South Pacific had cut off the ability for the Japanese to defend their home islands. He writes “They were unable to conduct an orderly retreat, in classic fashion, to fall back on inner perimeters with forces intact for a last defense of Japan’s main islands.. It was a situation unique in modern war. Never had such large numbers of troops been outmaneuvered, separated from each other, and left tactically impotent to take an active part in the final battle for their homeland.” [page 260] MacArthur drew up plans “for a peaceful occupation” without further military operation.