Douglas MacArthur vs Husband E. Kimmel Walter Short

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by gjs238, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    After the loss of the Philippines, why did MacArthur survive politically while Kimmel and Short's careers were ruined?
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Because MacArthur had powerful friends in the Republican Party. If Big Mac had been fired for military incompetence (which was certainly true) he would have taken President FDR down with him. So MacArthur bombarded the American Government with press releases which were gross distortions of reality and President FDR insured those press releases made it into all the major newspapers. Then President FDR arranged for MacArthur to be assigned to Australia which was something of a military backwater during 1942 to 1944 but had the benefit of being located a long way from CONUSA.
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I think it was because the defeat in the PI was a gradual loss. MacArthur was looked upon as a leader fighting an onslaught. Additionally MacArthur was a better politician.
     
  4. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    total agreement, The disaster at Pearl REQUIRED someone to blame and those two, unfortunately, were holding the dirty-end of the stick and fell on their swords. As I recall, a few years ago the army reversed its findings and restored both of them.
    Mac was simply better at PR and never failed to keep his image untarnished plus he was very politically savy and had done many "dirty" jobs for the Fed, i.e. his putting down of the WWI veterans bonus march on D.C.
     
  5. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    The simple fact that Pearl Harbor was closer and was supposed to be a "safe" location might have had something to do with it. However, I do find it odd that Kimmel and Short were hung out to dry when they were attacked without warning whereas MacArthur had several hours' warning and still failed to disperse his air assets...and yet he still emerged with his reputation mostly intact.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That excuse doesn't cut it for any American military commander in the Pacific. They received a war warning two weeks prior to the Japanese attacks.

    24 Nov 1941.
    Admiral Hart relayed Navy Department message to Gen MacArthur
    MESSAGE TEXT (STARK TO HART):

    THE CHIEF OF STAFF IS IN AGREEMENT WITH THE ESTIMATE PRESENTED HEREWITH AND REQUESTS THAT YOU INFORM THE SENIOR ARMY OFFICER IN YOUR AREA COLON CHANCES OF FAVORABLE OUTCOME OF UNITED STATES DASH JAPANESE NEGOTIATIONS ARE VERY DOUBTFUL PERIOD THIS SITUATION TOGETHER WITH STATEMENTS OF JAPANESE GOVERNMENT AND MOVEMENT OF THEIR MILITARY AND NAVAL FORCE INTIMATE IN OUR OPINION THAT SURPRISE AGGRESSIVE MOVEMENT IN ANY DIRECTION INCLUDING ATTACK ON PHILIPPINES OR GUAM IS A POSSIBILITY STOP THIS INFORMATION MUST BE TREATED WITH UTMOST SECRECY IN ORDER NOT TO COMPLICATE A TENSE SITUATION OR PRECIPITATE ACTION END STARK).
     
  7. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Politics, phooy!
     
  8. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    There had been a series of war warnings in the run-up to the Japanese attack but there's a world of difference between a non-specific "something's going to happen somewhere" (which is exactly what was issued) and clear knowledge that an attack on YOUR facilities is imminent. Kimmel and Short didn't have that clear knowledge but MacArthur did. Why the double standards in their respective treatments?
     
  9. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    MacA is a prime example of: An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps not but they had enough information to take basic precautions.

    Pacific Theater, Order of Battle, 8/7.12.1941
    - Keep most of the fleet at sea.
    - There were eight U.S.A.A.C. fighter squadrons in Hawaii equipped with P-36 or P-40 aircraft. Keep one in the air over Pearl Harbor from dawn to dusk (on a rotating basis).
    - There were three USN PBY wings at Pearl Harbor. One should be scouting from dawn to dusk.
     
  11. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Dave, mental mind-set is also an important factor. Orders are always subject to interpretation. Look at most WWII cartoonized Japanese: short, bandy-legged, buck-tooth, with heavy glasses while the western GI is a big, tall, Captain America-type. I don't think anyone pre-WWII really seriously believed Japan could successfully attack the US and on a Sunday near Christmas, never happen. Now the sneaky little SOBs might stoop to sabotage so keep your planes grouped together in the middle of the field where they can be watched. Additionaly the shallow waters of the harbor would prevent torpedoes from being launched. Actually, had a warning been given the fleet would have sallied from Pearl and thus been attacked in deep water. The losses would have been MUCH worse and the ships unrecoverable. On the Japanese end aircraft losses would have been very high.
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree.

    The ability to make sound judgements is the most important factor in competent leadership.
     
  13. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    You bet, but what is thought to be sound on Mondays becomes (with 20-20 hindsight) totally stupid on Friday
     
  14. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    I'm also wondering that if MacArthur had suffered as Kimmel Short had, there might have been less emphasis on the South West Pacific Area (MacArthur/Philippines) campaign and more emphasis on the Pacific Ocean Areas (Nimitz) campaign.
     
  15. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Not necessarily. Untill late 1943, the only offensive capability the US had was in the Solomons and NG.
     
  16. bowfin

    bowfin Member

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    MacArthur got caught flat footed in the Phillipines and again ten years later when the Chinese poured across the Yalu River. He must have looked good in a uniform to get where he got, because he wasn't a fightin' general.
     
  17. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #17 oldcrowcv63, Apr 7, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
    Accordng to Lundstrom, Earnest King, CNO in WW2, was pushing the SW Pac axis of advance almost from the war's start. One early rift that developed between King and FJ Fletcher was the latter's reluctance to take more aggressive action inthat area, early 1942, prior to Coral Sea. Fletcher came to know and respect the IJN's search capability and knew he couldn't approach Rabaul without detection. Moreover, intelligence was spotty and failed to discern targets worthy of risking an aircraft carrier. His failure to produce some retaliatory success put him in dutch with EJK that culminated in his relief in August after Eastern Solomons.

    The contrast in leadership between Big Mac and his successor in Korea: M.B. Ridgeway is startling. MBR is a real battle commander, not just a great strategic thinker. His development of the artillery targeted 'fire sack,' turned around the disaster that attended Mac's misjudgement of ChiCom intentions before they crossed the Yalu. Old "Iron Tits" ran a tight ship and seems to have spent a lot of time making sure his divisional commanders were up to snuff. I don't get the sense that Mac ever visited the front during the PI campaign. Not that he was a coward, but I think it just wasn't his style of "leadership."
     
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