Special Sub-Topic: Douglas MacArthur - The Early Years
|When was Douglas MacArthur born?|
1880. Douglas was born in 1880 at an Army frontier post, the third son of General Arthur Mac Arthur II and Mary 'Pinky' MacArthur. His early boyhood was spent on a series of Army posts on the American frontier and exposed him to Army life from his earliest years. His grandfather was a distinguished judge and his father had a brilliant military career.
|Douglas's father, Arthur, had gained immortal fame during the Civil War when he led a brilliant charge to take ______________ Ridge from Confederate forces during the siege of Chattanooga.|
Missionary. Arthur was an 18 year old junior officer when without orders he initiated a charge against the Confederate forces which were holding the dominant Missionary Ridge which overlooks Chattanooga. He was one of the first to the crest of the ridge and planted the banner of the 24th Wisconsin to claim the honour of taking the objective. General Sheridan arriving shortly after recommended him for the Medal of Honour but because of Army red tape this was not awarded until twenty seven years later. Arthur went on to have a remarkable career in the Army and as Douglas later wrote: 'was engaged in the onerous task of pushing the Indians into the arid recesses of the South West and bringing the white mans brand of law and order to the Western frontier'. When war broke out with Spain in 1898 he led forces spearheading the invasion of the Philippines and was then appointed Governor of the newly acquired territory. Thus began the long association of the MacArthur's in the affairs of the Philippines. In a remarkable foretaste of future events Major General MacArthur soon fell afoul of a civilian administrator in the form of William Howard Taft and in the resulting fallout was dismissed from all commands for insubordination. He went on to serve in various posts which were beneath his talents. Most importantly during this period he went on a reconnaissance grand tour of Asia accompanied by 'Pinky' and his son the newly commissioned Lt Douglas MacArthur. This experience was invaluable for the young Douglas as it was a practical introduction into the affairs of the Asian countries in which he was to play such a pivotal role in later years.
|In 1903 Douglas MacArthur graduated first in his class from the West Point Military Academy.|
True. It was obvious that Douglas was a natural leader from the way he excelled in his studies and adapted to military discipline. His most vigorous patron to gain appointment to the prestigious institute was his mother Pinky whose shameless behind the scenes lobbying was to be the leading factor in his meteoric rise through the ranks. Fortunately the young Douglas was up to the task as he was an outstanding cadet and had the ability to match Pinky's ambition for him. It was said that during his time at West Point she took up residence in a nearby hotel which had a view of her son's room and she could see if the light was on late at night and know that he was engaged in his studies.
|After graduating from West Point where did the young Douglas MacArthur receive his first overseas posting?|
Philippines. Lt MacArthur was posted to the Philippines and took up his post in Tacloban on the island of Leyte a location which was to play a major role in his later military career. He was the leader of a small engineering detachment and an incident which occurred while scouting for timber for a bridge piling is indicative of his sense of adventure. Not all the tribesmen were Yanqui lovers at this time and he ran into an ambush. He managed to drop two of the enemy with his pistol after receiving a bullet hole through his hat. After the incident he admitted he was pale and shaky. In his report he said: 'I heard the bullets whistle and believe me there is something charming in the sound'. An Irish sergeant commented: "Begging the Lt's pardon but all the rest of the Lt's life is pure velvet".
|The young Douglas MacArthur burned with an ambition to prove himself the equal of his father the Civil War hero. The opportunity came in early 1914 when the US was in conflict with _______________. |
Mexico. President Wilson had ordered the Navy to occupy Vera Cruz after the reactionary Mexican General Huerta had insulted the American flag. The American commander was badly in need of some local intelligence and the young Captain MacArthur was just the man for the job. His mission was to find out what transportation was available in the event that full scale hostilities broke out. His reconnaissance behind the lines was undertaken on his own initiative and reads like an Indiana Jones adventure. There was a railway out of Vera Cruz but no locomotives so MacArthur recruited a Mexican engineer and two firemen and together they proceeded up the line on a handcart (jigger). Some 50 kms deep in Huerta territory they located some locos so MacArthur and his team proceeded to return to make their report. At Salinas they were fired on and MacArthur dropped two of the assailants with his pistol all the while persuading his reluctant crew to pump the handcart for all they were worth. They were attacked twice more by mounted gunmen who wounded one of the Mexicans and put several bullet holes through MacArthur's uniform while he managed to bring down another of the assailants. At one point a bridge was down at a river crossing so they had to abandon the handcart and cross the river by a previously concealed canoe, which sank forcing MacArthur to rescue the wounded Mexican. On the other side they retrieved another concealed handcart and re-entered American lines. MacArthur made his report and was recommended for the Medal of Honour but this was turned down because the commander had not known of the escapade which had been undertaken on his own initiative. This contributed to his sense that there was a clique in Washington that was out to frustrate him a theme that was to recur throughout his career.
|When the US joined the Great War in 1917 the now Colonel MacArthur was appointed Chief of Staff of the 42nd Infantry known as the ' __________ ' Division|
Rainbow. The question of which State would supply troops for the first National Guard unit was very politically charged. MacArthur, who was serving on the General Staff, suggested forming the unit from several States so that in his words: "It would stretch over the whole country like a rainbow". He initially led one of the Division's Brigades and then at the unprecedented age of 38 was appointed Major General and went on to command the 'Rainbow' during the final climactic battles of 1918.
|MacArthur proved to be one of the most popular officers among the troops serving in the American Expeditionary Force.|
True. This may be difficult for Pacific War veterans to credit but it is true. He was closer to the troops in age than other officers and encouraged informality where his men were able to call him 'buddy' and shared their discomforts and danger. Above all he was a 'hands on' officer who personally led trench raids and was always in the front line for any major assault. He was decorated numerous times by both the Americans and the French for acts of bravery and was wounded several times including being gassed twice. Once again a recommendation that he be awarded the Medal of Honour was turned down a decision he blamed on 'enmity' he had earned among some fellow officers which he referred to as the 'Chaumont crowd' after the town where General Pershing's HQ was located. Despite this he still ended up being the most decorated American officer of the Great War.
|During the 1920s and 30s Douglas MacArthur's star continued to rise as he served in a number of prominent positions. In which of these positions did he NOT serve?|
Ambassador to Great Britain 1930-35. When MacArthur served as Superintendent of his beloved West Point he initiated a series of long lasting reforms including formalising the unwritten the Cadet Honour Code. It was during this time that he was asked to serve on the Court Martial of controversial figure Billy Mitchell who had run afoul of Army brass when he staged an unauthorised demonstration of the effectiveness of airpower against some old battleships. President Coolidge asked him to serve as Captain of the US Olympic team in Antwerp in 1928 from which he sent back glowing reports on the prowess of the US team. His tenure as Army Chief of Staff coincided with the depth of the Depression and he struggled to maintain the core of the Army at a time of shoestring budgets and national austerity. It was during this period that he was instrumental in promoting the ambitions of George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower who went on to have such prominent careers in their own right. Controversially in 1932 he personally led the Army units confronting Army bonus veterans who were demonstrating in Washington.
He never served as ambassador to Great Britain.
|Douglas MacArthur was the only American officer to hold the rank of Field Marshal.|
True. Not only was he awarded this rank but it was to lead the army of another country when the President of the Philippines Manuel Quezon named him Field Marshal. When MacArthur had run afoul of members of President Roosevelt's administration for criticising their perceived pacifism and isolationist policies he accepted a posting to the Philippines. He retired from an active role in the US military in 1937 and accepted the appointment with Roosevelt's approval.
His new role was to build up the Army of the Philippines which were scheduled to become independent in 1946. In July 1941 with war clouds gathering and conflict with Japan a probability he was recalled to active duty in the US Army with the rank of Major General and was named Commander of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East.
|How many times was Douglas MacArthur married?|
Twice. His first marriage to socialite Louise Brookes in 1922 turned out to be a passing fancy and they were divorced in 1929. The union enraged Army Chief William Pershing who had his own romantic feelings for Miss Brookes and was a factor in having MacArthur posted to the Philippines. His second marriage to Jean Fairclough was to become a lifelong partnership. Only his mother 'Pinky' was to have a greater influence on his life. Jean became his devoted partner and confidante and in public she always called him 'General' while he called her 'Ma'am'. In due course they had a son, Arthur MacArthur IV, and the elder MacArthur who had been blessed with an heir in his later years became a doting father. Jean, Arthur Jr. and their Chinese amah, Ah Cheu, became inseparable during the General's time abroad from his posting in the Philippines, the flight to Australia, his return to the Philippines and finally his time as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) during the occupation of Japan.
The main reference used for this quiz was William Manchester's biography 'American Caesar Douglas MacArthur 1880 1964'..
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