Douglas MacArthur Essay, Research Paper
Recalled to active duty in July 1941, MacArthur conducted a valiant delaying action against the Japanese in the Philippines after war erupted in December. He was ordered to Australia in March 1942 to command Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific Theater. He soon launched an offensive in New Guinea that drove the Japanese out of Papua by January 1943. In a series of operations in 1943-44, MacArthur’s troops seized strategic points in New Guinea from Lae to Sansapor, while capturing the Admiralties and western New Britain. The simultaneous northward movement of South Pacific forces in the Solomons, over whom MacArthur maintained strategic control, neutralized Rabaul and bypassed many Japanese units.
After winning a decision to invade the Philippines next rather than Formosa, MacArthur attacked Morotai, Leyte, and Mindoro in autumn 1944. Not until the Leyte operation did he have overwhelming logistical support; his earlier plans had been executed despite inadequacies of personnel and mat?riel and with little assistance from the Pacific Fleet. MacArthur seriously questioned his superiors’ decision to give priority to the European war over the Pacific conflict and to the Central Pacific Theater over his Southwest Pacific area.
His largest, costliest operations occurred during the seven-month Luzon campaign in 1945. That spring he also undertook the reconquest of the southern Philippines and Borneo. Meanwhile, he left the difficult mopping-up operations in New Guinea and the Solomons to the Australian Army. He was promoted to general of the army in December 1944 and was appointed commander of all U.S. army forces in the Pacific four months later. He was in charge of the surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945.
As Allied commander of the Japanese occupation in 1945-51, MacArthur effectively if autocratically directed the demobilization of Japanese military forces, the expurgation of militarists, the restoration of the economy, and the drafting of a liberal constitution. Significant reforms were inaugurated in land redistribution, education, labour, public health, and women’s rights. While he was in Japan, MacArthur also headed the army’s Far East command.