The first time I watched it was aboutÂ 10 years ago, and I forgot how great of a filmÂ it was, and just how great an actor Gregory Peck was.Â MacArthur is one of my all time favorite subjects of history.
Two bits of history I would like to share with you regarding MacArthur:
- General MacArthur used five pens to sign his signature on The Unconditional Surrender of the Empire of Japan. MacArthur handed the first pen to Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright who had been left on Corregidor in 1942. He assumed command of the U.S. Armed Forces in the Philippines when MacArthur had been evacuated to Australia by order of President Roosevelt. Wainwright surrendered the Philippines in May 1942. The second pen went to Lieutenant General Arthur E. Percival who had surrendered Singapore on February 15, 1942. The third pen would go to West Point and the fourth to Annapolis. The last was an inexpensive red-barreled pen that belonged to his wife, which he used to sign the “Arthur” in his signature. She would save it for their son.Â Â Source
- In all, four Army generals, four Navy admirals, and one Air Force general have held the rank of a five star general.Â The Army’s five star generals were General George C. Marshall, General Douglas MacArthur, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and General Omar N. Bradley. The Navy’s five-star fleet admirals were Admiral William D. Leahy, Admiral Ernest J. King, Admiral Chester Nimitz, and Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey. And General Henry Arnold was the Air Force’s five star general.Who beats a five star general? A General of the Armies of the United States — the highest military rank of all time, hands down. To date, only George Washington and John J. Pershing have held this position.Â Source
Keith, it’s been a while since I saw the movie. Am I correct that MacArthur received the Medal of Honor for his efforts to defend the Philippines but that he then opposed a Medal of Honor for General Wainwright [the man MacArthur left behind when he fled the Islands] because Wainwright ultimately surrendered to the Japanese? I understand the necessity for MacArthur to flee but he left Wainwright behind with no option but to surrender and suffer years in a POW camp.
Also, I recall from a PBS documentary from a few years ago about MacArthur that he had a side deal with the Philippine government to train their troops in anticipation of the Japanese invasion and for which they paid him $500,000 [millions in today’s dollars]. He took that money [I think in gold] when he fled the Islands as they were about to fall to the Japanese. At the time this was not illegal, but I can’t imagine that happening today.