tv QA CSPAN June 27, 2016 6:00am-7:01am EDT
author and hudson institute senior fellow arthur herman. he discusses his book "douglas macarthur: american warrior." brian: arthur herman, what made douglas macarthur so controversial? arthur: well, a number of things. i think there was aspect of his personality, his politics and then there's also simply the -- what can i say? the distance of the man. i'll start with that first. he was someone who was a major american figure for more than half a century. someone who commanded american troops in action and helped to shape american war policy in not one, not two, but three world wars and the cold war.
and world war i and world war ii. here's somebody who really with the possible exception of franklin roosevelt was presided at more events and made more decisions that shaped the history of 20th century united states than -- i can't think of anyone else. with the exception of fdr. there was his politics. he was conservative republican which didn't rub well with the democrat presidents he had to work with, particularly fdr and harry truman. but he wasn't a conservative taft republican. he was not someone as taft republicans were, interested in overturning aspects of the new deal and the incipient welfare state when he runs for president in 1952. he's more moderate than that. and that offended some conservatives on that point. he's a resolute anti-communist a time when, again, a lot of opec
-- a lot of opinion on the left are more sympathetic and more willing to sort of work with the soviet union. and then there's the person -- the man himself. he is somebody who always gives off the air that he is the smartest person in the room. and that if you don't know it, you're going to find out very soon. that the decisions that he made are made from the best possible evidence from the weightiest judgment and therefore shouldn't and can't be questioned. this is something again that rubs other people with similar large scale egos the wrong way and it led to friction and conflict, both with american presidents, two in particular, fdr and truman but also led to conflicts with people within his own service and in the other branches of the u.s. military in that half century-plus career. brian: when did you decide you wanted to write a big book on him? arthur: a big book on him.
brian: mmm. arthur: a big book on him. the idea of a book on macarthur was planted in my head by an editor at random house originally. and i had actually thought about macarthur as a great follow-up as some of the biographical work that i had done. i had done the joe mccarthy book, for example. the war in the pacific, particularly the southwest pacific had intrigued me when i was working on my book on mahatma gandhi and winston churchill. it was one of those moments when signne sort of flashes a you, sort of flash assign someone sort of flashes a
suddenlyoua nd converges and you realize this is some i would love to do but something i think could be really different from the kinds of books that had been written about macarthur in the past and to really rethink and reevaluate who this person was. but his virtues made him one of the most adored and adulated figures in the american history and also what were his flaws and what were the things that made him really unpleasant and hated by millions of people. brian: here is some video from the 1952 national republican convention where his book. this is to show people who have never seen him what he really looked like. this is not very sharp but let's watch and see what you think about it. [video clip] general macarthur: i speak with a sense of pride that all of my long life i have been a member of the republican party. as before me, was my father, an ardent supporter of abraham lincoln. [applause] general macarthur: i have an abiding faith that this party if
it remains true to its great traditions can provide the country with a leadership which as in the days of lincoln will bring us back to peace and tranquility. [end video clip] brian: that was 1952, he died in 1964. he was 84-years-old when he died. where was he in his life at this point? arthur: it's an interesting clip. it's hard to believe that man is 72-years-old. he looks great. and everybody who knew macarthur always were stunned at the degree -- even at times during enormous stress like during the korean war and leading the southwest pacific area during world war ii people were stunned that he seemed to be very healthy, very strong. people always talked about how tall macarthur was. he was under six feet. it was that he stood so tall and erect that he had this bearing about him that made people add a
couple of inches to his height. the other thing i would remark about that is that that's not macarthur at his best that is a speech of a man who is at that point deeply disappointed. to really get a sense of where macarthur is in terms of his rhetorical power, you really have to go back to his speech to the joint session of congress right after he returned from korea in which the house rose as a body over 50 times to applaud lines of the speech -- and that's of course, the one that finishes with the famous old soldiers never die, they only fade away. a soldier who has done his duty as he saw it. that is probably macarthur at his best. but this is an interesting clip for this reason. this is a disappointed macarthur. this is a macarthur that had hoped that that speech to the joint session of congress would
be the propellant for getting him into the white house, getting him the republican nomination, and in fact, he got almost nowhere. he was swamped by the taft and eisenhower forces. and eisenhower, his former chief of staff going back to the days in the philippines, the person he always looked down on as a sort of a junior officer-type protege. he ends up with the nomination instead. brian: did he support him? arthur: he does. he does. up until the convention he took his 10 delegates that he had when the convention taft. he was a taft support her. he was embittered about how they treated him. but they become more reconciled.
eisenhower reached out to truman to ask his advice about how to end the korea war which is going to be one of those endless wars that we gotten used but that we are used to today. that's not how we usually see macarthur. macarthur was someone who, early on, understood the importance of trademark look as a way to project leadership. brian: like the cover of the book? arthur: like the cover on the book. the corncob pipe. which, by the way, he did not smoke. he preferred cigarettes and cigars, but because it was a corncob pipe. designed it.
was the image.t that was macarthur. the corncob pipe. the hat. the cap with the scrambled eggs on top and then the eagle. which he designed himself, as a matter of fact. he had a haberdashery in new york, who when he lost a hat or it wore out he would have an exact copy sent to him. the letter jacket, the air force jacket that he wore. all of these things are what made douglas macarthur and icon. all of them he very consciously worked on in his thinking about himself as a leader, because he saw these as ways in which he could communicate the sense of leadership, that sense of confidence which inspired his troops really from the first world war all the way to the darkest days in korea. brian: in this clip he mentioned his father. arthur macarthur. and the two of them are both in the military. and you point out how the two of them are both in the military. they both got a medal of honor. they're both generals.
how did that happen? arthur herman: the medal of honor that arthur macarthur earned was for leading the siege of chattanooga leading the seeng at lookout mountain. brian: civil war. arthur: he is 16 years old when he goes off to war. becomes agitant to the 24th wisconsin. when you look at pictures of him, you kind of have a feeling that you're looking at somebody who is dressed up for halloween as a union soldier as a kid. but that is him. that is the real arthur macarthur. he is a civil war hero. he is wounded, severely wounded several times. and at the end of the war, he becomes a commander and commands is regiment. he is not all devote that he is old enough to command a union army regiment. he had a choice of careers. he could have gone into politics. he could have gone into business. he was a wisconsin hero. and instead what he did was to remain in the army and served on, as i describe in the book, the series of john ford movie
sets out, you know, ford from films like "fort apache" and "she wore a yellow ribbon" where he brings his wife and his sons are all born there. his career he has, in many ways, a pathway to douglas macarthur's. one of the things i wanted to do in this book just to make it clear how much the linkage between macarthur the son and macarthur the father and how strong that link was. most of them talk about the mother. and we will talk about her in a minute i'm sure. she is a very powerful figure in macarthur's life up until her death in 1935. but arthur macarthur is the person who teaches him about the art of war, who teaches him about the honor of service in the u.s. military, u.s. army and also the one who opens his eyes to america's possibilities as a
great power in asia in becoming the light of democracy and free europeania as the colonial powers and empires fall apart. arthur macarthur was the david petraeus of the philippininess recollection. he is the one who figures out how to defeat the philippines insurrection. and by a ruiz captures the philippine leader who he then sign as peace treaty with and releases from prison. he begins the process of reconstruction in the phillipines as military governor there. and, there's a whole series of reforms to bring the philippines, a former spanish colony into the common world and to give it rule of law, sanitation and road services and roads.
he even writes a textbook on philippine history for the school kids. he's a master administrator as well as a brilliant military strategist. and as i point out in the book, when his son douglas then goes out to japan to administer the occupation, the post war japan, everyone is amazed at his ability to pull this society together and to make these important, even radical changes and some ways, and to juggle all of the forces and all of the different pressure groups within japan and in washington and the other allies with such effortless skill and part of is as i explained in the book he learned all of this from his father. from his father's experience in the philippines. brian: you mentioned his mother. i might as well go there. did you say in the book even his finished first at west point?
arthur: yes. he was probably the finest record of a student at west point of anyone since robert e. lee and a record that still stands unchallenged till this day. brian: all right, can you tell us -- i know that his mother moved near him when he went to harvard. why did douglas macarthur's mother move to west point? arthur: she moved there to do two things. one is to help supervise his studies. she lived in a rooming house outside the grounds of west point. there they are. that's young douglas there on the right and of course, his mother mary pinkney. pinky macarthur as she became known. she looks pretty formidable in that picture, and she was. but when i started this book, i was very much led by previous biographers as macarthur who think of her is this domineering woman. almost a kind of lady macbeth type. sort of pushing and propelling her son forward in his career. and she did rush and propel him forward.
but what i came to realize and the more learned about the relationship, i realized there was a second thing she did at west point. she provided strong emotional support and guidance for him with really strong tough decisions he had to make. macarthur throughout his life conveyed an image of a man who was totally certain of himself. completely in command. someone who is sure of every decision he makes and choices he makes an life. and this is one of the characteristicses everybody noticed about him. but underneath him was someone very insecure, someone who needed supports. someone filled with self-doubts. his mom provided that support. he would find it later on with his second wife, jean macarthur. but her role, i came to realize more and more was very constructive, very helpful and i don't think he would have the kind of career he did or achieved the kinds of heights and success in the army if she hadn't been there to support him and provide help and guidance.
brian: i hate to do this to you. arthur: go ahead. brian: short quick points from the different periods in his life. we've got so much to go into. but and you'll see why i want to do this. but what did he do that was significant in world war i? arthur: well, he did two things. one was what earned him -- should have earned him a medal of honor. nobody had any doubts about it was his incredible bravery in action leading troops of the 42nd division, the rainbow division as it was called in and commanding a combat brigade within that division. he wins seven silver stars in world war i. brian: what does that mean? arthur: it means for exceptional bravery under fire. he's a staff officer. he's someone who goes and leads the troops from the front.
he says i have to go see what is happening for myself. what our guys are going up against and what the terrain is and what the enemy positions at look like. and so he goes to action on a regular basis. seven silver stars, two distinguished service medals and nominated for a medal of honor but in the end, general pershing says no -- his incredible bravery goes without question. however, if he had been killed he would get a medal of honor. but he survives so i think we're going to skip the medal of honor this time around. he as part of the general staff help to structure the american expeditionary force as it went over. he helped build the 42nd division to go over there and to organize which divisions that weren't ready for this kind of large-scale conventional warfare in europe, he was the one that helps to mastermind the whole campaign, the whole putting together of this force that pershing leads in the war.
so he's a hugely influential figure as a young major and then brigadier general. brian: what year did he go to europe and fight? arthur: 1917. it would be in the fall of 1917. the main action that he and the 42nd division saw was in 1918. brian: was he married? arthur: no, he was still single. brian: he would have been in his 30's? arthur: in his 30's. he would have been -- yes. brian: he had to be a brigadier general. and major general. let's go to world war ii. what's the major accomplishment in world war ii? arthur: he manages to turn what looked like a massive defeat in the philippines into a spring board victory. i mean it in this sense, the philippines comes into attack the same time as pearl harbor, it wipes out the b-17 force that macarthur and everybody else in
the army air force thought they were going to defend those islands protect them from japanese invasion. he's completely outclassed in terms of equipment, in terms of quality of soldiers, numbers of soldiers that he could rely upon in the campaign. and yet in the retreat the baton, he managed to fight the japanese to a standstill. he's pulled out from there by orders from franklin roosevelt, contrary to myth, macarthur didn't arrange to leave the philippines and the fortress where he was holed up with a handful of his staff. he had intended to fight to the death. he assumed that would be his they did the philippines. but roosevelt for various reasons orders him to go to australia. ryan: let me ask you about this. the philippines are located near
--? arthur: closer to japan. they are, in a sense, as macarthur understood that it was the springboard that lead to the invasion of japan. brian: who owned the philippines? arthur: it was still an american protectorant. brian: and where is corregidor? arthur: it's in manila. it overlooks manila harbor, built originally by the spanish and three fortified by the americans. a way to control. the japanese naval force. to control from the sea. but the japanese did not bother with that. they came over lend. brian: where is baton? arthur: it's the peninsula that sticks out like a thumb just to the west of manila and sticks into manila bay. and that is where macarthur's army finally had to make its last stand against the japanese onslaught.
quick ok, i know this is but the next step would be when he was in charge of japan after the war. what did he do there? arthur: you can't forget the campaigns in the southwest pacific area. he took the situation where he had very scant supplies and men and equipment and turned it into major victories. brian: what year? arthur: that would be in march of 1942. and three bloody years of fighting in new guinea and the solomons and then up to liberate the philippines. brian: and where is new guinea? arthur: new guinea is the second largest island in the world as a matter of fact after australia. it sits at north of australia. and it was a jumping off place for the japanese for invasion of australia to invade it. it dominates that whole southwest pacific area. brian: how many troops were under his control? arthur: in the very early days he had perhaps 5,000. in the end he commands the largest military force the
united states has ever assembled for the invasion of the the philippines and then he was to be placed in charge of the supreme commander of all of the invasion forces of the island of japan for the final onslaught for operation downfall, which does not happen because we drop atomic bombs. brian: is it true he didn't know they were dropping atomic bombs? arthur: he learns about it by reading "stars and stripes." the army newspaper. he was aware that the bomb had been developed. he had been given that information but that it was going to be used and when it was going to be used, all this was kept secret from him. brian: would he have used it? arthur: i think not. i think he was -- i think he felt that the bomb had this tremendous potential to completely undermine and demoralize the japanese. he was more in favor of using it in a demonstration way as opposed to an actual dropping of it. and, for the rest of his life, macarthur looked upon nuclear weapons as being really something that should mark the
end of warfare as we know it and was part of a whole campaign later on in his life towards a unilateral disarmament. brian: during world war ii, was he married? did he have children? and where did his mother live at that point? arthur: he had met his wife because i explain in the book from the oral history that his wife did in the late 1990's before she died. this is jean macarthur, the second wife. they met out in the voyage to the philippines when he went to assume command of basically the philippine military mission the united states had set up there to help the philippines build a basically anforce, army that could be used to defend the islands.
this is why he was headed out there. his mother was with him. she was very ill at the time. i do not think it was coincidental that shortly after his mother died and was buried in the philippines, it is not so coincidental that his friendship with jean faircloth was her name, a girl from murphysboro, tennessee not far from where his father fought at the battle of stones river where my great grandfather had fought. it's not coincidental that they had a friendship that then blossomed into a romance. and before she returned to the united states, they had a secret agreement to marry. brian: when did he divorce his wife? arthur: the divorce comes about 1927, 1928. brian: i've got it down 1927 from the book. arthur: 1927. brian: and why did they get divorced? arthur: it was a very unhappy marriage. i think he fell hopelessly in love with virginia her while he was superintendent with her at west point. she was his first wife louise brooks. but shefilm actress,l
was the heir to a wall street fortune. she was very vivacious. she was delightful company. she was very sexy. and of course, enormously wealthy with the settlement with her husband. and, i think she was just irresistible to someone like macarthur. and it was only i think after marriage that team began to realize he had married the wrong person. she was not going to be the strong emotional support that he needed. that his mother, who disapproved very much of the marriage was able to provide and that jean was able to provide and providing that same kind of vivacious outgoing sexy personality that made her the perfect companion for him as wife, as mother and as confidant.
brian: why did you have access to his wife's history? arthur: it's now at the macarthur memorial archives in norfolk, virginia where i spent a great deal time working on this book. it just had not been available. the other biography said, before that was done. she had always promised to douglas that she would not do an oral history. madeer son arthur had also not doomise to her, do that. our lives together are private. the public record about myself as public douglas would tell her, but our life together is private. the just before she died, she realized it was important to ignore that promise and carry forward with that. and we are all happy about that. brian: he dies in 1964. she lives to be 100. arthur: she dies in 2002. you might want to check on that. brian: how long did they live at the waldorf astoria? arthur: they live there until his death in 1964. i am not entirely clear about how long she continued to live
at the waldorf astoria by herself. but for years after -- her son after all was arthur macarthur. also in new york city. the waldorf astoria apartment was a place that was for him, not just a refuge, but also a watchtower where he could keep track of current events and have distinguished visitors, including american presidents. and a place to sort of gather his mementos from his years in japan. everything else about his prior life had been destroyed during the recapture of manila during world war ii. everything had gone up in smoke at the hotel manila. he's a man who a couple of times basically had to rebuild his life, rebuild the mementos, the favorite things around him and his family several times.
these were the remarkable things about him, i think that i would want -- people who read the biography. this was someone who was knocked down and beaten down so many times in his career when he could have been written off as someone who would be -- until the end of his career. this is the end of his service to america and yet he always comes back. it's an extraordinary story. brian: the next step, japan. how long was he in japan and what kind of power did he have after the war was over. arthur: pretty much absolute. he was empowered by the other allies and by president truman to basically do what he liked in order to reconstruct japan. and he did it with success that even his most severe critics today who have gone over his record with a fine tooth comb looking for any serious mistake, even his severe critic give him high marks with what he was able to do with japan.
take a country who was a broken nation, devastated by war, demoralized by defeat with a cloud hanging over it because of the way in it had behaved treating the chinese and allied p.o.w.'s. it was a country whose reputation was in tatters and he manages to rebuild its economy, mansion to restore a sense of pride, give it a new democratic sense ofs to restore a newe, give it a constitution the same one they have today and to really bring japan into integrated into the family of industrialized democracies of which were part and europe. it's an amazing achievement. he didn't do it all by himself as some admirists have claimed. he had a lot of great ideas that came from members of his staff. also important instructions that came from washington about what to do. in the end, the ability to orchestrate the re-construction of an entire country of 80 million people, to do that from
1946 to the outbreak of the war in korea, now the focus on the public of the korean peninsula, an amazing achievement. it would not have been possible, i believe, if he had not had his father's example before him of how to deal with it and the occupied country and how to build the confidence and modernized institutions. but you have to give him credit for the way he was able to do this with such aplomb in the face of, in many cases, intentional opposition including from washington. brian: what else did you find that was new besides oral history? arthur: oral history was one. a lot of material had to do with macarthur's war in korea which we have not gotten to yet. brian: that is next. [laughter] arthur: it really comes out of soviet and chinese archives.
i also think this is a biography which has taken full account of the degree to which allied intelligence, u.s. intelligence, played such a vital role in macarthur's successes and the southwest pacific area. the degree to which being able to decrypt japanese naval codes at first and then japanese army codes was able to provide him with the means i which to outsmart and outguess his
japanese opponents on me at all failed. and to conduct the kind of bold moves he was able to do. his first sort of comprehensive biographers, william manchester and clayton james did not know about any of this. they were really unaware of the degree to which ultra provided this vital information to macarthur. his other biographer, for whom i have a lot of respect, talks about it but this is about a biography that gives a whole new insight by a someone who understands the importance of the intelligence. brian: where you live? arthur: we live in washington, d.c. the hudson fellow at institution. brian: this book is what number? arthur: this is number eight of my books. brian was at the number one bestseller? arthur: it sold well over half a million copies worldwide at this point. it is a book which i am enormously proud and one which was a good one to start on the direction. brian: when you're writing a
book like this, when was the last day you spend writing this book? nine months ago? 10 months ago? arthur: in the process of adjustments and adding materials. i have moved on to the next book. the new book which i will be doing with harpercollins who published my history of the british navy building the global system, the new book is on woodrow wilson, vladimir lenin and the year that shook the world, 1917. and why that year, in the midst
of world war i, two momentous decisions those men dead. woodrow wilson to enter world war i, and then lenin to topple the provisional government that had taken over in st. petersburg after the abdication of these are into install a revolutionary bolshevik instead. how those two events ever -- those two events have and shaped the modern history. shaped world history, really. that is the next. it will be shorter than next one, i promise. brian: moving on to the next war, the korean war, this is a video that a lot of people have already seen. it is harry truman relieving macarthur of his duties. we will come back and you can explain how that happened. [begin video clip] harry truman: i have thought long and hard about this question about extending the war in asia. i have discussed it many times. i believe with all my heart that the course we are following is the best course. a number of events have made it evident that general macarthur did not agree with the policy. i have therefore considered it a essential to relieve general macarthur so that there would be no doubt or confusion as to the purpose of our policy.
it is of the deepest personal regret that i found myself compelled to take this action. general macarthur is one of our greatest military commanders, but the cause of world peace is much more important than any individual. military commanders, but the cause of world peace is much more important than any individual. brian: what happened? arthur: this is one of those moments when you begin to realize that the clash of personalities is as important as the clash of ideologies and collision of the events or convergence of social and economic forces. the fact of the matter is that mcarthur had come to develop a strong dislike of harry truman and president truman had come to develop a strong dislike of general macarthur.
the fact of the matter is that they both had a dislike for the other. one was a president and the other one was given the power as supreme commander of u.s. forces after north korea invaded south korea. macarthur believed the way in which to end this conflict as he began the process of pushing back up the peninsula after chinese intervention in november of 1950, as he began the process of pushing back up, really liberating south korea again, the second time around after the first liberation in september of 1950 when macarthur assumed command. we can talk about the inchon landing if you want, but that is the landmark, the highlight of his military career, that landing at inchon on the korean peninsula that really shattered north korea's ability to conduct the war. liberating not just seoul by pyongyang.
then the chinese intervene. rollback.massive they pushed the chinese back. approached the 30th parallel. macarthur's plan was that you could end the war with a victory. we would defeat not just north korea, but the chinese or forces. we have to take the necessary steps including strategic warming and perhaps nuclear weapons. make it so the chinese cannot resupply their armies in north korea. famous statement, "there is no substitute for victory." the truman administration disagreed. and they thought there was a substitute. a stalemate. they returned u.n. forces to the 38th parallel. free south korea from communist domination but allowing north korea and the chinese to remain in place north of the border, or boundary line.
the 38th parallel. macarthur was outspoken about why he felt this kind of approach would be a mistake. why he felt his hands had been tied by the truman administration in terms of dealing with and lashing out at the chinese. deal a decisive defeat. this is what macarthur does. he sounds off to reporters. he had done that all of his career. but for truman, this became i think a moment in which he had to decide whether he was going to be able to continue and have someone who would embrace a stalemate strategy as opposed to a victorious strategy and to keep his mouth shut at the same time. brian: did general macarthur
answer directly to the president or to the joint chiefs? arthur: this is one of the important things to keep in mind that i explained in the book. all of macarthur's moves and korea for which he later faces intense criticism, including his push up the river through north korea, the fact is the joint chiefs had approved and more the actions he had taken. from the military point of view, it seemed unimpeachable the approach and strategy. but from a political standpoint, from the point of view of truman and his advisors, there was a feeling that the push for a war, the fault war might do to things. it would force the european allies to drop out, because they would not be interested in doing that. they would not want to see a war that would be continuing up beyond the 38 aryl all that's what it engaged china more extensively. but it also might trigger a response from the russians and josef stalin who might see his
chinese ally on the point of collapse might launch an offensive in europe. which of course, is where a soviet divisions were the deployment on the border of germany. brian: by the way, how many troops are on the 38th parallel now? arthur: 20,000. still. by that, there is no peace treaty. formally, there is an armistice. but not a peace treaty. macarthur dismissed these ideas. he believed china could be defeated. as i point out, there may be a good reason he could have done that and he believes stalin would not intervene. we know now that that is also true. right on that. we found that out through the soviet archives. basically, stalin thought this entire operation had been botched almost from the beginning. he was given a guarantee by the north korean dictator that if north korea invaded with chinese
help, the americans would not intervene. intervened.tely from that point on, just as stalin was like, this is your problem. it is not my problem any longer. but truman had to make a call. did he do the right thing? was it necessary to remove general macarthur? probably it was. was it the right policy to carry through? i guess history might have a different judgment. it might be a necessary blunder. history is dotted by necessary blunders. what i think the acceptance of the final status, the stalemate in korea just might fit into that. brian: so he came home and we have now been through the first world war, the second world war, the japan experience, the korean war, and i guess we saw him address the republican national convention. i would like to go to the chapter that brings a lot of it together in one chapter. it is called "saving fdr."
arthur: oh yes. that is an interesting chapter. brian: i want to read what you wrote and have you explain it. this is during the fdr years and macarthur is in the oval office talking to fdr. "roosevelt's own assessment was more nuanced despite his "most dangerous man in america" remark. before the inauguration, he revealed his true thinking. i've known doug for years. talk, buter heard him i have. pretentious most
remarks of anyone i know. he talks in a voice that might come from an oracle's cave. he makes announcements. what he thinks is final." what does that tell you about the relationship between general macarthur and fdr? arthur: a little bit of background about that. this is at a point in which that was macarthur holds the highest post in the united states army. he had just gone through a debacle called the bonus army march. it was a public relations disaster for the hoover administration, in which army troops were used to oust world war veterans, including many who had served with macarthur who came to demand payment of bonuses they had been promised on their government pensions for having served in the service during world war i. they set up a tent city and refused to go when ordered and when the bonus was voted down by congress. in the end, the police were unable to control the crowd. they asked for support from the
u.s. army and the cars are as job was to basically supervise the operation and it was ugly. it was an ugly series of riots. people were killed. a big propaganda campaign was launched by the communist supporters of the bonus march to paint douglas macarthur as this fascist killer of innocent men and women. so, the question had come up about whether fdr then becomes president. it probably doomed hoover's reelection in 1932. if the great depression did not take away his chances, the bonus army debacle did. so the question was, would he chief ofn by fdr as
staff. or would he be fired? everybody assumed he would be fired, that macarthur was out. he is a conservative republican. fdr is a liberal democrat. no-brainer. in fact, roosevelt was smart and he realized that macarthur was somebody who, despite these characteristics of his, this tremendous egotism, this sense of the infallibility to papal standards, that despite this, this was a man who would be useful for roosevelt to have as could beis team and he really support to the administration. and douglas macarthur, to his credit, realize that as well. one thing was the interesting cooperation between those two men that began to arise after roosevelt became president. everybody is a prized. the archconservative and the arch liberal become partners. helping to build the economy.
brian: i will read you this again for the background. then this paragraph. and then later, fdr says, you must not talk that way to the president of the united states. what is that all about? arthur: that is about budget cuts to the u.s. army. the budget had been slashed. first of all by hoover, not roosevelt.
hoover also had taken a serious funding appropriations. roosevelt comes in with further cuts. so that scene your are describing that unfolds in the oval office is roosevelt, the secretary of war and macarthur fighting it out over the implications of these budget cuts. how crippled with the u.s. army would be if these registrants were put into place. our boys would be dying needlessly because of it. brian: where did this come from, by the way?
are the quotes from general macarthur or from roosevelt? arthur: that comes from his own account. brian: i just vomited on the steps of the white house. he writes. arthur: that is very interesting. these are memoirs he writes just before his death. for the first time for many people exposing that aspect of what you are talking about at the beginning, the insecurities, that sense of self doubt, that feeling of being overwhelmed at certain moments of crisis. this was an example of that kind of thing. this is macarthur realizing that what he has just done could end his career, but also a feeling that this is a situation in which, although he had to speak out, he had to take a strong position, this was one which was not a position of strength that was in fact a position of weakness. there is no doubt that macarthur knows what he said was wrong. he knows that he should not have confronted the president and in that kind of way. the scene on the steps where he throws up is sort of a symbol of that feeling.
and yet, the secretary of war turns to him and says, you have just saved the u.s. army. brian: there are other things in this chapter. one is isabel. the mother, the fact that there is a major eisenhower. to putde to -- it's hard eisenhower was an aide, a low-level aide to macarthur. and went on to become president as we talked about. but talk about isabel. arthur: douglas macarthur, everybody is junior to douglas macarthur. that is a simple fact of life. even in world war ii, when he became supreme commander in the south asia pacific area, he is the one person to choose from. he is the one person who after the baton campaign, had actual
committees. fighting the japanese is just about the only officer who has seen military combat in world war i. and had a general's right during that conflict. that is important to keep in mind and why he is able to speak with this kind of command. olympian command. everybody else has been sort of, latecomers to the army career. brian: isabel. dimples. dimples. an actress from the philippines who he met. there she is looking very charming. just the sort of thing to itempt the attention from an army officer recently divorced. we talk about his mistress.
he is absolutely and simply he is absolutely and simply monogamous. this is after his divorce that he strikes up with isabel. nicknamed dimples because she was the actress that was in the first philippine movie to show a kiss on film. he had, they had a very -- even though she was a couple of decades younger -- they have a very close relationship. brian: he met her when she was 16-years-old. arthur: so it is definitely a may-december or maybe may-november romance. he is so taken with her that he arranges for her to come to the united states and be in washington, d.c., while he is army chief of staff. in fact she had an apartment on 16th street. when my wife and i first moved to washington, d.c., we looked for apartments there. i did not know at that time that it was a historical landmark. home of dimples cooper. it was romantic but soon fell
apart as he became -- realized that she was someone who, however attractive and the allure, she was really much too young and inexperienced and shallow for him. it does not end well. she goes off to hollywood and tries to get involved with films there. there are all kinds of albums that come after it. ryan: i am watching the clock and it is driving me crazy because we're so little time left. louise, -- the first wife, what's all about this? arthur: she is bitter. the first wife. wealthy and vivacious. the marriage has fallen apart. disillusionment. she was happy to spread all kinds of nasty gossip about him and his sexual prowess or lack thereof as a husband. and the real issue that was at hand was about whether, macarthur brought a libel suit, when the story came out.
about isabel cooper. it came out in kind of an odd way. it's a complicated story. they were going to bring out letters he and isabel had written in exchange back and forth. they arranged for those letters to be buried forever in the archives of one of drew pearson's attorneys. i was able to get those letters from the university of texas library. they really are quite
torrid. douglas macarthur, in the end, you read those letters, also c wrote to his first wife when there were courting in the 20's, you have to say that not only was douglas macarthur a great military commander in not only was he a great statesman as we see during his time and occupation japan, he is also a master of erotic prose in ways that are quite striking. brian: there was a chairman of the subcommittee that dealt with war back then and he got involved. he did not like him. arthur: they had enormous conflicts over how much money should be appropriated and the support for each branch of the military. a good lesson in many ways for any military force facing tight budgets. you keep the appropriations is thepread equally across different services and different
divisions. and collins had a fixation on the question of mechanized work for at the time and felt the money should be put into that. brian: they had bad feelings. in other words, he was going to leak the affair. he know about the affair and he was going to link it and they would publish it. all that stuff. how did this all end up? arthur: washington sure has changed. [laughter] arthur: you don't hear stories like that anymore. brian: i want to run one last clip. some more what general macarthur was saying at the republican convention in '52. [begin video clip] general macarthur: our people are desperate for a plan that would revise hope and restore faith as they feel that oppressive burden of the tax levy on every source of revenue and property transaction. as they see that astronomically rising public debt mortgaging the industry, the well-being, the opportunity of our children and our children's children, there is no plan to transform
extravagance into frugality, no desire to regain economic and fiscal stability, no prospect to return to the rugged ideals and collective tranquility of our fathers. [end video clip] brian: that was only 64 years ago. wasn't that something? arthur: it was in many ways incredibly depressing speech. issue of debt, public spending, how that becomes a way in which you mortgage a country's future. my gosh, in issue that has been hanging over us for the last couple of decades of not longer. people have asked me that if had macarthur won the nomination, that is an intriguing question. i think he would've been a lot like eisenhower. i think a lot of the policies
that to eisenhower pursued would have appealed to mccarthy in many ways. he did believe the federal government had a strong role to play in things like infrastructure. interstate highway systems. he probably would have approved of that. but i think he was also somebody who foresaw that the growth of the welfare state would be something that politicians and congress and even the federal government might not be able to control. it could be a runaway train. that america would face later on and i think that is one of the things about macarthur that you had to say. he saw the future more clearly often then he saw the present. weather was america's role in asia, the rise of china, the split between china and the soviet union which he foresaw, but also perhaps, too, the fate of a american domestic politics. brian: i can hear the historians and veterans of world war ii screaming that we do not get to anything on the war. but this is a 927-page book. arthur herman has been our guest.
the book is called "douglas macarthur: american warrior." our author has been a finalist for the pulitzer prize. we thank you very much. arthur: thank you. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: for free transcripts, visit us at q&a.org. programs are also available as c-span podcasts. ♪ announcer: if you liked this interview with historian arthur
herman, then here are some others you might enjoy. antony beevor. and a book on the life of harry truman. and michael korda's book on dwight d. eisenhower. find those books and more on c-span.org. announcer: here on c-span, washington journal is next. later in the day, they first on nato operations, the other on us-mexico relations. journal,s washington the national immigration law center talks about the supreme court's recent decision to block the president's executive order on immigration. heather mcdonald and her new
book the war on cops which examines how the events in ferguson, missouri have led to a spike in crime for several u.s. cities. ♪ host: good morning. decision day at the supreme court where three rulings have yet to be handed down. you're looking at the court now where crowds are gathering. is a the remaining cases texas abortion dispute that could end up being the most significant abortion ruling in decades. we will get to that case later in the program. we begin by discussing the de