The General and the President MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War (PDF)

  • Hardcover
  • 416
  • The General and the President MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War
  • H.W. Brands
  • English
  • 08 February 2020
  • 9780385540575

H.W. Brands Ô 5 Read & Download

review Ú PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ô H.W. Brands Read & Download The General and the President MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War ä PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free H.W. Brands Ô 5 Read & Download He willful fearless and highly decorated commander of the American and UN forces had his finger on the nuclear trigger A correction uickly followed but the damage was done; two visions for America's path forward were clearly in opposition and one man would have to make wayTruman was one of the most unpopular presidents in American history Heir to a struggling economy a ruined Europe and increasing tension with the Soviet Union on no issue was the path ahead clear and easy General MacArthur by contrast was incredibly popular as untouchable as any officer has ever been in America The lessons he drew from World War II were absol. On June 25 1950 North Korea unleashed an attack against its southern neighbor that set off a war that resulted in 36914 American casualties Many Americans are aware of the role of General Douglas MacArthur in the conflict in particular his brilliant but risky landing at Inchon that beat back the North Korean attack and later in the war pursuing a strategy that led to Chinese intervention MacArthur s actions were very controversial and once the Chinese crossed the Yalu River with over 100000 troops and the military situation deteriorated America s allies grew concerned when MacArthur suggested the use of atomic weapons against the Chinese President Harry S Truman did his best to reign in his commander to no avail and most historians believe that MacArthur overstepped his authority and allowed his strong belief system guide his actions Others like the British historian Robert Harvey and the American historian Arthur Herman believe the situation was much nuanced The topic has again been explored in HW Brands new book THE GENERAL VS THE PRESIDENT MACARTHUR AND TRUMAN AT THE BRINK OF NUCLEAR WAR Brands position is very clear that Truman s firing of MacArthur was a bold stroke that may have headed off a much wider war with the ChineseBrands juxtaposes two personalities with totally different backgrounds and agendas Truman reelected president in his own right in 1948 stood up to Stalin after World War II implementing the Truman Doctrine the Marshall Plan and stood fast over Berlin as he pursued the policy of containment of the Soviet Union With the North Korean attack he was able to blunt their progress until the Chinese crossed the Yalu River in force but he was faced with a commander who wanted to employ nuclear weapons to send a message to the communist world On the other hand MacArthur the all knowing general who held politicians in contempt especially a novice president like Truman MacArthur saw himself as having saved the Pacific in World War II rebuilt postwar Japan and now believed he had the communists right where he wanted them but a feckless president stood in his way Brands does his best to explain the issues between the two men in the context of the Cold War in which they lived Brands has written a general history of their relationship and its ultimate outcome but does not really add anything new that has not been uncovered by previous works on the topicBrands smooth narrative style refined through the many books he has written is present throughout Brands is a master story teller who is able to present his narrative and analysis in a concise fashion that the general reader should enjoy which at times will also satisfy an academic audience A case in point is how MacArthur gained the support of the Japanese people as he totally reoriented their society away from the militaristic emperor worship to a nation based on liberal democracy In the constitution he prepared he did away with all pre war institutions except the emperor that had dominated Japan and resulted in World War II Further evidence of this approach can be seen as Brands reviews Truman s career that spans his election to the Senate in 1940 his assumption of the presidency in 1945 and Cold War events to the onset of the Korean War Brands effectively relies on Truman s correspondence with his daughter Margaret who served as a remarkable conduit into his thoughts and concerns A major strength of the book are the character studies that are presented Discussions of people like Secretary of State Dean Acheson a rather arrogant individual General Omar T Bradley whose insights into Truman and MacArthur s personalities are fascinating General Matthew Ridgeway a hero at the Battle of the Bulge during World War II whose leadership helped turn around the military balance in Korea and Marguerite Higgins a wartime correspondent add to the narrative Other strengths of the book include Brands description of the plight and final breakout of US Marines at the Chosin Reservoir and their two week trek battling the elements which were dangerous than the Chinese communists to reach Hamhung Brands coverage of Truman and MacArthur rationalizations when confronted by Congress and the press is eye opening in trying to gain insights into their dysfunctional relationship after the Chinese communists crossed the Yalu into North Korea MacArthur s statements at this time concerning administration restraints in dealing with bombing Chinese airfields in Manchuria and other issues is very similar to his rhetoric leaked to the American press after Matthew Ridgeway s forces saved MacArthur s reputation in April 1951 Brands coverage of Truman and the Joint Chiefs of Staff finally reaching the conclusion to relieve MacArthur of his command points to the final realization that MacArthur s insubordination and egocentrism could no longer be tolerated Especially enlightening was the inclusion of a great deal of the testimony of MacArthur and Secretary of Defense George C Marshall before Congress following MacArthur s dismissal However the report of the hearings would have been enhanced if excerpts of Secretary of State Dean Acheson s testimony had also been included This along with the geopolitical analysis of the region and domestic politics in the United States that included the role of Chiang Kai Shek Republicans in Congress and the coming 1952 presidential election are all important pieces in understanding the war and its domestic implicationsDespite the strengths of the book there are a number of areas that could be improved The bibliography is rather sparse and the endnotes could be enhanced In the area of analysis Brands chooses to deal with a number of major issues in a rather superficial manner His exploration of Soviet motives behind the North Korean attack is weak His excuse that the Russians were protesting the seating of Formosa over mainland China in the UN Security Council as the reason for their absence to block an AmericanUN force to stop the North Korean advance does not go far enough Is it possible that Moscow tried to draw the United States into the conflict in the hope it would cause difficulties with the Chinese at a time when the Sino Soviet split was emerging is a main motivation Brands covers all the major topics that come under the umbrella of his overall subject but he needs to dig down further or just state up front that he is preparing a general history of the topic then the reader will not expect For example the Wake Island meeting between Truman and MacArthur covers the basics Further he does not drill down far enough when discussing events that led up to the Chinese overrunning UN forces in November 1950 To his credit he does list the signs of possible Chinese actions that MacArthur missed but he needs to explore the reaction of America s allies further as well as the interaction between MacArthur and the Joint Chiefs of StaffOverall Brands has written a very readable account of the Truman MacArthur relationship in the context of the Cold War I would agree with Francis P Sempa s view published in the New York Journal of Books that Brands does not present a very clear legacy of the Korean War in terms of future American foreign policy Truman wanted to have a police action or limited war in Korea MacArthur sought total victory something the United States has achieved only once since World War II in the first Gulf War in 1990 91 but failed to accomplish in Vietnam and currently in Ira and Afghanistan There are a number of lessons that could have been discussed that relate to future American foreign policy an important area which Brands chooses to ignore

Read & Download The General and the President MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War

The General and the President MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War

review Ú PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ô H.W. Brands Read & Download The General and the President MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War ä PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free H.W. Brands Ô 5 Read & Download From master storyteller and historian H W Brands twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize comes the riveting story of how President Harry Truman and General Douglas MacArthur suared off to decide America's future in the aftermath of World War II At the height of the Korean War President Harry S Truman committed a gaffe that sent shock waves around the world When asked by a reporter about the possible use of atomic weapons in response to China's entry into the war Truman replied testily The military commander in the field will have charge of the use of the weapons as he always has This suggested that General Douglas MacArthur t. We know what we are in for The Americans can bomb us they can destroy our industries but they cannot defeat us on landThey may even drop atom bombs on us What then They may kill a few million people Without sacrifice a nation s independence cannot be upheld General Nieh Yen jung Chief of Staff of China s People s Liberation Army to Indian Ambassador KM Panikkar September 1950 North Korea best not make any threats to the United States They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen President Donald J Trump August 2017The last several weeks have seen a drastic increase in tension between the United States and North Korea with each nation s respective leadership treating the delicate art of nuclear diplomacy with all the subtlety of a schoolyard brawl Am I worried Not actively Nuclear war with North Korea does not make my very extensive list of anxiety inducers However whenever there is a non zero chance of a world altering perhaps ending war it is at the very least worth paying attention Of course nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula are nothing new Rather it is a reality that stretches back all the way to the Korean War which began in June 1950 This is the story told by HW Brands in The General vs the President his lively fast paced account of Douglas MacArthur in Korea and the forbidden weapons he wanted to use to turn the tide In 1950 North Korean troops poured across the 38th Parallel steamrolling the South Korean troops that stood in their way The United Nations Security Council voted to repel the invasion and UN troops including US soldiers were dispatched to do just that General MacArthur hero of World War II the Supreme Allied Commander in Japan and the commander in chief of the UN command rose to the occasion At Inchon he unleashed a brilliant counteroffensive with a daring amphibious that almost immediately flipped the table on North Korea Suddenly what began as an ignominious route showed signs of being the capstone to MacArthur s career His troops pushed inland driving the NKA north of the 38th Parallel right back from where they d come Not content with the status uo ante bellum MacArthur pursued the fleeing NKA with permission north towards the Yalu a river on the border of North Korea and China This triggered a massive Chinese response tens of thousands of troops reversed the course of the war once again The Chinese intervention which MacArthur had discounted dramatically changed the calculus of the conflict To counter it MacArthur wanted to try a variety of stratagems including using Formosan troops under Chiang Kai shek making cross border aerial attacks into China and even fatefully using atomic weapons This did not sit well in Washington DC which was trying to limit rather than widen the conflict MacArthur unsurprising given his ego believed that President Harry Truman s administration hampered his conduct in Korea But instead of fuming about that in his diary Dear Journal Harry is a jerk MacArthur always his own worst enemy took his grievances public openly advocating for contrary policies The image of a general dictating political uestions did not sit well with Truman Eventually the President fired MacArthur dramatically ending both MacArthur s illustrious military career as well as Truman s own political life Brands tackles this whole jam packed tale in 398 pages of text In that sense the book s title is a bit misleading While it promises a very narrow focus Brand s coverage is actually pretty broad This is popular history written in narrative fashion with a thriller s pace It gives you the full context starting with mini bios of both MacArthur and Truman a recounting of the events leading to the Korean War and a macro sketch of the ebb and flow of battle before finally getting to the central clash of character between the Old Soldier and the Man from Independence The General vs the President also includes the aftermath of MacArthur s termination including his appearance before the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees The wake of the firing with MacArthur making famous speeches while unknowingly undermining his own chance at the presidency is as fascinating as any of the stuff that happened while he was still in uniform I liked this I really did But there is a part of me that wanted much In my opinion Brands sacrifices depth for scope and in doing so never uite fulfills the promise in the subtitle of explaining how or even if we got to the brink of nuclear war Part of the reason the book reads so fast is that Brands is narrating from the points of view of his characters As Brands jumps back and forth between MacArthur and Truman you see things through their eyes and get the perspectives and rationalizations for their decisions It should be noted that Brands is pretty non partisan here he is not out to destroy either the General or the President In tone Brands as is his wont is rather dispassionate What Brands doesn t really do and which I consider a rather important failing is analyze the decisions of Truman or MacArthur with any sort of hindsight We know a lot about the Cold War today than we ever did before Historians have access to files and documents that Korean War contemporaries could only have imagined I wanted Brands to use that expanded knowledge to amplify his narrative I wanted a bit critical analysis of the situation Certain uestions I had such as the actual extent of Soviet participation much debated at the time went unanswered Moreover the central hook of The General vs the President is that MacArthur s actions brought us close to the use of nuclear weapons an act that might have turned a limited war into an uncontainable holocaust of infinitely splitting atoms Brands narrative is so concerned with its central dramatic arc that it never takes the time to explore this facet I wanted details including what contingency plans if any were being made for the use of nuclear arms Too often I sensed that Brands was telling me what happened but not why he provides a good literary ride but one that lacks deeper insights With that said I recognize this was probably aimed at a general audience Certainly it succeeds on the level of clarity and readability I m confident that someone who has never read a sentence about the Korean War could finish this without getting lost or bogged down The General vs the President also contains important lessons As I ve said here and elsewhere Brands is not an axe grinder or a firebrand and this is not a polemic His writing is carefully balanced If he has a strong opinion about Doug MacArthur and most people interested in this era do he is careful to hide it Brands does however come to the very reasonable conclusion that MacArthur s firing was not only justified but important From the founding of the republic Americans saw the wisdom in putting a civilian in charge of the Armed Forces It s hard to believe in this day and age but America used to harbor a powerful skepticism about funding a permanent army That skepticism has of course eroded to an almost comical degree A nation that relied almost entirely on a modest internal constabulary until the 20th century now spends as much on the military as the next seven countries combined This is not necessarily a criticism only an observation but it means the strength of the military in terms of budget and political capital is enormous That makes the threat of praetorianism very very realTruman stood up to that As Brands writes Truman s bold stroke in firing MacArthur ended his own career as surely as it terminated MacArthur s but it sustained hope that humanity might survive the nuclear age We are right now in a very different set of circumstances still hoping that humanity might survive the nuclear age The General vs the President illustrates some of the difficult decisions reuired to make that possible The Archetype of Initiation you the full context starting with mini bios of both MacArthur and Truman a recounting of the events leading to the Korean War and a macro sketch of the ebb and flow of battle before finally getting to the central clash of character between the Old Soldier and the Man from Independence The General vs the President also includes the aftermath of MacArthur s termination including his appearance before the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees The wake of the firing with MacArthur making famous speeches while unknowingly undermining his own chance at the presidency is as fascinating as any of the stuff that happened while he was still in uniform I liked this I really did But there is a part of me that wanted much In my opinion Brands sacrifices depth for scope and in doing so never uite fulfills the promise in the subtitle of explaining how or even if we got to the brink of nuclear war Part of the reason the book reads so fast is that Brands is narrating from the points of view of his characters As Brands jumps back and forth between MacArthur and Truman Duplicity you see things through their eyes and get the perspectives and rationalizations for their decisions It should be noted that Brands is pretty non partisan here he is not out to destroy either the General or the President In tone Brands as is his wont is rather dispassionate What Brands doesn t really do and which I consider a rather important failing is analyze the decisions of Truman or MacArthur with any sort of hindsight We know a lot about the Cold War today than we ever did before Historians have access to files and documents that Korean War contemporaries could only have imagined I wanted Brands to use that expanded knowledge to amplify his narrative I wanted a bit critical analysis of the situation Certain uestions I had such as the actual extent of Soviet participation much debated at the time went unanswered Moreover the central hook of The General vs the President is that MacArthur s actions brought us close to the use of nuclear weapons an act that might have turned a limited war into an uncontainable holocaust of infinitely splitting atoms Brands narrative is so concerned with its central dramatic arc that it never takes the time to explore this facet I wanted details including what contingency plans if any were being made for the use of nuclear arms Too often I sensed that Brands was telling me what happened but not why he provides a good literary ride but one that lacks deeper insights With that said I recognize this was probably aimed at a general audience Certainly it succeeds on the level of clarity and readability I m confident that someone who has never read a sentence about the Korean War could finish this without getting lost or bogged down The General vs the President also contains important lessons As I ve said here and elsewhere Brands is not an axe grinder or a firebrand and this is not a polemic His writing is carefully balanced If he has a strong opinion about Doug MacArthur and most people interested in this era do he is careful to hide it Brands does however come to the very reasonable conclusion that MacArthur s firing was not only justified but important From the founding of the republic Americans saw the wisdom in putting a civilian in charge of the Armed Forces It s hard to believe in this day and age but America used to harbor a powerful skepticism about funding a permanent army That skepticism has of course eroded to an almost comical degree A nation that relied almost entirely on a modest internal constabulary until the 20th century now spends as much on the military as the next seven countries combined This is not necessarily a criticism only an observation but it means the strength of the military in terms of budget and political capital is enormous That makes the threat of praetorianism very very realTruman stood up to that As Brands writes Truman s bold stroke in firing MacArthur ended his own career as surely as it terminated MacArthur s but it sustained hope that humanity might survive the nuclear age We are right now in a very different set of circumstances still hoping that humanity might survive the nuclear age The General vs the President illustrates some of the difficult decisions reuired to make that possible

review Ú PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ô H.W. Brands

review Ú PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ô H.W. Brands Read & Download The General and the President MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War ä PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free H.W. Brands Ô 5 Read & Download Ute appeasement leads to disaster and a showdown with the communists was inevitable the sooner the better In the nuclear era when the Soviets too had the bomb the specter of a catastrophic third World War lurked menacingly close on the horizonThe contest of wills between these two titanic characters unfolds against the turbulent backdrop of a faraway war and terrors conjured at home by Joseph McCarthy From the drama of Stalin's blockade of West Berlin to the daring landing of MacArthur's forces at Inchon to the shocking entrance of China into the war The General and the President vividly evokes the making of a new American er. Fast paced never dull this is a fascinating and intriguing story of the rivalry and tension between President Truman and General MacArthur America s commanding general in Asia and the UN s commanding general in the Korean War The author is not perceptibly biased toward either man and I found myself switching sides several times In the end it finally became clear to me that though he was in many ways a military genius and hero MacArthur was nuts Seriously he ended up advocating nuking China and sowing lines of radioactive waste materials across North Korea as a sort of atomic mine field to disrupt North Korean and Chinese supply lines He apparently never considered how Koreans were supposed to live in a radioactive wasteland after the war Though ending MacArthur s career effectively ended Truman s own career by tanking his approval ratings and dooming any chance of his re election history has proven that Truman s policy of limited war and containment towards communism was the right choice for America and the world s democracies All in all a wiser and astute leader with an approach in the middle of these two would have been the best ideal for America Fortunately such a leader immediately followed this episode and cleaned it up That was Eisenhower but that is another bookAnyhow read this excellent offering by the talented and gifted historian author HW Brands It s a hell of a page turner