Patton in Korea/MacArthur in the White House

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Douglas MacArthur is handling his job as president?

  • Approve

    Votes: 91 87.5%
  • Disapprove

    Votes: 13 12.5%

  • Total voters
    104
  • Poll closed .
Do you believe that MacArthur was in favour of civil rights for African Americans?
Doesn’t matter what he thinks really, matters what Majority Leader LBJ will do.

What’s very interesting is that LBJ out maneuvered the Old Guard Republicans who hated Eisenhower by convincing the Senate Dems to back the President. Given that MacArthur is not in favour of isolationism, clearly lol, something similar might happen instead of the OTL shellacking the General endured in the Senate from Russell.
 
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Do you believe that MacArthur was in favour of civil rights for African Americans
It is hard to say for sure on this one as he never (at least to my knowledge) explicitly said 'yes' or 'no' on the matter, but most of the evidence points towards the affirmative.
My interpretation of MacArthur is that his nine month trip across Asia in 1905 was "the" defining moment of his life, and most greatly influenced his views on just about everything thereafter - which makes sense, he's at this point a young man 'seeing the world' for the first time, so of course it's going to leave an impression. Because he was accompanying his father, who was one of the top people in the Army at the time, he was treated basically like a king (I think that's where the ego came from), but he was also exposed to a lot of other cultures (the Philippines, Siam, Japan and India were all on the list). In his memoirs (which to be fair, came almost 60 years later), he expresses a lot of admiration for what he saw on this trip, and in particular the skill of the people in Asia. Seeing as he spent a quarter of his life there, most of it voluntarily, it is hard to pin him as a racist (possible, mind you - this was the early 20th century after all, but unlikely).
Then in World War I, his 'Rainbow Division' was so named because it incorporated Americans from nearly every state - in contrast to most other units which were recruited primarily from one area. MacArthur claims credit for spearheading this initiative, and whether it is true or not, it does show that he viewed the US Army as being made up of "all Americans", not what type of American, as being important.
Furthermore, in Japan he was quite forceful in immediately granting the right to vote to women, even after being told that this would be met with strong opposition. Sure, the United States had had this for decades (and he did copy a lot of things from the US when leading Japan - for understandable reasons), but the situation is quite similar.
Finally, in his 1952 Republican keynote speech at the National Convention, I have him quoted in my notes as using the words "without regard to race, creed or colour" somewhere between the 10-25 minute mark (I don't have a full transcript, but the speech is on youtube if you're interested). Can't remember the exact context but that he's using the words at all gives some insight as to what he thought.

Another thing worth considering is that Mac liked to be "the guy" that did stuff that was important - he was the one who 'returned' to the Philippines, he was the one who democratised Japan &c. I know we make a lot of jokes about his ego (which I am trying to avoid in the TL proper), but it does seem very possible that he would decide civil rights is this big-deal issue that "he" could deal with.

The main counterpoint I have is more the people he associated himself with: Willoughby was one goose-step away from being a Nazi, and Almond wasn't a lot better especially on racial issues. Almond in particular deserves a lot of the blame for the sluggish progress on integrating the Army during Korea... in The Coldest Winter (a book that takes every opportunity to bash MacArthur), Almond is explicitly named as holding it up. MacArthur, I don't think, cared that much about the war: except for Inchon (which was his grand plan), and when the Chinese first entered (and they were making him look bad), he left a lot of the war to his deputies.
How much stock can we put in Almond or Willoughby? I'm inclined to say 'not much', because a lot of his friends had very different political views to him - nearly all of them were conservative Old Right Republicans, whereas the policies MacArthur was most proud of in Japan were distinctly liberal. Because he saw himself as conservative (this goes back to that "triplethink" idea I addressed earlier), he wasn't bothered by their views, but I don't think they had too much influence on him.

Make of that what you will :)

- BNC
 
Part IV, Chapter 27
CHAPTER 27

The beginning of MacArthur’s 1952 campaign for president has often been labelled as a better-managed restart of his 1948 campaign. In 1948, despite MacArthur not being in the country, he had allowed – some would say encouraged – his supporters to campaign for him in Wisconsin, and the result was a narrow defeat in the primary held in that state. Failure had spelt the end for his campaign then, and if he lost his home state a second time without a strong showing elsewhere, it doubtless would again. Frederick Ayer Jr and Phil LaFollette thought that a five point difference could easily be made up by the stunning victory in Korea and having MacArthur physically on the campaign trail, but there was no doubt that their opponents would be throwing everything they had into the fight too.
As in 1948, MacArthur’s main rival in the Badger State would be Harold Stassen of nearby Minnesota. Stassen had run for president twice before, and was no stranger to the campaign trail. He was young and energetic, and had been a popular Governor. On paper, he had the makings of a strong candidate – far stronger than Harry Truman might have been (“We won’t be up against Truman, but whoever the Democrats pick will have to carry his baggage” in the words of LaFollette). But if MacArthur could beat him, the path to the White House would get that much easier.
Like MacArthur, Stassen also had a collection of supporters waiting for him to announce his candidacy, and no small number of them were backing him just to oppose those who had lined up behind MacArthur. Whoever LaFollette supported, Thomas Coleman (who had his own formidable political machine) would oppose. Coleman had supported Stassen in 1948, and despite being closer to the more conservative MacArthur in ideology, he would back Stassen again. Ayer and LaFollette weren’t concerned: they’d come close to beating Coleman before, and this time they had a far better campaign (it didn’t hurt that MacArthur’s name alone was enough to pull in millions of dollars of donations from across the country).

What LaFollette hadn’t counted on was that Stassen too had an ace up his sleeve: ‘Tail-Gunner Joe’.

Senator Joseph McCarthy had been Stassen’s campaign manager in 1948, and by all accounts he had done a good job: Stassen had taken four of the twelve state primaries. He had also issued a public letter to voters attacking MacArthur’s own suitability for the presidency, saying that at sixty-seven he was too old for the job and ready for “a well-deserved hero’s retirement”. MacArthur was now 71, not 67, making McCarthy’s age arguments all the more credible, and Ayer would eventually convince MacArthur to announce that he would choose a younger man to be vice-president to allay the public’s fears. Who that would be would not be decided for some time to come: there were more pressing matters to attend to. Actually winning the nomination, for one.
What concerned the MacArthur campaign the most was that McCarthy was a far more dangerous opponent now than he had been four years prior. In 1948, he had been a little known senator. By the dawn of 1952, he had made himself a name as America’s fiercest critic of communists, famous for his accusatory behaviour (many times with flimsy evidence at best), and he was considered one of the most powerful men in the Senate. In the 1950 midterms, he had backed a range of Republican candidates, most of whom won their seats, while men who he had opposed tended to lose their elections.
MacArthur also sensed that McCarthy put his campaign in a difficult spot. Several of his most important supporters, Senator Kenneth Wherry at the top of the list, were also avid McCarthyists, and doing anything that could be construed as denouncing McCarthy risked losing their support. Yet if nothing was done, McCarthy would effectively have free reign to trample all over MacArthur’s campaign, with either fact or more likely falsehood.
“Fortunately, Joe has a lot of enemies. Maybe he’ll make a mistake.” Pat Echols said one day.

Enter General Patton.

By the December of 1951, Patton had spent nearly a year in retirement since he left Korea, and had enjoyed very little of it. Convinced that Truman had led the top brass of the Army to ‘betray’ him before he could die the glorious death of a warrior, he had fallen into a deep depression, leading to his behaviour becoming increasingly unpredictable. His strict physical regimen, which had kept him in impeccable shape in spite of many injuries over the years, was let go in favour of a newfound drinking habit, and the few people he was still close with noticed he smoked and cursed far more than he had in the past.
Holding a vendetta against just about every high-ranking officer in the Army and the Truman administration, he had also taken to publicly criticising them both in the papers (where his language remained respectable enough) and in speeches across southern California. CBS attempted to put him on TV once in March 1951, only for the program to be scrapped before ever being put to air due to Patton’s language. Then in May, Patton decided to level his criticism at Eisenhower, one of few generals more popular than himself, and when Eisenhower delivered a calm but brilliant rebuke of Patton’s statements (which amounted to calling “Ike” a coward for not invading the Soviet Union), most of Patton’s followers abandoned him. His speeches would attract smaller and smaller crowds, attending more for entertainment than anything else.
Then Joseph McCarthy made the worst decision of his career. He attempted to smear George C. Marshall.

McCarthy and Marshall had despised each other for a while, but it was not until the dying days of the Korean War that McCarthy launched his first attack on Marshall. Unlike most of the senator’s bluster-ridden statements, this one had competed with the end of the war for headlines, and few outside the Senate paid it any attention. McCarthy then seems to have become distracted with other targets, as his next attack on Marshall would not come until October. When it did come, it was furious: Marshall had “conspired” with the Soviets at Yalta to give the Red Army control of half of Europe; Marshall had “sabotaged” an aid bill to China, allowing Chiang to fall; Marshall had “invited” the communists into Korea, and then he had failed to drive them out quickly enough, costing hundreds more American lives. All in all, Marshall was to blame for every diplomatic or military failure of the last eight years.
Patton, who counted Marshall as one of his two remaining friends in anything resembling a high place (MacArthur being the other), was outraged. Within twenty-four hours of McCarthy’s attack, Patton managed to convince the ABC to air him on the radio, where he delivered a sweeping criticism of McCarthy, calling him “dishonourable”, “pathetic”, and a “stain upon the Senate”. The media immediately caught on to what was sure to be a popular story: few people had dared challenge McCarthy so directly before, and even fewer had come out of it looking good. McCarthy would accuse them of being part of a communist plot or conspiracy, or even declare them to be out-and-out Red, and their reputation would be in ashes before the week was out.
Patton wasn’t fazed. He had given up caring about his reputation somewhere south of the Yalu River, and his anti-communist credentials were second to none. He had the scars and the limp to prove it. With no prospect of another war on the horizon, Patton was also looking for a fight. So all throughout November, Patton attacked McCarthy in the press, and the senator, predictably, retaliated, until on January 10th, 1952, the New York Times published the most famous headline since Dewey “defeated” Truman.

‘McCARTHY LABELS PATTON A COMMUNIST AGENT!’

He had taken the bait.

Patton had expected that reaction for weeks, and now that he had it, he was quick to seize the opportunity to humiliate his rival. McCarthy had made a habit of investigating supposed communists, not in a court, but on the floor of the Senate, where he was surrounded by all of his cronies and few of his opponents. There was no impartial jury to worry about, so McCarthy could use as many of his lies as he saw fit without fear of being called out, making it the perfect kangaroo court. Despite this, Patton publicly dared him to ‘investigate’ his communist links, and McCarthy was more than happy to oblige.
As he had when McCarthy attacked Marshall, Patton went to the ABC, suggesting that the ‘trial’ be filmed and broadcast on TV, live for much of the East Coast. They expressed concern about the language he was likely to use, to which Patton replied “the hell with it. Unless Stalin starts a war or something, this is going to be the biggest show until the election. Just put a warning up at the start to settle the old ladies. I’m going to ruin the son of a bitch, and the best way to do so is to let the whole country see him for the crook he is.” The ABC agreed, but decided against a live airing, instead choosing to edit out Patton’s profanities and showing it the following day.

***

January 29, 1952

As he sat in front of the ABC microphone and stared at that son of a bitch senator on the other side of the room, George Patton’s mind went back to that day he had spent at the Yalu River. Despite his best efforts to persuade them, the gods of war had not taken him. His place in Valhalla was waiting – he was certain of it – but the valkyries had not come. In all those miserable days since, he had come up with exactly one reason why they had not: there was at least one battle left to fight. Perhaps this was it. Such a shame they wouldn’t let him bring his six-shooters here…
‘Tail-Gunner Joe’, as it turned out, was a coward of the highest order. Someone, Patton didn’t care who, had dug up an old story where McCarthy claimed to have suffered a war wound in a plane crash during World War II. Turned out the yellow bastard had busted his leg doing something stupid when his ship crossed the Equator for the first time.

“How the hell do you think I got this?” Patton had asked, lifting the leg of his pants to show where a pair of bullets had briefly been in 1950 (as well as an old wound from the Great War). “All you do, all you have ever done, is lie about where the damn communists are. You don’t know the slightest goddamned bit about where the hell they are. They’re not in the State Department. George Marshall’s a hero, not a Red. They’re not in Hollywood. They’re on the goddamned Yalu River and in Moscow. And if you had any guts at all, you’d have joined the Marines and fought under me in Korea. You call yourself a military hero. You’re not. The real heroes are those brave sons of bitches we couldn’t bring back home!”
“I served my country!” McCarthy blasted back.
“You don’t know the first thing about service! I was serving this country – actually serving, not your shit of an excuse for it, while you were still pissing your short pants.” Patton shouted back. “Serving means actually going out and shooting the Nazi and communist sons of bitches and putting your own damned dick on the line. All you did was sit aboard a ship getting drunk on watch and then pissed off as quick as you possibly could. That’s not service, that’s goddamned yellow cowardice!”
Patton heard a gavel banging in the background. Someone of importance, doubtless one of McCarthy’s goons, wanted him to shut up. He ignored it.
“This investigation is a farce. Your committee couldn’t find evidence of prostitution if you sent a hundred men into a whorehouse. If it were anything else, I wouldn’t be here. I got shot telling Harry Truman to go to war with the Red sons of bitches. Isn’t it obvious that I’m about as likely to be a Red as Stalin is to sing Yankee Doodle? There’s one less communist country in the world today than there was a year and a half ago, and they're gone because of the army that I led to battle them. Where the hell were you last year? I sure didn’t see you in Korea.”
Then Patton pulled out some photos he had been given all the way back in 1945. “Senator, I think it is about time you showed some damned respect to the brave men who give their lives to their country, instead of spitting on their faces.”

The photos, as he would later explain for the cameras, were from the Malmedy massacre during the Battle of the Bulge. Those weren’t his men – they had belonged to the First Army – but he had seen some of the sites himself. McCarthy was on record calling for the commutation of the death sentences for the SS bastards behind it.

Two weeks later, Patton would be told that it was the ABC’s most-watched program of all time, a record that would take years to be broken. He didn’t care about that. What he did care about was victory, and he had scored a big one. McCarthy’s reputation was in tatters.

- BNC
 
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Two weeks later, Patton would be told that it was the ABC’s most-watched program of all time, a record that would take years to be broken. He didn’t care about that. What he did care about was victory, and he had scored a big one. McCarthy’s reputation was in tatters.
And there was much rejoicing...
 
Television is not McCarthy’s friend, that giggle for instance. I don’t think anyone minds the man kicking off his late era career as a pathetic bloated drunkard a little early—as the men in the establishment are certainly saying, it’s for the best.

Excellent update!
 
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Doesn’t matter what he thinks really, matters what Majority Leader LBJ will do.
LBJ was not the Senate Majority Leader until 1955 though. Unless butterflies happen to make things different its still a couple of years away.

But then again it is MacArthur, I thinkk its more of a matter of who his VP is. I mean, Eisenhower was at least somewhat politically aware of things, MAc does not seem to be.
 
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Great chapter! So awesome seeing Patton take McCarthy down! Such a clever idea to have Patton be the one to do it. Also great to see Harold Stassen in the race. I know Stassen has been mocked for running for President so many times but I for one really like him. In fact I think Stassen would have made a great President if elected. :)
 
LBJ was not the Senate Majority Leader until 1955 though. Unless butterflies happen to make things different its still a couple of years away.
Well yeah, but the chances of the Senate passing any civil rights before LBJ is running things is pretty darn low even if Mac goes all in the well recognized 1956-1960 or so opening for the Republicans to go for a Northern Strategy. I freely admit I went for pithy over being clear, my bad.
 
I hope Tail Gunner Joe ends up in a room with lots of rubber wallpaper.
x'D

. I don’t think anyone minds the man kicking off his late era career as a pathetic bloated drunkard a little early—as the men in the establishment are certainly saying, it’s for the best.
Also x'D

Great chapter! So awesome seeing Patton take McCarthy down! Such a clever idea to have Patton be the one to do it.
If anyone was why I kept Patton alive in chapter 23... this was the reason. The idea of Patton and McCarthy having a showdown was just too epic to not do!

Also great to see Harold Stassen in the race. I know Stassen has been mocked for running for President so many times but I for one really like him. In fact I think Stassen would have made a great President if elected.
There was a while where I was thinking of making Stassen be Mac's VP - if Mac's running as a New Yorker (as he did IOTL 1952), Stassen balances the ticket better than just about anyone else. Moving him to WI gives me more room to play with LaFollette though, and I've got another guy who I think Mac would be more likely to pick anyway.

Anyone know if there's a President Stassen TL on here anywhere?

- BNC
 
x'D


Also x'D


If anyone was why I kept Patton alive in chapter 23... this was the reason. The idea of Patton and McCarthy having a showdown was just too epic to not do!


There was a while where I was thinking of making Stassen be Mac's VP - if Mac's running as a New Yorker (as he did IOTL 1952), Stassen balances the ticket better than just about anyone else. Moving him to WI gives me more room to play with LaFollette though, and I've got another guy who I think Mac would be more likely to pick anyway.

Anyone know if there's a President Stassen TL on here anywhere?

- BNC
Not that I'm aware of. Also that's a good possibly of Stassen being VP
 
Great chapter! So awesome seeing Patton take McCarthy down! Such a clever idea to have Patton be the one to do it. Also great to see Harold Stassen in the race. I know Stassen has been mocked for running for President so many times but I for one really like him. In fact I think Stassen would have made a great President if elected. :)

There was a while where I was thinking of making Stassen be Mac's VP - if Mac's running as a New Yorker (as he did IOTL 1952), Stassen balances the ticket better than just about anyone else. Moving him to WI gives me more room to play with LaFollette though, and I've got another guy who I think Mac would be more likely to pick anyway.

Anyone know if there's a President Stassen TL on here anywhere?

- BNC

He is also 45ish, and about 27 years younger than Mac. He has also been in politics for about 20 years as well, so he is somewhat experienced, but he is not a Washington insider, so that actually might be seen as a problem. That was actually one of the reasons why Nixon got saddled with Eisenhower. A younger man who had experience in the senate and Washington and connections to the party establishment itself.

Having said that though Stassen is still better than Taft.
 
He is also 45ish, and about 27 years younger than Mac. He has also been in politics for about 20 years as well, so he is somewhat experienced, but he is not a Washington insider, so that actually might be seen as a problem. That was actually one of the reasons why Nixon got saddled with Eisenhower. A younger man who had experience in the senate and Washington and connections to the party establishment itself.

Having said that though Stassen is still better than Taft.
Oh definitely. If Taft had won instead of Eisenhower Stevenson probably would have beaten him
 
Even against an isolationist like Taft?
Taft being an isolationist is a smear. While the liberal Republicans used it as an attack line, if he's their nominee, I imagine the party in general would do a better job setting the record straight on that. Taft's concern was more about specific signed commitments that gave the room no flexibility. He still said that if the soviets attacked Europe, the US would treat it as an act of war. He just believed in Monroe Doctrine style declarations rather than formal alliances.

Anyway, I think the same forces that made Nixon VP in 1952 funnily enough make sense here as well. Young Senator from the West.
 
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