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

  • Approve

    Votes: 140 76.5%
  • Disapprove

    Votes: 43 23.5%

  • Total voters


The bill that the Camp Arthur discussion, and then further discussion in the White House, eventually arrived at was far from the great restoration of labour’s rights that MacArthur had hoped for. It would not touch Section 14b, or the requirement that unions declare themselves to not be supporters of the Communist Party, or even the ability of employers to spread anti-union messages. What it did do was guarantee strikers the right to a jury trial, should they desire one, in the event of labour disputes, repealing one injustice of Taft-Hartley that unions had been vocal about since 1948.

Southern Democrats might actually be ok with this provision. Setting the precedent now that people accused of violating federal court orders are entitled to a jury trial will strengthen the South's case down the road for insisting that a similar right to a jury trial in contempt cases be included in any future civil rights legislation.
Be easier to just download the list of every medal the Army ever made haha :p ... Mac won something like all but one of them that he possibly could have.

Lol, just make Mac look as decked out like some North Korean General or like Zhukov at the 1945 victory parade. Then the moniker of an American Caesar shall be complete!
Nixon glanced at the note he had just written, and suddenly he had an idea. Maybe this was what he was looking for all along. He decided he would discuss this with MacArthur after all.
I am officially onboard with the Tricky Dick fanclub in this timeline. Screw it.

Nixon as attorney general is a very interesting figure, and this is in itself before his own well... sway towards the right in terms of his rhetoric and such which happened after 1960 and 1962. Now that also begs one to wonder.... will we ever see Dick Nixon into the White House?
That would be hard to do, seeing as don't know a lot of what was in those files. It would take a lot of conjecture, I would think.

We know enough, I’d wager. It would take a major amount of work but analyzing individual members of Congress and their FBI support combined with known scandals we have half a century of hindsight on.

Really though it’s probably the basics that would prevent a security clearance: affairs, being homosexual, corrupt business dealings, the usual stuff critters get up to that would damage their power.
Ah but if what Hoover was up to gets out... How much do you want to bet whomever is tarred with his brush just loudly proclaims the evidence was faked?
Southern Democrats might actually be ok with this provision. Setting the precedent now that people accused of violating federal court orders are entitled to a jury trial will strengthen the South's case down the road for insisting that a similar right to a jury trial in contempt cases be included in any future civil rights legislation.
Yeah, at the very least they won't stand in its way. When Nixon was saying "the South hates you" he's making a bit of a generalisation. Though only a bit.

Then the moniker of an American Caesar shall be complete!
I'm not even half done yet :)

I am officially onboard with the Tricky Dick fanclub in this timeline. Screw it.
Welcome on board! :)

Nixon as attorney general is a very interesting figure, and this is in itself before his own well... sway towards the right in terms of his rhetoric and such which happened after 1960 and 1962. Now that also begs one to wonder.... will we ever see Dick Nixon into the White House?
I like to think of Nixon ITTL becoming a less paranoid and much happier person than his OTL counterpart (albeit still a schemer!).
I won't be writing anything to say whether Nixon becomes President ITTL or not, mostly because I'd prefer to leave the post-Mac future of the TL up to each reader to make their own interpretation - if you come away from the TL thinking Mac is a great president you will naturally want to assume that the leaders that follow him try to continue his legacy, while if you instead read Mac to be an awful president it follows that the country does its best to quickly forget about him. I think the most interesting part of studying Mac is how he did a lot of truly great things AND a lot of rather terrible things as well, and I'm attempting to carry through that image of a complicated, controversial figure into the TL... if I then follow with "oh the next four presidents try to emulate Mac" I don't think that image would work quite as well as if I just leave it ambiguous.
What I will say on this point is that Nixon has pretty well tied himself to the 'Bataan Gang' by this point, and he'll be around a lot longer than say Willoughby or Almond - if your interpretation of the TL leads you to the conclusion that Mac's legacy is celebrated in the 60s or 70s, Nixon is very much a figure who could embody that legacy.

Nixon uses reverse Watergate. We'll have to see how this pans out.
I've been planning the Hoover saga for a long time. Should be fun :)

would love to see a TL where all Hoover´s files get released wide
Blue Skies in Camelot had an entertaining version of it:

You know this is written by a great author when you can make me root for Nixon! Can't wait to see Hoover get his comeuppance! I also like how you changed Camp David ITTL.
Two men enter, no one leaves.
Tricky Dick's Thunderdome
Time to get Tricky in Dick's house. Oh god the amount of bullcrap that could happen between Willoughby and Hoover would be absolutely legendary, all the while Nixon is sitting in the corner, calling all of the shots while he is enjoying himself and not being a total crook. Absolutely marvelous.
I feel the significance of the Southern Strategy is massively overblown. African-Americans had been trending Democratic long before 1968 (or 1964). (Even Eisenhower in 1956, an immensely popular president running against a Democratic candidate who was lukewarm on civil rights, could only get about 1/3 of the African American vote in the south side of Chicago and Harlem), and the south had been starting to shift to the GOP since the 1950s. (Eisenhower had done very good in the south in both 1952 and 1956 and even Nixon won 4 southern states and came within a whisper of winning Texas in 1960.) 1964/65 was important not because the Republicans started courting the segregationist vote (again over 80% of GOP senators voted for the Civil Rights Act) but because with segregation gone, southerners had less reason to vote on the civil rights issue and thus were more likely to vote on other issues like economics or foreign policy (where they tended to side more with the Republicans.)

But again how competitive is the GOP going to be with African American voters. If both parties are supporting civil rights, then that issue is a wash, which means African-American voters are most likely going to vote with the party that favors their economic interests, and that's going to be the Democrats. (Which is why Eisenhower performed so poorly with African-American voters even when he was otherwise winning landslide elections.)

Hugh Scott was the GOP Senate Leader after Dirksen. Romney, Rockefeller, and Scranton were all Governors of important states. Schweiker was seen as important enough to be made Reagan's veep in 1976. There were plenty of influential liberal Republicans in the party.

Dominated is overstating things. Bush, Dole, and Baker were all very influential figures in the GOP at the time, and they weren't exactly adamant conservatives.

Well I guess it depends on what you mean by a split. The conservative block will absolutely oppose "big government" programs even from the GOP. (As demonstrated by their opposing Taft's housing and education bills or Nixon's welfare reform program.) But that doesn't mean they'll refuse to support a moderate (or even liberal) GOP candidate otherwise. The conservative block still came out and voted for Eisenhower in 1952, Nixon in 1960 and again in 1968, Ford in 1976, and Bush in 1988 after all. (As you yourself have alluded to there's enough common ground on other issues like national defense and pro-business policies which both wings of the party support.) Thus I don't think there's going to be a fatal breach between the two wings of the party. I just don't see the conservative block being willing to support an activist government either.

Fair enough. I would agree that the conservative block would probably be receptive to something like a true Negative Income Tax, but what is the likelihood the liberal Republicans would support something like that?
My apologies for taking so long to respond. I was reading a book which goes into a significant amount of detail on the topic at hand (the split between the liberal and conservative wings of the GOP in the 1960s), and I thought it best for me to finish reading it first. I would recommend you read it, William F. Buckley's The Unmaking of a Mayor. Its his account of the 1965 New York City mayoral election, and he spends a lot of it specifically describing the lack of unity in the party.

On your point about African American voters, if the GOP is getting 30-35% among this community, thats a far different situation than the OTL 5-10%. I don't think anyone would really argue otherwise.

I also disagree that Baker and Dole weren't conservatives. Dole was known as a strong conservative up until later in his career when Reagan was in office. Baker was also fairly conservative in my opinion.
Last edited:
Part V, Chapter 40

August 1, 1954

It was happening again. The feeling of dread never changed. Douglas MacArthur remembered all too well the terrible pre-dawn telephone calls, telling him of the catastrophe at Pearl Harbour and the invasion of South Korea. Both times, the weeks that followed had been filled with nothing but disaster. The circumstances this time were different, but only slightly: it was late evening, and the hated telephone no longer had a place in his office or his bedroom. Ned Almond was the first to hear the news.
“Sir, the communists are shelling Quemoy.” Ned Almond said, referring to a small island off the Chinese coast that remained under the control of Chiang Kai-Shek. “Chiang’s men don’t think there’s an invasion effort.”
MacArthur looked up from the oil and gas bill he had been reading and asked “Do we know anything else?”
“No, sir.” Almond said.
No, of course there isn’t. MacArthur thought. There never was. It had taken hours for any information to reach him about Pearl Harbour, and that was an American territory. Korea had been even worse. If they were anything to go by, no-one in the White House would have any idea what was going on in the Formosa Strait for the next twelve hours or more.

Just as he had four years earlier, Almond was waiting at the door. “Any orders, sir?” he asked.
MacArthur’s mind again went back to those last two wars. He had been forced to wait for directions from Washington, for hours, even days, while the politicians figured out what was going on and how they were going to respond. This time, he wouldn’t have to wait: he was Washington. Then he gave the idea a bit more thought: right now, no-one knew anything about what was happening on Quemoy, and it was getting late besides. A few hours might give the information time to reach his desk.
“Call a meeting of the Joint Chiefs for 0730 tomorrow.” MacArthur said. “I want Allen and Luce there too.”


When morning came, MacArthur’s mind had shifted only from one set of unpleasant thoughts to another. Drew Pearson had been a relentless critic of him ever since he announced his candidacy for President, and had only become more vocal since the election. Pearson reminded the country at least once a week that he had “lost Iran” to communism, and complained that he wasn’t doing enough to fulfill his civil rights promises, but the attack that galled MacArthur the most was when Pearson had called him a ‘weak leader’ for allowing his recent Labour Unions Act be watered down by Congress. MacArthur didn’t just consider himself a strong leader, he had proven it many times on the battlefield. He couldn’t ban Pearson’s “reporting” the way he had banned criticism of the occupation in Japan, but he was determined not to give Pearson any more material to attack him with. He would show strength. Only strength.

The Joint Chiefs and the Secretaries of Defence and State were just as determined to show strength, although they were much more interested in deterring Mao than a noisy Washington journalist. The recently negotiated defence treaty with Chiang Kai-Shek demanded nothing less. Henry Luce, as longtime member and one of the leaders of the China Lobby, was the most insistent, calling for an all-out attack against Red China, the arming of the Nationalists and even atomic strikes against communist cities and military bases. MacArthur was stunned when he heard even Matthew Ridgway, now Chief of Staff of the Army, joining in the call for war. Ridgway had spent five months actually fighting the Chinese near the Korean border, and had obviously taken the decisive victory in that war as a sign that the Chinese would be easily beaten in a future conflict. Ground troops, Ridgway argued, would be the only way to prevent the Chinese from becoming more aggressive in the future.
MacArthur thought he knew better. The Japanese had won just as convincing a victory in Korea before the turn of the century, but their subsequent invasion of China in 1937 had descended into a bloody quagmire that ultimately destroyed their empire. MacArthur had seen more of war’s tragedies than just about anyone, he did not want to be the President who lost hundreds of thousands of Americans to China’s untold masses.
Mao would have to be confronted, that much MacArthur agreed with, but the way to do so was not to immediately begin a general war. “I have studied the Oriental mind for much of my life,” MacArthur declared, “and the mere display of force will be sufficient to force a communist retreat.”

Overruling all of his advisors, MacArthur set out his policy for the ‘Formosa Straits Crisis’ as it would come to be called. Diplomatic channels would be used to inform the communists that if they promptly abandoned their attack on Quemoy, MacArthur was prepared to ignore the incident as the work of ‘rogue officers’. The world would meanwhile be treated to an incredible show of force that would surely impress even Drew Pearson: four aircraft carriers sailing towards Formosa, American divisions from Korea to California put on high alert, and most importantly, a fleet of atomic-capable B-47 bombers deploying on Okinawa. MacArthur sincerely hoped he would never have to use them, but if Mao insisted on pushing ahead with war, MacArthur would destroy him.


As the world’s most dangerous game of chicken played out in the Formosa Strait, another battle was taking place within the ranks of the communist Chinese government.

Mao Tse-tung had overruled almost every piece of advice, almost every official’s warnings, when he committed the Chinese army to the Korean War. The time, he had said then, was ripe for China to retake its true place in the world. Gone were the days of being humiliated by the Westerners. Gone were the days of unequal treaties. Driving the Americans and their UN puppets out of Korea would send a message to the world that China, under his leadership, was a force to be taken seriously once more. He had been confident of success, for his opponent was MacArthur. He had studied MacArthur’s Pacific campaigns, and come away unimpressed. His advisors had said that MacArthur was arrogant, to which he replied “Good. Arrogant, egotistical men are easy to defeat.” Then, after a brief success against the Korean troops, China’s return to the world stage was stopped cold, in the mountain wastes near the Yalu. Not by MacArthur, but by Patton, a far more capable opponent. To save face, Mao had insisted the fight go on, and it had for another five months. Then his government had turned on him and demanded he make a choice: peace or removal from office. Humiliated, he chose peace.
Mao had been trying to recover his image, and China’s image, ever since. He had been forced to watch as Syngman Rhee purged the last significant communist holdouts in Korea. He had seen the weakling Malenkov replace the formidable Stalin, and then seen Malenkov hand over socialist East Germany to “the imperialists”. He had seen MacArthur take over from Harry Truman, and more recently seen MacArthur once again fly to Formosa, that renegade province, to negotiate an alliance with Chiang. China was being surrounded by its enemies, just like the Qing Empire had been surrounded a century earlier. That alliance between MacArthur and Chiang’s holdouts was his last chance: if he didn’t fight now, he would be staring down the barrel of another century of humiliation. His advisors (or at least the ones he still trusted) said that MacArthur would not fight: the President might have signed a treaty with Chiang (which still had yet to be ratified by the Senate), but would a man elected on a platform of peace really launch an atomic war over Quemoy?
Mao decided to attack. If he was correct, and MacArthur backed down, he would be exonerated for the reversal in Korea. If MacArthur fought, he would not be intimidated. In Korea, it may have been that he could not push the Americans back, but neither had the Americans pushed back the Chinese. MacArthur could bomb the country, even with atomic weapons, but he was not intimidated: no matter how many MacArthur killed, there would always be more Chinese. MacArthur was as arrogant as ever: he would be weak. He would be defeated. Mao would not back down. Not again. Never again.

Mao might not have feared MacArthur or his threat of atomic war, but the rest of his government certainly did. The People’s Republic of China was still barely five years old. It had not fully recovered from the damage of the Japanese invasion and the civil war. Industrial development in the country was still in its infancy. The army might be able to fight the Americans to a standstill with sheer numbers, but as a world power they knew that China could not yet compete. They had allowed Mao to make an initial demonstration against Quemoy in case the Americans or Chiang were prepared to simply surrender the island. If that surrender did not come, they would not fight. The communists had won the civil war not by fighting every battle, but by fighting when they could win and retreating, and conserving their forces, when they could not. Mao’s recklessness had failed the country, and the socialist cause, once already. This was the final straw. The chairman had to go.


While the Formosa crisis raged on, MacArthur’s focus was not just on the Chinese, but also on the upcoming midterm elections. The Republicans had only the slimmest of majorities in Congress, and it had inhibited his program several times. His efforts to reform labour rights had been reduced to a pathetically weak bill. His civil rights bill had been filibustered to defeat. The one true domestic success he had was defeating the Bricker Amendment, and that had come down to the last vote. If he was to pass the rest of his program, he would need more Republicans in the 84th Congress. With less than three months before the elections, his best hope at getting those Republicans into the House and Senate would be a victory in Asia. He had said that his foreign policy would place Asia first. Everyone would be watching to see just what that meant.
In late August, they would find out. A clique of Chinese officials toppled Mao, with Liu Shaoqi, a senior government official, taking his place. Mao had refused to even entertain the notion of a negotiated end to the crisis, Liu was eager to restore peace to the region. Henry Luce was put on the telephone to Peking to reach an agreement. Liu said he would call off the bombardments if the Nationalists removed their troops from the islands. Quemoy would remain under Chiang’s control. Luce asked MacArthur if that was acceptable. MacArthur said that it was. The following day, the papers ran ‘PEACE IN CHINA’ as the front page headline. Even Drew Pearson couldn’t find a way to criticise the President for his handling of the crisis.

Then attention shifted from China to its southern neighbour.

Following the French withdrawal from Vietnam, the communist Vietminh had been slowly but surely winning the civil war that raged through the country. In the autumn of 1953, they had seized the old capital of Hue, and promptly massacred thousands of its inhabitants, an atrocity so terrible that it overshadowed even the taking of Hanoi the following January. The pro-Western Emperor Bao Dai had set up his administration in the southern city of Saigon, where he called out for aid as his remaining followers found themselves pushed into an ever smaller part of the country. MacArthur, seeing that the cause was lost, had refused to spend a cent on anything other than evacuating French, American and other officials. He had hoped that the Emperor would hold out until after the midterms, and when the massacre at Hue inspired thousands to join what was now being called the Loyalist armies, it briefly looked like he might. As September began, the frontlines (at least when there were frontlines, a rarity in that war), had still been thirty miles from the city.
The dam broke on September 15th. The Vietminh had broken through. MacArthur ordered the carrier Tarawa, fresh from its mission in the Formosa Strait, to rush to the South China Sea and evacuate Bao Dai and his government by helicopter. They escaped just in time: on September 20th, the red flag with a gold star flew over Norodom Palace.
Drew Pearson saw this as yet another opportunity to lambast the President. MacArthur wasn’t just the man who “lost Iran”, but now he had “lost Vietnam” as well. When the midterms came in November, it was these failures, and not the successes in Germany and China, that the voters remembered. The Democrats gained a seat in the Senate, giving them a 49-47 majority, and managed to take a small majority in the House as well.

The President saw not defeat in the midterm results, but opportunity. As he had no re-election campaign to consider, he was now free to act without fear of consequence. Drew Pearson might not have realised it, but Douglas MacArthur had just become more powerful than ever before.


Last edited: