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

  • Approve

    Votes: 146 76.4%
  • Disapprove

    Votes: 45 23.6%

  • Total voters
I don’t want to hijack this topic, so I won’t comment on this anymore. HOWEVER, my issue is while Julius did spy for Russia, and Ethel was his accomplice, they were small potatoes compared to the likes of Klaus Fuchs and David Greenglass. Both of which lived to ripe old age. The Rosenbergs did not deserve to be executed.
Sure they did.

Had they admitted to what they had done, that they were spies, it's likely they would have got prison, had they turned.
But they had drank the Red Koolaid, and wanted to be martyrs.

The one who really got away with it, was Ted Hall
Poll results are in:

If we take the 87% at face value, his approval would be higher than Ike ever managed and is exceeded only by Bush right after 9/11. Honestly I'm a little surprised :eek:

Part VI, Chapter 41


December 8, 1954

Thomas Dewey had not expected to ever be invited to MacArthur’s White House. MacArthur was a President who had become known for filling his government with people he had brought over from Tokyo or with yes-men who had little importance and often limited competence. Nepotism ruled there: that was the only explanation for why John Foster Dulles had been done away with before MacArthur had been in office for ten days, or why the hated and incompetent Ned Almond had become the President’s de facto deputy while the respected Vice President remained barely an afterthought.
Dewey knew MacArthur would not want him around. He had backed Eisenhower during the primaries, indeed he had just about led Ike’s campaign. He had made a name for himself both as District Attorney and then as Governor of New York, and two Presidential campaigns hadn’t hurt his image either.
That made it all the more surprising when Ned Almond called, summoning him to meet with the President.
His apprehension was only increased when he was greeted not by the famous monologue delivered in full theatrical form, with MacArthur walking around a room, pipe in hand as he recited a grand speech entirely from memory, but by the sight of a President whose nearly seventy-five years looked to finally be catching up with him. Then, just when Dewey thought the meeting could not possibly surprise him any more, MacArthur asked him to keep the details of the meeting top secret. He didn’t say why, except to say that the meeting would not be “about politics” and that “the situation could have grave national security implications if not handled correctly”.

Dewey thought about getting up and leaving the room. He was looking forward to his retirement from politics - he would leave the Governor’s office when his term expired on the 31st, and he wasn’t interested in getting dragged down into one of MacArthur’s mad ideas. Unlike the rest of the country, he still remembered the Inchon fiasco. If MacArthur insisted on doing another Inchon, it would not be because Tom Dewey pushed it through.
Then he stopped himself. MacArthur wouldn’t have summoned him for some ordinary matter. Whatever it was, the President must have thought Dewey was the only person capable of getting the job done.
“Very well,” he said finally. “What do you need, Mr President?”

“Next week on Monday, I will relieve J Edgar Hoover from his position as Director of the FBI.” MacArthur said. “As I’m sure you’re aware, Hoover claims to have files on everyone in Washington, and has threatened to release them. If he catches the slightest whisper of our plans, he may act on that threat. What lies in those documents is not known to anyone but the Director, but it is possible that some of them could endanger the security of the United States.”
Well, that explains the need for secrecy. Dewey thought. “I trust you have a plan for his removal?” he asked.
“We do.” MacArthur said. “What I need is a replacement for Hoover. I will relieve the Associate Director, Clyde Tolson, at the same time as Hoover himself. Unfortunately, Hoover has doubtless planned for that eventuality, and will find some way to keep pulling the strings there. That must be prevented.”
“You need me,” Dewey asked, “to be that replacement?”
“That’s correct.” MacArthur said.
“We’re going to do this before Congress returns for the ‘55 session.” Richard Nixon explained. “Hoover’s certainly got eyes and ears in Congress, so we can’t afford a vote on the matter until he’s gone and someone has stepped in to deal with those documents. Cleaning out the FBI like this is going to raise a stink in Congress no matter what we do, but it’ll be ten times worse if it looks like we’re putting another Tokyo man in.”
Nixon didn’t even need to say it. Bricker and the conservatives hadn’t wanted MacArthur to have the power to even sign a treaty. If MacArthur looked to be seizing personal control of the FBI, there would be cries of ‘executive overreach’ or even ‘dictator’ from here to Seattle.
“That’s why we need you. You’ve got no ties to this government, or to MacArthur, except when you opposed him in ‘52.” Nixon said. “You’ve got a good record - better than Hoover’s - at going after the mafia goons. Anyone else, the Senate will call it a political job and fight us at every turn. If it’s you, we might actually be able to get rid of that bastard for good.”
Dewey leaned back in his chair and thought the request over. In 1948, he had considered firing Hoover himself if he won, and the FBI Director had only grown more powerful over the six years that had passed since. The country did not need a power behind the throne, much less an unelected one. He had looked forward to leaving public life, but he could see the President, and the country, needed him.
“I’ll do it.” Dewey said eventually.


Operation ‘Blackhearts’ had been more than six months in the making…

On May 20th, 1954, Richard Nixon had received a call from the FBI Director, asking for what he described as ‘expanded authority’ to install illegal microphone surveillances in the homes of Americans he deemed to be dangerous. Nixon responded the same way he had to every such request, by saying he would discuss the matter with the President, knowing that MacArthur would refuse but also that Hoover would not come back to check. MacArthur had already told Nixon that he wanted to fire Hoover, but Hoover’s files hung like a Sword of Damocles over their heads.
It was only after the call was over that Nixon realised the meaning of what Hoover had said. Expanded authority. Hoover either had, or decided he had, some authority to install them already. Nixon hadn’t given him any, this was the first time either of them had discussed microphone surveillances at all, so whatever authority Hoover thought he had must have come from a previous administration, or more accurately, in spite of it. Hoover did whatever he wanted under Nixon, and Nixon knew that he kept Hoover on a much tighter leash than any of his predecessors.

By the time Nixon met with MacArthur in the early afternoon, he had devised a scheme that they both hoped would get the FBI boss to go quietly. Hoover had already admitted that the FBI had installed the microphones, and seeing as he was asking for expanded authority it was likely at least some of the old ones were still in place. Whoever had been Attorney General when Hoover started doing it would know where they were, and once he knew where to look, it wouldn’t be too hard to gather photographic evidence of the microphones themselves. Perhaps more importantly, Nixon wanted to find an instance where Hoover had installed them without authorisation from either Truman or the Attorney General, and if the last year of Hoover’s behaviour was anything to go by, there would be more than a few of them. “At that point, we’ve got proof he’s done all this shit illegally. Then we give him the choice: quiet retirement or prison.” Nixon said. “He’ll be out of the FBI anyway, and I don’t think he’d decide embarrassing us is worth a decade behind bars.”
Nixon’s investigations would need to be kept as secret as possible. Hoover had eyes and ears everywhere, and if he caught word that anyone in the administration was coming after him, there was always the risk he would preemptively release his files. To ensure this secrecy was maintained, Nixon planned to recruit only a small number of people into the plan, and every one of them would be carefully checked before they were told anything.
The idea of ‘Blackhearts’, which would be a code for Nixon’s investigative efforts, would be another layer of security. Officially, Blackhearts would be the name of a new plan drafted by the military to determine the force requirements for an invasion of Red Vietnam. It was deliberately chosen to be similar to ‘Bluehearts’, the name MacArthur had used for the first draft of the Inchon landing plan in June 1950. If Hoover caught wind of the Blackhearts code, hopefully he would investigate one of these false trails. Extreme secrecy was nothing new in military planning, and if the FBI did start snooping around, there was also the hope that the Army would find out and alert MacArthur.
MacArthur had been uncharacteristically quiet as Nixon explained the scheme, and when the Attorney General was done, he approved it with just three words. “Find those devices.”


October 3, 1954

“Here it is.” Nixon said as he placed a large black briefcase on the Resolute Desk. “We’ve got him.”
“Everything’s in here?” MacArthur asked. He trusted Nixon completely, but in this matter you could never be too careful.
“Everything.” Nixon confirmed. “A list of every home, embassy and corporate building the FBI broke into and bugged between May of ‘50 and the middle of ‘51. Photographs of the bugs from a couple of the homes we swept. One’s from Pennsylvania, the other is here in Washington. Documents, maps, a few other papers. Our esteemed Director wouldn’t want any of this coming out in front of a judge. Especially not this.” Nixon opened up the briefcase and pulled out a reel of tape. “The smoking gun.” he announced.
“What’s on it?” MacArthur asked.
“A conversation I had six weeks ago with Truman’s AG, Howard McGrath.” Nixon explained. “Turns out that four years ago, Hoover made the same request about the surveillances that he made me in May, of course then he just wanted authority to install them, nothing expanded. McGrath told me that he told Hoover that he, I quote, ‘could not give that approval’, as it could violate the Fourth Amendment.”
“And Hoover ignored him.” MacArthur finished.
“Precisely.” Nixon said. “Because McGrath didn’t actually say ‘no’, Hoover decided he meant yes. What it actually means is that every one of those bugs is there illegally.”
“Then the only thing we need now is a replacement for him.” MacArthur said.
“One piece of advice, sir.” Nixon offered, knowing full well he was probably the only person in the government MacArthur was still willing to take advice from. “Wait until after the midterms. We’re fairly sure Hoover doesn’t know we’re onto him, I can’t imagine him letting me get that tape if he did, but if anything is going to attract his attention it will be us looking for an investigator - because he’ll know you’re not about to replace me or Willoughby. If there’s one time his files could damage us most, it’ll be right before the elections. Afterwards, there’s two months before Congress returns for the ‘55 session. Plenty of time. Pull the trigger then.”
MacArthur stowed the briefcase under his desk - he’d need to find somewhere safe to keep it for a while.


December 13, 1954

This was only the second time J Edgar Hoover had entered the Oval Office since MacArthur had begun his presidency. Under Roosevelt and Truman, he had always been a welcome guest, offered an open invitation he had never hesitated to use. They had worked well together: the FBI made sure opponents to the President were inhibited, and in return the President did not interfere in the Bureau’s internal matters.
On his first meeting with MacArthur, he had tried to explain to the former general the advantages that this system offered him. MacArthur didn’t just refuse to listen, he made a point of refusing to cooperate with the FBI. The stone-faced Almond stood guard in what had been a secretary’s office, refusing the Director any chance to encourage the President to reconsider his choices. Instead of appointing a compliant Attorney General who allowed the Bureau the authority it needed, MacArthur chose Nixon, whose sole purpose seemed to be interference at every turn. There was no secret about it: MacArthur wanted him gone, the FBI reduced to worthlessness just like the CIA had become under that idiot Willoughby. That was why, when he received the summons to the Oval Office, he had made sure to bring this briefcase with him.

“Good morning, Director.” MacArthur said. “Take a seat.”
“Please, call me Edgar.” Hoover said as he sat down. Although he was sure he already knew, he then asked “To what do I owe this meeting?”
“Director, you have served the Bureau ably for the last thirty years. Is it not about time for someone else to take on the position?” MacArthur asked.
“I do not believe that would be necessary at the present time.” Hoover replied, a touch of anger in his voice.
“I’m afraid I must insist.” MacArthur said. “The functioning of a healthy democracy is not helped when one man occupies any single position for such an extended period of time, especially when he is not elected.”
“How dare you!” Hoover snapped. “My long tenure has allowed the Bureau to become more efficient in its activities, and better positioned to keep this country and your government safe. I am no danger to democracy!”
“My decision is final.” MacArthur said.
“If you will not listen to reason, Mr President, then you leave me with no choice.” Hoover said, placing his briefcase on the Resolute Desk. “This briefcase contains hundreds of documents about senior members of your administration that you would not want getting out. I am sure that the Press, and especially one Mr Drew Pearson, would be particularly interested to see them. If you persist in asking for my removal, I would be more than happy to oblige him.”
“Director, if you persist in your threat to release your files,” MacArthur pulled a briefcase of his own from out behind the Resolute Desk, “I will release mine. Your files might cause some people embarrassment. Know now that mine will ruin you.”
Hoover gave a small chuckle - as if everything MacArthur was saying was part of some big joke. “Do you seriously believe that I did not already know about your conspiracies to remove me? That Blackhearts was more than just a mere military plan? No, Mr President, the Bureau is ready to respond to any threat. A fight with the Bureau would be the end of your administration, Mr President.” The only reason I haven’t yet released my files is because a gun is only threatening when it is loaded. He added, but only to himself.
Hoover stared into MacArthur’s eyes. He didn’t just know about the President’s scheming, he knew how absolutely certain Nixon was that he didn’t know. He had expected the revelation would shock the President enough to convince him to back down.

Instead, he saw the President looking straight back at him, eyes full of the same grim determination, the same lack of fear, that had led him to burn down the Bonus Camp in 1932. “If so much as one of your files is released to the public without the explicit approval of Director Dewey, I will have him investigate every instance of corruption and wrongdoing to have taken place under your watch, including dozens of illegal installations of microphone surveillances, which you conducted without the approval of Attorney General McGrath.” MacArthur growled.
“Mr Dewey does not have that power!” Hoover exploded. He could see this fight was a losing one, but he had made sure long ago that the FBI would pass into the hands of his deputy even if he was removed. Clyde Tolson, who had served Hoover for twenty-five years, could be trusted not to let the infamous files fall into Dewey’s hands - or anyone else’s hands for that matter.
“Actually he does.” MacArthur said flatly. “As it turns out, I relieved Mr Tolson of his duties three hours ago.” MacArthur pulled out a pair of signed documents. “I relieved you at the same time. Mr Dewey has been Director of the Bureau since 0730 this morning. Goodbye, Mr Hoover.”


February 9, 1955

“I can’t believe it.” Harry Truman said as he put down the evening paper, which said that a Congressional Committee had agreed to FBI Director Dewey’s recommendation that Hoover’s infamous files be destroyed in full. “The Big General got away with it.”
“What’s the matter?” Bess asked, so obviously she had noticed the unhappiness in his voice. “You used to say all the time that Hoover needed to go.”
“I did, and I’m glad the scoundrel’s gone.” The former President agreed. “Only problem is, now there’s no-one left who will tell His Majesty ‘no’. Hoover was the last one.”

Poll results are in:
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If we take the 87% at face value, his approval would be higher than Ike ever managed and is exceeded only by Bush right after 9/11. Honestly I'm a little surprised :eek:

Well to be fair the voting would be different if we had to actually live through it, gotta knock off a bit for that. Pretty amazing how high it was considering how pensive many folks on this site tend to be regarding him. Maybe this poll result would be more similar to asking Canadians or Australians what they think of him?
Poll results are in:

If we take the 87% at face value, his approval would be higher than Ike ever managed and is exceeded only by Bush right after 9/11. Honestly I'm a little surprised :eek:

That's because we're distracted by comparisons to OTL. If I let my vote be informed by how he's averted the Vietnam War, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution, I'd have firmly Approved his handling too. But I resolutely closed my eyes and voted in-character to TTL.
Hoover is gooooooone! Hats off to MacArthur for not losing his cool when Hoover revealed he knew Nixon and President MacArthur were planning to remove him. I also like the idea of Dewey being the new FBI Director. I've always liked Dewey.
I can’t possibly role play as a working class majority male American from the era. While I intellectually comprehend that team a and team 1 have “different” “politics” I can’t actually effectively feel them. They look like the same morass coated with regional differences in terms of (primarily) race and class war. I can understand the CPUSA or AFLCIO or IWW. But a half elephant half donkey monster that’s perennially elected? I’d need to read Kissinger and Dulles and their ilk to expand my historical imagination and I’d rather reread primary sources on deemed excess population control in mid 20th century Europe and cry for 18 months again.

So I think you’ve missed out on some Australian votes because I couldn’t vote in character and refrained.
I don’t want to hijack this topic, so I won’t comment on this anymore. HOWEVER, my issue is while Julius did spy for Russia, and Ethel was his accomplice, they were small potatoes compared to the likes of Klaus Fuchs and David Greenglass. Both of which lived to ripe old age. The Rosenbergs did not deserve to be executed.

No - Fuchs and Greenglass did.
Well to be fair the voting would be different if we had to actually live through it, gotta knock off a bit for that. Pretty amazing how high it was considering how pensive many folks on this site tend to be regarding him. Maybe this poll result would be more similar to asking Canadians or Australians what they think of him?
Very true - I'm well aware it's not a perfect poll, but as I can't ISOT myself into the TL to conduct a proper one, it will have to do. Though if as anti-Mac a site as is giving him 87% approval, I don't think it is unreasonable to say that his in-universe ratings would be somewhere in the 70s% ?

Goodbye and good riddance, Jay edgar Hoover. You will not be missed.
Good riddance indeed :)

Should be noted, that's some dire foreshadowing from Truman at the end of the post.
Except its not really true though. At the very least Nixon would likely point out potential flaws in any plans Mac comes up with.
Truman is quite biased against Mac, that's true, but it doesn't exactly invalidate everything he says either ;) (Also, how on earth did Nixon become the guy we can trust to not screw up?! x'D)

How ironic and fun that it's Richard Nixon that leads an investigation into illegal surveillance and wire tapping activities.
Crazy thing about all of that is... just about everything leading up to Nixon's investigation actually happened IOTL (including the "expanded authority" thing, although I believe that was worded slightly differently, and I don't actually know if there were wiretaps specifically in Washington or PA, though it is quite likely there was at least one out there). Probably my favourite scene to write since the Patton/McCarthy showdown :)

I'd have thought that MacArthur and Nixon would have worked with Hoover enthusiasticallyWasn't Hoover another icon of the Right?
Them working together is absolutely plausible - if Hoover managed to stay on under RFK he could do so under almost anyone. I just thought Nixon reverse-Watergating him and the battle of egos with Mac was way more exciting.

I'm sorry but all four deserved execution leaking classified material especialy during the cold war in my opinion is enough for medieval torture much less execution
No-one deserves medieval torture. Besides, there's other threads out there better suited to debating the morality of the Rosenberg case, can we please leave it out of this thread? Thanks.

I do not dispute the argument that the Rosenbergs were factually guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage. But under the constitution, espionage /=treason. These are two discrete and distinct, separate offenses which, although they can overlap, ought not to be conflated.

I don’t want to hijack this topic, so I won’t comment on this anymore. HOWEVER, my issue is while Julius did spy for Russia, and Ethel was his accomplice, they were small potatoes compared to the likes of Klaus Fuchs and David Greenglass. Both of which lived to ripe old age. The Rosenbergs did not deserve to be executed.

There was also Teddy Hall, who once said (boasted) that he had done far more than the Rosenbergs/Greenglass. Also he got away with it.

There was also the liason officer who had thousands of a-bomb documents pass over his desk -- Donald Maclean!