MacArthur – Truman and the projection of American Imbeerialist power in the Pacific Rim. Part 1

May 31st, 2009 by Beertheostorian A | Filed under Biography, Post French Revolution, Post World War II.

By Beertheostorian A

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“I shall return.” MacArthur famously proclaimed when retreating from Corregidor, the Philippines in March 1942, in the face of an overwhelming Japanese military force. What few may understand is the inter-relationship of MacArthur’s statement with the projection of American imbeerialism in the Pacific Rim. In 1942, San Miguel brewery of Manilla was one of the largest and oldest breweries in the Pacific Rim. As a brewery in a United States colony, it projected American Imbeerialist power along the far eastern edge of that Rim. Moreover, the brewery maintained a close association with the MacArthur family; the owner of the brewery was his Filipino chief of staff, Andres Soriano.

With the collapse of American resistance in the Philippines, the Asian half of the Pacific Rim cowered prostrate and bare in Imperial Japan’s rapacious grip. Only Australia, with its strong brewing traditions, to where MacArthur removed his command, and Hawaii represented bulwarks against the rising tide of Japanese imbeerialism. From those two points the United States would lead the great island hopping campaign that would not only restore its position, but clearly stamp its dominance in the Pacific by the end of 1945.

By 1943 the United States had recovered enough to consider plans for retaking control of the Pacific Rim. As implied above, it was MacArthur’s stated goal to liberate the Philippines from, largely incompetent, Japanese imbeerialism. Unfortunately, the Chiefs of Staff in Washington felt that Taiwan was a better target, being closer to both Japan and Japanese forces in China. The Philippines would be left isolated to starve, with the San Miguel brewery under increasingly brutal and desperate Japanese control.

MacArthur could not countenance this. He instinctively recognized the strategic value of retaking the San Miguel brewery in furthering American aims in the Pacific, as well as the value of that brewery to his own political power and his allies, like Mr. Soriano. He bypassed the chain of command to directly lobby the President to change the invasion plans to the Philippines, not Taiwan.

History demonstrates that MacArthur got his way. Nonetheless, many experts have criticized MacArthur’s Philippine invasion for unnecessarily wasting allied lives and resources. Some critics point to the air raids over Manila leading up to and during the invasion of the Philippines.  MacArthur reportedly had the brewery specifically marked off limits as a target, despite it reputedly being used as an anti-aircraft gun site. They claim this endangered lives both in the air and on the ground when the infantry had to invade. Yet, proper military analysis, applying the beer theory of history clearly vindicates MacArthur’s actions and demonstrates the shortsightedness of both his critics and his Washington superiors’ Taiwan Plans.

By landing in the Philippines in October 1944, he achieved the following: fulfilling his commitment to return to the Philippines, an important psy- ops victory for American trustworthiness in international relations; drawing the Japanese fleet into the crushing battle of Leyte Gulf; and ultimately, retaking control of the San Miguel brewery thereby denying the Japanese access to one of the largest breweries in the Pacific rim. It was not until March 1945, during the Battle of Manila, that he retook the brewery. Recognizing its strategic significance, MacArthur sent shock troops behind enemy lines to secure the area around the Malacang Palace, which included the all important brewery. By not bombing the brewery, MacArthur recognized he was protecting long term American strategic interests against short term tactical difficulties, his relationship with Mr. Soriano notwithstanding. Also, nearly simultaneously, the United States established air bases that would allow them to interrupt and destroy the flow of beer from the Japanese breweries, Kirin, Asahi and Suntory to their desperate troops at home and isolated throughout the Pacific.1 Under such relentless pressure, the Japanese would surrender unconditionally within six months.

1(The Editors) We challenge anybody to show that the breweries in Japan were not targets and that U.S. interests were not well served by attacking them during the War.

(The Editors) We challenge anybody to show that the breweries in Japan were not targets and that U.S. interests were not well served by attacking them during the War.

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