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WW2 Truth: Gen. Douglas MacArthur Left Corregidor with $500,000 from Manuel L. Quezon
Warning: if you see Gen. Douglas MacArthur as an impeccable war hero worthy of adulation, stop and leave this page. If you have an open mind, read on! :P
This day marks the 71st anniversary of the escape of Gen. Douglas MacArthur from the fortress island of Corregidor to Mindanao then finally to Melbourne, Australia.
Herewith are the historical truth that every Filipino should know behind the man mostly known for his "I Shall return" rhetoric.
December 1941: despite a few hours warning of the coming Japanese invaders from Pearl harbor, MacArthur failed to mobilize his troops and allowed the Japanese to annihilate his air force on the ground. (remember much of the "great" generals air assets were destroyed without a fight save for the heroics of Jesus Villamor, Cesar Fernando Basa et al who we now remember with airbases in the country named in their honor)
American President Roosevelt didn't send reinforcements to help Filipino and American troops holed up in Bataan for their priority was defeating Germany in Europe (see, Ph is just second to American interests during the war) together with the British and the French
During the Siege of Bataan, his media savvy brought out press releases that were able to portray himself as the American Hero of the Pacific, despite heavy losses and imminent annihilation
January 1942: MacArthur accepted $500,000.00 (half a million dollars which is a whole lot of money in 1942) from then Philippine president Manuel L. Quezon (the Philippine treasury was worth a few million dollars back then) What was the intention of Quezon for giving the money to MacArthur? Was that a bribe, a payment or just "utang na loob"
The spot on Corregidor Island where Gen. Douglas MacArthur bid his troops farewell and uttered his famous words "I Shall Return" is marked with a monument
March 11, 1942: MacArthur left Corregidor for Australia via Mindanao on board a torpedo boat
When MacArthur was already in Australia, he ordered his troops to fight till the end and even promised them help is on the way even if there's really none.
MacArthur and the US government's abandonment of dying troops in Bataan and Corregidor Island was the reason why the troops who remained fighting the Japanese in a lost cause called themselves "The Battling Bastards of Bataan" who were later captured and forced by the Japanese to participate in the infamous Bataan Death March
On October 20, 1944, MacArthur returned to the Philippines by his historic landing on Red Beach in Palo, Leyte. Did you know that MacArthur had several rehearsals just to do his wading on the beach immortalized in the Leyte Landing Memorial near Tacloban?
MacArthur Landing Park on Red Beach, Palo, Leyte
The US government knew about the controversial payment of Quezon to MacArthur but ignored the fact, simply because they needed a hero. MacArthur may have failed to defend the Philippines but he was very successful in portraying himself as a great tactician to the American public.
Good thing he didn't become US President, his former "secretary" in the Philippines, Dwight David Eisenhower did when he became the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961.