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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 1/24/2002 10:53:53 AM EST
What do you think of Harry Truman's leadership during the Korean War? I can think of two areas where he might be at fault: 1) Just before the North Korean invasion, Truman's secretary of state, Acheson, made a speech in which he said that Korea was outside of the United States' "defense perimeter". 2) Truman apparently never made it clear to MacArthur that the United States would not resort to nuclear weapons if the Chinese intervened.
Link Posted: 1/24/2002 2:37:09 PM EST
I have read a bit about Korea & Truman. Prior to the invasion, Truman and Louis Johnson were responsible for the downsizing and the terrible shape our armed forces. Truman hated the generals, calling them "a bunch of stuffed shirts." Once the war-er-"police action," began, Truman authorized a massive buildup. That didn't do much for "Task Force Smith," though. As for MacArthur, he was larger than life - according to MacArthur. Truman and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were equally guilty of not reining in MacArthur. Matt Ridgeway was the hero of Korea, in my opinion. Acheson and Truman were a strange combination. Acheson the intellectual and Truman the plain speaker from Missourie. Anyway, just my opinions. John
Link Posted: 1/24/2002 5:26:08 PM EST
Truman didn't make it clear to the press either that nuclear weapons were off the table. I read the transcript of a press conference in which Truman was asked about nukes. His replies led the press corps to beleive that nukes were in South Korea to be used at MacArthurs discretion. Can't blame the press corps for that one. Talk about a need for spokesmen to "clarify" his statements the next day. I think I heard that MacArthur refused to come back to the US in 1951 because he beleived that Asia would think the USA was abandoning it! There will be stories told of his ego for centuries.
Link Posted: 1/25/2002 4:10:23 AM EST
Just imagine what would have happened if Patton had lived long enough to serve under MacArthur. I don't know if the eastern hemisphere would have been big enough to hold both of their egos. [:D]
Link Posted: 1/25/2002 4:28:27 AM EST
The first problem was Truman stuck MacArthur in Japan to rot away. When the conflict started the General was occupied with political ambitions and was caught offguard. Truman had no business leading the country to war.
Link Posted: 1/25/2002 5:27:47 AM EST
For an excellent account of the Korean conflict, read John Toland's "In Mortal Combat".
Link Posted: 1/25/2002 5:32:21 AM EST
While Truman should not have lead us to war, he got caught by surprise when the North Koreans invaded the South in June 1950. Doubtful he or any administration would have sat back. The early war was badly mismanaged & more so later when they ignored intel of Chicom buildup & envolvment south of the Yalu. The conflict between MacArtur & Walker for attention hurt. The choice Ridgeway to replace Walker after his death & later MacArtur was excellent. He quickly cleaned house to make room for the the best and smartest available battalion and regimental commanders he could bring in. While Mac would argue or work behind the scenes against orders he didn't like, Ridgeway wouldn't. With hindsight, many of Truman's thoughts may have been wrong or Mac's right. Truman was a small time politian supported by a crooked political machine in KC. Just because he was "plain speaking" did not make him great.
Link Posted: 1/25/2002 5:57:59 AM EST
Grin, it's nice to find somebody else who can see through the legend - of Truman. If you look at the record of his administration, you find a lot of lows, as well as a few highs. Clay Blair's "The Forgotten War," is also a good read, along with John Toland and T.R. Fehrenbach's classic "This Kind of War." The generals in Washington, Collins, Bradley et al, seemed to be very unwilling to stand up to mighty Mac. "American Caesar," was a good name for Mac. We were so unequipped, we had to remove tanks from museum displays to be refurbished for combat. We introduced more modern weapons only when we had to, such as the 3.5 inch Bazooka & the F86. Walker got a bad rap by some revisionists, but he held the line with green troops and occupation forces. "This is no Dunkirk," speaking of the Pusan perimeter. He was a protege of Patton. John
Link Posted: 1/25/2002 7:04:42 AM EST
Just yesterday morning a lady at the coffee shop said to me her brother got killed in Korea because the Army didn't have the right equipment & gave them rusted crap from WWII
Link Posted: 1/31/2002 1:08:09 PM EST
The primary U.S. political interest in the Korean war was negative. It was to "not start WWIII". The secondary objective was to stop the spread of communism. This hampered the military -since it was used to the old "unconditional surrender" type fighting of WWII. Vietnam had the same political shackle. Desert Storm allowed the military to play without fear of a world war (though not completely without political constraints)!
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