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Published by Bob Andrepont
United States Army History of the Luzon campaign.
United States Army History of the Luzon campaign.

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Published by: Bob Andrepont on Feb 08, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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World War II was the largest and most violent armed conflict inthe history of mankind. However, the half century that now separatesus from that conflict has exacted its toll on our collective knowledge.While World War II continues to absorb the interest of military schol-ars and historians, as well as its veterans, a generation of Americanshas grown to maturity largely unaware of the political, social, and mil-itary implications of a war that, more than any other, united us as a people with a common purpose.Highly relevant today, World War II has much to teach us, notonly about the profession of arms, but also about military prepared-ness, global strategy, and combined operations in the coalition war against fascism. During the next several years, the U.S. Army will participate in the nation’s 50th anniversary commemoration of World War II. The commemoration will include the publication of variousmaterials to help educate Americans about that war. The works pro-duced will provide great opportunities to learn about and renew pride in an Army that fought so magnificently in what has beencalled “the mighty endeavor.World War II was waged on land, on sea, and in the air over severaldiverse theaters of operation for approximately six years. The followingessay is one of a series of campaign studies highlighting those strugglesthat, with their accompanying suggestions for further reading, aredesigned to introduce you to one of the Army’s significant military featsfrom that war.This brochure was prepared in the U.S. Army Center of MilitaryHistory by Dale Andradé.I hope this absorbing account of thatperiod will enhance your appreciation of American achievements duringWorld War II.GORDON R. SULLIVANGeneral, United States ArmyChief of Staff 
15 December 1944–4 July 1945
“The Philippine theater of operations is the locus of victory or defeat,” argued General Douglas MacArthur, as Japanese planes strafed and bombed key installations around Manila on 8 December 1941.Although overwhelming Japanese strength ultimately forced the United States to relinquish the Philippines, MacArthur began planning hisreturn almost immediately from bases in Australia. Throughout thelong campaign to push the Japanese out of their Pacific bastions, theseislands remained his crucial objective. “The President of the United States ordered me to break through the Japanese lines...for the purpose,as I understand it, of organizing the American offensive against Japan,a primary object of which is the relief of the Philippines,” MacArthur said when he took over as Allied commander in the Southwest Pacific.“I came through and I shall return.” As the Pacific campaign dragged on, MacArthur never strayed far from that goal, and every move hemade was aimed ultimately at recapturing the lost archipelago.
Strategic Setting 
In March 1942 a Joint Chiefs of Staff directive established twoU.S. military commands in the Pacific: the Southwest Pacific Area,headed by General MacArthur, and the Pacific Ocean Areas, under Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. The decision clearly violated the principleof unity of command. However, with naval officers objecting toMacArthur, the senior officer in the region, as overall Pacific comman-der and with MacArthur unlikely to subordinate himself to another, theensuing division of authority seemed a workable compromise. Giventhe size of the theater and the different national contingents involved,it may even have been a blessing. But it left no single authority in thePacific to decide between conflicting plans or to coordinate betweenthe two. Even MacArthur later wrote that “of all the faulty decisionsof the war, perhaps the most unexplainable one was the failure to unifythe command in the Pacific, [which]...resulted in divided effort; thewaste, diffusion, and duplication of force; and the consequent exten-sion of the war with added casualties and cost.”From a strategic perspective, this divided command had a directimpact on decisions leading up to the invasion of the Philippines.

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