No one, civilian or military, disagreed with MacArthur’s view

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020

Just as the Korean War was turning into a sort of American fox hunt, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), President Truman flew halfway across the Pacific to discuss the final phases of the action with his patrician proconsul of American power in the East, Douglas MacArthur:

There was very little talk about the fighting. It was taken for granted that the conflict was almost over and that now the main concern was the rehabilitation of Korea, north and south, most of which lay in ruins.


Then the talk came around to a different matter. “What,” asked Harry Truman, “are the chances for Chinese or Soviet intervention?”

Sonorously, MacArthur replied, “Very little.”

He went on to say that had they interfered during the first or second months it would have been decisive. “But we are no longer fearful of their intervention. We longer stand with hat in hand.”

He mentioned that the Chinese had 300,000 men in Manchuria, of which not more than 200,000 were along the Yalu River. Of these, not more than 60,000 could be got across.

“The Chinese have no air force. If the Chinese try to get down to P’yongyang there will be the greatest slaughter.”

No one, civilian or military, disagreed with MacArthur’s view.


General MacArthur was operating on purely military assumptions that the Chinese did not have the ability to intervene. And one of these assumptions was that, if the Chinese dared oppose the righteous march of U.N. forces, the United States would retaliate with all its righteous wrath and fury — that American air would strike at China, interdict its long and painfully vulnerable supply lines across Manchuria, destroy the fledgling industry of which the Chinese were so proud.

He firmly believed such a fear would deter the Chinese from action. He firmly believed, also, that upon a Chinese move, America would cry havoc and loose the dogs of war. China, even with its millions, could not hope to gain by general war with the West.

These things he believed, but did not mention.

Quiet, modest Omar Bradley, with one of the best military brains in the business, was thinking of the massive Soviet divisions — at least 175 in the Satellite countries alone — positioned in Europe. To him, all-out war with China would be war with the wrong enemy, at the wrong place, at the wrong time. The United States had to bear the load in Asia, true, but its vital interest lay in Europe, and its greatest danger in Soviet Russia.


  1. Wang Wei Lin says:

    Now we have to fight the communist bastards in the US.

  2. Lucklucky says:

    Wang Wei Lin that affirmation is a sign of the major problem with most anti-Communists. They don’t know the enemy.

    Marxists are not necessarily Communists, they can be Fascists so less extremist. Communism is just one tentacle of Marxist hydra. Communists deal with physical world. Always failing.

    Current neo-Marxists escaped to Academia and Journalism due to that Communist failures in physical world. They are attempting a construction of a worldly world universe to escape from physical world that proves their ideas are false. And they need to destroy physical world results: prosperity under freedom, comfort, beauty…

  3. Sam J. says:

    “…Marxists are not necessarily Communists, they can be Fascists…”

    I don’t see this as being so. Fascists are much more on the lines of Socialist, which is not necessarily a bad deal if you have a people of similar racial genetic make up, who are reasonably honest, and where you have the ability to throw them out at the polls if they get out of hand.

    Certainly the Jews follow this method by the wealthy looking after the less so.

  4. Lucklucky says:

    Marxism is also Socialism. But not of Proudhon kind.

    Learn to read Italian and you get where Mussolini and its Socialism came from. It wasn’t from Proudhon; it was from Marx, Hegel.

    Mussolini, Giovanni Gentile, others. They evolved Marxism in that class differences could be instead managed better by Corporatism instead by Class Struggle.

  5. Kirk says:

    Social stratification is almost inevitable with human beings. Dump a random selection of humans out onto a desert island, come back in a generation or two, and you’re going to find that you’ve essentially recapitulated everything we typically find in any society. Some will be on the top, some will be on the bottom, and the whole thing will make your favorite social theorist cry.

    The interesting thing is, it’s not entirely inevitable. Should you have dropped, say, a mass of former Special Forces guys off, with their dependents, what you’re likely to find is a very egalitarian situation where the hierarchy is basically flat, and things just get done.

    Probably the most interesting thing I observed when I was in the Army and doing a support mission for an SF team was that there was no discernible hierarchy whatsoever, within the team. If the team was doing an engineer sort of thing, building a basecamp for example, then the team Engineer who was a Staff Sergeant ran everything and the Major who was the guy in charge on paper did as he was told, carried wood and swung a hammer with the rest of us. There was no ego, just functional “Who does this the best/knows the most? He’s in charge…”.

    Much of what we base our beliefs and expectations about how a society should function are things that just aren’t so, and don’t have to be so. We suffer from the fact that we’re born falling in on a system and situation that hasn’t been thoughtfully and deliberately designed–Societies “just happen” for the most part, and the entire paradigm they are based on depends an awful lot on things that really don’t result in functional or positive results. Look at how Europe fell into post-Roman feudalism, for example–It was basically a case where the guys who knew how to fight and who could that came out on top of everything, and when you go back to the barest roots, European noble classes basically came out of pre-feudal biker gangs that took over and legitimized themselves. There’s very little rational justification for any of the way those societies came to function, nor was anything at all deliberately designed–The whole thing was the result of ad-hoc disaster management in the chaos of post-Roman Empire conditions.

    There is nothing really written in stone that implies human societies have to be organized the way we’ve been doing them. We don’t need hierarchy, and the fact that we don’t do them very well over the long haul tells me we should quit trying to make them happen. Every kingdom, every empire, and every single iteration we create of a hierarchical structure eventually collapses under the dead weight of the power-hungry narcissists who are inevitably attracted to positions of power within those hierarchies. The only way to cope with that is to ensure that there are no power sinks that they can be corrupted by, and to grant no power to anything larger than a hunter-gatherer band. If you build an empire, you eventually get an Ivan the Terrible to run things, because that’s the kind of person who’s attracted to the idea of telling other people what to do.

    Frankly, I’d be all for declaring the desire for power over others as a mental illness, and culling anyone demonstrating it from the population. You wonder why we have the problems we do, here in the modern USA? I’ll tell you: It’s because we’ve given all this power up to the various governmental and corporate hierarchies, and the loony Karens have gravitated towards all the positions of power over others in those organizations. Break up the hierarchy, do away with the power, and those assholes will go back to making just their next-door neighbors miserable.

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