In Caesar's Shadow: The Life of General Robert Eichelberger

By Paul Chwialkowski | Go to book overview

that his conflicts with MacArthur had affected his "whole disposition," and that his wife's constant reminders of MacArthur's unfairness had added "to this burden which I have had to bear and fight against." Stating that he periodically "went back into the dumps again," Eichelberger admitted that his emotional struggles had affected his health and sleep, and had threatened to turn his everyday existence into "a life of hate." 51

Eichelberger had no desire to continue with this turmoil indefinitely. During the first week of August he applied for the position of Superintendent at West Point. Hoping that a different post, away from MacArthur, would improve his mental outlook, he wrote Colonel Chauncey Fenton at the U.S. Military Academy and informed him that the Superintendent's position "would be my Number One choice." During the third week of August, he learned that the position had already been filled by General Maxwell Taylor. In a galling bit of irony, he was informed that Taylor had been selected for the post because "his war record included several colorful events [which] marked him as one of the best young generals to come out of the European Theatre."52

This final blow made Eichelberger extremely bitter, for he found himself in a position comparable to his frustrating World War I experiences. Once again, he had missed out on the "Big Show" in Europe; he had been delegated to a secondary theater where he had struggled in relative obscurity. Worse yet, he had been forced to work under a mediocre commander, Krueger, whom he felt lacked his superior talent and abilities. And now, as a reminder of his luckless destiny, he found himself the loser in the competition for the West Point position, having come out second best to a lower-ranking "glamour boy" from Europe. As Eichelberger departed the Philippines for the occupation of Japan, he felt that there was little reason to celebrate, for it seemed that fate had again dealt him a losing hand. 53


NOTES
1.
Luvaas, Dear Miss Em, 222-23; Eichelberger, Our Jungle Road to Tokyo, 205; Ronald Spector, Eagle Against the Sun ( New York: Free Press, 1985), 526.
2.
William Manchester, American Caesar. Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964 ( New York: Dell, 1978), 500-501; Eichelberger Dictations, "Comments on Triumph in the Philippines, Part VII, Chapter XXIX", 29 November 1956, 2-3; Eichelberger, Our Jungle Road to Tokyo, 205-206.
3.
Another "personal" reason for MacArthur's attack in the southern Philippines was his desire to be known as the liberator of "all" the Philippines. As William Manchester points out in his book American Caesar, the southern Philippines had little "strategic importance," and operations in this sector were never approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Nevertheless, MacArthur carried out these operations in the south under his own authority, and thereby presented the Joint Chiefs of Staff with a fait accompli which they subsequently approved. Manchester, American Caesar, 500-

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