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

By Paul Chwialkowski | Go to book overview

Eichelberger placed his troops in needless jeopardy and suffered unnecessary losses (that is, on the outskirts of Manila). He exaggerated his own victories and, in a burst of grandiosity, shamelessly sought publicity and medals for his important, but relatively modest, contributions.

More importantly, Eichelberger's internal difficulties shattered his personal life. His preoccupation with publicity and his problems with MacArthur dominated his thoughts and emotions; these feelings made him dissatisfied with his own awards and achievements (which, by most standards, were quite impressive). He became increasingly bitter. He eventually focused all of his hate on MacArthur, the one man (besides his father) who had frustrated all of his attempts to gain love and attention. 5

Unable to tame these unresolved conflicts, Eichelberger spent the last years of his life with unhappy memories, inner turmoil, and angry vendettas. His retirement years certainly lacked any mark of greatness, for he felt no contentment with his importance or place in history. Instead, he felt only deep distress. He bore the wounds of a man suffering from a fatally flawed personality. If a man's golden years are any indicator of his true merit, Eichelberger's behavior certainly removed him from the list of the truly great, and marked him as a figure worthy more of pity than emulation.


NOTES
1.
Morris Janowitz, The Professional Soldier. A Social and Political Portrait ( New York: Free Press, 1971), 161.
2.
Eichelberger felt that MacArthur's vanity would have required him to overshadow any subordinate. He once stated that "a Patton serving under MacArthur would have been the 'Unknown Soldier.'" Eichelberger Dictations, no title, 12 September 1955, 4 (page 251 of dictation notebook).
3.
Janowitz, The Professional Soldier, 144-45, 170-71; Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe ( Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Company, 1948), 215.
4.
Associated Press dispatch, "Eighth Army Boss Looks Beyond Stars on Shoulder to G.I. Joe" (by Hal Boyle), 29 October 1945, included in box 190 of Eichelberger Papers.
5.
Eichelberger believed that his life would have been much more satisfying if he had been allowed to serve in Europe under Eisenhower. This author respectfully disagrees. Eichelberger demanded an enormous amount of attention and approval. It is not likely that any wartime commander could have completely satisfied him (particularly if Eichelberger were forced to compete for assignments with the equally vainglorious George S. Patton).

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Note x
  • 1 - ORIGINS OF A MILITARY CAREER 1
  • Notes 5
  • 2 - FORMATION OF A PERSONALITY 7
  • Notes 13
  • 3 - SIBERIA -- A PERSONALITY EMERGES 15
  • Notes 25
  • 4 - PATHS TO PROMOTION 29
  • Notes 39
  • 5 - PREPARATION FOR WARTIME COMMAND 43
  • Notes 54
  • 6 - BUNA -- THE PYRRHIC VICTORY 57
  • Notes 75
  • 7 - STRUGGLES FROM THE SIDELINES 81
  • Notes 91
  • 8 - HOLLANDIA AND BIAK -- VICTORY AND CONFLICT 95
  • Notes 105
  • 9 - THE PHILIPPINES -- COMPETITION WITH KRUEGER 109
  • Notes 124
  • 10 - VICTORY AND DISAPPOINTMENT 131
  • Notes 142
  • 11 - MILITARY OCCUPATION OF JAPAN 149
  • Notes 162
  • 12 - RETIREMENT -- AND TURMOIL 173
  • Notes 190
  • Conclusion 205
  • Notes 208
  • SOURCES 209
  • Index 221
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