Academic journal article Military Review

GENERAL WALTER KRUEGER: Unsung Hero of the Pacific War

Academic journal article Military Review

GENERAL WALTER KRUEGER: Unsung Hero of the Pacific War

Article excerpt

GENERAL WALTER KRUEGER: Unsung Hero of the Pacific War, Kevin C. Holzimmer, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, 2007, 329 pages, $39.95.

Kevin C. Holzimmer's biography of General Walter Krueger fills an important gap in the history of fighting in the Pacific during World War II. Equally important, it enables readers to deepen their understanding of how MacArthur managed his command and how an important subordinate, Krueger, operated. Holzimmer's work not only helps explain important events that happened more than 60 years ago in the Pacific, but also discusses generalship and leadership at the operational and theater-strategic levels.

Born in Prussia and educated in part at home by a demanding German immigrant stepfather, Krueger excelled as a scholar/translator of German texts on tactics and operations. While just a lieutenant, he taught at Leavenworth. That he and George Marshall were the only lieutenants on the faculty suggests the measure of Krueger's excellence as a student of the art of war. He would go on to graduate from both the Army War College and the National War College.

Krueger served as chief of war plans during MacArthur's tenure as chief of staff of the Army. Later, he was a candidate for the post of chief of staff of the Army, but finished behind George Marshall. Subsequently, Marshall chose Krueger to organize and command 3d Army and support the development of an operational doctrine for the Army.

In January 1943, MacArthur asked Marshall to send Krueger and 3d Army to command U.S. ground troops in MacArthur's Southwest Pacific area. Although Marshall sent Krueger, he did not send 3d Army. Krueger became commanding general of 6th Army and for the second time during the war had to organize a field Army headquarters. He led the charge for MacArthur through to the Philippine invasion until he was joined in the field by Lieutenant General Robert Eichelberger's 8th Army. Krueger cased the colors of 6th Army on 25 January 1945, departed for his home in San Antonio, Texas, and retired the next day aboard the USS New Jersey.

As Holzimmer points out, comparatively little has been written about Krueger, and what there is tends to show him in a bad light. …

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