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

By Paul Chwialkowski | Go to book overview

ments. For example, he is virtually ignored by most historians and scholars of military history. Russell F. Weigley makes no mention of him in the History of the United States Army nor do Guy Wint and Peter Calvocoressi in the 913-page volume Total War: The Story of World War II. Michael Howard, in his 1972 book Grand Strategy: August 1942-September 1943, fails to include any discussion of Eichelberger or his victories at Hollandia and Buna. Similarly, Martin Gilbert, in his 1989 book entitled The Second World War. A Complete History, omits any discussion of Eichelberger except for one brief passage about the Biak campaign. 2 Even Eichelberger's peers and former classmates have ignored him, and barely mention him in their memoirs and autobiographies. 3

This lack of attention is surprising and puzzling, particularly since Eichelberger left an excellent set of papers upon his death in 1961. He fully expected that future historians would be interested in the details of his life and career, and he took great pains to save his personal letters, diaries, and other documents. In the mid-1950s, he left most of these papers to Duke University, where they have remained for over 30 years, virtually untouched by military scholars and historians.

However, John Shortal has made some use of these papers in Forged by Fire: Robert L. Eichelberger and the Pacific War. 4 published in 1987, Shortal's book is not a biography, but covers Eichelberger's years in the Pacific during World War II. The study focuses on only a small portion of Eichelberger's papers, and emphasizes his training techniques with the I Corps and the 8th Army. Forged by Fire begins with the assumption that Robert Eichelberger was one of the greatest commanders of World War II; Shortal believes that Eichelberger was the most unappreciated commander of the Pacific War, and he dedicates his book to resurrecting the general's reputation. 5

This present study has no such goal; it examines Eichelberger's entire life, and makes an exhaustive review of his personal papers. Its purpose is to explain the life and career of Robert Lawrence Eichelberger, a man whose own destructive personality and inner turmoil prevented him from achieving greatness.


NOTE
1.
Army and Navy Journal, 21 August 1948, under the "Editorial" section (a copy of this editorial is included in the Robert L. Eichelberger Papers, located at the Perkins Library, Duke University, in>Durham, North Carolina).
2.
Russell F. Weigley, History of the United States Army ( New York: Macmillan, 1967); Peter Calvocoressi and Guy Wint, Total War: The Story of World War II ( New York: Pantheon Books, 1972); Michael Howard, Grand Strategy: August 1942- September 1943, Vol. IV of History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series ( London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1972); Martin Gilbert, The Second World War: A Complete History ( New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1989), 542-43.

-x-

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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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