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Regarding David Valley’s Dec. 8 letter, “MacArthur pre-empted disaster“: In his book “American Caesar”, William Manchester relates how U.S. Marines, not sharing Valley’s awe-struck view of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, dubbed him “dugout Doug.” As MacArthur directed the New Guinea campaign from the safety of Australia — unlike, say, Montgomery, Rommel or Patton, who were never far from the front lines — maybe they had a point.

In “With the Old Breed”, Eugene Sledge, a marine who fought in Peleliu and Okinawa, questions whether the Okinawa campaign (which commenced in April 1945) was even necessary, as the U.S. military knew the atom bomb was then being readied to end the war by a deployment of overwhelming force.

Sledge comes to the conclusion that it was more important for American generals in the Pacific, especially MacArthur, to further their careers by fighting unnecessary battles than to worry about avoidable loss of life. I hope Valley doesn’t find this too “derogatory”.

I would be interested, too, in knowing what exactly was the “disaster” the Russians “orchestrated in Europe”. If, by that, Valley means the Soviet occupation of part of Germany and Eastern Europe, then Valley would have to be a real Boy Scout to imagine this could have been avoided. It was the Russians who destroyed the bulk of the German Army, not the Western Allies.

In no way could the United States have prevented a Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe — unless it had adopted Winston Churchill’s original idea of using the Italian campaign as a springboard into Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The Soviets would still have occupied Poland, eastern Germany and Romania, which had been a major German ally in the East, but their impact on postwar Europe would have been less.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

barry ward

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