MacArthur, who had done as he pleased his whole life, began talking of "marching to the Yalu". He did not yet know he was in a war he would not be allowed to win. He felt he had the freedom to do what he wanted. The first dark clouds were beginning to appear on the horizon. Would anyone dare challenge MacArthur's judgement ? Truman reminded him that operations North of the 38th had to be authorized by the U.S. MacArthur, used to ruling in Japan with an iron hand, made policy statements without first clearing them with his superiors. In spite of his Inchon success he was not infallible. He had been warned by Truman many times, and now received notification that he was to obtain authorization from Washington prior to taking any military action against objectives in Chinese territory. MacArthur's military plan was to proceed with all deliberate speed in advancing to the Yalu. He did not believe that the Chinese would intervene and would remain on their side of the Yalu. He had no knowledge that the Chinese decision to intervene had already been made by Mao, who was pressuring Russia to upgrade nine divisions to counter the U.S. hardware. Again MacArthur was warned not to provoke the Chinese, as it could draw not only China but Russia into a third World War. There were repeated warnings that the Chinese were already preparing to cross the Yalu and attack the U.S. forces. MacArthur in his usual pompous attitude anticipated immediate victory after his success at Inchon. Truman scheduled a showdown meeting with MacArthur on Wake Island. MacArthur was extremely displeased over the proposed meeting, which went on exactly as predicted. Truman expressed his growing concern over Chinese intervention, being careful not to anger the explosive MacArthur. It was here that MacArthur made his biggest mistake. He announced that the war "would be terminated by Thanksgiving - they are thoroughly whipped. The winter will destroy those that we don't --- In North Korea, unfortunately, the government is pursuing a forlorn hope. It has no possibility of success". What an arrogant and unfortunate statement. He ranted on further, declaring that the North Koreans were poorly trained, led, and organized. He reiterated that "it will be over by Thanksgiving". He said " the Chinese have no air umbrella. There would be the greatest slaughter if China tried to put ground troops across the Yalu. They would be destroyed". Little did he know that even as he spoke tens of thousands of Chinese were swarming across the Yalu. MacArthur's prediction was that any intervention would be pounded into a "rabble", and that the Russian air force would not be a match against ours. With the conference nearing an end, MacArthur continued his tirade of "complete annihilation of any troops who dared to intervene". Truman and MacArthur parted with kind remarks to each other and how successful the meeting had been. He would soon have to eat his eloquent words.

American troops after capturing the North Korean Capitol of Pyongyang were looking forward to the promised withdrawal to Japan and leave the cleanup to the South Koreans. MacArthur believed the North Korean military had fled into Manchuria. How wrong he was. Four infantry armies, three artillery divisions and an anti - aircraft regiment, 260,000 men, crossed the Yalu into North Korea. When asked for his evaluation of the military escalation, MacArthur downplayed the involvement. He became involved in a controversy with General Stratemeyer over B-29 bombing of Yalu bridges. He was again urging escalation. Tensions and tempers were rising over the proposed handling of the Chinese situation.

General Douglas MacArthur Photo inscribed to Adm. Nimitz - ctsy. Army Archives.

Truman and MacArtghur at Wake Island - ctsy. Army Archives.

Safe Conduct Pass - ctsy. Wayland Mayo

Safe Conduct Pass - ctsy. Wayland Mayo

Index - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9
Part 10 - Part 11 - Part 12 - Part 13 - Part 14 - Part 15 - Part 16 - Part 17

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