“I Shall Return”: General MacArthur’s Promise

By | March 19, 2019

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Gen. Douglas MacArthur (C) and Gen. Richard Sutherland (L) and Col. Lloyd Lehrbas wading ashore during Amer. landing at Lingayen Gulf. Source: (Photo by Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

During World War II’s Pacific Campaign, General Douglas MacArthur, along with his family, were located on the island of Corregidor where he oversaw more than 90,000 American and Filipino troops in the battle against the Japanese military. As neighboring strongholds fell to the Japanese, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, grew concerned that Corregidor would also fall and MacArthur, a well-respected leader, would be captured or killed. General MacArthur balked at the President’s request to leave the island, but when he was ordered to do so, he had to oblige. When he left, MacArthur vowed, “I Shall Return.” 

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General MacArthur, his son Arthur and his wife Jean. Source: (pinterest.com)

MacArthur Wanted to Stay with the Troops

Despite the dangers to him and his family—his wife, Jean and son, Arthur—General Douglas MacArthur was determined to say with his troops. When Roosevelt first advised MacArthur to leave the island, the General responded by saying that he planned to share the same fate as the troops. A few days later, George C. Marshall, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, also urged MacArthur to leave. Again, MacArthur refused. It took a direct order from the President of the United States to force MacArthur to leave.