While men were dying or struggling on battlefields or on the seas for sheer survival, the inflated egos of some top brass American generals became even more bloated in the Pacific war against Japan. Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45 reveals that it became General Douglass MacArthur’s overwhelming intent to free the Philippines rather than wage war against mainland Japan.
This latter route was suggested by other Pacific generals who believed that once the lifeline to the outlying Japanese troops was destroyed, there would be no need to island hop — a costly move in both materials and human lives. MacArthur had been chased out of the Philippines. His “I will return” statement became his obsession; indeed, he must return to liberate the Philippine Islands in order to maintain his ego as the Great General.
It appeared that even President Roosevelt was overwhelmed by the mystique of General MacArthur. According to Retribution, when Roosevelt, and Nimitz, met in Hawaii with MacArthur, the crux of their dialogue was between Roosevelt and MacArthur who returned to his command triumphant he had sold his idea of launching war into the Philippines.
According to Retribution, the Japanese began to realize the futility of extending their line of conquest any farther. Where the United States had an overwhelming advantage in raw materials to produce weapons of war, the Japanese had a shrinking disadvantage due to the effective blockade of her ports. Evidence shows that supplying their established line of offense/defense, so distant from the mainland, had become a realized impossibility. Yet, any talk of compromise or retreat was impossible for the Yamaha warrior. He either wins in battle or dies.
Japanese fighters were terrifying and savage in their hurried conquests. From early childhood, Japanese youth were brainwashed to believe they were the greatest race, a nation so superior that all bushido fighters would want only to give their lives for the fatherland. They would endure hardship, sickness, starvation — any pain or agony to achieve the status of a warrior who had fought the enemy — any non-Japanese people. They would follow orders in mokusatsu – silence.