general douglas

An air-to-air right side view of, from foreground: an F-16C Fighting Falcon aircraft armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, an F-111A aircraft, an F-15C Eagle aircraft and an A-10A Thunderbolt II aircraft armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. The F-16C, F-15C and the A-10A are from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron while the F-111A is from the 431st Test and Evaluation Squadron. The aircraft are in-flight over Hoover Dam.


Gen. MacArthur’s Hat,

World War II generals certainly were some very egotistical people.  Often, the job of generaling was just as much about fashion and appearance as it was warmaking.  For example, Gen. Patton was famous for carrying his ivory handled single action cowboy six shooters, Soviet generals were notorious for covering their uniforms with copious amounts of medals, Japanese generals carried katanas despite the fact that little swordfighting occurred during the war, and German generals were perhaps the most professional and disciplined looking of World War II generals.  Gen. Douglas MacArthur was certainly a man who built an image of himself that would become a legend of the war with his oversized corn cob pipe, aviator sunglasses, and his very ostentatious generals hat.  The origins of his hat has always puzzled me.  It certainly is not your standard US Army officers caps.  So what modifications were made to MacArthur’s headwear and why did he wear it?

In 1936 MacArthur was the commander of all US forces in the Philippines with the rank of Major General.  It was in this year that he would retire from the US Army, but retirement did not mean that his military career was over. Immediately after retirement, Filipino President Manuel L. Quezon hired MacArthur as a military adviser and commissioned him with the rank of “Field Marshal of the Philippine Army”.  Of course, this was more of an honorary title as the Philippines didn’t really have a organized military.  MacArthur certainly enjoyed styling himself a field marshal, the highest military rank that can be achieved, but he did not have the uniform, especially the hat, of a proper field marshal.  So MacArthur made some modifications to his officer’s crush cap, adding a row of embroidered gold leaf that circled around the hat and a row around the visor.  He also preferred a gold embroidered US insignia over the standard brass insignia.

When World War II began MacArthur’s commission as the US Army officer was reinstated.  Later, he was promoted to the rank of “General of the Army”, denoted by five stars, it was the American equivalent of a field marshal.  Throughout his command in World War II and Korea, he continued to wear his “Philippine Marshal’s Cap” despite the fact that it was technically against US Army regulations.  Of course, there were few people with the rank or prestige to call him out on it.

Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear — kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor — with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.
—  General Douglas MacArthur, quoted in Robert Higgs, “The Cold War Economy: Opportunity Costs, Ideology, and the Politics of Crisis”, Depression, War, and Cold War: Studies in Political Economy, p.124
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On September 2, 1945, in a formal ceremony aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japan, representatives of the Japanese government signed this Instrument of Surrender, officially ending World War II.

The original first page of this document will be on display from August 27 through September 3 at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

This is not the first time the document was displayed here. After the Japanese Instrument of Surrender was presented to President Truman at the White House on September 7, 1945, it was put on exhibit at the National Archives (and later formally accessioned into its holdings).

Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, signed for Japan.

General Douglas MacArthur, Commander in the Southwest Pacific, signed for the United States and accepted the surrender in his capacity as the Supreme  Commander for the Allied Powers. Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz also signed for the United States.

Then representatives from eight other Allied nations signed, including the Republic of China, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. The ceremony took less than 30 minutes.