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Taaffe, Stephen Richard 1995 McArthur's New Guinea Road, February-September 1944 (Douglas MacArthur, World War II, Southwest Pacific Area, Amphibious Operations), PhD Dissertation, Ohio University.

This book was published in 1998 as
Macarthur's Jungle War: The 1944 New Guinea Campaign (Modern War Studies)
by the University Press of Kansas, Lawrence. [312 pp. ISBN 0700608702]

    © Stephen Richard Taaffe, 1995. Use of any part of this thesis for any purpose must be acknowledged.


This dissertation is a narrative of General Douglas MacArthur's 1944 offensive across the New Guinea littoral toward the Philippines. It details Southwest Pacific Area amphibious operations from the Admiralty Islands through Hollandia-Aitape-Driniumor River, Wakde-Sarmi, Biak, Noemfoor, and Sansapor-Mar to Morotai. It uses the campaign as a vehicle to analyze the Pacific War's dual drive offensive strategy and New Guinea's role in it, MacArthur's abilities as a military commander, the importance of MacArthur's subordinates, and the interaction between the offensive and the American way of war. The dissertation relies on officer and enlisted men memoirs, first-hand accounts, various interviews with the participants, official and unit histories, and the papers, letters, documents, and reports in the Douglas MacArthur Memorial Archives in Norfolk, Virginia; the Washington National Records Center in Suitland, Maryland; the United States Army Military History Research Collection in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; the Robert L. Eichelberger Research Collection at Duke University, North Carolina; and the Walter Krueger's papers at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. The dissertation concludes that the New Guinea campaign was a pawn in an interservice struggle over Pacific strategy that pitted MacArthur against the Navy. Although some sort of offensive across the island was all but inevitable in 1944, MacArthur used the campaign to successfully promote his own strategic agenda to liberate the Philippines. For MacArthur, New Guinea was just a means to an end, the end being the Philippines. Although MacArthur defeated the Japanese on the island, instead of learning from his mistakes - many of which he had committed earlier in his life - he went on to repeat them later in his career. Fortunately for him, his capable field commanders, Japanese strategic confusion, superior intelligence gathering techniques, American military doctrine, and MacArthur's own positive attributes all contributed to the campaign's success.


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