Mar 12, 2010

“I Shall Return” -McArthur

On this day year 1942, the war in the Pacific wasn’t going well for the Allied troops. American general Douglas MacArthur received orders to abandon the Philippines to the invading Japanese Army. Before leaving the islands, General MacArthur promised the people, “I shall return.” His words resounded over the shortwave radio and into the terrified hearts of those he had to leave behind.

On October 20, 1944, after U.S. planes bombed the Japanese stronghold in the north, four divisions of American soldiers landed on Leyte, a small island in the north. After a few hours of battle General MacArthur stepped on Philippine soil, thus fulfilling his promise to return to free the citizens of the Philippine Islands from the Japanese Army. That was World War II.

Contrary to the popular opinion, MacArthur’s famous line wasn’t said in the Philippines but in Terowie, South Australia. The exact phrasing went: “I came out of Bataan, and I shall return.” The US wanted the general to change his “I” to “We,” meaning the Americans, but MacArthur denied the request.


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