'I Shall Return'

A statue in the Philippines commemorating the promised return of American commander Douglas MacArthur in World War II
A statue in the Philippines commemorating the promised return of American commander Douglas MacArthur in World War II

Historical Context

"I came through and I shall return," those were the famous words announced by General Douglas MacArthur on March 20, 1942, as he arrived in Australia, following an audacious escape from Japanese-occupied Philippines. Their island in the Philippines - which had been an American territory until the Japanese occupation - had been surrounded by the Japanese. MacArthur's defense and escape captured the imagination of Americans back home and he became a symbol of resistance.

His escape from near certain capture was welcomed by most, though Joseph Goebbels named him the "fleeing general" and Benito Mussolini called him a coward. Nevertheless MacArthur promised to return, and after being awarded the Medal of Honor was put in charge of all American activities in the South West Pacific.

Over the next two years, bitter fighting would allow MacArthur's promise to come true. On October 20, 1944 MacArthur waded ashore in Leyte after his troops had invaded and secured a beachhead. He then declared triumphantly: "People of the Philippines: I have returned."

MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park, pictured above, was opened in 1977 and the statues, sculpted by Anastacio Caedo, were inaugurated in 1981.

Photo Info


Photographer: Kingphoto23
Date taken: April 12, 2012
Location taken: Palo, Leyte, Philippines

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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