Douglas MacArthur Signed Corncob Pipe Photograph
8" x 10" semi-glossy black and white vintage photograph of General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) smoking his trademark corncob pipe sometime during the 1945 campaign in the Philippines, signed by him as "Douglas MacArthur" in black felt-tip marker diagonally across the commander's torso. Stamped with U.S. Army rights and reproductions blurb verso, and with the official caption: "SC - 211226 Luzon, P.I. Gen of the Army Douglas MacArthur in Manila. 1945." Also pencil-inscribed along bottom margin. With expected surface wear including a few wrinkles and isolated minor discoloration to photo margins, else near fine.
This Associated Press photo shows MacArthur enjoying a moment's repose during the Philippines campaign. MacArthur stands on a balcony overlooking Manila. He is dressed in a crisp khaki field uniform and eagle-emblazoned cap, his lips clenched around a signature corncob tobacco pipe. MacArthur deliberately cultivated a public relations image that is full fruition here. His faraway gaze suggests both leadership and determination. The pipe signifies his humbleness and humanity. His arms are akimbo, either resting on his hips in a classic triumphant pose, or thrust in his back pockets as was his habit, in an attitude of surly nonchalance. MacArthur's command in the Philippines only reinforced this image.
General Douglas MacArthur had been forced to evacuate the Philippines in advance of encroaching Japanese forces in March 1942. Transported by PT-boat and fighter planes to southern Australia, the commander had made an impassioned speech at the Terowie railway station on March 20, declaring, "I came through and I shall return." MacArthur did return to the Philippines as promised, wresting Leyte from Japanese forces in October 1944.
MacArthur then turned his attention to recapturing Luzon in the northern Philippines. The Battle of Manila, waged between February-March 1945, involved heavy artillery bombardment and brutal street fighting. It's estimated that as many as 100,000 Filipinos died in the conflict, and that 70 to 100% of Manila's residential, business, and governmental infrastructure was destroyed. MacArthur was engaged in consolidating the southern Philippines when the Japanese surrendered in August 1945.
MacArthur ordered custom corncob pipes from the Missouri Meerschaum Company of Washington, Missouri. The General favored pipes with deep bowls and long shanks that could also be used as a pointer. MacArthur smoked his pipe when he could: while standing on battleships, surveying troops, strategizing battle plans, or posing for a too-good-to-miss photo op. Missouri Meerschaum, still in operation today, offers a souvenir model called the MacArthur Classic Natural Straight Corn Cob Pipe.
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