General Walter Krueger
Unsung Hero of the Pacific War
Sales Date: June 15, 2022
- Published: June 2022
- Published: February 2007
- Published: April 2018
He made his name in the jungles of the Pacific theater, was featured on the cover of Time magazine, was tapped by Douglas MacArthur to lead the invasion of Japan, and made crucial contributions to the army’s tactical and operational doctrine. Yet General Walter Krueger is still one of the least-known army commanders of World War II. Kevin Holzimmer’s book resurrects the brilliant career of this great military leader while deepening our understanding of the Pacific War.
As head of the Sixth U.S. Army, Krueger exemplified the art of command at the operational level of war and played a pivotal role in the defeat of Japan that until now has not been fully recognized. To the public he was a “mystery man,” and his abrasive personality may have sometimes caused problems for MacArthur, but his commander credited him as “swift and sure in attack, tenacious and determined in defense, modest and restrained in victory.” And although Krueger left no diaries or memoirs—and stubbornly refused to record many of his personal views—Kevin Holzimmer has mined military archives on Krueger and his Sixth Army to produce a compelling biography that finally acknowledges his importance.
Holzimmer first analyzes the experiences of Krueger’s prewar career: testing the triangular infantry division in the late 1930s, serving in the War Plans Division, and participating in peacetime maneuvers. This training prepared him for the challenges of command in the Pacific, where he successfully forged and led a large combined-arms effort that effectively integrated infantry, armor, artillery, naval, and air forces. Holzimmer then details Krueger’s remarkable leadership in the military campaigns against the Japanese. By placing Krueger’s philosophy of command within the context of evolving military doctrine, Holzimmer shows how he produced tough victories against a determined enemy in an enormously difficult war zone.
Unlike some overly cautious commanders of the war, Krueger was aggressive when the situated dictated, and even MacArthur admitted that “history has not given him due credit for his greatness.” By showing how he breathed life into Pacific war strategy and made sure it was executed successfully, this book gives him that credit and fills a glaring gap in American military history.
"Holzimmer’s goal was to ‘demonstrate that Krueger’s role in World War II was larger and more important than is usually acknowledged.’ He has done this and more, bringing to the forefront an outstanding soldier, a fascinating man, and an important part of the Allied victory in the Pacific in World War II."—Armor
"Holzimmer’s account is succinct, fact based, and well documented. . . . Holzimmer weaves the story of Krueger’s growth as a Soldier and a man, effectively capturing Krueger’s character, concern for troops, meticulous approach, and conviction about the necessity of education and learning. . . . A fine biography."—Military Review
"Holzimmer analyzes the impressive talents of this officer, who played such a pivotal role in the war against Japan. . . . A welcome addition to the historiography of the War in the Pacific."—Journal of America’s Military Past
"A book readers will find highly informative and balanced, and one that crosses into several genres of written military history. . . . In his introduction, Holzimmer states, “With this study I hope to fill a glaring gap in American military historiography by examining the career of Walter Krueger, specifically his role in World War II.” After completing this volume, readers will agree that the author has delivered on this promise. In the world of World War II literature, filling any type of gap is quite an achievement indeed."—On Point
"An important volume. In examining the career of the commander of the Sixth Army in the South West Pacific area, Holzimmer has undertaken a daunting task. . . . Where does Krueger stand in the pantheon of American military heroes? Holzimmer makes a convincing case that he is the unsung hero of the Pacific War."—Army
"Holzimmer has done a remarkable job of setting the record straight. Anyone interested in the Second World War in the Pacific, or the exercise of senior level command, would be well served to read this work."—Journal of Military History
“Holzimmer’s meticulously researched study rightfully places Krueger in the center of events between 1943 and 1945, helping to explain the achievements and frustrations of American commanders and soldiers as they pushed back the Japanese enemy.”—Michael Schaller, author of Douglas MacArthur: The Far Eastern General
“A lucid and definitive military biography that offers a convincing portrait of Krueger both as an army commander and as an individual subject to great pressures from both the enemy and his own immediate superior. Excellent.”—Stanley L. Falk, former Chief Historian, U.S. Air Force, and author of Decision at Leyte
“Makes a genuine contribution to the literature on World War II.”—Edward Drea, author of MacArthur’s ULTRA: Codebreaking and the War against Japan, 1942–1945
List of Maps
Part I: The Making of a General Officer: 1881-1943
1. From Germany to the Philippines, 1881-1903
2. Education of a Tactician, 1903-1920
3. Preparation for the High Command, 1920-1938
4. Training with the Third Army, 1938-1943
Part II: Operational Leadership in the Southwest Pacific Area, 1943-1945
5. New Britain, May 1943-February 1944
6. The Fight for New Guinea, Part 1: February - May 1944
7. The Fight for New Guinea, Part 2: May - October 1944
8. Leyte, October - December 1944
9. Luzon and Japan, January 1945 - January 1946
Part III: The Postwar Years, 1946-1967
10. Retirement and Tragedy, 1946-1967