Charles Andrew Willoughby (March 8, 1892 – October 25, 1972) was a Major General in the U.S. Army, serving as General Douglas MacArthur's Chief of Intelligence during most of World War II and the Korean War.
Early life and education
Charles Andrew Willoughby is often quoted as being born March 8, 1892 in Heidelberg, Germany as Adolph Karl Weidenbach, the son of Baron T. Tscheppe-Weidenbach and wife Emma Willoughby Tscheppe-Weidenbach of Baltimore, Maryland. However, this was disputed by Frank Kluckhohn of The Reporter (New York Journal) in 1952 and there remains uncertainty as to both his birth name and lineage.
It is certain however that Willoughby emigrated from Germany to the US in 1910, and in October 1910, he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he served with the 5th Infantry, initially as a private, later rising to the rank of sergeant. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1913.
He then entered Gettysburg College as a Senior in 1913 based on his three-years of attendance at the University of Heidelberg and the Sorbonne in Paris before he came to the US in 1910. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1914. It is also disputed whether or not he actually did attend either European university.
After graduation from Gettysburg College, Willoughby was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Officers' Volunteer Reserve Corps of the US Army in 1914. He spent three years teaching German and military studies (while serving as a reserve US Army officer) at various prep-schools in the United States. In August 1916, he vacated his position in the reserves to accept a Regular Army commission as a second lieutenant under the name Adolph Charles Weidenbach, he rose to Captain and served in World War I in the American Expeditionary Force.
He changed his name at some point between 1910-1930 to Charles Andrew Willoughby (a loose translation of Weidenbach, the German for "willow brook"). During his early life, he became fluent in English, Spanish, German, French and later, Japanese.
World War I
Using the name Adolf Charles Weidenbach, Willoughby was commissioned as both a Second Lieutenant in the Regular Army on 27 November 1916, and promoted to First Lieutenant on the same day. He joined the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in June 1917 and was promoted to Captain (permanent) on 30 June 1917, serving initially with the 16th Infantry, First Division. He later transferred to the US Army Air Corps, where he was trained as a pilot by the French military. He was allegedly intimately involved with Elyse Raimonde DeRoche, a French woman subsequently shot as an alleged spy by the French Army. At some point in 1917 he was recalled to Washington in connection with an Army Intelligence investigation of pro-German sentiments. He was ultimately cleared. During this period he continued to use the name Adolf C. Weidenbach.
Post World War I
After the war, Captain Willoughby/Weidenbach joined the 24th Infantry in New Mexico in 1919. He spent two years at his post before being posted to San Juan, Puerto Rico. He became involved in military intelligence while in San Juan. While serving in Puerto Rico he married Juana Manuela Rodríguez Umpierre who bore him a daughter, Olga. He had served as a Military Attaché in Ecuador. He received the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus from Benito Mussolini's Fascist Italian government. In the 1920s Willoughby was an admirer of Spanish General and future dictator Francisco Franco, calling him the "second greatest general in the world". He met him in Morocco and then delivered a speech to him at a lunch in Madrid. He was toasted by the Secretary General of the Falangist Party.
In 1929, Willoughby was assigned to Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas as a student and in 1931 as an instructor. In 1936, Major Willoughby was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
World War II and the occupation of Japan
Willoughby was the Chief of Intelligence on General MacArthur's staff during World War II, the occupation of Japan, and the Korean War. Willoughby became a major general on 12 April 1945. Due to his initiative at the end of the Pacific Campaign war crimes charges against Shirō Ishii were dispensed with in exchange for information gathered by Unit 731, a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation in China. Additionally there was a monetary reward for Ishii.
Willoughby's contribution(s) during the Korean War is subject to some significant controversy, with several sources insisting that he intentionally distorted, if not out and out suppressed, intelligence estimates that showed the Chinese were massing at the Yalu River. Willoughby allegedly did so in order to better support MacArthur's (mistaken) assertion that the Chinese would never cross the Yalu, and thus allow MacArthur a freer hand in his drive to the Yalu.
MacArthur affectionately referred to him as "my pet fascist." During World War II MacArthur said, "There have been three great intelligence officers in history. Mine is not one of them." John Ferris in his 2007 book Intelligence and Strategy calls this an "understatement" and calls Willoughby a "candidate for one of the three worst intelligence officers of the Second World War" (p. 261).
Writer David Halberstam, in his book The Coldest Winter, paints Willoughby as largely having been appointed head of intelligence for Korea due to his sycophancy toward MacArthur. He points out that many veterans of the war, both enlisted and otherwise, felt that the lack of correct intelligence regarding the Chinese presence resulted in poor preparation by field commanders. This also contributed to MacArthur's desire push his upper level commanders to divide their commands, making mutual support of units and fortifications inadequate for the large numbers of Chinese they were about to face.
As said of Willoughby, by Lieutenant Colonel John Chiles, 10th Corps G-3, or chief of operations of military intelligence of that unit.
MacArthur did not want the Chinese to enter the war in Korea. Anything MacArthur wanted, Willoughby produced intelligence for.… In this case Willoughby falsified the intelligence reports.… He should have gone to jail...
Willoughby was involved in the creation of Field Operations Intelligence, a top secret Army Intelligence unit that later came under joint military and Central Intelligence Agency control. He retired from the Army on August 31, 1951.
Retirement, death and legacy
After his retirement, Willoughby travelled to Spain to act as an advisor and lobbyist for dictator Francisco Franco. In his later years, Willoughby published the Foreign Intelligence Digest newspaper, and worked closely with Texas oil tycoon H. L. Hunt on the International Committee for the Defence of Christian Culture, an extreme right "umbrella" organization that had connections to anti-Communist groups. Another one of Willoughby's allies was Rev. Billy James Hargis. In 1968, Willoughby moved with his wife to Naples, Florida.
Charles A. Willoughby died on 25 October 1972 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. He is a member of the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.
Dates of rank
| ||Enlisted, United States Army: 10 October 1910; Discharged as Sergeant: 9 October 1913|
| ||Second Lieutenant, United States Army: 27 November 1916|
| ||First Lieutenant, United States Army: 27 November 1916|
| ||Captain, United States Army: 30 June 1917|
| ||Major, United States Army: 6 March 1928|
| ||Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army: 1 June 1938|
| ||Colonel, Army of the United States: 14 October 1941|
| ||Brigadier General, Army of the United States: 20 June 1942|
| ||Major General, Army of the United States: 17 March 1945 |
(Terminated 31 May 1946)
| ||Colonel, United States Army: 1 September 1945|
| ||Brigadier General, Army of the United States: 31 May 1946 |
(Date of rank 20 June 1942)
| ||Brigadier General, United States Army: 24 January 1948|
| ||Major General, Army of the United States: 24 January 1948|
Decorations and medals
Willoughby received numerous military decorations and medals, including:
|1st Row||Distinguished Service Cross||Army Distinguished Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters|
|2nd Row||Silver Star||Legion of Merit||World War I Victory Medal||American Defense Service Medal|
|2nd Row||Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with seven service stars||World War II Victory Medal||Army of Occupation Medal||National Defense Service Medal|
|3rd Row||Korean Service Medal with one service star||United Nations Korea Medal||Grand Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau (Netherlands)||Commander of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Italy)|
|4th Row||Distinguished Service Star (Philippines)||Philippine Defense Medal||Philippine Liberation Medal with two bronze stars||Order of Abdon Calderón (Ecuador)|
Guerrilla Resistance Movement in the Philippines, 1941-1945 New York: Vantage, 1972
MacArthur, 1941-1951 New York: McGraw-Hill, 1954
Shanghai Conspiracy: The Sorge Spy Ring Boston: Western, 1952
Intelligence Series: G-2 USAFFE, SWPA, AFPAC, FEC, SCAP Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1948
Campaigns of MacArthur in the Pacific
Japanese Operations Against MacArthur
"America Needs a Foreign Legion!" Argosy, January 1966 (with Edward Hymoff)
MacArthur in Japan: Military Phases
Written by Willoughby and a team of American and Japanese military commanders after World War II. Intended to be the basis for General MacArthur's memoirs, the final version disappeared after President Truman dismissed MacArthur. No copy has turned up in either MacArthur's or Willoughby's papers.
References and notes
In popular culture
General Willoughby is frequently mentioned in author W. E. B. Griffin's series "The Corps", usually in an unflattering light.
- Papers Of Major General Charles A. Willoughby, USA 1947-1973 http://www.galegroup.com/pdf/scguides/macarthur/RG-23.doc
- Campbell, Kenneth J. "Major General Charles A. Willoughby: A Mixed Performance." Text of unpublished paper. http://intellit.muskingum.edu/wwii_folder/wwiifepac_folder/wwiifepacwilloughby.html