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Major General Charles A. Willoughby

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Charles Willoughby

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Major General 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 Conflict.

Early Life and Education

Willoughby claimed to have been born Adolf Karl (or Charles) Tscheppe-Weidenbach in the town of Heidelberg, Germany, the son of "Freiherr" (Baron) T. von Tscheppe-Weidenbach from Baden, Germany and Emma Willoughby Scheppe-Weidenbach of Baltimore, Maryland.

However, in the Heidelberg town registry under the date March 8, 1892, only the birth of one Adolf August Weidenbach is entered, with ropemaker August Weidenbach as father and Emma, née Langhäuser, as mother.

According to the Gothaisches Genealogisches Taschenbuch der Briefadeligen, (a standard catalogue of the German gentry), General Franz Erich Theodor Tülff von Tschepe (with one "p") und Weidenbach not only lacked the title "Freiherr" (Baron) but did not receive the honor from Wilhelm II until 1913. General von Tschepe had five children, none of them born in 1892.

His early life was spent in Germany, only moving to the United States after attending the University of Heidelberg in 1910. He changed his name from Adolf Tscheppe-Weidenbach to Charles Willoughby (His mother's maiden name) at the same time.

Willoughby served in the Army as an enlisted man beginning in 1910, eventually reaching the rank of Sergeant.

He entered Gettysburg College in 1913 at the age of 21, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1914. After receiving his degree, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Officer's Volunteer Corps in 1914.

World War I

Willoughby, commissioned a both Second and First Lieutenant in the Regular Army on 27 November 1916. He joined the American Expeditionary Force in June 1917 and was promoted to Captain on 30 June 1917.

Inter-war years

After the war, Captain Willoughby joined the 24th Infantry in New Mexico in 1919. He spent 2 years at his post before being posted to San Juan, Puerto Rico. He became involved in Military Intelligence while in San Juan.

1929 saw Willoughby assigned to Command & General Staff College as a student and in 1931 as an instructor.

In 1936, Major Willoughby was promoted Lieutenant Colonel.

World War II

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.


Willoughby did all he could to minimize the overwhelming evidence that the Chinese had been the ones who struck the ROKS and the Eighth Cavalry near Unsan. A good many men who fought there came to believe that his refusal to act quickly on the evidence presented by the first captured Chinese prisoners and his unwillingness to add a serious note of caution to his intelligence briefings were directly responsible for the devastation inflicted on not just the Cav at Unsan but upon the Eighth Army soon after, for the loss of so many buddies, and , in some cases for their own long tours in Chinese and Korean prisons. To them, what he represented came perilously close to evil, someone who blustered about the dangers of Communism and the Chinese, but then ended up making their work so much easier by setting the U.N. forces up for that great ambush.

In fact, Willoughby was not only stopping the combat-level intelligence machinery from sending its best and most consequential material to the top in Korea, he was also blocking other sources of intelligence, and keeping a carefully eye on the small, bare-bones CIA operation that in 1950 existed in Tokyo...Willoughby had found out about this [passing information on to his (Duggan's) superiors] and had threatened to close down Duggan's tiny shop and run him out of Japan unless he stopped trying to notify anyone higher up about the intelligence he had.

excerpted from The Coldest Winter:America and the Korean War by David Halberstam as printed in Vanity Fair, Oct 2007


Other Activities

He was involved in the creation of Field Operations Intelligence, a top secret Army Intelligence unit that later came under joint military and CIA control. Willoughby retired from the army in 1951.

Retirement, Death and Legacy

After his retirement, Willoughby travelled to Spain and became an unofficial advisor to the Spanish dictator, In his later years, Willoughby would publish the Foreign Intelligence Digest newspaper, and work 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.

In 1968 Willoughby moved with his wife to Naples, Florida. Charles Willoughby died on 25th October, 1972.

Dates of rank

No pin insignia 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

Colonel, National Army: 1 June 1938

Brigadier General, National Army: 20 June 1942

Major General, United States Army: 12 April 1945


Silver Star - Jan 24, 1942 (Bataan)

Distinguished Service Cross - Jan 9, 1943 (Buna)

Order of Saints Maurizio and Lazzaro [italian award, given by Mussolini's government] - Date unknown

Published Works

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 MacArthur in Japan: Military Phases Written by Willoughby and a team of American and Japanese military commanders after WWII. Intended to be the basis for MacArthur's memoirs, the final version disappeared when MacArthur left Japan after Truman fired him. No copy has turned up in MacArthur's or Willoughby's papers.

Argosy Jan 1966 "America Needs a Foreign Legion!" (with Edward Hymoff),

Willoughby is a member of the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.

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/...willoughby.html

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Willoughby"

Categories: John F. Kennedy assassination | United States Army generals | 1892 births | 1972 deaths | Gettysburg College alumni

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