Intramuros Learning Sessions episode no. 28

Heroes of World War II Series
Part 3: Sifting Through the Myths of General Douglas MacArthur


75 years after the war, it seems that history has not been very kind to General Douglas MacArthur. While the earlier generation of Filipinos who grew up during the war adore him, there seems to be a growing dislike and distrust of this great military commander among the younger generation. He is not remembered so much today as the man who said “I Shall Return” and did just that victoriously, but he is remembered more as “Dugout Doug,” who “left” the Philippines during the darkest days of the war. While much of what his detractors say may be true, many controversies about him are also not true – undermining the man’s many great achievements. Join us as we learn more about one of the most misunderstood figures in our history. Our experts for this episode include James Zobel – Director and Archivist of the MacArthur Memorial Library and Museum in Norfolk, Virginia; foremost WW2 historian Dr Ricardo Jose of the UP Diliman History Department, with Desiree Benipayo of the Philippine World War II Memorial Foundation, moderating.

This episode is Part 3 of the series Heroes of World War II.

  • Guest speakers: James Zobel and Ricardo Jose, Ph.D.
  • Moderator: Desiree Ann Cua Benipayo

About the Speakers

James Zobel

James is an archivist based in Virginia. He is currently the Director and Archivist of the MacArthur Memorial Library and Museum. He has a BA and an MA in History from the Old Dominion University. As a scholar on World War II history, he is authory of Victory at All Cost, MacArthur and the Korean War, and MacArthur: The Supreme Commander at War in the Pacific.

Ricardo Jose, Ph.D.

Prof. Dr. Ricardo Jose is a Professor of History at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. He has a BA and an MA in History from the University of the Philippines, and a Ph.D. in History from the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. He authored The Philippine Army, 1935-1942 and Volume 7 of Kasaysayan. His accolades include: Outstanding Young Scientist Award in the field of social sciences, 1997; Gawad Chancellor Para sa Natatanging Guro, 2011; Batobalani Many Faces of a Teacher Award, 2018; and Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino in Teaching, 2019.

About the Guest Moderator

Desiree Ann Cua Benipayo

Desiree Ann Cua Benipayo is a writer and film producer. She is currently the Vice President for Research and Education at the Philippine World War II Memorial Foundation, and the Secretary at the Memorare Manila 1945. Ms. Benipayo is author of Honor: The Legacy of Jose Abad Santos, which was recently awarded Best Book of Nonfiction Prose in English in the 2019 National Book Awards. Ms. Benipayo, together with her husband, also produced a film documentary adaptation of her book, which received an “A” rating by the Philippine Cinema Evaluation Board.

About the Intramuros Learning Sessions

The Intramuros Learning Sessions (ILS) is the educational webinar series of the Intramuros Administration (IA). The IA is an attached national government agency under the Department of Tourism. 

Topics are interdisciplinary and cover themes related to Intramuros and Manila studies, Philippine studies, as well as cultural heritage studies. Pursuant to IA’s charter, the ILS aims to contribute to the strengthening of the Filipino’s national identity and sense of belonging and pride.

For inquiries contact us at

See Previous ILS Episode
Letania: Architectural Documentation of San Agustin Church Retablos
See Next ILS Episode
A Discussion on the Conservation Management Plan of Intramuros

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