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General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (January 26, 1880 – April 5, 1964) was an Americanmarker general, United Nations general, and Field Marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and later played a prominent role in the Pacific theater of World War II. He was a highly decorated US soldier of the war, receiving the Medal of Honor for his early service in the Philippines and on the Bataan Peninsula. He was designated to command the proposed invasion of Japanmarker in November 1945. When that was no longer necessary, he officially accepted the nation's surrender on September 2, 1945.

MacArthur oversaw the occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1951. Although criticized for protecting Emperor Hirohito and the imperial family from prosecution for war crimes, MacArthur is credited with implementing far-reaching democratic reforms in that country. He led the United Nations Command forces defending South Koreamarker against the North Koreanmarker invasion from 1950 to 1951. On April 11, 1951, MacArthur was removed from command by President Harry S. Truman for publicly disagreeing with Truman's Korean War Policy.

MacArthur fought in three major wars (World War I, World War II, Korean War) and was one of only five men ever to rise to the rank of General of the Army.

Early life and education

Douglas MacArthur, the youngest of three sons, was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1880, while his parents were stationed there. His parents were Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur, Jr. (at the time a captain), a recipient of the Medal of Honor, and Mary Pinkney Hardy MacArthur (nicknamed "Pinky") of Norfolk, Virginiamarker. Douglas MacArthur was the grandson of jurist and politician Arthur MacArthur, Sr., a Scottish immigrant. (The remainder of MacArthur's ancestry was English.) He was baptized at Christ Episcopal Church in Little Rock on May 16, 1880.In his memoir, Reminiscences, MacArthur wrote that his first memory was the sound of the bugle, and that he had learned to "ride and shoot even before I could read or write—indeed, almost before I could walk and talk."

MacArthur's father was posted to San Antonio, Texasmarker, in 1893. There, Douglas attended West Texas Military Academy (now known as T.M.I.: The Episcopal School of Texas), where he became an excellent student. After two rejections, MacArthur entered the United States Military Academymarker at West Point in 1898. His mother also moved there to a hotel suite overlooking the grounds of the Academy. (The story is that his mother would use a telescope to look over into his room to ensure that he was studying.) An outstanding cadet, he graduated first in his 93-man class in 1903. For his prowess in sports, military training, and academics he was awarded the coveted title of "First Captain Of The Corps Of Cadets." Upon graduation, MacArthur was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
After leaving West Point, MacArthur served his first tour of duty in the Philippines. Later, MacArthur served as an aide-de-camp to his father, and visited Japan during the Russo-Japanese war. In 1906, he was aide-de-camp to President Theodore Roosevelt. Leaving the White House in 1907, MacArthur performed engineering duties in Kansas, Milwaukee, and Washington D.C. until his assignment to the General Staff (1913-1917).

Vera Cruz Expedition

MacArthur distinguished himself by several acts of personal bravery in the Vera Cruz Expedition of 1914, including a railroad chase back to American lines. For these he was recommended for the Medal of Honor, although this was denied on the grounds that his actions had exceeded the scope of his orders.

These duties were performed while he was serving on the Army General Staff. MacArthur was later in charge of dealing with the National Guard Bureau within the War Department. In early 1917, prior to U.S. entry into World War I, MacArthur was elevated two grades in rank from major to full colonel. Upon his promotion to full colonel, he transferred his basic branch from the Corps of Engineers to the Infantry.

World War I

During World War I MacArthur served in Francemarker as chief of staff of the 42nd Division. Upon his promotion to Brigadier General, he became the commander of the 84th Infantry Brigade. A few weeks before the war ended, he became division commander. During the war, MacArthur received two Distinguished Service Crosses, seven Silver Stars, a Distinguished Service Medal, and two Purple Hearts.

Douglas MacArthur made it his policy to "lead... men from the front." Because of this policy, and the fact that he usually refused to wear the mandatory gas mask while the rest of his men would, he had respiratory problems the rest of his life. He also refused to carry a gun, preferring instead to his only weapon a riding crop. Still, he was the second most decorated American officer of the war (after Colonel "Wild Bill" Donovan), and General Charles T. Menoher once said that he was the "greatest fighting man" in the army.

MacArthur and Donovan had crossed paths under less than ideal circumstances during the Hundred Days Offensive. Donovan's battalion had been decimated in battle at the Ourcqmarker. MacArthur arrived after the battle's close, as the wounded Donovan was being taken out by stretcher, and demanded an explanation of the battalion's heavy casualties. Donovan correctly explained that they had received no artillery support; whereupon MacArthur sought out and castigated the artillery commander responsible for the area: Captain Harry S. Truman, the man who would one day relieve MacArthur of command for insubordination.

Post–World War I

In 1919 MacArthur became superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, which had become out of date in many respects and was much in need of reform. MacArthur ordered drastic changes in the tactical, athletic and disciplinary systems; he modernized the curriculum, adding liberal arts, government and economics courses. He also took the first major step to formalizing the as yet unwritten Cadet Honor Code when, in 1922, he formed the Cadet Honor Committee to review all honor allegations.

In October 1922, MacArthur left West Point for the Philippines. Historian Clayton writes of the rumors circulating at the time, that after MacArthur and Louise Cromwell Brooks (later to become MacArthur's first wife) became romantically involved, General John J. Pershing who was very fond of Brooks, exiled MacArthur to the Philippines. From 1922 to 1930, MacArthur served two tours of duty in the Philippines, the second as commander of the Philippine Department (1928–1930); he also served two tours as commander of corps areas in the states. In 1925, he was promoted to major general, the youngest officer of that rank at the time, and served on the court martial that convicted Brigadier General Billy Mitchell. He headed the U.S. Olympic Committee for the 1928 Summer Olympics.


General MacArthur was married twice. His first marriage, on February 14, 1922, was to socialite Louise Cromwell Brooks, the divorced wife of Walter Brooks Jr, and the stepdaughter of Edward T. Stotesbury, a wealthy Philadelphiamarker banker. She obtained a divorce from MacArthur in 1929 on the grounds that he had failed to support her.

MacArthur was married to Jean Marie Faircloth of Murfreesboro, Tennesseemarker, on April 30, 1937. Their only child, Arthur, was born in Manila on February 21, 1938. Arthur graduated from Columbia University in 1961. "Arthur" was a family name - being the name of MacArthur's grandfather, father and eldest brother. Since his brother Arthur MacArthur III was deceased at this point and had failed to give that name to his own son (naming him instead Douglas MacArthur II), MacArthur "laid claim" to the name for his son, thus Arthur MacArthur IV.

Bonus Army

One of MacArthur's most controversial acts came in 1932, when President Hoover ordered him to disperse the "Bonus Army" of veterans who had converged on the capital in protest of government policy. MacArthur was criticized for using excessive force to disperse the protesters, an act during which US troops killed several veterans. According to MacArthur, the demonstration had been taken over by communists and pacifists with, he claimed, only "one man in 10 being veterans."

However, the Veteran's Administration files quoted by David Halberstam in "The Coldest Winter", state that 93% of the Bonus Army were veterans, of whom 67% had served overseas during the World War. Similarly, PBS' The American Experience has further supported this position by showing that the Bonus Army was composed overwhelmingly of First World War veterans whose pacifist politics were typical of the era - pacifism was not an uncommon belief among the general public of the 1930s. It has also been reported that MacArthur never received the orders telling him not to stop the marchers and that the orders were hidden from him by other officers who wanted the Army troops to storm the Bonus Army camps.

Chief of Staff

MacArthur finished his tour as Chief of Staff in October 1935. MacArthur's main programs included the development of new mobilization plans, the activation of a centralized air command (the General Headquarters Air Force), and a four-army reorganization which improved administrative efficiency. He supported the New Deal by enthusiastically operating the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). He brought along many talented mid-career officers, including George C. Marshall, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. However, MacArthur's support for a strong military and his public criticism of pacifism and isolationism made him unpopular with the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. Following his retirement in December 1937, he reverted to his permanent grade of major general, and accepted an offer in the Philippines.

Field Marshal of the Philippine Army

When the Commonwealth of the Philippines achieved semi-independent status in 1935, President of the Philippines Manuel L. Quezon, a personal friend since his father had been Governor General, asked MacArthur to supervise the creation of a Philippine Army. MacArthur elected not to retire but to remain on the active list as a major general, and with President Roosevelt's approval he accepted the assignment.

Among MacArthur's assistants as Military Adviser to the Commonwealth of the Philippines was Dwight D. Eisenhower. (Some years later, Eisenhower was asked if he knew MacArthur. He replied, "Know him? I studied dramatics under him for seven years!" MacArthur retorted that Eisenhower was the "Best clerk I ever had".)

When MacArthur resigned from the U.S. Army in 1937, his rank again became that of a general, and he was made Field Marshal of the Philippine Army by President Quezon. (MacArthur is the senior officer on the rolls of the Philippine Army today—he is also the only American military officer ever to hold the rank of field marshal).

In July 1941 Roosevelt recalled him to active duty in the U.S. Army as a major general and named him commander of United States Armed Forces in the Far East promoting him to a lieutenant general the following day. In December, he became a four star general yet again when the Japanese attacked across a wide front in the Pacific.

Following the outbreak of war with Japan, MacArthur was offered and accepted a payment of $500,000 (an enormous sum at the time) from President Quezon of the Philippines as payment for his pre-war service. Besides MacArthur, staff members of MacArthur also received payments. Eisenhower after being appointed Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force, was also offered money by Quezon, but Eisenhower refused the offer.

World War II

On the day of the attack on Pearl Harbormarker (December 8, 1941, in Manilamarker), MacArthur was Allied commander in the Philippines. He had over eight hours warning of a possible Japanese attack on the Philippines, and express orders from Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall to commence operations.

MacArthur's failure to take defensive or offensive action resulted in Japanese air superiority over the Philippines—MacArthur's inaction during the critical hours has been given as the reason for "an enormity of loss no less than that in Hawaii". A misplaced reliance by MacArthur on his air commander of only two months, General Lewis H. Brereton, has been offered as an explanation for his inaction by his defenders. Despite clear warnings of Japanese aggression, Brereton had not transitioned his air defenses to a war footing, and like the air commanders at Hickam Field at Pearl Harbor, failed to disperse aircraft properly in camouflaged revetments to limit damage from incoming air raids. Brereton's difficulties were magnified by the fact that the Far East Air Force (FEAF) was mostly a motley collection of obsolescent U.S. and Philippine Air Force planes. The FEAF was, however, in possession of 72 operational front line P-40 Warhawk fighters. MacArthur's lack of aggressiveness led to most U.S. aircraft being caught on the ground and destroyed.

Later, MacArthur would publicly defend his air commander while privately concluding he was incompetent; he transferred Brereton out of the Philippines as soon as possible. Brereton claimed he had requested permission to launch 35 B-17 Flying Fortresses (his entire heavy bombing force) to attack Japanese shipping in nearby Taiwanmarker. Some historians have seen this proposed use of B-17s as a departure from their intended use, to scout for incoming attacking forces or to attack Japan proper. Others note that Hoyt Vandenberg's plan for the defense of the Philippines by air, with its beginnings in 1939 and an update in August 1941, included the use of heavy bombers as a "striking force" to counter Japanese forces in Asia. Brereton's subsequent defense of his request for offensive action contained the implication that a Taiwan attack would have preserved the majority of the B-17 force. Though the bombers were scrambled in response to an early alert, they returned to refuel just as Japanese aircraft attacked Clark Fieldmarker, and 17 were destroyed on the ground.

MacArthur and his Chief of Staff, General Sutherland, later disputed Brereton's account of the Japanese attack on the Philippines.

One of the prewar Philippines defense plans assumed the Japanese could not be prevented from landings in Luzon and called for U.S. and Filipino forces to abandon Manila and retreat with their supplies to the Bataanmarker peninsula. MacArthur, aware of large-scale pre-war air defense plans by Vandenberg and an even more extensive proposal by Clayton Bissell calling for as many as 780 pursuit (fighter) aircraft to be based in the Philippines, decided to slow the Japanese advance with an initial defense against the Japanese landings. In the event, the Japanese could not be stopped, and the Allied troops barely escaped destruction retreating back to Bataan. Through MacArthur's errors and because of the rush to retreat to Bataan, food to be transferred from Manila to Bataan fell into Japanese hands. Early in April 1942 the Allied forces on Bataan would surrender due to Japanese superiority in aircraft and materiel.

MacArthur's headquarters during the Philippines campaign of 1941-2 was on the island fortress of Corregidormarker. His fortress was clearly marked and was the target of Japanese air attacks, until Manuel Quezon cautioned MacArthur "not to subject himself to danger." In March 1942, as Japanese forces tightened their grip on the Philippines, MacArthur was ordered by President Roosevelt to relocate to Melbournemarker, Australia, after Quezon had already left. After first discussing with his staff the idea that he resign his commission and fight on as a private soldier in the Philippine resistance, with his wife, four-year-old son, and a select group of advisers and subordinate military commanders, MacArthur left the Philippines in PT 41 (commanded by Lieutenant John D. Bulkeley).

After he left, command of the defense of Bataan was handed over to Major General Jonathan M. Wainwright. MacArthur was unwilling to leave control to Wainwright, and tried to run the battle from three thousand miles away. He ordered his men not to retreat, but General Edward P. King disobeyed orders by surrendering when he saw that the situation was hopeless. This surrender led to the Bataan Death March, in which over 5,000 Filipinos and 1,000 Americans died.

MacArthur reached Mindanaomarker on March 13, and boarded a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber three days later; on March 17, he arrived at Batchelor Airfieldmarker in Australia's Northern Territorymarker, about 60 miles (100 km) south of Darwinmarker, before flying to Alice Springsmarker, where he took the Ghan railway through the Australian outback to Adelaidemarker. His famous speech, in which he said, "I came out of Bataan and I shall return", was first made at Terowiemarker (a small railway township in South Australiamarker) on March 20. Upon his arrival in Adelaide, MacArthur abbreviated this to the now-famous, "I came through and I shall return" that made headlines. Washington asked MacArthur to amend his promise to, "We shall return". He ignored the request. Also, during this period, President Quezon decorated MacArthur with the Distinguished Conduct Star.

For his leadership in the defense of the Philippines, MacArthur was awarded the Medal of Honor (April 1, 1942) - a decoration for which he had twice previously been nominated. His citation read:
For conspicuous leadership in preparing the Philippine Islands to resist conquest, for gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against invading Japanese forces, and for the heroic conduct of defensive and offensive operations on the Bataan Peninsula. He mobilized, trained, and led an army which has received world acclaim for its gallant defense against a tremendous superiority of enemy forces in men and arms. His utter disregard of personal danger under heavy fire and aerial bombardment, his calm judgment in each crisis, inspired his troops, galvanized the spirit of resistance of the Filipino people, and confirmed the faith of the American people in their Armed Forces.
Arthur and Douglas MacArthur were the first father and son to be awarded the Medal of Honor. (They remained the only pair until 2001 when Theodore Roosevelt was awarded one posthumously for his service during the Spanish American War. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. had earned one posthumously for his service during World War II).

MacArthur's Medal of Honor plaque affixed to MacArthur barracks, USMA
was appointed Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA). Australian Prime Minister John Curtin put MacArthur in command of the Australian military, which — following the isolation of the Philippines — was numerically larger than MacArthur's American forces, but to the Australians' chagrin most were deployed thousands of miles away, in North Africa, defending Great Britain in that struggle with the Axis powers[7863]. The Allied force under MacArthur's command included a small number of personnel from the Netherlands East Indiesmarker and other countries. One of MacArthur's first tasks was to reassure Australians, who feared a Japanese invasion. The fighting at this time was predominantly in and around New Guineamarker and the Dutch East Indiesmarker. On July 20, 1942, SWPA headquarters was moved to Brisbanemarker, Queenslandmarker, taking over the AMP Insurance Society building (now MacArthur Central). In August 1942, after requesting a replacement for Brereton, MacArthur was finally given a new and fiercely aggressive air commander, Gen. George C. Kenney. Kenney and MacArthur immediately forged a close relationship. Allied airpower, which had up to this point been timid and inconclusive, was transformed by Kenney into a new and fearsome offensive weapon. Kenney would later develop low-level skip bombing techniques that his aviators would use to repulse a planned Japanese naval invasion of New Guinea in 1943, with thousands of Japanese casualties and dozens of ships sunk.

Australian successes at the Battle of Milne Bay and the Kokoda Track campaign came in late 1942, the first victories by Allied land forces anywhere against the Japanese. When it was reported the 32nd U.S. Infantry Division, a poorly trained and ill-equipped National Guard unit, had proved ineffective in the Allied offensive against Buna and Gonamarker, the major Japanese beachheads in northeastern New Guinea, MacArthur told U.S. I Corps commander, Robert L. Eichelberger, to assume direct control of the division:

Bob, I'm putting you in command at Buna. Relieve Harding ... I want you to remove all officers who won't fight. Relieve regimental and battalion commanders; if necessary, put sergeants in charge of battalions and corporals in charge of companies ... Bob, I want you to take Buna, or not come back alive ... And that goes for your chief of staff, too.

Allied land forces commander, General Thomas Blamey, did not want the 41st U.S. Infantry, another inexperienced unit. National Guard division, to reinforce the Gona assault, and requested 21st Australian Infantry Brigade be sent instead, as "he knew they would fight". This was done but a regiment of the 41st later went to Gona.

In March 1943, the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved MacArthur's plan, Operation Cartwheel, which aimed to capture the major Japanese base at Rabaulmarker by taking strategic points to use as forward bases. During 1944 this was modified so as to bypass Rabaul and other heavily-defended Japanese bases, allowing the Japanese forces there to "wither on the vine." Initially, the majority of MacArthur's land forces were Australian, but increasing numbers of U.S. troops arrived in the theater, including Marines, the Sixth Army (Alamo Force), and later the Eighth Army.

MacArthur's advancement of land forces westward along the 1,500 mile (2,400 km) northern coast of New Guinea was sequenced specifically for terrain selected on the basis of its ability to be made into landing strips for tactical support aircraft. By advancing in leaps always within the range of his fighter-bombers (typically P-38 Lightnings), he could maintain air superiority over his land operations. This provided critical close air support and also denied the enemy sea and airborne resupply, effectively cutting the Japanese forces off as they were under attack. MacArthur's strategy of maneuver, offensive air-strikes, and force avoidance would eventually pay off: unlike the ground forces in the Central Pacific theater, infantry troops in operations under MacArthur's command consistently suffered fewer casualties.

"I have returned" — General MacArthur returns to the Philippines.

Allied forces under MacArthur's command, covered by aircraft from Halsey's carrier, landed at Leyte Islandmarker on October 20, 1944 — fulfilling MacArthur's vow to return to the Philippines. The carriers were busy for months providing air support until the rainy season ended (something which critics claim MacArthur doubtless should have foreseen, after living on the islands for a decade). Only then could MacArthur's engineers build airstrips on shore. He consolidated his hold on the archipelago after heavy fighting in the Battle of Luzon and Battle of Manila. Despite a massive Japanese naval counterattack in the Battle of Leyte Gulfmarker, Japanese forces were unable to stop the invasion or do more than slow the reconquest of the islands. MacArthur made full use of amphibious and combined operations, while utilizing paratroop, motorized infantry, and even indigenous guerrilla forces for special operations and to multiply his force advantage. With the reconquest of the islands, MacArthur moved his headquarters to Manila, where he announced his plan for the invasion of Japan (Operation Downfall), to commence November 1, 1945. The invasion was pre-empted by Japan's capitulation.

On September 2, MacArthur accepted the formal Japanese surrender aboard Missourimarker, thus ending World War II.

Post–World War II Japan

MacArthur was ordered on August 29 to exercise authority through the Japanese government machinery, including Emperor Hirohito. Some believe MacArthur may have made his greatest contribution to history in the next five and a half years, as Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in Japan (SCAP). Sometimes referred to as the Gaijin Shogun, he held unprecedented power for several years, and enjoyed (or created for himself) considerable autonomy from US presidential influence.

MacArthur and his GHQ staff helped a devastated Japan rebuild itself, institute a democratic government, and chart a course that made Japan one of the world's leading industrial powers. The U.S. was firmly in control of Japan to oversee its reconstruction, and MacArthur was effectively the interim leader of Japan from 1945 until 1948. In 1946, MacArthur's staff drafted a new constitution that renounced war and reduced the emperor to a figurehead; this constitution remains in use in Japan to this day. He also pushed the Japanese Diet into adopting a decentralization plan to break apart the large Japanese companies (zaibatsu) and foster the first Japanese labor unions.

In an address to Congress on April 19, 1951, MacArthur said:

These reconstruction plans alarmed many in the U.S. Defense and State Departments, believing they conflicted with the prospect of Japan (and its industrial capacity) as a bulwark against the spread of communism in Asia. Some of MacArthur's reforms, such as his labor laws, were rescinded in 1948 when his unilateral control of Japan was ended by the increased involvement of the State Department. MacArthur handed over power to the newly-formed Japanese government in 1949 and remained in Japan until relieved by President Truman on April 11, 1951. Truman replaced SCAP leader MacArthur with General Matthew Ridgway of the U.S. Army. By 1952, Japan was a sovereign nation under the democratic constitution MacArthur had pushed for, which had been in effect since 1947.

Involvement in war crime trials

However, some historians criticize his work to exonerate Emperor Hirohito and all members of the imperial family implicated in the war (including Princes Chichibu, Asaka, Takeda, Higashikuni and Fushimi) from criminal prosecutions. As soon as November 26, 1945, MacArthur confirmed to admiral Mitsumasa Yonai that the emperor's abdication would not be necessary. MacArthur exonerated Hirohito and ignored the advice of many members of the imperial family and Japanese intellectuals who publicly asked for the abdication of the Emperor and the implementation of a regency. For example, Prince Mikasa (Takahito), Hirohito's youngest brother, even stood up in a meeting of the Privy Council, in February 1946, and urged his brother to take responsibility for defeat while the well-known poet Tatsuji Miyoshi wrote an essay in the magazine ShinchĂ´ titled "The Emperor should abdicate quickly."

According to Bix, "months before the Tokyo tribunal commenced, MacArthur's highest subordinates were working to attribute ultimate responsibility for Pearl Harbor to Hideki Tojo" Citing the debates between Truman, Eisenhower and MacArthur, Bix argues that "immediately on landing in Japan, Bonner Fellers went to work to protect Hirohito from the role he had played during and at the end of the war" and "allowed the major war criminal suspects to coordinate their stories so that the Emperor would be spared from indictment."

According to John Dower, "This successful campaign to absolve the Emperor of war responsibility knew no bounds. Hirohito was not merely presented as being innocent of any formal acts that might make him culpable to indictment as a war criminal. He was turned into an almost saintly figure who did not even bear moral responsibility for the war." "With the full support of MacArthur's headquarters, the prosecution functioned, in effect, as a defense team for the emperor."

As Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, MacArthur also gave immunity to Shiro Ishii and all members of the bacteriological research units in exchange for germ warfare data based on human experimentation. On May 6, 1947, he wrote to Washington that "additional data, possibly some statements from Ishii probably can be obtained by informing Japanese involved that information will be retained in intelligence channels and will not be employed as "War Crimes" evidence." The deal was concluded in 1948.

In late 1945, Allied military commissions in various cities of the Orient tried 4,000 Japanese officers for war crimes. About 3,000 were given prison terms and 920 executed; the charges included the Rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March, and the sack of Manila. The trial in Manila of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, Japanese commander in the Philippines from 1944, was under MacArthur's direction and has been particularly criticized. General Yamashita was hanged for the massacre of Manila which he had not ordered and of which he was probably unaware. The massacre of Manila was ordered by Vice Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi who was nominally subordinate to General Yamashita. Iwabuchi had killed himself as the battle for Manila was ending.

Korean War

In 1945, as part of the surrender of Japan, the United States agreed with the Soviet Unionmarker to divide the Korean peninsula into two occupation zones at the 38th parallel north. This resulted in the creation of two states: the western-aligned Republic of Korea (ROK) (usually referred to as South Koreamarker), and the Soviet-aligned and Communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) (usually referred to as North Koreamarker). After the surprise attack by the DPRK on June 25, 1950 started the Korean War, the United Nations Security Council authorized a United Nations (UN) force to help South Korea. MacArthur, as US theater commander, became commander of the UN forces. In September, despite lingering concerns from superiors, MacArthur's army and marine troops made a daring and successful combined amphibious landing at Incheonmarker, deep behind North Korean lines. Launched with naval and close air support, the daring landing outflanked the North Koreans, forcing them to retreat northward in disarray. UN forces pursued the DPRK forces, eventually approaching the Yalu River border with Chinamarker. MacArthur boasted: "The war is over. The Chinese are not coming... The Third Division will be back in Fort Benning for Christmas dinner."

With the DPRK forces largely destroyed, troops of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) quietly crossed the Yalu River. Chinese foreign minister Zhou Enlai issued warnings via Indiamarker's foreign minister, Krishna Menon, that an advance to the Yalu would force China into the war. When questioned about this threat by President Truman and Secretary of State Dean Acheson, MacArthur dismissed it completely. MacArthur's staff ignored battlefield evidence that PLA troops had entered North Korea in strength. The Chinese moved through the snowy hills, struck hard, and routed the UN forces, forcing them on a long retreat. Calling the Chinese attack the beginning of "an entirely new war," MacArthur repeatedly requested authorization to strike Chinese bases in Manchuria, inside China. Truman was concerned that such actions would draw the Soviet Union into the conflict and risk nuclear war.


President Harry S.
Truman's draft order terminating MacArthur as Supreme Commander, Allied Powers, Commander in Chief, Far East; and Commanding General, U.S.
Army, Far East.
In April 1951, MacArthur's habitual disregard of his superiors led to a crisis. He sent a letter to Representative Joe Martin (R-Massachusetts), the House Minority Leader, disagreeing with President Truman's policy of limiting the Korean war to avoid a larger war with China. He also sent an ultimatum to the Chinese Army which destroyed President Truman's cease-fire efforts.

This, and similar letters and statements, were seen by Truman as a violation of the American constitutional principle that military commanders are subordinate to civilian leadership, and as an attempt to usurp the President's authority to make foreign policy. MacArthur had ignored this principle out of necessity while Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP) in Japan. MacArthur at this time had not been back to the United States for eleven years.

By this time President Truman decided MacArthur was insubordinate, and relieved him of command on April 11, 1951, leading to a storm of controversy. MacArthur was succeeded by General Matthew Ridgway, and eventually by General Mark Wayne Clark, who signed the armistice which declared a ceasefire to the Korean War.

General Ridgway reported directly to MacArthur before replacing him. Ridgway commented on MacArthur's strengths:

But Ridgway also understood his weaknesses:

Return to America

MacArthur returned to Washington, D.C. (his first time in the continental U.S. in 11 years), where he made his last public appearance in a farewell address to the U.S. Congress, interrupted by thirty ovations. In his closing speech, he recalled: "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away... And like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away — an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty. Good-bye."

In 1945, MacArthur gave his Gold Castles engineers' insignia to his chief engineer, Jack Sverdrup. This insignia continues to be worn by the Army's Chief of Engineers as a tradition.

On his return from Korea, after his relief by Truman, MacArthur encountered massive public adulation, which aroused expectations that he would run for the presidency as a Republican in the 1952 election. However, a U.S. Senate Committee investigation of his removal (which largely vindicated the actions taken by President Truman), chaired by Democrat Richard Russell, contributed to a marked cooling of the public mood, and hopes for a MacArthur presidential run died away. MacArthur, in Reminiscences, repeatedly stated he had no political aspirations.

1952 to death

In the 1952 Republican presidential nomination contest, MacArthur was not a candidate and instead endorsed Senator Robert Taft of Ohio; rumors were rife Taft offered the vice presidential nomination to MacArthur. Taft did persuade MacArthur to be the keynote speaker at the 1952 Republican National Convention. The speech was not well received. Taft lost the nomination to Eisenhower; MacArthur was silent during the campaign, which Eisenhower won by a landslide. Once elected, Eisenhower consulted with MacArthur and adopted his suggestion of threatening the use of nuclear weapons to end the war.

In 1956, Congressman Joseph William Martin, Jr. introduced a proposal to elevate MacArthur to six star rank. This caused problems for President Eisenhower, and the issue died in the Senate. MacArthur became head of Remington Rand Corporation and spent the remainder of his life in New Yorkmarker.
MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk
MacArthur's grave at the MacArthur Memorial
MacArthur and his second wife, Jean Marie Faircloth MacArthur, spent the last years of their life together in the penthouse of the Waldorf Towers (a part of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotelmarker), a gift from Conrad Hilton, the owner of the hotel.

The Waldorf became the setting for an annual birthday party on January 26, thrown by the general's former deputy chief engineer, Major General Leif J. Sverdrup. At the 1960 celebration for MacArthur's 80th, many of his friends were startled by the general's obviously deteriorating health; the next day he collapsed and was rushed into surgery at St. Luke's Hospital to control a severely swollen prostate.

After his recovery, MacArthur methodically began to carry out the closing act of his life. He visited the White Housemarker for a final reunion with Eisenhower. In 1961, he made a "sentimental journey" to the Philippines, where he was decorated by President Carlos P. Garcia with the Philippine Legion of Honor, rank of Chief Commander. MacArthur also accepted a $900,000 advance from Henry Luce for the rights to his memoirs, and began writing the volume that would eventually be published as Reminiscences.

President John F. Kennedy solicited MacArthur's counsel in 1961. The first of two meetings was shortly after the Bay of Pigs Invasion. MacArthur was extremely critical of the Pentagonmarker and its military advice to Kennedy. MacArthur also cautioned the young President to avoid a U.S. military build-up in Vietnammarker, pointing out domestic problems should be given a much greater priority. Shortly before his death, he gave similar advice to the new President, Lyndon Johnson.

In 1962, West Point honored the increasingly frail MacArthur with the Sylvanus Thayer Award, an award for outstanding service to the nation; the year before, the award had gone to Eisenhower. MacArthur's speech to the cadets in accepting the award had as its theme Duty, Honor, Country:
The shadows are lengthening for me.
The twilight is here.
My days of old have vanished, tone and tint.
They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were.
Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears, and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday.
I listen vainly, but with thirsty ears, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll.
In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield.
But in the evening of my memory, always I come back to West Point.
Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country.
Today marks my final roll call with you, but I want you to know that when I cross the river my last conscious thoughts will be of The Corps, and The Corps, and The Corps.
I bid you farewell."

MacArthur spent the last years of his life finishing his memoirs; he died on April 5, 1964, of biliary cirrhosis, before their publication in book form - they had begun to appear in serialized form in Life Magazine in the months just prior to his death. After he died, his wife Jean continued to live in the Waldorf Towers penthouse until her own death. The couple are entombed together in downtown Norfolk, Virginiamarker; their burial site is in the rotunda of a museum (formerly the Norfolk City Hall) dedicated to his memory, and there is a shopping mall (MacArthur Centermarker) named for him across the street from the memorial. General MacArthur chose to be buried in Norfolk because of his mother's ancestral ties to the city.

MacArthur wanted his family to remember him for more than being a soldier. He said, "By profession I am a soldier and take pride in that fact. But I am prouder—infinitely prouder—to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build; the father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentiality of death; the other embodies creation and life. And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, 'Our Father who art in heaven."

MacArthur's nephew, Douglas MacArthur II (a son of his brother Arthur) served as a diplomat for several years, including the post of Ambassador to Japan and several other countries.


MacArthur is viewed as a controversial figure. His self-serving resolve, counter to the wishes of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in World War II, to invade rather than bypass and cut off the Philippines, has been criticized as leading to the unnecessary deaths of thousands of Americans and Filipinos as well as the avoidable destruction of historic Manila. His choice of Leyte as the initial invasion island has been analyzed as grossly flawed; it was clearly unsuitable as a base for further operations. His personal control of battlefield movements on Luzon showed Yamashita the more nimble opponent. MacArthur's orders for the liberation of the entire Philippine Archipelago before Luzon had been secured severely split his forces. After retaking Manila, MacArthur's decision to have his wife help him set up residence in the city was widely criticized. In occupied Japan, his protection of some major leaders of the Hirohito regime has been questioned. MacArthur's command decisions during the Korean War remain highly controversial.

MacArthur's reputation for self-promotion has earned him many detractors. His official bulletins, according to veteran war correspondent Davis Walker, were seen as "dreadfully distorted", "a total farce", and characterized as "Alice-in-Wonderland information handed out at high level." Such communiqués issued from MacArthur's headquarters were often aimed at Americans back home to the detriment of the morale of those of his own troops who witnessed the disjunction between lofty prose and hard reality. Oscar Griswold, Commanding General of XIV Corps tasked with the capture of Manila, wrote of MacArthur that he was "publicity-crazy".

A British liaison officer at MacArthur's headquarters, Lt Col Gerald Wilkinson, described him in 1943:

He is shrewd, selfish, proud, remote, highly strung and vastly vain. He has imagination, self-confidence, physical courage and charm, but no humour about himself, no regard for truth, and is unaware of these defects. He mistakes his emotions and ambitions for principles. With moral depth, he would be a great man; as it is he is a near miss which may be worse than a mile.... His main ambition would be to end the war as Pan-American hero in the form of generalissimo of all Pacific theatres.... He hates Roosevelt and dislikes Winston's control of Roosevelt's strategy. He is not basically anti-British, just pro-MacArthur.

Counter to the US grand strategy of Germany first, MacArthur's public pressure campaign to improve Washington's logistical support for the Pacific War was somewhat successful and, combined with the influence of his sometime rival Admiral Ernest King, was largely responsible for the increased diversion of resources to the Pacific by 1943.




MacArthur is credited with many quotable phrases including:
  • "In war, there is no substitute for victory."
  • "The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war."

Places named after MacArthur

MacArthur was enormously popular with the American public, even after his defeat in the Philippines, and across the United States streets, public works, children and even a dance step were named after him.

Awards named after MacArthur

Several actors have portrayed MacArthur on screen. Dayton Lummis played him in the 1955 picture The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell. Gregory Peck followed suit in a 1977 film MacArthur.

See also


  1. MacArthur had no middle name, though some Internet sources variously ascribe him a middle initial of "A", "B", "C", "D", "M", or "S". An archivist at the MacArthur Memorial asserts that MacArthur did wear a monogrammed handkerchief with a middle initial of "A", possibly chosen to indicate his father.
  2. Douglas MacArthur - A highly decorated US soldier of WW2
  3. Home of Heroes. Medal of Honor. Douglas MacArthur Medal of Honor Citation
  4. West Point
  5. Clayton, James D., :The Years of MacArthur: Volume 1 1880 - 1970, P.271
  6. Manchester, p. 178
  7. Washington Post article review of book George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace By Mark Perry retrieved on March 22, 2008
  8. Halberstam, David. The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, ISBN 1401300529. p.372.
  9. Manchester, American Caesar. Postwar, he would deny having orders to attack.
  10. Bartsch, December 9, 1941, p. 423
  11. Manchester, American Caesar; Blair, Silent Victory.
  12. Bartsch, December 8, 1941, pp.121–125.
  13. — Geoffrey Perret's biography, Old Soldiers Never Die, lays out the case for negligence on the part of mid-level officers.
  14. Gaily, Harry A. The War in the Pacific: From Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay 1995, Presido Press, Novato CA
  15. Medal of Honor Recipient - World War II
  16. It was nevertheless better trained and rated than the 32d.
  17. Battleship Missouri Memorial: "Missouri’s Captain Remembers the Surrender," oral history transcript excerpt.
  18. Gaijin Shogun: General Douglas MacArthur, Stepfather of Postwar Japan. Sektor Company: 2000. ISBN 0-9678175-2-8.
  19. ,
  20. Hal Gold, Unit 731 Testimony, 2003, p. 109
  21. " An Ethical Blank Cheque: British and US mythology about the second world war ignores our own crimes and legitimises Anglo-American war making- the Guardian, May 10, 2005, by Richard Drayton
  22. According to one point of view, MacArthur suffered from paranoia, self-destructive impulses, and political aspirations, and he had visions of running against Truman in the 1952 elections. Surrounding himself with sycophants and publicity spinners, MacArthur effectively cut himself off from Washington and ignored suggestions and even orders from superiors, as he felt that none were superior to him. Weintraub asks: "Having long considered himself a reigning sovereign rather than a mere field commander - wasn't he also viceroy of Japan? - he gave little heed to restrictions formulated a hemisphere away."
  23. Text and audio
  24. Franzwa & Ely, Leif Sverdrup, pp. 361-362
  25. Perret, pp. 581-583
  26. Perret, p. 583
  27. Perret, p. 581
  28. MacArthur's Sylvanus Thayer Award acceptance speech at West Point, 1962
  29. Perret, p. 585
  30. The MacArthur Memorial, Norfolk, VA
  31. Department of the Army, Headquarters: General Orders, No. 13. April 6, 1964.
  32. Costello, John The Pacific War Atlantic Communications. 1981 p. 225 ISBN 0-89256-206-4
  33. Royal Military College of Canada
  34. photo here Websites accessed 28 December 2008.


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