MacArthur, Douglas Arthur
[General of the Army]

biography biography and biography


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United Nations Comm

biography biography and biography

SCAP - Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers


US Army Forces Far East


 General of the Army Douglas A. MacArthur


MacArthur took a grand total of 13 photo-op trips to Korea, staying from 90 minutes to three or four hours at a time. He never spent a day or night in Korea. Instead, he ran the war from his headquarters in Tokyo, which he loved because it overlooked the Emperor's Palace.

He thought America lost China because of politicians' incompetence. The truth is, Chiang Kai-shek's corruption and incompetence lost China.

Trip Number Date Arrive meeting other activity Leave
1 6/28/1950 1115 everyone Lunch 2000
2 1950/07/27 1000 90 min Walker Lunch 1230
3 1950/11/24 8 Hr Walker

MacArthur fly's to korea


June 29

Returning from this, the first of what would be seven-teen flights to Korean battlefields, [he landed 13 times???]  he remained seated on the Bataan, puffing his corncob, spectacles perched on his nose, scrawling his appraisal of South Korean chances on a yellow scratch pad with a soft pencil.


On 24 November, the Central Intelligence Agency reported to Truman that while there could be as many as 200,000 Chinese troops in Korea, "there is no evidence that the Chinese Communists plan major offensive operations."

That day, MacArthur flew to Walker's headquarters and he later wrote:

For five hours I toured the front lines. In talking to a group of officers I told them of General Bradley's desire and hope to have two divisions home by Christmas ... What I had seen at the front line worried me greatly. The R.O.K. troops were not yet in good shape, and the entire line was deplorably weak in numbers. If the Chinese were actually in heavy force, I decided I would withdraw our troops and abandon any attempt to move north. I decided to reconnoiter and try to see with my own eyes, and interpret with my own long experience what was going on ...






Douglas MacArthur

Date of Birth

26 January 1880, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

Date of Death

5 April 1964, Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Birth Name

Douglas Arthur MacArthur


American Caesar
Beau Brummel of the Army
D'Artagnan of the A.E.F.
Disraeli of the Chiefs of Staff
Dougout Doug
Napoleon of Luzon


6' (1.83 m)


Jean MacArthur (30 April 1937 - 5 April 1964) (his death)
Louise Cromwell Brooks (14 February 1922 - 1929) (divorced)


Army officer who retired with the rank General of the Army (5 stars).

Pictured on a 6¢ US commemorative postage stamp issued in his honor, 26 January 1971 (91st anniversary of birth).

Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during WW2 as a General.

Graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and later returned to head the school before returning to his military career.

Accepted the surrender of the Japanese aboard the USS Missouri on 2 September 1945. MacArthur directed the occupation of Japan from 1945-1950, instituting such reforms as female suffrage, freedom of the press, workers' unionization rights, and ownership of land for peasants.

Arthur MacArthur and Douglas MacArthur are the first father and son to be awarded the Medal of Honor. In 2001 Theodore Roosevelt was posthumously awarded the Medal; his son was awarded the Medal for his efforts on D-Day.

Relieved as Supreme Allied Commander by Harry S. Truman after blasting White House policy. Fearing a nuclear exchange with the USSR, Truman warned MacArthur against an incursion into the Soviet-backed China, even after the Chinese began pouring along the North Korean side of the 38th parallel. Declassified documents indicate that MacArthur planned to drop as many as 50 nuclear bombs on China. When he returned home, he was met with massive adulation, epitomized by his famous "Old soldiers never die" address to Congress, which was interrupted by 30 ovations. (11 April 1951)

A classic Mama's Boy, MacArthur so feared of her learning he had a mistress while she lived with him in the Philippines, he paid Drew Pearson $15,000 to return letters the couple wrote each other.

Awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1962.

A movie buff, MacArthur was known to attend the movies with his wife Jean most evenings during his pre-war tenure as military commander of the Philippines.

Only American officer to hold the rank of Field Marshal - as commander of the Philippine armed forces.

Father of Arthur MacArthur.

Famous for smoking a corncob pipe and being very outspoken in the same manner as George S. Patton.

Grand Cross Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau, the official military and civil order of the Netherlands. It is the highest honor a foreigner can receive.

Former stepfather of Tanya Brooks.

Personal Quotes

I am closing my fifty-two years of military service. When I joined the army, even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all my boyish hopes and dreams. The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished, but I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barracks ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that 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.

The powers in charge keep us in a perpetual state of fear keep us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant sums demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.

Duty, honor, country... they teach us to be proud and unbending in failure but humble and gentle in success.

Where Are They Now

Buried in the MacArthur memorial, Norfolk, Virginia, USA.


Collins, MacArthur and Sherman


He was a great thundering paradox of a man, noble and ignoble, inspiring and outrageous, arrogant and shy, the best of men and the worst of men, the most protean, most ridiculous, and most sublime. No more baffling, exasperating soldier ever wore a uniform. Flamboyant, imperious, and apocalyptic, he carried the plumage of a flamingo, could not acknowledge errors, and tried to cover up his mistakes with sly, childish tricks. Yet he was also endowed with great personal charm, a will of iron, and a soaring intellect.[2-2]

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Since his graduation from West Point in 1903 MacArthur's career had been spectacular. As a heroic frontline brigadier general in World War I he had won two Distinguished Service Crosses and an unprecedented seven


Silver Star medals. In the late 1920s and early 1930s he had been chief of staff of the Army, serving both Presidents Herbert Hoover and Roosevelt. Upon his "retirement" he had accepted a prestigious, high paying job as military adviser to Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon. When the Japanese were on the threshold of launching the Pacific War, Roosevelt had recalled MacArthur to active duty as commander of the American forces in the Philippines. Early in World War II MacArthur had won the Medal of Honor for his heroic but futile defense of Bataan and Corregidor, a promotion to four stars, and command of the Southwest Pacific Theater. By the end of the war he had been promoted to five stars and named to command the proposed massive amphibious invasion of Japan. In the postwar years he wore two hats: supreme commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) in Japan and commander in chief of all American naval, air, and ground forces in the Far East (CINCFE).

Along the way MacArthur had generated so many legends and so much controversy that it would remain difficult to separate fact from fiction and objectively assess his ability as a military commander. Reflecting one school, Manchester wrote that "unquestionably he was the most gifted man-at-arms this nation has produced." But more recent and meticulous scholarship by MacArthur biographer D. Clayton James and military historian Ronald H. Spector has thrown this widely held view into serious doubt. Spector, in his brilliant history of the Pacific War, judged that "despite his undoubted qualities of leadership, MacArthur "was unsuited by temperament, character, and judgment for the positions of high command which he occupied throughout the war."[2-3]

As America's proconsul in Japan MacArthur had assumed the air and power of a head of state. His dealings with Washington were carried out with kingly disdain and loftiness. Shortly after the war was over, he had insulted and antagonized President Truman in several ways, notably by refusing Truman's "invitation" (tantamount to an order) to return to Washington for honors and consultations. Worse, he had overtly encouraged his own nomination as a Republican candidate for the presidency in 1948, aligning himself with Truman's political rivals and critics. He did not trust the Department of State or Dean Acheson. For a long time he had all but barred State from Japan.

Truman and Acheson, in turn, distrusted MacArthur. For Truman, MacArthur was the archetype of all he held in contempt in the Regular Army establishment. In his diary Truman excoriated him as "Mr. Prima Donna, Brass Hat, Five-Star MacArthur," a "play actor" and "bunco man." Truman scribbled on: "He's worse than the Cabots and Lodges - they at least talked with one another before they told God what to do. Mac tells God right off. It is a very great pity to have stuffed shirts like that in key positions." In his autobiography Omar Bradley wrote that Truman continued to voice similar sentiments about MacArthur all through the postwar years, but he shrank from a politically hazardous public confrontation with or condemnation of MacArthur - at least for the time being.[2-4]

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MacArthur lived a remarkably insulated and circumscribed life, shuttling back and forth on a clockwork schedule between his Spartan office in the Dai Ichi ("Number One") Building and his comfortable well staffed home in the American Embassy. He had no close personal friends. His professional confidants, with one exception, were those men who had served him before or during World War II, known collectively as the "Bataan Gang." He seldom left Tokyo for any purpose. He took little or no interest in the momentous political upheavals and wars in China and Southeast Asia. He had given no indication that he would ever "retire."



Douglas MacArthur

Douglas MacArthur

MacArthur in Manila, ca. 1945


Gaijin Shogun (English: The Foreign Generalissimo)
Dugout Doug
Big Chief

Born (1880-01-26)26 January 1880
Little Rock, Arkansas

Died 5 April 1964(1964-04-05) (aged 84)
Washington, D.C.
Place of burial Norfolk, Virginia

Allegiance United States of America

Service/branch United States Army
Philippine Army

Years of service 1903–1964

Rank General of the Army (United States Army)
Field Marshal (Philippine Army)

Service number O-57

Commands held United Nations Command (Korea)
Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers
Southwest Pacific Area
U.S. Army Forces Far East
Philippine Department
Chief of Staff
Philippine Division
U.S. Military Academy Superintendent
42nd Division
84th Infantry Brigade

Mexican Revolution
United States occupation of Veracruz

World War I
Champagne-Marne Offensive
Battle of Saint-Mihiel
Meuse-Argonne Offensive

World War II
Philippines Campaign (1941–42)
New Guinea Campaign
Philippines Campaign (1944–45)
Borneo Campaign (1945)
Occupation of Japan

Korean War
Battle of Incheon
UN Offensive, 1950
Chinese Winter Offensive
UN Offensive, 1951


Arthur MacArthur, Sr. (grandfather)
Arthur MacArthur, Jr. (father)
Arthur MacArthur III (brother)
Douglas MacArthur II (nephew)
Louise Cromwell Brooks (first wife)
Jean MacArthur (second wife)

Other work Chairman of the Board of Remington Rand

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (26 January 1880 – 5 April 1964) was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army who was Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Philippines Campaign, which made him and his father Arthur MacArthur, Jr., the first father and son to be awarded the medal. He was one of only five men ever to rise to the rank of General of the Army in the U.S. Army, and the only man ever to become a field marshal in the Philippine Army.

Raised in a military family in the American Old West, MacArthur was valedictorian at the West Texas Military Academy, and First Captain at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated top of the class of 1903. During the 1914 United States occupation of Veracruz, he conducted a reconnaissance mission, for which he was nominated for the Medal of Honor. In 1917, he was promoted from major to colonel and became chief of staff of the 42nd (Rainbow) Division. In the fighting on the Western Front during World War I, he rose to the rank of brigadier general, was again nominated for a Medal of Honor, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross twice and the Silver Star seven times.

From 1919 to 1922, MacArthur served as Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he attempted a series of reforms. His next assignment was in the Philippines, where in 1924 he was instrumental in quelling the Philippine Scout Mutiny. In 1925, he became the Army's youngest major general. He served on the court martial of Brigadier General Billy Mitchell and was president of the American Olympic Committee during the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. In 1930, he became Chief of Staff of the United States Army. As such, he was involved in the expulsion of the Bonus Army protesters from Washington, D.C. in 1932, and the establishment and organization of the Civilian Conservation Corps. He retired from the U.S. Army in 1937 to become Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines.

MacArthur was recalled to active duty in 1941 as commander of U.S. Army Forces Far East. A series of disasters followed, starting with the destruction of his air force on 8 December 1941, and the invasion of the Philippines by the Japanese. MacArthur's forces were soon compelled to withdraw to Bataan, where they held out until May 1942. In March 1942, MacArthur, his family and his staff left nearby Corregidor Island in PT boats and escaped to Australia, where MacArthur became Supreme Commander, Southwest Pacific Area. For his defense of the Philippines, MacArthur was awarded the Medal of Honor. After more than two years of fighting in the Pacific, he fulfilled a promise to return to the Philippines. He officially accepted Japan's surrender on 2 September 1945, and oversaw the occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1951. As the effective ruler of Japan, he oversaw sweeping economic, political and social changes. He led the United Nations Command in the Korean War until he was removed from command by President Harry S. Truman on 11 April 1951. He later became Chairman of the Board of Remington Rand.

Early life and education

Douglas MacArthur was born 26 January 1880, at the Arsenal Barracks in Little Rock, Arkansas, to Arthur MacArthur, Jr., a U.S. Army captain, and his wife, Mary Pinkney Hardy MacArthur (nicknamed "Pinky").[1] The son of jurist and politician Arthur MacArthur, Sr.,[2] Arthur would later receive the Medal of Honor for his actions with the Union Army in the Battle of Missionary Ridge during the American Civil War,[3] and be promoted to the rank of lieutenant general.[4] Pinky came from a prominent Norfolk, Virginia, family.[1] Two of her brothers had fought for the South in the Civil War, and refused to attend her wedding.[5] Arthur and Pinky had three sons, of whom Douglas was the youngest, following Arthur III, born on 1 August 1876, and Malcolm, born on 17 October 1878.[6] The family lived on a succession of Army posts in the American Old West. Conditions were primitive, and Malcolm died of measles in 1883.[7] In his memoir, Reminiscences, MacArthur wrote "I learned to ride and shoot even before I could read or write—indeed, almost before I could walk and talk."[8]

Douglas MacArthur as a student at West Texas Military Academy in the late 1890s

This time on the frontier ended in July 1889 when the family moved to Washington, D.C.,[9] where Douglas attended the Force Public School. His father was posted to San Antonio, Texas, in September 1893. While there MacArthur attended the West Texas Military Academy,[10] where he was awarded the gold medal for "scholarship and deportment". He also participated on the school tennis team, and played quarterback on the school football team and shortstop on its baseball team. He was named valedictorian, with a final year average of 97.33 out of 100.[11] MacArthur's father and grandfather unsuccessfully sought to secure Douglas a presidential appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, first from President Grover Cleveland and then from President William McKinley.[12] After these two rejections,[13] he passed an examination for an appointment from Congressman Theobald Otjen,[10] scoring 93.3 on the test.[12] He later wrote: "It was a lesson I never forgot. Preparedness is the key to success and victory."[10]

biography   biography

MacArthur entered West Point on 13 June 1899,[14] and his mother also moved there to a suite at Craney's Hotel, overlooking the grounds of the Academy.[15] Hazing was widespread at West Point at this time, and MacArthur and his classmate Ulysses S. Grant III were singled out for special attention by southern cadets as sons of generals with mothers living at Craney's. When Cadet Oscar Booz left West Point after being hazed and subsequently died of tuberculosis, there was a congressional inquiry. MacArthur was called to appear before a special Congressional committee in 1901, where he testified against cadets implicated in hazing, but downplayed his own hazing even though the other cadets gave the full story to the committee. Congress subsequently outlawed acts "of a harassing, tyrannical, abusive, shameful, insulting or humiliating nature", although hazing continued.[16]

MacArthur was a corporal in Company B in his second year, a first sergeant in Company A in his third year and First Captain in his final year.[17] He played left field for the baseball team, and academically earned 2424.12 merits out of a possible 2470.00 or 98.14, the third highest score ever recorded, graduating first in his 93-man class on 11 June 1903.[18] At the time it was customary for the top-ranking cadets to be commissioned into the United States Army Corps of Engineers, so MacArthur was commissioned as a second lieutenant in that corps.[19]

Junior officer

MacArthur spent his graduation furlough with his parents at Fort Mason, California, where his father, now a major general, was serving as commander of the Department of the Pacific. Afterward, he joined the 3rd Engineer Battalion, which departed for the Philippines in October 1903. MacArthur was sent to Iloilo, where he supervised the construction of a wharf at Camp Jossman. He went on to conduct surveys at Tacloban City, Calbayog City and Cebu City. In November 1903, while working on Guimaras, he was ambushed by a pair of Filipino brigands or guerrillas; he shot and killed both with his pistol.[20] He was promoted to first lieutenant in Manila in April 1904.[21] In October 1904, his tour of duty was cut short when he contracted malaria and dhobi itch during a survey on Bataan. He returned to San Francisco, where he was assigned to the California Debris Commission. In July 1905, he became chief engineer of the Division of the Pacific.[22]

In October 1905, MacArthur received orders to proceed to Tokyo for appointment as aide-de-camp to his father. They inspected Japanese military bases at Nagasaki, Kobe and Kyoto, then headed to India via Shanghai, Hong Kong, Java and Singapore, reaching Calcutta in January 1906. In India, they visited Madras, Tuticorin, Quetta, Karachi, the Northwest Frontier and the Khyber Pass. They then sailed to China via Bangkok and Saigon, and toured Canton, Tsingtao, Peking, Tientsin, Hankow and Shanghai before returning to Japan in June. The next month they returned to the United States,[23] where Arthur MacArthur resumed his duties at Fort Mason, still with Douglas as his aide. In September, Douglas received orders to report to the 2nd Engineer Battalion at the Washington Barracks and enroll in the Engineer School. While there he also served as "an aide to assist at White House functions" at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt.[24]

In August 1907, MacArthur was sent to the engineer district office in Milwaukee, where his parents were now living. In April 1908, he was posted to Fort Leavenworth, where he was given his first command, Company K, 3rd Engineer Battalion.[24] He became battalion adjutant in 1909 and then engineer officer at Fort Leavenworth in 1910. MacArthur was promoted to captain in February 1911 and was appointed as head of the Military Engineering Department and the Field Engineer School. He participated in exercises at San Antonio, Texas, with the Maneuver Division in 1911 and served in Panama on detached duty in January and February 1912. The sudden death of their father on 5 September 1912 brought Douglas and his brother Arthur back to Milwaukee to care for their mother, whose health had deteriorated. MacArthur requested a transfer to Washington, D.C. so his mother could be near Johns Hopkins Hospital. Army Chief of Staff, Major General Leonard Wood, took up the matter with Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, who arranged for MacArthur to be posted to the Office of the Chief of Staff in 1912.[25]

Veracruz expedition

On 21 April 1914, President Woodrow Wilson ordered the occupation of Veracruz. MacArthur joined the headquarters staff that was sent to the area, arriving on 1 May 1914. He realized that the logistic support of an advance from Veracruz would require the use of the railroad. Finding plenty of railroad cars in Veracruz but no locomotives, MacArthur set out to verify a report that there were a number of locomotives in Alvarado, Veracruz. For $150 in gold, he acquired a handcar and the services of three Mexicans, whom he disarmed. MacArthur and his party located five engines in Alvarado, two of which were only switchers, but the other three locomotives were exactly what was required. On the way back to Veracruz, his party was set upon by five armed men. The party made a run for it and outdistanced all but two of the armed men, whom MacArthur shot. Soon after, they were attacked by a group of about fifteen horsemen. MacArthur took three bullet holes in his clothes but was unharmed. One of his companions was lightly wounded before the horsemen finally decided to retire after MacArthur shot four of them. Further on, the party was attacked a third time by three mounted men. MacArthur received another bullet hole in his shirt, but his men, using their handcart, managed to outrun all but one of their attackers. MacArthur shot both that man and his horse, and the party had to remove the horse's carcass from the track before proceeding.[26]

A fellow officer wrote to Wood recommending that MacArthur's name be put forward for the Medal of Honor. Wood did so, and Chief of Staff Hugh L. Scott convened a board to consider the award.[27] The board questioned "the advisability of this enterprise having been undertaken without the knowledge of the commanding general on the ground".[28] This was Brigadier General Frederick Funston, a Medal of Honor recipient himself, who considered awarding the medal to MacArthur "entirely appropriate and justifiable."[29] However the board feared that "to bestow the award recommended might encourage any other staff officer, under similar conditions, to ignore the local commander, possibly interfering with the latter's plans"; consequently, MacArthur received no award at all.[30]

World War I
Rainbow Division


Brigadier General MacArthur holding a crop at a French chateau, September 1918

MacArthur returned to the War Department, where he was promoted to major on 11 December 1915. In June 1916, he was assigned as head of the Bureau of Information at the office of the Secretary of War, Newton D. Baker. MacArthur has since been regarded as the Army's first press officer. Following the declaration of war on Germany on 6 April 1917, Baker and MacArthur secured an agreement from President Wilson for the use of the National Guard on the Western Front. MacArthur suggested sending first a division organized from units of different states, so as to avoid the appearance of favoritism toward any particular state. Baker approved the creation of this formation, which became the 42nd ("Rainbow") Division, and appointed Major General William A. Mann, the head of the National Guard Bureau, as its commander; MacArthur was its chief of staff, with the rank of colonel. At MacArthur's request, this commission was in the infantry rather than the engineers.[31]

The 42nd Division was assembled in August and September 1917 at Camp Mills, New York, where its training emphasized open-field combat rather than trench warfare. It sailed in a convoy from Hoboken, New Jersey, for France on 18 October 1917; MacArthur made the passage on the transport Covington. On 19 December, Mann was replaced as division commander by Major General Charles T. Menoher.[32]

Champagne-Marne Offensive

The 42nd Division entered the line in the quiet Lunéville sector in February 1918. On 26 February, MacArthur and Captain Thomas T. Handy accompanied a French trench raid in which MacArthur assisted in the capture of a number of German prisoners. The commander of the French VII Corps, Major General Georges de Bazelaire, decorated MacArthur with the Croix de guerre. Menoher recommended MacArthur for a Silver Star, which he later received.[33] The Silver Star Medal was not instituted until 8 August 1932, but small silver Citation Stars were authorized to be worn on the campaign ribbons of those cited in orders for gallantry, similar to the British mention in despatches.[34] When the Silver Star Medal was instituted, it was retrospectively awarded to those who had been awarded Silver Stars.[35] On 9 March, the 42nd Division launched three raids of its own on German trenches in the Salient du Feys. MacArthur accompanied a company of the 168th Infantry. This time, his leadership was rewarded with the Distinguished Service Cross. A few days later, MacArthur, who was strict about his men carrying their gas masks but often neglected to bring his own, was gassed. He recovered in time to show Secretary Baker around the area on 19 March.[36]

MacArthur was promoted to brigadier general on 26 June.[37] In late June the 42nd Division was shifted to Châlons-en-Champagne to oppose the impending German Champagne-Marne Offensive. Général d'Armée Henri Gouraud of the French Fourth Army elected to meet the attack with a defense in depth, holding the front line area as thinly as possible and meeting the German attack on his second line of defense. His plan succeeded, and MacArthur was awarded a second Silver Star.[38] The 42nd Division participated in the subsequent Allied counter-offensive, and MacArthur was awarded a third Silver Star on 29 July. Two days later, Menoher relieved Brigadier General Robert A. Brown of the 84th Infantry Brigade of his command, and replaced him with MacArthur. Hearing reports that the enemy had withdrawn, MacArthur went forward on 2 August to see for himself.[39] He later wrote:

It was 3:30 that morning when I started from our right at Sergy. Taking runners from each outpost liaison group to the next, moving by way of what had been No Man's Land, I will never forget that trip. The dead were so thick in spots we tumbled over them. There must have been at least 2,000 of those sprawled bodies. I identified the insignia of six of the best German divisions. The stench was suffocating. Not a tree was standing. The moans and cries of wounded men sounded everywhere. Sniper bullets sung like the buzzing of a hive of angry bees. An occasional shellburst always drew an angry oath from my guide. I counted almost a hundred disabled guns various size and several times that number of abandoned machine guns.[40]

MacArthur reported back to Menoher and Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett that the Germans had indeed withdrawn, and was awarded a fourth Silver Star.[41] He was also awarded a second Croix de guerre and made a commandeur of the Légion d'honneur.[42]

Battle of Saint-Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensive

The 42nd Division earned a few weeks rest,[43] returning to the line for the Battle of Saint-Mihiel on 12 September. The Allied advance proceeded rapidly and MacArthur was awarded a fifth Silver Star for his leadership of the 84th Infantry Brigade.[44] He received a sixth Silver Star for his participation in a raid on the night of 25–26 September. The 42nd Division was relieved on the night of 30 September moving to the Argonne sector where it relieved the 1st Division on the night of 11 October. On a reconnaissance the next day, MacArthur was gassed again, earning a second wound chevron.[45]


General Pershing (second from left) decorates Brigadier General MacArthur (third from left) with the Distinguished Service Cross. Major General Charles T. Menoher (left) reads out the citation while Colonel George E. Leach (fourth from left) and Lieutenant Colonel William Joseph Donovan await their decorations.

The 42nd Division's participation in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive began on 14 October when it attacked with both brigades. That evening, a conference was called to discuss the attack, during which Charles Pelot Summerall, commander of the First Infantry Division and V Corps, rang and demanded that Châtillon be taken by 18:00 the next evening. An aerial photograph had been obtained that showed a gap in the German barbed wire to the northeast of Châtillon. Lieutenant Colonel Walter E. Bare—the commander of the 167th Infantry—proposed an attack from that direction, where the defenses seemed least imposing, covered by a machine-gun barrage. MacArthur adopted this plan.[46] He was wounded, but not severely, while verifying the existence of the gap in the barbed wire.[47]

Summerall nominated MacArthur for the Medal of Honor and promotion to major general, but he received neither.[48] Instead he was awarded a second Distinguished Service Cross.[49] The 42nd Division returned to the line for the last time on the night of 4–5 November 1918.[50] In the final advance on Sedan. MacArthur later wrote that this operation "narrowly missed being one of the great tragedies of American history."[51] An order to disregard unit boundaries led to units crossing into each other's zones. In the resulting chaos, MacArthur was taken prisoner by men of the 1st Division, who mistook him for a German general.[52] His performance in the attack on the Meuse heights led to his being awarded a seventh Silver Star. On 10 November, a day before the armistice that ended the fighting, MacArthur was appointed commander of the 42nd Division. For his service as chief of staff and commander of the 84th Infantry Brigade, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.[53]

His period in command was brief, for on 22 November he, like other brigadier generals, was replaced, and returned to the 84th Infantry Brigade. The 42nd Division was chosen to participate in the occupation of the Rhineland, occupying the Ahrweiler district.[54] In April 1919, they entrained for Brest and St Nazaire, where they boarded ships to return to the United States. MacArthur traveled on the ocean liner SS Leviathan, which reached New York on 25 April 1919.[55]

Between the wars

Superintendent of the United States Military Academy

In 1919, MacArthur became Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, which Chief of Staff Peyton March felt had become out of date in many respects and was much in need of reform.[56] Accepting the post allowed MacArthur to retain his rank of brigadier general, instead of being reduced to his substantive rank of major like many of his contemporaries.[57] When MacArthur moved into the superintendent's house with his mother in June 1919,[58] he became the youngest superintendent since Sylvanus Thayer in 1817.[59] However, whereas Thayer had faced opposition from outside the Army, MacArthur had to overcome resistance from graduates and the academic board.[60]

MacArthur as West Point Superintendent

MacArthur's vision of what was required of an officer came not just from his recent experience of combat in France but also from that of the occupation of the Rhineland in Germany. The military government of the Rhineland had required the Army to deal with political, economic and social problems but he had found that many West Point graduates had little or no knowledge of fields outside of the military sciences.[58] During the war, West Point had been reduced to an officer candidate school, with five classes graduated in two years. Cadet and staff morale was low and hazing "at an all-time peak of viciousness".[61] MacArthur's first change turned out to be the easiest. Congress had set the length of the course at three years. MacArthur was able to get the four-year course restored.[62]

During the debate over the length of the course the New York Times brought up the issue of the cloistered and undemocratic nature of student life at West Point.[62] Also, starting with Harvard University in 1869, civilian universities had begun grading students on academic performance alone, but West Point had retained the old "whole man" concept of education. MacArthur sought to modernize the system, expanding the concept of military character to include bearing, leadership, efficiency and athletic performance. He formalized the hitherto unwritten Cadet Honor Code in 1922 when he formed the Cadet Honor Committee to review alleged code violations. Elected by the cadets themselves, it had no authority to punish, but acted as a kind of grand jury, reporting offenses to the commandant.[63] MacArthur attempted to end hazing by using officers rather than upperclassmen to train the plebes.[64]

Instead of the traditional summer camp at Fort Clinton, MacArthur had the cadets trained to use modern weapons by regular army sergeants at Fort Dix; they then marched back to West Point with full packs.[64] He attempted to modernize the curriculum by adding liberal arts, government and economics courses, but encountered strong resistance from the Academic Board. In Military Art classes, the study of the campaigns of the American Civil War was replaced with the study of those of World War I. In History class, more emphasis was placed on the Far East. MacArthur expanded the sports program, increasing the number of intramural sports and requiring all cadets to participate.[65] He allowed upper class cadets to leave the reservation, and sanctioned a cadet newspaper, The Brag, forerunner of today's West Pointer. He also permitted cadets to travel to watch their football team play, and gave them an allowance of $5.00 a month. Professors and alumni alike protested these radical moves.[64] Most of MacArthur's West Point reforms were soon discarded but, in the ensuing years, his ideas became accepted and his innovations were gradually restored.[66]

Army's youngest major general

MacArthur became romantically involved with socialite and multi-millionaire heiress Louise Cromwell Brooks. They were married at her family's villa in Palm Beach, Florida on 14 February 1922. Rumors circulated that General Pershing, who had also courted Louise, had threatened to exile them to the Philippines if they were married. This was denied by Pershing as "all damn poppycock."[67] In October 1922, MacArthur left West Point and sailed to the Philippines with Louise and her two children, Walter and young Louise, to assume command of the Military District of Manila.[68] MacArthur was fond of the children, and spent much of his free time with them.[69]

The islands were peaceful now, and in the wake of the Washington Naval Treaty, the garrison was being reduced.[70] MacArthur's friendships with Filipinos like Manuel Quezon offended some people. "The old idea of colonial exploitation", he later conceded, "still had its vigorous supporters."[71] In February and March 1923 MacArthur returned to Washington to see his mother, who was ill from a heart ailment. She recovered, but it was the last time he saw his brother Arthur, who died suddenly from appendicitis in December 1923. In June 1923, MacArthur assumed command of the 23rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Division. On 7 July 1924, he was informed that a mutiny had broken out amongst the Philippine Scouts over grievances concerning pay and allowances. Over 200 were arrested and there were fears of an insurrection. MacArthur was able to calm the situation, but his subsequent efforts to improve the salaries of Filipino troops were frustrated by financial stringency and racial prejudice. On 17 January 1925, at the age of 44, he was promoted, becoming the Army's youngest major general.[72]

Returning to the U.S., MacArthur took command of the IV Corps Area, based at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia, on 2 May 1925.[73] However, he encountered southern prejudice because he was the son of a Union Army officer, and requested to be relieved.[74] A few months later, he assumed command of the III Corps area, based at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, which allowed MacArthur and Louise to move to her Rainbow Hill estate near Garrison, Maryland.[73] However, this relocation also led to what he later described as "one of the most distasteful orders I ever received":[75] a direction to serve on the court martial of Brigadier General Billy Mitchell. MacArthur was the youngest of the thirteen judges, none of whom had aviation experience. Three of them, including Summerall, the president of the court, were removed when defense challenges revealed bias against Mitchell. Despite MacArthur's claim that he had voted to acquit, Mitchell was found guilty as charged and convicted.[73] MacArthur felt "that a senior officer should not be silenced for being at variance with his superiors in rank and with accepted doctrine."[75]

In 1927, MacArthur and Louise separated, and she moved to New York City.[76] In August that year, William C. Prout—the president of the American Olympic Committee—died suddenly and the committee elected MacArthur as their new president. His main task was to prepare the U.S. team for the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam.[77] MacArthur saw the team as representatives of the United States, and its task was to win medals. "We have not come 3,000 miles," he told them, "just to lose gracefully."[78] The Americans had a successful meet, earning 24 gold medals, and setting 17 Olympic records and seven world records.[79] Upon returning to the U.S., MacArthur received orders to assume command of the Philippine Department.[77] In 1929, while he was in Manila, Louise obtained a divorce, ostensibly on the grounds of "failure to provide".[80] In view of Louise's great wealth, William Manchester described this legal fiction as "preposterous".[81]

Chief of Staff

By 1930, MacArthur was still, at age 50, the youngest of the U.S. Army's major generals, and the best known. He left the Philippines on 19 September 1930 and for a brief time was in command of the IX Corps Area in San Francisco. On 21 November, he was sworn in as Chief of Staff of the United States Army, with the rank of general.[82] While in Washington, he would ride home each day to have lunch with his mother. At his desk, he would wear a Japanese ceremonial kimono, cool himself with an oriental fan, and smoke cigarettes in a jeweled cigarette holder. In the evenings, he liked to read military history books. About this time, he began referring to himself as "MacArthur".[83]

The onset of the Great Depression forced Congress to make cuts in the Army's personnel and budget. Some 53 bases were closed, but MacArthur managed to prevent attempts to reduce the number of regular officers from 12,000 to 10,000.[84] MacArthur's main programs included the development of new mobilization plans. He grouped the nine corps areas together under four armies, which were charged with responsibility for training and frontier defense.[85] He also negotiated the MacArthur-Pratt agreement with the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral William V. Pratt. This was the first of a series of inter-service agreements over the following decades that defined the responsibilities of the different services with respect to aviation. This agreement placed coastal air defense under the Army. In March 1935, MacArthur activated a centralized air command, General Headquarters Air Force, under Major General Frank M. Andrews.[86]

Bonus Army marchers confront the police

One of MacArthur's most controversial acts came in 1932, when the "Bonus Army" of veterans converged on Washington. He sent tents and camp equipment to the demonstrators, along with mobile kitchens, until an outburst in Congress caused the kitchens to be withdrawn. MacArthur was concerned that the demonstration had been taken over by communists and pacifists but the General Staff's intelligence division reported that only three of the march's 26 key leaders were communists.


MacArthur went over contingency plans for civil disorder in the capital.

> biography

Mechanized equipment was brought to Fort Myer, where anti-riot training was conducted.[87]


On 28 July 1932, a clash between the District police and demonstrators resulted in two men being shot. President Hoover ordered MacArthur to "surround the affected area and clear it without delay."[88]


MacArthur brought up troops and tanks and, against the advice of Major Dwight D. Eisenhower, decided to accompany the troops, although he was not in charge of the operation. The troops advanced with bayonets and sabers drawn under a shower of bricks and rocks, but no shots were fired. In less than four hours, they cleared the Bonus Army's campground using tear gas. The gas canisters started a number of fires, causing the only death during the riots. While not as violent as other anti-riot operations, it was nevertheless a public relations disaster.[89]


CCC workers construct a road

In 1934, MacArthur sued journalists Drew Pearson and Robert S. Allen for defamation after they described his treatment of the Bonus marchers as "unwarranted, unnecessary, insubordinate, harsh and brutal".[90] In turn, they threatened to call Isabel Rosario Cooper as a witness. MacArthur had met Isabel, a Eurasian woman, while in the Philippines, and she had become his mistress. MacArthur was forced to settle out of court, secretly paying Pearson $15,000.[91]

President Hoover was defeated in the 1932 election by Franklin D. Roosevelt. MacArthur and Roosevelt had worked together before World War I and, despite political differences, remained friends. MacArthur supported the New Deal through the Army's operation of the Civilian Conservation Corps. He ensured that detailed plans were drawn up for its employment and decentralized its administration to the corps areas, which became an important factor in the program's success.[92] MacArthur's support for a strong military, and his public criticism of pacifism and isolationism,[93] made him unpopular with the Roosevelt administration.[94] Perhaps the most incendiary exchange between Roosevelt and MacArthur occurred over an administration proposal to cut 51% of the Army's budget. In response, MacArthur lectured Roosevelt that

"when we lost the next war, and an American boy, lying in the mud with an enemy bayonet through his belly and an enemy foot on his dying throat, spat out his last curse, I wanted the name not to be MacArthur, but Roosevelt."

In response, Roosevelt yelled "you must not talk that way to the President!" MacArthur offered to resign, but Roosevelt refused his request, and MacArthur then staggered out of the White House and vomited on the front steps.[95] In spite of such exchanges, MacArthur was extended an extra year as Chief of Staff, and ended his tour in October 1935.[94] For his service as chief of staff, he was awarded a second Distinguished Service Medal. He was retroactively awarded two Purple Hearts for his World War I service,[96] a decoration that he authorized in 1932 based loosely on the defunct Military Badge of Merit. MacArthur also insisted on being the first recipient of the Purple Heart, which he had engraved with "#1."[97][98]

Field Marshal of the Philippine Army

When the Commonwealth of the Philippines achieved semi-independent status in 1935, President of the Philippines Manuel Quezon asked MacArthur to supervise the creation of a Philippine Army. Quezon and MacArthur had been personal friends since the latter's father had been Governor-General of the Philippines, 35 years earlier. With President Roosevelt's approval, MacArthur accepted the assignment. It was agreed that MacArthur would receive the rank of field marshal, with its salary and allowances, in addition to his major general's salary as Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines.[99] It would be his fifth tour in the Far East. MacArthur sailed from San Francisco on the SS President Hoover in October 1935,[100] accompanied by his mother and sister-in-law. He brought Eisenhower and Major James B. Ord along as his assistants.[101] Another passenger on the President Hoover was Jean Marie Faircloth, an unmarried 37 year-old socialite. Over the next two years, MacArthur and Jean were frequently seen together.[102] His mother became gravely ill during the voyage and died in Manila on 3 December 1935.[103]


Ceremony at Camp Murphy, 15 August 1941, marking the induction of the Philippine Army Air Corps. Behind MacArthur, from left to right, are Lieutenant Colonel Richard K. Sutherland, Colonel Harold H. George, Lieutenant Colonel William F. Marquat and Major LeGrande A. Diller.

President Quezon officially conferred the title of field marshal on MacArthur in a ceremony at Malacañan Palace on 24 August 1936, and presented him with a gold baton and a unique uniform.[104] The Philippine Army was formed from conscription. Training was conducted by a regular cadre, and the Philippine Military Academy was created along the lines of West Point to train officers.[105] MacArthur and Eisenhower found that few of the training camps had been constructed and the first group of 20,000 trainees did not report until early 1937.[106] Equipment and weapons were "more or less obsolete" American cast offs, and the budget of $6 million was completely inadequate.[105] MacArthur's requests for equipment fell on deaf ears, although MacArthur and his naval advisor, Lieutenant Colonel Sidney L. Huff, persuaded the Navy to initiate the development of the PT boat.[107] Much hope was placed in the Philippine Army Air Corps, but the first squadron was not organized until 1939.[108]

MacArthur married Jean Faircloth in a civil ceremony on 30 April 1937.[109] Their marriage produced a son, Arthur MacArthur IV, who was born in Manila on 21 February 1938.[110] On 31 December 1937, MacArthur officially retired from the Army. He ceased to represent the U.S. as military adviser to the government, but remained as Quezon's adviser in a civilian capacity.[111] Eisenhower returned to the U.S., and was replaced as MacArthur's chief of staff by Lieutenant Colonel Richard K. Sutherland, while Richard J. Marshall became deputy chief of staff.[112]

World War II

Philippines Campaign (1941–42)

Further information: Battle of the Philippines (1941–42) 26th Cavalry (Philippine Scouts) move into Pozorrubio past an M3 Stuart tank
On 26 July 1941, Roosevelt federalized the Philippine Army, recalled MacArthur to active duty in the U.S. Army as a major general, and named him commander of U.S. Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE). MacArthur was promoted to lieutenant general the following day,[113] and then to general on 20 December. At the same time, Sutherland was promoted to major general, while Marshall, Spencer B. Akin, and Hugh J. Casey were all promoted to brigadier general.[114] On 31 July 1941, the Philippine Department had 22,000 troops assigned, 12,000 of whom were Philippine Scouts. The main component was the Philippine Division, under the command of Major General Jonathan M. Wainwright.[115]

Between July and December 1941, the garrison received 8,500 reinforcements.[116] After years of parsimony, much equipment was shipped. By November, a backlog of 1,100,000 shipping tons of equipment intended for the Philippines had accumulated in U.S. ports and depots awaiting vessels.[117] In addition, the Navy intercept station in the islands, known as Station CAST, had an ultra secret Purple cipher machine, which decrypted Japanese diplomatic messages, and partial codebooks for the latest JN-25 naval code. Cast sent MacArthur its entire output, via Sutherland, the only officer on his staff authorized to see it.[118]

At 03:30 local time on 8 December 1941 (about 09:00 on 7 December in Hawaii),[119] Sutherland learned of the attack on Pearl Harbor and informed MacArthur. At 05:30, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, General George Marshall, ordered MacArthur to execute the existing war plan, Rainbow Five. MacArthur did nothing. On three occasions, the commander of the Far East Air Force, Major General Lewis H. Brereton, requested permission to attack Japanese bases in Formosa, in accordance with prewar intentions, but was denied by Sutherland. Not until 11:00 did Brereton speak with MacArthur about it, and obtained permission.[120] MacArthur later denied having the conversation.[121] At 12:30, aircraft of Japan's 11th Air Fleet achieved complete tactical surprise when they attacked Clark Field and the nearby fighter base at Iba Field, and destroyed or disabled 18 of Far East Air Force's 35 B-17s, 53 of its 107 P-40s, three P-35s, and more than 25 other aircraft. Most were destroyed on the ground. Substantial damage was done to the bases, and casualties totaled 80 killed and 150 wounded.[122] What was left of the Far East Air Force was all but destroyed over the next few days.[123]


MacArthur (center) with his Chief of Staff, Major General Richard K. Sutherland, in the Headquarters tunnel on Corregidor, Philippines, on 1 March 1942

Prewar defense plans assumed the Japanese could not be prevented from landing on Luzon and called for U.S. and Filipino forces to abandon Manila and retreat with their supplies to the Bataan peninsula. MacArthur attempted to slow the Japanese advance with an initial defense against the Japanese landings. However, he reconsidered his confidence in the ability of his Filipino troops after the Japanese landing force made a rapid advance after landing at Lingayen Gulf on 21 December,[124] and ordered a retreat to Bataan.[125] Manila was declared an open city at midnight on 24 December, without any consultation with Admiral Thomas C. Hart, commanding the Asiatic Fleet, forcing the Navy to destroy considerable amounts of valuable material.[126]

On 25 December, MacArthur moved his headquarters to the island fortress of Corregidor in Manila Bay.[127] A series of air raids by the Japanese destroyed all the exposed structures on the island and USAFFE headquarters was moved into the Malinta Tunnel. Later, most of the headquarters moved to Bataan, leaving only the nucleus with MacArthur.[128] The troops on Bataan knew that they had been written off but continued to fight. Some blamed Roosevelt and MacArthur for their predicament. A ballad sung to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" called him "Dugout Doug".[129] However, most clung to the belief that somehow MacArthur "would reach down and pull something out of his hat."[130]

On 1 January 1942, MacArthur accepted $500,000 from President Quezon of the Philippines as payment for his pre-war service. MacArthur's staff members also received payments: $75,000 for Sutherland, $45,000 for Richard Marshall, and $20,000 for Huff.[131][132] Eisenhower—after being appointed Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force (AEF)—was also offered money by Quezon, but declined.[133] These payments were known only to a few in Manila and Washington, including President Roosevelt and Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, until they were made public by historian Carol Petillo in 1979. The revelation tarnished MacArthur's reputation.[134]

Escape to Australia and Medal of Honor

Main article: Douglas MacArthur's escape from the Philippines Plaque affixed to MacArthur barracks at the U.S. Military Academy, inscribed with MacArthur's Medal of Honor citation.

In February 1942, as Japanese forces tightened their grip on the Philippines, MacArthur was ordered by President Roosevelt to relocate to Australia.[135] On the night of 12 March 1942, MacArthur and a select group that included his wife Jean and son Arthur, as well as Sutherland, Akin, Casey, Richard Marshall, Charles A. Willoughby, LeGrande A. Diller, and Harold H. George, left Corregidor in four PT boats. MacArthur, his family and Sutherland traveled aboard PT 41, commanded by Lieutenant John D. Bulkeley. The others followed aboard PT 34, PT 35 and PT 32. MacArthur and his party reached Del Monte Airfield on Mindanao, where B-17s picked them up, and flew them to Australia.[136][137] His famous speech, in which he said, "I came out of Bataan and I shall return", was first made at Terowie, a small town in South Australia, on 20 March.[138] Washington asked MacArthur to amend his promise to "We shall return". He ignored the request.[139]

Bataan surrendered on 9 April,[140] and Corregidor on 6 May.[141] George Marshall decided that MacArthur would be awarded the Medal of Honor, a decoration for which he had twice previously been nominated, "to offset any propaganda by the enemy directed at his leaving his command".[142] Eisenhower pointed out that MacArthur had not actually performed any acts of valor as required by law, but Marshall cited the 1927 award of the medal to Charles Lindbergh as a precedent. Special legislation had been passed to authorize Lindbergh's medal, but while similar legislation was introduced authorizing the medal for MacArthur by Congressmen J. Parnell Thomas and James E. Van Zandt, Marshall felt strongly that a serving general should receive the medal from the President and the War Department.[143] MacArthur chose to accept it on the basis that "this award was intended not so much for me personally as it is a recognition of the indomitable courage of the gallant army which it was my honor to command."[144] Arthur and Douglas MacArthur thus became the first father and son to be awarded the Medal of Honor. They remained the only pair until 2001, when Theodore Roosevelt was awarded posthumously for his service during the Spanish American War, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. having received one posthumously for his service during World War II.[145][146] His citation, written by George Marshall,[147] 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.[148]

As the symbol of the forces resisting the Japanese, MacArthur received many other accolades. The Native American tribes of the Southwest chose him as a "Chief of Chiefs", which he acknowledged as from "my oldest friends, the companions of my boyhood days on the Western frontier".[149] He was touched when he was named Father of the Year for 1942, and wrote to the National Father's Day Committee that:

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 potentialities 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 battle, but in the home, repeating with him our simple daily prayer, "Our father, Who art in Heaven."[149]

New Guinea Campaign
Further information: New Guinea Campaign
General Headquarters

On 18 April 1942, MacArthur was appointed Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA). Lieutenant General George Brett became Commander, Allied Air Forces, and Vice Admiral Herbert F. Leary became Commander, Allied Naval Forces.[150] Since the bulk of land forces in the theater were Australian, George Marshall insisted an Australian be appointed as Commander, Allied Land Forces, and the job went to General Sir Thomas Blamey. Although predominantly Australian and American, MacArthur's command also included small numbers of personnel from the Netherlands East Indies, the United Kingdom, and other countries.[151] MacArthur established a close relationship with the Prime Minister of Australia, John Curtin,[152] although many Australians resented MacArthur as a foreign general who had been imposed upon them.[153] MacArthur had little confidence in Brett's abilities as commander of Allied Air Forces,[150][154][155] and in August 1942 selected Major General George C. Kenney to replace him.[156][157] Kenney's application of air power in support of Blamey's troops would prove crucial.[158]

Prime Minister John Curtin confers with MacArthur

The staff of MacArthur's General Headquarters (GHQ) was built around the nucleus that had escaped from the Philippines with him, who became known as the "Bataan Gang".[159] Though Roosevelt and George Marshall pressed for Dutch and Australian officers to be assigned to GHQ, the heads of all the staff divisions were American and such officers of other nationalities as were assigned served under them.[151] Initially located in Melbourne,[160] GHQ moved to Brisbane—the northernmost city in Australia with the necessary communications facilities—in July 1942,[161] occupying the AMP Insurance Society building.[162]

MacArthur formed his own signals intelligence organization, known as the Central Bureau, from Australian intelligence units and American cryptanalysts who had escaped from the Philippines.[163] This unit forwarded Ultra information to Willoughby for analysis.[164] After a press release revealed details of the Japanese naval dispositions during the Battle of the Coral Sea, at which a Japanese attempt to capture Port Moresby was turned back,[165] Roosevelt ordered that censorship be imposed in Australia, and the Advisory War Council granted GHQ censorship authority over the Australian press. Australian newspapers were restricted to what was reported in the daily GHQ communiqué.[165][166] Veteran correspondents considered the communiqués, which MacArthur drafted personally, "a total farce" and "Alice-in-Wonderland information handed out at high level."[167]

Papuan Campaign

Anticipating that the Japanese would strike at Port Moresby again, the garrison was strengthened and MacArthur ordered the establishment of new bases at Merauke and Milne Bay to cover its flanks.[168] The Battle of Midway in June 1942 led to consideration of a limited offensive in the Pacific. MacArthur's proposal for an attack on the Japanese base at Rabaul met with objections from the Navy, which favored a less ambitious approach, and objected to an Army general being in command of what would be an amphibious operation. The resulting compromise called for a three-stage advance. The first stage, the seizure of the Tulagi area, would be conducted by the Pacific Ocean Areas, under Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. The later stages would be under MacArthur's command.[169]


Senior Allied commanders in New Guinea in October 1942. Left to right: Mr Frank Forde (Australian Minister for the Army); MacArthur; General Sir Thomas Blamey, Allied Land Forces; Lieutenant General George C. Kenney, Allied Air Forces; Lieutenant General Edmund Herring, New Guinea Force; Brigadier General Kenneth Walker, V Bomber Command.

The Japanese struck first, landing at Buna in July,[170] and at Milne Bay in August. The Australians repulsed the Japanese at Milne Bay,[171] but a series of defeats in the Kokoda Track campaign had a depressing effect back in Australia. On 30 August, MacArthur radioed Washington that unless action was taken, New Guinea Force would be overwhelmed. He sent Blamey to Port Moresby to take personal command.[172] Having committed all available Australian troops, MacArthur decided to send American forces. The 32nd Infantry Division, a poorly trained National Guard division, was selected.[173] A series of embarrassing reverses in the Battle of Buna-Gona led to outspoken criticism of the American troops by the Australians. MacArthur then ordered Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger to assume command of the Americans, and "take Buna, or not come back alive."[174][175]

MacArthur moved the advanced echelon of GHQ to Port Moresby on 6 November 1942.[176] After Buna finally fell on 3 January 1943,[177] MacArthur awarded the Distinguished Service Cross to twelve officers for "precise execution of operations". This use of the country's second highest award aroused resentment, because while some, like Eichelberger and George Alan Vasey, had fought in the field, others, like Sutherland and Willoughby, had not.[178] For his part, MacArthur was awarded his third Distinguished Service Medal,[179] and the Australian government had him appointed an honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.[180]
New Guinea Campaign

At the Pacific Military Conference in March 1943, the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved MacArthur's plan for Operation Cartwheel, the advance on Rabaul.[181] MacArthur explained his strategy:

My strategic conception for the Pacific Theater, which I outlined after the Papuan Campaign and have since consistently advocated, contemplates massive strokes against only main strategic objectives, utilizing surprise and air-ground striking power supported and assisted by the fleet. This is the very opposite of what is termed "island hopping" which is the gradual pushing back of the enemy by direct frontal pressure with the consequent heavy casualties which will certainly be involved. Key points must of course be taken but a wise choice of such will obviate the need for storming the mass of islands now in enemy possession. "Island hopping" with extravagant losses and slow not my idea of how to end the war as soon and as cheaply as possible. New conditions require for solution and new weapons require for maximum application new and imaginative methods. Wars are never won in the past.[182] Conference in Hawaii, September 1944.


Left to right: General MacArthur, President Roosevelt, Admiral Leahy, Admiral Nimitz.

In New Guinea, a country without roads, large-scale transportation of men and materiel would have to be accomplished by aircraft or ships. A multi-pronged approach was employed to solve this problem. Disassembled landing craft were shipped to Australia, where they were assembled in Cairns.[183] The range of these small landing craft was to be greatly extended by the landing ships of the VII Amphibious Force, which began arriving in late 1942, and formed part of the newly formed Seventh Fleet.[184] Since the Seventh Fleet had no aircraft carriers, the range of naval operations was limited by that of the fighter aircraft of the Fifth Air Force.[185]

Lieutenant General Walter Krueger's Sixth Army headquarters arrived in SWPA in early 1943 but MacArthur had only three American divisions, and they were tired and depleted from the fighting at Battle of Buna–Gona and Battle of Guadalcanal. As a result, "it became obvious that any military offensive in the South-West Pacific in 1943 would have to be carried out mainly by the Australian Army."[186] The offensive began with the landing at Lae by the Australian 9th Division on 4 September 1943. The next day, MacArthur watched the landing at Nadzab by paratroops of the 503rd Parachute Infantry. His B-17 made the trip on three engines because one failed soon after leaving Port Moresby, but he insisted that it fly on to Nadzab.[187] For this, he was awarded the Air Medal.[188]

The Australian 7th and 9th Divisions converged on Lae, which fell on 16 September. MacArthur advanced his timetable, and ordered the 7th to capture Kaiapit and Dumpu, while the 9th mounted an amphibious assault on Finschhafen. Here, the offensive bogged down, partly because MacArthur had based his decision to assault Finschhafen on Willoughby's assessment that there were only 350 Japanese defenders at Finschhafen, when in fact there were nearly 5,000. A furious battle ensued.[189]

In early November, MacArthur's plan for a westward advance along the coast of New Guinea to the Philippines was incorporated into plans for the war against Japan.[190][191] Three months later, airmen reported no signs of enemy activity in the Admiralty Islands. Although Willoughby did not agree that the islands had been evacuated, MacArthur ordered an amphibious landing there, commencing the Admiralty Islands campaign. He accompanied the assault force aboard the light cruiser Phoenix, the flagship of Vice Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, the new commander of the Seventh Fleet, and came ashore seven hours after the first wave of landing craft, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star.[192] It took six weeks of fierce fighting before the 1st Cavalry Division captured the islands.[193]

MacArthur now bypassed the Japanese forces at Hansa Bay and Wewak, and assaulted Hollandia and Aitape, which Willoughby reported to be lightly defended based on intelligence gathered in the Battle of Sio. Although they were out of range of the Fifth Air Force's fighters based in the Ramu Valley, the timing of the operation allowed the aircraft carriers of Nimitz's Pacific Fleet to provide air support.[194] Though risky, the operation turned out to be another success. MacArthur caught the Japanese off balance and cut off Lieutenant General Hatazō Adachi's Japanese XVIII Army in the Wewak area. Because the Japanese were not expecting an attack, the garrison was weak, and Allied casualties were correspondingly light. However, the terrain turned out to be less suitable for airbase development than first thought, forcing MacArthur to seek better locations further west. While bypassing Japanese forces had great tactical merit, it had the strategic drawback of tying up Allied troops to contain them. Moreover, Adachi was far from beaten, which he demonstrated in the Battle of Driniumor River.[195]
Philippines Campaign (1944–45)

Further information: Philippines Campaign (1944–45)

In July 1944, President Roosevelt summoned MacArthur to meet with him in Hawaii "to determine the phase of action against Japan." Nimitz made the case for attacking Formosa. MacArthur stressed America's moral obligation to liberate the Philippines. In September, Halsey's carriers made a series of air strikes on the Philippines. Opposition was feeble and Halsey concluded, incorrectly, that Leyte was "wide open" and possibly undefended, and recommended that projected operations be skipped in favor of an assault on Leyte.[196]


"I have returned" — General MacArthur returns to the Philippines with Philippine President Sergio Osmena to his right, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Carlos P. Romulo at his rear, and Sutherland on his left. Photo taken by Gaetano Faillace

On 20 October 1944, troops of Krueger's Sixth Army landed on Leyte, while MacArthur watched from the light cruiser USS Nashville. That afternoon he arrived off the beach. The advance had not progressed far; snipers were still active and the area was under sporadic mortar fire. When his whaleboat grounded in knee-deep water, MacArthur requested a landing craft, but the beachmaster was too busy to grant his request. MacArthur was compelled to wade ashore.[197] In his prepared speech, he said:

People of the Philippines: I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil — soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come dedicated and committed to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring upon a foundation of indestructible strength, the liberties of your people.[198]


General Douglas MacArthur (center), accompanied by Lieutenant Generals George C. Kenney and Richard K. Sutherland and Major General Verne D. Mudge (Commanding General, First Cavalry Division), inspecting the beachhead on Leyte Island, 20 October 1944 with a crowd of onlookers.

Since Leyte was out of range of Kenney's land-based aircraft, MacArthur was dependent on carrier aircraft.[199] Japanese air activity soon increased, with raids on Tacloban, where MacArthur decided to establish his headquarters, and on the fleet offshore. MacArthur enjoyed staying on Nashville′s bridge during air raids, although several bombs landed close by, and two nearby cruisers were hit.[200] Over the next few days, the Japanese counterattacked in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, resulting in a near-disaster that MacArthur attributed to the command being divided between himself and Nimitz.[201] Nor did the campaign ashore proceed smoothly. Heavy monsoonal rains disrupted the airbase construction program. Carrier aircraft proved to be no substitute for land-based aircraft, and the lack of air cover permitted the Japanese to pour troops into Leyte. Adverse weather and valiant Japanese resistance slowed the American advance, resulting in a protracted campaign.[202][203]

By the end of December, Krueger's headquarters estimated that 5,000 Japanese remained on Leyte, and on 26 December MacArthur issued a communiqué announcing that "the campaign can now be regarded as closed except for minor mopping up." Yet Eichelberger's Eighth Army killed another 27,000 Japanese on Leyte before the campaign ended in May 1945.[204] On 18 December 1944, MacArthur was promoted to the new five-star rank of General of the Army.[205]


MacArthur's next move was the invasion of Mindoro, where there were good potential airfield sites. Willoughby estimated, correctly as it turned out, that the island had only about 1,000 Japanese defenders. The problem this time was getting there. Kinkaid balked at sending escort carriers into the restricted waters of the Sulu Sea, and Kenney could not guarantee land based air cover. The operation was clearly hazardous, and MacArthur's staff talked him out of accompanying the invasion on Nashville. As the invasion force entered the Sulu Sea, a kamikaze struck Nashville, killing 133 people and wounding 190 more. Australian and American engineers had three airstrips in operation within two weeks, but the resupply convoys were repeatedly attacked by kamikazes.[206]


Off Leyte, October 1944 Left to right: Lieutenant General George Kenney, Lieutenant General Richard K. Sutherland, President Sergio Osmeña, General Douglas MacArthur

The way was now clear for the invasion of Luzon. This time, based on different interpretations of the same intelligence data, Willoughby estimated the strength of General Tomoyuki Yamashita's forces on Luzon at 137,000, while Sixth Army estimated it at 234,000. MacArthur's response was "Bunk!".[207] He felt that even Willoughby's estimate was too high. "Audacity, calculated risk, and a clear strategic aim were MacArthur's attributes",[208] and he disregarded the estimates. In fact, they were too low; Yamashita had more than 287,000 troops on Luzon.[209] This time, MacArthur traveled aboard the light cruiser USS Boise, watching as the ship was nearly hit by a bomb and torpedoes fired by midget submarines.[210] His communiqué read: "The decisive battle for the liberation of the Philippines and the control of the Southwest Pacific is at hand. General MacArthur is in personal command at the front and landed with his assault troops."[211]

MacArthur's primary concern was the capture of the port of Manila and the airbase at Clark Field, which were required to support future operations. He urged his commanders on.[212] On 25 January 1945, he moved his advanced headquarters forward to Hacienda Luisita, closer to the front than Krueger's.[213] He ordered the 1st Cavalry Division to conduct a rapid advance on Manila. It reached the northern outskirts of Manila on 3 February,[214] but, unknown to the Americans, Rear Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi had decided to defend Manila to the death. The Battle of Manila raged for the next three weeks.[215] To spare the civilian population, MacArthur prohibited the use of air strikes,[216] but thousands of civilians died in the crossfire or Japanese massacres.[217] He also refused to restrict the traffic of civilians who clogged the roads in and out of Manila, placing humanitarian concerns above military ones except in emergencies.[218] For his part in the capture of Manila, MacArthur was awarded his third Distinguished Service Cross.[219]

Southern Philippines


MacArthur signs Japanese surrender instrument aboard USS Missouri. American General Jonathan Wainwright and British General Arthur Percival stand behind him.

Although MacArthur had no specific directive to do so, and the fighting on Luzon was far from over, he committed his forces to liberate the remainder of the Philippines.[220] In the GHQ communiqué on 5 July, he announced that the Philippines had been liberated and all operations ended, although Yamashita still held out in northern Luzon.[221] Starting in May 1945, MacArthur used his Australian troops in the invasion of Borneo. He accompanied the assault on Labuan, and visited the troops ashore. While returning to GHQ in Manila, he visited Davao, where he told Eichelberger that no more than 4,000 Japanese remained alive on Mindanao. A few months later, six times that number surrendered.[222] In July 1945, he was awarded his fourth Distinguished Service Medal.[223]

As part of preparations for Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan, MacArthur became commander in chief U.S. Army Forces Pacific (AFPAC), in charge of all Army and Army Air Force units in the Pacific, except the Twentieth Air Force, in April 1945. At the same time, Nimitz became commander of all naval forces. Command in the Pacific therefore remained divided.[224] The invasion was pre-empted by the surrender of Japan in August 1945. On 2 September MacArthur accepted the formal Japanese surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri, thus ending World War II.[225] In recognition of his role as a maritime strategist, the U.S. Navy awarded him the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.[226]

Occupation of Japan
Further information: Occupation of Japan
Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers

On 29 August 1945, MacArthur was ordered to exercise authority through the Japanese government machinery, including the Emperor Hirohito.[227] MacArthur's headquarters was located in the Dai Ichi Life Insurance Building in Tokyo. As Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) in Japan, MacArthur and his staff helped Japan rebuild itself, institute democratic government, and chart a new course that ultimately 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.[228] In 1946, MacArthur's staff drafted a new constitution that renounced war and stripped the Emperor of his military authority. The constitution—which became effective on 3 May 1947—instituted a Westminster system form of government, under which the Emperor acted only on the advice of his ministers. It included the famous Article 9, which outlawed belligerency as an instrument of state policy and the maintenance of a standing army. The constitution also enfranchised women, guaranteed fundamental human rights, outlawed racial discrimination, strengthened the powers of Parliament and the Cabinet, and decentralized the police and local government.[229]


MacArthur and the Emperor of Japan, Hirohito

A major land reform was also conducted, led by Wolf Ladejinsky of General Douglas MacArthur's SCAP staff. Between 1947 and 1949, approximately 4,700,000 acres (1,900,000 ha), or 38% of Japan's cultivated land, was purchased from the landlords under the government's reform program, and 4,600,000 acres (1,860,000 ha) was resold to the farmers who worked them. By 1950, 89% of all agricultural land was owner-operated and only 11% was tenant-operated.[230] MacArthur's efforts to encourage trade union membership met with phenomenal success, and by 1947, 48% of the non-agricultural workforce was unionized. Some of MacArthur's reforms were rescinded in 1948 when his unilateral control of Japan was ended by the increased involvement of the State Department.[231] During the Occupation, SCAP successfully, if not entirely, abolished many of the financial coalitions known as the Zaibatsu, which had previously monopolized industry.[232] Eventually, looser industrial groupings known as Keiretsu evolved. The reforms alarmed many in the U.S. Departments of Defense and State, who believed they conflicted with the prospect of Japan and its industrial capacity as a bulwark against the spread of communism in Asia.[233]

In an address to Congress on 19 April 1951, MacArthur declared:
The Japanese people since the war have undergone the greatest reformation recorded in modern history. With a commendable will, eagerness to learn, and marked capacity to understand, they have from the ashes left in war's wake erected in Japan an edifice dedicated to the supremacy of individual liberty and personal dignity, and in the ensuing process there has been created a truly representative government committed to the advance of political morality, freedom of economic enterprise, and social justice.[234]

MacArthur handed over power to the Japanese government in 1949, but remained in Japan until relieved by President Harry S. Truman on 11 April 1951. The San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed on 8 September 1951, marked the end of the Allied occupation, and when it went into effect on 28 April 1952, Japan was once again an independent state.[235] The Japanese subsequently gave him the nickname Gaijin Shogun ("foreign military ruler") but not until around the time of his death in 1964.[236]

War crimes trials


The defendants at the Tokyo War Crimes Trials

MacArthur was responsible for confirming and enforcing the sentences for war crimes handed down by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East.[237] In late 1945, Allied military commissions in various cities of the Orient tried 5,700 Japanese, Taiwanese and Koreans for war crimes. About 4,300 were convicted, almost 1,000 sentenced to death, and hundreds given life imprisonment. The charges arose from incidents that included the Rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March and Manila massacre.[238] The trial in Manila of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, Japanese commander in the Philippines from 1944, was criticized because Yamashita was hanged for Iwabuchi's Manila massacre, which he had not ordered and of which he was probably unaware.[239] Iwabuchi had killed himself as the battle for Manila was ending.[240]

MacArthur gave immunity to Shiro Ishii and other members of the bacteriological research units in exchange for germ warfare data based on human experimentation.[241] He also exempted the Emperor and all members of the imperial family implicated in war crimes, including Princes Chichibu, Asaka, Takeda, Higashikuni and Fushimi, from criminal prosecutions. MacArthur confirmed that the emperor's abdication would not be necessary.[242] In doing so, he ignored the advice of many members of the imperial family and Japanese intellectuals who publicly called for the abdication of the Emperor and the implementation of a regency.[243]

Korean War
Further information: Korean War
South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu

On 25 June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, starting the Korean War.[244] The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 82, which authorized a United Nations (UN) force to assist South Korea.[245] The UN empowered the American government to select a commander, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously recommended MacArthur.[246] He therefore became

1. Commander-in-Chief of the United Nations Command (UNCOM),

2. while remaining SCAP in Japan and

3. Commander of the USAFFE.[247]

All South Korean forces were also placed under his command. As they retreated before the North Korean onslaught, MacArthur received permission to commit U.S. ground forces. All the first units to arrive could do was trade men and ground for time, falling back to the Pusan Perimeter.[248] By the end of August, the crisis subsided. North Korean attacks on the perimeter had tapered off. While the North Korean force numbered 88,000 troops, Lieutenant General Walton Walker's Eighth Army now numbered 180,000, and he had more tanks and artillery pieces.[249]


MacArthur observes the naval shelling of Inch'ŏn from USS Mount McKinley, 15 September 1950 with Brigadier General Courtney Whitney (left) and Major General Edward M. Almond (right).

In 1949, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General of the Army Omar Bradley, had predicted that "large scale combined amphibious operations... will never occur again", but by July 1950, MacArthur was planning just such an operation.[250] MacArthur compared his plan with that of General James Wolfe at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, and brushed aside the problems of tides, hydrography and terrain.[251] In September, despite lingering concerns from superiors, MacArthur's soldiers and marines made a successful landing at Inch'ŏn, deep behind North Korean lines. Launched with naval and close air support, the landing outflanked the North Koreans, recaptured Sŏul and forced them to retreat northward in disarray.[252] Visiting the battlefield on 17 September, MacArthur surveyed six T-34 tanks that had been knocked out by Marines, ignoring sniper fire around him, except to note that the North Korean marksmen were poorly trained.[253]

On 11 September, Truman issued orders for an advance beyond the 38th parallel into North Korea. MacArthur now planned another amphibious assault, on Wŏnsan on the east coast, but it fell to South Korean troops before the 1st Marine Division could reach it by sea.[254] In October, MacArthur met with Truman at the Wake Island Conference, where the president awarded MacArthur his fifth Distinguished Service Medal.[255] Briefly questioned about the Chinese threat, MacArthur dismissed it, saying that he hoped to be able to withdraw the Eighth Army to Japan by Christmas, and to release a division for service in Europe in January. He regarded the possibility of Russian intervention as a more serious threat.[256]

A month later, things had changed. The enemy were engaged by the UN forces at the Battle of Unsan in late October, which demonstrated the presence of Chinese soldiers in Korea and rendered significant losses to the American and other UN troops. Nevertheless, Willoughby downplayed the evidence about Chinese intervention in the war. By 24 November, he estimated that up to 71,000 Chinese soldiers were in the country, while the true number was closer to 300,000.[257] That day, MacArthur flew to Walker's headquarters and he later wrote:

For five hours I toured the front lines. In talking to a group of officers I told them of General Bradley's desire and hope to have two divisions home by Christmas .... What I had seen at the front line worried me greatly. The R.O.K. troops were not yet in good shape, and the entire line was deplorably weak in numbers. If the Chinese were actually in heavy force, I decided I would withdraw our troops and abandon any attempt to move north. I decided to reconnoiter and try to see with my own eyes, and interpret with my own long experience what was going on ....[258]

MacArthur flew over the front line himself in his Douglas C-54 Skymaster but saw no signs of a Chinese build up and therefore decided to wait before ordering an advance or withdrawal. Evidence of the Chinese activity was hidden to MacArthur: the Chinese Army traveled at night and dug in during the day.[257] For his reconnaissance efforts, MacArthur was nonetheless awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and honorary combat pilot's wings.[258]

The next day, 25 November 1950, Walker's Eighth Army was attacked by the Chinese Army and soon the UN forces were in retreat. MacArthur provided the Chief of Staff, General J. Lawton Collins with a series of nine successive withdrawal lines.[259] On 23 December, Walker was killed when his jeep collided with a truck, and was replaced by Lieutenant General Matthew B. Ridgway, whom MacArthur had selected in case of such an eventuality.[260] Ridgway noted that MacArthur's "prestige, which had gained an extraordinary luster after Incheon, was badly tarnished. His credibility suffered in the unforeseen outcome of the November offensive..."[261]


Collins discussed the possible use of nuclear weapons in Korea with MacArthur in December, and later asked him for a list of targets in the Soviet Union in case it entered the war. MacArthur testified before the Congress in 1951 that he had never recommended the use of nuclear weapons. He did at one point consider a plan to cut off North Korea with radioactive poisons; but he did not recommend it at the time, although he later broached the matter with Eisenhower, now President-elect, in 1952. In 1954, in an interview published after his death, he stated that he had wanted to drop atomic bombs on enemy bases, but in 1960, he challenged a statement by Truman that he had advocated using atomic bombs. Truman issued a retraction, stating that he had no evidence of the claim; it was merely his personal opinion.[262][263][264]

On 5 April 1951, the Joint Chiefs of Staff drafted orders for MacArthur authorizing attacks on Manchuria and the Shantung Peninsula if the Chinese launched airstrikes against his forces originating from there.[265] The next day Truman met with the chairman of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, Gordon Dean,[266] and arranged for the transfer of nine Mark 4 nuclear bombs to military control.[267] Dean was apprehensive about delegating the decision on how they should be used to MacArthur, who lacked expert technical knowledge of the weapons and their effects.[268] The Joint Chiefs were not entirely comfortable about giving them to MacArthur either, for fear that he might prematurely carry out his orders.[265] Instead, they decided that the nuclear strike force would report to the Strategic Air Command.[269]

Within weeks, MacArthur was forced to retreat from North Korea.[270] Sŏul fell in January, and both Truman and MacArthur were forced to contemplate the prospect of abandoning Korea entirely.[271] European countries did not share MacArthur's world view, distrusted his judgment, and were afraid that he might use his stature and influence with the American public to re-focus American policy away from Europe and towards Asia. They were concerned that this might lead to a major war with China, possibly involving nuclear weapons.[272] In a visit to the United States in December 1950, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Clement Attlee, raised the fears of the British and other European governments that "General MacArthur was running the show."[273]

Under Ridgway's command, Eighth Army pressed north again in January. He inflicted heavy casualties on the Chinese,[274] and recaptured Sŏul in March 1951, and pushed on to the 38th Parallel.[275] With the improved military situation, Truman now saw the opportunity to offer a negotiated peace but, on 24 March, MacArthur called upon China to admit that it had been defeated, simultaneously challenging both the Chinese and his own superiors. Truman's proposed announcement was shelved.[276]

On 5 April, Representative Joseph William Martin, Jr., the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, read aloud on the floor of the House a letter from MacArthur critical of Truman's Europe-first policy and limited-war strategy,[277] The letter concluded with:

"we must win. There is no substitute for victory."[278]

Truman summoned Secretary of Defense George Marshall, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Omar Bradley, Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Averell Harriman to discuss what to do about MacArthur.[279] They concurred with, but did not recommend, MacArthur's relief. Although they felt that it was correct "from a purely military point of view"[280] they were aware that there were important political considerations as well.[280] Truman and Acheson agreed that MacArthur was insubordinate, but the Joint Chiefs avoided any suggestion of this.[281] Insubordination was a military offense, and MacArthur could have requested a public court martial similar to that of Billy Mitchell. The outcome of such a trial was uncertain, and it might well have found him not guilty and ordered his reinstatement.[282] The Joint Chiefs agreed that there was "little evidence that General MacArthur had ever failed to carry out a direct order of the Joint Chiefs, or acted in opposition to an order." "In point of fact," Bradley insisted, "MacArthur had stretched but not legally violated any JCS directives. He had violated the President's 6 December directive
[not to make public statements on policy matters], relayed to him by the JCS, but this did not constitute violation of a JCS order."[281] Truman ordered MacArthur's relief by Ridgway, and the order went out on 10 April 1951 with Bradley's signature.[283]

The relief of the famous general by the unpopular politician for communicating with Congress led to a constitutional crisis, and a storm of public controversy. Polls showed that the majority of the public disapproved of the decision to relieve MacArthur.[284] Truman's approval rating fell to 23 percent in mid-1951.

 As of 2012[update], it remains the lowest Gallup Poll approval rating recorded by any serving president.[285] As the increasingly unpopular war in Korea dragged on, Truman's administration was beset with a series of corruption scandals, and he eventually decided not to run for re-election.[286] A Joint Senate Committee—chaired by Democrat Richard Russell, Jr.—investigated MacArthur's removal. It concluded that "the removal of General MacArthur was within the constitutional powers of the President but the circumstances were a shock to national pride."[287]

Later life

MacArthur speaking at Soldier Field in Chicago in 1951 Menu 0:00 Closing words of MacArthur's final address to a joint session of Congress
MacArthur flew to Washington, D.C., with his family. It was his and Jean's first visit to the continental United States since 1937, when they had been married; Arthur IV, now aged 13, had never been to the U.S.[288] MacArthur made his last official appearance in a farewell address to the U.S. Congress. This was interrupted by fifty ovations.[289] MacArthur ended the address saying:

I am closing my 52 years of military service. When I joined the Army, even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all of my boyish hopes and dreams. The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished, but I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barrack ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that "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.[290]

MacArthur received public adulation, which aroused expectations that he would run for president, but he was not a candidate. Instead, he endorsed Senator Robert Taft, and was keynote speaker at the 1952 Republican National Convention. Taft lost the nomination to Eisenhower, who went on to win the 1952 election by a landslide.[291] Once elected, Eisenhower consulted with MacArthur about ending the war in Korea.[292]

Douglas and Jean MacArthur spent their last years together in the penthouse of the Waldorf Towers, a part of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.[293] He was elected Chairman of the Board of Remington Rand. In that year, he earned a salary of $68,000, in addition to $20,000 pay and allowances as a General of the Army.[294] The Waldorf became the setting for an annual birthday party on 26 January thrown by the general's former deputy chief engineer, Major General Leif J. Sverdrup. At the 1960 celebration for MacArthur's 80th birthday, 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.[295]

After his recovery, MacArthur methodically began to carry out the closing acts of his life. He visited the White House 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. MacArthur also accepted a $900,000 advance from Henry Luce for the rights to his memoirs, and wrote the volume that would eventually be published as Reminiscences.[295] Sections began to appear in serialized form in Life magazine in the months before to his death.[296]
President John F. Kennedy solicited MacArthur's counsel in 1961. The first of two meetings was held shortly after the Bay of Pigs Invasion. MacArthur was extremely critical of the military advice given to Kennedy, and cautioned the young President to avoid a U.S. military build-up in Vietnam, pointing out that domestic problems should be given a much greater priority.[297] Shortly before his death, he gave similar advice to President Lyndon B. Johnson.[298]

In 1962, West Point honored the increasingly frail MacArthur with the Sylvanus Thayer Award for outstanding service to the nation, which had gone to Eisenhower the year before. 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."[299]

Duty, Honor, Country

Gen. Douglas MacArthur's speech to the Corps of Cadets
at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., May 12, 1962,
in accepting the Thayer Award.a

General Westmoreland, General Groves, distinguished guests, and gentlemen of the Corps,b
As I was leaving the hotel this morning, a doorman asked me, "Where are you bound for, General?" and when I replied, "West Point," he remarked, "Beautiful place: have you ever been there before?" [Laughter]c
No human being could fail to be deeply moved by such a tribute as this, coming from a profession I have served so long and a people I have loved so well. It fills me with an emotion I cannot express. But this award is not intended primarily to honorº a personality, but to symbolize a great moral code — the code of conduct and chivalry of those who guard this beloved land of culture and ancient descent. That is the animation of this medallion. For all eyes and for all time, it is an expression of the ethics of the American soldier. That I should be integrated in this way with so noble an ideal, arouses a sense of pride and yet of humility which will be with me always.
"Duty, Honor, Country" — those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.
Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.
The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and, I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.
But these are some of the things they do.º They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation's defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid.
They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for action; not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm, but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never neglect the past; to be serious, yet never take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.
They give you a temper of the will,º a quality of theº imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, an appetite for adventure over love of ease.
They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.
And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory?
Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man at arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefieldº many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world's noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.
His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me, or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy's breast.
But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements. º
In twenty campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people. From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of courage.
As I listened to those songs, in memory's eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs on many a weary march, from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle-deep through theº mire of shell-pocked roads, to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God.
I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory.
Always for them: Duty, Honor, Country. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as we soughtº the way and the light and the truth.º And twenty years after, on the other side of the globe, againº the filth of dirty foxholes, the stench of ghostly trenches, the slime of dripping dugouts, those broilingº suns ofº relentless heat, those torrential rains of devastating storms, the loneliness and utter desolation of jungle trails, the bitterness of long separation of those they loved and cherished, the deadly pestilence of tropicalº disease, the horror of stricken areas of war.
Their resolute and determined defense, their swift and sure attack, their indomitable purpose, their complete and decisive victory — always victory, always through the bloody haze of their last reverberating shot, the vision of gaunt, ghastly men, reverently following your password of Duty, Honor, Country.
The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral law and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promoted for the uplift of mankind. Its requirements are for the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong. The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training: sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death, he disposes those divine attributes which his Maker gave when he created man in His own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the divine help which alone can sustain him. However hard the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind. º
You now face a new world, a world of change. The thrust into outer space of the satellite spheres and missiles markº a beginning of another epoch in the long story of mankind.º In the five or more billions of years the scientists tell us it has taken to form the earth, in the three or more billion years of development of the human race, there has never been a more abrupt or staggering evolution. We deal now, not with things of this world alone, but with the illimitable distances and asº yet unfathomed mysteries of the universe. We are reaching out for a new and boundless frontier. We speak in strange terms: of harnessing the cosmic energy; of making winds and tides work for us; of creating unheardº synthetic materials to supplement or even replace our old standard basics; to purifyº sea water for our drink; of mining the ocean floors for new fields of wealth and food; of disease preventatives to expand life into the hundreds of years; of controlling the weather for a more equitable distribution of heat and cold, of rain and shine; of spaceships to the Moon;º of the primary target in war, no longer limited to the armed forces of an enemy, but instead to include his civil populations;ºd of ultimate conflict between a united human race and the sinister forces of some other planetary galaxy; ofº such dreams and fantasies as to make life the most exciting of all time.º
And through all this welter of change and development your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable. It is to win our wars. Everything else in your professional career is but corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purposes,º all other public projects, all other public needs, great or small, will find others for their accomplishment;º but you are the ones who are trained to fight. Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, that if you lose, the Nation will be destroyed, that the very obsession of your public service must be Duty, Honor, Country.
Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men's minds. But serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation's war guardians, as its lifeguards from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiators in the arena of battle. For a century and a half you have defended, guarded and protected its hallowed traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice. Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government: whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as firm and complete as they should be; these great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a tenfold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country.
You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the Nation's destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds.
The Long Gray Line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray,º would rise from their white crosses, thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor, Country.
This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: "Only the dead have seen the end of war."e
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 then, but with thirsty ear, 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 alwaysº 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.

Thayer's Notes:

In 1963, President Kennedy ordered MacArthur to help mediate a dispute between the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Amateur Athletic Union over control of amateur sports in the country. The dispute threatened to derail the participation of the United States in the 1964 Summer Olympics. His presence helped to broker a deal, and participation in the games went on as planned.[300]

MacArthur's sarcophagus at the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk
Douglas MacArthur died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on 5 April 1964, of biliary cirrhosis.[301] Kennedy had authorized a state funeral, and Johnson confirmed the directive, ordering that MacArthur be buried "with all the honor a grateful nation can bestow on a departed hero."[302] On 7 April, his body was taken on a funeral train to Union Station and transported by a funeral procession to the Capitol,[303] where it lay in state. An estimated 150,000 people filed by the bier. The body was finally laid to rest in the rotunda of the Douglas MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Virginia.[304]

In 1960, the mayor of Norfolk, Virginia had proposed using funds raised by public contribution to remodel the old Norfolk courthouse as a memorial to General MacArthur and as a repository for his papers, decorations, and mementos he had accepted. Restored and remodeled, the building contains nine museum galleries whose contents reflect the general's 50 years of military service. At the heart of the memorial is a rotunda. In its center lies a sunken circular crypt with two marble sarcophagi, one for MacArthur,[305] the other for Jean, who continued to live in the Waldorf Towers until her own death in 2000.[306]


MacArthur is not remembered as a victorious general. In the Philippines in 1942, he suffered a defeat that Gavin Long described as "the greatest in the history of American foreign wars".[307] Nor is he considered a reformer; his reforms at West Point were soon discarded, although gradually restored over time.[66] His broad concept of the role of the soldier as encompassing civil affairs, quelling riots and low-level conflict was passed over by the majority who fought in Europe during World War II, and saw their role as fighting the Soviet Union.[308] Unlike them, in his victories in New Guinea in 1944, the Philippines in 1945 and Korea in 1950, he fought outnumbered, and relied on maneuver and firepower for success.[309]

 A later generation would rediscover his philosophy of war, and see it as far-sighted.[308] It was his relief that had the greatest impact, as it cast a long shadow over American civil-military relations for decades to come. When Lyndon Johnson met with General William Westmoreland in Honolulu in 1966, he told him: "General, I have a lot riding on you. I hope you don't pull a MacArthur on me."[310] MacArthur's relief "left a lasting current of popular sentiment that in matters of war and peace, the military really knows best," a philosophy which became known as "MacArthurism."[311]

MacArthur remains a controversial and enigmatic figure. He has been portrayed as a reactionary figure, although he was in many respects ahead of his time. He championed a progressive approach to the reconstruction of Japanese society, arguing that all occupations ultimately ended badly for the occupier and the occupied. He was often out of step with his contemporaries, such as in 1941 when he contended that Nazi Germany could not defeat the Soviet Union, when he argued that North Korea and China were no mere Soviet puppets, and throughout his career in his insistence that the future lay in the Far East. This implicitly rejected contemporary notions of racial superiority. He always treated Filipino and Japanese leaders with respect as equals. At the same time, his Victorian sensibilities recoiled at leveling Manila with aerial bombing, an attitude the hardened World War II generation regarded as old fashioned.[312] When asked about MacArthur, Blamey once said that "The best and the worst things you hear about him are both true."[313]

Honors and awards

During his lifetime, MacArthur earned over 100 military decorations from the U.S. and other countries including the Medal of Honor, the French Légion d'honneur and Croix de guerre, the Order of the Crown of Italy, the Order of Orange-Nassau from the Netherlands, Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath from Australia, and the Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Flowers, Grand Cordon from Japan.[314]

MacArthur was enormously popular with the American public. Streets, public works, and children were named after him. Even a dance step was named after him.[315] The MacArthur Leadership Award at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario is awarded to the graduating officer cadet who demonstrates outstanding leadership performance based on the credo of Duty-Honor-Country and potential for future military service.[316]

Several actors have portrayed MacArthur on screen. Dayton Lummis played him in the 1955 picture The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell. Henry Fonda in the television movie Collision Course: Truman vs. MacArthur in 1976, Gregory Peck in the 1977 film MacArthur, Laurence Olivier in Inch'ŏn in 1981, and Daniel von Bargen in the 1995 HBO film Truman.[317]

Dates of rank

No pin insignia in 1903 Second Lieutenant, United States Army: June 11, 1903
biography First Lieutenant, United States Army: April 23, 1904
biography Captain, United States Army: February 27, 1911
biography Major, United States Army: December 11, 1915
biography Colonel, National Army: August 5, 1917
biography Brigadier General, National Army: June 26, 1918
Brigadier General rank made permanent in the Regular Army: January 20, 1920
biography Major General, Regular Army: January 17, 1925
biography General for temporary service as Army Chief of Staff: November 21, 1930
biography Reverted to permanent rank of Major General, Regular Army: October 1, 1935
biography Retired in grade as a General on Regular Army rolls: December 31, 1937
biography Recalled to active service as a Major General in the Regular Army: July 26, 1941
biography Lieutenant General in the Army of the United States: July 27, 1941
biography General, Army of the United States: December 18, 1941
biography General of the Army, Army of the United States: December 18, 1944
General of the Army rank made permanent in the Regular Army: March 23, 1946

In 1955, a bill was in the early stages of consideration by the United States Congress which would have authorized the President of the United States to promote Douglas MacArthur to the rank of General of the Armies (a similar measure had also been proposed unsuccessfully in 1945). However, because of several complications which would arise if such a promotion were to take place, the bill was withdrawn.

Awards and decorations


  A graphic representation of Douglas MacArthur's American military ribbons, as they would be displayed today.

During his military career, General MacArthur was awarded the following decorations from the United States and other allied nations. The list below is of those medals worn on a military uniform, and does not include commemorative medals, unofficial decorations, and non-portable awards.During his military career, General MacArthur was awarded the following decorations from the United States and other allied nations. The list below is of those medals worn on a military uniform, and does not include commemorative medals, unofficial decorations, and non-portable awards.


Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross with two oak leaf clusters
Army Distinguished Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
biography Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star six oak leaf clusters, represented by one silver and one bronze oak leaf cluster

Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star with "V" device
Purple Heart with one oak leaf cluster

Air Medal
Presidential Unit Citation six oak leaf clusters, represented by one silver and one bronze oak leaf cluster

Philippine Campaign Medal

Mexican Service Medal
World War I Victory Medal with five battle clasps (Aisne-Marne, Champagne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne and Defensive Sector)

Army of Occupation of Germany Medal

American Defense Service Medal with “Foreign Service” clasp
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two silver service stars and arrowhead device

World War II Victory Medal

Army of Occupation Medal with “Japan” clasp

National Defense Service Medal posthumously eligible for bronze service star
Korean Service Medal with three bronze service stars and arrowhead device

United Nations Service Medal

Bibliographybr>MacArthur, Douglas (1942). Waldrop, Frank C. ed. MacArthur on War. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce. OCLC 1163286.
—— (1952). Revitalizing a Nation; a Statement of Beliefs, Opinions, and Policies Embodied in the Public Pronouncements of Douglas MacArthur. Chicago: Heritage Foundation. OCLC 456989.
—— (1964). Reminiscences. New York: McGraw-Hill. OCLC 562005.
—— (1965). Whan Jr, Vorin E. ed. A Soldier Speaks; Public Papers and Speeches of General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur. New York: Praeger. OCLC 456849.
—— (1965) (Juvenile audience). Courage was the Rule: General Douglas MacArthur's Own Story (Abridged ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. OCLC 1307481.
—— (1965). Duty, Honor, Country; a Pictorial Autobiography. (1st ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. OCLC 1342695.
—— (1966). Willoughby, Charles A. ed (4 Volumes). Reports of General MacArthur. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. OCLC 407539.












Gen. MacArthur, the 'perfumed prince'
Geoff Metcalf interviews author, Korean War vet, Stanley Weintraub

By Geoff Metcalf

Gen. Douglas MacArthur is viewed historically as either a brilliant strategist or the epitome of the Greek concept of hubris. Professor Stanley Weintraub, a Korean War veteran, has written an intriguing new book about the general, entitled, "MacArthur's War: Korea and the Undoing of an American Hero." An acclaimed historian, Weintraub teaches at Penn State.
WorldNetDaily reporter Geoff Metcalf recently interviewed Stanley Weintraub about his book and its colorful subject.

Question: MacArthur is a study in contrasts. There is really no gray area. Analyses are either really good or really bad.

Answer: The strange thing is, he really was both. He was a brilliant tactician. He was a great leader. He was the youngest general in the army in World War I at the age of 38 and a brilliant superintendent of West Point, where he revised the curriculum. At that point, it appeared that MacArthur was the greatest general we ever produced.

Q: On the other side of the coin, he was what Col. David Hackworth would call a "perfumed prince."

A: Yes, he was. And, strangely enough, the very conservative National Review just published a review of the book and titled it "Five-Star Peacock." Even the National Review has to go along with the fact that the peacock side of him really got in the way.

Q: What I really liked about the book is that you do what in the military we used to call a SWOT analysis of sorts. You address Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. With MacArthur, you really didn't have enough pages to cover it all.

A: I only tell the story -- the 11 months in Korea, during which he plummeted from one of the great heroes in American history, to an also-ran.

Q: His actual "feet on the ground" visits to Korea were really photo opportunities.

A: Yes. He took 13 photo-op trips to Korea, staying from 90 minutes to three or four hours.

Q: Where did he run the war?

A: He didn't stay overnight one night in Korea. He ran the war from the American embassy in Tokyo where he lived and from the Daiichi insurance building across from the Emperor's Palace in Tokyo. That was a fascinating sight for him and I think it made a great deal of difference. He reigned over the Emperor's Palace as the shogun who ran the occupation for about five years. He was, in effect, the emperor. And in that capacity, he became just ungovernable. There was nothing Washington could tell him to do.

MacArthur was thinking about his place in history. He was 70 years old when the war began. He had become the senior general and the highest-ranking general in the Army. There were only a few five-star generals left after World War II. He had taken the place of the emperor in Japan. He had been one of the two theater commanders in World War II and was given a lot of the credit for winning the war in the Pacific. Everything was coming up roses for him and there was just one thing left -- could he still become president? There still was that possibility. He toyed with the idea in 1948 when Harry Truman won miraculously.

Q: You say he actually courted his own dismissal in an effort to undermine Truman.

A: Yes. He wanted to not only undermine Truman but he wanted to create a groundswell of acclaim for himself so that he could ride in on that acclaim and return to the United States as a conquering hero -- as somebody who had been kept from winning the war in Korea by small-minded men. After all, Harry Truman was only a National Guard artillery captain when MacArthur was a general in France in World War I. And here the guy was president and his commander-in-chief. He had absolute contempt for Harry Truman.

Q: You write he was also obsessed with the "Red Menace."
A: He was obsessed with the Red Menace as many ultraconservatives were. They felt that there was a sellout of China by the American government, that somehow the Mao government who had won the civil war was permitted to win it by our mistakes and our neglect.

But it just wasn't true. Chiang Kai-shek and his armies were corrupt and inefficient. With all the supplies we gave him, he was just run out of China and left on Taiwan, which they then called Formosa. MacArthur was convinced that Taiwan was like an artillery shell that could have been fired back into mainland China to upset the revolution.

Q: I knew the guy had a monster ego and all that goes with it but I did not know that MacArthur had actually considered using atomic bombs on Chinese territory.

A: I think he toyed with the idea, not realizing that there would be no way the administration in Washington would give him permission to do it. He did not use the atomic bombs in World War II. That was Adm. Nimitz's theater. The Pacific war was divided into two theaters and MacArthur had the theater involving the Philippine islands and the island hopping that was done into Okinawa and Iwo Jima.

Q: Are you saying he had A-bomb envy?

A: He may have had A-bomb envy. He hadn't had a shot at it. He didn't end the war. The man who ended the war was the admiral.

Q: Please explain this "Operation Yo-Yo" where Marine Divisions sailed up and down the coast basically looking for an objective. How did that happen?

A: That was one of the most harebrained things MacArthur ever did in his life. Strangely, it followed what was probably the most brilliant tactical maneuvers he ever made -- Inch'ŏn.

He arranged for the landing at Inch'ŏn just north of Sŏul and bottled up about 150,000 North Koreans, and it looked as though he had won the war. But he wanted to chase the North Koreans not only beyond the 38th parallel, which was the dividing line between the two Koreas, but he wanted to unify Korea top to bottom right up to the Manchurian border. And so he decided not to have the chase continue, which is what should have been done. Instead, he had his favorite general, who had been his chief-of-staff, Edward Almond, take the First Marine Division and some other Army troops, load them back on their boats and sail all the way around Korea to the other side. They were to sail around to the other side, land somewhere on the northeast coast and chase the enemy further north.

The only trouble was our intelligence was so bad because MacArthur had toadies who only told him what he wanted to know. They told him the Chinese wouldn't intervene, that there would be no problem and that they could land very easily. They loaded the Marines back up and they found tens of thousands of mines.

That was going to keep them from landing. Meanwhile, Bob Hope had arrived to entertain the troops. He landed by air and saw the whole convoy offshore. We have a cartoon in the book that was published at the time of Bob Hope waving at the American forces offshore. That is where they were stuck. That whole operation delayed the chase north six weeks to two months. By the time the Marines got up into the hills, winter had set-in and the Chinese had intervened.

While the troops were waiting to land, we had no minesweepers. MacArthur had to get old Japanese minesweepers -- which were illegal to use in the war -- but he got them anyway. And, while the mines were being swept and one Japanese minesweeper was sunk, the Marines went up and down the coast -- because if they had just wallowed there, they all would have been seasick. They called this "Operation Yo-Yo" -- up and down, up and down the coast of Korea.

Finally, they landed, but the Chinese had landed also and we didn't even know the Chinese were there. MacArthur had promised Harry Truman: "Organized resistance will be terminated by Thanksgiving. They are thoroughly whipped." Well, they were not thoroughly whipped and we didn't even know the Chinese had slipped in. MacArthur's intelligence sheep had said there was no chance of it. This was an intelligence failure of the largest sort you could imagine.

Q: I heard there is some dictionary that actually has a picture of MacArthur next to the word "hubris." Is that true?

A: I don't know, but MacArthur would certainly fit the term very well indeed. But he panicked at the time the Chinese invaded and he wanted to leave Korea altogether. He had sent the Joint Chiefs a 38-sheet plan on how to withdraw all U.N. forces and equipment from Korea to Japan. He wanted to have another Dunkirk -- a term we use after World War II for a complete abandonment and evacuation. And Gen. O. P. Smith said, "Impossible. We don't have to lose this war. We can stay in Korea."

Q: Reportedly, both after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and after the Chinese showed up in Korea, MacArthur had periods where he was virtually catatonic. Is that true?

A: Not after the Chinese presence in Korea, but after he first learned of the invasion of Korea. It is really strange; he suffered from an unexplained depression at those points.

When Pearl Harbor was bombed, Gen. George Marshall, who was chief-of-staff of the Army and a longtime rival of MacArthur, called him by scrambler telephone in Manila and said: "Pearl Harbor has been bombed. We are at war with Japan. They are closer to you than they are to Hawaii. You had better be on the alert. Get your planes up in the air. Get everybody on alert and be on a war footing." MacArthur did absolutely nothing. He sat on the edge of his bed and asked his wife to bring him his Bible. And he sat on the edge of his bed and read his Bible. He gave no instructions whatsoever. Nine hours after that phone call, the Japanese bombed Clark Field and destroyed most of our B-17 Flying Fortresses on the ground.
Q: Who was Maggie Higgins?

A: Maggie Higgins turns out to be the heroine of my book. I don't think I intended that when I started doing the research. I never met her when I was in Korea as a young lieutenant, but I should have liked to. She was 29 or 30 at the time the Korean War began. She had served as a war correspondent for the Herald Tribune in Europe in the last year of World War II. In Korea, she was a tough, go-getting reporter and wasn't above using, as one correspondent put it, "her little girl smile and her big girl body" to get the jump on the competition.

Q: And she was very successful in doing that.

A: She sure was. And she was successful with MacArthur, too. MacArthur liked her and gave her opportunities to cover the war that other people didn't have.

Q: And she didn't do the reporting from some embassy suite somewhere.

A: Oh no. She did the reporting right on the spot and got into a lot of dangerous places. The result was MacArthur's people in Korea wanted her evicted. They said there was no place for her in Korea because there were no ladies' rooms.

At one point, she was evicted from Korea and a Soviet newspaper picked-up the story and ran a cartoon showing her being evicted at bayonet point and the caption read, "MacArthur's First Victory."

Q: So what did Maggie do?

A: In Tokyo, she marched right up to the Daiichi Insurance building where MacArthur was holed-up and demanded to be let back into Korea. He started to tell her war stories and, before long, she had completely turned him around and she went back to Korea.

Q: It seems odd to some that, in Japan, MacArthur seemed to adopt many of FDR's policies and he was supposed to be very conservative.

A: He did bring in "New Deal" policies, social policies giving women the vote and so forth. Fiscally, he remained a conservative, but otherwise he was a social liberal and that was a very strange combination to have at that time. He was a very effective man in running the Japanese government; he just didn't run the American Army. He never visited the Army. He never was out on maneuvers with them. He saw the Army people once a year when they paraded in front of him in Tokyo.

Q: The book focuses on the 11 months of the Korean War, but you provide some interesting underpinnings of the political climate in Washington, Moscow and Peking. What was going on with Stalin and Mao and MacArthur's staff?

A: Stalin, for one thing, was very happy to have that war going on with surrogates, substitutes for his Soviets running the war. They would distract the Americans, he hoped, in Asia while he continued to do what he could to undermine Western Europe. So he wanted the Korean War to go on as long as it could.

He was very happy to have it continue, and he offered all the hardware the North Koreans wanted. He wanted them to pay for it eventually. But he sent them hardware and, at one point, he sent aircraft with pilots. The pilots were told to wear Korean uniforms and they were instructed not to stray below the Yalu River because, if they were shot down, he didn't want us to capture them. And we tried very hard in Korea to capture a Russian. We never captured a Russian. We once captured a Russian woman, who might have been a camp follower, but we never captured any Russians and that made Stalin very happy. I knew when I was on the troop ship going home in March of 1953 and heard that Stalin had died that the war would soon be over.

Q: Why?

A: Because now Mao was free to be himself and to take Chinese self interest as more important than Stalin's interest.

MacArthur would have liked to become president. He thought that maybe in 1952, if he had overwhelming support when he came home, he might be the Republican candidate for president finally. But the Republicans weren't really interested in him because he had not been back in the United States in nearly 15 years. He knew nothing of domestic politics and nothing of the United States. The irony of this is, the man who became the winning candidate in 1952 was the very young officer who he had had in the Philippines who was, he said, "The best clerk I ever had."

July 13, 1950

Collins and Vandenberg returned to Tokyo
[5-7/13 2300] , where they again conferred with MacArthur, then flew back to Washington, where they arrived on July 14, Washington time.

"While defending Suwŏn Airfield, Air Force Lieutenant Orrin R. Fox, 80th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, scored two Yak9 kills and Lieutenants Richard J. Burns, 35th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, and Harry T. Sandlin, 80th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, each shot down a Yak fighter. These were the first aerial victories made by F51 Mustang pilots in the Korean War. Interestingly, General MacArthur witnessed the air battle while conferring with Syngman Rhee." 

  Name Rank  Service  Unit Flying Shoot Down Credit
1 Burns, Ricahrd 1Lt USAF 35 Sq F51 IL 10 1
2 Fox, Orrin 2Lt USAF 8 Sq F51 IL 10 2
3 Marsh, Roy 1Lt USAF 8 Sq F80 IL 10 1
4 Sandlin, Harry 1Lt USAF 8 Sq F51 LA 7 1



June 25, 1950

This particular Sunday the return from wince they came did not happen exactly as expected.  In Tokyo when  of the SCAP staff learned from Edith Sebald that something was amiss in Korea, he quickly passed the word to General of the Army Douglas A. MacArthur, who was quartered at the  Dai Ichi Life Insurance building.  The General had gotten the word from General Ned [Edward M.] Almond about two hours after the attack began [about 6AM].  FEAF would not learn of it for another three and three quarter hours.  It would not be until 11:30 AM that the whole of FEAF was notified of the incursion.  In the mean time the General of the Army wanted to be alone with his thoughts.  Being so early his wife came in and ask if everything was all right.  He told Jean the news, then his dog Blackie came by followed by Arthur his son.  The General continued to ponder the situation, which he likened to Sunday morning eleven years previous.  Larry Bunker the Generals aid though he had shad ten years from his countenance when latter he saw him

June 25, 1950


Because the enemy had attacked on a Sunday, telephone circuits between Tokyo and Sŏul were closed. As a consequence, most SCAP staff officers were spared a rude awakening. It was a sunny, pleasant morning; the Huffs and several others were lounging beside the embassy swimming pool, enjoying it, when Edith Sebald arrived and mentioned casually that she had just heard about the hostilities on the radio.

Huff questioned her excitedly and rushed to tell MacArthur, but the General already knew   had known, in fact, for hours. In the first gray moments of daylight a duty officer had phoned from the Dai Ichi:

"General, we have just received a dispatch from Sŏul, advising that the North Koreans have struck in great strength south across the 38th Parallel at four o'clock this morning."

MacArthur, remembering Manila nearly nine years earlier, felt

"an uncanny feeling of nightmare. . . . It was the same fell note of the war cry that was again ringing in my ears. It couldn't be, I told myself. Not again! I must still be asleep and dreaming. Not again! But then came the crisp, cool voice of my fine chief of staff, General Ned [Edward M.] Almond, `Any orders, General?"'

Barring urgent developments, the Supreme Commander said, he wanted to be left alone with his own reflections. Stepping into his slippers and his frayed robe, he began striding back and forth in his bedroom. Presently Jean stepped in from her room.

"I heard you pacing up and down," she said. "Are you all right?"

He told her the news, and she paled. Later Blackie bounded in, tried to divert his master with coaxing barks, and failing, slunk off. Then Arthur appeared for his morning romp with his father. Jean intercepted him and told him there would be no frolicking today. MacArthur put his arm around his son's shoulders, paused, thrust his hands in the pockets of his robe, and renewed his strides.

His moods in those first hours of the new war were oddly uneven. At the prospect of new challenges, he became euphoric. George Marshall, during a recent stop in Tokyo, had thought that the Supreme Commander had

"aged immeasurably"

since their last meeting, but now Larry Bunker discovered him

"reinvigorated ... like an old fire horse back in harness."

Another aide believed the General had

"peeled ten years from his shoulders,"

and Sebald noted:

"Despite his years, the General seemed impatient for action."

 Yet at the same time he appeared. to be trying to convince himself that there would be no need for action.

June 25, 1950

Commanding the United States armed forces in the Far East on 25 June 1950 was General MacArthur. He held three command assignments and wore three hats:

(1) as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) he acted as agent for the thirteen nations of the Far Eastern Commission sitting in Washington directing the occupation of Japan;

(2) as Commander in Chief, Far East (CINCFE), he commanded all U.S. military forces-Army, Air, and Navy-in the western Pacific of the Far East Command; and

(3) as Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces, Far East, CINCAFFE he commanded the U.S. Army in the Far East.

June 25, 1950

Misled by  Roberts and Muccio, MacArthur and his GHQ continued to take a casual view of the situation in South Korea. On the first day of the alert Acheson's special representative John Foster Dulles, who was in Tokyo working on the Japanese peace treaty and who had recently visited South Korea, called on MacArthur to express his concern. Curiously MacArthur told Dulles the exact opposite of what his G2, Willoughby, had told the Pentagon: that the NKPA attack was "not an all-out effort" to subjugate South Korea. He went on to assure Dulles confidently that the ROK Army "would gain victory." In a memo describing this encounter and his ensuing experience in Tokyo, Dulles wrote that two full days elapsed before GHQ realized the NKPA attack was "serious."[3-22]

[When did MacArthur first go to Korea?] June 28th

June 25

In a teleconference between Washington and Tokyo that evening, General MacArthur received his instructions. The JCS ordered him to send any ammunition and equipment to Korea which he believed necessary to prevent the loss of the key Sŏul-Kimp'o-Inch'ŏn area. He was to give such supply movements air and naval cover, and take such additional action as proved necessary to safeguard the evacuation of noncombatants from Korea. To augment naval cover, the JCS ordered the U. S. Seventh Fleet to Sasebo Harbor where it was to report to Vice Adm. C. Turner Joy, Commander of Navy Forces, Far East (COMNAVFE). The JCS warned MacArthur that further high level decisions might be expected as the situation developed.

June 25, 1950 0700


  It was early morning Sunday, June 25, 1950, when the telephone rang in my bedroom at the American Embassy in Tokyo. It rang with the note of urgency that can sound only in the hush of a darkened room. It was the duty officer at headquarters. "General," he said, "we have just received a dispatch from Sŏul, advising that the North Koreans have struck in great strength south across the 38th Parallel at four o'clock this morning." Thousands of Red Korean troops had poured over the border, overwhelming the South Korean advance posts, and were moving southward with a speed and power that was sweeping aside all opposition.

I had an uncanny feeling of nightmare. It had been nine years before, on a Sunday morning, at the same hour, that a telephone call with the same note of urgency had awakened me in the penthouse atop the Manila Hotel. It was the same fell note of the war cry that was again ringing in my ears. It couldn't be, I told myself. Not again! I must still be asleep and dreaming. Not again! But then came the crisp, cool voice of my fine chief of staff, General Ned Almond, "Any orders, General?"
How, I asked myself, could the United States have allowed such a deplorable situation to develop? I thought back to those days, only a short time before, when our country had been militarily more powerful than any nation on earth. General Marshall, then Army chief of staff, had reported to the Secretary of War in 1945: "Never was the strength of American democracy as evident nor has it ever been so clearly within our power to give definite guidance for our course into the future of the human race." But in the short space of five years this power had been frittered away in a bankruptcy of positive and courageous leadership toward any long-range objectives. Again I asked myself, "What is United States policy in Asia?" And the appalling thought came, "The United States has no definite 'policy in Asia."    [note]


June 28, 1950

MacArthur first trip to Korea via Bataan

On June 28 MacArthur made the first of 13 oversight visits to Korea—each lasting only a few hours—by air to Suwŏn, returning to Tokyo in time for dinner. Although he became, by a July 7 Security Council Resolution, the United Nations' commander in Korea, he never spent a single night on Korean soil.

June 25, 1950 1200

A message ninety minutes later gave confirmation. General MacArthur immediately informed Washington, and, within a few hours, sent the first comprehensive situation report on the Korean fighting. [04-16]

As the news from Korea worsened later that first day, General MacArthur warned Washington officials,

"Enemy effort serious in strength and strategic intent and is undisguised act of war subject to United Nations censure."

 But he hardly realized how strong it was. His situation report showed only three North Korean divisions along the entire border.

June 25, 1950 1200
That noon a correspondent about to catch a plane for home asked him about the significance of the Korean developments, explaining that he would remain in Japan if there was any likelihood of a widening conflict. General MacArthur told him it was merely "a border incident," that he "shouldn't be concerned over such a trifle." He took the same line with Dulles. The ROKs would hold, the General predicted; a few LSTs landing craft could bring out any Americans who wanted to leave under an umbrella of fighter planes, and that would be the end of it.

Dulles was 'unconvinced. Later in the day he called again, and was dismayed to find that MacArthur was still confident. The General said that he had heard he might become responsible for Korea, but it was his impression that his duties would be administrative. At all events, he saw no cause for alarm.

 Dulles was unconvinced. Always the super hawk, he wired Acheson:

"Believe that if it appears the South Koreans cannot contain or repulse the attack, United States forces should be used even though this risks Russian counter moves. To sit by while Korea is overrun by unprovoked armed attack would start a world war."

How a big war could be prevented by waging a small one was not mentioned. It didn't have to be; since Munich the proposition had been accepted as an article of faith by American diplomats in both parties. Later, in the debates over Vietnam, it would be incorporated in the domino theory.[9]

June 25, 1950 1200


A message ninety minutes later gave confirmation. General MacArthur immediately informed Washington and, within a few hours, sent the first comprehensive situation report on the Korean fighting. [04-16]

As the news from Korea worsened later that first day, General MacArthur warned Washington officials, "Enemy effort serious in strength and strategic intent and is undisguised act of war subject to United Nations censure." But he hardly realized how strong it was. His situation report showed only three North Korean divisions along the entire border. [04-17]


American Ambassador to Korea Muccio conferred with President Rhee, who said that the ROK Army would be out of ammunition within ten days. Muccio quickly cabled MacArthur for replenishment.


The Ambassador had already directed the acting chief of KMAG, Colonel Wright, to request an immediate shipment of ammunition for 105-mm. howitzers, 60-mm. mortars, and .30-caliber carbines. [04-18]


Before the day was out, [6/25] General MacArthur ordered General Walker to load the USNS Sergeant George D. Keathley (T-APC-117), then in Yokohama Harbor, with 105,000 rounds of 105-mm. ammunition and 265,000 rounds of 81-mm. mortar, 89,000 rounds of 60-mm. mortar, and 2,480,000 rounds of .30-caliber carbine ammunition. He wanted the Keathley to reach Pusan no later than 1 July. He directed FEAF and COMNAVFE to protect the Keathley en route and during cargo discharge. In his information report to the Department of the Army, MacArthur said that he intended

"to supply ROK all needed supplies as long as they show ability to use same." [04-19]

These actions MacArthur took independently. He received no authority from the JCS to supply the ROK until the following day, at 1330, 26 June. {this appears to be incorrect}

June 25, 1950 1200

A message ninety minutes later gave confirmation. General MacArthur immediately informed Washington and, within a few hours, sent the first comprehensive situation report on the Korean fighting. [04-16]

As the news from Korea worsened later that first day, General MacArthur warned Washington officials,

"Enemy effort serious in strength and strategic intent and is undisguised act of war subject to United Nations censure."

 But he hardly realized how strong it was. His situation report showed only three North Korean divisions along the entire border. [04-17]

June 25, 1950 1200


A message ninety minutes later gave confirmation. General MacArthur immediately informed Washington and, within a few hours, sent the first comprehensive situation report on the Korean fighting. [04-16]

As the news from Korea worsened later that first day, General MacArthur warned Washington officials, "Enemy effort serious in strength and strategic intent and is undisguised act of war subject to United Nations censure." But he hardly realized how strong it was. His situation report showed only three North Korean divisions along the entire border. [04-17]


American Ambassador to Korea Muccio conferred with President Rhee, who said that the ROK Army would be out of ammunition within ten days. Muccio quickly cabled MacArthur for replenishment.


The Ambassador had already directed the acting chief of KMAG, Colonel Wright, to request an immediate shipment of ammunition for 105-mm. howitzers, 60-mm. mortars, and .30-caliber carbines. [04-18]


Before the day was out, [6/25] General MacArthur ordered General Walker to load the USNS Sergeant George D. Keathley (T-APC-117), then in Yokohama Harbor, with 105,000 rounds of 105-mm. ammunition and 265,000 rounds of 81-mm. mortar, 89,000 rounds of 60-mm. mortar, and 2,480,000 rounds of .30-caliber carbine ammunition. He wanted the Keathley to reach Pusan no later than 1 July. He directed FEAF and COMNAVFE to protect the Keathley en route and during cargo discharge. In his information report to the Department of the Army, MacArthur said that he intended

"to supply ROK all needed supplies as long as they show ability to use same." [04-19]

These actions MacArthur took independently. He received no authority from the JCS to supply the ROK until the following day, at 1330, 26 June. {this appears to be incorrect}

June 25, 1950 1500

 biography  biography

During the afternoon of 25 June ROK President Syngman Rhee's importunate telephone calls kept Ambassador Muccio occupied. President Rhee believed that the ROK ground troops would offer effective opposition, but he was greatly worried about the Reds' superiority in tanks and aircraft.


 Unable to contact General MacArthur, Rhee telephoned an urgent plea to Muccio. Give us ten F-51 aircraft, with bombs and "bazookas" (rockets), he begged. Deliver them before dawn on 26 June to Korean pilots who will be waiting at Taegu. Unless these planes are received, Rhee warned, it will be very difficult to meet the northern attack. Rhee also asked for heavier artillery which could disable or destroy Communist tanks, specifically 75-mm. antitank guns, 105-mm. howitzers, and 155-mm. howitzers.#21

Ambassador Muccio relayed these requests to Tokyo and reported to the U.S. Secretary of State that Rhee was most concerned about his lack of air capabilities.

"As Department doubtless aware," Muccio cabled, "Rhee and other Korean officials will look to United States for air assistance above all else. Future course of hostilities may depend largely on whether United States will or will not give adequate air assistance." #22  

June 25, 1950 1700 3AM Washington

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But at 1700 hours the Yaks returned. Two. of them strafed Kimp'o, hitting the control tower, a gasoline dump, and an American Military Air transport Service (MATS) C-54 which was grounded with a damaged wing. Four other Yaks strafed the Sŏul Airfield and damaged seven out of ten trainer airplanes which the ROK Air Force had there.

At approximately 1900 hours six other North Korean fighters again strafed Kimp'o. This time they completely destroyed the hapless MATS transport.#20

American Ambassador to Korea Muccio conferred with President Syngman Rhee, who said that the ROK Army would be out of ammunition within ten days. Muccio quickly cabled MacArthur, for replenishment. The Ambassador had already directed the acting chief of KMAG, Colonel Wright to request an immediate shipment of ammunition for 105-mm. howitzers, 60-mm. mortars, and .30-caliber carbines. [04-18]

June 25, 1950 2100


Late on Sunday, the American Ambassador to Korea,  John Muccio, asked that they be brought out. I (MacArthur) acted immediately. Within minutes, flights of transport planes were rising off runways in Japan and ships at sea were swinging about and heading full draft toward Korean ports. When enemy aircraft began to threaten, I sent in our warplanes from Japan. The operation was successfully concluded without the loss of a single man, woman, or child.

June 26, 1950 ADCOM in Korea


General MacArthur as Commander in Chief, Far East, had no responsibility in Korea on 25 June 1950 except to support KMAG and the American Embassy logistically to the Korean water line. This situation changed when President Truman authorized him on 26 June, Far Eastern Time, to send a survey party (ADCOM) to Korea.

June 26, 1950


On the following day, June 26 in Tokyo, MacArthur received the four point directive which had been drawn up and approved at the Blair House meeting. Since he had already ordered the ammunition to be sent to South Korea and alerted his air and naval forces to provide protection for the evacuation of the 2,000 American civilians from Sŏul and could do nothing about the Seventh Fleet except await its arrival, that left only one unfulfilled item: dispatching the "survey party" to South Korea to find out what was going on and determine what else the ROKs might need. The very same afternoon MacArthur chose a GHQ section chief, Brigadier General John H. Church, to command the party (twelve other officers and two enlisted men) and told him to go to Korea immediately.[3-23]

 John Church was then only several days shy of his fifty-eighth birthday, older even than JCS Chairman Omar Bradley. He was "homey" and "frail" and sick, almost crippled by arthritis. To relieve the agonizing pain, he kept a bottle of whiskey close at hand. Although far from well, Church was not lacking in courage. As a young lieutenant in World War I he had twice been wounded leading infantry units in the trenches. In World War II, as chief of staff of the crack 45th Infantry Division, he had been in the thick of the fighting in Sicily, at Salerno, at Anzio (where he temporarily commanded an infantry regiment), and in southern France. Later, as assistant division commander (ADC) of Alex Bolling's 84th Infantry Division in the ETO, he had fought in Holland and Germany, where he was wounded for the third time. In the two world wars Church had won a DSC and two Silver Stars for heroism, plus a host of other medals.

June 26, 1950


To many, however, it seemed that Church's time had come and gone, that to send him off to yet another war at his age and in his poor state of health was unfair and unwise. MacArthur, who had turned seventy in January, apparently did not share that view. One result was that by and large, Army officers sent to Korea were older and, in some cases, less robust than their World War II counterparts.[3-24]*

 *At the time of the Normandy invasion Eisenhower was fifty-three, Bradley fifty-one. Army Chief of Staff George Marshall (then sixty-three) believed strongly that younger men should command in the field, but seniority and other factors tied his hands. Hence the three American Army commanders at Normandy were considered "old": Courtney Hodges (First), fifty-seven; George Patton (Third) fifty-eight; William H. Simpson (Ninth) fifty-six. Fifth Army commander Mark Clark and his classmate Joe Collins (in line for ETO Army command), both forty-eight, more nearly fitted Marshall's age criterion.

June 26, 1950

biography   biography   biography

At 0045 hours on 26 June Brig. Gen. Jarred V. Crabb, the FEAF Director of Operations, awakened General Partridge with a telephone call: General MacArthur had ordered FEAF to provide fighter cover while the freighters loaded and withdrew from Inch'ŏn. The fighters were to remain offshore at all times, but they were to shoot in defense of the freighters.

General Partridge instructed the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing to furnish the freighters with combat air patrols. Within a few minutes, however, Fifth Air Force operations let General Crabb know that Colonel Price anticipated difficulties. This patrol work was a job for long-range conventional aircraft, not for the speedy but fuel-hungry jets. Colonel Price's 68th Fighter All-Weather Squadron had twelve operational F-82's, but he needed more aircraft than this. The Fifth Air Force first asked if it would not be possible to use the RAAF No. 77 Squadron's Mustangs, but General Crabb replied that the British had not yet taken a stand in the Korean war. The Fifth Air Force therefore ordered the 339th Fighter All-Weather Squadron to move its combat-ready F-82's from Yokota to Itazuke. This was still not enough of the long-range fighters, and General Crabb ordered the Twentieth Air Force to send eight of the 4th Squadron's planes up to Itazuke from Okinawa. To clear his ramps to receive these additional fighters, Colonel Price moved the contingent of C-54's from Itazuke to nearby Ashiya.  

 June 26, 1950 0900


Monday morning Sunday evening in Washington  [6/26/1950 0900 - [6/25/1960 2000 DC]  MacArthur's first Korean orders came in over his telecon, a form of communication comprising two typewriters and two screens;  messages punched out on the Pentagon keyboard appeared on MacArthur's tube.

Operation of all U.S., forces in Asia was now officially vested in him. His new title, added to SCAP, was Commander in Chief, Far East (CINCFE). He was instructed to "support the Republic of Korea" with warships around, and warplanes over, South Korea. He could expect broader powers as Austin applied greater pressure on UN allies.

 Already America had one foot on the battlefield. By now reports from Taejŏn had eclipsed any hope that the invaders could be swiftly driven back, and both he and Dulles were gloomy when he drove the envoy to Haneda for his flight home.

 MacArthur, as pessimistic as he had been ebullient before, now spoke darkly of writing off the entire Korean peninsula. He had just radioed Truman:

"South Korean units unable to resist determined North Korean offensive. Contributory factor exclusive enemy possession of tanks and fighter planes. South Korean casualties as an index to fighting have not shown adequate resistance capabilities or the will to fight and our estimate is that a complete collapse is imminent."

In his reply the President again cautioned him to send no fliers or vessels north of the Parallel.   [note]

June 26,1950 900


MacArthur heartily approved of the administration's decision to intervene though it was an even greater surprise to him, he said, than the invasion but he had many reservations, and some of his assumptions would have alarmed the Blair House planners. He believed that they understood "little about the Pacific and practically nothing about Korea," that they were certain to blunder because errors were "inescapable when the diplomat attempts to exercise military judgment." The President's war cabinet was determined to confine the war, but the new CINCFE believed in the Thomist doctrine of just wars   believed that if the battlefield was the last resort of governments, then the struggle must be waged until one side had been vanquished. And while he scorned the military opinions of civilians, he didn't think that soldiers should shirk civil decisions; he had pointedly suggested to Dulles that he was  quite "prepared to deal with policy questions." This was more than presumption. He had made such decisions in Australia, the Philippines, and Japan. Few world leaders, let alone generals, were more experienced in governing nations. It is understandable that Washington should want only his military talents in this fresh crisis, but it was unreasonable to expect him, of all men, to leash himself.

The issue was further complicated by his stature among Americans. The GOP might not want him as a presidential nominee, • but he remained one of the most popular military leaders in the country's history. Delighted by his new appointment, Republicans regarded it as a sign that the administration might be veering away from its Europe first policies. The General, they thought, didn't share the liberal conviction that Asian unrest arose from poverty and the rejection of Western colonialism. They were wrong there, but right in assuming that he didn't believe that Peking might be detached from Moscow if the United States courted Mao by abandoning Formosa that he would not, in their words, "sell out" Chiang to "appease" the mainland Chinese. Above all, both U.S. political parties recognized SCAP as a powerful Pacific force whose views about the Far East carried great weight with his countrymen. This was to have grave consequences in the conduct of the Korean War.

Reluctant to offend him, and thereby risk accusations of playing politics while men were dying, virtually all of Truman's advisers, including the Joint Chiefs, including even the President himself, would prove timid and ambiguous in many key directives to him. That was inexcusable. By now they should have learned that if he were free to construe unclear orders, he would choose constructions which suited him, not them. Sebald, the foreign service officer closest to him, observes:

"With his sense of history, experience, seniority, reputation, and temperament, he did not easily compromise when his judgment or his decisions were questioned. . . . He was never reluctant to interpret his authority or to make decisions and act quickly arguing the matter later." [12] 


June 26, 1950 0900

biography    biography

In any political contest with him, the President would suffer from certain peculiar handicaps. One was his own fault. In his determination to achieve what he called an "economy budget," he had rashly slashed the Pentagon budget to 13.2 billion dollars, cutting, as Cabell Phillips of the New York Times put it, "bone and sinew along with the fat." Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson became the goat for this. After events in Korea had exposed the Pentagon's vitiation, Truman fired Johnson and appointed George Marshall in his place no improvement in MacArthur's eyes, though more acceptable to the country. But the President, despite the "Buck Stops Here" sign on his desk, was the real culprit. And he hardly improved matters by attempting to intimidate antagonists by brandishing military might which no longer existed.

In those first turbulent days of the Korean crisis he impetuously announced that the United States would not only defend Rhee's and Chiang's regimes; it would, he said, also support the Philippine campaign against the Huks and the French drive against Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. This was NSC-68 with a vengeance. It was also ludicrous. He lacked the muscle to back it up, and foreign leaders knew it. As MacArthur noted, five years before Korea the U.S. had been "militarily more powerful than any nation on earth," but now it would be hard put to push the fledgling In Min Gun back across the 38th Parallel. American power, SCAP said, had been

"frittered away in a bankruptcy of positive and courageous leadership toward any long range objective:"[13]

 The General believed he was a more eloquent advocate of traditional American idealism than the President. He may have been right. NATO, the Marshall Plan, the Berlin airlift the shining monuments of Truman's foreign policy were relatively sophisticated concepts. His constituents approved, but for the most part they were unstirred. They believed that democracy, the "American Way," was the sole answer to the world's problems. The more democratic a European nation, the more they admired it. But Europeans were prosperous. The real test, as they saw it, lay in Asia. In some mysterious way they had regarded the triumphant end of World War II as a victory for American ideals. The successful reformation of Japan and the new Philippine republic were cited as evidence of it. That was one reason the cataclysm in China had shaken them. 

June 26, 1950 0900


MacArthur believed that the postwar struggle lay between   Christian democracy and "imperialistic Communism." Most of the United States agreed   as Walter Lippmann pointed out, it is hard for Americans to feel secure in an environment not governed by Christian concepts though there was a subtle difference between the General's view and theirs. As the popularity of McCarthyism attested, they were more offended by Marxist zealots, particularly American Marxists, than by Sino-Soviet hunger for power. MacArthur, with his nineteenth century credo, believed that the greater enemy was Muscovite adventurism. He would have been just as antagonistic toward them had a czar ruled in Moscow and mandarins in Peking. As he had repeatedly demonstrated in Tokyo, he was capable of adopting radical solutions as long as they weren't called radical. He had always paid lip service to conservative shibboleths. In practice, he had ignored them. It was Truman, after all, who wanted to fight the Huks and Ho Chi Minh's Viet Minh. It was MacArthur who had understood the motivation of both.

It is a massive irony that this Victorian liberal should have become the first commander of a United Nations army. Thanks to Warren Austin and to the Russian walkout out from the Security Council UN prestige was now committed to the South Korean cause, and thirteen countries had promised troops if the United States committed its own ground forces. In his first press conference since the rupture of the Parallel, Truman had agreed with a reporter who had asked:

"Would it be correct to call it a police action under the United Nations?"

 The phrase was unpopular in the United States; few Americans thought it an acceptable substitute for war, or felt allegiance to the world body. Many who did had doubts about the choice of a commander. James Reston wrote in the New York Times that

"General Douglas MacArthur, at 70," was being "asked to be not only a great soldier but a great statesman; not only to direct the battle, but to satisfy the Pentagon, the State Department, and the United Nations in the process."

Reston noted that unlike Eisenhower, with his "genius for international teamwork," MacArthur

"is a sovereign power in his own right, with stubborn confidence in his own judgment. Diplomacy and a vast concern for the opinions and sensitivities of others are the political qualities essential to this new assignment, and these are precisely the qualities General MacArthur has been accused of lacking in the past."  

June 26, 1950 0900


Early on Sunday evening, shortly before the President arrived in Washington, the Joint Chiefs of Staff held a teletype conference with General MacArthur. They notified MacArthur of the tentative plans made by Defense and State officials to ship supplies and equipment, which MacArthur had already started, and to extend his responsibility to include operational control of all U. S. military activities in Korea. They said he might also be directed to commit certain forces, principally naval and air, to protect the Sŏul-Kimp'o-Inch'ŏn area to assure the safe evacuation of American nationals and to gain time for action on the measures then before the United Nations. Most significantly, they alerted him to be ready to send U. S. ground and naval forces to stabilize the combat situation and, if feasible, to restore the 38th Parallel as a boundary. This action, they said, might be necessary if the United Nations asked member nations to employ military force. [04-22]

No decision on Korea could properly be made without a careful analysis of USSR intentions. The United States believed Russia to be the real aggressor in Korea, in spirit if not in fact, and effective measures to halt the aggression might therefore provoke total war. Hence, a decision to meet force with force implied a willingness to fight a full-scale war with Russia if necessary. The determinant for Korea was, then, as always: "What will Russia do?" [04-23]

The possible reactions of nations other than Russia were also important. Each alternative open to the United States was accompanied by a strong chance of alienating nations upon whose continuing friendship and support American policy was based. Inaction would be condemned by some nations as a betrayal of the ROK Government. It would gravely impair American efforts to maintain prestige in Asia as well as in other areas, and would cause such nations as Great Britain, Italy, and Japan to re-examine the wisdom of supporting the United States. On the other hand, if the United States took unilateral military measures against the North Korean attackers, Russian charges of imperialistic action and defiance of the United Nations would appear valid to many nations. The effect would be to anger these nations and to render them more susceptible to Russian points of view.

The most sensible course seemed to be a co-operative effort among members of the United Nations to halt the aggression. But South Korea needed help at once; and the United Nations could hardly act swiftly enough. Furthermore, communist members of the United Nations could be expected to oppose joint action.  

June 26, 1950 1100


President Truman and his key advisers gathered at the Blair House in Washington on the evening of 25 June for an exchange of views. Five State Department members, the Secretaries of the military departments, the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chief of Staff were present. [04-24]

At this meeting, the policy-makers discussed the major problems facing the United States in the Far East. Foremost in their minds was a consideration of Soviet intentions and American capabilities. Louis A. Johnson, Secretary of Defense, believed strongly that Formosa was more vital to the security of the United States than Korea, and at his direction General Bradley, now Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, read a memorandum on Formosa prepared by General MacArthur. At the insistence of Secretary of State Acheson, questions of Formosa were postponed temporarily, and the attention of the group was redirected to Korea. [04-25]

 Acheson recommended that General MacArthur furnish supplies and ammunition to the ROK at once and that he be directed to evacuate U.S. nationals by any means required. When no one offered to comment on Acheson's proposals, Johnson asked each defense representative in turn for an expression of opinion. The responses came forth, and

"A major portion of the evening was taken in the individual, unrehearsed, unprepared and uncoordinated statements of the several Chiefs and the Secretaries." [04-26] 

June 26, 1200

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General Bradley summed up the prevailing opinion. He said that the United States would have to draw the line on communist aggression somewhere-and that somewhere was Korea. He did not believe that Russia was ready to fight the United States, but was merely testing American determination. President Truman agreed emphatically. He did not expect the North Koreans to pay any attention to the pronouncement of the United Nations, and he felt that the United Nations would have to apply force. [04-29]

2230 Washington 1300 Korea

Before the meeting adjourned at 2300, President Truman approved the actions proposed by Secretary Acheson and already set in motion by General MacArthur.

June 24, 1950 1330

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American Ambassador to Korea Muccio conferred with President Rhee, who said that the ROK Army would be out of ammunition within ten days. Muccio quickly cabled MacArthur for replenishment. The Ambassador had already directed the acting chief of KMAG, Colonel Wright, to request an immediate shipment of ammunition for 105-mm. howitzers, 60-mm. mortars, and .30-caliber carbines. [04-18]