General Douglas MacArthur: Wikis


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Douglas MacArthur
January 26, 1880 (1880-01-26)April 5, 1964 (1964-04-06) (aged 84)
MacArthur Manila.jpg
DMacarthur Signature.svg
1945 picture of MacArthur smoking a corncob pipe in Manila
Nickname Gaijin Shogun, Dugout Doug
Place of birth Little Rock, Arkansas
Place of death Washington, D.C.
Place of burial Norfolk, Virginia
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Years of service 1903–1951
Rank US-O11 insignia.svg General of the Army (United States Army)
Field Marshal (Philippine Army)
Service number O-57
Commands held United Nations Command (Korea)
Supreme Allied Commander Southwest Pacific Area
U.S. Army Forces Far East
Philippine Department
CSAFlag.png Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Philippine Division
U.S. Military Academy Superintendent
42nd Division
Battles/wars Mexican Revolution:

World War I:

World War II:

Korean War:

Awards Medal of Honor ribbon.svg Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross (3)
Army Distinguished Service Medal (5)
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Distinguished Flying Cross
Silver Star (7)
Bronze Star
Purple Heart (2)
Order of the Rising Sun
Complete list
Relations Arthur MacArthur, Sr. (grandfather)
Arthur MacArthur, Jr. (father)
Arthur MacArthur III (brother)
Douglas MacArthur II (nephew)
Other work Chairman of the Board of Remington Rand

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (January 26, 1880 – April 5, 1964) was an American general and Field Marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a 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 was a highly decorated soldier of the war, receiving the Medal of Honor for his early service in the Philippines. Arthur MacArthur, Jr. and Douglas MacArthur were the first father and son to each be awarded the medal. He was one of only five men ever to rise to the rank of General of the Army and the only one to become a field marshal in the Philippine Army.

The son of Arthur MacArthur, Jr., an Army officer who was awarded the Medal of Honor for the American Civil War, Douglas MacArthur was raised as a military brat in the American Old West. He attended the West Texas Military Academy, where he was valedictorian, and the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he was First Captain and graduated top of the class of 1904. During the U.S. occupation of Veracruz he conducted a daring 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 the Medal of Honor, awarded the Distinguished Service Cross twice and the Silver Star seven times for gallantry.

After the war, he was appointed Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he attempted to carry through a series of reforms. Posted to the Philippines, he dealt with a mutiny that had broken out amongst the Philippine Scouts. 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 United States 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 with the expulsion of the Bonus Army protesters fro 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 in the Far East. A series of disasters followed, starting with the destruction of his air force December 8, 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 Corregidor in for 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 he fulfilled a promise to return to the Philippines. He officially accepted Japan's surrender on September 2, 1945, and oversaw the occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1951. He led the United Nations Command in the Korean War from 1950 to 1951. On April 11, 1951, MacArthur was removed from command by President Harry S. Truman for disagreeing with Truman's policy on the Korean War.


Education and early life

Douglas MacArthur was born January 26, 1880 at the Arsenal Barracks in Little Rock, Arkansas, where his parents were stationed at the time. He was the youngest of three sons, the others being Arthur MacArthur III, born on August 1, 1876, and Malcolm on October 17, 1878.[1] Malcolm died of measles in 1883.[2] His parents were Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur, Jr., at the time a U.S. Army captain, a recipient of the Medal of Honor for the American Civil War, and Mary Pinkney Hardy MacArthur (nicknamed "Pinky") of Norfolk, Virginia.[3] Douglas MacArthur was the grandson of jurist and politician Arthur MacArthur, Sr., a Scottish immigrant.[4] Douglas was raised as a military brat on a succession of Army posts in the American Old West. In his memoir, Reminiscences, MacArthur wrote that "I learned to ride and shoot even before I could read or write—indeed, almost before I could walk and talk."[5]

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

This time on the frontier ended in July 1889 when the MacArthur family moved to Washington, DC,[6] where Douglas attended the Force Public School on Massachusetts Avenue. His father was posted to San Antonio, Texas in September 1893. While there Douglas attended the West Texas Military Academy,[7] where he was an excellent student, winning the gold medal for the "highest standing in scholarship and deportment." He was also the school tennis champion, played quarterback on the undefeated school football team, and shortstop on its baseball team. He was also valedictorian, with a final year average of 97.33.[8] In May 1896, his father was promoted to lieutenant colonel and in January he was reassigned to the Department of Dakota at St Paul, Minnesota and the family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[7] 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.[9] After these two rejections,[10] he passed a competitive examination for a congressional appointment from Congressman Theobald Otjen,[7] scoring 93.3 on the test, sixteen points higher than his nearest competitor.[9] He later wrote: "It was a lesson I never forgot. Preparedness is the key to success and victory."[7]

MacArthur entered West Point on June 13, 1899[11] and his mother also moved there to a suite at Craney's Hotel, overlooking the grounds of the Academy.[12] 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. The death of former cadet Oscar Booz in 1901 after being savagely hazed resulted in MacArthur appearing before a special Congressional committee where he was questioned about cadets implicated in hazing. In 1901, Congress outlawed acts "of a harassing, tyrannical, abusive, shameful, insulting or humiliating nature."[13] MacArthur was a corporal in Company B in his second year, a first sergeant in Company A in his third year and First Captain, the highest ranking senior cadet, in his final year.[14] He played left field for the baseball team and academically, he was an outstanding cadet, earning 2424.12 merits out of a possible 2470.00 or 98.14. He graduated first in his 93-man class in 1903.[15] On graduation June 11, 1903 MacArthur was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, it being the custom at that time for the top ranking cadets to be commissioned into that corps.[16]

Junior officer

MacArthur spent his graduation furlough with his parents at Fort Mason, where his father, now a major general, was serving as commander of the Division 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, and shot and killed both with his pistol.[17] He passed his examinations for promotion to first lieutenant in Manila in March 1904 and was promoted to the rank in April.[18] 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.[19]

In October 1905 MacArthur received orders to proceed to Tokyo, Japan 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,[20] where Arthur MacArthur resumed his duties at Fort Mason, with Douglas still his aide. In September, Douglas received orders to report to the 2nd Engineer Battalion at the Washington Barracks and enroll in the Engineer School. This was normally the next rung on the ladder for engineer officers, and MacArthur was selected a year earlier than other members of his West Point class. While there he also served at "an aide to assist at White House functions" at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt.[21]

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. [21] 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 September 5, 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, DC so his mother could be near Johns Hopkins Hospital. Army Chief of Staff, Major General Leonard Wood, an old friend of the family, 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.[22]

Veracruz Expedition

On April 21, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson was alerted to a German shipment of weapons for Victoriano Huerta and ordered the U.S. occupation of Veracruz. Secretary of War Lindley Miller Garrison designated Wood to command an expedition to Mexico City in the event that war broke out between the United States and Mexico. Wood handed over the job of Chief of Staff to Major General William Wallace Wotherspoon, and selected a headquarters staff that included MacArthur, who was sent to reconnoiter the Veracruz area. MacArthur arrived at Veracruz on the battleship USS Nebraska on May 1, 1914.[23]

MacArthur 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 of three Mexicans, successfully 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, MacArthur and his party were 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 the party were attacked by a group of about fifteen horsemen. MacArthur took three bullet holes in his clothes but was unharmed. One of his Mexican companions was lightly wounded before the horsemen finally decided to retire after MacArthur shot four of them. Further on, the party were attacked a third time by three mounted men. MacArthur received another bullet hole in his shirt, but the party, using their handcart, managed to outrun all but one of the mounted men. MacArthur shot both the mounted man and his horse, and the party had to remove the horse's carcass from the track before proceeding.[24]

A fellow officer, Captain Constant Cordier of the 4th Infantry, wrote to Wood recommending that MacArthur's name be put forward for the Medal of Honor. Wood duly did so, and Chief of Staff Hugh L. Scott convened a board to consider the award.[25] The board questioned "the advisability of this enterprise having been undertaken without the knowledge of the commanding general on the ground..."[26] This was Brigadier General Frederick Funston, a Medal of Honor winner himself, who considered that awarding the medal to MacArthur would be "entirely appropriate and justifiable."[27] 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.[28]

World War I

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

Rainbow Division

MacArthur returned to the War Department, where he was promoted to major on December 11, 1915. In 1916 Scott appointed him to a committee to study motor transport. This was a new field at the time, and the job involved working closely with the U.S. Navy, the American Automobile Association, the United States Chamber of Commerce, and the Society of Automotive Engineers.[29] In March 1916, a dispute between President Wilson and Secretary Garrison over the issue of preparedness for war led to the latter's resignation and replacement by Newton D. Baker, who had MacArthur assigned to his office as a military assistant in charge of the new Bureau of Information in June.[30] MacArthur has since been regarded as the Army's first press officer. He prepared press releases related to the Pancho Villa Expedition, the National Defense Act of 1916 and the Selective Service Act of 1917.[31] Following the declaration of war on Germany on April 6, 1917, Baker and MacArthur put the case before President Wilson for the use of the National Guard on the Western Front, and secured his agreement. To give effect to the decision, MacArthur suggested sending first a division organized from units of different states, so as to avoid the appearance of favoritism towards any particular state. Baker approved the creation of this formation, which became the 42nd ("Rainbow") Division, the head of the National Guard Bureau, Major General William A. Mann as its commander and MacArthur as its chief of staff, with the rank of colonel. At MacArthur's request, this commission was in the infantry rather than the engineers.[32]

The 42nd Division was assembled in August and September 1917 at Camp Mills, New York, where its training emphasized open rather than trench warfare. It sailed in a convoy from Hoboken, New Jersey for France on October 18, 1917, with MacArthur making the passage on the transport USS Covington. The convoy's escort included the cruiser USS Chattanooga, commanded by his brother Arthur. On arrival MacArthur discovered that General Headquarters (GHQ) American Expeditionary Force (AEF) was considering breaking up the division for replacements. MacArthur approached Brigadier General James Harbord, General John J. Pershing's chief of staff, about the matter and managed to get the decision reversed.[33] However, on December 19, Mann was replaced as division commander by Major General Charles T. Menoher.[34] The division trained through the winter. MacArthur removed the metal band inside his cap, giving it a jaunty appearance, carried a riding crop and wore a bright turtleneck sweater, earning him the accolade of the "Beau Brummell of the AEF."[35]

Second Battle of the Marne

The 42nd Division entered the line in the quiet Lunéville sector in February 1918. On February 26, 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, the first such award to a member of the AEF. Menoher recommended MacArthur for the Silver Star, which he later received.[36] On March 9, 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 "coolness and courageous leadership".[37] was rewarded with the Distinguished Service Cross. A few days later, MacArthur, who was strict about his men carrying their gas mask but often neglected to bring his own, was gassed. He was awarded the Purple Heart but recovered in time to show Secretary Baker around the area on March 19.[38] Menoher told war correspondents that "Colonel MacArthur is one of the ablest officers in the United States Army and also one of the most popular."[36]

MacArthur was promoted brigadier general on June 26, 1918.[39] At the time of his promotion, he was the youngest general in the AEF, although this record would not stand for long.[40] 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.[41] The 42nd Division participated in the subsequent Allied counter-offensive, and MacArthur was awarded a third Silver Star for bravery under fire on July 29. 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, who had not slept for four nights, went forward on August 2 to see for himself.[42] 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.[43]

Meuse-Argonne Offensive

MacArthur reported back to Menoher and Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett that the Germans had indeed withdrawn, and was awarded a fourth Silver Star.[44] He was also awarded a second Croix de guerre and made a commandant of the Légion d'honneur.[45] The 42nd Division earned a few weeks rest,[46] returning to the line for the Battle of Saint-Mihiel on September 12. The Allied advance proceeded rapidly and successfully, and MacArthur was awarded a fifth Silver Star for his leadership of the 84th Infantry Brigade.[47] A sixth Silver Star was awarded for his participation in a raid on the night of September 25–26.[48] The 42nd Division was relieved on the night of 30 September, moving to the Argonne sector where it relieved the 1st Division there on the night of October 11. On a reconnaissance the next day, MacArthur was gassed again, earning a second Purple Heart. What he saw greatly disturbed him. His men would have to advance across open country dominated by the formidable German position at Côte-de-Châttillon.[49] The commander of V Corps, Major General Charles P. Summerall, told MacArthur that he wanted either Châttillon taken or a list of 5,000 casualties. MacArthur told him that it would be taken or his own name would head the list.[50]

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

The 42nd Division's participation in the Battle of the Argonne Forest began on October 14 when it attacked with both brigades. Progress was slow. That evening, asked for his intentions, MacArthur told Menoher that he intended to attack using bayonets. A conference was called to discuss the attack, during which Summerall rang and demanded that Châttillon be taken by 1800 the next evening. MacArthur gave him the same reply as before, which seemed to satisfy him. The group was unaware that Summerall had just relieved the commander of the 83rd Infantry Brigade. An aerial photograph had been obtained that showed a gap in the German barbed wire to the northeast of Châttillon. 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.[51] MacArthur was wounded, but not severely, while verifying the existence of the gap in the barbed wire.[50] The division's daily intelligence summary described the attack:

On the afternoon of October 16 the 84th Brigade by terrific and prolonged fighting against well organized and savage defense, succeeded in penetrating the Kriemhilde Stellung at its apex on the Côte-de-Châttillon which is said to be the strongest point between the Argonne and the Meuse. At this point there is a heavily wooded slope with strong wire. Here a large garrison with artillery support and the usual large supply of machine guns on which the enemy base their defense, offered grim battle and was driven back by the furious attacks of our infantry. We now hold Côte-de-Châttillon, and have organized the forward slope of the hill against possible counterattacks. Two enemy attacks to dislodge us during the afternoon were complete failures.[52]

Summerall nominated MacArthur for the Medal of Honor and promotion to major general but he received neither.[53] Instead he was awarded an oak leaf cluster to his Distinguished Service Cross, "the citation of which," MacArthur wrote, "more than satisfied my martial vanity."[54] The 42nd Division returned to the line for the last time on the night of November 4–5.[55] In the final advance on Sedan, it became involved in what MacArthur considered "narrowly missed being one of the great tragedies of American history."[56] An order to disregard unit boundaries led to units crossing into each others' zones. In the resulting chaos, MacArthur was taken prisoner by men of the 1st Division, who mistook him for a German general.[57] His performance in the attack on the Meuse heights led to his being awarded a seventh Silver Star. On November 10, a day before the armistice that ended the fighting, Moneher became commander of VI Corps and MacArthur was appointed commander of the 42nd Division. For his service as chief of staff and commander of the 84th Infantry Brigade, MacArthur was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.[58] MacArthur's period in command was brief, for on November 22 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.[59] In April 1919, they entrained for Brest and St Nazaire, where it boarded ships to return to the United states. MacArthur traveled on the ocean liner SS Leviathan, which reached New York on April 25, 1919.[60]

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 that had become out of date in many respects and was much in need of reform.[61] Accepting the post meant that MacArthur became a permanent brigadier general in January 1920,[62] instead of being reduced to his substantive rank of major like many of his contemporaries.[63] When MacArthur moved into the superintendent's house with his mother in June 1919,[64] he became the youngest superintendent since Sylvanus Thayer in 1817.[65] However, whereas Thayer had faced opposition from outside the Army, MacArthur had to overcome "intense and sometimes fanatical resistance" from graduates and the academic board.[66]

A color image of a full size bronze statue of Douglas MacArthur. It has a white marble base and he is holding a jacket with his left arm, his right arm is on his hip and he is looking forward. There is a pink flowered tree in the background and a large multi-story brick building in the background.
Memorial statue at the United States Military Academy

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 the military.[64] During the war, West Point had been reduced to an officer candidate school. Five classes had been graduated in two years and the class of 1922 was scheduled to graduate in June 1920. However, in May 1919, the three year course had been restored and the class of 1921 had been sent back to school, causing much resentment.[67] Cadet and staff morale was low and hazing "at an all-time peak of viciousness."[68] MacArthur's first battle 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.[69]

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.[69] A prominent public critic of the curriculum was Professor Charles William Eliot, the former President of Harvard University, who took West Point to task for its narrow academic focus, poorly prepared courses, and the use of recent graduates with no teaching experience as instructors. He saw this as the root of the difficulties encountered by West Pointers in World War I in adapting to new new methods of warfare and administration.[70] 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 did not approve of this trend, but sought to modernize the system, expanding the concept of military character to include bearing, leadership, efficiency and athletic performance. He formalized the as hitherto unwritten Cadet Honor Code in 1922 when he formed the Cadet Honor Committee to review honor allegations.[71]

Recalling his own experience with hazing, MacArthur attempted to combat it by using officers rather than upperclassmen to train the plebes. 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, then march back to West Point with full packs.[72] MacArthur tried 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. In English class cadets were required to read two newspapers per day and discuss the day's news for ten minutes. In Chemistry class instruction was added on the internal combustion engine. In Natural Philosophy class cadets were permitted to use slide rules.[73] MacArthur expanded the sports program, increasing the number of intramural sports and requiring all cadets to participate.[74] MacArthur allowed upper class cadets to leave the reservation. He also permitted them to start a cadet newspaper, The Brag, the forerunner of today's West Pointer, allowed cadets to travel to watch their football team play, and even gave them an allowance of $5.00 a month. Professors and alumni alike protested these radical moves.[72]

In October 1922, MacArthur left West Point for the Philippines. Rumors circulated that after MacArthur became romantically involved with socialite Louise Cromwell Brooks, the divorced wife of Walter Brooks Jr, and the stepdaughter of Edward T. Stotesbury, a wealthy Philadelphia banker, General Pershing, who was fond of Brooks, had exiled MacArthur. This was denied by Pershing as "all damn poppycock." MacArthur married Brooks on February 14, 1922 at her family's Spanish-style villa in Palm Beach, Florida.[75] Most of MacArthur's reforms were soon discarded. But he had brought a new spirit to West Point and over the following years, his ideas would become accepted and his innovations slowly restored.[76]

Army's youngest major general

MacArthur reached the Philippines in October 1922 to assume command of the Military District of Manila. The islands were peaceful now and in the wake of the Washington Naval Treaty, the garrison was being reduced.[77] MacArthur's close friendships with Filipinos like Manuel Quezon offended some people. "The old idea of colonial exploitation," he later conceded, "still had its vigorous supporters."[78] 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 July 7, 1924 MacArthur was informed that a mutiny had broken out amongst the Philippine Scouts over grievances concerning their pay and allowances. Over 200 scouts were arrested and there were fears of an insurrection. MacArthur, who was known to favor equal status for the Scouts, was appointed to command the Philippine Division, but his efforts to improve the salaries of Filipino troops were frustrated by financial stringency and racial prejudice. On January 17, 1925 he was promoted, becoming the Army's youngest major general.[79]

Returning to the United states, MacArthur took command of the IV Corps Area, based at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 2, 1925. 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 Horace Trumbauer-designed Rainbow Hill estate near Garrison, Maryland. It also meant he was closer to his mother, now living with Arthur's widow in Washington, DC.[80][81] However, it led to what he later described as "one of the most distasteful orders I ever received":[82] an order 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 and three of whom, including Summerall, the president of the court, were removed when defense challenges revealed bias against Mitchell. MacArthur later claimed he had voted to acquit, and Fiorello La Guardia claimed that MacArthur's "not guilty" ballot had been found in the judges' anteroom. Nonetheless, the verdict required only a two-thirds majority and Mitchell was found guilty as charged and convicted.[83] MacArthur felt "that a senior officer should not be silenced for being at variance with his superiors in rank and with accepted doctrine."[82]

In 1927, MacArthur and Louise separated and she moved to New York City, leasing the 26th floor of the Hotel Beverly on East 50th Street and Lexington Avenue.[84] In August 1927 William C. Prout, the president of the United States 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. On July 7, with only days to go before they were to leave aboard the SS President Roosevelt, a dispute arose over Charlie Paddock's status as an amateur, and whether he should be allowed to participate. MacArthur determined that Paddock should compete, and eventually the International Olympic Committee agreed with him. As a sports fan, MacArthur enjoyed the Olympics and was proud of the performance of his team. Upon returning to the United States, he received orders to assume command of the Philippine Department.[85] While he was in Manila, Louise obtained a divorce in Reno, Nevada on June 18, 1929, ostensibly on the grounds of "failure to provide".[86]

Chief of Staff

By 1930, MacArthur was still, at age 50, the youngest of the U.S. Army's major generals, but the most senior of those with four or more years left before reaching the age of compulsory retirement at age 64. He was also by far the best known, from his time at West Point and his presidency of the Olympic Committee.[87] President Herbert Hoover offered him the post of Chief of Engineers but he declined. The job went to Brigadier General Lytle Brown instead.[88] His seniority made MacArthur the natural choice to appoint as Chief of Staff. He left the Philippines on September 19, 1930 and for a brief time was in command of the IX Corps Area in San Francisco,[87] living in the house his father had once occupied at Fort Mason. On November 21, 1930 MacArthur was sworn in as Chief of Staff, with the rank of general.[89]

The onset of the Great Depression caused Congress to make deep cuts in the Army's personnel and budget. Some 53 bases were closed and Major Adna R. Chaffee, Jr.'s experimental mechanized force had to be disbanded, but MacArthur managed to fight off attempts to reduce the number of regular officers from 12,000 to 10,000.[90] The Army budget was repeatedly cut from $347 million in 1931 to $335 million the next year, $304 million in 1933 and $277 million in 1934 before being increased to $284 million in 1935.[91] As the international situation became more alarming, Macarthur obtained $355 million for 1936.[92]

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.[93] MacArthur 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, which then proceeded to initiate a design competition for an aircraft to fulfil that role, which eventually became the B-17 Flying Fortress.[94] In March 1935, MacArthur activated a centralized air command, General Headquarters Air Force under Major General Frank M. Andrews.[95]

 Police with batons confront demonstrators armed with bricks and clubs. A policeman and a demonstrator wrestle over a U.S. flag.
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. MacArthur sent tents and camp equipment to the demonstrators, along with mobile kitchens, until an outburst in Congress caused the kitchens to be withdrawn.[96] 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 twenty-six key leaders were communists. MacArthur and Brigadier General Perry L. Miles, the commander of the 16th Infantry Brigade at Fort Myer, went over contingency plans for civil disorder in the capital. Mechanized equipment was brought to Fort Myer, where anti-riot training was conducted.[97]

On July 28, 1932, a clash with demonstrators resulted in two men being shot by the police and President Hoover ordered MacArthur to "surround the affected area and clear it without delay."[98] MacArthur brought up the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry, of which Major George S. Patton was the executive officer; the 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry; five tanks of Company B, 1st Tank Regiment; and other units from Fort Myer, Fort Meade, Fort Washington and Fort Howard. Miles was in charge of the operation but, against the advice of Major Dwight D. Eisenhower, MacArthur decided to accompany the troops. MacArthur had worn a white suit to work that morning, so he sent an orderly to fetch his uniform from Fort Myer, and his mother gave him the one with his ribbons and medal, as if for a formal function at short notice.[99] The operation commenced at 1630. The troops advanced with bayonets and sabers drawn under a shower of bricks and rocks, but no shots were fired. By 2000, the troops had cleared the area and the President ordered MacArthur to clear the Bonus Army's camp ground on the Anacostia Flats. This was done using tear gas, which started a number of fires, and caused the only death. Compared with other riots before and since, the operation was well-handled, but still a public relations disaster.[100]

CCC workers constructing a road.

In 1934 MacArthur unwisely 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." In turn, they threatened to call Isobel Rosario Cooper as a witness. MacArthur had met Isobel, a Eurasian woman, while in the Philippines, and she had become his mistress. MacArthur had brought her to San Francisco and then Washington, installing her in a suite at The Chastleton on 16th Street Northwest. MacArthur and Isobel officially split up on September 1, 1934, when he mailed her a train ticket to the West Coast and an ocean liner passage to Manila. She did not use them, and stayed in the United States. MacArthur was forced to settle out of court, secretly paying Pearson $15,000.[101]

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 personal friends. MacArthur enthusiastically supported the New Deal by operating the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). MacArthur ensured that detailed plans were drawn up so that action could be taken as soon as the CCC bill was passed. He also decentralized its administration to the corps areas, which became an important factor in the success of the program.[102] Although MacArthur's support for a strong military, and his public criticism of pacifism and isolationism,[103] made him unpopular with the Roosevelt administration, Roosevelt extended MacArthur's term as Chief of Staff.[104] MacArthur finally finished his tour as Chief of Staff in October 1935. For his service as chief of staff, he was awarded a second Distinguished Service Medal. He had also been retrospectively awarded the Purple Heart for his World War I service, having revived the order in 1932.[105]

Field Marshal of the Philippine Army

When the Commonwealth of the Philippines achieved semi-independent status in 1935, President of the Philippines Manuel L. Quezon, a personal friend since his father had been Governor General, asked MacArthur to supervise the creation of a Philippine Army. MacArthur elected not to retire at age 55 but to remain on the active list as a major general, and with President Roosevelt's approval he accepted the assignment. It was agreed that MacArthur would receive a salary and allowances, and the rank of field marshal from the Commonwealth in addition to his major general's salary as Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines.[106] It was his fifth tour of the Philippines. MacArthur sailed from San Francisco on SS President Hoover in October 1935,[107] accompanied by his mother and sister-in-law.Because his mother was in poor health, they were accompanied by Major Howard J. Hutter, the family physician. MacArthur also brought his long time aide de camp, Captain Thomas J. Davis; and Major Eisenhower and Major James B. Ord, a friend of Eisenhower's, as his assistants.[108] MacArthur's mother became gravely ill during the voyage and died in Manila on December 3, 1935. In 1937, MacArthur later took her remains back to the United States, where she was interred beside his father in Arlington National Cemetery. Also aboard the President Hoover was Jean Marie Faircloth, a vivacious, unmarried 37 year old socialite. Over the next two years, the two were frequently seen together.[109]

Ceremony at Camp Murphy, August 15, 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 Malacañang Palace on August 24, 1936. He was presented with a gold baton and a unique uniform.[110] The Philippine Army was patterned after that of Switzerland. It was formed from universal conscription. The idea was to train 40,000 men per annum at 128 camps. Training was to be conducted by a regular cadre, and the Philippine Military Academy was created along the lines of West Point to train its officers.[111] MacArthur and Eisenhower found that the process of forming the army was not far advanced. Few of the training camps had been constructed and the first group of 20,000 trainees would not report for duty until early 1937.[112] Equipment and weapons were "more or less obsolete" American cast offs, and the budget of $6 million was completely inadequate.[111] By 1939, the United States had supplied the Philippines with $6 million of equipment.[113] Much hope was placed in the Philippine Army Air Corps, but the first squadron was not organized until 1939. Eisenhower became so interested in the pilot training program that he learned to fly himself. However, Ord was killed in 1938 flying when a plane piloted by one of the Filipino airmen crashed,[114] and was replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Richard K. Sutherland. Eisenhower returned to the United States in 1939 and was replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Richard J. Marshall.[115] Captain Hugh J. Casey joined MacArthur's staff as engineer officer in 1937, and Major William F. Marquat became antiaircraft officer.[116]

In 1937, MacArthur accompanied Quezon on a visit to Japan, Mexico and the United States. Quezon was warmly welcomed in Mexico but virtually ignored in the United States. MacArthur's requests for equipment for the Philippine Army fell on deaf ears at the War Department, but at the Navy Department MacArthur and the Naval Advisor on his staff, Lieutenant Sidney L. Huff, were able to persuade the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral William D. Leahy, and the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, Rear Admiral Harold R. Stark, to initiate the development of the PT boat.[117] On April 30, MacArthur married Jean in a civil ceremony at the Manhattan Municipal Building, with Davis and Hutter as witnesses.[118] Their marriage produced a son, Arthur MacArthur IV, who was born in Manila on February 21, 1938.[119] On December 31, 1937, MacArthur officially retired from the U.S. Army. He ceased to represent the United States as military advisor to the government but remained as Quezon's advisor in a civilian capacity.[120]

World War II

Philippines Campaign (1941–42)

26th Cavalry (Philippine Scouts) moving into Pozorrubio past an M3 Stuart tank.


On July 26, 1941 Roosevelt federalized the Philippine Army and 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.[121] On December 20, MacArthur became a four star general yet again. At the same time, Sutherland was promoted to major general and Colonels Akin, Marshall, and Casey to brigadier general.[122] On July 31, 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.[123] Between July and December 1941 the garrison received 8,500 reinforcements.[124] These included the 192nd and 194th Tank Battalions, each equipped with 54 M3 light tanksm and the 200th Coastal Artillery Regiment (AA), equipped with 12 3-inch and 24 37mm guns.[125] After years of parsimony, much equipment was shipped. It included 125,000 steel helmets, 500,000 C-rations and enough 55-gallon drums to hold 1,000,000 US gallons (3,800,000 l) of gasoline. 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.[126]

In July 1941, the air force in the Philippines was largely equipped with obsolete P-26 and P-35 fighters and B-10 and B-18 bombers. This changed with the arrival of the 19th Bombardment Group with 35 B-17 bombers. The Philippines also received 107 new P-40E fighters.[127] Along with the new aircraft, the Commander of U.S. Army Air Forces, General Henry H. Arnold moved to replace the air commander, Brigadier General Henry B. Clagett, "a heavy-drinking old timer who suffered from high blood pressure, hardening arteries, and tertiary malaria."[128] In September MacArthur was asked to select a new air commander and chose Major General Lewis H. Brereton.[128] On November 16, Brereton activated Far East Air Force (FEAF) with three subordinate commands, V Bomber Command under Colonel Eugene L. Eubank, V Interceptor Command under Clagett, and Far East Air Service Command under Colonel Lawrence S. Churchill. Colonel Harold H. George served initially as chief of logistics, but by December 8 was chief of staff for V Interceptor Command.[129] MacArthur was allocated over $2 million for airfield development in August and another $7 million in October. Work on Del Monte Airfield was rushed to get it ready to receive B-17 bombers by the beginning of December. In addition, $190,000 was allocated for the construction of a aircraft warning system but the unit intended to man it had only made it as far as San Francisco by December, and there were only two operational radar sets.[127]

Disaster at Clark Field

General Sutherland found out about the attack on Pearl Harbor from commercial broadcasts at 0330 local time on December 8, 1941 and informed MacArthur. General Brereton arrived at MacArthur's headquarters at 0500 seeking permission to use the B-17s at Clark Field in a daylight raid on Formosa.[130] MacArthur had ordered all the B-17s to be moved to Del Monte but only half had been sent, and that only at Sutherland's insistence, as another 35 B-17s were expected to arrive shortly and Del Monte could not accommodate that many.[131] Brereton was told to make preparations but to await MacArthur's orders. At 0800, the heavy bombers were ordered aloft to patrol without bombs to avoid being caught on the ground. Brereton renewed his request at 1000 and Sutherland authorized a photographic reconnaissance mission over Formosa. After the war, Brereton claimed that he received a phone call from Sutherland authorizing a bombing raid on Formosa, and scheduled it for late afternoon. MacArthur and Sutherland disputed Brereton's account.[131] By 1130 the bombers were back on the field, being armed with 100-pound (45 kg) and 300-pound (140 kg) bombs.[130] At 1145 they were caught on the ground by a Japanese air raid that struck Clark and the nearby fighter base at Iba Field. The 200th Coast Artillery discovered that its 3-inch ammunition, all manufactured before 1932, contained a high percentage of duds. Most of the P-35s and P-40s got into the air but found themselves outclassed by the Japanese A6M Zeros, seven of which were shot down. The B-17s were destroyed on the ground. In all, the Fair East Air Force lost 18 B-17s, 53 P-40s, 3 P-35s and more than 25 other aircraft. Substantial damage was done to the bases, and casualties totaled 80 killed and 150 wounded.[132]


MacArthur (center) with his Chief of Staff, Major General Richard K. Sutherland, in the Headquarters tunnel on Corregidor, Philippines, 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 decided to slow the Japanese advance with an initial defense against the Japanese landings. In the event, the Japanese landed at Lingayen Gulf on December 21,[133] and advanced rapidly. MacArthur's confidence in the ability of his Filipino troops was reconsidered, and he ordered a retreat to Bataan.[134] Manila was declared an open city and on December 25 MacArthur moved his headquarters to the island fortress of Corregidor.[135] A series of air raids destroyed all the exposed structures on the island and USAFFE headquarters moved into the Malinta Tunnel. Later most of the headquarters USAFFE moved to Bataan, leaving only the nucleus with MacArthur.[136] On January 1, 1942 MacArthur was offered and accepted a payment of $500,000 ($7.4 million in current value) from President Quezon of the Philippines as payment for his pre-war service. Besides MacArthur, staff members of MacArthur also received payments: $75,000 to Sutherland, $45,000 to Col. Marshall, and $20,000 to Huff.[137] The troops on Bataan knew that they had been written off but continued to fight. Some blamed the MacArthur for their predicament. A song sung to the tune of the The Battle Hymn of the Republic called him "Dugout Doug."[138]

Escape to Australia

In February 1942, as Japanese forces tightened their grip on the Philippines, MacArthur was ordered by President Roosevelt to relocate to Australia. MacArthur discussed the idea with his staff that he resign his commission and fight on as a private soldier in the Philippine resistance but Sutherland talked out of it.[139] On the night of March 12, 1942, MacArthur, with Jean, Arthur, and a select group that included Sutherland, Willoughby, Diller, Akin, George, Casey and Marshall, left Corregidor in four PT boats. MacArthur, his family and Sutherland traveled in PT 41, commanded by Lieutenant John D. Bulkeley. The others followed in PT 34, PT 35 and PT 32. MacArthur and his party reached Del Monte on March 14. The commander of U.S. Army Forces in Australia, Lieutenant General George Brett, sent four B-17s to pick them up. Two turned back with engine trouble and one crashed just short of its goal. One made it but was not fit to carry passengers and returned before MacArthur and his party arrived. A message to Chief of Staff George C. Marshall at the War Department released three new U.S. Navy B-17s for the mission. Two of them arrived, and brought the entire group to Australia.[140][141]

MacArthur's Medal of Honor plaque affixed to MacArthur barracks, USMA

MacArthur arrived at Batchelor Airfield in the Northern Territory on March 17, about 60 miles (97 km) south of Darwin, before flying to Alice Springs, where he took the Ghan through the Australian outback to Adelaide. His famous speech, in which he said, "I came out of Bataan and I shall return", was first made at Terowie, a small railway township in South Australia on March 20. Upon his arrival in Adelaide, MacArthur abbreviated this to the now-famous, "I came through and I shall return" that made headlines.[142] Washington asked MacArthur to amend his promise to, "We shall return". He ignored the request.[143] MacArthur turned command over to Wainwright.[144] Bataan eventually surrendered on April 9,[145] and Wainwright surrendered on Corregidor on May 6.[146]

For his leadership in the defense of the Philippines, General Marshall decided to award MacArthur the Medal of Honor, the decoration for which he had twice previously been nominated. It was admitted that MacArthur had not actually performed acts of valor in battle on Bataan but the 1927 award to Charles Lindbergh set a precedent. Legislation had already been introduced in Congress by Representatives J. Parnell Thomas and James E. Van Zandt to give MacArthur the award but Marshall felt it would more proper for it to come from the President and the War Department.[147] The April 1, 1942 citation, written by Marshall, 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]

MacArthur chose to accept the medal 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."[149] Arthur and Douglas MacArthur 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 one posthumously for his service during the Spanish American War, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. having received one posthumously for his service during World War II.[150]

New Guinea Campaign

MacArthur visiting the Australian House of Representatives in March 1942

General Headquarters

On April 18, 1942, MacArthur was appointed Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA). Brett became Commander, Allied Air Forces, and Vice Admiral Herbert F. Leary became Commander, Allied Naval Forces. Since the bulk of land forces in the theater was Australian, General 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 "to many Australians, MacArthur was a foreign general imposed upon them, their generals, and their sons, and it caused resentment."[153]

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".[154] Marshall pressed for Dutch and Australian officers to be assigned to GHQ, but the heads of all the staff divisions were American and such officers of other nationalities as were assigned served under them.[151] GHQ was initially located in Melbourne, at 401 Collins Street.[155] On July 20, 1942, SWPA headquarters was moved to Brisbane, this being the northernmost city in Australia with the necessary communications facilities,[156] taking over the AMP Insurance Society building. MacArthur and Willoughby's G-2 section were located on the 8th Floor, while the other staff sections occupied the four floors below.[157]

MacArthur formed his own signals intelligence organisation, known as the Central Bureau, from Australian intelligence units and American Station 6 cryptanalysts of who had escaped from the Philippines. The unit was commanded by MacArthurs Chief Signals Officer, Brigadier General Spencer B. Akin,[158] with three experienced codebreakers, Major Abraham Sinkov, Wing Commander Roy Booth and Major Alastair Sanford of the Australian Army, as his deputies. Akin forwarded Ultra information over to Willoughby.[159] During the Battle of the Coral Sea a press despatch revealed details of the Japanese naval concentration at Rabaul.[160] President Roosevelt ordered that censorship be imposed in Australia. MacArthur protested that this would violate Australian law and policy, but took the matter up with Curtin.[161] The Advisory War Council granted GHQ powers of censorship over operations. Australian newspapers were henceforth restricted to what was reported in the daily GHQ communiqué.[160] The communiqués were written for America's public, not for the troops or the press.[162] Veteran correspondents considered them "a total farce" and characterized them as "Alice-in-Wonderland information handed out at high level."[163]

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.[164] The Battle of Midway in June 1942 led to plans to exploit this victory with a limited offensive in the Pacific. MacArthur's proposal for an attack on the main Japanese base at Rabaul met with objections from the U.S. navy, which favored a less ambitious approach, and objected to an Army general being in command of what would be an amphibious operation, at least in the early stages. The resulting compromise called for a three stage advance, with the first, the seizure of the Tulagi area being conducted by the South Pacific Area while the later stages came under MacArthur.[165]

Six men wearing a variety of different uniforms.
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,[166] and at Milne Bay in August. The Australians soon defeated the Japanese at Milne Bay,[167] 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. Major General George Alan Vasey wrote that "GHQ is like a bloody barometer in a cyclone—up and down every two minutes".[168] MacArthur informed George Marshall that "the Australians have proven themselves unable to match the enemy in jungle fighting. Aggressive leadership is lacking."[168] MacArthur, concerned about the situation, had Curtin send Blamey to New Guinea to "energize the situation."[169]

Having committed all the available Australian troops, MacArthur decided to send American troops. The U.S. I Corps commander, Major General Robert L. Eichelberger, selected the 32nd Infantry Division, a poorly trained National Guard division, to carry out a flanking movement.[170] A series embarrassing American reverses in the Battle of Buna-Gona led to outspoken criticism of the American troops by Blamey. MacArthur sent Eichelberger to relieve Major General Edwin F. Harding and "take Buna, or not come back alive."[171] MacArthur moved the advanced echelon of GHQ to Port Moresby on November 6, 1942.[169] The struggle for Buna finally ended on January 3, 1943.[172] MacArthur awarded the Distinguished Service Cross to twelve officers for "precise execution of operations." This use of the country's second highest award aroused some resentment, because while some, like Eichelberger and Vasey, had fought in the field, others, like Sutherland and Willoughby, had not.[173] For his part, MacArthur was awarded his third Distinguished Service Medal,[174] and the Australian government made him an honorary Knight Grand Cross in the Order of the Bath. [175]

MacArthur found it particularly difficult to work with Brett. Sutherland in particular experienced frustration with the stream of excuses from Brett as to why requested operations could not be carried out. In march, Brett informed Sutherland that he could not carry out a requested mission to the Philippines because "his exhausted pilots and worn-out planes had all they could do to keep the Japanese out of Port Moresby."[176] On MacArthur's insistence, the mission was flown anyway by Brigadier General Ralph Royce,[177] the results of the Battle of the Coral Sea made Brett's assessment seem optimistic. Finally, on June 26, MacArthur asked General Marshall to replace Brett.[176] MacArthur was given a choice of James H. Doolittle or George Kenney, and chose Kenney,[178] whom Sutherland had known since they had been classmates at the Army War College in 1933.[179] Kenney set about instituting administrative reforms, and sent five generals home.[180] Under Kenney, the "adaptation of air power in its most dramatic form to the needs of the army in the field" enabled Blamey to win the Battle of Wau in January 1943.[181] Fifth Air Force developed low-level skip bombing techniques that his aviators would use in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea in March 1943.[182]

Operation Cartwheel

Topographic map of Papua New Guinea with arrows indicating an Allied advance along the northern coast towards the Admiralty Islands.
Elkton III Plan, March 1943.

At the Pacific Military Conference in March 1943, the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved the latest version of General MacArthur's plan for Operation Cartwheel, an advance on Rabaul. Owing to a shortage of resources, particularly heavy bomber aircraft, the final stage of the plan, the capture of Rabaul itself, was postponed until 1944.[183] 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.[184]

Lieutenant General Walter Krueger's Sixth Army headquarters arrived in SWPA in early 1943 but MacArthur still had only three American divisions, the 32nd and 41st Infantry Divisions and the 1st Marine Division, and they were tired and depleted from the fighting at Buna and 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, just as during the bitter campaigns of 1942."[185]

In a country without roads, large-scale movement had to be by air or water. During the Buna fighting the Navy had balked at Blamey's requests to risk its warships in poorly chartered waters where the Japanese had air superiority, and MacArthur lacked the authority to compel the Navy to comply.[186] One solution was the engineer special brigades. Each brigade had 550 landing craft, 360 officers and 7,000 men, organized into three boat and shore regiments.[187] Each regiment was capable of transporting an American infantry regiment or an Australian infantry brigade up to 60 miles (97 km), and to establish, support and maintain a beachhead there.[188] Deliveries of landing craft to SWPA had been slow because they had to be shipped as deck cargo on freighters bound for Australia, limiting their numbers to about 60 per month, but a plan was developed to ship disassembled landing crafts and assemble them in Australia. MacArthur requested three brigades,[189] the first which, the 2nd Engineer Special Brigade, arrived in SWPA in February and March 1943.[190] Their range could be greatly extended by the landing ships of Rear Admiral Daniel E. Barbey's VII Amphibious Force, which began arriving in late 1942.[191] This was part of Vice Admiral Arthur S. Carpender's small naval force, known as "MacArthur's navy",[192] which was upgraded to fleet status in March 1943, becoming the Seventh Fleet.[191] However, the range of operations was still limited by that of the Fifth Air Force's fighters. Long-range P-38 Lightning fighters began arriving in late 1942 but deliveries to SWPA were suspended owing to the demands of Operation Torch.[193]

Generals Kenney and MacArthur watch C-47 transport planes loaded with paratroops for the drop at Nadzab.

The main offensive began with the landing at Lae by the Australian 9th Division and the 2nd Engineer Special Brigade on September 4, 1943. The next day MacArthur watched the landing at Nadzab by paratroops of the 503rd Parachute Infantry from a B-17 circling overhead. The B-17 made the trip on three engines because one failed soon after leaving Port Moresby, but MacArthur insisted that it fly on to Nadzab.[194] For this, MacArthur was awarded the Air Medal. His citation read:

On September 5, 1943, General MacArthur, in a B-17 bomber called the Talisman, personally led the American paratroopers on the very successful and important jump against the Nadzab airstrip. General MacArthur flew through enemy infested airlanes and skillfully directed this historic operation which was accomplished with the greatest success and made possible the later landings of Australian airborne troops and the closing of the western inland approaches of the Markham Valley. He remained over the combat area until all paratroops had landed in initial contact with the enemy in this battle.[195]

Vasey's Australian 7th Division advanced on Lae, which fell on September 16. MacArthur advanced his timetable, and ordered the 7th Division to capture Kaiapit and Dumpu, while the 9th Division mounted an amphibious assault on Finschhafen. Here, the offensive bogged down. Part of the problem was that MacArthur had based his decision to assault Finschhafen on Willoughby's assessment that there were only 350 Japanese defenders at Finschhafen when there were actually nearly 5,000. A furious battle ensued.[196]

Westward Drive along New Guinea February - July 1944

While MacArthur's troops advanced towards Rabaul, the Joint Chiefs of Staff moved towards a consensus that Rabaul could be neutralized rather than seized.[197] MacArthur did not agree, and still wished to establish a base there. In early November, Sutherland came to Washington to present Reno III, MacArthur's plan for a westward advance along to coast of New Guinea to the Philippines. The plan met with general approval, and was incorporated into plans for the war against Japan approved at the Sextant Conference, although a decision on the final phases was deferred.[198] [199] An opportunity to speed up the advance presented itself in February 1944 when airmen reported that there were no signs of enemy activity in the Admiralty Islands. MacArthur ordered a reconnaissance in force of the islands, despite Willoughby's assessment that there were 4,000 Japanese troops in the Admiralty Islands. MacArthur accompanied the assault force in USS Phoenix, the flagship of Vice Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, who had recently replaced Carpender as commander of the Seventh Fleet and went ashore six hours after the first assault troops. It was obvious that Willoughby had been correct, but MacArthur judged that the position could be held. A night of "bizarre and bloody" fighting followed, but the Japanese attacks were beaten off and the island was ultimately overrun.[200] For his part, MacArthur was awarded the Bronze Star.[201]

MacArthur now proposed to bypass the Japanese forces at Hansa Bay and Wewak, and assault Hollandia and Aitape. These were out of range out the Fifth Air Force's fighters based in the Ramu Valley, but the timing allowed for the operation to be supported by the aircraft carrierss of the Pacific Fleet, although for no more than a couple of days.[202] The operation was therefore risky. It also turned out to be a brilliant 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. This also eased GHQ's logistical difficulties. However, the terrain turned out to be less suitable for large scale airbase development than first thought, forcing MacArthur to seek better locations further west. Moreover, while bypassing Japanese forces had great tactical merit, it had the serious strategic drawback of tying up large numbers of Allied troops in order to contain them. And last, but by no means least, Adachi was far from beaten. In the Battle of Driniumor River, he would bring on "the New Guinea campaign's bloodiest and most strategically useless battle."[203]

Philippines Campaign (1944–45)

In July 1944, President Roosevelt summoned MacArthur to meet with him in Hawaii. Also present were the local commanders, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet and Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas; Admiral William Halsey, Jr., the commander of the Third Fleet; and Lieutenant General Robert C. Richardson, Jr., the commander of U.S. Army forces in the theater. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were not present, except for Admiral Leahy. It was Roosevelt's first overseas trip without them. Roosevelt announced that the conference had been called "to determine the phase of action against Japan." Nimitz and MacArthur agreed that the next step should be to advance on the southern and central Philippines. They disagreed over whether the subsequent objective should be Formosa or Luzon, as MacArthur advocated. MacArthur emphasised the moral and political issues involved in a decision to liberate or bypass Luzon. He also spoke briefly of his plan to use the Australian Army to liberate Indonesia. The conference concluded amicably. Although the issue was not settled, both Roosevelt and Leahy were convinced of the soundness of MacArthur's plan.[204]

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

In September, Halsey's carriers made a series of air strikes on the central and southern Philippines. Opposition was feeble and Halsey decided that Leyte was "wide open" and possibly undefended. Halsey recommended that projected operations be skipped in favor of an assault on Leyte. George Marshall radioed MacArthur for his opinion of such a drastic change of plans. MacArthur was unavailable, as he was aboard USS Nashville en route for the landing on Morotai and travelling under radio silence, so the decision fell on Sutherland. Sutherland knew full well that Halsey was terribly wrong. He also knew what MacArthur's response would be. George Marshall was dining in Quebec City with Mackenzie King and the other Joint Chiefs when he received Sutherland's affirmative reply. Within minutes they sent new orders to Nimitz and MacArthur.[205]

On October 20, 1944, troops of Krueger's Sixth Army landed on Leyte. The assault troops soon secured most of their first day objectives. MacArthur watched from the Nashville. That afternoon he boarded the ship's motor whaleboat for Red Beach. When he arrived off the beach, the advance had not progressed far; snipers were still active and the area was under sporadic mortar fire. The whaleboat grounded in knee-deep water. MacArthur requested a landing craft but the beachmaster was too busy to grant his request, so MacArthur waded ashore.[206] As he got ready to make his prepared speech, it started to rain. He said:

People of the Philippine: 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.[207]
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. Note the crowd of onlookers.

The carriers were busy for months providing air support until the rainy season ended (something which critics claim MacArthur doubtless should have foreseen, after living on the islands for a decade). Only then could MacArthur's engineers build airstrips on shore. He consolidated his hold on the archipelago after heavy fighting in the Battle of Luzon and Battle of Manila. Despite a massive Japanese naval counterattack in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Japanese forces were unable to stop the invasion or do more than slow the reconquest of the islands. MacArthur made full use of amphibious and combined operations, while utilizing paratroop, motorized infantry, and even indigenous guerrilla forces for special operations and to multiply his force advantage. With the reconquest of the islands, MacArthur moved his headquarters to Manila, where he announced his plan for the invasion of Japan (Operation Downfall), to commence November 1, 1945. The invasion was preempted by Japan's capitulation.[citation needed]

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

In 1945, MacArthur gave his Gold Castles engineers' insignia to his chief engineer, Jack Sverdrup. This insignia continues to be worn by the Army's Chief of Engineers as a tradition.[208]

On September 2, MacArthur accepted the formal Japanese surrender aboard Missouri, thus ending World War II.[209]

Occupation of Japan

General MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito

MacArthur was ordered on August 29, 1945 to exercise authority through the Japanese government machinery, including Emperor Hirohito.[210] MacArthur as Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in Japan (SCAP) and his GHQ staff helped a devastated Japan rebuild itself, institute a democratic government, and chart a course that made Japan one of the world's leading industrial powers. The U.S. was firmly in control of Japan to oversee its reconstruction, and MacArthur was effectively the interim leader of Japan from 1945 until 1948.[211]

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 May 3, 1947, instituted a Westminster system form of government, under which the Emperor acted only on the advice of his ministers. Included was 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.[212]

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 approximately 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) had been resold to the farmers who worked them. By 1950, 89% of all agricultural land was owner-operated and only 11% was tenant-operated.[213]

During the Occupation, SCAP successfully, if not entirely, abolished many of the financial coalitions known as the Zaibatsu, which had previously monopolized industry.[214] Along with the later American change of heart due in part to the need for an economically stronger Japan in the face of a perceived Soviet threat, these economic reforms were also hampered by the wealthy and influential Japanese who obviously stood to lose a great deal. As such, there were those who consequently resisted any attempts at reform, claiming that the Zaibatsu were required in order for Japan to compete internationally, and looser industrial groupings known as Keiretsu evolved. These reconstruction plans alarmed many in the U.S. Defense and State Departments, believing they conflicted with the prospect of Japan and its industrial capacity as a bulwark against the spread of communism in Asia.[215] MacArthur's efforts to encourage trade union membership met with phenomenal success, and by 1947, 48% of the non-agricultural workforce was unionised. 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.[216]

In an address to Congress on April 19, 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.[217]

MacArthur handed over power to the Japanese government in 1949 but remained in Japan until relieved by President Truman on April 11, 1951. The San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed on September 8, 1951, marked the end of the Allied occupation, and when it went into effect on April 28, 1952, Japan was once again an independent state.[218]

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.[219] 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 the sack of Manila.[220]

However, some historians criticize his work to exonerate Emperor Hirohito and all members of the imperial family implicated in the war (including Princes Chichibu, Asaka, Takeda, Higashikuni and Fushimi) from criminal prosecutions. As early as November 26, 1945, MacArthur confirmed to admiral Mitsumasa Yonai that the emperor's abdication would not be necessary.[221] MacArthur exonerated Hirohito and ignored the advice of many members of the imperial family and Japanese intellectuals who publicly asked for the abdication of the Emperor and the implementation of a regency. For example, Prince Mikasa (Takahito), Hirohito's youngest brother, even stood up in a meeting of the Privy Council, in February 1946, and urged his brother to take responsibility for defeat while the well-known poet Tatsuji Miyoshi wrote an essay in the magazine Shinchô titled "The Emperor should abdicate quickly."[222] According to Herbert Bix, "months before the Tokyo tribunal commenced, MacArthur's highest subordinates were working to attribute ultimate responsibility for Pearl Harbor to Hideki Tojo"[223] Bix argues that "immediately on landing in Japan, Bonner Fellers went to work to protect Hirohito from the role he had played during and at the end of the war" and "allowed the major war criminal suspects to coordinate their stories so that the Emperor would be spared from indictment."[224] According to John Dower, "Hirohito was not merely presented as being innocent of any formal acts that might make him culpable to indictment as a war criminal. He was turned into an almost saintly figure who did not even bear moral responsibility for the war." "With the full support of MacArthur's headquarters, the prosecution functioned, in effect, as a defense team for the emperor."[225]

As Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, MacArthur also gave immunity to Shiro Ishii and all members of the bacteriological research units in exchange for germ warfare data based on human experimentation. On May 6, 1947, he wrote to Washington that "additional data, possibly some statements from Ishii probably can be obtained by informing Japanese involved that information will be retained in intelligence channels and will not be employed as 'War Crimes' evidence."[226] The trial in Manila of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, Japanese commander in the Philippines from 1944, was under MacArthur's direction and has been particularly criticized. Yamashita was hanged for the massacre of Manila which he had not ordered and of which he was probably unaware. The massacre was ordered by Vice Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi who was nominally subordinate to General Yamashita.[227] Iwabuchi had killed himself as the battle for Manila was ending.[228]

Korean War

In 1945, as part of the surrender of Japan, the United States agreed with the Soviet Union to divide the Korean peninsula into two occupation zones at the 38th parallel north. This resulted in the creation of two states: the western-aligned Republic of Korea (ROK) (usually referred to as South Korea), and the Soviet-aligned and Communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) (usually referred to as North Korea). After the surprise attack by the DPRK on June 25, 1950 started the Korean War, the United Nations Security Council authorized a United Nations (UN) force to help South Korea. MacArthur, as U.S. theater commander, became commander of the UN forces.

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

MacArthur was criticized for not having spent a night in Korea and for directing the war from Tokyo.[229]

In September, despite lingering concerns from superiors, MacArthur's Army and Marine troops made a daring and successful combined amphibious landing at Incheon, deep behind North Korean lines. Launched with naval and close air support, the daring landing outflanked the North Koreans, forcing them to retreat northward in disarray. UN forces pursued the DPRK forces, eventually approaching the Yalu River border with China. MacArthur boasted: "The war is over. The Chinese are not coming... The Third Division will be back in Fort Benning for Christmas dinner."[230]

With the DPRK forces largely destroyed, troops of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) quietly crossed the Yalu River. Chinese foreign minister Zhou Enlai issued warnings via India's foreign minister, Krishna Menon, that an advance to the Yalu would force China into the war. When questioned about this threat by President Truman and Secretary of State Dean Acheson, MacArthur dismissed it completely. MacArthur's staff ignored battlefield evidence that PLA troops had entered North Korea in strength. The Chinese moved through the snowy hills, struck hard, and routed the UN forces, forcing them on a long retreat.[230] Calling the Chinese attack the beginning of "an entirely new war," MacArthur repeatedly requested authorization to strike Chinese bases in Manchuria, inside China. Truman was concerned that such actions would draw the Soviet Union into the conflict and risk nuclear war.


President Harry S. Truman's draft order terminating MacArthur as Supreme Commander, Allied Powers, Commander in Chief, Far East; and Commanding General, U.S. Army, Far East.

As the Eighth Army pressed north again, inflicting heavy casualties and recapturing Seoul in March 1951, Allied leaders had to once more consider whether they wanted MacArthur to invade North Korea or seek a peace. On March 24 MacArthur called on China to admit that it had been defeated, simultaneously challenging both the Chinese and his own superiors. Then on April 5, Representative Joseph William Martin, Jr., the Minority leader of the United States House of Representatives, released copies of a letter from MacArthur critical of President Truman's limited-war strategy to the press and read it aloud on the floor of the house.[231] The letter concluded with:

It seems strangely difficult for some to realize that here in Asia is where the Communist conspirators have elected to make their play for global conquest, and that we have joined the issue thus raised on the battlefield; that here we fight Europe’s war with arms while the diplomats there still fight it with words; that if we lose the war to communism in Asia the fall of Europe is inevitable, win it and Europe most probably would avoid war and yet preserve freedom. As you pointed out, we must win. There is no substitute for victory.[232]

That day too, the Joint Chiefs of Staff drafted orders for MacArthur authorizing him to attack airbases in Manchuria and Shantung if Chinese air strikes originated from there.[233] The next day, April 6, Truman summoned Secretary of Defense George Marshall, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Omar Bradley, Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Averill Harriman to discuss what to do about MacArthur. The two generals were opposed to the idea of MacArthur's relief but Acheson was strongly in favor. The Joint Chiefs met on April 8 and agreed that MacArthur was not guilty of insubordination and had stretched but not violated any orders. They decided not to recommend MacArthur's relief. The next day Truman ordered MacArthur's relief by Ridgway. Lieutenant General James Van Fleet would assume command of the Eighth Army. The order went out on April 10 with Bradley's signature.[234] The relief led to a storm of controversy.[235] The war would go on until ended by the Armistice Agreement in July 1953.[236]

Later life

MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk

MacArthur flew to Washington, D.C. with his family via Hawaii. It was his and Jean's first visit to the continental United States since 1937, the visit during which they had been married; Arthur IV, now aged 13, had never seen the place.[237] MacArthur made his last official appearance in a farewell address to the U.S. Congress. This address, "one of the most impressive and divisive oratorical performances of recent American times," was interrupted by fifty ovations.[238] 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.[239]

MacArthur encountered massive public adulation, which aroused expectations that he would run for the presidency as a Republican in the 1952 election. However, a U.S. Senate Committee investigation of his removal chaired by Democrat Richard Russell, largely vindicated the actions taken by President Truman, and contributed to a marked cooling of the public mood.[240]

MacArthur repeatedly stated he had no political aspirations. In the 1952 Republican presidential nomination contest, MacArthur was not a candidate and instead endorsed Senator Robert Taft of Ohio. Rumors were rife Taft offered the vice presidential nomination to MacArthur. Taft did persuade MacArthur to be the keynote speaker at the 1952 Republican National Convention. The speech was not well received. Taft lost the nomination to Eisenhower, MacArthur was silent during the campaign, which Eisenhower won by a landslide.[241] Once elected, Eisenhower consulted with MacArthur and adopted his suggestion of threatening the use of nuclear weapons to end the war.[242]

The Memorial to General MacArthur's Leyte Landing in the Philippines.

MacArthur and Jean spent the last years of their life together in the penthouse of the Waldorf Towers, a part of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.[243] MacArthur was elected chairman of the board of Remington Rand, a corporation which had annual sales of over $1.1 billion in 1961. In that year MacArthur earned a salary of $68,000, in addition to $20,000 pay and allowances as a general of the army.[244] The Waldorf became the setting for an annual birthday party on January 26, thrown by the general's former deputy chief engineer, Major General Leif J. Sverdrup. At the 1960 celebration for MacArthur's 80th, many of his friends were startled by the general's obviously deteriorating health. The next day he collapsed and was rushed into surgery at St. Luke's Hospital to control a severely swollen prostate.[245]

After his recovery, MacArthur methodically began to carry out the closing act 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, rank of Chief Commander. MacArthur also accepted a $900,000 advance from Henry Luce for the rights to his memoirs, and began writing the volume that would eventually be published as Reminiscences.[245] They began to appear in serialized form in Life magazine in the months just prior to his death.[246]

President John F. Kennedy solicited MacArthur's counsel in 1961. The first of two meetings was shortly after the Bay of Pigs Invasion. MacArthur was extremely critical of the Pentagon and its military advice to Kennedy. MacArthur also cautioned the young President to avoid a U.S. military build-up in Vietnam, pointing out domestic problems should be given a much greater priority.[247] Shortly before his death, he gave similar advice to the new President, Lyndon Johnson.[248]

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."[249]
MacArthur's sarcophagus at the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk

MacArthur died at Walter Reed Army Hospital on April 5, 1964, of biliary cirrhosis.[250] President Kennedy had authorized a State Funeral, and President Johnson confirmed the directive when he ordered that General MacArthur be buried "with all the honor a grateful nation can bestow on a departed hero."[251] On 7 April General MacArthur's body was moved to the 7th Regiment Armory, where it lay in the Clark Room throughout the day. A relief of the guard of honor was posted. Later in the morning Jean and the family group arrived at the armory for a private interfaith memorial service.[252] The body was taken on a funeral train carrying the President to Union Station and then was transported by a funeral procession to the Capitol,[253] where it lay in state. An estimated 150,000 people filed by the bier.[254] On April 11, the body was taken to Washington National Airport and flown to Naval Station Norfolk. It was finally laid to rest in the rotunda of The MacArthur Memorial.[255]

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. General MacArthur accepted. Although he had no other ties with the state, his mother was a Virginian, born in Norfolk. Restored and remodeled, the building contains nine museum galleries whose contents reflect the general's fifty 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 General MacArthur, the other for Jean,[256] who continued to live in the Waldorf Towers until her own death in 2000.[257]

Honors and awards

During his lifetime MacArthur earned over 100 military decorations from the United States 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, Grand Cross in the Order of the Bath from Australia and the Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Flowers, Grand Cordon from Japan.[258]


He is credited with many quotable phrases including "In war, there is no substitute for victory.", "The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.", "Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that upon other fields, on other days, will bear the fruits of victory." and after he left the Philippines he stated, "[…] I shall return."

Places named after MacArthur

MacArthur was enormously popular with the American public, even after his defeat in the Philippines, and across the United States streets, public works, children and even a dance step were named after him.[259]

Awards named after MacArthur

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 credo of Duty-Honor-Country and potential for future service in the profession of arms.[260] and he approved a service medal bearing his likeness for the Sons of the American Revolution, of which he was a member. He was the first recipient of the new "Patriot Medal" following his death in 1964.[261]

Movies about MacArthur

Several actors have portrayed MacArthur on screen. Dayton Lummis played him in the 1955 picture The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell. Henry Fonda played him in the TV movie Collision Course: Truman vs. MacArthur in 1976. Gregory Peck followed suit in the 1977 film MacArthur, and Laurence Olivier played him in Inchon in 1981. [262]

Selected works

  • 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 

See also


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Further reading

  • Duffy, Bernard K; Carpenter, Ronald H. (1997), Douglas MacArthur: Warrior as Wordsmith, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-29148-9 
  • Lowitt, Richard (1967), The Truman-MacArthur Controversy, Rand McNally, ISBN 9780528663444 
  • Lutz, David W. (2000), The Exercise Of Military Judgment: A Philosophical Investigation Of The Virtues And Vices Of General Douglas Macarthur, 1, Journal Of Power And Ethics 
  • Rasor, Eugene L. (1994), General Douglas MacArthur, 1880–1964: Historiography and Annotated Bibliography, Greenwood Press, ISBN 978-0313288739 
  • Rowman; Littlefield (1964), General MacArthur: Letters from the Japanese During the American Occupation, Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, ISBN 0-7425-1115-4 
  • Schonberger, Howard B. (1989), Aftermath of War: Americans and the Remaking of Japan, 1945-1952 (American Diplomatic History), Kent State University Press, ISBN 978-0873383820 
  • Valley, David J. (2000), Gaijin Shogun: General Douglas MacArthur, Stepfather of Postwar Japan, Sektor Company, ISBN 0-9678175-2-8 
  • Wainstock, Dennis D. (1999), Truman, MacArthur, and the Korean War (Contributions in Military Studies), Greenwood Press, ISBN 978-0313308376 
  • Wolfe, Robert (1984), Americans as Proconsuls: United States Military Government in Germany and Japan, 1944–1952, Southern Illinois University Press, ISBN 978-0809311156 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Samuel Escue Tillman
Superintendents of the United States Military Academy
1919 – 1922
Succeeded by
Fred Winchester Sladen
Preceded by
Charles P. Summerall
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
1930 – 1935
Succeeded by
Malin Craig
Preceded by
Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP), Japan
1945 – 1951
Succeeded by
Matthew B. Ridgway
Preceded by
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Sylvanus Thayer Award recipient
Succeeded by
John J. McCloy
Honorary titles
Preceded by
John F. Kennedy
Persons who have lain in state or honor in the United States Capitol rotunda
April 8, 1964 – April 9, 1964
Succeeded by
Herbert Hoover


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