General Douglas Macarthur
- Category : Military
- Type : PM
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX The Alpha 2
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 later played a prominent role in the Pacific theater of World War II, receiving the Medal of Honor for his early service in the Philippines and on the Bataan Peninsula.
He was designated to command the proposed invasion of Japan in November 1945, and when that was no longer necessary he officially accepted their surrender on September 2, 1945.
MacArthur oversaw the occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1951. Although criticized for protecting Emperor Hirohito and the imperial family, he is credited with implementing far-ranging democratic changes in that country. He led the United Nations Command forces defending South Korea against the North Korean invasion from 1950 to 1951. In April 1951 MacArthur was removed from command by President Harry S. Truman for publicly disagreeing with Truman's Korean War Policy.
MacArthur is credited with the military dictum, "In war, there is no substitute for victory" but he also warned, "The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war." He fought in three major wars (World War I, World War II, Korean War) and was one of only five men ever to rise to the rank of General of the Army.
Early life and education
Douglas MacArthur, the youngest of three brothers, was born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1880 in an upstairs room of The Tower Building of the Little Rock Arsenal, which was at the time an active military building, while his parents were briefly stationed there. His parents were Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur, Jr., a recipient of the Medal of Honor, and Mary Pinkney Hardy MacArthur (nicknamed "Pinky") of Norfolk, Virginia. Douglas MacArthur was the grandson of jurist and politician Arthur MacArthur, Sr. He was baptized at Christ Episcopal Church in Little Rock on May 16, 1880. In his memoir Reminiscences, MacArthur wrote that his first memory was the sound of the bugle, and that he had learned to "ride and shoot even before I could read or write—indeed, almost before I could walk and talk."
MacArthur's father was posted to San Antonio, Texas, in 1893. There, Douglas attended West Texas Military Academy (now known as T.M.I.: The Episcopal School of Texas), where he became an excellent student. MacArthur entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1898; accompanied by his mother, who occupied a hotel suite overlooking the grounds of the Academy. (The story is that his mother would use a telescope to look over into his room to ensure that he was studying.) An outstanding cadet, he graduated first in his 93-man class in 1900. For his prowess in sports, military training, and academics he was awarded the coveted title of "First Captain Of The Corps Of Cadets." Only two other students in the history of West Point had surpassed his achievements (Robert E. Lee being one of them). Upon graduation MacArthur was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
After leaving West Point, MacArthur served his first tour of duty in the Philippines. Later, MacArthur served as an aide-de-camp to his father, and visited Japan during the Russo-Japanese war. In 1906 he was aide-de-camp to President Theodore Roosevelt. Leaving the White House in 1907, MacArthur performed engineering duties in Kansas, Milwaukee, and Washington D.C. until his assignment to the General Staff (1913-1917).
Vera Cruz Expedition
MacArthur distinguished himself by several acts of personal bravery in the Vera Cruz Expedition of 1914, including a railroad chase back to American lines. For these he was recommended for the Medal of Honor, although this was denied on the grounds that his actions had exceeded the scope of his orders.
These duties were performed while he was serving on the Army General Staff. MacArthur was later in charge of dealing with the National Guard Bureau within the War Department. In early 1917, prior to U.S. entry into World War I, MacArthur was elevated two grades in rank from major to full colonel. Upon his promotion to full Colonel, he transferred his basic branch from the Corps of Engineers to the Infantry.
World War I
During World War I MacArthur served in France as chief of staff of the 42nd ("Rainbow") Division. Upon his promotion to Brigadier General he became the commander of the 84th Infantry Brigade. A few weeks before the war ended, he became division commander. During the war, MacArthur received two Distinguished Service Crosses, seven Silver Stars, a Distinguished Service Medal, and two Purple Hearts.
Douglas MacArthur made it his policy to "lead... men from the front." Because of this policy, and the fact that he usually refused to wear a gas mask while the rest of his men would, he had respiratory problems the rest of his life. Still, he was the most decorated officer of the war, and General Charles T. Menoher once said that he was the "greatest fighting man" in the army.
Post World War I
In 1919 MacArthur became superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, which had become out of date in many respects and was much in need of reform. MacArthur ordered drastic changes in the tactical, athletic and disciplinary systems; he modernized the curriculum, adding liberal arts, government and economics courses. He also took the first major step to formalizing the as yet unwritten Cadet Honor Code when, in 1922, he formed the Cadet Honor Committee to review all honor allegations.
In October 1922, MacArthur left West Point for the Philippines. From 1922 to 1930, MacArthur served two tours of duty in the Philippines, the second as commander of the Philippine Department (1928–1930); he also served two tours as commander of corps areas in the states. In 1925, he was promoted to major general, the youngest officer of that rank at the time, and served on the court martial that convicted Brigadier General Billy Mitchell (he later portrayed himself in a non-speaking role in the Otto Preminger movie based on the trial). In 1928, he headed the U.S. Olympic Committee for the Amsterdam games.
General MacArthur was married twice. His first marriage, on February 14, 1922, was to socialite Mrs. Henrietta Louise Cromwell Brooks, the divorced wife of Walter Brooks, Jr., and stepdaughter of Edward T. Stotesbury, a wealthy Philadelphia banker. She obtained a divorce from him in 1929 on the grounds that he had failed to support her. She later married British actor Lionel Atwill, divorcing him in turn in 1943. Brooks died in August 1973. (Her brother James H.R. Cromwell was the first husband of tobacco heiress Doris Duke)
MacArthur was married to Jean Faircloth of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on April 30, 1937. Their only child, Arthur, was born in Manila on Feb. 21, 1938. Arthur graduated from Columbia University in 1961. "Arthur" was a family name - being the name of MacArthur's grandfather, father and eldest brother. Since his brother Arthur MacArthur III was deceased at this point and had failed to give that name to his own son (naming him instead Douglas MacArthur II), MacArthur "laid claim" to the name for his son, thus Arthur MacArthur IV.
One of MacArthur's most controversial acts came in 1932, when President Hoover ordered him to disperse the "Bonus Army" of veterans who had converged on the capital in protest of government policy. MacArthur was criticized for using excessive force to disperse the protesters. According to MacArthur, the demonstration had been taken over by communists and pacifists with, he claimed, only "one man in 10 being veterans." It should be noted, however, that no supporting evidence for MacArthur's charges has ever surfaced. Recent scholarship, including PBS's The American Experience, has shown the Bonus Army was composed overwhelmingly of First World War veterans whose pacifist politics were typical of the era - pacifism was not an uncommon belief among the general public of the 1930s.
Chief of Staff
By the time MacArthur finished his tour as Chief of Staff in October 1935. MacArthur's main programs included the development of new mobilization plans, the establishment of a mobile general headquarters air force, and a four-army reorganization which improved administrative efficiency. He supported the New Deal by enthusiastically operating the Civilian Conservation Corps. He brought along many talented mid-career officers, including George C. Marshall, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. However, MacArthur's support for a strong military and his public criticism of pacifism and isolationism made him unpopular with the Roosevelt administration. Following his retirement in December 1937, he reverted to his permanent grade of major general and accepted an offer in the Philippines.
Field Marshal of the Philippine Army
When the Commonwealth of the Philippines achieved semi-independent status in 1935, President of the Philippines Manuel L. Quezon, a personal friend since his father had been Governor General, asked MacArthur to supervise the creation of a Philippine Army. MacArthur elected not to retire but to remain on the active list as a major general, and with President Roosevelt's approval he accepted the assignment.
Among MacArthur's assistants as Military Adviser to the Commonwealth of the Philippines was Dwight D. Eisenhower. (Some years later, Eisenhower was asked if he knew MacArthur. He replied, "Know him? I studied dramatics under him for seven years!" MacArthur retorted that Eisenhower was the "Best clerk I ever had".)
When MacArthur resigned from the U.S. Army in 1937, his rank again became that of a general, and he was made Field Marshal of the Philippine Army by President Quezon. (MacArthur is the senior officer on the rolls of the Philippine Army today—he is also the only American military officer ever to hold the rank of field marshal).
In July 1941 Roosevelt recalled him to active duty in the U.S. Army as a major general and named him commander of United States Armed Forces in the Far East promoting him to a lieutenant general the following day. In December, he became a four star general yet again when the Japanese attacked across a wide front in the Pacific.
Following the outbreak of war with Japan, MacArthur was offered and accepted a payment of $500,000 (an enormous sum at the time) from President Quezon of the Philippines as payment for his pre-war service.
World War II
Main article: World War II
On the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor (December 8, 1941, in Manila), MacArthur was Allied commander in the Philippines. He had over eight hours warning of a possible Japanese attack on the Philippines, and express orders from Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall to commence operations.
MacArthur's reliance on his air commander of only two months (the prior air commander and his aide had both been transferred for excessive drinking), General Lewis H. Brereton, may have been misplaced. Despite clear warnings of Japanese aggression, Brereton had not transitioned his air defenses to a war footing, and like the air commanders at Hickam Field at Pearl Harbor, failed to disperse aircraft properly in camouflaged revetments to limit damage from incoming air raids. Brereton's difficulties were magnified by the fact that the Far East Air Force (FEAF) was mostly a motley collection of obsolescent U.S. and Philippine Air Force planes with only 72 operational P-40 fighters capable of effective air defense, and in no way could withstand a determined Japanese air offensive. Nevertheless, U.S. fighter aircraft were launched to receive the first Japanese attack, but failed to encounter the enemy. Upon returning to the airfield to refuel, many U.S. aircraft were caught on the ground and destroyed.
Later, MacArthur would publicly defend his air commander, while privately concluding he was incompetent, and transferred Brereton out of the Philippines as soon as possible. Brereton, who would later order the disastrous low-level B-24 raid on the Romanian oil refining and storage facilities at Ploesti, claimed he had requested permission to launch 35 B-17s (Brereton's entire long-range bomber force) to attack Japanese shipping in nearby Taiwan. This was a distinct departure from their intended use, to scout for incoming attacking forces, or to attack Japan proper. When the Japanese attacked Clark Field, they destroyed 17 B-17s on the ground. Despite Brereton's implication that the Taiwan attack would have preserved the B-17 force, without adequate fighter protection, such a raid on a heavily defended Japanese base would have inevitably resulted in massive losses to the unprotected attacking bombers, with any survivors destroyed on the ground by subsequent Japanese air raids.
MacArthur and his Chief of Staff Gen. Sutherland, later disputed Brereton's account of the Japanese attack on the Philippines.
The original prewar Philippines defense plan assumed the Japanese could not be prevented from landings in Luzon and called for U.S. and Filipino forces to abandon Manila and retreat with their supplies to the Bataan peninsula. MacArthur, however, counting on reinforcements from Washington, decided to slow the Japanese advance with an initial defense against the Japanese landings. However, the Japanese could not be stopped, and the allied troops barely escaped destruction retreating back to Bataan. Through a clerical error and because of the rush to retreat to Bataan, food to be transferred from Manila to Bataan fell into Japanese hands. Early in April 1942 the allied forces on Bataan surrendered due to Japanese superiority in aircraft and material.
MacArthur's headquarters during the Philippines campaign of 1941-2 was on the island fortress of Corregidor. His fortress was clearly marked and was the target of Japanese air attacks, until Manuel Quezon cautioned MacArthur "not to subject himself to danger." In March 1942, as Japanese forces tightened their grip on the Philippines, MacArthur was ordered by President Roosevelt to relocate to Melbourne, Australia, after Quezon had already left. After first discussing with his staff the idea that he resign his commission and fight on as a private soldier in the Philippine resistance, with his wife, four-year-old son, and a select group of advisers and subordinate military commanders, MacArthur left the Philippines in PT 41 (commanded by Lieutenant John D. Bulkeley) and successfully evaded an intense Japanese search for him.
After he left, command of the defense of Bataan was handed over to Major General Jonathan M. Wainwright. MacArthur was unwilling to leave control to Wainwright, and tried to run the battle from three thousand miles away. He ordered his men not to retreat, but General Edward P. King disobeyed orders by surrendering when he saw that the situation was hopeless. This surrender led to the Bataan Death March, in which over 5,000 Filipinos and 1,000 Americans died.
MacArthur reached Mindanao on March 13 and boarded a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber three days later; on March 17, he arrived at Batchelor Airfield in Australia's Northern Territory, about 60 miles (100 km) south of Darwin, before flying to Alice Springs, where he took the Ghan railway 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; Washington asked MacArthur to amend his promise to, "We shall return." He ignored the request. Also, during this period, President Quezon decorated MacArthur with the Distinguished Conduct Star.
For his leadership in the defense of the Philippines, MacArthur was awarded the Medal of Honor (1 April 1942). Arthur and Douglas MacArthur were the first father and son to be awarded the Medal of Honor. (They remained the only pair until 2001 when Theodore Roosevelt was awarded one posthumously for his service during the Spanish American War. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. had earned one posthumously for his service during World War II).
MacArthur was appointed Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA). Australian Prime Minister John Curtin put MacArthur in command of the Australian military, which — following the isolation of the Philippines — was numerically larger than MacArthur's American forces. The Allied force under his command included a small number of personnel from the Netherlands East Indies and other countries. One of MacArthur's first tasks was to reassure Australians, who feared a Japanese invasion. The fighting at this time was predominantly in and around New Guinea and the Dutch East Indies. On July 20, 1942, SWPA headquarters was moved to Brisbane, Queensland, taking over the AMP Insurance Society building (later known as MacArthur Central). In August 1942, after requesting a replacement for Brereton, MacArthur was finally given a new and fiercely aggressive air commander, Gen. George C. Kenney. Kenney and MacArthur immediately forged a close relationship. Allied airpower, which had up to this point been timid and inconclusive, was transformed by Kenney into a new and fearsome offensive weapon. Kenney would later develop low-level skip bombing techniques that his aviators would use to singlehandedly repulse a planned Japanese naval invasion of New Guinea in 1943, with thousands of Japanese causalities and dozens of ships sunk.
Australian successes at the Battle of Milne Bay and the Kokoda Track campaign came in late 1942, the first victories by Allied land forces anywhere against the Japanese. When it was reported the 32nd U.S. Infantry Division, an inexperienced National Guard unit, had proved incompetent in the Allied offensive against Buna and Gona, the major Japanese beachheads in northeastern New Guinea, MacArthur told U.S. I Corps commander, Robert L. Eichelberger, to assume direct control of the division:
Bob, I'm putting you in command at Buna. Relieve Harding ... I want you to remove all officers who won't fight. Relieve regimental and battalion commanders; if necessary, put sergeants in charge of battalions and corporals in charge of companies ... Bob, I want you to take Buna, or not come back alive ... And that goes for your chief of staff, too.
Allied land forces commander, General Thomas Blamey, did not want the 41st U.S. Infantry, another inexperienced National Guard division, to reinforce the Gona assault, and requested 21st Australian Infantry Brigade be sent instead, as "he knew they would fight". This was done but a regiment of the 41st later went to Gona.
In March 1943, the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved MacArthur's plan, Operation CARTWHEEL, which aimed to capture the major Japanese base at Rabaul by taking strategic points to use as forward bases. During 1944 this was modified so as to bypass Rabaul and other heavily-defended Japanese bases, allowing the Japanese forces there to "wither on the vine." Initially, the majority of MacArthur's land forces were Australian, but increasing numbers of U.S. troops arrived in the theater, including Marines, the Sixth Army (Alamo Force), and later the Eighth Army.
MacArthur's advancement of land forces westward along the 1,500 mile (2,400 km) northern coast of New Guinea was sequenced specifically for terrain selected on the basis of its ability to be made into landing strips for tactical support aircraft. By advancing in leaps always within the range of his fighter-bombers (typically P-38 Lightnings), he could maintain air superiority over his land operations. This provided critical close air support and also denied the enemy sea and airborne resupply, effectively cutting the Japanese forces off as they were under attack. MacArthur's strategy of maneuver, offensive air-strikes, and force avoidance would eventually pay off - unlike the ground forces in the Central Pacific theater, infantry troops in operations under MacArthur's command consistently suffered fewer casualties.
Allied forces under MacArthur's command, covered by aircraft from Halsey's carriers, landed at Leyte Island on October 20, 1944 - thereby fulfilling MacArthur's vow to return to the Philippines. The carriers were tied up for months providing air support until the rainy season ended (something which MacArthur doubtless should have foreseen, after living in 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. In a foretaste of things to come, 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 1 November 1945. The invasion was pre-empted by Japan's capitulation. On 2 September, MacArthur received the formal Japanese surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, thus ending World War II.
Post-World War II Japan
Main article: Occupied Japan
MacArthur was ordered on August 29 to exercise authority through the Japanese government machinery, including Emperor Hirohito. Some believe MacArthur may have made his greatest contribution to history in the next five and a half years, as Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in Japan (SCAP).
However, some historians criticize his work to exonerate Emperor Showa and all members of the imperial family implicated in the war (including Princes Chichibu, Asaka, Takeda, Higashikuni and Hiroyasu) from criminal prosecutions. As soon as November 26, 1945, MacArthur confirmed to admiral Mitsumasa Yonai that the emperor's abdication would not be necessary. MacArthur exonerated Hirohito and ignored the advice of many members of the imperial family and Japanese intellectuals who publicly asked for the abdication of the Emperor and the implementation of a regency. For example, prince Mikasa (Takahito), Hirohito's youngest brother, even stood up in a meeting of the private 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."
According to Bix, "months before the Tokyo tribunal commenced, MacArthur's highest subordinates were working to attribute ultimate responsibility for Pearl Harbor to Hideki Tojo" Citing the debates between Truman, Eisenhower and MacArthur, Bix argues that "immediately on landing in Japan, Bonner Fellers went to work to protect Hirohito from the role he had played during and at the end of the war." and "allowed the major war criminal suspects to coordinate their stories so that the Emperor would be spared from indictment"
According to John Dower, "This successful campaign to absolve the Emperor of war responsibility knew no bounds. Hirohito was not merely presented as being innocent of any formal acts that might make him culpable to indictment as a war criminal. He was turned into an almost saintly figure who did not even bear moral responsibility for the war." "With the full support of MacArthur's headquarters, the prosecution functioned, in effect, as a defense team for the emperor."
MacArthur and his GHQ staff helped a devastated Japan rebuild itself, institute a democratic government, and chart a course that made Japan one of the world's leading industrial powers. The U.S. was firmly in control of Japan to oversee its reconstruction, and MacArthur was effectively the interim leader of Japan from 1945 until 1948. In 1946, MacArthur's staff drafted a new constitution that renounced war and reduced the emperor to a figurehead; this constitution remains in use in Japan to this day. He also pushed the Japanese Diet into adopting a decentralization plan to break apart the large Japanese companies (zaibatsu) and foster the first Japanese labor unions.
"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." - General Douglas MacArthur's Address to Congress of the United States, April 19, 1952
These reconstruction plans alarmed many in the U.S. Defense and State Departments, believing they conflicted with the prospect of Japan (and its industrial capacity) as a bulwark against the spread of communism in Asia. Some of MacArthur's reforms, such as his labor laws, were rescinded in 1948 when his unilateral control of Japan was ended by the increased involvement of the State Department. MacArthur handed over power to the newly-formed Japanese government in 1949 and remained in Japan until relieved by President Truman on April 11, 1951. Truman replaced SCAP leader MacArthur with General Matthew Ridgway of the U.S. Army. By 1952, Japan was a sovereign nation under the democratic constitution MacArthur had pushed for, which had been in effect since 1947.
In late 1945, Allied military commissions in various cities of the Orient tried 4,000 Japanese officers for war crimes. About 3,000 were given prison terms and 920 executed; the charges included the Rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March, and the sack of Manila. The trial in Manila of General Yamashita Tomoyuki, Japanese commander in the Philippines from 1944, was under MacArthur's direction and has been particularly criticized. General Yamashita was hanged for the massacre of Manila which he had not ordered and of which he was probably unaware. It was ordered by Vice Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi who was nominally subordinate to General Yamashita. Iwabuchi had killed himself as the battle for Manila was ending.
Main article: 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 38th parallel north. This resulted in the creation of two states: the western-aligned Republic of Korea (ROK) (often referred to as "South Korea"), and the Soviet-aligned and Communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) (generally 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 US theater commander, became commander of the UN forces. In September, despite lingering concerns from superiors, MacArthur's army and marine troops made a daring and successful combined amphibious landing at Inchon, 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 the China. MacArthur boasted: "The war is over. The Chinese are not coming... The Third Division will be back in Fort Benning for Christmas dinner."
With the DPRK forces largely destroyed, troops of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) quietly crossed the Yalu River. Chinese foreign minister Zhou Enlai issued warnings via 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. 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.
In April 1951, MacArthur's habitual disregard of his superiors led to a crisis. He sent a letter to Representative Joe Martin (R-Massachusetts), the House Minority Leader, disagreeing with President Truman's policy of limiting the Korean war to avoid a larger war with China. He also sent an ultimatum to the Chinese Army which destroyed President Truman's cease-fire efforts. This, and similar letters and statements, were seen by Truman as a violation of the American constitutional principle that military commanders are subordinate to civilian leadership, and usurpation of the President's authority to make foreign policy. MacArthur had ignored this principle out of necessity while SCAF in Japan. MacArthur at this time had not been back to the United States for thirteen years.
By this time President Truman decided MacArthur was insubordinate, and relieved him of command on April 11, 1951, leading to a storm of controversy. MacArthur was succeeded by General Matthew Ridgway, and eventually by General Mark Wayne Clark, who signed the armistice which ended the Korean War.
Return to America
MacArthur returned to Washington, D.C. (his first time in the continental U.S. in 11 years), where he made his last public appearance in a farewell address to the U.S. Congress, interrupted by thirty ovations. In his closing speech, he recalled: "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away." "And like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away — an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty. Good-bye."
On his return from Korea, after his relief by Truman, MacArthur encountered massive public adulation, which aroused expectations that he would run for the presidency as a Republican in the 1952 election. However, a U.S. Senate Committee investigation of his removal (which largely vindicated the actions taken by President Truman), chaired by Richard Russell, contributed to a marked cooling of the public mood, and hopes for a MacArthur presidential run died away. MacArthur, in Reminiscences, repeatedly stated he had no political aspirations.
1952 to death
In the 1952 Republican presidential nomination contest, MacArthur was not a candidate and instead endorsed Senator Robert Taft of Ohio; rumors were rife Taft offered the vice presidential nomination to MacArthur. Taft did persuade MacArthur to be the keynote speaker at the convention. The speech was not well received. Taft lost the nomination to Eisenhower; MacArthur was silent during the campaign, which Eisenhower won by a landslide. Once elected, Eisenhower consulted with MacArthur and adopted his suggestion of threatening the use of nuclear weapons to end the war. Had Eisenhower, who was very hesitant, not chosen to run for the Republican nomination, and if instead Taft had won the nomination and then the general election, MacArthur would, as Taft's vice president, have become president when Taft died of cancer in July 1953.
In 1956, U.S. Senator Joseph Martin introduced a proposal to elevate MacArthur to six star rank; however, this caused issues with President Eisenhower who found the general to be grandiose and an egotist. The issue died in the Senate. MacArthur became head of Remington Rand Corporation and spent the remainder of his life in New York.
MacArthur and his second wife, Jean, spent the last years of their life together in the penthouse of the Waldorf Towers (a part of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel), a gift from Conrad Hilton, the owner of the hotel.
The Waldorf became the setting for an annual birthday party on January 26, thrown by the general's former deputy chief engineer, Major General Leif J. Sverdrup. At the 1960 celebration for MacArthur's 80th, many of his friends were startled by the general's obviously deteriorating health; the next day he collapsed and was rushed into surgery at St. Luke's hospital to control a severely swollen prostate.
After his recovery, MacArthur methodically carried out the closing act of a long life. He visited the White House for a final reunion with Eisenhower. In 1961 he made a spectacular "sentimental journey" to the Philippines, where he was decorated by President Carlos P. Garcia with the Philippine Legion of Honor, rank of Chief Commander. MacArthur also accepted a $900,000 advance from Henry Luce for the rights to his memoirs, and began writing the volume that would eventually be published as Reminiscences.
President John F. Kennedy solicited MacArthur's counsel in 1961. The first of two meetings was shortly after the Bay of Pigs Invasion. MacArthur was extremely critical of the 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. Shortly prior to his death he gave similar advice to the new President, Lyndon Johnson.
In 1962, West Point honored the increasingly frail MacArthur with the Sylvanus Thayer Award, an award for outstanding service to the nation; the year before, the award had gone to Eisenhower. MacArthur's speech to the cadets in accepting the award was, to all intents and purposes, the last great public moment of a very public life; its theme was Duty, Honor, Country. The speech was recorded, and even in MacArthur's old and faltering voice, it is still possible to hear the mesmerizing presence and towering ego which drove him throughout his career. His stirring final passage sounds like a voice from another age:
The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished, tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears, and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ears, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory, always I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country. Today marks my final roll call with you, but I want you to know that when I cross the river my last conscious thoughts will be of The Corps, and The Corps, and The Corps. I bid you farewell."
MacArthur spent the last years of his life finishing his memoirs; he died on April 5th 1964, of biliary cirrhosis, before their publication in book form - they had begun to appear in serialized form in Life Magazine in the months just prior to his death. After he died, his wife Jean continued to live in the Waldorf Towers penthouse until her own death. The couple are entombed together in downtown Norfolk, Virginia; their burial site is in the rotunda of a memorial building/museum (formerly the Norfolk City Hall) dedicated to his memory, and there is a major shopping mall (MacArthur Center) named for him across the street from the memorial. According to the museum, General MacArthur said he chose to be buried in Norfolk because of his mother's ancestral ties to the city.
MacArthur wanted his family to remember him for more than being a soldier. He said, "By profession I am a soldier and take pride in that fact. But I am prouder—infinitely prouder—to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build; the father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentiality of death; the other embodies creation and life. And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, 'Our Father who art in heaven."
MacArthur's nephew, Douglas MacArthur II (a son of his brother Arthur) served as a diplomat for several years, including the post of Ambassador to Japan and several other countries.
In 1945, MacArthur gave his treasured Gold Castles insignia, a personal possession, to his chief engineer, Jack Sverdrup. They are currently worn by the Chief of Engineers as a tradition.
MacArthur is viewed as a controversial figure. His handling of Japan after World War II led to Japan's economic transformation and was generally applauded. However, the fact he chose to protect some major leaders of the Showa regime in World War II is sometimes criticized. Also, his actions during the Korean War remain highly controversial.
His reputation for self-promotion has earned him many detractors. But defenders have claimed "MacArthur's Communiqué was criticized, ridiculed, or lamented by many. Most critics fail to understand that MacArthur did not write the communiqué for the benefit of the troops, the press or the politicians in Canberra, London and Washington. He wrote it for the American public, whose opinion could influence political forces in decisions of strategic planning and control. He wrote his communiqué to focus the attention of the American people on SWPA and its needs... To interpret the communiqué, and all other aspects of MacArthur's activities, in terms of pure, unrestrained ego is a gross oversimplification and underestimation of the General's complex character and of his intellectual capacity." MacArthur's public pressure campaign to improve Washington's logistical support for the Pacific War was somewhat successful, and combined with the influence of his sometime rival Admiral Ernest King, MacArthur's efforts were largely responsible for the increased diversion of resources to the Pacific by 1943.
Places named after MacArthur
For a more comprehensive list, see Places named for Douglas 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 for him.
The Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom, an extension of Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, is named for the general. It has a life-size statue of MacArthur in front of the building. Douglas MacArthur's Medal of Honor is on permanent display in the MacArthur Gallery, along with a collection of MacArthur's effects, including swords from the Philippines and Japan, a collection of his pipes, and other personal belongings.
MacArthur Park (formerly Westlake Park) is a park in Los Angeles, California, named after General Douglas MacArthur and designated city of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument #100. It is located in the Westlake neighborhood of the city.
Two towns in the Philippines are named after him: MacArthur, Leyte, and General MacArthur, Eastern Samar.
The highway that spans from Kalookan, Metro Manila to as far as La Union in the Philippines is named after MacArthur. It is now aptly called "MacArthur Highway."
The large MacArthur Central plaza in downtown Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, is named after Douglas MacArthur and has as its logo the five stars of his rank. The MacArthur Museum MacArthur Museum, Brisbane, which was opened to the public in 2004, is located within the MacArthur Central building.
A statue of MacArthur built at Inchon Harbor in South Korea in 1957 has become a site of contention between some civic groups who consider the statue a symbol of imperialism, should be removed, and some veteran groups who consider him a hero and symbol of all Korean and UN forces who died. Skirmishes between the two groups have forced the Korean government to protect the statue with troops. In November 2006, a MacArthur Statue protest leader was arrested.
MacArthur Airport, Long Island, New York, USA
Douglas MacArthur High School Home of the MacArthur Generals, Levittown, Long Island, New York
MacArthur Center and a nearby memorial building and statue in Norfolk, Virginia.
MacArthur Elementary School, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA
MacArthur Avenue, Munster, Indiana, USA