MacArthur, Douglas

   Douglas MacArthur graduated first in his class from West Point in 1903. He was a member of the General Staff in France during World War I and successfully commanded the 42nd Rainbow Division. After the war, MacArthur became superintendent at West Point from 1919 to 1922. He became a major general in 1928 and commander of the Philippines Department in 1928. From 1930 to 1935, he was general and chief of staff of the U.S. Army. In 1932, he led the troops who forcibly ejected the Bonus Army from Washington, D.C. MacArthur was director of organization of national defense for the Philippines from 1935 until 1937, when he retired. Recalled to active service in 1941 as a lieutenant general, he was placed in command of the U.S. Forces in the Far East. He was forced to flee the Philippines following the Japanese invasion in 1941 but announced “I shall return.”
   MacArthur was made supreme commander of the Allied forces in the southwest Pacific in 1942. As promised, he led the forces in the “island hopping” campaign, bypassing major Japanese strongholds to retake the Philippines in 1944. MacArthur was made a general of the army in December 1944. He received the Japanese surrender in Tokyo in September 1945 and became supreme commander for the Allied powers in Japan and was effectively ruler of the country until 1951. In 1950, MacArthur became commander of the United Nations forces that responded to the attack of North Korea upon the South in what became the Korean War. When Chinese forces became involved, MacArthur called for all-out war and the use of atomic weapons. He was dismissed in 1951 because of his differences with President Harry S. Truman about atomic weapons and other issues but returned to the United States as a public hero. He made an emotional address to Congress on April 19, 1951, in which he said “Old soldiers never die. They just fade away.” He clearly had presidential ambitions, but after playing a key role at the Republican National Convention in 1952, he failed to get the nomination and faded from the political scene. His book, Reminiscences, was published in 1964.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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