General Douglas MacArthur

General Douglas MacArthur

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General Douglas MacArthur

General Douglas MacArthur is one of the United States' most popular and accomplished generals. He is mostly known for being the commander of all Allied forces in the Pacific theater during World War II. His life was a spectacular rise and tragic fall. He was one of the United States' greatest leaders of all time. He lived his entire life living by the West Point code of Duty, Honor, and Country.
Douglas Macarthur was born on January 26th, 1880 in Little Rock, Arkansas (Kelley 35). His parents were Arthur and Mary MacArthur. As a young man, Douglas MacArthur was moved around frequently to different parts of the United States where his father was stationed. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point where he received his commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the United States Army. He was valedictorian of his class of 93 at West Point (Kelley 39). He was promoted very quickly through the next few years and had a great deal of combat experience in several different conflicts, including World War I. Douglas served in the Philippines as major general, commanded the Department of the Philippines, and served in the U.S. as chief of staff of the Army (Wikipedia). In 1942 he was made the supreme commander of Allied forces in the southwest Pacific and by 1945 had liberated the Philippines on the way to invading Japan. MacArthur accepted the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945, then led the occupation forces in the reconstruction of Japan (Wikipedia). After North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950, MacArthur was put in charge of United Nations forces and successfully drove the invaders back (Wikipedia). General MacArthur wanted to push the enemy back and go into China to do so but was relieved of his command by President Truman before he could do so.
General Douglas MacArthur's most famous contribution to history was his service to the United States during World War II. At that time he was the supreme commander of the Allied forces in the Pacific. He led the U.S. to a series of victories in the Pacific that concluded with the defeat of Japan. He accepted the surrender of Japanese forces on September 2, 1945(Wikipedia). After the war ended, General MacArthur was appointed supreme commander of all Allied forces and aided in the reconstruction of Japan. MacArthur's great leadership and tactics ultimately led to the United States winning the war against Japan during the largest conflict in the 20th century.

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Another famous contribution to history was MacArthur's involvement in the Korean conflict. When North Korea invaded South Korea in late June 1950, he became supreme allied commander of all U.S., Korean, and U.N. forces committed to the South Korean cause (Wikipedia). After a couple of advances and retreats, General MacArthur wanted to expand the war with China. When Washington and U.N. supporters of the American effort warned against expansion of the conflict in the Far East, MacArthur's public criticism of such strictures led President Harry S. Truman to remove him from command and order him home, where the general received a hero's reception (Wikipedia).
Another contribution to history that is not as famous and well known as the others is MacArthur's involvement at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was first in his class at West Point and competed against Ulysses S. Grant III for the spot. After his service in the Philippines and World I, MacArthur returned to the academy as the superintendent. He changed West Point. He turned the academy into an officer's training school rather than just a military school (Kelley 82). He brought back the honor code that had faded away during World War I. He wanted to make a new West Point officer, one that was educated in all fields required, military or not, that would aid in warfare (Kelley 83). He changed West Point forever.
General Douglas MacArthur had many influences in his life. His family was a significant one. He came from a long line of military leaders that influenced him to seek a career in military service. His mother kept a close watchful eye on him in the earlier part of his life. She even followed him to West Point when he was a cadet, and lived there so she could be close to him (Kelley 39). His mother was a strong influence in his life.
When MacArthur wanted to attack Chinese forces in the Korean Conflict, President Harry Truman dismissed him as supreme commander of the Allied forces. After his dismissal, MacArthur soon retired from the Army. President Truman's decision to fire MacArthur from his role in the Pacific influenced MacArthur to retire from military service for the rest of his life.
The greatest influence in Douglas MacArthur's life was the United States Military Academy at West Point. He lived his life according to the values of duty, honor and country that is the West Point Creed. He gave many speeches and quoted many lines he learned at West Point. When he became the superintendent there, he made the academy what it is today.
General MacArthur was a gifted soldier and brilliant strategist. He is definitely one of the greatest leaders the United States has ever seen. Without him the outcomes of many U.S. conflicts may have not turned into the great victories we know today. His life and his legacy can be characterized by one of his own quotes, "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away."

Works Cited

Kelley, Frank. Macarthur: Man of Action. New York: Doubleday and
Company Inc., 1951.
"Macarthur, Douglas." Encyclopedia Wikipedia. 2005. 1 May 2005.
Perret, Geoffery. Old Soldiers Never Die: The Life of Douglas
MacArthur. New York: Random House, 1996.
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