Korea: MacArthurs war with Truman

Korea: MacArthurs war with Truman

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Korea: MacArthur’s war with Truman

The movie starts out with a pretty good background on the whole Korean War. It tells of how after WW II, Korea, at that time was ruled as a colony of Japan, was split along the 38th parallel. With the Russians controlling North Korea, and the U.S. backing South Korea. Both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. chose leaders from the countries to be more of a governor than a president for the two nations.

MacArthur, though in many ways was a failed general in that he lost many troops and strategic strong holds, was still a very popular “hero” from WW II. Although it depends on who you talk to. My great-grand father was U.S.S. Colorado and everyone in the Pacific during the was thought MacArthur was a horrible leader, and commander. MacArthur tended to make his own choices on U.S. foreign policy. MacArthur wanted to take troops all the way up to the Yule River on the border of Korea and China. Truman hated MacArthur for this, absolutely hated him. Truman felt that MacArthur’s daring had unduly escalated the war. China was now involved, and Truman feared Russia was to follow. Even though at that time Russia was considered a friend, Truman knew it was only one major conflict away from another world war. MacArthur wanted to bring in Chinese nationalist from Thailand into the war and attack Mainland China. MacArthur even went as far as to fly to Thailand and meet with nationalist leaders to discuss doing so. MacArthur even suggested using up to 20 atomic bombs on strategic Chinese locations. He did not want his soldiers to die for a stalemate, he wanted total victory.

Both Truman, and the U.S. Joint Chief’s of Staff (a collection of high ranking officers from all of the armed forces) disapproved of MacArthur’s actions, but were reluctant to do anything about it because of his tremendous popularity. In Tokyo, MacArthur met with diplomats from Spain and Portugal, and made it clear he wanted war with China. The diplomats related this to their home governments in telegrams that were intercepted by the NSA (National Security Agency). This was reported to Truman and he knew that MacArthur needed to be fired. The problem was that Truman could not report that the US had been listening in on other countries secret communications. So Truman was forced to wait until there was another reason to let MacArthur go, one that could be published and not embarrass the US.

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Ironically he got such a reason from Joseph W. Martin, in several speeches stated that the US should help S. Korea establish a second front in China. Senator Martin then asked MacArthur was he thought of the idea and MacArthur supported it in a letter that Martin then made public. The letter went against Truman’s official policy on Korea, and it violated the order that MacArthur was under to clear all of his statements though his superiors. This was all Truman needed, he then let MacArthur, stating that though his carelessness he could confuse other countries on the US’s official stand. The newspapers criticized the Presidents move stating it was soft on communism. After the firing only one fourth of the US supported the presidents decision, and some republicans in the house started calling for his impeachment. MacArthur then gave an address to the joint senate and house saying he was just doing his job to the best of his ability and he was just now going to fade away. General MacArthur’s popularity continued to soar, and Truman’s plummeted.

In my opinion MacArthur severely overstepped his boundaries. Being a Navy man myself I could never, no matter how high I got in rank, even think about going over a commander’s head and spouting off about my own thoughts. When you join the armed forces you take an oath, the following is an excerpt. “and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed overme, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God. MacArthur clearly violated this and in my opinion, he should have been taken out far before he was.

I found no bias in this film because at the end of the movie they stated supporting facts for either side and let the view choose. I believe that by limiting the war to Korea, Truman was doing the right thing. If we went into China, when they were just trying to back up a neighbor, we would be no better than Germany during WW2 in that we were just out to pick a fight and make everyone else believe in our way of life. Truman did the right thing and ended up getting a bum rap. It is only now that he is commended for the leader that he was.
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