“A general is just as good or just as bad as the troops under his command make him” General Douglas MacArthur, a five-star general, proved his own statement to be true. By the end of his career Douglas Macarthur was the most successful general of that time, the upbringing, personality and life events Douglas MacArthur resulted in the creation of an American legend. With his high sense of duty and responsibility the general was the military figure and hero America needed. MacArthur was what some people called an aggressive man who was very passionate about defending the freedom and integrity of his home country.
He was very smart and was constantly reading books in his library which caused him to be very intelligent and could carry out a conversation about any subject. He was known to be very clear and precise when spoken with. But there was more to him than his interest in the military. He carried with him pride in his family name, and his country. And was radiant with masculinity, determination and a ‘get er done’ kind of personality. But of all, the most beloved trait of the general was his love and passion for humanity. This contributed to his drive as a soldier.
It was said that when looking at his very countenance he looked like a soldier (Miller 4). Before Douglas was born, he was destined to have some sort of military occupation. He was influenced by his family due to his famous father, Arthur MacArthur, a Union, civil war hero and his mother’s, Mary “Pinky’ Hardy, brothers who both fought for the confederates in the war as well. So when he was born and while growing up the push and influence to be in the military was inevitable. His mother put in much effort to inspire him to look up to and become just like his father. Douglas came from a family of leaders and soldiers.
Douglas was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, January 26,1880 on the first of many military bases where he would live while growing up and traveling due to his father’s military profession. They then moved to San Antonio and attending high school and achieving Val Victorian at West Texas Military Academy. His time there was said by Douglas himself to be “the best four years of my life”. After his high school graduation Douglas attended West Point Military Academy, where he continued his excellent progression in academics which started at an early age. He was also involved in the baseball and football programs.
In 1903 upon graduating, MacArthur was at the top of his class and had a score of 2420. 2 out of 2470 on merit points. This score was now the third highest score the academy has seen, coming into a close second to the General Robert E Lee (“Who is MacArthur? ” 3). After Graduating West Point MacArthur was assigned to be Second Lieutenant in the Philippines for the US Army Corps of Engineers, with his father who had served as the military governor just a few years earlier. After serving there Arthur MacArthur took his son, who was a young adult at the time, on a tour of Asia.
To all the military bases including: Vietnam, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Japan, China, India, etc. (“Who is MacArthur? ” 3). In September 1905, Douglas was given orders to report to the Second Engineer Battalion and enroll in the Engineer School. While there he also served as an assistant at the White House at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt. He recorded his time at the White House to be very exciting, with the children running about the house (Miller 85). It was here that MacArthur created his love for the Roosevelts that would last for his lifetime.
Also while there Roosevelt sought to make Arthur MacArthur the Lieutenant General for the US Army. Later, in February 1911, MacArthur was the captain and head of the Military Engineering Department and the Field Engineer School. He took part in exercises in San Antonio, Texas, with the Maneuver Division and assisted the program in Panama in January and February 1912. However, the sudden death of Arthur MacArthur, in September of 1912 brought Douglas and his older brother Arthur home, for the last time to care for their mother, whose health was also going downhill.
After an almost fatal expedition at Veracruz, Mexico in early 1915 and almost receiving the Medal of Honor, MacArthur resumed to work for the War Department, and was promoted to major on December 11th of that same year. He was and assigned to what were essentially intelligence and administrative units when the United States entered World War I in 1917. MacArthur helped lead the 42nd “Rainbow” Division in France, by collecting soldiers from all over the United States MacArthur’s goal was to raise morale and ‘spread enlistments across the states like a rainbow’ thus the name the Rainbow Division.
MacArthur was promoted to colonel and put in its command. In 1918 he participated in the St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne and Sedan offensives, where he proved himself to be a very dependable and capable military leader. While in France, he received four silver stars and was eventually promoted to brigadier general. He was the youngest man to ever be promoted to the rank of general up to that point in history (Lincoln, Van Doren Charles, and Robert McHenry). And after another almost fatal and dangerous experience at St.
Mihiel, MacArthur gained two more additional Sliver stars and was again almost awarded the Medal of Honor but was sadly denied. After World War One had ended and the now general Douglas MacArthur returned to the United States and many of the US Army officers returned to what they call their peacetime ranks. General Douglas was able to keep his rank of brigadier general while being appointed to be the Superintendent of West Point. Also during this time, he married his first wife Louise Cromwell Brooks. In June 1919, he sought to help modernize and reconstruct the West Point’s academic program.
Douglas continued this profession until 1922, he made accomplished many wonderful things while at West Point. He formalized the honor code, and increased the athletic program, MacArthur was a determined supporter of athletic. His changes to West Point were not all agreed upon but eventually they became the established culture of the academy (“People & Events General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)” 1). The general left the academy in October 1922, MacArthur took command of the Military District of Manila.
While in the Philippines, he gained a familiarity and love for the Philippines and Filipino people. His goal was to improve the military establishment in the islands. He returned to Washington in 1923 to visit his ill mother and for the last time see his brother Arthur who would die that December of appendicitis. Douglas unfortunately was not able to stay long in the Philippines. He left in 1925 and was promoted to major general, still the youngest man to be promoted to the rank of a general. And upon return to America he served briefly in Atlanta, and Baltimore.
In 1929 MacArthur and his wife divorced, but MacArthur would marry his wife, Jean Faircloth, in 1937, and the following year she gave birth to a son, Arthur. After the president of the Olympic Committee unexpectedly died and the committee was in need of a new president MacArthur, who sees the importance of athletics, stepped up to the plate and was elected as their new president. The U. S. team needed to prepare for the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. And MacArthur saw the opportunity to use the Olympic team as representatives of the United States.
He also saw the importance of Americas duty to win medals. “We have not come 3,000 miles,” he told them, “just to lose gracefully. ” (Lincoln, Van Doren Charles, and Robert McHenry). The Americans had a successfully earned 24 gold medals, and set 17 Olympic records and seven world records. The ‘get er done’ personality was showing more and more as he was given leadership roles which were all continuously successful. When the 1928 Olympics were over and the team returned home. He was promoted to be the Chief of Staff and struggled as everyone else during the beginning of the Great Depression.
Communism became more and more as a threat MacArthur began strategizing and showed great interest in militarism and mobilization. MacArthur received orders to assume command of the Philippine Department. The President of the Philippines, Manuel Quezon, wanted MacArthur to oversee the development of the Philippine Army. He was made a field marshal of the Commonwealth of the Philippines he remained in the US Army as the Military Advisor to the Government. MacArthur was forced to basically start from scratch oldfashioned American equipment.
Persistently petitioning for more money and equipment, his requests were largely ignored in Washington. In 1937, MacArthur retired from the US Army but remained in place as an advisor to President Quezon. Although tensions with Japan were growing, and Roosevelt recalled MacArthur to active duty as commander of the US Army Forces in the Far East on July 1941. In an attempt to reinforce the Philippines’ defenses, troops and material were sent later that year. It was then that MacArthur was promoted to lieutenant general.
After the devastating blow at Pearl Harbor and the General lost control over the Philippines on February 1942, as Japanese forces took control over the Philippines, President Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to reposition to Australia. On the night of March, 12 1942, MacArthur and a select group that included his wife Jean, son Arthur. MacArthur reached Del Monte Airfield on Mindanao, where they were picked up, and flown to Australia. In One of his most famous speeches, he said, “I came through and I shall return”, was first made on Terowie railway station in South Australia, on March 20.
It was not long after that, that General Douglas MacArthur was awarded with the Medal of Honor after being nominated twice. This is the only situation in history where both father and son would receive the Medal of Honor. While being awarded he only received it in such a way that he made sure that everyone knew that the medal was not given to him it was given to the troops and soldiers that he commanded. While America, and countries all over the world were in the midst of the second world war, in April 1942, MacArthur was selected to be the supreme commander of the Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific.
He effectively commanded an island-hopping campaign or strategy in the Pacific before returning to unshackle the Philippines from the Japanese in October of 1944. Famously Striding ashore at Leyte, he declared, “I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil. ” And by that December, he was promoted to the rank of general of the Army and was given command of all Army forces in the Pacific Theater. He was skeptical of his leaders lack concern for the pacific theatre. The arrangements began for the invasion of Japan, and MacArthur played the role of overall commander of the operation.
Japan surrendered in August 1945 after the dropping of the two atomic bombs. After the war, the president agreed upon MacArthur to be the overseer and help make arrangements to reconstruct japan, physically, economically, and politically. He and his family remained in Tokyo for 6 years, until 1949 when the Japanese government could stand on its own two feet. World War Two was over and the United Nations was created. With MacArthur in command of the United Nations there was still trouble going on in North and South Korea.
And on June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea and therefore began the Korean War. Without much luck MacArthur was not on the offensive end of this war, also hard feeling was present when MacArthur had criticized his policies publicly. The general’s usual mindset is win at all costs and President Truman doesn’t see that, Representative Joseph Martin, Jr. revealed a letter from MacArthur that was highly critical of Truman’s war policies. Likewise, Truman relieved MacArthur on April 11 and he was replaced with General Matthew Ridgway.
MacArthur’s dismissal was very controversial in the United States. When arriving home, he was hailed as a hero and was given parades in San Francisco and New York. Between these events, April 19after addressing congress and famously stating that “old soldiers never die; they just fade away. ” After 60 years of service, he retired to New York City with his wife Jean, and the much older MacArthur worked in business and wrote his journals. MacArthur died on April 5, 1964 and following a state funeral he was buried at the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk.
General Douglas MacArthur was a natural born leader, he excelled in anything he set his mind to and followed in the footsteps of his older brother and father. Not only did he achieve and set records that no one had ever imagined, but was the ultimate American hero and Idol. His love for humanity and people was proved through his willingness to sacrifice his own life for freedom and for what was right. He is the general America needed at the time of trial and tribulation, thus proving how successful he was. Today he stands as an example of how proud and willing one should be to do anything to help one’s country.