Duty, Honor, Country, The Generals General

timwilliams By timwilliams, 12th Jul 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>History

The life and times of General MacArthur and how he managed to shape the world we know today.

Duty, Honor, Country, The Generals General

It is said that events all through-out history have dictated the actions and reactions of ordinary human beings to extraordinary things. In doing so they have also rewrote history. Born in 1880 in Arkansas Douglas MacArthrur would become one of histories most decorated military Generals. Was it fate or destiny that played into his hands in how the monumental contributions that he made continues to resonate through-out the world today. Many historians now concede that had MacArthur not been relieved of command during the Korean War the turmoil in Korea today would have been avoided. The world would be as many feel a lot less dangerous now.

To fully understand how one man changed the course of history in the 20th century is to look back on a career that spanned over 50 years of military service. As Douglas MacArthur once said "even my swaddling cloths were Khaki" A son of military general Douglas was ushered into a world filled with all the customs, training and rigors associated with being part of a military family. Learning to ride, shoot, play baseball and football MacArthur quickly adapted in becoming a very gifted young man. Appointed to West Point in 1899 he endured the rigorous hazing that was the norm of underclassmen, became a man on the football field, and went on to become valedictorian of the class of 1903.

It is this period from 1904 thru the end of World War I that the personality of Douglas MacArthur really took shape. Courage under fire was without question. First in 1914 for outstanding bravery and courage nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor, then again for gallantry under extreme circumstances on the Western Front during World War I. Over the course of just four years Douglas MacArthur was to receive not once but twice the Distinguished Service Cross as well as the Silver Star seven times. It is this period in his life that is so overlooked by the soldiers of World War II who routinely echoed that he was not really in sympathy with the regular GI. Nothing could be farther form the truth. For it was these experiences that enable MacArthur to have an very qualified insight on any and all military operations.

From the end of World War I to 1937 Douglas MacArthur realigned the Academics and curriculum at West Point and in 1925 he became the Army's youngest major general. Prior to becoming the Military Advisor to the Philippines he was Chief of Staff of the United States Army. In 1941 FDR commissioned Douglas MacArther as commander for the Pacific Front. It was during World War II that MacArthur used his vas experience from previous campaigns to create the offensive against the Japanese. It is to bad that the GI's under the command of the General as well as the general American public kept equating MacArthur as egotistical and even a warmonger when all they had to do is to visualize what Douglas MacArthur actually went through from the time he was born all the way through World War I. It is this foundation, his steadfast belief in his destiny dictated by events of the times that willed his decisions which actually reshaped the world.

It is understandable that the Atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was kept so secret that not even ranking military leaders in the Pacific knew of the plan to use the most destructive force invented by man. Many now surmise that had FDR lived General MacArthur would have been consulted but that was not the case when Truman succeeded FDR. Franklin Roosevelt understood the persona of Douglas MacArthur which enabled the two to have a mutual regard for each other. When Truman came into office not only did personalities clash so did ideologies on solutions of how to end armed conflicts. The Korean conflict most notably.

It is important to remember this period in history because it tells a tale of frustration when a military commander as astute as General MacArthur is and realizes the futility of indecision where more lives are lost when any armed conflict is forced upon. In the General's speech to Congress following his dismissal the eloquence intertwined with sound reasoning drawing upon his vast experiences as the backdrop for his remarks that outlined what has to be the plan of direction the United States must have if we are to remain a sovereign nation. Much like George Washington in his farewell address. With the United States now engaged in our histories longest armed conflicts the same reasoning that was outlined in General MacArthur's speech has to be upheld today. When any armed aggression that is thrust upon the United States "There can be no substitute for victory." FDR realized it, MacArthur utilized it, while Truman and his successors appeased it. This is what is happening today. The United States under the Bush Administration followed by the Obama Administration have failed in not learning from history on what actually worked. Whether it is the economic crisis we are still facing or the armed conflicts we are still engaged in have been a lesson in futility in our approach.

General MacArthur was not without his failings, but his vision, guidance and reforms whether at West Point or Japan following World War II enabled at West Point to achieve more proficiency in Academics and in Japan to establish an economy that is practically the envy of the world today. These remarks in his address to Congress do tell the true measure of the man, the General's General. " We could hold in Korea by constant maneuver and in an approximate area where our supply line advantages were in balance with the supply line disadvantages of the enemy, but we could hope at best for only an indecisive campaign with its terrible and constant attrition upon our forces if the enemy utilized its full military potential. I have constantly called for the new political decisions essential to a solution. Efforts have been made to distort my position. It has been said, in effect, that I was a warmonger. Nothing could be further from the truth. I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a means of settling international disputes. But once war is forced upon us, there is no other alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end. War's very object is victory, not prolonged indecision. In war there is no substitute for victory."

Tags

Five Star General, Korean War, War

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author avatar timwilliams
I am a feature writer for The Tampa Bay Examiner and The American chronicle. Earned Ph.D in Economics

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