Macarthur and the Korean War

Topics: Harry S. Truman, Korean War, Dwight D. Eisenhower Pages: 6 (2119 words) Published: February 10, 2013
American military officials are always thought of as men and women early defending our country and our friends and family in the military. In the case of Douglas MacArthur, this is not the case. MacArthur was willing to sacrifice the welfare of those under his charge for his own selfish reasons; political gain and to spite his boss and many other superiors. Truman clearly made the right decision to fire MacArthur, although it was a very unpopular choice. He saw the traits that made the general unable to defend America selflessly and acted on what he saw, even though the American public was very disappointed this decision.

The first reason Truman was justified in relieving MacArthur was because on multiple occasions, MacArthur did not wait for the White Houses’ approval on key military decisions. On one occasion, MacArthur claimed that the United States would defend Korea, before the government had decided it would pledge to that commitment. MacArthur did this on multiple occasions, proving that he had little respect for his superiors. Even when he did request for approval, he often went through with his actions and the approval would come after. Although some of his requests were legitimate, it showed that MacArthur was insubordinate and misused his power. This led to MacArthur beginning to decline in job performance. He made multiple, quite forseeable, mistakes in estimating what the enemy was planning, but the most atrocious part about making these mistakes was that he often blamed them on others.

Another reason that MacArthur’s work performance declined and the reason he was eventually relieved from his duties was because he had no respect for his first and foremost boss, President Truman. MacArthur claimed in his book that he lost his respect for the commander in chief because in his mind, Truman had given up hope on succeeding in the war. In actuality, MacArthur was somewhat jealous of the president since he wanted to advance politically. When Truman blatantly asked MacArthur if he was planning to continue a political career, MacArthur shot down the idea, even though there is evidence that he was. When MacArthur continuously demanded for more men, equipment, and support to the point where it was weakening the military in the United States, two generals were sent to Tokyo to assess the need for MacArthur’s demands. One of them claimed that the materials were not necessary and that it seemed as though MacArthur was demanding these things to make himself, and his army, appear more grand than it really was. The general who went along also claimed that it was not for the good of the war effort, but rather for the general public in America, to gain popularity for the MacArthur’s next political endeavor. MacArthur was also rather mean and accusatory against the American government in his memoir, “Reminiscences”, which was published shortly after being fired. MacArthur claimed that at the Wake Island Conference, when he met with Truman to discuss the war effort, that the presidency promoted propaganda and prejudice.

Furthermore, MacArthur considered himself so far superior to other branches of government such as the State Department and CIA that he refused to listen to their intelligence. Even when the aforementioned entities had valuable information that could have influenced some of the major decisions in MacArthur’s career, such as the intervention of Communist China, MacArthur refused to listen to their guidance.

MacArthur’s pattern of disrespecting superiors became so frequent that the Joint Chiefs of Staff wanted to abandon MacArthur’s master plan that he had been working on for months. MacArthur’s refusal to acknowledge problems with himself and with his plans created a certain amount of distrust between him and those in Washington. Although Washington can take a tiny percentage of the blame for some of the failures in the Korean War, MacArthur began to accuse the government on the mainland...
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