A Great Military Leader, Douglas Macarthur

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Douglas MacArthur
A great military leader…

PADM 4400 Summer 2009
John Thompson

The research paper enclosed is one that focuses on a great military leader, Douglas MacArthur. This leader was a household name in the United States during World War I, World War II, the Cold War and the Korean War. His name was synonymous with “Power” and “influence,” during the 40’s. He became known for his great strategic battles that ultimately won World War II for the United States and its allies. However, MacArthur became just as popular for his sometimes off the wall theories and beliefs on political topics.

General MacArthur was born with power in his hands; his parents raised him instilling great ambitions and the inspiring him to be a successful military officer, just like his father and grandfather were. His mother was by his side often acting as a mentor, she taught her child many things about life and the military.

This research paper will explore MacArthur’s passion and how he developed complex and intricate war plans that were often times victorious. MacArthur gained the respect of Americans, and the world’s powers with bold statements that were backed up by successful missions. MacArthur was a leader that exemplified great thinking with no boundaries. This paper will attempt to explain the methods and leadership style that made him influential and dominate.

Douglas MacArthur was born in Little Rock Arkansas in1880. He was a descendant of a long line of military men. His father, Arthur MacArthur, was a well known Army General that raised Douglas with his wife, Mary Hardy MacArthur. Mary was described as an ambitious woman who strongly influenced Douglas throughout his life. Both Arthur and Mary raised their child around military values and principles. One of the quotes that Douglas was known for when he spoke about his childhood was this: “I learned to ride horses and shoot before I learned to read and write.” It is here where Douglas began to develop some of his leadership qualities. I personally feel that great leaders are born with some of the traits and develop these traits throughout childhood. Douglas MacArthur is a good reason why. Children are fantastic pupils, picking up good and bad habits. A good leader acts/evaluates/responds in the same ways on and off the job. Douglas MacArthur was exposed some excellent leadership qualities at an early age by both his mother and father.

In 1899 MacArthur entered the West Point Military Academy; his mother was right by his side. Douglas embraced the teachings of West Point; it was there that he was convinced of his destiny to be a great military leader as his father was. MacArthur graduated first in his class in 1903. He compiled the highest academic record in 25 years. He later deemed his West Point experience as, “The most important preparation of my entire life.”

MacArthur’s first military assignment was in the Philippines. MacArthur developed a bond to the island, he ended up devoted much of his military career to the protection of the Philippines on several different assignments. This tiny island later became known throughout War history as one of most significant accolades in MacArthur’s career. In 1906 MacArthur was assigned in Japan under his father’s command. MacArthur served as his father’s aide-de-camp. MacArthur served in this position for several years. He credits the success of his military career to this experience under his father. MacArthur’s experience in Japan gave him the knowledge and wisdom that complemented his leadership capabilities. Expert Power and Referent Power drove Douglas to new levels. He respected his father greatly. Japan was the first time that Douglas good get firsthand experience why his father was a good leader. Considering Situational Leadership, I believe that he was at a follower level of a “D1 Enthusiastic Beginner.” Sure, MacArthur was already a military officer,...
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