Free Research Paper About General Douglas Macarthur

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: War, United States, World, Japan, Military, Politics, Armed Forces, Army

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2020/09/11


General Douglas MacArthur was one of the most controversial and most talented military leaders during the World Wars. He became the Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the period between the World Wars (Frank, 2007). He was a five-star American General which commanded the Philippine Army during World War II, contributed to the occupation of Japan and led the Allied Forces during the Korean War. Many of the historians characterized him as egotistic, out-spoken and very talented in terms of military tactics. He was only the American General to serve as the field marshal in the Philippine army and only one of the five men to earn a five-star rank of General of the Army (History, n.d.).
MacArthur came from a military family in the American Old West. He learned most of his military and leadership skills at the United States Military Academy at West Point and became the commander of the 42nd Division Army during the World War I at France (Leary, 2001). His major achievement that made him very famous is his participation during the World War II and its aftermath in Japan and Korea (Frank, 2007). MacArthur is a very important figure in the History of the world especially during the times of war and conflicts. The objective of this essay is to discuss the works and achievements of one of the greatest American Military General in the history.

Early Life

Douglas MacArthur followed the footsteps of his father Arthur MacArthur Jr. in becoming a military leader and soldier. Her mother was Mary Pinkney Hardy MacArthur which came from a prominent family from Virginia (Duffy & Carpenter, 1997). Their family lived in many military post in the American Old West and there Douglas learned about the life in war. The last American post were their family finally reside is in the Washington DC where Douglas attended Force Public School. In 1893, he became a scholar in the West Texas Military Academy when his father was posted in Texas. He passed at United States Military Academy at West Point with the help from the appointment of Congressman Theobald, Otjen (Frank, 2007).
Douglas MacArthur entered United States Military Academy at West Point in 1899. He became the top of their class and graduated in 1903 (Leary, 2001). He also earned a very high academic record at West Point Academy which in fact is the third highest in the Academy’s History. Since Douglas was the first in his class, he was commissioned as the second lieutenant in the United States Army Corps of Engineers. After his graduation, he joined the 3rd Engineer Battalion to supervise the Islands of the Philippines. He became the junior officer in 1905 were he was designated in many parts of the Pacific to conduct supervision and inspection. He joined the troops for the occupation of Veracruz in 1914. He became heroic to the battles and was given Medal of Honor by President Woodrow Wilson (History, n.d.).

World War I

MacArthur was promoted Major in 1915 when he returned to the War Department. In 1917, the United States entered the World War I and MacArthur, together with Newton Baker organized a division unit which came from the units of different States (Leary, 2001). It was MacArthur’s idea and he became the Chief of Staff of the 42nd division or also known as the rainbow division. His rank during the time of the assembly of the 42nd division was Colonel. They assembled the army at Camp Mills in New York together with his commander Major General William Mann and trained their infantry into an open-field combat. The 42nd division was expected to convoy to France to accompany the French trench raid. MacArthur led some of the defensive and offensive battles between the German troops in France. He was promoted to become Brigadier General in 1918 and accepted many awards during World War I (The New York Times, 2011).

Between Wars

During the time between the World Wars, Douglas MacArthur became the superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1919 to 1922. In this period, MacArthur revised some of the academic and military order in the Academy to prepare it for modernization. He married Louise Cromwell Brooks in 1922 and left to the Philippines to serve as the commander of the Military District of Manila. He later got divorced and married Jean Faircloth in 1937 whom he had one child who is Arthur MacArthur IV. During his time, he is the youngest Major General although is also best known for his participation in the Army (History, n.d.).
In 1930, he became the Chief of Staff of the Army with the rank of the General with the request of President Herbert Hoover. During this term, he became controversial due to the events of the Bonus Army. He ordered his troops to remove the World War I veterans from the riots in the Washington DC. He cleared his name in the incident and also served during the term of President Franklin Roosevelt. In 1935, he finished his term as the Chief of Staff of the Army and led the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He served as the military advisor of the Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon of the Philippines and became the Field Marshal of the Army (Duffy & Carpenter, 1997).

World War II

In 1941, the tension between the expansionist Japan and the United States have been increasing. MacArthur was designated as the Commander of the United States Army in the Pacific in order to secure the Far East (Frank, 2007). In December 1941, Japan took a pre-emptive strike at the air force in the Philippines just as they did in the Pearl Harbor. General MacArthur and his Army troops were retreated to Bataan and struggled to survive due to the invasion of the Japanese to the Philippines. President Roosevelt ordered the rescue of General MacArthur and his family as well as his staff in Corregidor Island in Bataan. They fled to Australia and promised his famous words “I Shall Return” (History, n.d.).
In 1944, President Roosevelt and MacArthur planned to liberate the Philippines. Through the air attacks, they found out that Leyte was a good spot for landing since there are not enough Japanese troops in the island. He led the invasion of every Islands of the Philippines starting from Mindoro, Luzon then the southern parts. He was appointed as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific and helped in freeing the Philippines from the Japanese invasion. After the liberation of the Philippines, MacArthur planned and commanded the Operation Downfall or the occupation of Japan (History, n.d.).

Japan Occupation

General MacArthur was the one to accept the surrender of the Japanese Government in the USS Missouri in 1945. He commanded the Allied Forces in the Tokyo bay and served as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific during the occupation of Japan (Duffy & Carpenter, 1997). As the Supreme Commander and the authority through the Japanese government, his main objective is to restore Japan and to establish a democratic government. He controlled the reconstruction of Japan and the helped in drafting the new constitution to reestablish the country. His major reforms for Japan is the decentralization of the military power, the strengthening of the powers of the cabinet and the restoration of the human rights. MacArthur was also responsible of the control and enforcement of the war crimes during the World War II in the Pacific (Horner, 2000).

Korean War

After the World War I, Korea was left to the Allied forces since it was a colony of the Japanese Expansion before. The Soviets and the United States agreed to control over the Korean nation during its restoration and establishment of the government. However, in 1950, the Korean War started due to the attack of the communist forces of the North Korea to the South Korea. General MacArthur was sent to push the Communist Forces back to the Chinese borders. In December 1950, a large troops of Chinese forces crossed the North Korea. General MacArthur asked the permission to President Truman to attack the Communist forces of China using the Chinese Forces from Taiwan (Weintraub, 2000).
President Truman refused the request of General MacArthur and removed him from his position as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in 1951 due to his insubordination. It became a controversial issue for the American Public since General MacArthur was known for his military leadership (Frank, 2007). According to President Truman, the removal of control of General Douglas MacArthur was to prevent the possible Third World War. The confusion between the military troops of the Allied Forces and the Communist forces could be the cause of the war. Eventually, the Americans realized that the removal of service of General Macarthur was essential to avoid the Third World War. They understood that the policies and recommendations of General Douglas MacArthur could result to conflict between the Allied Forces and the Communist powers of China and the Soviets (Weintraub, 2000).

Later Life

General MacArthur returned to the United States in 1951 (Horner, 2000). The American public welcomed him as a hero of the World War II and awarded him honors and medals. On the same year, he gave his dramatic speech which criticized the President Truman’s policy for the Korea. He argued that the United States Government have done nothing and let the Koreans fight themselves. According to General MacArthur, it is the United States’ as well as the Allied forces’ responsibility to restore order in Korea. However, he is no longer in control and the general ended up retiring from the Army (Weintraub, 2000).
General MacArthur and his family resided in New York. There are also calls from the Republican Party for his nomination and candidacy as the President. However, the Republicans choose Dwight Eisenhower over him and won the elections (Duffy & Carpenter, 1997). General MacArthur had received many medals and honors. He left a legacy as a hero in the United States as well as a hero in the Philippines. Although there are many controversies and issues around his policies and recommendations, he remained to be one of the most important figures of the World History (Horner, 2000).
In my opinion, MacArthur’s life and achievements provides many insights about the study of History especially in the times of war. One example is that even the best leaders could also lose in some major battles that could change the course of history. The fall of the Philippines due to the invasion of Japan was due to the lost in the Battles in Bataan. MacArthur and his troops were not ready to the pre-emptive attacks of the Japanese which made them evacuate to Corregidor Island and then to Australia. As the Commander of the United States Army in the Pacific and the Field Marshal of the Philippine Army, it his responsibility to secure the nation from the foreign invasion. Another important story about MacArthur that taught people many things about History is that leaders often contradict in their ideals and opinion. According to MacArthur, it is the United States’ responsibility to take control of the Korean War since the Allied forces freed them from the Japanese. However, President Truman removed MacArthur from service to avoid the possible World War III. Their contradicting ideas have been controversial but important to understand the nature of leadership and history.


Duffy, B., & Carpenter, R. (1997). Douglas MacArthur: Warrior as Wordsmith. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.
Frank, R. (2007). MacArthur. Great Generals Series. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 
History. (n.d.). Douglas MacArthur. Retrieved from
Horner, D. (2000). MacArthur, Douglas (1880–1964). Australian Dictionary of Biography, 15(1). Retrieved from
Leary, W. (2001). MacArthur and the American Century: A Reader. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
The New York Times. (2011). Commander of Armies That Turned Back Japan Led a Brigade in World War I. Retrieved from
Weintraub, S. (2000). MacArthur's War: Korea and the Undoing of an American Hero. New York: Free Press.

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