Douglas MacArthur – 1880-1964
The son of Medal of Honor winner General Arthur MacArthur, Douglas MacArthur was a star cadet at West Point and served valiantly in World War I. At the outbreak of World War II, he was in command of the Philippines and fought a gallant but doomed defense against the Japanese invasion until he was ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to evacuate to Australia. He then assumed overall command of the Southwest Pacific Theater and was a prime architect of the U.S. victory over Japan.
He was appointed to head the U.S. occupation government of Japan after the war and proved to be an enlightened administrator who was tremendously popular with the Japanese and who brought genuine democracy into Japanese government—for the first time in that nation’s history. In 1950, MacArthur took command of U.S.- led United Nations forces at the outbreak of the Korean War. The conflict occasioned both his greatest military exploit— the daring and brilliant Inchon Landing (which temporarily turned the tide of the war)—and his dismissal by President Harry S. Truman for insubordination when he refused to fight the “limited” war national policy dictated. MacArthur’s best modern biographer, William Manchester, aptly dubbed him the “American Caesar.”