Bio of the Month Douglas MacArthur
BIOGRAPHY®: DOUGLAS MACARTHUR
- Why is MacArthur's lineage important to understanding his career path and personality?
- Why do you think Macarthur is often considered America's most famous general?
- Presidents Roosevelt and Truman both held strong opinions of General MacArthur. How did their opinions differ? How did MacArthur's responsibilities and military influence change from the Roosevelt Administration to the Truman administration?
- How did MacArthur fare at West Point? Why do you think his training at West Point was important for his career?
- How did MacArthur conduct himself in his military engagements during WWI? Where do you think he found his success? Why did his soldiers so respect his courage?
- How did MacArthur change the face of West Point after WWI?
- When did would-be General and President, Dwight Eisenhower, work for MacArthur? Briefly explain their relationship.
- When did Japanese forces land in the Philippines? What was MacArthur's response?
- What was MacArthur's role in governing Japan after WWII? What changes did he make and how were they received, both in the United States and Japan?
- What was MacArthur's role in the Korean War? How did the war eventually bring the end of MacArthur's career?
- How would you describe MacArthur's legacy? Do you think he deserves admiration? What adjectives would you use to describe him?
General MacArthur gave his famous 1951 farewell speech to a joint-session of Congress after the termination of his command in Korea by President Truman. The following link provides the speech's text: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trm048.html. As a class, read and analyze the speech's significance in light of MacArthur's storied military, yet politically divisive career. Be sure to discuss at least some of the following topics after reading the speech: MacArthur's termination, the Korean War, the relationship between a civilian president and his military advisors, military tradition, and the politics of war.
After watching this documentary in its entirety or in clip form, have a class discussion about MacArthur's leadership style. On the class blackboard or in small groups, make a list of adjectives to describe General MacArthur. Then, discuss and debate his leadership style and the factors that made MacArthur a powerful leader. What were the pros and cons of his style? How did opinions of MacArthur differ based on the perspectives of those who encountered him? For example, how was he regarded in Japan? After this discussion, write an epitaph for MacArthur which encapsulates your view of his leadership style and legacy.
3 figures stand out in 20th century United States military history: General Douglas MacArthur, General Dwight Eisenhower, and General George Patton. Research the three men using search engines like www.google.com and books at the library. Write a well- 3-5 page paper comparing and contrasting their personalities, their view of American policy and / or their military impact on the world. Be sure to include a thesis and sound evidence to support it.
This documentary presents a complex perspective on the life and career of General MacArthur. His powerful leadership style and dominating personality were key factors in his success, but many would argue that his style also contributed to the early ending of his military career. How do you think MacArthur should be remembered, and why? For this activity, write a short obituary, opinion piece, or letter to the editor summing up the life and legacy of Douglas MacArthur. You can include your own views of MacArthur, but be sure to back up your arguments with facts or examples from his life.