Politics And The Truman MacArthur Contoversy Essays, Book Reports, Term Papers

This essay Politics And The Truman MacArthur Contoversy Essays, Book Reports, Term Papers has a total of 1963 words and 9 pages.

Politics and the Truman MacArthur Contoversy July 7,2000 Politics and the Truman/MacArthur Controversy The precarious “peace” following World War II was at times only seconds from degenerating into a world wide nuclear war. The intensity of the cold war allowed for minimal error in foreign policy. It was during this tense and volatile time that General Douglas MacArthur fought what some deem “his” war in Korea. While he had proven himself time and again a brilliant military leader, his behavior was not impeccable. He tended to rely too much on his own authority, a trait not dear to Congress or the President. It was this tendency towards insubordination and his flagrant vocal outbursts that resulted in his dismissal on April 11, 1951, by President Harry S. Truman.1 The outcome of World War II left the world in an unprecedented situation. The two primary Allied powers, the United States, a capitalist nation, and the Soviet Union, a communist nation, were political polar opposites. The differences between the two political ideologies lent the two nations to a natural rivalry. The post World War II world was a prime playing field for this rivalry to unfold. Most of the world powers had been completely devastated, leaving formerly self-sufficient nations and their colonies in complete governmental and economic disarray. Subsequently they were susceptible to the influence of anyone offering assistance either governmentally of economically. Hence, the rivalry that had begun prior to the war was foregone out of the necessity to defeat a common foe once again began again in earnest. It was against this backdrop of fear and the burgeoning Cold War that General MacArthur would wage his war in Korea. The Soviet Union felt that the spread of communism was imminent and set about to assist that trend. At the same time the Soviet Union wanted to ensure that they would not be invaded again. If control of Eastern Europe could be retained they would be n essence killing two birds with one stone, furthering their political ideology and creating a buffer zone between themselves and anyone wishing to invade the Soviet Union. The United States was convinced that the soviets were intent upon the world domination of communism and that they would aggressively pursue that goal.2 This coupled with the blossoming of nuclear technology elevated the stakes. The United States had effectively ended World War II with the dropping of the atom bomb in Japan.Soviet nuclear technology was not far behind thanks to the infiltration of American government by soviet spies. Until the onset of the Cold War Korea would have been a non issue. .A remote place in respect to the United States, a war on behalf of Korea would never have occurred prior to the cold war and its foreign policies. However, the intense competition between communism and capitalism worldwide was enough to make the political status of Korea an important issue in American politics.3 When China became a communist nation the United States became willing to go to great lengths to ensure that no other East Asian nations succumbed to Communism. Thus a civil war in Korea led by a communist regime resulted in American intervention. This situation evolved into the Korean War. True to its oath to go to all lengths to contain communism, the United States dispatched its most decorated general, Douglas MacArthur, to head the forces in Korea. General Douglas MacArthur had been in the Far East for many years. Prior to the war general Macarthur had been commander in the Philippines and during the war he had led the Allied forces in the Far East. At the close of the war he had been appointed Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in the Pacific. It was only natural that he would take control of the Koran situation. General MacArthur had proven himself a brilliant commander during the war and was very aware of his own successes. The fact that he had lived in the region for so long also led him to the conclusion that he understood the situation in the Far East more fully that any other American. These two beliefs played a large part in the culmination of events that led to the dismissal of General MacArthur by President Truman in April of 1951. General MacArthur had a tendency to do as he pleased whether authorized to do so or not. This self-reliance was dangerous in the delicate balance of power in the cold war world. Need less to say neither the president nor Congress was receptive to this kind of insubordination. General Douglas Macarthur was a fighter and not content with anything other than a full victory, But once war is forced upon us, there is no other alter- native than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end. War’s very object is victory, not prolonged indecision. In war there is no substitute for victory. In the context of the Korean war this meant that in late November ob 1950,when faced with the droves of Communist China “volunteers” pouring over the China/Korea border to sustain the bedraggled North Korean forces, General Macarthur felt that the use of Nuclear weaponry was not only justified in Korea to win the war but that an attack on China itself was necessary, despite the status of china as Stalin’s new child.4 This was not an acceptable course of action for the United States and General Macarthur’s refusal to accept this led to his fall from grace. At the beginning of the Korean War Congress and the presidency were behind General Macarthur almost unanimously. They followed his recommendations and escalated the operation to a ground war. Early on in the war the use of nuclear bombs was discussed and even deemed acceptable. Moreover president Truman stated that the decision would rest with General Macarthur as to the use of atomic weapons.5 Despite the early support of Congress for these early actions, General MacArthur’s propensi

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