“I address you with neither rancor nor bitterness in the fading twilight of life,” General Douglas MacArthur told Congress in the United States Capitol in his farewell address on this date in 1951, “but with one purpose in mind: to serve my country...“
Gen. MacArthur, born January 28, 1880, in Little Rock, Arkansas, was one of America’s greatest military commanders. Military achievements aside, Douglas MacArthur deserves credit for the great post-World War 2 success of Japan, which he conceived, formulated and modeled on the United States of America. As I learned from historian John David Lewis, MacArthur, more than anyone on earth, at once made Japan atone for its barbarism and forged the American Constitutional ideals that made Japan’s historic shift toward capitalism and liberalism possible.
MacArthur had spared America’s defeat in our only war with Communist China, the Korean War, by invading at Inchon in an ingenious, historic secret landing. He had commanded America to victory in the Pacific Ocean theater of war after the Japanese attacked America on December 7, 1941. He had liberated the Philippines after vowing to return to defend them against Japan. And, after defying the U.S. commander-in-chief over a military decision which was wrong, he was fired.
But, in a singularly grand, magnanimous and distinctly American gesture, Douglas MacArthur dared to defy the status quo once again eight days after being relieved of his command by President Harry Truman. It’s a speech to Congress which is remembered for his evoking an old military ballad line that "old soldiers never die, they just fade away."
MacArthur looked at Congress and told them:
…Efforts have been made to distort my position. It has been said, in effect, that I was a warmonger. Nothing could be further from the truth. I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a means of settling international disputes.“There are some who, for varying reasons, would appease Red China. They are blind to history’s clear lesson, for history teaches with unmistakable emphasis that appeasement but begets new and bloodier war.”
…Efforts have been made to distort my position. It has been said, in effect, that I was a warmonger. Nothing could be further from the truth. I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a means of settling international disputes.
“There are some who, for varying reasons, would appease Red China. They are blind to history’s clear lesson, for history teaches with unmistakable emphasis that appeasement but begets new and bloodier war.”
History proved MacArthur right. Communist China was appeased, over and over, starting with Presidents Truman and Nixon, and did rise in power. Today, China, after unleashing a deadly new virus that crippled the West in a cataclysmic panic and pandemic, breached its agreement to maintain a liberal Hong Kong and militarizes the South China Sea, threatening Australia, Japan and the Philippines. China now threatens to become America’s avowed enemy and destroyer.
MacArthur knew this could happen, which is why he bravely defied the U.S. president, driving Communist troops out of South Korea, causing them to retreat back over the Yalu River into China. MacArthur held himself to the highest standard of the American republic based on rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. Like other great military generals whose actions advanced civilization, such as Alexander the Great, William Sherman and George Patton, MacArthur honorably served under his commander and ultimately acted upon his own judgment.
Before leaving the U.S. military, which has since become a cesspool of leaders tainted by altruism, corruption and warmongering, MacArthur evoked his 52 years of service including his education as a cadet at West Point, where he took an oath he considered sacred. He did so in a speech to Congress on this date in 1951.
Douglas MacArthur’s last word to America’s legislature: “Goodbye.”
Thanks for highlighting this great man, Scott. He might have been the last of our great generals.
Excellent. Thank you.
MacArthur believed in principles and is one of the greatest Americans ever. Sadly, even people who should know better, have appeased China.