May 29, 2017
In this podcast episode, we feature a speech by General Douglass MacArthur to Congress and the American people. The date was April 19, 1951. The dramatic timing of the speech was that President Harry Truman had relieved General MacArthur of military command of the United Nations forces during the Korean War the previous week. MacArthur explained in the speech his concerns about the Chinese and a retrospective of a lifetime of service to the nation as a member of the military. This seemed to me an appropriate speech to post of Memorial Day as we remember the sacrifices made by the U.S. military on behalf of the nation
There are many comparisons and contrasts between two of America’s greatest generals: George Patton and Douglass MacArthur. Those were extraordinary military commanders who are credited with helping to end World War Two more quickly. Both were deeply devoted to the defense of America and its people. And both were frustrated with political leaders who they perceived as stopping a war prematurely before it should be ended. Patton was relieved of command at the end of World War Two since he disagreed with Washington politicians since he believed the Russians were the future enemy and should be engaged militarily and pushed out of Eastern Europe. During the Korean War, MacArthur wanted to continue the war in Korea by invading China and engaging them in war. He even wanted to use tactical, short-range nuclear missiles if necessary during the war against China. President Truman could no longer tolerate the public statements by MacArthur disagreeing with Washington policies and threat to invade China. As a result, President Truman met with General MacArthur and relieved him of command on April 11, 1951
The speech you are about to hear was given to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress and broadcast to the American people. MacArthur explains his concerns for future Chinese aggression in the Pacific and why he felt that military confrontation was needed by the U.N. troops against them. The speech is also a defense of his lifetime of service to the nation and loyalty to the American people. Another version of this speech will be delivered at West Point.
Separately, I provide follow-up podcast episodes which provide three PDF documents: first a transcript of this speech, next some historical background on General MacArthur, and the final PDF with additional information why President Truman relieved this beloved military commander of his command.