MacArthur was born on 26 January 1880 in Little Rock Arkansas,
one of three sons of Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur,
a recipient of the Medal of Honor during the American Civil
War, and Mary Pinkney Hardy from Norfolk in Virginia. MacArthur
spent his early childhood in New Mexico where his father
commanded an infantry company protecting 'settlers and railroad
workers from the Indian menace',1 before moving back to
'civilisation' (in the words of his mother) first to Kansas,
then to Washington DC where his father took a post in the
Defence Department. When Douglas was thirteen the family
moved to San Antonio in Texas where he attended an Episcopalian
school and later the West Texas Military Academy. In June
1899 he entered West Point Military Academy and graduated
as valedictorian in 1903.
commenced his professional military career as a Second
Lieutenant in the US Army Corps of Engineers, serving
for a time in the Philippines. (In 1898 his father had
served in the Philippines in combat against the Spanish
and subsequently held the post of military governor of
the Philippines from 1900 to 1901.) In 1911, with the
rank of Captain, MacArthur served as Officer-in-Charge
at the Staff College at Leavenworth in Kansas and, following
the death of his father in 1912, with the War Department
in Washington DC. In 1915 he was promoted to Major and
in 1916 became the Army's first ever public relations
officer. Upon the entry of the US into the First World
War, MacArthur served as Chief of Staff with the so-called
Rainbow (42nd) Division, and was then appointed in June
1918 as the youngest ever Brigadier General and Commander
of the 84th Infantry Brigade. Aided by his excellent war
record MacArthur was appointed in June 1919 as Superintendent
of West Point. From 1922 to 1925 he again served in the
Philippines before returning to the United States as the
youngest two star general in the US Army.
Brigadier-General Douglas MacArthur, Chateau St Benoit,
the break-up of his six year marriage to divorcee heiress
Louise Crowell Brooks MacArthur had another two year tour
of duty in the Philippines before his appointment in November
1930 as a full general and Chief of Staff of the United
State Army. In this role in July 1932, in the depths of
the Depression, there occurred the most infamous event
of MacArthur's career when he led infantry and cavalry
in Washington DC to force the evacuation from government
property of more than 10,000 members of the so-called
Bonus Army. This 'Army', alleged by MacArthur to be led
by Communists, consisted of World War One Veterans who
had been in the capital for several weeks seeking earlier
payment of their promised war bonuses. Although no shots
were fired, two babies died and there were many injuries
when the veterans and their families were routed and their
camps destroyed by fire.
1935 MacArthur reverted to the rank of Major General and
served as Chief Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government
of the Philippines, helping prepare the islands for independence.
He retired from the Army in 1937 and was included on the
retired lists with the rank of full general (and the rank
of Field Marshal in the Philippine Army). In April 1938,
while coming to terms with the death of his mother, who
had lived with him for much of the time since the break
up of his first marriage, he married 39-year-old Jean
Faircloth. The couple's only son, Arthur MacArthur IV,
was born in 1938.
MacArthur inspects Philippine Scouts, 1936.
July 1941 MacArthur was recalled to the Army and appointed
Commanding General of the United States Armed Forces in
the Far East. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour
in December, he was promoted to full general and ordered
to defend the Philippine islands from invasion. However,
with the military situation rapidly deteriorating, he
was ordered to leave on 22 February 1942 delivering his
famous parting message 'I shall return'. As Supreme Commander
of the Allied Forces in the SouthWest Pacific Area he
initially had his command base in Melbourne where he arrived
on 21 March but his headquarters were relocated in Brisbane
from 20 July. In 1944 he returned to the Philippines and
in December was promoted to the rank of General of the
Army: Manila was liberated on 5 February 1945. At one
stage it was envisaged that Macarthur would lead a massive
invasion of Japan, an outcome which did not eventuate
with the Emperor's announcement of a Japanese surrender
following the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima
and Nagasaki. Instead it was MacArthur who formally received
the Japanese surrender in September 1945.
1946 and 1948 MacArthur, as Supreme Commander of the Allied
powers, was responsible for overseeing the reconstruction
of Japan, including creating the constitution promulgated
in 1946. The new Japanese government took power in 1949.
In the following year MacArthur was named Commander of
all United Nations forces in Korea to lead the Allied
counter offensive against North Korea. However in April
1951 he was recalled by President Truman after issuing
a unilateral ultimatum to Mainland China. On 19 April
in his farewell address to the US Congress, MacArthur
concluded with reference to the old soldiers' barracks
ballad, 'Old soldiers never die, they just fade away'.
MacArthur takes command of Philippine forces, Zabalan
Field, 15 August 1941.
one unsuccessful attempt to run as a Republican for the
US presidency, MacArthur spent his last years in New York
apart from one visit to the Philippines in 1961 where
he was decorated with the Philippine Legion of Honor.
In May 1962 at West Point, when receiving the Sylvanus
Thayer Award,2 he delivered his famous 'Duty, Honor, Country'
valedictory speech. On 5 April 1964, he died in Washington,
survived by his wife (who died in 2000 at the age of 101)
and was buried in his mother's birthplace-Norfolk, Virginia.
DC. To date MacArthur and his father remain as one of
only two father-son combinations both to have received
the Congressional Medal of Honor.