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Douglas MacArthur was an American general best known for his command of Allied forces in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
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MacArthur married his second wife, Jean Faircloth, in 1937, and the following year she gave birth to a son, Arthur.
In July 1941, MacArthur was recalled to active duty and became commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific. A Japanese invasion of the Philippines that same year drove MacArthur’s forces from the country, but in the years that followed, MacArthur launched a number of successful offensive operations against the Japanese military in the region. During this time, he was frequently and openly critical of his superiors’ decision to focus military resources on the war in Europe rather than in the Pacific.
In 1945, at the end of the war, President Harry S. Truman appointed MacArthur supreme Allied commander. MacArthur was placed in charge of the formal surrender of Tokyo, and for the next six years, he remained in Japan to command the occupation forces there and to oversee the rebuilding of the country.
When the North Korean army invaded South Korea in 1950, MacArthur was placed in command of the newly created United Nations forces and quickly drove back the attack. However, he failed to anticipate impending attacks by Chinese forces and was soon forced to retreat. In the aftermath of this defeat, MacArthur was vocal about his belief that the war should be expanded to include China, despite warnings from President Truman that he should keep his opinions to himself. Exasperated by MacArthur’s refusal to do so, Truman finally relieved him of his command in April 1951.
MacArthur returned to the United States and settled in Washington, D.C. The American public welcomed him back as a hero, but Truman continued to be openly critical of his actions. MacArthur devoted much of his time to defending his actions in Korea and criticizing Truman’s inaction, accusing him of having allowed Communism to run rampant in the region. He was also considered as a potential Republican presidential candidate, though none of these exploratory campaigns ever developed further. In 1952, MacArthur met with Dwight Eisenhower, who had just been elected president, and advised him on how to end the Korean War. His decidedly extreme strategy, which included the use of atomic weapons, was rejected.
Around this time, MacArthur and his wife moved to New York City, and he was elected chairman of the board for Remington Rand, a manufacturer of typewriters and early computers. Besides the duties that came with this post, MacArthur devoted his time to writing his memoirs, which would later be published as Reminiscences and serialized in Life magazine. He would also meet with presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson to advise them on military matters.
Douglas MacArthur died in Washington, D.C., on April 5, 1964, at the age of 84. He was honored with a state funeral and was buried in the Douglas MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Virginia. The memorial is not only the resting place of MacArthur and his wife Jean, but also home to a museum collection documenting his life and military service.
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