General Douglas MacArthur – who served from 1903 – 1951 - was one of the top US military generals of WWII. His years of service span WWI, WWII and the Korean War.
Born into a military family on January 26, 1880, Douglas MacArthur would follow in the footsteps of his father, Arthur MacArthur, Jr. His military background began at West Texas Military Academy, where he graduated valedictorian of his class. Afterwards, he attended the US Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1903 at the top of his class.
World War I
Douglas MacArthur began his military career serving in the Philippines under his father. During WWI, MacArthur fought on the Western front in France, where he commanded a brigade division during the Meuse-Argonne campaign. During his WWI service he was promoted to brigadier general. He retired briefly from the US Army in 1936 to serve as a field marshal for the Philippine government.
World War II
In 1941, as the prospect of war with Japan was surfacing, President Franklin Roosevelt reinstated MacArthur as lieutenant general and placed him in command of the US forces in the Far East. When the Japanese invaded the Philippines in December of 1941, MacArthur and his forces withdrew to Bataan. In March of 1942, MacArthur – along with his family and staff – escaped to Australia. His role in defending the Philippines earned MacArthur the Medal of Honor.
In Australia, Douglas MacArthur became the supreme commander of the Southwest Pacific for the Allies where he would direct the fighting for two years before returning to the Philippines. On September 2, 1945, he accepted Japan’s surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri.
From 1945 – 1951, MacArthur oversaw the occupation of Japan while its economic, political and social status underwent significant changes. From 1950-1951, MacArthur held a perimeter in the southeast corner of Korea while sending a strong amphibious assault group to Inchon in the northwest corner – a move which ended in the destruction of the North Korean army. However, after this incredible feat, MacArthur arrogantly made a move which ultimately led to the Chinese involvement in the Korean War – an involvement the United Nations specifically wanted to avoid. On April 11, 1951, President Truman relieved General Douglas MacArthur of his command.
Douglas MacArthur remained in the public light for some time following his relief of command. He was elected as Chairman of the Board of Remington Rand. General Douglas MacArthur – one of the US top military generals of WWII - would make one final trip to the Philippines prior to his death on April 4, 1964.