976 Summer 2020 Douglas MacArthur: Hero or Danger to the Republic
Tuesday, 9:40–11:05, July 14
Instructor: David Heymsfeld
In his farewell address in 1951, Douglas MacArthur memorably said “Old soldiers don’t die, they just fade away.” He was prescient, and today the public seems largely unaware of MacArthur. This presentation will review MacArthur’s 40 years of service, including new evidence from recent biographies. MacArthur has been generally acclaimed for his courage under fire and his planning of successful operations in World Wars I and II and Korea; and for his leadership in transforming Japan from a militaristic theocracy to a liberal democracy. He also has been criticized for several episodes in which he came to be seen as a threat to America’s democratic values, particularly civilian control of the military. In the Bonus Army incident in 1932, MacArthur appeared to conduct unauthorized attacks on encampments of World War I veterans. And during the Korean War, he was fired for insubordination, for making statements critical of the Truman Administration’s policies on the war.
David Heymsfeld, an OLLI member, was a congressional professional staffer for 35 years. He has taught several OLLI history courses and has served as a volunteer guide at the Newseum.