Douglas MacArthur: Farewell Address to Congress

(1951)

On April 19, 1951, General Douglas MacArthur delivered an unprecedented “farewell address” to a joint session of Congress (not to be confused with his farewell address at the West Point military academy in 1962). The purpose of the nationally televised speech was to justify his conduct as commander of the American-led coalition of UN forces that was still fighting Communist North Korea, with the aid of its Chinese Communist allies, in the Korean War.


MacArthur had enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the U.S. Army. He had served as supreme Allied commander in the Pacific during World War II, and at war’s end he had presided over the surrender of the Japanese. In the years following the war, he was supreme commander of the Allied Powers in Japan, helping that devastated nation rebuild, forge a democratic government, and grow into a leading industrial power. In the late 1940s he seemed to be in the twilight of his career, but in June 1950 war erupted when Communist...

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Douglas MacArthur (Library of Congress)

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