On This Day: U.S. war hero General MacArthur dismissed by President Truman

Chris Parsons
British Pathé
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On This Day: U.S. war hero General MacArthur dismissed by President Truman

April 11, 1951: On this day 62 years ago, U.S. President Harry S Truman dismissed war hero General Douglas MacArthur of command in the Far East following a row over foreign policy in Korea.

General MacArthur, a distinguished soldier and leader, was relieved as commander of United Nations and U.S. forces in the Far East after making public statements contradicting the U.S. government's policies.

President Truman acknowledged that General MacArthur was one of America's greatest military leaders, but said 'the cause of peace is more important than any individual'.

In 1951 General MacArthur had called for an attack on China unless Communist forces laid down their arms in Korea.

President Truman said extending the battle beyond Korea could initiate the start of World War Three, if the Soviets decided to enter the conflict.

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The decision angered Americans - as well as many Republican politicians - who revered General MacArthur for his contribution to the U.S. military.

MacArthur had led the Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific during the Second World War, and later oversaw the Occupation of Japan.

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He was replaced by Lieutenant-General Matthew Ridgway, who had been appointed head of the 8th Army in Korea by General MacArthur himself the previous year.

Explaining the decision, President Truman said: "A number of events have made it evident that General MacArthur did not agree with that policy.

"I have therefore considered it essential to relieve General MacArthur so that there would be no doubt or confusion as to the real purpose and aim of our policy."

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