Harry S Truman Quotes

I fired him because he wouldn't respect the authority of the president … I didn't fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that's not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail.

 
Context
MacArthur had been the Commander of our Military Forces in Korea. He had a huge ego, and he wanted to cross the border and attack China since Chinese Troops were aiding the North Vietnamese. He had previously assured the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the President that the Chinese would not send troops into Korea, but he was then wrong. And when they had attacked, they had erased the territorial gains that MacArthur had previously gained. The Joint Chief’s of Staff, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State had decided upon a strategy which this time did not follow MacArthur’s strategic advice. The President approved the strategy, but MacArthur spoke and acted contrary. The President met with MacArthur and reiterated the strategy that the President approved. But MacArthur did not follow the orders of the Joint Chiefs. At the time, he and Eisenhower were America’s two most famous military leaders, and of the two MacArthur was senior and thought that he should be President. After he was fired, MacArthur addressed a Joint Session of Congress and gave his "Old Soldiers Never Die" speech which was his first active step towards the Presidency. It was a very sentimental speech with little content and nothing about why he had disobeyed orders. He was totally shocked when it was Eisenhower who was selected to run for President and not him.
Citations

Harry S Truman, 1884-1972, 33rd President of the United States (Democrat, MO), On Why he Fired General Douglas MacArthur During the Korean War, Quoted in Merle Miller, Plain Speaking : An Oral Biography of Harry S Truman, 1974

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Harry S Truman
Harry S Truman
  • Born: May 8, 1884
  • Died: December 26, 1972
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: President

Harry S. Truman was an American politician who served as the 33rd President of the United States (1945–53). He served as a United States Senator from Missouri (1935–45) and briefly as Vice President (1945) before he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945 upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was president during the final months of World War II, and approved the plan to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Truman was elected in his own right in 1948. He presided over an uncertain domestic scene as America sought its path after the war and tensions with the Soviet Union increased, marking the start of the Cold War.

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