DOUGLAS MACARTHUR: STRATEGIC INFLUENCES AND MILITARY THEORIES
Turner, Alex C.
Sampson, Joyce E.
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How did Douglas MacArthur’s experiences throughout his career influence his strategic methodology and shape his potential theories on the conduct of war? This thesis explores MacArthur’s life and military career to determine the foundation behind the man and identify critical areas. His wartime experience is unlike any other in history, but also his military education, and his tours as the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, are part of the story surrounding MacArthur. This thesis is an attempt to remain objective and unbiased about one of the more polarizing characters of the United States. His theories of the three levels of warfare: strategic, operational, and tactical, and his own theories on personal leadership, have been pulled from his career experiences and compared to the standards in military theory: Baron Antoine-Henri De Jomini and Carl von Clausewitz. MacArthur’s theories on war are as relevant today as they were against the enemies of yesterday. Shortly after his return to the United States, MacArthur gave an address to a joint session of Congress. He said, “Once war is forced upon us, there is no other alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end. War's very object is victory—not prolonged indecision. In war, indeed, there can be no substitute for victory." This thesis proves this theory needs to be considered today during America's longest conflict.
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