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General Douglas Macarthur's Duty, Honor Country

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In the 1960’s, America’s intense nationalism was shattered by the horrors brought about by two consecutive World Wars. Thousands of Americans died fighting in what they saw as another man’s war, an eastern war. America experienced the pain of war and sought to avoid experiencing it ever again. But the world feared a newer, and more dangerous threat after the great wars: communism. When America’s government again wanted to become involved in the other man’s war, many young men and their families protested vehemently. When General Douglas MacArthur received an award from Westpoint, his acceptance address, entitled “Duty, Honor, Country,” morphed into a call to arms to the students, future military leaders, a reminder of the three ideals that…show more content…
MacArthur reminds the men that they are part of a new kind of warfare, of missiles and bombs instead of ground troops, a kind of warfare which has shifted, “the primary target in war, no longer limited to the armed forces of an enemy, but instead to include his civil populations” (MacArthur). The fighting of the cadets in small wars prevents the escalation into an all out war with the Soviet Union, which would not only involve the soldiers, but every American civilian. From the size of their respective arsenals at the time, it is estimated that an all out nuclear war with the Soviet Union would have cost the United states approximately 100 million casualties, and the Soviet Union more than 100 million (Harvard-Kennedy School). Such casualties would have been unacceptable to the cadets, and would have inspired them to arms. Knowing he is speaking to military men, the General reminds the men of their position in the chain of command, and their obligation to follow orders from above. He reminds them not to question the decisions from higher up, and that, “These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a tenfold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country” (MacArthur). MacArthur relies on the logical, orderly mind of the soldier to simply…show more content…
He knows that, with the memory of the bloodshed and loss of World War Two not far from their minds, many could be reluctant to march to war yet again. But instead of shy away from this fact, he makes this concession to the men, saying that, “The soldier, above all others, prays for peace...for he must bear the deepest wounds of war” (MacArthur). The General knows that to ignore this sentiment of the soldiers would be to lose their faith entirely. The government was far from eager to leap into conflict again, but believed that fighting against communism wherever it surfaced was crucial to stopping it, and so they played on the nascent fear of Russia in order to justify the wars in Korea and Vietnam (The Cold War Museum). MacArthur relies also on the patriotism of the American soldiers and their pride in their country to push them to fight. He tells the cadets that they, “stand as the Nation's war guardian, as its lifeguard from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiator in the arena of battle” (MacArthur). With American sentiments strong after World War 2, MacArthur trusts that their pride in country and sense of duty will be strong enough to push them into combat. MacArthur also knows that the men have pride not only in their country, but
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