Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science


Political Science


Political Science

First Advisor

David Warren

Second Advisor

Daniel Thomas


The hearings on General Douglas MacArthur's dismissal conducted by the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Committee on the Armed Services were concerned with the relationship between the civil and the military, the comparable importance of Europe and Asia, and the validity of the concept of limited war. This thesis is an examination of the general’s actions and statements which caused President Truman to doubt the effectiveness

with which the general could carry out the policies of the United States and the United Nations. It also examines American policy toward postwar China and actions taken during the Korean War as they were discussed in the hearings. The effects of American relations with its allies,

the Soviet Union, and the United Nations on the Korean action are also discussed.

After reading articles in the Congressional Record, The General and the President by Rovere and Schlesinger, and other general works, the writer of this thesis studied the published committee hearings which supplied the main part of the material used in the thesis. When additional clarification was needed, books such as Walter Millis' Arms and the State or Truman's Memoirs were helpful.

From the testimony given before the Senate committees, it is concluded that the President had justifiable reasons for dismissing Douglas MacArthur, although in deference to the general's past service to the country, he might have asked the general to resign.

President Truman acted in the interest of the free world when he committed American troops to save South Korea from the Communists, although the necessity for such action might have been avoided had the administration, Congress, and the country been willing to spend more money for deterrent arms and forces in areas of probable conflict. Under the conditions existing at the time Truman's efforts to limit the war action to Korea and to give priority to Europe as the area where it was most important to maintain strength for the containment of Soviet expansionism were commendable.



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