On April 11, 1951, President Harry Truman announced he was terminating General Douglas MacArthur as head of U.S. forces in Korea.
Officially, it was because of statements MacArthur made which contradicted U.S. military policy in Korea. Unofficially, the termination was due to other underlying issues, including Truman’s contentious personal relationship with MacArthur himself.
This exhibit is about how the relationships between former President Herbert Hoover, President Harry Truman, and General Douglas MacArthur played a role in MacArthur’s firing. The way MacArthur was fired set the precedent for how future commanders-in-chief would fire their generals when they publicly disagreed.
In this exhibit, you will learn more about the relationships between each of these three men. You will learn how each influenced each other’s reputations and careers and took different approaches to handling this event.
The firing of MacArthur was a very public event that provoked public outcry; this exhibit will take you behind the scenes by looking at the personal relationships among these three public figures to reveal how the personal shaped the political.
As you explore our exhibit and learn about these men, we invite you to ask yourself:
If you were in Hoover, Truman, or MacArthur’s shoes, what would you do?
Created by Alexandra Lewyn, CJ Elitz, and Andrew Havens
Special thanks to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum