With all American forces in full retreat , some of the military decisions made by MacArthur were accused of accelerating the crisis. American losses, particularly marines, reached the unacceptable range. The U.S. retreat was humiliating. The conversation now turned to total evacuation of our forces. General Ridgway assumed more and more responsibility in decision making. The U.S., during a lull in the fighting, announced that negotiations might be possible with both sides separated by the 38th parallel. As usual MacArthur rejected the idea of a negotiated settlement. He continued to irritate Ridgway, however so far Ridgway had kept it to himself. MacArthur continued to make statements that were contrary to not only Ridgway but to the official position of Washington, and specifically Truman. The arrogant MacArthur had derailed the U.S. initiative with his "routine communiqué", which was actually a dare for China to continue the war. The Pentagon received his message, which infuriated many high ranking officials. Acheson said that MacArthur had "shot his mouth off" for the last time. The next morning Truman awakened to the news of MacArthur's "sabotage". At that moment he could no longer tolerate his insubordination. Truman had considered firing MacArthur many times previous to this, but this was the last straw. Actually the order of Dec. 6 which MacArthur had disobeyed was explicit enough to warrant court-martial proceedings. MacArthur's statements were causing consternation in Washington as was his insulting personal letter to Ridgway. His advice letter to the House of Representatives again infuriated everyone. The British Government called the letter the "most dangerous" of an "apparently unending series of indiscretions". They claimed it was another irresponsible statement without the authorization of the U.S. or any U.N. member government. The Foreign Secretary complained that MacArthur wanted a war with China, and his leadership could no longer be tolerated. On Apr. 6 a meeting was held with Truman to determine how to get rid of MacArthur. Truman insisted "I'm going to fire the son of a bitch right now". MacArthur was ordered to turnover his command at once to Lt. General Ridgway. General Bradley warned Truman that if MacArthur heard about the orders before they reached him officially he might resign with an arrogant flair. Truman exclaimed "The son of a bitch isn't going to resign on me, I want him fired". MacArthur's dismissal was announced on late night radio:
"With deep regret I have concluded that General of the Army Douglas MacArthur is unable to give his wholehearted support to the policies of the U.S. Government and of the U.N. in matters pertaining to his official duties. In view of the specific responsibilities imposed upon me by the Constitution of the U.S. and the added responsibilities entrusted to me by the U.N. I have decided that I must make a change in command in the Far East. I have, therefore, relieved General MacArthur of his command and have designated Lt. Gen. Matthew Ridgway as his successor". MacArthur accepted the unsurprising news impassively. He said that he had never disobeyed orders, and that his dismissal was a plot in Washington to weaken the American position in the Far East.

Index - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9
Part 10 - Part 11 - Part 12 - Part 13 - Part 14 - Part 15 - Part 16 - Part 17

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