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The Rise of the Standard Oil Company
With a singular vision, drive, and ruthlessness, John D. Rockefeller builds the Standard Oil Company into ...
These perceptive and loving letters during a time of decisive ferment are unparalleled in American history.
Birth of the Skyscraper
Louis Sullivan explores the cultural ideas as well as the engineering and architectural realities that led ...
The Influence of Democracy on the Feelings of Americans
Tocqueville’s classic analysis of how democracy influences Americans’ feelings toward equality, freedom, individualism, and religion.
The CIA's Secret Research on Torture
How the CIA coopted professional psychologists in finding ways to break prisoners through psychological torture.
Inaugural Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Roosevelt’s four inaugural addresses constitute a barometer of his presidency and the challenges it faced.
Bruce Springsteen sings of the struggles of common folk and the American Dream. June Sawyers traces ...
Wounded Knee 1973: Still Bleeding
The 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee by American Indians, defying ...
Firing the General - Preview
Harry Truman Tells How He'd Had Enough of MacArthur
by Merle Miller
Firing the General
Mr. President, I know why you fired General MacArthur, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to hear it in your own words.
“I fired him because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the President. That’s the answer to that. 1 didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that’s not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail. That’s why when a good one comes along like General Marshall . . . why, you’ve got to hang onto them, and I did.
“But MacArthur . . . well, to understand what happened and what I think most people don’t understand is that the so-called China Lobby was very strong in this country when I was in the White House. They had a great many Congressmen and Senators lined up to do pretty much what they were told, and they had billions or dollars to spend, and they spent it. They even had some newspapers lined up, some big ones at that.* I’m not saying that they bought anybody out, but there was a lot of money floating around, and a lot of people in Washington were following what I call the China Lobby Line.
“You used to hear a lot about the Communist Party Line, but the China Lobby Line was a lot . . . had a lot more people going along, powerful people, too. And what they wanted, they wanted to put old Chiang back in power. And the first step in that direction was getting . . . was trying to get Chiang’s army into the war in Korea, which I was not about to let happen in any way.
“It wasn’t only that I didn’t want . . . had no intention whatsoever of starting a third world war. I knew Chiang’s forces wouldn’t be any damn good.