Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), who as five-star General of the Army held the highest rank in the United States Army, earned the reputation of one of the most complex and controversial figures in U.S. history. He served as First Captain of his class at the United States Military Academy at West Point, the most responsible of student assignments, yet his mother stayed in a hotel just outside to be sure he did well. He served among the leading Allied commanders against the Empire of Japan during World War II — as commander of the Southwest Pacific Theater — and presided over the surrender of Japan and over the post-war occupation and redevelopment of the country, yet was greatly admired by the Japanese over whom he ruled. An eloquent speaker for his conception of American values, he left his military career as a field commander during the Korean War, relieved of command by President Harry S. Truman for refusal to accept civilian command. In later civilian life, he developed severe liver disease from which he died, having eschewed medical treatment due to distrust of doctors.
First World War
Chief of Staff of the Army, Hoover Administration
In 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, later his commander-in-chief but at that time the governor of the State of New York, called him "the most dangerous man in America," according to an FDR speechwriter, Rexford Tugwell Roosevelt made the comment after a telephone call with Huey Long, whom he termed the second most dangerous man. MacArthur had just supervised the violent break-up of the Bonus Army of disaffected veterans in Washingon, DC. Roosevelt continued, "You saw how he strutted down Pennsylvania Avenue. You saw that picture of him in the Times, after the troops chased all those vets out with tear gas and burned their shelters. Did you ever see anyone more self-satisfied? That's a potential Mussolini for you." 
Field Marshal of the Philippines
Second World War
- See also: Southwest Pacific Area