Truman vs Macarthur

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By blaine
Words 2112
Pages 9
Introduction The U.S. involvement in post WWII Korea raised challenging questions within the Truman administration concerning U.S. policy in the Far East and fostered heated debates within the administration concerning wartime strategy. WWII followed Clausewitz’ idea of the total war where all of a country’s resources should be utilized in waging war since the enemy would surely do the same. Following WWII Americans were used to the idea of large armies, clear objectives, and decisive victories; however these ideas would be reconsidered in the years following WWII leading up to the Korean War. During the Korean War the idea of total war became less popular and ideas which were more in line with Sun Tzu’s idea of a limited war became the policy of the Truman administration. There are many possible reasons why Truman chose to conduct a limited war in Korea. One possible reason for Truman’s policy might have been “China’s entry into the Korean War in November put an abrupt end to any immediate hopes of trying to separate Moscow and Peking.” (Strategies of Containment, P-116) In 1950 American forces were not prepared to engage in a total war with China and the Soviet Union and Truman and MacArthur both realized these deficiencies within the U.S. military. The scope of my argument in this essay will not be about what type of war, limited or total, is best because there are certain instances where a limited war is desired and there are times when total war is required. I will however address the period between December 1950 and March 1951 where I feel that Truman’s choice to wage a limited war was better than MacArthur’s belief that the U.S. either engage in a total war with the communists or withdraw from Korea and prepare for total war with the communists at a later date. In order to better understand whose strategy was better, Truman’s or MacArthur’s, it…...

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