100 Quotes by Douglas MacArthur

Douglas MacArthur, a legendary American general, leaves an indelible mark on military history with his strategic brilliance and unwavering leadership. His storied career spans both World Wars and the Korean War, where his leadership prowess earned him respect as a seasoned tactician.

MacArthur's most iconic moment came during World War II's Pacific theater, where he orchestrated a series of successful island-hopping campaigns, showcasing his ability to combine innovative strategies with meticulous planning. His leadership style was often characterized by his quote, "Duty, Honor, Country," reflecting his commitment to the ideals he held dear.

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Despite controversies and complex decisions, MacArthur's impact on the United States military strategy and his role in shaping the geopolitical landscape of the 20th century remain undeniable.

Douglas MacArthur Quotes


A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.

Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair; these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust. Whatever your years, there is in every being's heart the love of wonder, the undaunted challenge of events, the unfailing childlike appetite for what next, and the joy and the game of life.

Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.

History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.

The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.

Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.

Talk of imminent threat to our national security through the application of external force is pure nonsense. Our threat is from the insidious forces working from within which have already so drastically altered the character of our free institutions - those institutions we proudly called the American way of life.

No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.

Give me ten thousand Filipino soldiers and I will conquer the world.

Youth is not entirely a time of life; it is a state of mind. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubts; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.

By profession I am a soldier and take pride in that fact. But I am prouder - infinitely prouder - to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build; the father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentiality of death; the other embodies creation and life. And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle field but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, Our Father Who Art in Heaven.

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Even when opportunity knocks, a man still has to get up off his seat and open the door.

For those to whom much is given, much is required. It is not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up. There is no substitute for victory.

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid, one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

Have a good plan, execute it violently, and do it today.

You are remembered for the rules you break.

Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear - kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor - with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.

Once war is forced upon us, there is no alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end. War’s very object is victory-not prolonged indecision.

There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity.

Rules are mostly made to be broken and are too often for the lazy to hide behind.

"Duty, Honor, Country" - those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.

The enemy is in front of us, the enemy is behind us, the enemy is to the right and to the left of us. They can't get away this time!

Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

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There are some who, for varying reasons, would appease Red China. They are blind to history's clear lesson, for history teaches with unmistakable emphasis that appeasement but begets new and bloodier war. It points to no single instance where this end has justified that means, where appeasement has led to more than a sham peace. Like blackmail, it lays the basis for new and successively greater demands until, as in blackmail, violence becomes the only other alternative.

We are not retreating - we are advancing in another direction.

Preparedness is the key to success and victory.

It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear.

It is my earnest hope, and indeed the hope of all mankind, that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope as old as your despair. In the central place of every heart there is a recording chamber. So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer and courage, so long are you young. When your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and then only, are you grown old. And then, indeed as the ballad says, you just fade away

Years wrinkle the skin. Giving up wrinkles the soul.

Beware not the enemy from 'without' but the enemy from 'within'.

I had learned one of the bitter lessons of life: never try to regain the past, the fire will have become ashes.

Competitive sports keep alive in us a spirit and vitality. Sports teach the strong to know when they are weak and the brave to face themselves when they are afraid; to be proud and unbowed in defeat, and yet humble and gentle in victory; to master ourselves before we attempt to master others; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; and to give the predominance of courage over timidity.

Worry, doubt, fear and despair are the enemies which slowly bring us down to the ground and turn us to dust before we die.

We are bound no longer by the straitjacket of the past and nowhere is the change greater than in our profession of arms. What, you may well ask, will be the end of all of this? I would not know! But I would hope that our beloved country will drink deep from the chalice of courage.

Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.

Americans never quit.

In short, is American life of the future to be characterized by freedom or by servitude, strength or weakness? The answer must be clear and unequivocal if we are to avoid the pitfalls toward which we are now heading with such certainty. In many respects it is not to be found in any dogma of political philosophy but in those immutable precepts which underlie the Ten Commandments.

Life is a lively process of becoming.

Only those are fit to live who are not afraid to die.

The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training - sacrifice.

The soldier, above all other men, is required to perform the highest act of religious offering-sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death he discloses those divine attributes which his amke gave when he created in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instincts can take the place of the divine annunciation and spiritual gift which will alone sustain him.

It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.

They died hard, those savage men - like wounded wolves at bay. They were filthy, and they were lousy, and they stunk. And I loved them.

This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: "Only the dead have seen the end of war.

Never give an order that can't be obeyed.

War's very object is victory, not prolonged indecision. In war there is no substitute for victory.

In many situations that seemed desperate, the artillery has been a most vital factor.

A good soldier, whether he leads a platoon or an army, is expected to look backward as well as forward; but he must think only forward.

The best luck of all is the luck you make for yourself.

Wars are caused by unprotected wealth.

There are no atheists in the foxholes of Bataan.

A general is just as good or just as bad as the troops under his command make him.

"Freemasonry embraces the highest moral laws and will bear the test of any system of ethics or philosophy ever promulgated for the uplift of man."

The issues which today confront the nation are clearly defined and so fundamental as to directly involve the very survival of the Republic. Are we going to preserve the religious base to our origin, our growth and our progress, or yield to the devious assaults of atheistic or other anti-religious forces? Are we going to maintain our present course toward State Socialism with Communism just beyond or reverse the present trend and regain our hold upon our heritage of liberty and freedom?

Optimism is denial, so face the facts and move on

No plan ever survives its first encounter with the enemy.

Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear - kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor - with the cry of grave national emergency.

Whether in chains or in laurels, liberty knows nothing but victories.

One cannot wage war under present conditions without the support of public opinion, which is tremendously molded by the press and other forms of propaganda.

However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind.

If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door.

Part of the American dream is to live long and die young. Only those Americans who are willing to die for their country are fit to live.

Few names have left a firmer imprint upon the pages of the history of American times than has that of Ty Cobb... he seems to have understood that in the competition of baseball, just as in war, defensive strategy never has produced ultimate victory.

I have every confidence in the ultimate success of our joint cause; but success in modern war requires something more than courage and a willingness to die: it requires careful preparation.

The object and practice of liberty lies in the limitation of government power.

Defensive strategy never has produced ultimate victory.

The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It's the age-old struggle: the roar of the crowd on the one side, and the voice of your conscience on the other.

Expect only 5% of an intelligence report to be accurate. The trick of a good commander is to isolate the 5%.

Old soldiers never die, they just lose their grip on reality after traumatic brain injuries.

In war there is no substitute for victory.

Men will not fight and die without knowing what they are fighting and dying for.

The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave.

In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield.

There is not one incident in the history of humanity in which defeatism led to peace which was anything other than a complete fraud.

Here are centered the hopes and aspirations and faith of the entire human race. I do not stand here as advocate for any partisan cause, for the issues are fundamental and reach quite beyond the realm of partisan consideration. They must be resolved on the highest plane of national interest if our course is to prove sound and our future protected. I trust, therefore, that you will do me the justice of receiving that which I have to say as solely expressing the considered viewpoint of a fellow American.

Nine times of ten an army has been destroyed because its supply lines have been severed

The inescapable price of liberty is an ability to preserve it from destruction.

Training distinguishes an army from an armed mob.

Blank cartridges should never be used against a mob, nor should a volley be fired over the heads of the mob even if there is little danger of hurting persons in the rear. Such things will be regarded as an admission of weakness, or an attempt to bluff, and may do more harm than good.

Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended. A great victory has been won. The skies no longer rain with death - the seas bear only commerce - men everywhere walk upright in the sunlight. The entire world lies quietly at peace. The holy mission has been completed. And in reporting this to you, the people, I speak for the thousands of silent lips, forever stilled among the jungles and the beaches and in the deep waters of the Pacific which marked the way.

Never ask age of a woman.

In this situation, it becomes vital that our own country orient its policies in consonance with this basic evolutionary condition rather than pursue a course blind to the reality that the colonial era is now past and the Asian peoples covet the right to shape their own free destiny. What they seek now is friendly guidance, understanding, and support - not imperious direction - the dignity of equality and not the shame of subjugation.

In no other profession are the penalties for employing untrained personnel so appalling or so irrevocable as in the military.

Security lies in our ability to produce.

We must offer the world leadership designed to advance the goal of universal progress and enduring peace.

I suppose, in a way, this has become part of my soul. It is a symbol of my life. Whatever I have done that really matters, I've done wearing it. When the time comes, it will be in this that I journey forth. What greater honor could come to an American, and a soldier?

I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil.

The nations of the world will have to unite for the next war will be an interplanetary war. The nations of Earth must some day make a common front against attack by people from other planets.

On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other days, on other fields will bear the fruits of victory.

The scale and grandeur of the Russian effort mark it as the greatest military achievement in all history.

It is my earnest hope - indeed the hope of all mankind - that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past, a world found upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance and justice.

I see that the flagpole still stands. Have your troops hoist the colors to its peak, and let no enemy ever haul them down.

l know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a means of settling international disputes.

To dilute the will to win is to destroy the purpose of the game. There is no substitute for victory.

In war, as it is waged now, with the enormous losses on both sides, both sides will lose. It is a form of mutual suicide.

We have known the bitterness of defeat and the exultation of triumph, and from both we have learned there can be no turning back. We must go forward to preserve in peace what we won in war.

It was close; but that's the way it is in war. You win or lose, live or die - and the difference is just an eyelash.

The chickens are coming home to roost, and you happen to have just moved into the chicken house.

In war, indeed, there can be no substitute for victory.

The great question is, can war be outlawed from the world? If so, it would mark the greatest advance in civilization since the Sermon on the Mount.

I address you with neither rancor nor bitterness in the fading twilight of life, with but one purpose in mind: to serve my country.

Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world, and that God will preserve it always.

I realize that advice is worth what it costs--that is, nothing.

No army has ever done so much with so little.

There is no security. Only opportunity.

If I had one more division like this First Marine Division I could win this war.

A soldier plods and groans, sweats and toils, he growls and curses, and at the end he dies.

It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh.

A better world shall emerge based on faith and understanding.

I'll come back as soon as I can with as much as I can. In the meantime, you've got to hold!

Like the old soldier of the ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty. Goodbye.

The Puerto Ricans forming the ranks of the gallant 65th Infantry on the battlefields of Korea … are writing a brilliant record of achievement in battle and I am proud indeed to have them in this command. I wish that we might have many more like them.

In war, when a commander becomes so bereft of reason and perspective that he fails to understand the dependence of arms on Divine guidance, he no longer deserves victory.

The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point?but I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

Men since the beginning of time have sought peace.

By profession I am a soldier and take great pride in that fact, but I am prouder, infinitely prouder, to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build; the father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentialities of death; the other embodies creation and life.

From the Far East I send you one single thought, one sole idea - written in red on every beachhead from Australia to Tokyo - "There is no substitute for victory!"

While I was not consulted prior to the President's decision to intervene in support of the Republic of Korea, that decision from a military standpoint, proved a sound one, as we hurled back the invader and decimated his forces. Our victory was complete, and our objectives within reach, when Red China intervened with numerically superior ground forces.

I've looked that old scoundrel death in the eye many times but this time I think he has me on the ropes.

The hated system of land tenure, so contributory to general unrest in Asia, has been abolished. Every farmer is now accorded the right and dignity of ownership of the land he long has tilled.

Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it.

The Pacific no longer represents menacing avenues of approach for a prospective invader. It assumes, instead, the friendly aspect of a peaceful lake. Our line of defense is a natural one and can be maintained with a minimum of military effort and expense.

The untruthful soldier trifles with the lives of his countrymen and the honor and safety of his country.

I believe that the entire effort of modern society should be concentrated on the endeavor to outlaw war as a method of the solution of problems between nations.

Global war has become Frankenstein's monster, threatening to destroy both sides.

My first recollection is that of a bugle call.

My staff was unanimous in believing that Japan was on the point of collapse and surrender.

Apart from an innate grasp of tactical concepts, a great coach must possess the essentials attributes of leadership which mold men into a cohesive, fighting team with an invincible will to victory.

He thus reaps the full fruits which result from his toil and labors with the incentive of free enterprise to maximize his effort to achieve increasing production. Representing over a half of Japan's total population, the agriculture workers have become an invincible barrier against the advance of socialistic ideas which would relegate all to the indignity of state servitude.

Nothing would please me better than if they would give me three months and then attack here.

The outfit soon took on color, dash and a unique flavor which is the essence of that elusive and deathless thing called soldiering.

I have one criticism about the Negro troops who fought under my command in the Korean War. They didn't send me enough of them.

Men since the beginning of time have sought peace military alliances, balances of power, leagues of nations, all in turn have failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war. The utter destructiveness of war not blots out this alternative.

― Douglas MacArthur Quotes

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