Allied forces under MacArthur's command landed at Leyte Island , on October 20, 1944, fulfilling MacArthur's vow to return to the Philippines. They consolidated their hold on the archipelago in the Battle of Luzon after heavy fighting, and despite a massive Japanese naval counterattack in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. With the reconquest of the islands, MacArthur moved his headquarters to Manila, to plan the invasion of Japan in late 1945. The invasion was pre-empted by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and in September, 1945 MacArthur received the formal Japanese surrender which ended World War II.
MacArthur was awarded and received the Medal of Honor for his leadership in the Southwest Pacific Theater. Philippine President Sergio Osmeña also decorated him with the Philippines' highest military award, the Medal of Valor.
Post-World War II Japan
General MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito
MacArthur may have made his greatest contribution to history in the next five and a half years, as Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in Japan. While initiating some policies and merely implementing others, by force of personality MacArthur became synonymous with the highly successful occupation. His GHQ staff helped a devastated Japan rebuild itself, institute a democratic government, and chart a course that made Japan one of the world's leading industrial powers. The U.S. during his time was firmly in control of Japan to oversee its reconstruction, and MacArthur for a short while was effictively the interim leader of Japan. In 1946, MacArthur's staff drafted a new constitution that renounced war and reduced the emperor to a figurehead; this Constitution remains in use in Japan to this day. MacArthur handed over power to the newly-formed Japanese government in 1949, and remained in Japan until relieved by President Truman on April 11, 1951. Truman replaced SCAP leader MacArthur with General Matthew Ridgway of the U.S. Army.
In late 1945, Allied military commissions tried 4,000 Japanese officers for war crimes. About 3,000 were given prison terms and 920 executed; the charges included the Rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March, and the sack of Manila. Critics claim that General Yamashita Tomoyuki, Japanese commander in the Philippines, had lost control of his soldiers and should not have been executed. Ultimately, because he failed to resign his post, his command responsibility was found to comprise liability for the actions of Japanese troops; this case has become a precedent and is known as the Yamashita Standard. PBS once called the trials "hasty".
At the end of the war MacArthur secretly granted immunity to the physicians of Unit 731 in exchange for providing America with their research on biological weapons. As a result, only one reference to Japanese experiments with "poisonous serums" on Chinese civilians was heard by the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal in August of 1946. This was actioned by David Sutton, assistant to the Chinese prosecutor.
In 1945, as part of the surrender of Japan, the United States agreed with the Soviet Union to divide the Korean peninsula along the 38th parallel. This resulted in the creation of two states: the western-aligned Republic of Korea (ROK) (often referred to as 'South Korea'), and the Soviet-aligned and Communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) (generally referred to as 'North Korea'). After the surprise attack by the DPRK military on June 25, 1950 started the Korean War, the United Nations General Assembly authorized a United Nations (UN) force to help South Korea. MacArthur led the UN coalition defense and later counteroffensive, noted for a daring and overwhelmingly successful amphibious landing behind North Korean lines in the Battle of Inchon. The maneuver successfully out-flanked the North Korean army, forcing it to retreat northward in disarray. United Nations forces pursued the DPRK forces, eventually approaching the Yalu river border with the People's Republic of China.
For months leading up to the UN forces' approach to the border between Korea and China, the Chinese had warned that they would become involved, rather than watch the North Koreans be defeated and have an enemy military on their border. During his trip to Wake Island to meet with President of the United States President Harry S. Truman, MacArthur was specifically asked by President Truman about Chinese involvement in the war. MacArthur did not believe that the Chinese would invade.
On November 19, 1950, with the DPRK forces largely destroyed, Chinese military forces crossed the Yalu River, routing the UN forces and forcing them on a long retreat. Calling the Chinese intervention the beginning of "an entirely new war", MacArthur repeatedly requested authorization to strike supplies, troops, and airplanes in Manchuria with conventional weapons and also requested permission to deploy nuclear weapons in Korea. The Truman administration feared that such an action would greatly escalate the war into full-scale conflict with China and possibly draw China's ally, the Soviet Union, into the conflict. Angered by Truman's desire to maintain a "limited war," MacArthur began issuing important statements to the press, warning them of a crushing defeat. This violated the United States Army's tradition of civilian control of the military and foreign policy and was considered an act of insubordination.
In March of 1951, after a UN counterattack commanded by Matthew B. Ridgway again turned the tide of the war in the UN's favor, Truman alerted MacArthur of his intention to initiate 'cease-fire' talks. Such news ended any hopes the general had retained of leading a full-scale war against China, and MacArthur quickly issued his own ultimatum to China. MacArthur's declaration threatened the expansion of the war, and was, by his own aide's later admission, 'designed to undercut' Truman's negotiating position. Such an act unquestionably qualified as rank insubordination, and General Omar Bradley later speculated that MacArthur's disappointment over his inability to wage war on China had "snapped his brilliant but brittle mind." Biographers such as Geoffrey Perret, however, place importance on MacArthur's well known intelligence and strategic skill. MacArthur knew that he would either be relieved of duty or he would get his way and the war would be expanded. In his view, he gambled his career to obtain a favorable war policy that would reunify all of Korea.
On April 11, 1951 President Truman relieved General MacArthur of his military command, leading to a storm of controversy. General Matthew B. Ridgway replaced MacArthur. The war continued at a stalemate for two additional years with thousands of casualties near the 38th parallel.
Return to America
MacArthur returned to Washington, D.C. (his first time in the continental U.S. in 11 years), where he made his last public appearance in a farewell address to the U.S. Congress, interrupted by thirty ovations. (Text and audio.) In his closing speech, he recalled: "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away." 'And like the old soldier of that 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. Good-bye.'
On his return from Korea, after his relief by Truman, MacArthur encountered massive public adulation, which aroused expectations that he would run for the Presidency as a Republican in the 1952 election. However, a U.S. Senate Committee investigation of his removal, chaired by Richard Russell, contributed to a marked cooling of the public mood and MacArthur's presidential hopes died away. (MacArthur, in his Reminiscences repeatedly stated that he had no political aspirations.)
In the 1952 Republican presidential nomination contest, rumors were rife that Senator Robert Taft of Ohio offered the vice presidential nomination to MacArthur. Had a Taft-MacArthur ticket defeated Democrat Adlai Stevenson in November, the general would have become President upon Taft's sudden death eight months later in July 1953. However, Taft, who was initially favored to win the GOP nomination, lost the nomination to Dwight Eisenhower. MacArthur later became head of the Remington Rand Corporation.
MacArthur spent the remainder of his life quietly in New York, except for a spectacular "sentimental journey" to the Philippines in 1961, when he was decorated by President Carlos P. Garcia with the Philippine Legion of Honor, rank of Chief Commander. During one of his visits, a section of the Pan-Philippine Highway was renamed to MacArthur Highway in his honor.
President John F. Kennedy solicited MacArthur's counsel in 1961. The first of two meetings was shortly after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. According to White House staffer Kenneth P. O'Donnell, MacArthur was extremely critical of the Pentagon and its military advice to Kennedy. MacArthur also cautioned the young President to avoid a U.S. military build-up in Vietnam, pointing out that domestic problems should be given a much greater priority. Kennedy was said to have come out of the more than three-hour meeting 'stunned' and 'enormously impressed.'
Death and legacy
MacArthur and his second wife, Jean Faircloth, spent the last years of their life together in the penthouse of the Waldorf-Astoria. After his death Jean continued to live in the penthouse until her death. The couple are entombed together in downtown Norfolk, Virginia; their burial site is in the rotunda of a memorial building/museum (formerly the Norfolk city hall) dedicated to his memory, and there is a major shopping mall (MacArthur Center) named for him across the street from the memorial. According to the museum, General MacArthur chose to be buried in Norfolk because of his mother's ancestral ties to the city.
The couple's son, born Arthur MacArthur IV, changed his surname and now lives anonymously as a saxophonist in the New York area.
MacArthur wanted his family to remember him for more than being a soldier. He said, "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 but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, 'Our Father who art in heaven." 
MacArthur's nephew, Douglas MacArthur II (a son of his brother Arthur) served as a diplomat for several years, including the post of Ambassador to Japan and several other countries.
MacArthur Boulevard in Maryland and Washington, D.C. is named in his honor. It runs from Great Falls Park in Potomac, Maryland into the Georgetown neighborhood of D.C.
Summary of service
- June 13, 1899 – appointed as a Cadet at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
- 1900: Is the victim of hazing and becomes involved in a serious scandal where one Cadet is left dead by upperclassman abuse. Maintains his honor, and does not appear as a snitch, by only naming cadets who hazed him who were already expelled from West Point or had previously confessed
- June 1903 – Graduates first in his class, commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers
- June 1903: Serves with the 3rd Battalion of Engineers in the Philippine Islands.
- 1904: Assigned to the California Debris Commission.
- April 1904: Promoted to First Lieutenant, becomes acting Chief Engineering Officer for the Army Pacific Division based in San Francisco, California
- October 1904: Reports to Tokyo, Japan to serve as an aide to his father (Major General Arthur MacArthur, Jr.) in the Far East
- December 1906: Serves as aide-de-camp to President Theodore Roosevelt
- August 1907: Attends the "Engineering School of Application" in Washington, DC
- February 1908: Assigned as the Officer-in-Charge (OIC), Improvements Commission, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- April 1908: Appointed as Commanding Officer, Company K, 3rd Battalion of Engineers. Later that year becomes an instructor at the Mounted Service School, Fort Riley, Kansas
- April 1909: Becomes Quartermaster for the 3rd Battalion of Engineers
- February 1911: Promoted to Captain and serves as the Officer-in-Charge of the Engineering Depot at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
- November 1912: Assigned to the General Staff Corps, for duty as a Member and Recorder of the Board of Engineering Troops
- April 1913: Appointed as Superintendent of State, War, and Navy Buildings as a member of the General Staff
- April 1914: Becomes the Assistant Engineering Officer of the military expedition to Veracruz, Mexico
- December 1915: Promoted to Major, serves as an Engineering Officer on the Army General Staff
- August 1917: Advanced to the temporary rank of Colonel in the National Army. Reports to Camp Mill, Long Island, New York to begin forming the 42nd Infantry Division.
World War I
- 1917 - 1918: Becomes Chief of Staff of the 42nd Infantry Division and is credited with naming it the "Rainbow Division". Joins the American Expeditionary Force bound for France
- June 1918: Appointed a Brigadier General in the National Army and in August is appointed as Commander of the 84th Infantry Brigade.
- 1918 - 1919: Cited for extreme battlefield bravery and also is wounded in combat and gassed by the enemy. Was known for personally leading troops into battle, often without a weapon of his own. Begins to develop a negative relationship with General of the Armies John Pershing, after feeling that Pershing is wasting the lives of his troops with bad military tactics.
- May 1919: Returns to the United States a hero, but is distraught over the lack of recognition his Rainbow Division receives for actions in France.
- June 1919: Becomes the Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, West Point
- February 1920: Reverts to peacetime rank, but is one of the few officers who does not lose his World War I position. Becomes a brigadier general in the Regular Army. Receives a negative evaluation report from Pershing, now Chief of Staff, who ranks Macarthur 38 out of 45 generals and states that MacArthur has an "exalted view of himself and should remain in his present grade for several years".
- October 1922: Becomes Commanding General, District of Manila, in the Philippines
- July 1923: While still serving as District of Manila Commander, also becomes Commander of the 23rd Infantry Brigade
- January 1925: Promoted to Major General, becoming the youngest two-star general in the U.S. Army. Returns to the United States to become a Corps Commander
- May 1925: Assigned as IVth Area Corps Commander, U.S. Army, encompassing areas of Atlanta and Georgia
- 1926 - 1927: Serves as 3rd Corps Commander, based in Baltimore, Maryland
- 1928: Leads the US Olympic Team to Amsterdam and is then assigned as the Commanding General, Philippine Department, based in Manila.
- October 1930: Becomes the commander of the Ninth Corps Area based in San Francisco, California
- November 21, 1930: Appointed as a full General and becomes Chief of Staff of the United States Army
- June 1932: Presides over the destruction of the "Bonus Army", deemed a low point of his tenure as Army Chief of Staff
- October 1935: Completes his tour as Chief of Staff and declines retirement from the Army. Per Army regulations, reverts to his permanent rank of Major General and becomes the Chief Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines
- December 31, 1937: Decides to retire from the United States Army. Is advanced back to the rank of General for listing on the U.S. Army retired rolls
- 1937 - 1941: Civilian advisor to the Philippine Government on military matters. Is appointed a Field Marshal in the Philippine Army, the only American officer in history accorded with that rank. Begins wearing the cap which is so often associated with him, that being a Field Marshal cover with U.S. Army crest
- April 1937 - marries Jean Faircloth
- February 21, 1938 - Arthur MacArthur IV is born
World War II
When Americans stormed ashore at Leyte, it fullfilled a promise made by Gen. Douglas MacArthur made in the dark days following the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese in 1942.
Leyte Landing famous monument immortalizing the landing of the Allied Forces
- July 26, 1941: Recalled to active service in the United States Army as a Major General
- July 27, 1941: Appointed Lieutenant General in the Army of the United States and becomes Commanding General of USAFFE (United States Army Forces in the Far East)
- December 1941: Japanese attack and defeat US Air Force in Philippines
- December 1941: promoted to General in the Army of the United States
- December 1941-May 1942; retreat to Bataan and Corregidor in face of Japanese invasion
- February 1942: Roosevelt orders MacArthur out of the Philippines; MacArthur promises, "I shall return."
- 1942 - 1943: rebuilds Australian morale; begins the reconquest of the island of New Guinea
- 1943 - 1944: argues with the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding reconquest of the Philippine Islands. Chiefs propose bypass; MacArthur appeals to President Roosevelt.
- October 1944: lands at Leyte and begins reconquest of Philippines
- December 1944: Becomes a General of the Army and is ranked the second highest ranking active duty officer of the U.S. Army, second only to George Marshall
- 1944 - 1945: Due to logistics issues the Joint Chiefs decided to invade the Philippine Islands. MacArthur again must fight to convince his superiors to invade the entire Philippine Islands, whereas initial plans call for only an invasion of the south. The Joint Chiefs at last agreed that MacArthur is to invade the Philippine Islands at Leyte Gulf and strike towards Manila.
- February 5, 1945: MacArthur fulfills his promise to return and liberates Manila
- Summer 1945: in Manila to plan invasions of Japan in October, 1945. Is stunned when the atomic bomb ends the war abruptly, quoted that "this apparatus will make men like me obsolete".
- September, 1945: Presides over the surrender of Japan and becomes military governor of Japanese home islands. Threatens the Soviet Union with armed conflict should Red Army soldiers attempt to occupy any part of Japan.
Occupation of Japan
- December 15, 1945 - Orders the end of Shinto as the state religion of Japan
- 1945 - 1948: Begins sweeping reforms, drafts a new constitution for Japan, and puts an end to centuries of Emperor god-worship
- July 8, 1950: Following the invasion of North Korea into South Korea, MacArthur is named Commander of all United Nations forces in Korea.
- July 31, 1950: Travels to Taiwan and conducts diplomacy with Chiang Kai-Shek
- September 15, 1950: Leads UN forces at the Battle of Inchon, seen as one of the greatest military maneuvers in history
- October 15, 1950: Meets with President Truman on Wake Island after heavy disagreements develop regarding the conduct of the Korean War. When meeting Truman, it is very noticeable that MacArthur does not salute his Commander-in-Chief but rather offers a handshake
- November - December 1950: With China committed to all-out war against the US on the Korean peninsula, MacArthur advocates for the same in return against China but is prohibited. He is outraged when military leaders in Washington restrict the war to only the Korean theater, meaning that he cannot bomb even the bridges of the Yalu river over which Chinese troops, supplies, and material are streaming across. He is further restricted from bombing their bases in Manchuria. MacArthur expressed his outrage later, saying that "The order not to bomb the Yalu bridges was the most indefensible and ill-conceived decision ever forced on a field commander in our nation's history."
- April 11, 1951: After several public criticisms of White House policy in Korea, which were seen as undercutting the Commander-in-Chief's position, Harry Truman removes MacArthur from command and orders him to return to the United States. Some suggest Truman may have exchanged MacArthur for a sound nuclear policy in Korea since he did not trust "Brass Hat MacArthur" with nuclear weapons. This claim seems dubious, however, since (as David Horowitz noted in The Free World Colossus) MacArthur was against Truman's use of the bomb against Japan and there seems to be no concrete evidence of a major change in his views..
- April 19, 1951: At a farewell address before Congress, MacArthur gives his famous "Old Soldiers Never Die" speech 
- May 1951: Retires a second time from the U.S. Army, but is listed as permanently on active duty due to the regulations regarding those who hold Five Star General rank. For administrative reasons, he is assigned in absentee to the Office of the Army Chief of Staff
- 1952: Allows name to be placed on primary ballots for Republican nomination, but does not campaign or announce as a candidate. Senator Robert Taft promises supporters to name MacArthur as candidate for Vice President, but Taft loses nomination to Eisenhower.
- 1955: Is considered for promotion to General of the Armies. The promotion is declined by MacArthur due to logistics involving retirement pay benefits and senority listings within the Army.
- May 12, 1962 - Gives famous Duty, Honor, Country valedictory speech at West Point
- Active in U.S. Olympic affairs
- April 5, 1964: Douglas MacArthur dies at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.
Dates of rank
In 1955, a bill passed by the United States Congress authorized the President of the United States to promote Douglas MacArthur to the rank of General of the Armies (a similar measure had also been proposed unsuccessfully in 1945). However, due to regulations involving retirement pay and benefits, as well as MacArthur being junior to George C. Marshall (who had not been recommended for the same promotion), MacArthur declined promotion to what many view would have been seen as a Six Star General.
During his military career, General MacArthur was awarded the following decorations from both the United States and other allied nations. The awards listed below are those which would have been worn on a military uniform and do not include commemorative medals, unofficial decorations, and non-portable awards.