In recognition of his status as one of the nation's greatest living military leaders, the U.S. Congress asked General Douglas MacArthur to address a joint session on April 19, 1951. His speech is best known for its final lines in which he quoted an old army ballad: "'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."
- According to General Douglas MacArthur, what were the struggles the United States forces faced in Korea? Do you feel these outweighed any advantages gained through the conflict?
- Who did General MacArthur see as the enemy? Use evidence from the documents.
- According to General MacArthur, is conflict inevitable between the United States and Soviet Union? Why or why not?
- Do you believe General MacArthur was the type of person needed to win a war of ideals? Use evidence from the speech.
MacArthur, Douglas, "Old Soldiers Never Die," 19 April 1951. Courtesy of Library of Congress