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“Old Soldiers Never Die” Address by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, April 19, 1951

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Courtesy of Library of Congress, MacArthur, Douglas, 19 April 1951


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."

Full Transcript of "Old Soldiers Never Die" Address by Gen. Douglas MacArthur

Transcribed Excerpts from "Old Soldiers Never Die" Address by Gen. Douglas MacArthur

Source-Dependent Questions

  • 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.

Citation Information 

MacArthur, Douglas, "Old Soldiers Never Die," 19 April 1951. Courtesy of Library of Congress