Why did President Truman relieve General MacArthur in April 1951?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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In a move that was quite controversial, President Truman removed General MacArthur from his command in Korea in April 1951. Truman and MacArthur didn’t get along. General MacArthur wanted to bomb China after China entered the Korean War. President Truman was unwilling to grant General MacArthur that permission.

General MacArthur developed some risky, but very successful, strategies in Korea. It was his landing of troops behind the North Korean forces that were in South Korea that turned events in favor of South Korea until the Chinese entered the war. General MacArthur was very confident in his military abilities and knowledge. He believed dropping bombs on China would be successful. When he publicly criticized President Truman, who was his boss, for not bombing China, President Truman had to remove him from his command. The President is the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, and his decision is final. No general should publically criticize the President. Once MacArthur did that, his days were numbered.

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