New York Times; Jan 27,1955; pg. 8
Text of MacArthur's Address at Los Angeles Banquet
LOS ANGELES, Jan 26 (AP) Following is the prepared text of an address by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur at a civic banquet spousored by the Los Angeles County Council of the American Legion on the dedication of a monument to General MacArthur in MacArthur Park:
Your excellency, your honor, Judge Pfaff, Commander Goshaw, and all those present tonight in this distinguished assemblage:
Seldom in history has living man been honored as this famous community of Los Angeles has honored me today. You have etched in my heart an unforgettable memory of patriotic fervor and national devotion. You have aroused an indelible emotion of gratitude that I am unable to express adequately in words. Yet, the reality of life enables me to apply an appraising perspective: to understand that your action springs not so much from a desire to memorialize a personality as to proclaim a people's adherence to ideals long ago fabricated into the warp and woof of what is called the American way of life. That you have chosen me to symbolize this rich heritage of principles is an honor which makes me feel far greater than any just merit; that my name should stand for the millions of unnamed others whose faith and courage built the immortal way from which was fashioned the true greatness of our country creates within me a feeling of humility far in excess of all possible pride. It makes me revere the stars in our flag far more than any stars on my shoulders.
I am so grateful to all who have wished me birthday greetings. I know such expressions of goodwill would have brightened the eyes of that gentle Virginia lady, my mother, on this her day. Thank you thank you in her name again and again and, as "old soldiers never die," I promise to keep on living as though I expected to live forever. That famous barrack-room ballad apparently counts on us, those old soldiers who have escaped the carnage of the battlefield, to find the fountain of youth. And, indeed, we might if we only understood what the poet said, that youth is not entirely a time of life it is a state of mind. It is not wholly a matter of ripe cheeks, red lips or supple knees. It is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life. It means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of an appetite for adventure over love of ease. 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. 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 the wires are all down and 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,
Traces War's History
Many in this brilliant audience were my comrades-in-arms in the days of used-to-be. They have known war in all its horror and, as veterans, hope against its recurrence. How, we ask ourselves, did such an institution become so integrated with man's life and civilization? How has it grown to be the most vital factor in our existence? It started in a modest enough way as a sort of gladiatorial method of settling disputes between conflicting tribes. One of the oldest and most classical examples is the biblical story of David and Goliath. Each of the two contesting groups selected its champion. They fought and based upon the outcome an agreement resulted. Then, as time went on, small professional groups known as armies replaced the individual champions. And these groups fought in some obscure corner 'of the world and victory or defeat was accepted as the basis of all ensuing peace. And from then on, down 'through the ages, the constant record is an increase in the character and strength of the forces with the rate of increase always accelerating. From a small percentage of the populace it finally engulfed all. It is now the nation in arms.
Within the span of my own life I have witnessed this evolution. At the turn of the century, when I entered the Army, the target was one enemy casualty at the end of a rifle or bayonet or sword. Then came the machine gun designed to kill by the dozen. After that, the heavy artillery raining death upon the hundreds. Then the aerial bomb to strike by the thousands followed by the atom explosion to reach the hundreds of thousands. Now, electronics and other processes of science have raised the destructive potential to encompass millions. And with restless hands we work feverishly in dark laboratories to find the means to destroy all at one blow.
But, this very triumph of scientific annihilation this very success of invention has destroyed the possibility of war being a medium of practical settlement of international differences. The enormous destruction to both sides of closely matched opponents makes it impossible for the winner to translate it into anything but his own disaster.
Cites War's Burden
The second World War, even with its now antiquated armaments, clearly demonstrated that the victor had to bear in large part the very injuries inflicted on his foe. Our own country spent billions of dollars and untold energies to heal the wounds of Germany and Japan. War has become a Frankenstein to destroy both sides. No longer is it the weapon of adventure whereby a short cut to international power and wealth a place in the sun can be gained. If you lose, you are annihilated. If you win, you stand only to lose. No longer does it possess the chance of the winner of a duel it contains rather the germs of double suicide, Science has clearly outmoded it as a feasible arbiter. The great question is does this mean that war can now be outlawed from the world? If so, it would mark the greatest advance in civilization since the Sermon on the Mount. It would lift at one stroke, the darkest shadow which .has "engulfed mankind from the beginning. It would not only remove fear and bring security it would not only create new moral and spiritual values it would produce an economic wave of prosperity that would raise the world's standard of living beyond anything ever dreamed of by man. The hundreds of billions of dollars now spent in mutual preparedness could conceivably abolish poverty from the face of the globe. It would accomplish even more than this; it would at one stroke reduce the international tensions that seem so insurmountable now to matters of more probable solution. For instance, the complex problems of German rearmament, of preventive war, of satellite dominance by major powers, of Universal Military Service, of unconscionable taxation, of nuclear development for industry, of freer exchange of goods and people, of foreign aid and, indeed, of all issues involving the application of armed force. It would have equally potent political effects. It would reduce immeasurably the power of leaders of Government and thus render more precarious totalitarian or autocratic rule. The growing and dangerous control by an individual over the masses the socialistic and paternal trends resulting therefrom is largely by virtue of his influence to induce war or to maintain peace. Abolish this threat and the position of chief magistrate falls into a more propel civic perspective.
Holds War Ban Possible
You will say at once that although the abolition of war has been the dream of man for centuries every proposition to that end has been promptly discarded as impossible and fantastic. Every cynic, every pessimist, every adventurer, every swashbuckler in the world has always disclaimed its feasibility. But that was before the science of the past decade made mass destruction a reality. The argument then was that human character has never reached a theological development which would permit the application of pure idealism. In the last two thousand years its nite of change has been deplorably slow, compared to that of the arts and sciences. But now the tremendous and present evolution of nuclear and other potentials of destruction has suddenly taken the problem away from its primary consideration as a moral and spiritual question and brought it abreast of scientific realism. It is no longer an ethical equation to be pondered solely by learned philosophers and ecclesiastics but a hard core one for the decision of the masses whose survival is the issue. This is as true or the Soviet side of the world as of the free side as true behind the Iron Curtain as in front of it. The ordinary people of the world, whether free or slave, are all In agreement on this solution: and this perhaps is the only thing in the world they do agree upon. But it is the most vital and determinate or all.
The leaders are the laggards. The disease of power seems to confuse and befuddle them. They have not even approached the basic problem, much less evolved a working formula to implement this public demand. They debate and turmoil over a hundred issues they bring us to the verge of despair or raise our hopes to Utopian heights over the corollary misunderstandings that stem from the threat of war but never in the chancelleries of the world or the halls of the United Nations is the real problem raised. Never do they dare to state the bald truth, that the next great advance in the evolution of civilization cannot take place until war is abolished. It may take another cataclysm of destruction to prove to them this simple truth. But, strange as it may seem, it is known now by all common men. It is the one issue upon which both sides can agree, for it is the one issue upon which both sides will profit equally. It is the one issue and the only decisive one in which the interests of both are completely parallel. It is the one issue which, if settled might settle all others.
A Matter of Profit
Time has shown that agreements between modern nations are generally no longer honored as valid unless both profit therefrom. But both sides can be trusted when both do profit. It becomes then no longer a problem based upon relative integrity, It is now no longer convincing to argue, whether true or not, that we cannot trust the other side that one maverick can destroy the herd. It would no longer be a matter depending upon trust the self-interest of each nation outlawing war would keep it true to itself. And there is no influence so potent and powerful as self-interest. It would not necessarily require international inspection of relative armaments the public opinion of every part of the world would be the great denominator which would insure the issue each nation would so profit that it could not fail eventually to comply. This would not, of course, mean the abandonment of all armed forces, but it would reduce them to the simpler problems of internal order and international police. It would not mean utopia at one fell stroke, but it would mean that the great roadblock now existing to development of the human race would have been cleared.
The present tensions with their threat of national annihilation are kept alive by two great illusions. The one, a complete belief on the part of the Soviet world that the capitalist countries are preparing to attack them; that sooner or later we intend to strike. And the other, a complete belief on the part of the capitalistic countries that the Soviets are preparing to attack us; that sooner or later they intend to strike. Both are wrong. Each side, so far as the masses are concerned, is equally desirous of peace. For either side, war with the other would mean nothing but disaster. Both equally dread it. But the constant acceleration of preparation may well, without specific intent, ultimately produce a spontaneous combustion.
I am sure that every pundit in the world, every cynic and hypocrite, every paid brainwasher, every egotist, every troublemaker, and many others of entirely different mold, will tell you with mockery and ridicule that this can be only a dream that it is but the vague imaginings of a visionary. But, as David Lloyd George once said in Commons at the crisis of the First World War, "We must go on or we will go under." And the great criticism we can make of the world's leaders is their lack of a plan which will enable us "to go on." All they propose merely gravitates around but dares not face the real problem. They increase preparedness by alliances, by distributing resources throughout the world, by feverish activity in developing new and deadlier weapons, by applying conscription in times of peace all of which is instantly matched by the prospective opponent. We are told that this increases the chances of peace which is doubtful and increases the chances of victory if war comes which would be incontestable if the other side did not increase in like proportion. Actually, the truth is that the relative strengths of the two change little with the years. Action by one is promptly matched by reaction from the other.
Looks for a Purpose
We are told we must go on indefinitely as at present some say fifty years or more. With what at the end? None say there is no definite objective. They but pass along to those that follow the search for a final solution. And, at the end, the problem will be exactly the same as that which we face now. Must we live for generations under the killing punishment of accelerating preparedness without an announced final purpose or as an alternative, suicidal war; and trifle in the meanwhile with corollary and indeterminate theses such as limitation of armament, restriction on the use of nuclear power, adoption of new legal standards as propounded at Nuremberg all of which are but palliatives and all of which in varying form have been tried in the past with negligible results? Dangerous doctrines, too, appear doctrines which might result in actual defeat; such doctrines as a limited war, of enemy sanctuary, of failure to protect our fighting men when captured, of national subversive and sabotage agencies, of a substitute for victory on the battlefield all in the name of peace. Peace, indeed, can be obtained at least temporarily by any nation if it is prepared to yield its freedom principles. But peace at any price peace with appeasement peace w[hic]h passes the dreadful finality to future generations is a peace of sham and shame which can end only in war or slavery.
I recall so vividly this problem when it faced the Japanese in their new Constitution. They are realists: and they are the only ones that know by dread experience the fearful effect of mass annihilation. They realize in their limited geographical area, caught up as a sort of no man's land between two great ideologies, that to engage in another war, whether on the winning or the losing side, would spell the probable doom of their race. And their wise old Prime Minister, Shidehara, came to me and urged that to save themselves they should abolish war as an international instrument. When I agreed, he turned to me and said, "The world will laugh and mock us as impractical visionaries, but a hundred years from now we will be called prophets."
Sooner or later the world, if it is to survive, must reach this decision. The only question is, when? Must we fight again before we learn? When will some great figure in power have sufficient imagination and moral courage to translate this universal wish which is rapidly becoming a universal necessity into actuality? We are in a new era. The old methods and solutions no longer suffice. We must have new thoughts, new ideas, new concepts, just as did our venerated forefathers when they faced a new world. We must break out of the straitjacket of the past. There must always be one to lead, and we should be that one. We should now proclaim our readiness to abolish war in concert with the great powers of the world. The result would be magical.
Turns to Far East
This may sound somewhat academic in view of the acuteness of the situation in the Far East. Strategically, the problem there has developed along classical lines the familiar case of a concentrated enemy in a central position deployed against scattered allies. Red China, inherently weak in industrial output for modern war but strong in manpower, engaged on three fronts-Korea, Indochina and in civil war with Nationalist China. Fighting on all three simultaneously meant defeat, but individually the chances were excellent. The hope for victory depended on getting a cease-fire on some fronts so that the full potential of its limited military might could be thrown against the remaining one or ones. That is what has happened and is happening. First was the cessation of the civil war action by the isolation in the Formosa area, which practically immobilized Nationalist China, one of the allies. Red China then concentrated against Korea and Indochina. But even the double front was too much for its strained resources, so a ceasefire was obtained in Korea. This immobilized the so-called United Nations forces and the South Koreans and left Red China free to concentrate on the third front-Indochina and the French.
Successful there, the Reds now turn back to the old first front located in Formosa. As Napoleon Bonaparte once said: "Give me allies as an enemy so that I can defeat them one by one."
Militarily the situation demonstrates the inherent weakness of the theory of collective security the chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and what is even more vital its full power can only be utilized when all links are brought simultaneously into action. The diverse interests of allies always tend toward separation rather than unity.
Whatever betides the ultimate fate of the Far East and indeed of the world will not be settled by force of arms. We may all be practically annihilated but war can no longer be an arbiter of survival.
I can not close without once more thanking this beautiful city of Los Angeles for its gracious hospitality. It has been an inspiration to be here, where missions once stood as lonely outposts in the advance of our Christian civilization, but where this great metropolis now stands as a monument to American industry and adventure a symbolic reminder of Californian strength and fortitude. I hate to leave but, as I once pledged under very different circumstances, I shall return.