Accession Number:



The Role of the Operational Artist: General MacArthur in the Korean War from June 1950 to April 1951

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,01 Jun 2018,31 May 2019

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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This study applies the theory of the operational artist to evaluate General Douglas MacArthurs command in the Korean War to illuminate considerations in regards to a senior military commanders authority to discuss policy and negotiate military strategy with policymakers and their responsibility to operate within the constraints imposed by policy to achieve the political aim, through the military aim. Victory emerged through the restoration of the 38th Parallel, where discourse and negotiation between policymakers and the operational artist resolved the tension between policy and military strategy, while tragedy and failure emerged in the remainder of General MacArthurs command, when the discourse failed and the operational artist disregarded policy constraints in pursuit of his own aims. The analysis implicates considerations for senior military commanders in their role as operational artists in the context of large-scale combat operations within wars of limited aims, constrained by competing interests.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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