President Truman's Dismissal of General MacArthur: A Case Study in Bureaucratic Politics
NATIONAL WAR COLL WASHINGTON DC
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President Harry Trumans dismissal of General Douglas MacArthur from Korea in 1951 occurred as a result of bureaucratic politics. For 40 years, historians have portrayed this decision as a straight-forward conflict between two strong-willed individuals. In reality, the Presidents decision was a result of a breakdown in communication due to misconceptions, inadequate third party advice, and partisan politics. In this paper, the decision to dismiss General MacArthur is analyzed using Graham T. Allisons Governmental Politics Paradigm. The model views government decisions as products of compromise, conflict, and confusion of officials with diverse interests and unequal power. Using the bureaucratic politics paradigm, the paper will examine the Presidents decision by presenting the players positions, perceptions, motivations, preferences, compromises, and actions that resulted in General MacArthurs dismissal.
- Humanities and History
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Military Forces and Organizations