The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthur

Mark Perry in delanceyplace:

MacarthurIn 1934, General Douglas MacArthur and President Franklin D. Roosevelt clashed verbally in one of the worst confrontations between a senior military offi­cer and a president in American history. Roosevelt was determined to minimize the budget deficit in the midst of one of the country's most perilous economic times, and so had proposed that the army's budget be cut in half:

…Roosevelt's face was ashen with contempt. 'He was a scorcher when aroused,' MacArthur later wrote. 'The tension began to boil over.' It was at this point, MacArthur later confessed, that he 'spoke recklessly' and 'said something to the general effect that when we lost the next war, and an American boy, lying in the mud with an en­emy bayonet through his belly and an enemy foot on his dying throat, spat out his last curse, I wanted the name not to be MacArthur, but Roosevelt.' MacArthur's words hung in the air. Roosevelt could hardly believe what he'd heard. He wheeled on MacArthur and bellowed his re­sponse: 'You must not talk that way to the President! MacArthur, suddenly realizing what he'd said, backtracked. 'He was, of course, right,' he later wrote, 'and I knew it almost before the words had left my mouth. I said that I was sorry and apologized. But I felt my army career was at an end. I told him he had my resignation as Chief of Staff.' With that, MacArthur turned to leave the room. But even be­fore he reached the door, Roosevelt mastered his anger ('his voice came with that cool detachment which so reflected his extraordinary control,' MacArthur remembered) and dampened the confrontation. 'Don't be foolish, Douglas,' he said, 'you and the budget must get together on this.' MacArthur left the room quickly, then waited on the White House porch for Dern to appear. When he did, he was beaming, as if the confrontation had not occurred. 'You've saved the Army,' Dern said. But MacArthur felt defeated and, without warning, was suddenly over­come by nausea. He looked at Dern and then, leaning over, vomited on the White House steps.”

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