The Korean War: A More Interesting Case of Civil-Military Relations

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The clash between the President of the United States (Harry S. Truman) and his theater commander (General Douglas MacArthur) during the Korean War is well known. What is not as well known, is the conflict between President Truman and MacArthur's two successors, General Matthew Ridgway and General Mark Clark. Both officers still had a "MacArthur problem," in that they did not agree with the president's policy as a way to direct the war in Korea. Each officer dealt with this tension in his own way to eventually "thread the needle" to achieve American objectives in Korea while avoiding a crippling crisis in civil-military relations. This essay explores these challenges and how they affected air and ground operations during the latter half of the conflict.
Korean War, Civil-Military Relations, Matthew B. Ridgway, Mark W. Clark, Harry S. Truman, War Termination, Policy and Strategy
Gibby, Bryan R. "The Korean War: A More Interesting Case of Civil-Military Relations," Civil Military Relations Center Conference on the All-volunteer Force at 50, 5-6 May 2023, US Army War College, Carlisle, PA.