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The Doctrine called Communism "the world's foremost evil" and stated the "United States can not - and will not - sit by as this evil consumes more and more lives of the innocent."
Simply, the Doctrine stated that Communism was a form of oppression of free people, and all free nations ought to fight against this oppression.
The MacArthur Doctrine was also later invoked when MacArthur and his State Department led to a major push to authorize and establish the Asia-Pacific Treaty Organization.
Traditionally, US Presidents issued a Doctrine in the form of an important speech to set foreign policy on an issue. Famous examples were the Monroe Doctrine, Roosevelt Corollary and the pivotal Truman Doctrine in which containment was made a formalized foreign policy.
The Korean War, as the first war after World War II, was originally looked upon by the Americans as a potential hotbed for conflict with the USSR or Communist China. When the USSR didn't respond and China immediately stopped involvement following the bombing of Dalian, Americans felt that the Ideological Cold War would be easier than originally anticipated.
The US Presidential Election of 1952 was an impressive landslide, and viewed by key Washington, D.C. policymakers to be a directive from the American people for a hard stance on Communism and all forms of socialism. When Douglas MacArthur was sworn into office on January 20, 1953, he gave his inaugural speech to that effect.
Passage from Douglas MacArthur's State of the Union, February 2, 1953
- We must continue to put the pressure on the evils of this world. Our Founding Fathers all believed in freedom, in integrity and in the role of government to protect the people of the United States.
- I stand before you today in the midst of a world-wide battle, an ideological cold war, between the nations under the influence of the world's foremost evil - Communism - and nations that embrace the rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
- We, the people of the United States can not - and will not - sit by as this evil consumes more and more lives of the innocent, more and more liberties of humanity, and more and more opportunities to the people of Eastern Europe.
- In the USSR, we know that Premier Stalin is killing his own people mercilessly, through his system of the "gulag" and his "purges." Some say that over 20 million of his own people have died through his actions. His empire of evil must be prevented from growing to claim the lives of an additional 20 million - or more.
- Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congress, Mr. Speaker, Mr. President of the Senate, I ask you all to join me in prayer for the future of the Free World. We ask God for His divine guidance as we work to defeat all nations that attempt to dismiss our God-given rights - Life, Liberty,and the Pursuit of Happiness!"
ReactionAfter its delivery, many liberals and Democrats called that MacArthur was bound to get the US involved in another large-scale war in a foreign nation, risking atomic repercussions or interference from the USSR.
The largest opponent of the MacArthur Doctrine was then-freshman Senator John F. Kennedy, who would take the nation by storm less than eight years later in the US Presidential Election of 1960. Most other leaders of the anti-Doctrinal movement were largely marginalized.
Meanwhile, the Republican and conservative fronts published materials that were aimed at making the Democrats look subversive to the overall goal of anti-Communism.
Stalin was the target of the campaign, but his death in March of 1953 led to much of the propaganda not being used.
The United States has invoked the MacArthur Doctrine in the following situations: