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America’s Greatest Generals, Lee And MacArthur

April 7, 2010 by  

In one of those coincidences that history seems to love, the two greatest generals the United States has produced—Robert E. Lee and Douglas MacArthur—both came to the end of their long and distinguished careers this week… separated by almost a century.

On April 9, 1865, the not-so Civil War ended at Appomattox, Va., as Confederate General Lee surrendered his sword and the 28,000 men under his command to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. The two generals agreed that all Confederate soldiers were to be pardoned. After being given a generous portion of rations, the Southern soldiers were permitted to mount their horses and return to their homes.

With that meeting the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history was over. At least the official fighting had come to an end. In the former Confederacy there’s still a huge market for “The South Shall Rise Again,” “Forget, Hell!” and other mementos of the War of Northern Aggression, as it’s frequently referred to below the Mason-Dixon Line.

Four score and nine years later, on April 11, 1951, General Douglas MacArthur was removed from his position as commander of United Nations forces in Korea by then-President Harry S Truman. MacArthur’s firing followed his public disclosure that the president refused him permission to bomb the bases and supply lines in Manchuria. It was from these lines that Communist China was supplying our enemies in North Korea.

Upon his return to these shores MacArthur enjoyed a hero’s welcome in San Francisco and New York. The following week he addressed a joint session of Congress, concluding his remarks by saying, “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” And that’s basically what Generals Lee and MacArthur—two of the most honorable men to ever put on the uniform of their country—both did.

—Chip Wood

Chip Wood

is the geopolitical editor of He is the founder of Soundview Publications, in Atlanta, where he was also the host of an award-winning radio talk show for many years. He was the publisher of several bestselling books, including Crisis Investing by Doug Casey, None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen and Larry Abraham and The War on Gold by Anthony Sutton. Chip is well known on the investment conference circuit where he has served as Master of Ceremonies for FreedomFest, The New Orleans Investment Conference, Sovereign Society, and The Atlanta Investment Conference.

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  • Juanita

    What about Gen Patton. Agree with Lee and MacArthur.

    • Dark Knight

      “You must accept the challenges…so that you can feel the exileration of victory!”

      ~ The late General George S. Patton, European Conflict 1941 to 1945 ~

  • s c

    From what I know about Lee and MacArthur, I’d say Patton had more potential than Lee or MacArthur. Lee should have known from the start of the so-called Civil War that the South had to win a quick military victory or its losing that war was inevitable. As for MacArthur, he should have known that to openly criticize the CIC was an open invitation to a forced retirement (especially since HST was a member of the NWO’s ‘Big Picture’ crowd).
    Patton’s mistake was in not having someone around to watch his back.
    Patton was caught in the middle of a ‘transforming’ mentality that demands that America no longer have capable military leaders. Now, according to the NWO mantra, all we need is a continuous series of puppet leaders. Now, perhaps, it might be a bit more obvious why America has lacked military leadership for so MANY years.

    • Realist

      You cannot, as many others always seem to do, go by the movie “Patton”, which I suspect you are doing. Did you know Patton’s army was the last allied Army to reach the Rhine? Did you know that Patton was hung up at Metz for almost twice as long as the Allies here bottled up in Normandy?

      Patton was an effective “thruster”, but his attacks were often sloppy, just throwing anything at hand at a point until he broke through. There are merits in that, but had he come up against a Bernard Montgomery or a Robert E. Lee on the defense, his attacks would have been shattered, much as Rommel and Grant experienced at different times.

      MacArthur is tops in strategy, Lee in tactical ability, and Patton would get good marks in aggressiveness, but the latter is not “the best” this nation ever had in high command.

  • Jack

    Also, Patton was fighting a German army that had been severely weakened by the Soviet Union. Thus, his true ability really can’t be measured against MacArthur and Lee, who both fought their opponents at the peak of their power. Moreover, some of the greatest military leaders of Europe, not to mention Lee’s former enemies, praised him as the greatest captain of history (at least until then) who did more with less than anyone in history.

    As for Lee not realizing that the south would have to win a “quick victory” you reveals your tremendous ignorance. The south did win many “quick victories” but the north, with its overwhelming manpower and resources, just kept coming again and again. And if you had read history, Lee said early on that though people of both the north and south believed the war would be over quickly, it would have to last at least four years. Lee hit the nail right on the head with that prediction. He was a genius, as was MacArthur. Actually, Eisenhower was really good too and rose extremely quickly beginning WW II as MacArthur’s adjutant and finishing as a General of the Army. In the words of MacArthur, “he (Eisenhower) was the best clerk I ever had.”

  • Stephen

    MacArthur ahead of Scott and Pershing? You can’t be serious. Both Scott an Pershing were revolutionary geniuses, men well ahead of their time. MacArthur, on the other hand, is severely overrated, mostly due to his bloated ego. He wasn’t even the best commander in the Korean War, much less ahead of some of these other guys.


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