138+ Best Douglas Macarthur Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Douglas MacArthur was an American five-star general and Field Marshal of the Philippine Army. He was Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. Inspirational Douglas MacArthur quotes will brighten up your day and make you feel ready to take on anything.

If you’re searching for life quotes and sayings that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of iconic Colin Powell quotes, thoughtful Robert E. Lee quotes, and famous General George S. Patton quotes.

Most Famous Douglas Macarthur Quotes

The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. – Douglas MacArthur

The best luck of all is the luck you make for yourself. – Douglas MacArthur

A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. – Douglas MacArthur

The object and practice of liberty lies in the limitation of government power. – Douglas MacArthur

Are we going to continue to yield personal liberties and community autonomy to the steady inexplicable centralization all political power or restore the Republic to Constitutional direction, regain our personal liberties and reassume the individual state’s primary responsibility and authority in the conduct of local affairs? Are we going to permit a continuing decline in public and private morality or re-establish high ethical standards as the means of regaining a diminishing faith in the integrity of our public and private institutions? – Douglas MacArthur

It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear. – Douglas MacArthur

The nations of the world will have to unite for the next war will be an interplanetary war. The nations of Earth must some day make a common front against attack by people from other planets. – Douglas MacArthur

War’s very object is victory, not prolonged indecision. In war there is no substitute for victory. – Douglas MacArthur

People of the Philippines: I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil—soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come dedicated and committed to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring upon a foundation of indestructible strength, the liberties of your people. – Douglas MacArthur

Expect only 5% of an intelligence report to be accurate. The trick of a good commander is to isolate the 5%. – Douglas MacArthur

The issues which today confront the nation are clearly defined and so fundamental as to directly involve the very survival of the Republic. Are we going to preserve the religious base to our origin, our growth and our progress, or yield to the devious assaults of atheistic or other anti-religious forces? Are we going to maintain our present course toward State Socialism with Communism just beyond or reverse the present trend and regain our hold upon our heritage of liberty and freedom? – Douglas MacArthur

I have just returned from visiting the Marines at the front, and there is not a finer fighting organization in the world! – Douglas MacArthur

Nine times of ten an army has been destroyed because its supply lines have been severed – Douglas MacArthur

Life is a lively process of becoming. – Douglas MacArthur

However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind. – Douglas MacArthur

They died hard, those savage men – like wounded wolves at bay. They were filthy, and they were lousy, and they stunk. And I loved them. – Douglas MacArthur

There are no atheists in the foxholes of Bataan. – Douglas MacArthur

The soldier, above all other men, is required to perform the highest act of religious offering-sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death he discloses those divine attributes which his amke gave when he created in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instincts can take the place of the divine annunciation and spiritual gift which will alone sustain him. – Douglas MacArthur

It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it. – Douglas MacArthur

In short, is American life of the future to be characterized by freedom or by servitude, strength or weakness? The answer must be clear and unequivocal if we are to avoid the pitfalls toward which we are now heading with such certainty. In many respects it is not to be found in any dogma of political philosophy but in those immutable precepts which underlie the Ten Commandments. – Douglas MacArthur

One cannot wage war under present conditions without the support of public opinion, which is tremendously molded by the press and other forms of propaganda. – Douglas MacArthur

The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It’s the age-old struggle: the roar of the crowd on the one side, and the voice of your conscience on the other. – Douglas MacArthur

Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended. A great victory has been won. The skies no longer rain with death – the seas bear only commerce – men everywhere walk upright in the sunlight. The entire world lies quietly at peace. The holy mission has been completed. And in reporting this to you, the people, I speak for the thousands of silent lips, forever stilled among the jungles and the beaches and in the deep waters of the Pacific which marked the way. – Douglas MacArthur

Americans never quit. – Douglas MacArthur

No army has ever done so much with so little. – Douglas MacArthur

I have every confidence in the ultimate success of our joint cause; but success in modern war requires something more than courage and a willingness to die: it requires careful preparation. – Douglas MacArthur

Freemasonry embraces the highest moral laws and will bear the test of any system of ethics or philosophy ever promulgated for the uplift of man. – Douglas MacArthur

Training distinguishes an army from an armed mob. – Douglas MacArthur

If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door. – Douglas MacArthur

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope as old as your despair. In the central place of every heart there is a recording chamber. So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer and courage, so long are you young. When your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and then only, are you grown old. And then, indeed as the ballad says, you just fade away – Douglas MacArthur

Duty, Honor, Country- those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn. – Douglas MacArthur

You are remembered for the rules you break. – Douglas MacArthur

There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity. – Douglas MacArthur

Once war is forced upon us, there is no alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end. War’s very object is victory-not prolonged indecision. – Douglas MacArthur

There are some who, for varying reasons, would appease Red China. They are blind to history’s clear lesson, for history teaches with unmistakable emphasis that appeasement but begets new and bloodier war. It points to no single instance where this end has justified that means, where appeasement has led to more than a sham peace. Like blackmail, it lays the basis for new and successively greater demands until, as in blackmail, violence becomes the only other alternative. – Douglas MacArthur

Old soldiers never die; they just fade away. – Douglas MacArthur

I had learned one of the bitter lessons of life: never try to regain the past, the fire will have become ashes. – Douglas MacArthur

A good soldier, whether he leads a platoon or an army, is expected to look backward as well as forward; but he must think only forward. – Douglas MacArthur

Competitive sports keep alive in us a spirit and vitality. Sports teach the strong to know when they are weak and the brave to face themselves when they are afraid; to be proud and unbowed in defeat, and yet humble and gentle in victory; to master ourselves before we attempt to master others; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; and to give the predominance of courage over timidity. – Douglas MacArthur

I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a means of settling international disputes… But once war is forced upon us, there is no other alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end. – Douglas MacArthur

Only those are fit to live who are not afraid to die. – Douglas MacArthur

No plan ever survives its first encounter with the enemy. – Douglas MacArthur

A general is just as good or just as bad as the troops under his command make him. – Douglas MacArthur

Men will not fight and die without knowing what they are fighting and dying for. – Douglas MacArthur

Defensive strategy never has produced ultimate victory. – Douglas MacArthur

Optimism is denial, so face the facts and move on – Douglas MacArthur

Never give an order that can’t be obeyed. – Douglas MacArthur

Years wrinkle the skin. Giving up wrinkles the soul. – Douglas MacArthur

It is my earnest hope, and indeed the hope of all mankind, that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past… – Douglas MacArthur

This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: Only the dead have seen the end of war. – Douglas MacArthur

I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within. – Douglas MacArthur

Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair; these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust. Whatever your years, there is in every being’s heart the love of wonder, the undaunted challenge of events, the unfailing childlike appetite for what next, and the joy and the game of life. – Douglas MacArthur

History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster. – Douglas MacArthur

Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons. – Douglas MacArthur

Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. – Douglas MacArthur

Talk of imminent threat to our national security through the application of external force is pure nonsense. Our threat is from the insidious forces working from within which have already so drastically altered the character of our free institutions – those institutions we proudly called the American way of life. – Douglas MacArthur

Youth is not entirely a time of life; it is a state of mind. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubts; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair. – Douglas MacArthur

Even when opportunity knocks, a man still has to get up off his seat and open the door. – Douglas MacArthur

Have a good plan, execute it violently, and do it today. – Douglas MacArthur

For those to whom much is given, much is required. It is not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up. There is no substitute for victory. – Douglas MacArthur

No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation. – Douglas MacArthur

Give me ten thousand Filipino soldiers and I will conquer the world. – Douglas MacArthur

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid, one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory. – Douglas MacArthur

Rules are mostly made to be broken and are too often for the lazy to hide behind. – Douglas MacArthur

Preparedness is the key to success and victory. – Douglas MacArthur

The enemy is in front of us, the enemy is behind us, the enemy is to the right and to the left of us. They can’t get away this time! – Douglas MacArthur

Beware not the enemy from ‘without’ but the enemy from ‘within’. – Douglas MacArthur

Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear – kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor – with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real. – Douglas MacArthur

We are not retreating – we are advancing in another direction. – Douglas MacArthur

Worry, doubt, fear and despair are the enemies which slowly bring us down to the ground and turn us to dust before we die. – Douglas MacArthur

We have had our last chance. The problem now is basically theological and involves spirituality and improvement of human character. It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh. – Douglas MacArthur

Believe me, sir, never a night goes by, be I ever so tired, but I read the Word of God before I go to bed. – Douglas MacArthur

I’ve looked that old scoundrel death in the eye many times but this time I think he has me on the ropes. – Douglas MacArthur

In war, you win or lose, live or die – and the difference is just an eyelash. – Douglas MacArthur

In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. – Douglas MacArthur

A better world shall emerge based on faith and understanding. – Douglas MacArthur

I have known war as few men now living know it. It’s very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a means of settling international disputes. – Douglas MacArthur

Whether in chains or in laurels, liberty knows nothing but victories. – Douglas MacArthur

Part of the American dream is to live long and die young. Only those Americans who are willing to die for their country are fit to live. – Douglas MacArthur

Like the old soldier of the ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty. Goodbye. – Douglas MacArthur

Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul. – Douglas MacArthur

Our country is now geared to an arms economy bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and an incessant propaganda of fear. – Douglas MacArthur

Could I have but a line a century hence crediting a contribution to the advance of peace, I would yield every honor which has been accorded by war. – Douglas MacArthur

I suppose, in a way, this has become part of my soul. It is a symbol of my life. Whatever I have done that really matters, I’ve done wearing it. When the time comes, it will be in this that I journey forth. What greater honor could come to an American, and a soldier? – Douglas MacArthur

My first recollection is that of a bugle call. – Douglas MacArthur

In war there is no substitute for victory. – Douglas MacArthur

Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it. – Douglas MacArthur

In war, when a commander becomes so bereft of reason and perspective that he fails to understand the dependence of arms on Divine guidance, he no longer deserves victory. – Douglas MacArthur

On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other days and other fields will bear the fruits of victory – Douglas MacArthur

Last, but by no means least, courage-moral courage, the courage of one’s convictions, the courage to see things through. The world ;is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It’s the age-old struggle-the roar of the crowd on one side and the voice of your ;conscience on the other. – Douglas MacArthur

While Asia is commonly referred to as the Gateway to Europe, it is no less true that Europe is the Gateway to Asia, and the broad influence of the one cannot fail to have its impact upon the other. – Douglas MacArthur

If I had one more division like this First Marine Division I could win this war. – Douglas MacArthur

I believe that the entire effort of modern society should be concentrated on the endeavor to outlaw war as a method of the solution of problems between nations. – Douglas MacArthur

I’ll come back as soon as I can with as much as I can. In the meantime, you’ve got to hold! – Douglas MacArthur

By profession I am a Soldier & take pride in that fact, but I am prouder to be a father. – Douglas MacArthur

While I was not consulted prior to the President’s decision to intervene in support of the Republic of Korea, that decision from a military standpoint, proved a sound one, as we hurled back the invader and decimated his forces. Our victory was complete, and our objectives within reach, when Red China intervened with numerically superior ground forces. – Douglas MacArthur

The President of the United States ordered me to break through the Japanese lines and proceed from Corregidor to Australia for the purpose, as I understand it, of organizing the American offensive against Japan, a primary objective of which is the relief of the Philippines. I came through and I shall return. – Douglas MacArthur

I stand on this rostrum with a sense of deep humility and great pride – humility in the weight of those great American architects of our history who have stood here before me; pride in the reflection that this home of legislative debate represents human liberty in the purest form yet devised. – Douglas MacArthur

The outfit soon took on color, dash and a unique flavor which is the essence of that elusive and deathless thing called soldiering. – Douglas MacArthur

Nothing would please me better than if they would give me three months and then attack here. – Douglas MacArthur

I have one criticism about the Negro troops who fought under my command in the Korean War. They didn’t send me enough of them. – Douglas MacArthur

While no man in his right mind would advocate sending our ground forces into continental China, and such was never given a thought, the new situation did urgently demand a drastic revision of strategic planning if our political aim was to defeat this new enemy as we had defeated the old. – Douglas MacArthur

Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world, and that God will preserve it always. – Douglas MacArthur

My staff was unanimous in believing that Japan was on the point of collapse and surrender. – Douglas MacArthur

We are bound no longer by the straitjacket of the past and nowhere is the change greater than in our profession of arms. What, you may well ask, will be the end of all of this? I would not know! But I would hope that our beloved country will drink deep from the chalice of courage. – Douglas MacArthur

Many will tell you with mockery and ridicule that the abolition of war can only be a dream . . . But we must go on or we will all go under. And the great criticism that can be made is that the world lacks a plan that will enable us to go on . . . We must have sufficient imagination and courage to translate the universal wish for peace – which is rapidly becoming a universal necessity – into actuality. – Douglas MacArthur

It seems to me the worst possible concept, militarily, that we would simply stay there, resisting aggression, so-called…it seems to me that the way toresist aggressionis to destroy the potentialities of the aggressor to continually hit you…When you say, merely,we are going to continue to fight aggression,that is not what the enemy is fighting for. The enemy is fighting for a very definite purpose-to destroy our forces… – Douglas MacArthur

I can recall no parallel in history where a great nation recently at war has so distinguished its former enemy commander. – Douglas MacArthur

From the Far East I send you one single thought, one sole idea – written in red on every beachhead from Australia to Tokyo -There is no substitute for victory! – Douglas MacArthur

The hated system of land tenure, so contributory to general unrest in Asia, has been abolished. Every farmer is now accorded the right and dignity of ownership of the land he long has tilled. – Douglas MacArthur

Never ask age of a woman. – Douglas MacArthur

I will defend Korea as I would my own country-just as I would California. – Douglas MacArthur

The chickens are coming home to roost, and you happen to have just moved into the chicken house. – Douglas MacArthur

The Puerto Ricans forming the ranks of the gallant 65th Infantry on the battlefields of Korea … are writing a brilliant record of achievement in battle and I am proud indeed to have them in this command. I wish that we might have many more like them. – Douglas MacArthur

I know that this operation will be sort of helter-skelter. But the First Marine Division is going to win the war by landing at Inchon. – Douglas MacArthur

The great question is, can war be outlawed from the world? If so, it would mark the greatest advance in civilization since the Sermon on the Mount. – Douglas MacArthur

Apart from an innate grasp of tactical concepts, a great coach must possess the essentials attributes of leadership which mold men into a cohesive, fighting team with an invincible will to victory. – Douglas MacArthur

Men since the beginning of time have sought peace. – Douglas MacArthur

Global war has become Frankenstein’s monster, threatening to destroy both sides. – Douglas MacArthur

I am of Virginia and all my professional life I have studied of Lee and Jackson – Douglas MacArthur

I realize that advice is worth what it costs–that is, nothing. – Douglas MacArthur

It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh. – Douglas MacArthur

In no other profession are the penalties for employing untrained personnel so appalling or so irrevocable as in the military. – Douglas MacArthur

In the mighty and almost limitless potential of American industry-the brilliance and rugged determination of its leaders; the skill, energy and patriotism of its workers-there has been welded an almost impregnable defense against the evil designs of any who would threaten the security of the American continent. It is indeed the most forceful and convincing argument yet evolved to restrain the irresponsibility of those who would recklessly bring down upon the good and peace-loving peoples of all the nations of the earth the disaster of total war. – Douglas MacArthur

He thus reaps the full fruits which result from his toil and labors with the incentive of free enterprise to maximize his effort to achieve increasing production. Representing over a half of Japan’s total population, the agriculture workers have become an invincible barrier against the advance of socialistic ideas which would relegate all to the indignity of state servitude. – Douglas MacArthur

I came through and I shall return. – Douglas MacArthur

The Pacific no longer represents menacing avenues of approach for a prospective invader. It assumes, instead, the friendly aspect of a peaceful lake. Our line of defense is a natural one and can be maintained with a minimum of military effort and expense. – Douglas MacArthur

The untruthful soldier trifles with the lives of his countrymen and the honor and safety of his country. – Douglas MacArthur

In war, indeed, there can be no substitute for victory. – Douglas MacArthur

A soldier plods and groans, sweats and toils, he growls and curses, and at the end he dies. – Douglas MacArthur

I address you with neither rancor nor bitterness in the fading twilight of life, with but one purpose in mind: to serve my country. – Douglas MacArthur

The scale and grandeur of the Russian effort mark it as the greatest military achievement in all history. – Douglas MacArthur

It was close; but that’s the way it is in war. You win or lose, live or die – and the difference is just an eyelash. – Douglas MacArthur

We have known the bitterness of defeat and the exultation of triumph, and from both we have learned there can be no turning back. We must go forward to preserve in peace what we won in war. – Douglas MacArthur

I promise to keep on living as though I expected to live forever. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only be deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul. – Douglas MacArthur

I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil. – Douglas MacArthur

In war, as it is waged now, with the enormous losses on both sides, both sides will lose. It is a form of mutual suicide. – Douglas MacArthur

It seems strangely difficult for some to realize that here in Asia is where the Communist conspirators have elected to make their play for global conquest, and that we have joined the issue thus raised on the battlefield; that here we fight Europe’s war with arms while the diplomats there still fight it with words; that if we lose the war to communism in Asia the fall of Europe is inevitable, win it and Europe most probably would avoid war and yet preserve freedom. As you pointed out, we must win. There is no substitute for victory. – Douglas MacArthur

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