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“Who Does Truman Think He Is—the PRESIDENT?,” drawing by Jacob Burck, Chicago Sun-Times, April 1951

President Harry S. Truman’s popularity plummeted when he fired General Douglas MacArthur, and there were calls for the president’s impeachment. To determine whether Truman’s decision was justified, the Senate’s Committee on Armed Services and Committee on Foreign Relations jointly held hearings at which MacArthur and other military and civilian leaders testified.

Harry S. Truman Library and Museum

“Who Does Truman Think He Is—the PRESIDENT?,” drawing by Jacob Burck, Chicago Sun-Times, April 1951

Congress Investigates General MacArthur’s Dismissal

In 1950 President Harry S. Truman appointed war hero General Douglas MacArthur as supreme commander of United Nations (UN) forces in Korea. When the conflict between UN-backed South Korea and Chinese-supported North Korea reached a stalemate, MacArthur publicly challenged the president’s strategy to end the war through diplomacy. Truman fired MacArthur, but popular support for MacArthur prompted a Senate investigation of the Korean conflict and the Far East. The investigation confirmed Truman’s authority over MacArthur but reemphasized congressional war powers.

In 1951 Congress investigated whether President Harry S. Truman acted within his powers when he fired General Douglas MacArthur––and concluded that he did.