Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program Name


Capstone Instructor

Dr. Brett F. Woods


The following is an examination of Sun Tzu’s principles, articulated in The Art of War, as overlaid onto the operations of Douglas MacArthur in World War I, World War II and the Korean War. General MacArthur was a brilliant tactician, an exceptional strategist and remains one of the most decorated members ever to serve in the United States Armed Forces. MacArthur was architect of some of the most successful campaigns in U.S. history: the arduous Battle of Cote de Chatillon in WWI; the wildly successful Island Hopping Maneuvers in WWII; and the brazen amphibious landing at Inchon in the Korean War. He also experienced defeats and setbacks; the devastating destruction of his Air Force by the Japanese bombing of Clark Field in WWII and the grisly Pusan Perimeter fight in the Korean War are two examples. A review of MacArthur’s campaigns, viewed through the lens of Sun Tzu’s war doctrine, reveals that application of the principles preceded victory, whereas not adhering to the laws led to defeat. These timeless truths, written 2500 years ago, hold value in shaping tomorrow’s wars.

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