American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"MacArthur" (1977)

 

General Douglas MacArthur: Farewell Address to Congress

Audio mp3 delivered by Gregory Peck

...But, once war has been forced upon us, there is no other alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end.

War's very object is victory, not prolonged indecision.

In war there can be no substitute for victory.

For history teaches us with unmistakable emphasis that appeasement but begets new and bloodier war.

Like blackmail, it lays the basis for new and increasingly greater demands until, as in blackmail, violence becomes the only alternative.

"Why?" "Why," my soldiers asked of me, "surrender military advantages to an enemy in the field?"

I could not answer.

The magnificence of the courage and fortitude of the Korean people defies description. They have chosen to risk death rather than slavery. Their last words to me were: "Don't scuttle the Pacific."

I am closing my 52 years of military service. When I joined the Army, even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all of my boyish hopes and dreams.

The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished.

But I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barrack ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that "old soldiers never die; they just fade away."

Like the old soldier of that 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.

Good Bye.


Also in this database: MacArthur's actual farewell address to Congress.

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HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.