Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in

The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.

After China entered the Korean War on the side of the North Koreans, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, a hero of World War II and then leader of United Nations forces in Korea, sought to extend the war into China. President Truman and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, anxious to avoid yet another world war, decided to limit the conflict to Korea. In defiance of Truman's orders, MacArthur made numerous statements criticizing this policy. Truman then fired him. Returning to the United States for the first time since 1937, MacArthur was greeted as a national hero, though public support later waned. He lived the rest of his life largely in seclusion, and died in 1964. An excerpt from The Post of April 11, 1951:

President Truman has relieved Gen. Douglas MacArthur of his commands in the Far East for being unable to give his full sympathy to the Government's foreign policy.

He has named Lieut. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway to succeed him.

The sensational announcement was made at the White House at 1 o'clock this morning by Press Secretary Joseph Short.

Col. S.H. Huff of MacArthur's Staff said in Tokyo the general had no prior knowledge of the Truman announcement.

President Truman notified MacArthur that he had been relieved in a direct message to the Far East commander, sent over the military network.

Mr. Truman, in his statement to the press, said that he had concluded, with "deep regret," that "General of the Army Douglas MacArthur is unable to give his wholehearted support to the policies of the United States Government and of the United Nations in matters pertaining to his official duties."

The president said that in view of the responsibilities imposed upon him by the Constitution and the added responsibility entrusted to him by the United Nations:

"I have decided that I must make a change of command in the Far East. I have, therefore, relieved General MacArthur of his commands and have designated Lieut. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway as his successor." ...

Mr. Truman said that full and vigorous debate on national policy was a vital element in our free democracy. But it was fundamental, he said, that military commanders "must be governed by the policies and directives issued to them in the manner provided by our laws and the Constitution.

"In times of crisis," he said, "this consideration is particularly compelling."

Mr. Truman concluded his statement by saying that MacArthur's place in history as one of our greatest commanders is fully established. He said the Nation owed him a debt of gratitude, and repeated his feeling of regret that he had to relieve him.

Mr. Truman's order to MacArthur was "effective at once." It relieved the 71-year-old soldier of his duties as Supreme Commander, Allied Powers; Commander-in-Chief, United Nations Command; Commander-in-Chief, Far East; and Commanding General, United States Army, Far East.

MacArthur was directed to turn over all these commands to General Ridgway.