“I’ll be darned”
On April 12, 1951, General Dwight D. Eisenhower was chatting with two French generals and a handful of press representatives on a hilltop near Coblenz, Germany when a reporter informed him that President Truman had fired General Douglas MacArthur, who was fighting the Korean War in the Far East. Associated Press correspondent Dick O’Malley: “General, have you heard the news about Gen. MacArthur?” . Eisenhower: “No, what happened? M: “He’s been relieved of his Far East command by President Truman and replaced by General Ridgeway.” Eisenhower turned away and said, “I’ll be darned.”
The moment was captured by American military magazine, Star and Stripes’ Francis “Red” Grandy, who was anticipating a similar kind of reaction. Although his editors were worried that the photo might offend the general, it ran on Page 1, two columns wide two days later. The photo was picked up by several major news services and published in newspapers across the U.S. It later won many prizes and reappeared not only in the Encyclopedia Britannica, but also in a volume of the best news pictures of a quarter-century published in Life magazine and on Eisenhower’s own obituary.
In fact, Ike served as MacArthur’s aide for grueling nine years during the 30s in Washington and the Philippines. He disliked MacArthur for his vanity, his theatrics, and for what Eisenhower perceived as “irrational” behavior, which culminated in their falling out over the Bonus Army March. MacArthur, who finished top in his class at West Point looked down at Ike, who finished at the bottom and detested resources being diverted from the Pacific theater to Europe under Ike.