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Eisenhower vs MacArthur

Reader comment on item: The Way to Peace
in response to reader comment: MacArthur, not Eisenhower

Submitted by Sigmund Derman (United States), Dec 30, 2016 at 10:49

I looked this up in "The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When" a book by Ralph Keyes, a popular American writer of non-fiction. He points out that Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote to his wie, Mamie, in a 1944 letter (published much later, of course) "In war there is no substitute for victory." Then in 1951 Douglas MacArthur said "In war, indeed, there can be no substitute for victory" while testifying at a joint session of Congress. He had also written "There is no substitute for victory" one month earlier in a letter to an individual Congressman.

So Eisenhower did write it before MacArthur famously said it. But MacArthur was the one who gave it
the widest publicity because Letter to Mamie by Eisenhower did not come out until 1978 and I doubt that very many people actually read that letter.

Keyes notes that probably MacArthur did not have the opportunity to see Eisenhower's letter to Mamie (but who knows?). Keyes believes that the phrase was a common one among military men during WWII. Also, the phrase was used as an advertising slogan for Victory analgesic ointment, apparently a popular over the counter medication sold during that time.

So probably both Eisenhower and MacArthur were repeating a common saying that may have been written by some unknown advertising copy writer.


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