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Courtney Whitney

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Rank  Major General
Role  Lawyer
Name  Courtney Whitney
Other work  Lawyer

Born  20 May 1897 Washington, D.C. (1897-05-20)
Buried at  Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States of America
Battles/wars  World War I World War II Korean War
Awards  Silver Star Legion of Merit (2)
Died  March 21, 1969, Washington, D.C., United States
Education  George Washington University
Books  MacArthur: his rendezvous with history
Battles and wars  World War I, World War II, Korean War
People also search for  Arthur W. Radford, Edward A. Craig, Joseph Stalin

Service/branch  United States Army

Major General Courtney Whitney (May 20, 1897 - March 21, 1969) was an American lawyer and Army commander during World War II who later served as a senior official during the occupation of Japan. He played a major role in the liberalization of Japanese government, society, and economy during the Occupation of Japan, 1945 to 1951.



Born in Washington, D.C., Whitney enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1917 and became a pursuit pilot. He received his law degree from George Washington University in 1927 and left the Army to open a private practice in Manila.

World War II

In 1940, Whitney returned to active duty. He worked in intelligence in Washington and was assigned to serve as the intelligence officer to the 14th Air Force in China when General Douglas MacArthur requested that he be assigned to the Southwest Pacific Theater. Whitney returned to Leyte Gulf alongside MacArthur in 1944.

In his biography of Douglas MacArthur, William Manchester states that Lieutenant Colonel Courtney Whitney, a "ultraconservative Manila corporation lawyer" was assigned to MacArthur's staff, promoted, and assigned responsibility for Philippine civil affairs. Manchester states that:

from the standpoint of the guerrillas he was a disastrous choice. Undiplomatic and belligerent, he was condescending toward all Filipinos, except those who, like himself, had substantial investments in the Philippines... and by the time MacArthur was ready to land on Leyte, Whitney had converted most of the staff to reactionaryism. At his urging the General (MacArthur) barred OSS agents from the Southwest Pacific, because Whitney suspected they would aid leftwing guerrillas.

Occupation of Japan

After Japan surrendered, Whitney accompanied MacArthur to Atsugi Air Base and became Chief of the Government Section at GHQ. With Lt. Col. Milo Rowell, he drafted the Constitution of Japan and sent it to the Diet for approval. Historians emphasize the similarity of occupation policies to the American New Deal programs of the 1930s. Moore and Robinson note that, "New Deal liberalism seemed natural, even to conservative Republicans such as MacArthur and Whitney."

Whitney remained close to MacArthur through the occupation, and served alongside MacArthur during the Korean War. He resigned from the Army after MacArthur was removed from command in 1951. In 1956, Whitney's biography of his commander, MacArthur: His Rendezvous With History, was published.

Whitney is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

In Popular Culture

Whitney was played by Dick O'Neill in the 1977 film MacArthur


Courtney Whitney Wikipedia