Sputnik Escalates the Cold War
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Clark, Mark Wayne (1896–1984)

Title: Mark Wayne Clark
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U.S. Army general and commander of United Nations (UN) forces in the Republic of Korea (ROK, South Korea). A third-generation soldier, Mark Wayne Clark was born on 1 May 1896 in Madison Barracks, New York. He graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, in 1917 and then fought in France, where he met his future mentor, George C. Marshall. During the interwar years, Clark held various command and staff positions. He was promoted to brigadier general in August 1941 and was working on army expansion when the United States entered World War II. Promoted to major general and named chief of staff for U.S. Army ground forces in April 1942, Clark earned a reputation as an effective troop trainer. In the summer of 1942 Marshall, then U.S. Army chief of staff, appointed Clark to command II Corps in England, where he helped plan the invasion of North Africa. His dramatic submarine voyage to Algiers in October 1942 to coordinate the advance surrender of the French garrison earned him a promotion to lieutenant general in November (the youngest at the time) and the position of deputy supreme commander of the Allied invasion of North Africa.

Following the conquest of North Africa, Clark became commander of the U.S. Fifth Army, providing controversial leadership during the campaign in Italy as a headline seeker, especially when he rejected an opportunity to destroy the German Tenth Army in favor of an American liberation of Rome. Following the German surrender in April 1945, Clark's troops occupied the U.S. sector of Austria, where he was high commissioner. Clark fed hungry locals with survival rations and rebuilt the economy with massive U.S. aid. His stormy relations with the Soviet military demonstrated that his talents did not extend to diplomatic poise and patience. After negotiating the Austrian peace treaty in June 1947, he served as commander of the U.S. Sixth Army and then the U.S. Army Field Forces Training Command.

Postponing plans to retire, in May 1952 Clark assumed command of UN forces in Korea, where he soon began complaining about the lack of men and materials. Reluctantly, he followed orders and continued the truce negotiations but also escalated the bombing of North Korea to force a settlement. Before signing an armistice agreement on 27 July 1953, he played a key role in securing the cooperation of President Syngman Rhee in respecting the armistice and improving the training and equipping of the South Korean Army. Clark never accepted the necessity for an armistice in Korea, believing that Americans lacked the will to win that prevented the United States from using atomic weapons to achieve a decisive defeat of the communists.

Clark retired from active duty in 1953. From 1954 to 1965 he was president of The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. He died in that city on 17 April 1984.

James I. Matray


Further Reading
Clark, Mark W. Calculated Risk. New York: Harper, 1950.; Clark, Mark W. From the Danube to the Yalu. New York: Harper, 1954.; Foot, Rosemary. A Substitute for Victory: The Politics of Peacemaking at the Korean War Armistice Talks. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990.
 

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