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On June 25, 1950, the North Korean
Peoples' Army, without warning, attacked the Free Republic of South Korea. During the ensuing 3 years of warfare, the
Communist enemy committed a series of war crimes against American and United Nations personnel which constitut,ed one of the
most heinous and barbaric epochs of recorded history. When the American people became aware war atrocities had been committed
against American troops, thousands of letters were sent to Members of Congress by parents, wives, and relatives of servicemen,
requesting an immediate investigation. Accordingly, on October 6, 1953, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, chairman of the Senate
Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, appointed a special subcommittee, chaired by Senator Charles E. Potter, to inquire
into the nature and extent of Communist war crimes committed in Korea.
On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces invaded South
Korea after failed negotiations for the reunification of the country. Unprepared for this show of force, Seoul, the capital
of South Korea, fell in only four days. As the conflict grew, North and South Korea became a Cold War battleground representing
the Western World vs. Communism. Officially considered only a "police action" by the United States, the ensuing
three-year military conflict included twenty-two countries and resulted in the deaths of an estimated 2 to 4 million military
personnel and civilians, including 36,940 American soldiers. Approximately 6,300 Arkansans fought in the Korean War; 461 of
those lost their lives. In response to
the hostilities, the United Nations Security Council passed UNSC Resolution 82 on June 27, 1950, promising to defend South
Korea. This resolution, passed in the hope of preventing the spread of Communism, marked the first time the United Nations
came to the aid of an invaded county. In line with the UN resolution, President Harry Truman authorized the use of American
military forces in the conflict. U.S. forces made their first aerial assaults on North Korean targets on June 28. While American
units mobilized in Japan, the first U.S. infantry troops, known as Task Force Smith, arrived at Pusan (Busan), South Korea,
on July 1, 1950. Outnumbered and unprepared for the organized and heavily armed opposition, Task Force Smith was overrun by
the North Korean People's Army (NKPA) and retreated with heavy injury and loss. The majority of these early battles ended in defeat for the U.S. and UN forces
as American casualties reached 6,000 during the first month alone. Expecting to meet North Korean forces that would surrender
with only a minor show of strength, the allied forces found themselves disadvantaged to the better trained, organized, and
equipped NKPA. Pushed back into the southeastern corner of the Korean peninsula, allied forces successfully defended the "Pusan
Perimeter" from North Korean advances while strengthening their forces through more equipment and increased manpower.
Republic of Korea (Taehan Min’guk). Short Form: South Korea
(Han’guk, the term South Koreans use to refer to their country). erm for Citizen(s): Korean(s) (Han’gugin). Capital: Seoul. ajor Cities: The largest cities are Seoul (11 million), Pusan (3.9 million), Taegu (2.5 million),
Inch’4n (2.4 million), Kwangju (1.4 million), and Taej4n (1.3 million). ndependence: August 15, 1945, from Japanese occupation; Republic
of Korea founded August 15, 1948. Public Holidays:
New Year’s Day (January 1), Lunar New Year (movable date in January or February), Independence Movement Day (March 1),
Arbor Day (April 5), Children’s Day (May 5), Birth of Buddha (movable date in April or May), Memorial Day (June 6),
Constitution Day (July 17), Independence Day (August 15), Ch’us4k (an autumnal harvest festival and day of thanksgiving,
movable date in September or October), National Foundation Day (October 3), and Christmas Day (December 25).
At the end of World War II Korea was
split in two. The North was Communist with a leader, Kim il Sung, who had been trained the USSR. The South was anti Communist
and its leader Syngman Rhee was backed by the USA. The two leaders detested each other. The hostility between the two states spilled into open warfare
in 1950. From the day when North Koreans attacked South Korea on June 25, 1950 to the day of the armistice on July 27, 1953,
At the end of the war, more than 3 million Koreans died while millions of refugees remained homeless and distraught. About 1 million Chinese died in the
war and American casualties numbered 54,246 people. The Korean War can be divided into three phases. • The first phase
began on June 25, 1950 and ended on the day United Nations (U.N) forces thrust into North Korea's territory. • The
second phase of the Korean War was essentially the Southern unit's attack and retreat from North Korea. • The last
phase of the war consisted of the "see-saw" fighting on the thirty-eighth parallel, stalemate, and negotiation talks.
On June 25, 1950 at 4 a.m., 70,000 North Korean troops crossed the thirty-eighth parallel. President Truman appealed to the
United Nations to take "police action" against the "unwarranted" attack. Hence, under the "name of
the United Nations", the United States was able to send troops and forces. On June 29, the North Korean Army, Korean
People's Army (KPA), pressed southward and captured Seoul. The U.N forces were on the defensive side until September 15
when the American forces, under the command of General MacArthur successfully landed on Inchon. The landing allowed the U.N
forces to break through the Pusan perimeter, to retake Seoul, and to cross the thirty-eighth parallel by September 30. By
the end of the first phase of the Korean war, 111,000 South Koreans died and 57,000 were missing. In the second phase of the
Korean War, KPA forces were in retreat. In two days, the Southern forces were approximately 25 miles north of the parallel.
Thereafter, they marched toward the Yalu River with almost no resistance from the Northern units. The unexpected decision
of China's entry into the war in early October turned the tide of the war. The Northern units, consisting of Sino-Korean
troops, sent the U.N forces retreating again. On December 6, the Communist forces retook Pyongyang. And by the end of December,
they re-crossed the parallel and retook Seoul. During the months of May and April of 1951, there was a sort of "see-saw"
fighting along the thirty-eighth parallel with neither units really advancing beyond the parallel. By summer of 1951, talks
for an armistice began. Throughout mid-1951 to 1953, negotiation for peace treaty stalled and reopened. A major issue that
stalled negotiations was whether POWs should be repatriated on voluntary basis or not.
On August 10, 1945, after the US dropped
atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan offered surrender in World War II. Soviet troops, part of the Allied forces,
immediately began pouring into Korea. The US was appalled, and moved quickly to prevent all of Korea from becoming a Soviet
satellite state. Dean Rusk, then a Colonel in the army, selected the 38th Parallel as the line that would divide the American-
controlled sector from the Soviet-controlled sector. General Douglas MacArthur announced the division of the Korea into two
occupation zones in "General Order Number One", which Stalin accepted. The US took control of South Korea, while
the USSR controlled North Korea.
As US and USSR forces moved in, a coalition of Korean nationalists formed the Korean People's
Republic (KPR) as an interim government. Over time, the KPR became increasingly communist, and, through a policy of encouraging
peasant seizure of Japanese property, extremely popular. The Soviet recognized the KPR, while the US did not. Kim Il-Sung,
a Korean guerrilla leader from the 1930s, emerged as the leader of the pro-Soviet KPR in North Korea.
In the south, Lt.-General
John Reed Hodge, who had commanded XXIV Corps at Okinawa during World War II, oversaw the occupation of South Korea. Under
Hodge, the American Military Government (AMG) became increasingly conservative. The AMG spokesperson was Syngman Rhee, a Korean
nationalist just recently returned from a 33-year exile imposed by the Japanese. When, in 1946, Hodge decided to allow a free
market in South Korea, speculators hoarded the rice, leading to high prices and famine. During this crisis, Hodge gave Rhee
totalitarian powers. By September 1947, realizing that Korea was a political and social morass, Congress and the Joint Chiefs
of Staff were suggesting the US should get out of Korea. To save face, the US turned the problem over to the UN, which proposed
Korea-wide elections for March 31, 1948. Rhee's gangs and police helped rig the election and coerce people. Despite Communist
protests, Rhee's party won in the south, and called itself the Republic of Korea. In Communist elections in the North,
Kim Il-Sung won; immediately following his election, the North, rich in hydroelectric power sources, cut off power to the
At the end of World War II, the US was
not ready for occupation of Korea. It had no Korean language officers, and no Korea experts. When he arrived in south Korea,
Lt.-General Hodge was forced to leave most of the Japanese bureaucracy in place because he had no one to replace them with.
Ironically enough, at this early conflict in the escalating cold war, politeness ruled the day: the US asked the Soviets to
stop at the 38th Parallel, and they did. Surprised by the Soviet acquiescence, American policymakers failed to realize that
the USSR probably didn't want or care for more than the North, which was rich in minerals, hydroelectric power, and warm-water
ports. Regardless, in 1945, the 38th Parallel was intended only as a temporary dividing line, not the permanent boundary it
The KPR, initially meant to be an interim government based in Pyongyang, developed into North Korea's
government through fair elections. In American- controlled South Korea, the KPR government was not acknowledged. Thus, ironically,
the Soviets allowed the Koreans to determine the future of their own state while the Americans did not grant the South Koreans
the same freedom to choose a government. Kim Il-sung did create a police state in North Korea, but almost all North Koreans
vastly preferred his government to one run by Japanese Koreans.
Also ironically, Syngman Rhee's regime in South
Korea, accepted and supported by the US for its anti-communist bent, was no less repressive than Kim Il-sung's government.
Far from a simple American puppet, the 77-year old Rhee became a diplomatic liability, for he was incredibly obsessed with
conquering North Korea and unifying Korea under his leadership. In the example of Rhee's government can be seen the formulation
of American strategic thought through much of the Cold War; the US saw communism as such a menace, that it was willing to
overlook the fact that it was supporting non-democratic governments in its attempt to stop communist's spread.
It is also important to note the arbitrary division nature of division at the 38th Parallel. Not only did that line have
no historical or cultural significance, it also led to economic difficulties: the North needed rice, available only in the
South, and the South needed Northern manufactures. Separating the two economies, which had been linked under Japanese rule,
lead to some discomfort.
From the events described above, it is hard to immediately see why the United States would
come to the Southern Republic of Korea's rescue when the Communists invaded in 1950. Much of the rationale for the US
action, however, can be traced back to memories of "appeasement", the policy by which Britain and the United States
allowed Nazi Germany to expand in Europe. Not wanting to make the same mistake twice, the US was now ready to go to war over
any aggression by the USSR. It wasn't so much that Korea was strategically significant, it was simply that the US had
to fight back as a symbol of American opposition to Communist aggression anywhere.
The arrival of the Canadians
coincided with the second general United Nations advance toward the 38th Parallel. In this new offensive the 27th British
Commonwealth Brigade was to advance northeast to its final objective the high ground northwest of Hoengsong.
the brigade lead with British Argylls, the Patricias, on February 21, began to advance up the valley north from the village
of Sangsok. Rain, mixed with snow, made progress treacherous, but fortunately enemy opposition was light. "D" Company
made the first contact with the enemy when its leading elements came under fire from the high ground to the northeast.
Photo of Canadians preparing machine-gun In the days that followed progress became more difficult. Hills ranging from
250 to 425 metres, rose on either side; hill positions had to be dug through deep snow; the weather was bitterly cold and
enemy resistance increased. On February 22, "C" Company sustained the battalion's first battle casualties when
four soldiers were killed and one wounded in an attack on Hill 444. The other Commonwealth troops encountered similar difficulties.
Yet, by the first of March, the brigade had advanced 25 kilometres over difficult country against a stubborn rearguard action.
On March 7 the advance was resumed. The objectives were Hills 410, assigned to the Australians, and 532, assigned
to the 2nd PPCLI . The valleys now ran east and west cutting across the axis of advance and provided the enemy with a natural
line of defence. At first resistance was heavy from the enemy who was well dug in and camouflaged. The attack slowed down
to a series of stubbornly fought section battles. Then, suddenly, the enemy withdrew.
In the next several days it became apparent that
the Chinese were withdrawing all across the front. On March 15 Seoul was liberated by the 1st Republic of Korea (ROK) Division.
Following a retreating enemy, the 24th US Infantry Division advanced toward the 38th Parallel west of the Kapyong River, while
the Commonwealth Brigade proceeded up the Chojong valley to its first objective, a massive hill called 1036, on the Benton
line. By March 31, this objective was reached and the brigade was moved east to the valley of the Kapyong River. On April
8, the Patricias successfully attacked objectives across the 38th Parallel.
Meanwhile, the question of crossing the 38th Parallel was being heatedly debated on
both the military and political levels. Two courses of action were open to the United Nations forces. The first was to press
for complete military victory. This would require additional forces and the extension of the conflict beyond the Korean borders
into Manchuria. The alternative was military stabilization combined with UN negotiations to end the conflict. General MacArthur
pressed for an all-out effort to achieve victory even at the risk of open war with Communist China, and publicly expressed
his dissatisfaction with the UN and the Truman administration which favoured negotiation. On April 11, 1951, he was relieved
of his command and replaced by Lieutenant-General Matthew B. Ridgway.
General MacArthur's dismissal did not mean an immediate reversal of tactics. The
advance which had begun in February continued. By mid-April almost the entire UN front lay north of the 38th Parallel.
From the very early stages of the war,
the United Nations forces enjoyed complete supremacy in the air over the battlefield. The North Korean air force was destroyed
during the summer of 1950, and the entry of Chinese forces into the war in November of the same year did not reverse the situation.
Their short-range Russian-built planes required airfields in Korea and these were successfully destroyed by US bombers. UN
heavy bombers struck as far north as the Yalu River, the boundary with Manchuria, and inflicted heavy casualties and damage
on airfields, bridges, railways and tunnels. The fighters hammered the enemy's forward positions and forced him to move
supplies and troops at night, while air reconnaissance aided UN ground troops in their operations. The Canadians contribution to the air effort began in the early stages of the war when No. 426 Transport
Squadron, RCAF, was attached to the US Military Air Transport Service. By June 1954, when this assignment ended, this unit
had flown 600 round trips over the Pacific, carrying more than 13,000 passengers and 3,000,000 kilograms of freight and mail
without loss.Twenty-two RCAF
fighter pilots and a number of technical officers served with the US Fifth Air Force. The Canadians were credited with 20
enemy jet fighters destroyed or damaged, as well as the destruction of several enemy trains and trucks.
The fact that Korea is a peninsula offered unusual scope
for naval support. In providing that support a total of eight ships of the Royal Canadian Navy joined their United Nations
and Republic of Korea navy colleagues performing a great variety of tasks. They maintained a continuous blockade of the enemy
coast, prevented amphibious landings by the enemy, screened carriers from the threat of submarine and aerial attack, and supported
the United Nations land forces by bombardment of enemy-held coastal areas. In addition, they protected the friendly islands
and brought aid and comfort to the sick and needy of South Korea's isolated fishing villages.The destruction of the North
Korea air force and her small gun-boat navy in the early stages of the war virtually eliminated the danger of enemy attacks
on United Nations' ships. There remained, however, the danger of enemy mines and gun-fire from shore batteries as well
as the hazards contributed by the geography and climate of the area. On July 5, 1950, only 11 days after the outbreak of hostilities,
HMC Ships Cayuga, Athabaskan and Sioux sailed out of Esquimalt under the command of Captain J.V. Brock. On July 30, local
time, the three Canadian destroyers entered Sasebo Harbour, Japan, ready to join in the battle for the Pusan bridgehead in
Korea. Before the end of the war in 1953, five other Canadian ships would also serve with the Canadian Destroyer Division,
Far East, in the Korean campaign – HMC Ships Nootka, Iroquois, Huron, Haida and Crusader. Since the Canadian naval force
in Korea consisted of destroyers only, it was usually necessary to operate them as separate units. It was not often, therefore,
that the Canadian ships served side by side in Korean waters. They were assigned primarily to the British command on the west
coast blockade, but also took their turns serving in east coast operations. Upon arrival the Canadian destroyers were employed
in escort and patrol duties – the most urgent immediate need being the rapid movement of troops to the besieged Pusan
bridgehead. In August they moved to the west coast of Korea where they also took part in the bombardment of enemy positions
and assisted South Korean troop landings on North Korean islands. All three ships operated together for the first time in
September 1950 in support of the Inchon landings. The Canadians, assisted by a few light South Korean vessels, formed a task
group assigned to protect a flank of the invasion force. These duties were carried out without encountering any enemy opposition.
Britain enters the War
The North Korean Peoples’
Army invaded South Korea in June 1950 and made rapid progress, occupying Seoul within days. The US government regarded the
invasion as a threat to its national interests and, with British support, appealed to the United Nations (UN) Security Council.
North Korea was declared the aggressor. At this time the USSR was boycotting the Security Council of the UN and Western Allies
commanded a majority on the Council. In June a largely American UN force arrived in Korea and the British government deployed
the Far East Fleet in support.
Within the Labour Party support for the war was controversial as it was not an immediate threat to
Britain’s interests. In contrast, the American leadership cast the war as part of a wider struggle against communism
in the east and deployed its Seventh Fleet to prevent a possible Chinese invasion of Formosa (Taiwan). Although Britain had
already imposed economic sanctions against North Korea, the US requested that Britain extend sanctions against China.
The Labour government
was anxious 'not to offer an affront’ to communist China, fearing a possible threat to Hong Kong, and decided against
imposing sanctions. In that period Britain was also committed to defending the government in Malaya against an insurgency
and had promised the French government assistance in Vietnam. Given the general view that Britain should not overstretch her
already scarce resources in the East, on 6 July Cabinet decided against sending further military forces to Korea. The decision
was reversed on 25 July, however, when Foreign Office concerns about the affront to the US and fears about Britain’s
position in the Cold War overcame Cabinet doubts. British forces arrive
On 29 August 1950 the first British ground force, 27 Brigade, arrived in Korea to defend the Pusan
perimeter. The British troops of 27 Brigade were joined by 3rd Battalion and the Royal Australian Regiment - and the Brigade
was renamed 27 Commonwealth Brigade. Meanwhile, Royal Navy ships were engaged in the counter-offensive that started with The
Inchon landing, and the amphibious raids mounted by the Royal Marine Commandoes.
On 16 September in the south 27 Commonwealth
Brigade were involved in the breakout from the Pusan perimeter, and by the end of October they were advancing through North
Korea as the UN forces surged northwards. In November 1950, at the same time that the second and much stronger British force
arrived, the Chinese launched an attack on UN forces moving up along the Yalu River to the border of North Korea and China.
In the west the
Americans fell back towards 27 Commonwealth Brigade while UN units within the 8th Army fell back to the Chongchon River. Quickly
defeated by Chinese forces, the 8th Army was forced to retreat and by 5 December was back on the 38th parallel of latitude.
By January 1951 27 Commonwealth Brigade and 29 Brigade were defending the approaches to and from Seoul. After inflicting a
sharp defeat on the advancing Chinese, both brigades were withdrawn and Seoul was abandoned. After months of heavy fighting
UN forces checked the Chinese advance, pushing them back beyond the Han River to recapture Seoul.
The division of Korea into two parts
dates from the end of World War II. Prior to that time, since around 1910, it had been a colony of Japan, though the Korean
people continually worked to regain their freedom. Their dream finally came within reach when the Allied powers of World War
II pledged independence -- though they failed to specify the details effecting the establishment of a government.
When Japan surrendered,
the Allies ordered Japanese commanders in Korea north of the 38th parallel to surrender to Russian forces, and south of the
parallel to surrender to United States forces. The division was supposed to be temporary, until a national election could
be held. The United Nations established a commission to oversee an election in 1948, but the Soviet Union refused to allow
participation in the north. Instead, the North Korean Communist Party elected Kim Il-Sung, who had spent several years in
exile in Moscow, as its leader. The south elected Syngman Rhee, who had spent years in exile with the Korean provisional government
in Shanghai, as speaker of the National Assembly.
At the same time, the Soviet government proposed an end to foreign troops on the Korean peninsula
in 1948. The United States agreed, but it was another year before it had its troops out. In withdrawing, it promised to help
build up South Korea's army, but its first grant of aid was scheduled for 1950. In the meantime, troops dug in on both
sides of the 38th parallel and regularly traded shots.
The North Korean army crossed the 38th parallel on the night of June 24-25, 1950. In the first few
hours, South Korean sentries believed that it was another minor border skirmish, but they soon realized that a full scale
invasion was underway. The light arms with which they were equipped were no match for the Soviet-made tanks and artillery
of the North Koreans. Within four days the Communists captured Seoul. Within another month, the remnant of the South Korean
army and the arriving United Nations troops were contained within a small area in southeast Korea around the city of Pusan.
As they grew
in strength, the Allied troops along the Pusan perimeter began gaining ground, but with the luxury of being able to concentrate
all of their effort against a small area, the Communists came dangerously close to forcing the Allies off the peninsula altogether.
General Douglas MacArthur, Commander in Chief of the United Nations Forces, decided to open up a second front, one that would
force Kim Il-Sung to split his resources and at the same time hit the army around Pusan at a weak spot. He chose to invade
at Inchon, a small city on the west coast of South Korea. The invasion was scheduled for September 15, when the tides would
be high enough to carry landing craft across the harbor's mud flats. Despite being informed of the invasion, Kim Il-Sung
did not reinforce the city and it fell quickly with little loss to the Allies.
The Korean War was the first war in
which jet aircraft played a central role. Once-formidable fighters such as the P-51 Mustang, F4U Corsair, and Hawker Sea Fury
all piston-engined, propeller-driven, and designed during World War II—relinquished their air superiority roles to a
new generation of faster, jet-powered fighters arriving in the theater. For the initial months of the war, the P-80 Shooting
Star, F9F Panther, and other jets under the UN flag dominated North Korea's prop-driven air force of Soviet Yakovlev Yak-9
and Lavochkin La-9s. The balance would shift, however, with the arrival of the swept wing Soviet MiG-15 Fagot.
Chinese intervention in late October 1950 bolstered the Korean People's Air Force (KPAF) of North Korea with the MiG-15
Fagot, one of the world's most advanced jet fighters. The fast, heavily armed MiG outflew first-generation UN jets such
as the American F-80 and Australian and British Gloster Meteors, posing a real threat to B-29 Superfortress bombers even under
fighter escort. Soviet Air Force pilots flew missions for the North to learn the West's aerial combat techniques.
This direct Soviet participation is a casus belli that the UN Command deliberately overlooked, lest the war for the Korean
peninsula expand, as the US initially feared, to include three communist countries—North Korea, the Soviet Union, and
China—and so escalate to atomic warfare.
The United States Air Force (USAF) moved quickly to counter the
MiG-15, with three squadrons of its most capable fighter, the F-86 Sabre, arriving in December 1950. Although the MiG's
higher service ceiling—50,000 feet (15,000 m) vs. 42,000 feet (13,000 m)—could be advantageous at the start of
a dogfight, in level flight, both swept wing designs attained comparable maximum speeds of around 660 mph (1,100 km/h). The
MiG climbed faster, but the Sabre turned and dove better. The MiG was armed with one 37 mm and two 23 mm cannons, while the
Sabre carried six .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns aimed with radar-ranged gunsights.
By early 1951, the battle
lines were established and changed little until 1953. In summer and autumn 1951, the outnumbered Sabres of the USAF's
4th Fighter Interceptor Wing—only 44 at one point—continued seeking battle in MiG Alley, where the Yalu River
marks the Chinese border, against Chinese and North Korean air forces capable of deploying some 500 aircraft. Following Colonel
Harrison Thyng's communication with the Pentagon, the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing finally reinforced the beleaguered
4th Wing in December 1951; for the next year-and-a-half stretch of the war, aerial warfare continued.
ceasefire stopped the fighting on July 27, 1953. There was an armistice signed by North Korea, China and the UN but not South
Korea. Korea is still split into North Korea, which is communist, and South Korea which is non-communist. The border, protected
by a demilitarized zone, was established along the 38th parallel. Before the armistice, talks had gone on for nearly 2 years.
Eisenhower had promised that if he was elected in the election of 1952, he would go to Korea and end the war. There was no
simple way to end the conflict. Talks had collapsed in October 1952. In 1953, the US threatened to bomb China, but eventually
a ceasefire was declared between UN forces and Korean/Chinese forces.
The "De-Militarized Zone" which designates the border between North and South Korea
has remained one of the most heavily-armed stretches of land on Earth. The stability of the region is threatened by the development
of nuclear weapons by North Korea.
In Tokyo, General Douglas MacArthur, commander of the
U.S. forces in the Pacific, wanted Washington to give more importance to developments in Asia. He saw communism as more of
a threat in Asia than it was in Europe. And in March, 1949, seven months before Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic
of China, MacArthur described the U.S. defense parameter in the Far East as starting in the Philippines, running through Okinawa
and the other Ryukyu islands to Japan and then to the Aleutian Islands and Alaska. MacArthur had left China and Korea -- the
Asian continent -- outside this perimeter. From the New York Times, March 2, 1949. Quoted by Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy, p
475, Simon & Schuster 1994. The U.S. was training and supplying South Korea's military. But Washington did not want
the South making trouble by invading the North. In order to prevent this, it kept South Korea's military capacity limited
while leaving Syngman Rhee's government with enough military strength to combat the leftist guerrillas fighting his government.
The Truman administration was eager to pull its troops out of Korea, to give the Republic of Korea an aura of independence.
The Russians in late 1948 had announced that they had pulled their troops out of North Korea, and, on June 29, U.S. military
units withdrew from Korea, leaving behind an advisory group of about 500 Americans.Kim Il Sung, North Korea's leader journeyed
to Moscow to meet with Stalin and requested aid so he could unite Korea by force. Stalin asked him some blunt questions. Kim
replied that he was confident that he could defeat the forces of South Korea. But Stalin advised against it -- in keeping
with his preferring to avoid provoking the West. He told Kim that it was important that the 38th parallel remain peaceful.Truman's
secretary of state after his 1948 election victory was Dean Acheson, an anti-Communist who also believed in patience. Communists
acquired power in China in December 1949, and Acheson said it was something that Americans would need to accept for at least
awhile. He said that people should learn to live with evil and observed that it had been around since the fall of Adam and
On January 12, 1950, at a National Press Club briefing, Secretary of State Acheson spoke of American interests
in the Far East and described a defense parameter that was similar to MacArthur's. Acheson said nothing about defending
South Korea from an attack by North Korea, but he believed this was needed no more that he had to mention New Zealand or Australia
in the U.S. defense parameter.
Democratic People’s Republic of
Chos4n Minjujußi Inmin Konghwaguk). hort Form: North Korea (Chos4n).
Term for Citizen(s): North Korean(s) (Chos4n Inmin). apital: P’y4ngyang. ajor Cities: The largest city is P’y4ngyang, with a reported 3.3 million inhabitants in 2005.
According to the 1993 census, others, based on population size, are Namp’o, Hamhßng, Ch’4ngjin, Kaes4ng,
Sinßiju, and W4nsan (all with populations of more than 300,000). ndependence: August 15, 1945, from Japan; Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea founded September 9, 1948. ational Public Holidays: New Year’s Day (January 1), Kim Jong Il’s Birthday (February
16–17), International Women’s Day (March 8), Day of the Sun (Kim Il Sung’s Birthday, April 15–16),
Army Day (April 25), International Workers’ Day (May 1), Fatherland Liberation War Victory Day (July 27), National Liberation
Day (August 15), Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Founding Day (September 9), Korean Workers’ Party Founding
Day (October 10), and Constitution Day (December 27). Also celebrated are Lunar New Year’s Day (variable date in January
or February), Surinal (spring festival, variable date in April or May, formerly called Tano or Dano), and Han’gawi (autumn
festival, September 28–30, formerly called Ch’us4k).
conflict between Communist and non-Communist
forces in Korea from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided at the 38th parallel into
Soviet (North Korean) and U.S. (South Korean) zones of occupation. In 1948 rival governments were established: The Republic
of Korea was proclaimed in the South and the People's Democratic Republic of Korea in the North.
Relations between them
became increasingly strained, and on June 25, 1950, North Korean forces invaded South Korea. The United Nations quickly condemned
the invasion as an act of aggression, demanded the withdrawal of North Korean troops from the South, and called upon its members
to aid South Korea. On June 27, U.S. President Truman authorized the use of American land, sea, and air forces in Korea; a
week later, the United Nations placed the forces of 15 other member nations under U.S. command, and Truman appointed Gen.
Douglas MacArthur supreme commander.
In the first weeks of the conflict the North Korean forces met little resistance and advanced rapidly.
By Sept. 10 they had driven the South Korean army and a small American force to the Busan (Pusan) area at the southeast tip
of Korea. A counteroffensive began on Sept. 15, when UN forces made a daring landing at Incheon (Inchon) on the west coast.
North Korean forces fell back and MacArthur received orders to pursue them into North Korea.
On Oct. 19, the North Korean capital of Pyongyang
was captured; by Nov. 24, North Korean forces were driven by the 8th Army, under Gen. Walton Walker, and the X Corp, under
Gen. Edward Almond, almost to the Yalu River, which marked the border of Communist China. As MacArthur prepared for a final
offensive, the Chinese Communists joined with the North Koreans to launch (Nov. 26) a successful counterattack. The UN troops
were forced back, and in Jan., 1951, the Communists again advanced into the South, recapturing Seoul, the South Korean capital.
of heavy fighting, the center of the conflict was returned to the 38th parallel, where it remained for the rest of the war.
MacArthur, however, wished to mount another invasion of North Korea. When MacArthur persisted in publicly criticizing U.S.
policy, Truman, on the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff removed (Apr. 10, 1951) him from command and installed
Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway as commander in chief. Gen. James Van Fleet then took command of the 8th Army. Ridgway began (July
10, 1951) truce negotiations with the North Koreans and Chinese, while small unit actions, bitter but indecisive, continued.
Gen. Van Fleet was denied permission to go on the offensive and end the “meat grinder” war.
The war's unpopularity
played an important role in the presidential victory of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had pledged to go to Korea to end the war.
Negotiations broke down four different times, but after much difficulty and nuclear threats by Eisenhower, an armistice agreement
was signed (July 27, 1953). Casualties in the war were heavy. U.S. losses were placed at over 54,000 dead and 103,000 wounded,
while Chinese and Korean casualties were each at least 10 times as high. Korean forces on both sides executed many alleged
civilian enemy sympathizers, especially in the early months of the war.
The USA learnt that there were risks
associated with the policy of containment. Over one million people died in the war and what started out as confrontation with
North Korea quickly got out of hand when China, the country with the worlds largest army, became involved. America underestimated the Chinese.
American troops ignored Chinese warnings and got too close to the Chinese boarder. In October 1950 200,000 Chinese troops
joined the North Koreans. These troops had been taught to hate the Americans and were prepared to die for Communism. They
also had modern weapons supplied by the USSR. If America wanted to confront Communism she had to be careful. The American
General in charge in Korea, Douglas MacArthur, was sacked by President Truman because he not only wanted to free South Korea
but he wanted to remove the communists from North Korea and then carry the war on into China! He even asked for permission
to use nuclear weapons, which was refused as this could easily have sparked a world war. Even though America was by far the
most powerful country in the world there were limits to its power. Containment was a policy that had its limitations. It was
one thing to try and contain the spread of communism but when America attempted to go further and expel the Communists out
of North Korea it was simply not prepared for the escalation that followed.
By the late 1940s, the Cold War was
heating up. In the summer of 1947, at Harvard commencement, General George C. Marshall announced the Marshall Plan for the
economic recovery of West Germany. Germany and Berlin had already been split in two, occupied by American and Soviet forces,
and more generally the US and USSR were contesting the political future of Europe, communist versus anti-communist. But after
the Berlin Blockade and the formation of NATO, the Soviets began to look outside of Europe for places to expand. By 1949,
the confrontation between the US and USSR escalated to another level: the Soviets had achieved the A-Bomb, setting off the
arms race. Meanwhile, the United States was gearing up for even more adamant opposition of the Soviets based on the reasoning
of NSC- 68, which portrayed communism as a monolithic, evil, and calculating enemy, and called for a huge American military
October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong, having defeated Chiang Kai-Shek's nationalist forces, proclaimed the communist People's
Republic of China (PRC). The news sent shock waves through the minds of American leaders. In an effort to make the PRC think
of the US as a possible ally, the US abandoned Chang Kai-Shek and the Chinese nationalists on Formosa (now Taiwan). In a speech
to the National Press Club, Dean Acheson, secretary of state for Truman, gave a speech on Asia, in which he mentioned that
South Korea was not all that important to US security. According to his speech, keeping Japan anti-Communist was the most
important part of America's Asian defense perimeter.
Strike Fighter Squadron EIGHT SIX traces
its origins to Fighter Squadron 921, based at Naval Air Station St. Louis, Missouri, during the Korean War in February 1951.
In February 1953, the squadron was re-designated VF-84 while deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, aboard USS ANTIETAM (CV 36).
In July 1955, the squadron was re-designated VA-86 Sidewinders. From 1955 to 1987, Sidewinders flew the F4-U “Corsair,” F8F-2 “Bearcat,”
F9F-5 “Panther,” F7U-3M “Cutlass,” also known as the “Ensign Eater,” A4D-1 “Skyhawk”
and A-7A/C/E “Corsair.” During these transitions, Sidewinders made numerous deployments to the Mediterranean and
Caribbean Seas, the North Atlantic, the Western Pacific and the Indian Oceans in various aircraft carriers, including USS
ANTIETAM (CV 36), USS BENNINGTON (CV 20), USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN (CV 39), USS FORRESTAL (CV 59), USS RANDOLPH (CV 15), USS INDEPENDENCE
(CV 62), USS INTREPID (CV 11), USS LEXINGTON (CV 16), USS AMERICA (CV 66), USS CORAL SEA (CV 43), and USS NIMITZ (CVN 68).
1969 Sidewinders made an emergency sortie aboard AMERICA for a ten month combat deployment to Southeast Asia. The squadron
was once again on “Yankee Station” in the Tonkin Gulf when the Paris Peace Accords were signed and our Prisoners
of War finally returned home. This was the squadron’s fourth combat deployment to Southeast Asia, more than any other
East Coast attack squadron. During that deployment, Sidewinders participated in the most intense air combat encountered throughout
their extensive Southeast Asian involvement, earning the Meritorious Unit Commendation. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, as a part of the NIMITZ
team, Sidewinders made numerous deployments to the Mediterranean and North Atlantic. Sidewinders were awarded the 1982 COMNAVAIRLANT
Battle "E," denoting the best A-7E squadron on the East Coast. Sidewinders were awarded the 1985 Admiral Wade McClusky
Award, signifying the best attack squadron in the Navy. In June of 1987, after a cameo appearance in the Hollywood film Final
Countdown, Sidewinders departed NIMITZ and transitioned to the FA-18C Hornet, re-designated Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA)
86. Deployed with the Navy’s premier strike fighter, in 1989 Sidewinders spent eight months with the Carrier Air Wing
ONE (CVW-1) “TARBOX” team aboard AMERICA. As the Cold War ended, the 1990s nevertheless brought threats to U.S. and allied interests throughout
the world. 1991 the Sidewinders took to the skies to liberate Kuwait during Operation DESERT STORM. Sidewinders delivered
over 1.2 million pounds of ordnance with zero combat losses. In late 1995, Sidewinders again faced combat, this time in Operation
DELIBERATE FORCE over the embattled former Yugoslavia. During that decade’s sustained Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, hundreds
of combat sorties and precision strikes were flown over Iraq, employing weapons against radar installations and anti-aircraft
artillery emplacements that violated United Nations Security Council resolutions. While proving their lethality in the 90s,
Sidewinders underscored their professionalism by taking home the CNO’s Safety “S” Award in 1995 and the
Battle “E” in 1998.
Fifty-two years ago, armed forces from
North Korea shattered the peace as they crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded South Korea. A 22-country force assembled to
face this Cold War challenge, and the majority of them were Americans. The brave men and women of this coalition fought courageously
to defend a population facing tyranny and aggression, and they succeeded in defeating the invading forces. During the Korean
War, approximately 1.8 million members of the United States Armed Forces fought in places such as Pork Chop Hill, Pusan Perimeter,
and the Chosin Reservoir. During the intense fighting, approximately 34,000 American lives were lost in combat; 92,000 were
wounded; and more than 8,000 listed as missing in action or taken prisoner. Their distinguished service reminds us of the
words engraved on the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington—‘‘Freedom Is Not Free.’’ As we face the challenges
of a new era and a new war, we look to America’s Korean War veterans for their example of dedication and sacrifice in
defending freedom. These men and women faced a formidable adversary and endured harsh and bitter conditions in upholding our
Nation’s heritage of
valor, tenacity, and honor during this important stand against Communist aggression. For their gallantry in action, 131 servicemen
earned our Nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor. More than 90 of them received the award posthumously.
Forty-nine years ago, the Military Armistice Agreement ended the fighting and stopped the spread of Communism in Korea. In
order to thank and honor veterans of the Korean War and their families, America will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the
Korean War through November 11, 2003. Today, as the Republic of Korea stands as a strong, democratic, and progressive nation,
we thank our Korean War veterans for serving our Nation and the world with courage and distinction. GEORGE W. BUSH
In Samuel Fuller's well-known 1951
film about the Korean War, The Steel Helmet, there is a scene in which an American GI asks his sergeant, 'How do you tell
a North Korean from a South Korean?' The sergeant replies, 'If he's running with you he's a South Korean.
If he's running after you he's a North Korean'.1 This exchange reflects the moral and physical paradoxes that
have made the Korean War the so-called' forgotten war'.2 Unlike the Second World War with its clear-cut enemies and
its moral crusade for decisive victory, Korea seemed confusing and indecisive. The conflict was partly a civil war; partly
an East-West ideological struggle; partly a United Nations police action; and partly an inter-state conventional war. Korea was probably
the most important transitional conflict of the twentieth century. It was both an epilogue to the post-Second World War era
and a prologue to the new age of the Cold War, and as such the conflict reflected both old and new. For instance, the actual
fighting in Korea seemed to recall not only the Second World War but also the First World War. Soldiers were confronted by
stark terrain and by a stalemate that recalled the trench conditions of the Western Front in 1916. In its early stages, the
war seemed to be an extension of the Second World War—symbolised by the fact that the United Nations (UN) forces were
led by one of the titans of twentieth century warfare—Douglas MacArthur. Yet MacArthur's doctrine of 'there
is no substitute for victory' was rendered obsolete by new Cold War restraints on the use of military force. The Korean
War was the birthplace of the doctrine of limited war and was fought against a background of atomic weapons, new jet aircraft
and new psychological warfare techniques.3 MacArthur's dismissal in 1951 became a metaphor for Korea's character as a war without great
heroes—a confusing, limited, difficult and seemingly thankless conflict. The war failed to capture the Western imagination:
there was, for America, no Sergeant York and no Audie Murphy and, for Australia, no Albert Jacka and no Diver Derrick. Films
often serve to register a war in the popular imagination: whereas the Second World War produced Sands of Iwo Jima, a reverential
salute to the Second World War in the Pacific, Korea produced the grim and harrowing Pork Chop Hill, a movie about the futility
of combat in Korea.4 By 1951 the future seemed to belong not to flamboyant Caesars like MacArthur but to more prosaic military technicians
such as Matthew B Ridgway. Such military technicians had to learn to wage limited war in which there would be no vanquished
and no victors. In April 1951, at his first press conference, the new commander of the US Eighth Army, General James Van Fleet,
was asked by an American correspondent: 'General what is our goal in Korea?' Van Fleet replied, 'I don't know.
The answer must come from higher authority'.5 It was an answer MacArthur would never have given. In this way, in Korea,
the realities of a new age came to outweigh the values of an old era.
The Korean War was overwhelmingly a
land war with the US deploying six army divisions and one marine division. Despite the application of overwhelming air power
and apart from the amphibious landing at Inchon, the most decisive events of the war were land actions. The latter included
the initial North Korean invasion; the battles of the Pusan Perimeter and the Chongchon River in 1950; and the various allied
and communist offensives and counter-offensives during 1951; and the static war of 1952-53. This is not to deny the important role played by
air power in the Korean War. UN aircraft were used to pound North Korea to disrupt logistics and movement and undoubtedly
weakened the communist war effort. However, aerial interdiction alone was insufficient to contain the huge communist armies.
The war in Korea proved what the Russian air theorist, Alexander de Seversky, had foretold in 1942, namely that, 'total
war from the air against an undeveloped country or region is well nigh futile; it is one of the curious features of [air war]
that it is especially effective [only] against the most modern types of civilisation'.In Korea, UN troops were still needed
to restore the status quo ante on the 38th parallel. After 1951, General Ridgway's strategy was one of firepower attrition.
He sought to stabilise the UN military line by using continuous tactical pressure and occasional set-piece battles in order
to try to force the communists into negotiation. It was against this strategic background that Australian troops were committed to Korea in July 1950
in the form of the third battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR), consisting of 39 officers and 971 other ranks.
The battalion, brought up to strength by members of the first and second battalions of the regiment (1 and 2 RAR) and by special
enlistment volunteers, arrived in September 1950 during the UN drive into North Korea. It is only possible here to provide
a snapshot of operations in Korea to convey the flavour of the war. The Australians were attached to the 27th Commonwealth
Infantry Brigade (and later the British 28th Brigade) and saw action at Yongchu (the battle of the Apple Orchard) and at Chongju
in October 1950 and then at Pakchon in November in the wake of the great Chongchon encirclement battle launched by the Chinese—an
action that sent MacArthur's forces into headlong retreat from the Yalu River.
On 27 June 1950, two days after the KPA invaded and three months
before the Chinese entered the war, President Truman dispatched the United States Seventh Fleet to the Taiwan Strait, to protect
the Nationalist Republic of China (Taiwan) from the People's Republic of China (PRC). On 4 August 1950, with the PRC invasion
of Taiwan aborted, Mao Zedong reported to the Politburo that he would intervene in Korea when the People's Liberation
Army's (PLA) Taiwan invasion force was reorganized into the PLA North East Frontier Force.
On 20 August 1950, Premier Zhou Enlai informed the United Nations
that "Korea is China's neighbor ... The Chinese people cannot but be concerned about a solution of the Korean question".
Thus, via neutral-country diplomats, China warned that in safeguarding Chinese national security, they would intervene against
the UN Command in Korea. President Truman interpreted the communication as "a bald attempt to blackmail the UN",
and dismissed it. The Politburo authorized Chinese intervention in Korea on 2 October 1950, the day after the ROK Army crossed
the 38th parallel. Later, the Chinese claimed that US bombers had violated PRC national airspace while en route to bomb North
Korea, before China intervened.
September, in Moscow, PRC Premier Zhou Enlai added diplomatic and personal force to Mao's cables to Stalin, requesting
military assistance and materiel. Stalin delayed; Mao rescheduled launching the war from the 13th to the 19th of October 1950.
The USSR limited their assistance to air support north of the Yalu River. Mao did not find this especially useful as the fighting
was going to take place on the south side of the river. Soviet shipments of materiel were limited to small quantities of trucks,
grenades, machine guns, and the like.
On 8 October 1950, Mao Zedong redesignated the PLA North East Frontier Force as the Chinese People's
Volunteer Army (PVA), who were to fight the "War to Resist America and Aid Korea" under the command of Marshal Peng
Dehuai. Artillerymen manning
a 105 mm howitzer, Uirson, Korea, August 1950
UN aerial reconnaissance had difficulty sighting PVA units in daytime, because their march and
bivouac discipline minimized aerial detection.:102 The PVA marched "dark-to-dark" (19:00–03:00), and aerial
camouflage (concealing soldiers, pack animals, and equipment) was deployed by 05:30. Meanwhile, daylight advance parties scouted
for the next bivouac site. During daylight activity or marching, soldiers were to remain motionless if an aircraft appeared,
until it flew away; PVA officers might shoot security violators.Such battlefield discipline allowed a three-division army
to march the 286 miles (460 km) from An-tung, Manchuria to the combat zone in some 19 days. Another division night-marched
a circuitous mountain route, averaging 18 miles (29 km) daily for 18 days.Meanwhile, on 10 October 1950, the 89th Tank Battalion was attached to the
1st Cavalry Division, increasing the armor available for the Northern Offensive. On 15 October, after moderate KPA resistance,
the 7th Cavalry Regiment and Charlie Company, 70th Tank Battalion captured Namchonjam city. On 17 October, they flanked rightwards,
away from the principal road (to Pyongyang), to capture Hwangju. Two days later, the 1st Cavalry Division captured Pyongyang,
the capital city, on 19 October 1950.
On 15 October 1950, President Truman and General MacArthur met at Wake Island in the mid-Pacific
Ocean, for a meeting much publicized because of the General's discourteous refusal to meet the President in the US. To
President Truman, MacArthur speculated there was little risk of Chinese intervention to Korea; that the PRC's opportunity
for aiding the KPA had elapsed; that the PRC had some 300,000 soldiers in Manchuria, and some 100,000–125,000 soldiers
at the Yalu River; concluding that, although half of those forces might cross south, "if the Chinese tried to get down
to Pyongyang, there would be the greatest slaughter" without air force protection. Map of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir
After secretly crossing the Yalu River on 19 October, the PVA
13th Army Group launched the First Phase Offensive on 25 October, attacking the advancing UN forces near the Sino-Korean border.
After decimating the ROK II Corps at the Battle of Onjong, the first confrontation between Chinese and US military occurred
on 1 November 1950; deep in North Korea, thousands of soldiers from the PVA 39th Army encircled and attacked the US 8th Cavalry
Regiment with three-prong assaults—from the north, northwest, and west—and overran the defensive position flanks
in the Battle of Unsan The surprise assault forced the UN forces to retreat back to the Ch'ongch'on River, while the
Chinese unexpectedly disappeared in their mountain hideouts following their victory.
The UN Command, however, were unconvinced that the Chinese
had openly intervened due to the sudden Chinese withdrawal. On 24 November, the Home-by-Christmas Offensive was launched with
the US Eighth Army advancing in northwest Korea, while the US X Corps were attacking along the Korean east coast.
What a brute of a place to work
on and around, 355, the pits for both UN and Chinese forces. A long razor-back type mountain with no redeeming features whatever.
To climb it was back breaking, to dig into its rocky slopes the same. Living on it was akin to living on a lunar landscape,
pitted by craters from end to end and top to bottom. The conditions during the winter were abysmal, the freezing winds howling
around the slopes with nothing to break their force. Icy trenches at such a steep angle walking was a nightmare lest you broke
a limb. Typhoon season was pure hell, torrents of water pouring down the hillside and through the trenches like raging mountain
rivers. Bunkers flooded and often collapsing from the sheer amount of water in the soil. Fighting pits half full, bunkers
in even the best places would be knee deep or more. Clothing was saturated most of the time. The trenches were glue pots,
impossible to traverse without their helping ropes.
Summer saw the heat of an arid zone beating down 18 hours
a day. You panted like a dog much of the time, and working on the defense system sucked the last drop of moisture from your
thirsty body. Water was a problem again, there was seldom enough of it to drink and have a basic wash. Never enough to wash
your clothes, nor have a good scrub-up.
The Allies had declared in December, 1943, that
Korea was to become "free and independent," and it was agreed that the Soviet Union was to occupy northern Korea,
to the 38th parallel, and that the United States was to occupy the southern half of Korea -- to disarm the Japanese. That
the Koreans were capable of dealing with a defeated Japan by itself was not considered. The result was a divided Korea and
a center of world conflict. The Koreans had already organized a substantial resistance movement against Japanese rule. By
1945 they also had their own government in exile in China -- at Chongqing. As the day of Japan's surrender neared, Japan's
governor-general in Korea, Nobuyuki Abe, was looking forward to saving lives and property of the Japanese in Korea and looking
forward to an orderly withdrawal from Korea. He invited Korean leaders to meet with him to make this possible.Soviet troops
entered Korea on August 12. Three days later Japan surrendered, and the whole of Korea erupted in joyous celebration. Japanese
flags came down, and Korean flags went up. The Koreans expected their government to arrive from Chongqing shortly. They were
in contact with world news enough to expect the arrival of the Americans, who came on September 8, at Inchon, near the capital,
Seoul. And in a ceremony in Seoul on September 9, Japanese forces in Korea surrendered to the Americans, marking the end of
three and a half decades of Japanese rule in Korea. The northern zone, occupied by the Russians, was more heavily industrialized
than the southern zone, and, concerned with the devastation of their own homeland, the Russians were interested not only in
the north's machinery but also its coal. The Russians were taking machinery and whatever else they thought had belonged
to the Japanese, which the Koreans could have used. And Soviet troops were stealing what they could from the Koreans. Korea's
economy had been integrated with Japan, and with that relationship now broken, so too was its economy. The Russians made matters
worse by sealing their zone of occupation from the southern zone, halting coal deliveries to southern Korea, halting also
railway traffic, mail deliveries and the transfer of electrical power southward across the 38th parallel. Through the autumn,
the Russians refused to discuss their policies in Korea, and Soviet officers were surprised to learn of the American view
that some of the coal they now controlled in the north should be delivered to the south. The Russians wished to protect their
interests in northern Korea through a joint administration with the Koreans, and working under the Russians in their zone
was the Korean "Provisional People's Committee" dominated by Communists but also consisting also of liberal
democrats. At a conference in Moscow in December, the foreign ministers of the Soviet Union and Britain, and the U.S. Secretary
of State met and discussed a five-year trusteeship for Korea. Across Korea, enraged people demonstrated against any such foreign
intrusion. Communists in the northern zone were a part of the demonstrations. Then they shifted suddenly in support of the
trusteeship, the Russians having decided that for them recognition of a trusteeship would be beneficial. The Russians were
moving into North Korea people originally from Korea who had fled Japanese colonial rule -- some of them had been guerrilla
fighters against the Japanese. During their years in the Soviet Union they had absorbed the Soviet Union's version of
Communist ideology. In North Korea in February, 1946, a new governing body was created, called the People's Committee
for North Korea. Heading this body was Kim Il Sung, a young man in his thirties who had been a celebrated anti-Japanese guerrilla
and had spent considerable time in the Soviet Union. In May, talks between the Russians and the U.S. regarding Korea broke
down. The Americans continued to rule their zone directly -- a military government which refused to recognize the government
that had been in exile in Chunking. But they were allowing a profusion of political parties to flourish, including a Communist
party. Many Koreans from the north were now moving by night, avoiding main roads and traveling through forests and mountains,
with the few worldly possessions they were able to carry, crossing from the Soviet zone into the southern zone. President
Truman was no longer interested in a trusteeship for Korea. In early 1946 he was looking forward to turning Korea over to
the Koreans. In May, talks between the Russians and Washington regarding Korea's future broke down.
A document fundamental to the Truman Administrations
foreign policy was the National Security Council (NSC) 48/2, which focused on stopping Communist expansion by giving economic
and military aid to various countries: to the French in their fight against Ho Chi Minh, to the Philippines government in
its fight against the Huk guerrillas, and to the British in their fight against guerrillas in Malaya. There was in the document
no mention of U.S. military intervention anywhere, including defending Chiang's forces on Taiwan.
in Moscow and in North Korea apparently foresaw no quick move by Washington to send troops to defend the Republic of Korea.
Kim Il Sung was complaining to the Soviet Union that peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula was impossible. He was
encouraged by the communist victory in China and said that the Korean people want liberation and would not understand why
the opportunity to have it was missed. Stalin also was impressed by the victory of the communists in China and perhaps by
his possession of the atomic bomb, and he wanted more success for his side in the class war as compensation for failures in
Europe. On January 30, Stalin informed Kim Il Sung in a telegram that he was now willing to help Kim in his plan to unify
Korea. In the discussions with Kim that followed, Stalin suggested that in return for his support he would like a yearly minimum
of 25,000 tons of lead. He advised Kim to minimize risk, the cautious Stalin apparently believing that it was possible to
win a quick victory and present the world with a fait accompli. Mao and his associates concurred in this, Mao having told
Stalin that it was his opinion that the U.S. would not intervene in Korea. Mao had been looking forward to furthering his
advance against his enemy Chiang Kai-shek, now in Taiwan, which Mao saw as a part of China, and Mao believed that the U.S.
would not intervene there.
Korean War Memories
by Major General (USAF Retired) John W. Collens
was assigned to the 6166th Air Weather Flight of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 5th Air Force, PacAF from March to
October 1951 flying 75 combat missions in RB-26 aircraft. Our missions varied from weather/intelligence collection to pure
weather reconnaissance over hostile areas.
were flown westward over the Yellow Sea to the peninsula that juts out from China northeast of Tsingtao thence over international
waters close to shore down to near Shanghai. Those missions were two-fold: count shipping, deck cargo, etc headed up the coast
toward Port Arthur (Dairen) on the Gulf of Chihli, and gather weather data. These were daylight sorties flown at 1000 Ft MSL,
often as low as 300-500 feet above the ocean when entering an intense low pressure system (e.g.,edge of tropical storm).
Other daylight missions were flown well above the bombline into North
Korea. On one such mission we were either struck by flak or sustained structural failure of the plexiglas nose when in a dive
to check cloud bottoms. The navigator, positioned in the nose, sustained injuries. I had a small cut across the bridge of
my nose that only warranted a Band-Aid. That navigator (later, MajGen Ret Click Smith) became a pilot, attended test pilot
school at Edwards AFB, amassed over 13,000 flying hours, became a MAC wing commander, and retired as Director of Transportation,
On another daylight mission north of 40 degrees
latitude we were hit by flak and the radio operator was wounded. His crew position (aft of the bomb bay) could not be reached
in-flight. However, his injuries were not life threatening.
missions were also conducted to obtain weather conditions for pre-strike, early daylight missions by fighters and bombers.
One such mission took us overland up the East coast of North Korea close to Valdivostok, USSR where we were close enough to
see the rotating beacon of that city's airfield.
other nighttime missions we had a ringside perch to observe the ground fighting at Seoul as the allies fought to regain that
city. On several occasions we witnessed the effort of hardnose B-26s attacking road and railroad targets down below.
After Seoul was recaptured and 5th Air Force relocated, we also moved
the reconnaissance unit from Taegu to Seoul (Kimpo airfield).
tactical weather reconnaissance missions complemented that of the WB-29s flown by units of the Air Weather Service. Their
weather data gathering effort was more thorough than ours, whereas we covered the more hostile areas. In today's Air Force
both types of weather reconnaissance are more likely to be provided by on-orbit satellites as was the case in Vietnam and
I still recall that Korea had the most miserable
weather - Spring, Summer, Winter, of any place I was stationed. Life in the tents at Taegu and Kimpo was no picnic. Mess kit
eating environs and outhouse accommodations added to the misery of Kimpo.
My career varied widely: a B-17 pilot in WW II, shot down on 25th mission, pre-Korean War weather forecaster, tactical
reconnaissance pilot (RB-26, RF-80), C-141 pilot in Vietnam conflict, wing commander, Air Weather Service commander, MAC Chief
of Staff, Deputy Inspector General Hq USAF."
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