U.S. PLANNED TO A-BOMB N. KOREA IN 1950 WAR - Page 1
Nuclear Weapons And Aircraft Waited For Orders

INTRODUCTION:
In the past I was invited to speak and give a slide show covering the Korean War of 1950 to large groups of professional engineers. During one of my talks I briefly mentioned that the U.S. came dangerously close to dropping multiple A-Bombs on N. Korea during the 1950 war. After each one of my talks I always allowed questions. Several in the audience expressed surprise that the A-Bomb was even considered and most had never heard of our plan. No one knew how close we actually came to using it. I was surprised that it was basically unknown to most of our population. Not only was this war "the forgotten war" but one that most didn't know about, or maybe just didn't care about.

CONTROVERSY BETWEEN TRUMAN AND MacARTHUR
To set the stage for this story we will start with our finest General, Douglas MacArthur, who eventually took most of the blame. I find it ironical that the ideas that got him fired were also considered by President Truman and virtually all of our military brass. In this story I will attempt to stick with events and plans covering the proposed usage of the A-Bomb.

DOUGLAS MacARTHUR, 5 STAR GENERAL

MacARTHUR TAKES OVER
MacArthur was designated Commander in Chief Far East Command in 1947. Upon the North Korean invasion of South Korea he was designated Commander, UN Command in the Far East, July, 1950. He had arrived in Japan in 1945 and operated out of the top floor of the Dai Ichi building where he ruled the reconstruction of bombed out Japan, an almost impossible job.

Japanese crowds lined the streets to get a glimpse of him as he arrived at his office. Showing great humility, they were in awe of him since he arrived in 1945 as Viceroy. The Japanese press loved him, and life was good. He liked the preferential treatment and God like respect he received. It was inconceivable that another war was about to start in Korea, of all places. There had been skirmishes along the 38th parallel. MacArthur miscalculated the capability of another countries military. The Korean peninsular was divided, with a Russian-Allied communist government in the North, and a pro-Western government in the South. On June 24, 1950, the South was viciously attacked as North Korean armies swarmed across the dividing line. General MacArthur, in charge of the Allied occupation of Japan, assumed command of the United Nations troops.

U.S. ENTERS WAR WITH NORTH KOREA
The U.S. became embroiled in a war we did not want, and a war for which we were not prepared. General MacArthur was our most famous General, the biggest hero of WWII, West Point graduate, holder of The Medal of Honor. He immediately took complete control of every aspect of the war, including tactical planning. The U.S. had insufficient military to quickly repel the fast advancing N. Korean army. MacArthur was successful in stopping the complete overthrow of South Korea, with American troops proceeding North toward the Yalu River, which separated N. Korea from China, and Russia.


MacARTHUR DURING INCHON INVASION, KOREA

MARCH TO THE YALU
MacArthur began talking of "marching to the Yalu". He did not know he was in a war he would not be allowed to win. The first dark clouds were beginning to appear on the horizon. Truman reminded him that operations North of the 38th had to be authorized by the U.S. MacArthur's military plan was to proceed with all deliberate speed in advancing to the Yalu. Again, he was warned not to provoke the Chinese, as it could not only draw China but Russia into a third World War. There were repeated warnings that the Chinese were already preparing to cross the Yalu and attack the U.S. forces. Truman scheduled a showdown meeting with MacArthur on Wake Island. MacArthur was extremely displeased over the proposed meeting, which went on exactly as predicted. Truman expressed his growing concern over Chinese intervention. It was here that MacArthur made his biggest mistake. He announced that the war "would be terminated by Thanksgiving-they are thoroughly whipped, North Korea has no possibility of success". What an arrogant and unfortunate statement. "There would be the greatest slaughter if China tried to put ground troops across the Yalu. They would be destroyed". Little did he know that even as he spoke tens of thousands of Chinese were swarming across the Yalu. MacArthur would soon have to eat his eloquent words.


TRUMAN AND MacARTHUR AT WAKE ISLAND

CHINESE ENTER THE WAR
MacArthur believed the North Korean Military had fled into Manchuria. How wrong he was. Four infantry armies, three artillery divisions and an anti-aircraft regiment, 260,000 men, crossed the Yalu into North Korea. MacArthur downplayed the escalation, proposing to attack the new Chinese armies. He was again urging greater escalation. Tensions and tempers were rising over the proposed handling of the Chinese intervention, and his continued controversies with virtually all of the U.S. military leaders.

THE WAR DETERIATES
MacArthur wanted to give an ultimatum to China which would have provoked Russia. He wanted to bomb Manchuria. His aggressive plans were upsetting both the British and U.S. Governments who feared WWIII if MacArthur was allowed to proceed. His misjudgments had a potential for catastrophe. His plan was called "insane". After announcing "tell the troops when we get to the Yalu they can all go home. You will be home by Christmas". Such announcements as this caused many enemies. Matthew Ridgeway objected vigorously to every one of his plans. The situation in Korea was now becoming precarious. Chinese troops were surrounding and overpowering many of our marine units, especially around the Chosen Reservoir. Weather at 20 below zero was taking it's toll. Soon the Eighth Army was in full retreat with a real catastrophe in the making. MacArthur's requests were rejected as being unwise.

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