Douglas MacArthur described a Pacific defense line that did not include it.
In early , Secretary of State Dean Acheson, apparently referring to Korea and Taiwan, said certain nations would have to defend themselves in case of invasion, at least at first. Meanwhile, South and North Korea both repeatedly declared their intention to unify their country, by force if necessary. But North Korea's army was twice as large, more experienced and better equipped. By , North Korean patrols regularly crossed the border. On the 25th, as MacArthur later put it, "North Korea struck like a cobra.
North Korean armies overwhelmed their southern counterparts. The Truman administration — which had suffered the political consequences when China fell to the communists the previous year — now felt it had to intervene. Because the Soviets had previously walked out of the United Nations Security Council to protest an unrelated matter, the U. But it was not a war — at least Truman wouldn't call it that. Asked at a news conference if it could, then, be described as a "police action," the president said yes.
The tag stuck. The North Koreans pushed the South Koreans into the southeastern corner of the peninsula, where they were joined by U. After stabilizing his position, MacArthur executed what Gen. Omar Bradley, a key architect of the Normandy invasion in , later called "the riskiest military proposal I had ever heard of" — an amphibious landing at Incheon, on Korea's west coast, far behind North Korean lines.
The North Korean invaders were cut off and set to flight.
The U. The Communist Chinese viewed the Americans' northward movement with alarm. By October, hundreds of thousands of battle-tested Chinese troops had massed across the Yalu River in Manchuria.
Many others had slipped over the border into North Korea. This was unknown to MacArthur, who was so confident of victory by Christmas he didn't even issue the troops winter uniforms. In the last week of November , the Chinese attacked, reversing MacArthur's "end-the-war" offensive and recapturing the capitals of North and South Korea before U. MacArthur still was determined to win the war, which now meant broadening it.
source site He prompted a constitutional crisis by questioning Truman's authority as commander in chief and by demanding permission to hit bases in China, possibly with atomic bombs. On April 11, , Truman fired him.
Things then settled into what historian William Manchester would call "a long, bloody stalemate which would end only when the exhausted participants agreed to a truce. Finally the sides agreed to a cease-fire that established a Demilitarized Zone near the 38th parallel where it all started that was, in fact, one of the most militarized places on the planet.
By then, 1. About 8, were listed as missing in action, which for the most part meant their remains were not recovered. Korea was first called the "Forgotten War" as early as October by U.
Lacking the martial glory of the former and the political impact of the latter, it gets overlooked in school and on Memorial Day. The youngest Korean vets are nearing With more than 3.
His opinion may be influenced by personal experience; on New Year's Day, he and other vets rode on a float in the Rose Parade that featured a replica of the National Korean War Veterans Memorial. Whether or not the war is forgotten today, historians generally agree that it was — even as it was being fought. Korea was a mystery to most Americans. Wiedhahn was at a bar in San Diego when the bartender said war had broken out in Korea.
Americans had trouble connecting Korea to their national security. An inscription on the Korean Veterans Memorial alludes to that: U.
How, they asked, could we conquer Germany and Japan, but not North Korea? But as the war progresses, it is not long before their ship is assigned to help in the evacuation of Hungnam in North Korea—a fateful decision that leads Marino and Sully to imprisonment in a clandestine hospital known for its inhumane experiments.
In this military thriller loosely based on real-life events, two American sailors must rely on the CIA and a beautiful Korean girl to escape—before it is too late. All Rights Reserved. Bookstore Trafford. Other Books By This Author.