The Forgotten War
The Forgotten War
military retreats United Nations China Korean War, 1950-1953
The War between North and South Korea, which began in June 1950, marked the first armed confrontation during the Cold War. Within days, South Korean forces were in full retreat, and by August, Korea was in a full-fledged conventional war. South Korean forces, along with the U.S. Eighth Army, were driven into a small area in the southeastern corner of the Korean peninsula until United Nations forces, under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, rolled back the troops into North Korea. UN forces, disregarding repeated warnings by the Chinese government, continued their advance to the Yalu River. In late November, China's 180,000-troop attack shocked Washington. At a press conference on November 30, 1950, President Harry S. Truman confirmed that since the beginning of the war he had been actively considering using atomic bombs in Korea. Years later it surfaced that Truman had ordered the bombs to be sent across the Pacific, had second thoughts, and stopped them at Guam instead of moving them into Okinawa, where they would have been operational. Worldwide reaction and a visit by British prime minister Clement Atlee resulted in U.S. reassurance that atomic weapons would only be used to prevent a "major military disaster." This segment from a contemporary newsreel picks up the conflict in early 1951, when the military situation looked particularly bleak, and Chinese forces once again turned the United Nations' advance into a costly retreat. The rest of the war involved little territory change, large-scale bombing of the Northern population, and lengthy peace negotiations. The conflict settled into a bloody stalemate in July 1953, with an estimated four million casualties. The Korean War spurred a massive U.S. rearmament effort and a major shift in defense policy, with a greater reliance on the deterrent effect of nuclear weapons.
“The Forgotten War ,” Digital Commonwealth , accessed March 8, 2014, http://digitalcommonwealth.org/items/show/70434.