Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Korean War

The North Korean invasion of South Korea came as a surprise to our government.  Our greatest concern was not that the invasion was a border dispute between two dictatorships, but that many democracies feared that it was the first step in a communist campaign to take over the world.  Nonintervention was not considered an option.

In April 1950, a National Security Council report known as NSC-68 recommended that our country use military force to contain communist expansionism where it was occurring, “regardless of the intrinsic strategic or economic value of the lands in question.”

At first, the war was to get the communists out of South Korea.  However, by the end of the summer, President Truman and General Douglas MacArthur had decided on a different goal.  The Korean War became a war to liberate North Korea from the communists.

An amphibious assault at Inchon pushed the North Koreans back to their side of the 38th parallel.  American troops crossed that boundary and eventually moved north to the Yalu River, the border between North Korea and Communist China.  The Chinese Army poured across the border to allegedly protect themselves from an “armed aggression against Chinese territory.” 

Our military was warned to keep away from the Yalu boundary unless it wanted full-scale war.  Truman didn’t want a war with China, but General MacArthur insisted anything short of a wider war represented appeasement, an unacceptable knuckling under to the communists.

On April 11 1951, Truman fired the General MacArthur for insubordination.  In July, Truman and his new military commanders started peace talks at Panmunjom.  

The fighting continued for two more years, until an armistice was signed.  A new boundary near the 38th parallel gave South Korea an extra 1,500 square miles of territory; and created a 2 mile-wide demilitarized zone.


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