- Remembering the Korean War
- Was the Korean War a necessary and just war?
- Could the war have been avoided?
- Backdrop of Japanese colonialism
- American imperial ambitions
- Social revolution and repression in North Korea
- Brutal anticommunist pacification in South Korea
- Southern provocations and the origins of the war
- Domestic politics and bipartisan support for the war
- North Korean blitzkrieg and occupation of Seoul
- “So terrible a liberation:” Pusan, Seoul, Inchon, and Operation Rat Killer
- MacArthur heads to the Yalu River
- Chinese counterattack and American retreat
- High noon: The Truman-MacArthur stand-off
- Bombing ‘em back to the Stone Age: Aerial techno-war over North Korea
- Manufacturing consent: Media coverage of the war
- The responsibility of intellectuals: “Crackpot Realists” and the New Mandarins
- Grassroots antiwar activism and dissent
- American soldiers’ experience and disillusionment
- Letter exchange between a questioning Marine, his father, and Dean Acheson
- South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and atrocities in the war
- Dirty little secrets: Maltreatment of prisoners-of-war and allegations of biological warfare
- Racism and class stratification in the U.S. Army
- Canada and Great Britain’s Korean War
- Legacies of the war
Did you know?
- Japan imposed colonial rule over Korea from 1910 to 1945.
- With Japan on the verge of defeat in World War II, two young American army officers drew an arbitrary line across Korea at the 38th parallel, creating an American zone in the south and a Soviet zone in the north. Both South and North Korea became repressive regimes.
- In South Korea, the United States built up a police force and constabulary and backed the authoritarian leader Syngman Rhee, who created a police state. By 1948 partisan warfare had enveloped the whole of South Korea, which in turn became enmeshed in civil war between South and North Korea.
- In North Korea, the government of Kim II-Sung arrested and imprisoned student and church leaders, and gunned down protesters on November 23, 1945. Christians as well as business and land owners faced with the confiscation of their property began fleeing to the South.
- The U.S. Army counter-intelligence corps organized paramilitary commandos to carry out sabotage missions in the North, a factor accounting for the origins of the war. The Korean War officially began on June 25, 1950, when North Korea conducted a massive invasion of the South.
- The U.S. obtained the approval of the United Nations for the defense of South Korea (the Soviet Union had boycotted the UN over the issue of seating China). Sixteen nations supplied troops although the vast majority came from the United States and South Korea. U.S. General Douglas MacArthur headed the United Nations Command.
- The three-year Korean War resulted in the deaths of three to four million Koreans, produced 6-7 million refugees, and destroyed over 8,500 factories, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals and 600,000 homes. Over 36,000 American soldiers died in the war.
- From air bases in Okinawa and naval aircraft carriers, the U.S. Air Force launched over 698,000 tons of bombs (compared to 500,000 tons in the entire Pacific theatre in World War II), obliterating 18 of 22 major cities and destroying much of the infrastructure in North Korea.
- The US bombed irrigation dams, destroying 75 percent of the North’s rice supply, violating civilian protections set forth in the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
- The Korean War has been called a “limited war” because the U.S. refrained from using nuclear weapons (although this was considered). Yet the massive destruction of North Korea and the enormous death toll in both North and South mark it as one of the most barbarous wars in modern history.
- Reports of North Korean atrocities and war crimes were well publicized in the United States at the time. The 2005 South Korean Truth and Reconciliation Commission, however, judged that most of the mass killings of civilians were conducted by South Korean military and police forces, with the United States adding more from the air.
- For all the human suffering caused by the Korean War, very little was solved. The war ended in stalemate with the division of the country at the 38th parallel.
The Washington war memorial stands in sharp contrast to one of the finest pieces of art to emerge from the war, Pablo Picasso’s painting “Massacre in Korea” (1951). Picasso captured much about the horrors of American style techno-war in depicting a group of robot-like soldiers descending on a village – thought to be Sinchon in South Hwangae Province, North Korea. The soldiers are preparing to execute women and children suspected of sheltering guerrilla combatants. The miracle of the painting is that the faces of the women about to be shot are transformed into masks of art, an expression of life amidst the horror and death that is war.
Remembering the Korean War
The ceremony epitomizes Korea’s status as a “forgotten war” in American memory, one which came between the glorious victory in World War II and inglorious defeat in Vietnam. Writing in the Washington Post, Richard L. Halferty, head of the Texas Korean War Veterans Committee compared the Memorial Day slight with the heroic reception he claimed to have received on a visit to Seoul and Chipyong-ni in 2010, where he was allegedly hugged and thanked by women and men who spotted his Korean War veterans hat. In considering the question, was the war worth it, Halferty urged readers to look at the results. “When the U.S. entered the war to protect the freedom of South Korea, the nation was at the bottom of the world. The Korean people took the freedom we helped buy with our blood and rose to become one of the top economies in the world.”
Wolfowitz’ analysis is undercut by George Katsiaficas’ history, Asia’s Unknown Uprisings: South Korean Social Movements in the 20th Century (2012), which shows that democracy emerged in 1987 not because it was promoted by the U.S. but because of the efforts of committed social activists, many of whom endured torture, beatings, and massacres fighting against the American-imposed military dictatorship. For years, the U.S. had built up South Korea’s military and police forces, honoring the generals who committed myriad atrocities, including the 1980 Kwangju massacre, South Korea’s equivalent to the Tiananmen Square massacre in China in 1989.
Was the Korean War a necessary and just war?
President Harry S. Truman claimed the U.S. goal in Korea was to prevent the “rule of force in international affairs” and to “uphold the rule of law,” but this was utterly contradicted by American support for right-wing counter-insurgent forces in Greece, which committed large-scale atrocities in suppressing an indigenous left-wing rebellion led by anti-fascist elements, and in subsequent years, by Washington’s overthrow by force of the legally elected governments of Iran and Guatemala in 1953 and 1954, respectively. As Howard Zinn pointed out in Postwar America, 1945-1971 (1973), other cases of aggression or alleged aggression in the world, such as the Arab states invasion of Israel in 1948, did not prompt the U.S. to mobilize the UN or its own armed forces for intervention. Zinn concluded that the decision to intervene in Korea was, at its core, political, designed to uphold the dictatorial U.S. client regime of Syngman Ree and acquire U.S. military bases in South Korea, which the U.S. did as a result of the war.
Donald Kingsley, head of the UN Korean Relief and Reconstruction Agency, called Korea “the most devastated land and its people the most destitute in the history of modern warfare.” This devastation was inflicted primarily by the United States and its proxies with backing from the United Nations. Taking this into account, the Korean War can be considered to have been a gross injustice and crime for which the U.S. bears important responsibility. To add insult to injury, the war did not resolve the conflict between North and South, which lingers on today, over 60 years later.
Could the war have been avoided?
Among Rhee’s victims were moderate nationalist politicians such as Kim Ku, who warned that Koreans should not fight each other, and Yo Un-Hyong, who had wanted the peaceful unification of North and South. Yo had headed a provisional government preceding the U.S. military occupation and advocated a mix of liberal-nationalist and social democratic ideals which were anathema to the Rhee government. Revered in both North and South Korea today, Yo had been a newspaper editor who opposed Japanese colonialism, and though not a communist himself, had always been willing to work with communists. Had the U.S. supported Yo and his efforts to create a unity government with the North, the war and its attendant misery could likely have been avoided and Korea’s history would be much different.
Backdrop of Japanese colonialism
American imperial ambitions
Beyond occupying South Korea at the end of World War II, U.S. involvement in Korea was a consequence of the long American drive for power in the Asia-Pacific region dating to the seizure of Hawaii and conquest of the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century. This mission was motivated by a trinity of military, missionary, and business interests. After the defeat of Japan in World War II, the prospect opened up that the region could come under U.S. influence, its rich resources tapped for the benefit of American industry. In a March 1955 Foreign Affairs article, William Henderson of the Council on American Foreign Relations (which Laurence Shoup and William Minter aptly termed the “imperial brain trust”) wrote: “As one of the earth’s great storehouses of natural resources, Southeast Asia is a prize worth fighting for. Five sixth of the world’s rubber, and one half of its tin are produced here. It accounts for two thirds of the world output in coconut, one third of the palm oil, and significant proportions of tungsten and chromium. No less important than the natural wealth was Southeast Asia’s key strategic position astride the main lines of communication between Europe and the Far East.” To secure access to these resources, the U.S. established a chain of military bases from the Philippines through the Ryukyu Archipelago in southern Japan.
Social revolution and repression in North Korea
Many Koreans yearned for a major social transformation following the era of Japanese colonial rule and, like other people in decolonizing nations, looked to socialist bloc countries as a model. Americans, unfortunately, were conditioned to view the world in Manichean Cold War terms and thus never developed a proper understanding for the appeal of revolutionaries such as Kim Il Sung. North Korea experienced a genuine social revolution in the years 1945-1950, which was driven from the top down as well as the bottom up. The liberating aspects of this social revolution, however, were compromised by the establishment of a repressive police state as well as a personality cult around Kim II-Sung, much like those surrounding Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. Still, North Korea was not the puppet of the Soviet Union or China that Americans imagined.
As the Soviet Union occupied North Korea Kim Il-Sung consolidated his position as the “great leader” of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Kim Il Sung joined the Communist Party of Korea in 1931 and, as previously noted, earned a measure of fame for spearheading nationalist resistance to Japanese rule in Manchuria during the 1930s. After being pursued by the Japanese in Manchuria, Kim Il Sung escaped to the Soviet Union and became an officer in the Red Army during World War II. He returned to Korea in September 1945 and, with Soviet backing, established himself as the North Korean leader. He gained Mao Zedong’s support by recruiting a cadre of guerrillas to aid communist forces in the Chinese civil war.
The Soviet Union’s main interest in Korea was in seeking access to warm water ports and a friendly regime as a buffer against Japan. Soviet soldiers, like all occupying armies, abused the local population, in some instances committing rapes. Their presence, however, was confined predominantly to the capital, Pyongyang. Soviet advisers helped draft a new constitution, sponsored cultural exchanges and programs, and guided certain reforms and foreign policy. North Koreans nonetheless asserted considerable autonomy and many looked to Russia and China as countries which were rapidly industrializing and had empowered the peasantry and masses by moving to abolish class distinctions.
The North Korean government also relied on authoritarian measures and repression of dissent, confirming the West’s negative view of it in this regard. The Kim II-Sung regime developed a siege mentality that demanded unity in the face of the threat of outside subversion. The DPRK created a draconian surveillance apparatus, purging political rivals to Kim and his clique. On November 23, 1945, in Sinuiji, security forces gunned down Christian student protesters in front of the North P’yongan provincial office; and later some three hundred students and twenty Christian pastors were arrested after further anticommunist demonstrations. American intelligence concluded that the “nucleus of resistance of the Communist regime are the church groups, long prominent in North Korea, and secret student societies. Resistance was centered in the cities, notably Pyongyang, and took the form of school strikes, circulation of leaflets, demonstrations and assassinations. The government replied with arrests and imprisonments, investigations of student and church groups, and destruction of churches.” Christians as well as business and land owners faced with the confiscation of their property began fleeing to the South. With deep grievances against communism, these refugees provided a backbone of support for the Syngman Rhee government. Many served in right-wing youth groups, modeled after fascist style organizations, which violently broke up workers demonstrations and assaulted left-wing political activists. 
In June 1949, North Korea accelerated its “peace offensive” toward the South, calling for all “democratic” – that is anti-Syngman Rhee forces – to join with the North in unifying the Korean peninsula and removing the Americans. It pushed for free elections in which left wing political parties in the South were legalized and political prisoners released. According to the historian Charles K. Armstrong, in The North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950, a free political environment would have given the left an estimated 80 percent of the vote in the North and 65-70 percent of the votes in the South. Kim and his allies could thus come to power through democratic means had the popular uprising in the South not been repressed.
Brutal anti-communist pacification in South Korea
In practice, Rhee exhibited strong autocratic tendencies and relied heavily on Japanese collaborators – in part because he had been out of the country so long. He was elected president in July 1948 by members of the National Assembly, who themselves had been elected on May 10 in a national election marred by boycotts, violence and a climate of terrorism. The elections were originally intended to be held in both the North and South, but Kim II-Sung refused to allow UN supervisors entry into North Korea. Some South Koreans boycotted the elections on the grounds that they would solidify the division between the Koreas, which is indeed what happened. Syngman Rhee proceeded to consolidate his rule thereafter. When asked by the journalist Mark Gayn whether Rhee was a fascist, Lieutenant Leonard Bertsch, an adviser to General John R. Hodge, head of the American occupation, responded, “He is two centuries before fascism—a true Bourbon.”
Political opposition to Rhee’s government emerged almost immediately when Rhee, with U.S. backing, retained Japanese-trained military leaders and police officers instead of removing them. Those who had resisted Japanese rule, administered with the aid of these collaborators, called for Rhee’s ouster. The communists in South Korea protested the loudest, as they had led the anti-Japanese insurrection, but opposition to Rhee was widespread. Resistance to the U.S. occupation and Rhee’s government was led by labor and farmers’ associations and People’s Committees, which organized democratic governance and social reform at the local level. The mass-based South Korean Labor Party (SKLP), headed by Pak Hon-Yong, a veteran of anti-Japanese protest with communist ties, led strikes and carried out acts of industrial sabotage. Rhee responded by building up police and security forces and, with assistance from the American Military Government (AMG), attempting to eliminate all political opposition, which he labeled communist-backed. Thus, the earlier antagonism between rebels and collaborators during Japanese rule took on the dimensions of both a partisan struggle within South Korea and a struggle between North and South.
By mid-1947, there were almost 22,000 people in jail, nearly twice as many as under the Japanese, with the Red Cross pointing to inadequate medical care and sanitation. Professors and assemblymen were among those tortured in custody. Those branded as communists were dehumanized to the extent that they were seen as unworthy of legal protection. Pak Wan-so, a South Korean writer who faced imprisonment and torture by police commented that “they called me a red bitch. Any red was not considered human…. They looked at me as if I was a beast or a bug…. Because we weren’t human, we had no rights.” The scale of repression in South Korea at this time far surpassed that of North Korea. In Mokpo seaport, the bodies of prisoners who had been shot were left on people’s doorsteps as a warning in what became known as the “human flesh distribution case.” A government official defended the practice saying they were the most “vile of communists.”
In light of these events, the claim of John Foster Dulles, writing in the New York Times Magazine, that the ROKA and police had the “highest discipline” and that South Korea was essentially a “healthy society” does not stand up to historical scrutiny. Another popular myth held that the U.S. abandoned South Korea in the late 1940s. American military advisers in reality were all over the country through this period, training Korean soldiers and police, leading counter-insurgency missions. The latter included the forced displacement of villagers that became a basis for the Strategic Hamlet program in South Vietnam. The U.S. provided spotter planes and naval vessels to secure the coasts, even enlisting missionaries to provide information on anti-Rhee guerrillas. ROKA soldiers were “armed to the toenails” with American weapons. They adopted “scorched earth” tactics modeled after Japanese counter-insurgency operations in Manchuria.
Southern provocations and the origins of the Korean War
Acheson, one of the war’s main architects, was himself an Anglophile with a lifelong admiration of the British Empire. Radical journalist I. F. Stone commented that he represented not the “free American spirit” but something “old, wrinkled, crafty and cruel, which stinks from centuries of corruption.” Showing little empathy or consideration for the Korean people, Acheson said Korea was “not a local situation” but the “spear-point of a drive made by the whole communist control group on the entire power position of the West.” Inaction in the face of invasion, he believed, would damage U.S. credibility, and the international system involving international treaties, the Marshall Plan and NATO, and would cause communists to seize Formosa, Indochina, and finally Japan as well as give strength to domestic isolationists whom he loathed.
Domestic politics and bipartisan support for the war
To sell the war to the public, Truman evoked fears of global communist domination and relied on UN Security Council support to legitimate the U.S.-led “police action” in Korea. The “scare” campaign proved highly effective as 81 percent of Americans initially backed the intervention, according to a Gallup poll taken during the first week of the war. Time Magazine acknowledged that “it was a rare U.S. citizen that could pass a detailed quiz on the little piece of Asiatic peninsula he had just guaranteed with troops, planes and ships.” For most Americans, the threat came from the Soviet Union rather than from North Korea. The magazine quoted Evar Malin, 37, of Sycamore, Illinois: “I’ll tell ya, I think we done the right thing. We had to take some kind of action against the Russians.” The magazine’s editors similarly identified the Russians as the real enemy. “Russia’s latest aggression had united the U.S. — and the U.N. — as nothing else could,” they wrote. “By decision of the U.S. and the U.N., the free world would now try to strike back, deal with the limited crises through which Communism was advancing.”
The Red Scare was at its height in the early 1950s. According to a Gallup poll taken July 30-August 4, 1950, forty percent of Americans advocated placing domestic communists in concentration camps. Historian Mary S. McAuliffe wrote that the fears and frustrations of the Korean War provided a “psychological climate in which the domestic red scare already well rooted began to flourish.” Truman had personally denounced Joseph McCarthy’s tactics but his hard-line foreign policy rhetoric and initiation of a domestic loyalty program raised the level of public anxiety about communism and buttressed the right-wing crusade. Attacking Truman for the “loss of China” following the 1949 Maoist revolution, McCarthy and Congressional Republicans staunchly supported the Korean War, believing in the need for a “seawall of blood and flesh and steel to hold back the communist hordes.” Disdainful of the decision to withdraw U.S. forces in 1949, the GOP went after “Red” Dean Acheson for alleged communist appeasement. Dwight Eisenhower wrote in his memoir, Mandate for Change, that Acheson’s speech had “encouraged the communists to attack South Korea.”
Vito Marcantonio of the American Labor Party was the sole member of Congress to disavow U.S. intervention in Korea on the grounds of Korea’s right to self-determination. Calling the Rhee government corrupt and fascistic, he told war supporters that “you can keep on making impassioned pleas for the destruction of communism but I tell you, the issue in China, in Asia, in Korea, and in Vietnam, is the right of these people for self-determination, to a government of their own, to independence and national unity.” Earning the ire of the China lobby, Marcantonio lost his seat in the fall election of 1950.
American confidence of victory in the war was heightened by the huge government investment in cutting edge weapons systems. Building on the legacy of World War II, which had seen “the greatest mobilization of scientific power in the history of the world,” in the opinion of Dr. Karl T. Compton, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the U.S. employed a variety of lethal technological innovations in Korea: three-and-a half inch rocket launchers, super-bazookas, Sikorsky and Bell helicopters, the M-26 Pershing and M-46 Patton tank equipped with a 90 mm gun, portable flamethrowers, amphibious tractors, white phosphorus grenades (“willie peter”), shells with radio controlled detonators, M20 75mm recoilless rifles, and radar-equipped jet fighter planes that were less vulnerable to ground attack. In addition, the U.S. employed aerial refueling that allowed for long range bombing missions, used naval carriers as launch pads for aircraft, missiles guided by electronic computers, and television controlled planes serving as pilotless flying bombs. There was also the wonder weapon of napalm, jellied gasoline that burns the flesh, which was employed as an anti-tank weapon and whose flaming liquid could incinerate anything in its path over a radius thirty yards wide and ninety long, burning people’s skin to a crisp like “fried potato chips,” as one Marine witness described it.
North Korean blitzkrieg and occupation of Seoul
Truong Giap, a Vietnamese revolutionary stated with much accuracy that “the Korean War was the most barbarous war in history.” At the beginning, it looked as if the North would easily occupy the South and win. Kim Il-Sung believed the southerners would rise up against their government and align with the North. Yet he underestimated the effectiveness of Syngman Rhee’s repression of resistance movements prior to the war, and he overestimated popular support in the South for the northern government. Furthermore, in the first days of the northern blitzkrieg, South Korean officers ordered the execution of thousands of political opponents, including those imprisoned, in order to deprive the North of fighters who could assist their cause.
During their occupation of South Korea, North Korean forces linked up with local leftists in reactivating people’s committees driven underground by Rhee. Schooled in Maoist principles, the KPA promoted agrarian reform and other principles of the revolution, attempting to win “hearts and minds,” especially among the working class, students, and women. Many in Seoul reportedly shouted and waved red flags when the northern soldiers arrived. An Air Force survey found that a majority of factory workers, students and women supported the KPA and that strict control over the media and political education helped keep the rest of the public in-line.
The KPA also engaged in violent retribution against Rhee supporters in Seoul, killing an estimated 25,000 civilians. Special “base red” units killed the entire families of police and military officers, and liberal intellectuals were publicly humiliated. A police detective asserted that in the first few days, the citizens of Seoul welcomed the People’s Army and cooperated with it, but they became disappointed when promised rice supplies did not materialize, inflation spread, and they were forced to give their jewelry to the People’s Army.
Cooperation between U.S. and South Korean soldiers also proved difficult. American soldiers often distrusted their South Korean counterparts, considering them to be infiltrated by communist “gooks.” A South Korean military officer interviewed for an army study pointed to a lack of patience and empathy by American military advisers, and “ignorance of each-others’ minds and liability to misunderstanding on account of differences in custom.” E. J. Kahn reported in The New Yorker that American soldiers felt that “North Korean soldiers, all things considered, fought more skillfully and aggressively than South Korean soldiers…. because they had been more thoroughly instilled with the will to fight.”
“So terrible a liberation:” Pusan, Inchon, Seoul, and Operation Rat Killer
In mid-September Gen. MacArthur engineered an amphibious landing behind enemy lines at Inchon. The 230-ship invasion force was backed by helicopter spotters and ten Corsair and three Sky-raider air squadrons that carried out nearly 3,000 bombing sorties in a great display of combined air-sea power. Over 13,000 Marines took advantage of a 31-foot tide and climbed over high seawalls before fighting off North Korean defenders, sustaining 3,500 casualties compared to over 20,000 North Koreans. “Operation Chromite,” as it was called, was enabled by the seizure of Wolmi-do Island, after it was showered with rockets, bombs and napalm, and by a joint CIA-military operation on Yonghung-do, a small island ten miles from Inchon, where Navy Lt. Eugene Clark obtained vital information for the assault. When the KPA returned to Yonghung-do a few days later for a brief period, KPA soldiers allegedly shot more than 50 villagers, including “men and women, boys and girls, to demonstrate what happens to those who aid the Americans,” according to Col. Robert Heinl, Jr.
American weaponry proved more lethal. Following their victory at Inchon, the 1st Marines commanded by the famously aggressive “Chesty” Puller marched on Yongdongpo, an industrial suburb of Seoul, and turned it into a “sea of fire,” according to U.S. intelligence, with as many as 2,000 killed. An AP reporter flying overhead described Yongdongpo as looking “like Nagasaki after the atomic bomb, it has been here 4,000 years and no long exists as a city.” Puller’s men then retook Seoul on September 27 in brutal house-to-house fighting, breaking through enemy barricades of felled trees.
In a testament to the destruction bred by American weapons technology, a private described the newly “liberated” Seoul as being filled with “great gaping skeletons of blackened buildings with their windows blown out…telephone wires hanging down loosely from their poles; glass and bricks everywhere, literally a town shot to hell.” Reginald Thompson noted that few people in history “could have suffered so terrible a liberation.”
By September 30, all of South Korea was under the control of ROKA, U.S., and UN forces. American and South Korean counterinsurgency teams then began operations to snuff out partisan guerrillas across South Korea. Under “Operation Houseburner” U.S. units sprayed flame-throwers and threw incendiary grenades from helicopters on the roofs of village huts in order to deprive communists of support. When the structure of some homes remained allowing guerrillas to hide in the cellars, napalm mixture was added to ensure the mud walls came crumbling down.
MacArthur heads to the Yalu River
The U.S. hoped to incite an anticommunist rebellion in North Korea but this proved untenable, as much of the population detested the Rhee regime and some were genuinely grateful to the Kim II-Sung regime for land allotted to them under the North Korean land reform program. The CIA had cautioned the White House against invading North Korea because of the “risk of a general war,” and the unpopularity of the Rhee regime among “many if not a majority of non-communist Koreans.” The advice was ignored, however.
At Sinchon, North Korea, thousands of civilians were hunted in caves, burned alive or shot by ROKA and police equipped with flamethrowers and incendiaries under the command of Kim San Ju (whom Rhee later executed for insubordination). At least 15,000 civilians were also killed in Pyongyang which was made to resemble “an empty citadel where death is king,” according to the New York Times. “It seems no longer to be a city at all. It is more like a blackened community of the dead, a charred ghost town from which all the living have fled before a sudden plague.”
Chinese counterattack and American retreat
The Chinese infantrymen were effective in camouflaging themselves by crawling along stream beds, ravines, and thick trees. Adopting a tactic known as niupitang, in which infantry used stealth and tunneling to approach a platoon, they ambushed U.S.-UN forces after feigning withdrawal. Commanding Chinese General Peng Dehuai believed that the Americans were over-dependent on firepower, afraid of heavy casualties, and lacked the depth of reserves the Chinese could amass. The Americans were also unable to march like the North Koreans and Chinese, who had better knowledge of the terrain and could cover 30 miles of mountain in a winter night, subsisting on a diet of cold boiled rice. Playing on these weaknesses, the Chinese forced MacArthur’s retreat at the Changjin (Chosin) Reservoir plateau in what one Marine called “the most violent small unit fighting in American history.” Some 40,000 Chinese soldiers died as compared to 561 Marines.
Many of the American soldiers suffered from frostbite owing to the lack of proper equipment. One veteran said he could never figure out why a soldier of the richest country on earth had “to steal boots from soldiers’ of the poorest country on earth.” In the unusually cold winter, vehicles once stopped would hardly run again, guns froze solid, and many automatic weapons would fire but one shot at a time. Terrified of fighting the Chinese, many ROK units broke ranks and disappeared. In a desperate attempt to break enemy morale and create hardship for the population, the U.S. army chemical corps initiated a program that used incendiary bombs filled with napalm to destroy North Korean cereal crops ready for harvesting.
U.S. military intelligence director Charles Willoughby, notorious for supplying MacArthur with information he wanted to hear, had underestimated Chinese manpower and fighting capability. American soldiers learned that the “best they had in the way of equipment” was “not good enough to halt a foe willing and determined to drive forward, taking any amount of losses to reach his objective.” Colonel Paul Freeman, who fought with Jiang Jieshi’s armies in World War II, said that “these are not the same Chinese.”
Negotiations to end the war began on July 10, 1951, and dragged on for two years before the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27, 1953. The two sides divided over the demarcation line between north and south, the presence of U.S. airfields and troop levels, and terms of the repatriation of POWs. Truman accused the communists of delaying the end of the war and proposed a demilitarized zone (DMZ) almost entirely in the DPRK. The communist delegation accused the UN of repeatedly bombing near the Chinese and North Korean delegation headquarters for intimidation purposes and then violating provisions of a temporary cease-fire agreement, which Gen. Matthew Ridgway acknowledged. Ridgway, the chief negotiator, worried that an armistice would allow the Chinese, “freed from this embarrassing entanglement,” to expand their aggression in Indochina and elsewhere in East Asia. As historian James I. Matray points out in an authoritative account, the U.S. delegation also felt pressured by Syngman Rhee’s firm opposition to anything less than reunification under his rule as a major war aim (in contrast to Kim Il-Sung’s acceptance of the 38th parallel line) and his orchestration of huge demonstrations demanding a new offensive north.
High noon: The Truman-MacArthur stand-off
In early April 1951, President Truman recalled and fired General Douglas MacArthur for insubordination, fearing that MacArthur’s aggressive policies would ignite a world war involving China and Russia. MacArthur, with support from leading Republicans, wanted to take the war into China, despite U.S. setbacks in North Korea, and to use every means at America’s disposal, including nuclear weapons, to win the war. He proposed a naval blockade off the Chinese coast; the bombing of China’s industrial centers, supply bases and communications networks; taking up exiled Chinese Guomindang leader Jieng Jieshi’s offer of using Chinese nationalist troops in Korea; and using Jieng’s forces for an invasion of the Chinese mainland. Gen. Matthew Ridgeway, MacArthur’s replacement, compared MacArthur to “Custer at the Little Bighorn [who] had neither eyes nor ears for information that might deter him from the swift attainment of his objective.”
While Truman reasserted his control over the war, MacArthur became an icon to right-wing movements. MacArthur gave a famous speech before Congress on April 19, 1951, in which he stated that “appeasement begets new and bloodier war” and that “old soldiers never die, they just fade away.” He also told an interviewer that if he had not been fired, he had planned to drop between thirty to fifty atom bombs across the neck of Manchuria and “spread radio-active cobalt capable of wiping out animal life for at least 60 years.”
California’s freshman Republican Senator Richard M. Nixon shrewdly capitalized on MacArthur’s downfall, giving stump speeches asserting that the “happiest group in the country will be the communists and their stooges…. The president has given them what they always wanted, MacArthur’s scalp.” MacArthur, said Nixon, had been fired simply because “he had the good sense and patriotism to ask that the hands of our fighting men in Korea be untied.” This rightwing theme was later applied to scapegoat peace activists and liberal politicians for America’s defeat in Vietnam. After sponsoring a Senate resolution condemning Truman’s action, Nixon received 600 hundred telegrams in less than 24 hours, all commending him, the largest spontaneous reaction he’d ever seen, which in turn helped catapult him towards the White House. The whole episode provides a revealing window into the intensely conservative political culture in the United States and hawkish impulses which later drove the U.S. to war in Vietnam.
Bombing ‘em back to the Stone Age: Aerial techno-war over North Korea
The American Caesar, General Douglas MacArthur, was a boyhood friend of air power prophet Billy Mitchell, who had served under his father, Arthur, in the Philippines. Like Mitchell, Douglas MacArthur’s worldview had been shaped by the horror of the trenches of World War I and he had adopted the view that since war was so horrible, whoever unleashed it should be obliterated; and that, in a righteous cause, there was no substitute for victory.
Much of North Korea was left, in Maj. Gen. Emmett O’Donnell Jr.’s words, a “terrible mess,” with thousands of Chinese slaughtered, an estimated one million civilian casualties and hundreds of thousands of refugees. Some of those refugees were napalmed by U.S. pilots under orders to “hit anything that moved.” Eighteen out of 22 cities were obliterated, including 75 percent of Pyongyang and 100 percent of Sinuiju. Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, later told an interviewer:
We slipped a note kind of under the door into the Pentagon and said, “Look, let us go up there…and burn down five of the biggest towns in North Korea – and they’re not very big – and that ought to stop it.” Well, the answer to that was four or five screams – “You’ll kill a lot of non-combatants,” and “It’s too horrible.” Yet over a period three years or so…we burned down every town in North Korea and South Korea, too… Now, over a period of three years this is palatable, but to kill a few people to stop this from happening – a lot of people can’t stomach it.
The U.S. Air Force had pioneered airborne-radar early warning systems, some set up on naval blimps and night-functioning electronic interceptors, which contributed to air power supremacy. Added to these innovations were computing gun-sights conceived by MIT’s Dr. Charles S. Draper and designed by Sperry Gyroscope Company, and range radar systems that automatically determined the distance to a target.
Bombing accuracy had improved considerably from World War II as a result of the development of remote control and precision-guided systems designed by General Electric and Fairchild and modeled after German Luftwaffe innovations by Nazi scientists recruited under the CIA’s Operation Paperclip. This was, in addition to photographic mapping, carried out by reconnaissance planes equipped with radar scopes and pictorial computers, and Tactical Air Control Parties that used aeronautical charts and computer calculators. The U.S. invested $120 million per year at this time in guided missiles overseen by the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology. The thousand pound Razon bombs were equipped with radio receivers and electronic circuits in their tails. The bombs could be remotely controlled by the bombardier, allowing for changes in range and deflection. The twelve hundred pound Tarzons also had electronically controlled tail surfaces permitting greater control and elevation after release as well as “avionic brains” that kept it locked onto a target magnified by radar and light beams.
Push-button warfare was directed predominantly at major industrial plants in North Korea as well as railroads, bridges, communications centers and the electrical grid. Schools and hospitals were also badly damaged or destroyed along with Kim Il Sung University, archeological sites, and treasured historical monuments such as the Kwangbop Buddhist temple dating to 392 A.D, the Potang City gate, the Sungryong Hall temple dating to 1429, and the Yang Myong temple dating to the 14th century. DPRK leaders hid in deep bunkers, while villagers were forced to live in holes dug in the rubble of cities and sides of hills and caves where disease proliferated.
Racial dehumanization was a pivotal factor accounting for the lack of American restraint in targeting civilians. MacArthur believed that “the Oriental dies stoically because he thinks of death as the beginning of life.” American bombers dropped thousands of leaflets warning civilians to stay off roads and away from facilities that might be bombed, but independent observers noted that American ground forces were much too “quick to call in overwhelming close air support to overcome any resistance in flammable Korean villages.” Pilots were often under orders not to return with any bombs. According to Australian journalist Harry Gordon, who rode along in a B-26 Intruder, they would attack anything that moved, including ox-carts, resulting in “needless slaughter.”
British journalist Reginald Thompson described “holocausts of death and jellied petroleum bombs spreading an abysmal desolation over whole communities. . . . In such warfare, the slayer merely touches a button and death is in the wings, blotting out the remote, the unknown people below.” The American investigative journalist I.F. Stone stated that sanitized reports of the air raids reflected a “gay moral imbecility utterly devoid of imagination – as if the flyers were playing in a bowling alley, with villages for pins.” These comments presaged Herbert Marcuse’s 1964 book, One Dimensional Man, which warned that a cult of technical efficiency coupled with the quest for military-technological supremacy and antipathy towards foreign cultures had severed human connections and empathy in industrial capitalist societies, resulting in the kind of barbaric “machine” warfare seen in Korea and later, Vietnam.
As peace talks stalled in 1952, the Air Force destroyed the hydroelectric plant in Suiho that provided 90 percent of North Korea’s power supply. In blatant violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilians in Time of War, Article 56, U.S. bombers subsequently struck three irrigation dams in Toksan, Chasan, and Kuwonga, then attacked two more in Namsi and Taechon. The effect was to unleash flooding and to disrupt the rice supply. An Air Force study concluded that “the Westerner can little conceive the awesome meaning which the loss of this staple commodity has for the Asian – starvation and slow death.” After the war it took 200,000 man days of labor to reconstruct the reservoir in Toksan alone. “Only the very fine print of the New York Times war reports mentioned the dam hits,” the historian Bruce Cumings notes, “with no commentary.”
Manufacturing consent: Media coverage of the war
Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman in a landmark 1989 study, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, examine the influence of corporate control of the mass media and the subtle rhetorical manipulations used to inculcate consent for existing U.S. policies in foreign affairs. They adopt a “propaganda model,” refuting the notion of a free press. The media, they argue, draw too heavily on government sources for information, generally accept official proclamations about the nobility of the U.S. role in the world, and focus attention on atrocities committed by enemies rather than allies who kill only “worthy victims.”
The best war correspondents like Marguerite Higgins, a Pulitzer Prize winner who had been with the U.S. army when they liberated Dachau, captured the disillusionment of U.S. soldiers and brutality of the war. Writing in the Saturday Evening Post on August 19, 1950, Higgins said in the first weeks of the American retreat, she had “seen war harden many of our young soldiers into savagely bitter men,” noting that some had thrown down their arms or bolted in the thick of battle, “cursing their government for what they thought was embroilment in a hopeless cause.” One GI told her to tell the American people the truth that it is an “utterly useless war,” stating that “the commies cared little for life” and were “willing to die when our boys are not.” Higgins, however, never cared to explore precisely why the North Koreans were willing to die in such great numbers and never seems to have understood the revolutionary social consciousness that pervaded much of Asia and Africa as the old imperial world order dissipated in the aftermath of World War II. Instead she referred to the North Koreans as “red invaders” and claimed in a book endorsed by Syngman Rhee that “Korea had served as a “kind of international alarm clock to wake up the world [about communist perfidy],” and about how “we needed to arm and produce tough, hard fighting soldiers….before it was too late.” She was, as these comments imply, a major supporter of U.S. policy in the Cold War.
The responsibility of intellectuals: “Crackpot Realists” and the New Mandarins
Schlesinger, as it turns out, wrote an important book on Douglas MacArthur and the Korean War with liberal journalist Richard Rovere, The General and the President (1951), which provided a strong defense of Truman administration policies. Supporting Korea as a just war, Schlesinger and Rovere wrote:
if the insolent aggression of the North Koreans had gone unchallenged, millions of people throughout the free world, including this important part of it, would have found rich confirmation of their fear that Russian power was in fact invincible, that American big talk was shameless bluff, and that the United Nations was a snare and delusion…. This is why President Truman determined to make at least a limited challenge to Soviet power. He did it not because he thought that the fall of Los Angeles would follow inexorably the fall of Seoul, but because he wished to show both the Communist world and the non-Communist world that the United States was not a flour-flusher and that the United Nations – or collective security – could be made to work.
Henry Kissinger, an influential defense intellectual at Harvard University and proponent of a ruthless brand of real-politick appealing to power-brokers in Washington, fit the norm in considering Truman’s decision to intervene in Korea to be “courageous.” However, in his 1957 CFR book, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, he sided with the MacArthur faction, advocating the utility of restricted nuclear war. Kissinger criticized the doctrine of limited war, believing that the U.S. should have taken advantage of its military superiority. Fashioning himself as a modern-day Metternich (Austrian practitioner of real-politick) Kissinger raised the question of whether the U.S.S.R. “did not have more to lose from an all-out war than we did.” Be that as it may, he said, “our announced reluctance to engage in all out war gave the Soviet bloc a psychological advantage.” Kissinger went on to speculate that if the U.S. had “pushed back the Chinese armies even to the narrow neck of the Korean peninsula, we would have administered a setback to Communist power in its first trial at arms with the free world.“
Grassroots antiwar activism and principled war opponents
A coordinated antiwar movement never developed during the Korean War, despite similarities to the Vietnam War. This is attributable to the repressive climate of McCarthyism, the after-effects of World War II, which fostered trust in military leaders, and fact that the economy boomed as a result of the war. Principled humanitarian opposition to the war was voiced by black anti-colonial activists such as W.E.B. DuBois, who was purged from the NAACP, dissident Hollywood writers like Dalton Trumbo and John Lawson, and pacifist organizations such as the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) and War Resister’s League.
Abraham J. Muste, a proponent of Gandhian non-violent revolutionary pacifism and a Presbyterian minister affiliated with the FOR, considered Dresden and Hiroshima to be symbols of the nation’s lack of moral and humanitarian scruples that carried over into the Korean War. In his 1950 FOR pamphlet, Korea: Spark to Set the World on Fire? Muste wrote that the U.S. was intervening in a civil war on behalf of a corrupt and repressive puppet regime associated with a “white nation” that many identified with Western conquest, all of which was sure to invite Korean resistance. The war was thus a futile undertaking, and a danger to the world as well, as it threatened to ignite World War III. Muste called for nonviolent disobedience directed against it.
Paul Robeson, the great singer and civil rights leader called the Korean War “the most shameful war in which our country has ever been engaged”:
A hundred thousand American dead, wounded and missing have been listed in this war … and more than that we have killed, maimed and rendered homeless a million Koreans, all in the name of preserving Western civilization. U.S. troops have acted like beasts, as do all aggressive, invading, imperialist armies. North and South of the 38th parallel, they have looked upon the Korean people with contempt, calling them filthy names, raped their women, lorded it over old women and children, and shot prisoners in the back.
Scott Nearing, a former economist at the University of Pennsylvania who had been fired for opposing World War I, was another fierce and prescient critic of government policy. Nearing emphasized that Truman and Acheson’s big idea that peace could be secured through concentrated power had been previously attempted by Julius Caesar. Pointing to the grand imperial designs of MacArthur, including the desire to convert Taiwan into an imperial Pacific center for the purpose of dominating all Asiatic ports, Nearing characterized the Cold War as a “mad adventure” that would “deplete natural resources, squander capital, divert human ingenuity and enterprise into destructive channels and deluge the human race with blood and tears,” as Korea exemplified. Nearing further lamented how science and technology had been mobilized for the purpose of increasing the destructive potential of explosives, incendiaries, chemical agencies and bacteriological forces, and that industrial organizations and academic institutions had placed their facilities at the disposal of a government which aims to destroy and kill with maximum effectiveness, using its military apparatus to effect “organized destruction” and “wholesale murder.”
In an ode to “Mr. Sickyman Ree,” Woody adopted subtle political commentary mixed with sarcasm in proclaiming, “Mister Sickiman Ree, Dizzy Old Sigman Ree, you can’t fool pore me!” “Korean Bad Weather” and “Han River Woman” conveyed Woody’s desire for the “GI Joes from Wall Street” as he referred to U.S. soldiers in several songs, to “lay down their killing irons and walk home.” In Han River Mud,” he sang that I “told you not to come here Joe with your Wall Street jeep all stuck in the land. What did you drive here for Joe, try to steal my land from me.”
American soldiers’ experience and disillusionment
In a critical autobiographical war-story called “The Secret,” author James Drought, a Korean War veteran, tells the story of Frank Nolan, a working class kid from Chicago he knew who enlisted in the army to see the world and escape working for Ford Motor Company. Trained as an infantryman, Nolan was sent out on a dangerous mission to reclaim a nondescript hill the “gooks” had occupied, largely as a means of impressing a visiting Congressional delegation. The North Korean forces had learned of the attack in advance and slaughtered his unit; Nolan lost his leg. After being awarded a bronze star and Purple Heart while lying in hospice, Nolan told the Congressman and General sent to congratulate him that “they could cram all the goddam medals up their ass.” Nolan told Drought as he recounts it: “You know what they did? They smiled at me. They said they understood.” “Understood what,” Drought then asked him. “I don’t know,” he responded. “The dirty cocksuckers just patted me on the shoulder and said they understood.”
The class dimension in Drought’s story is epitomized in an earlier passage where he laments how he had discovered while working “like a slob” for a finance company that the “fat cats are not content to exploit us, bleed us, work us for the rest of our lives at their benefit, but they want us to win them some glory too. . . . This is why every once in a while they start a war for us to fight in.” The experts had predicted a depression if it hadn’t been for the Korean War and the “shot in the arm [the war] gave to production, business, and even to religion – since right away everybody returned to church to pray for their brave sons overseas – was something the ‘fat cats’ had to have to prevent going under and becoming poor folks like the rest of us.” Ernest Hemingway and others had said that war provided a once in a lifetime opportunity to test men’s manhood and courage, though it was not mentioned “what those would discover who lay ripped open after the battle, bleeding, dying, dead from monstrous wounds.”
Not all veterans who became critical of the war were progressive in their outlook, to be sure. A good number believed with the political right that liberal government leaders were politicizing the war and hamstringing the Generals to the detriment of U.S. troops. Many also considered the Koreans pejoratively as “gooks,” a term used by Drought in dialogues in “The Secret,” and characterized Korea as a primitive country and hence not worth sacrificing themselves for or “saving.” Few understood the Korea’s colonial history or the North Korean revolution, as historian Brue Cumings has noted, and there was little understanding of the United States role as an heir to the colonial empires.
Letter exchange between a questioning Marine, his father and Dean Acheson
The Korean War was replete with atrocities undertaken in violation of the Geneva Convention and international laws of war, which the U.S. ironically had been instrumental in establishing (four Geneva conventions of 1949). Because of the climate of the Cold War and continued North-South division, a proper accounting and reckoning never took place, and many Koreans never were able to obtain justice for unlawful killings of their loved ones. With the opening of new archival records, new scholarship, and establishment of South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we can begin to discern the full truth about the human horrors that occurred and also examine some of the war’s most controversial aspects such as the treatment of POWs and allegations about chemical and biological warfare.
South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and atrocities in the war
Whereas in the United States, most of the war atrocities were little discussed or attributed to the communists, under the South Korean military dictatorship, all sympathetic discourse designed to raise awareness of massacres was subject to prosecution. The bereaved families suffered severe discrimination as authorities marginalized them from civil society and politics and placed them under surveillance by the Korean National Police (KNP) and the Korean Central Intelligence Agency.
In the early 2000s, however, following the country’s democratic revolution, Prime Minister Kim Dae-Jung, a leader of the Kwangju uprising in 1980, established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission “to investigate incidents regarding human rights abuses, violence, and massacres” that occurred from the era of Japanese colonization through the end of authoritarian rule, focusing especially on the years of the Korean War. Staffed by 240 people with an annual budget of $19 million, the commission conducted its investigations from December 2005 to December 2010. The investigators literally unearthed suppressed details of massacres, digging up unmarked graves. Of the thousands of petitions it received for investigation of wartime massacres, 82% identified the perpetrators as South Korean government agents “the police, the armed forces, or groups associated with the state,” as compared to 18 percent focusing on “enemies of the state,” meaning North Korean soldiers and communist agents.
North Korean soldiers subsequently massacred rightist prisoners in the same city (Taejon), in retribution, committing “bestial atrocities” according to a U.S. investigative report. The North Koreans committed some of their worst atrocities while fleeing north following the Inchon landing and U.S.-UN “liberation” of Seoul. On September 26, according to a U.S. Army investigation, KPA soldiers drove South Korean sympathizers into the horizontal shaft of a gold mine in the Haegu area and dropped them down a vertical shaft where they were left to die. Hundreds of others were buried alive at the airport or lined up in a railroad train station and shot. U.S. POWs were taken on a two week “horror hike” up to Pyongyang where prisoners who could not keep up were summarily executed.
American soldiers in both the North and South took body parts as trophies and, in at least one documented case, affixed Chinese skulls to spikes on the forward sponsors of their tanks, as T.R. Ferhrenbach reported in his book This Kind of War. Ambassador John Muccio, via Assistant Secretary of State Dean Rusk, gave the order to use lethal force against refugees who blocked U.S. tanks or had the potential of fomenting insurrections in UN controlled zones. This resulted in numerous killings, including a massacre at No Gun Ri in late July 1950, where up to three hundred refugees, including women and children, were strafed and killed by U.S. planes and shot by members of the Seventh Cavalry, George Custer’s old outfit, after being forced into an eighty foot long underpass. Norm Tinkler, a nineteen year old machine gunner who participated in the massacre, said, “we just annihilated them, it was like an Indian raid back in the old days.”
Dirty little secrets: Mistreatment of prisoners and allegations of biological warfare
Albert D. Biderman, a social scientist who reviewed interviews with 235 Air Force P.O.W.’s, wrote that the Communists’ techniques were designed to “extort false confessions.” And that the methods used were similar to that that “inquisitors had employed for centuries.” They did nothing that “was not common practice to police and intelligence interrogators of other times and nations.” The CIA helped fuel the flames of public passion on the issue by subsidizing the publication of Edward Hunter’s Brainwashing in Red China (1951). The agency also began mind-control experiments of its own. As former CIA director Richard Helms explained to journalist David Frost 25 years after the war, “We felt that it was our responsibility not to lag behind the Russians or the Chinese in this field, and the only way to find out what the risks were was to test things such as L.S.D. and other drugs that could be used to control human behavior. These experiments went on for many years.”
As horribly as American POWs were treated in captivity, General Matthew Ridgeway’s office acknowledged that more prisoners died in U.S.-UN camps than in the North Korean-Chinese camps. An estimated 6,600 enemy prisoners died in U.S.-UN camps by the end of 1951. Britain’s chief of the defense staff, Lord Carver, stated that “the UN prisoners in Chinese hands … were certainly much better off in every way than any held by the Americans.” Kim Sung Tae, a KPA fighter captured by the United States after the Inchon landing, told a reporter that “our life [in captivity] was nothing but misery and torture from the first days of our capture. We were beaten, starved, tortured and made to work like slaves [with many killed for acts of defiance]. We were treated worse than beasts.”
Racism and class stratification in the U.S. Army
In another example of discrimination, Lt. Leon Gilbert of the 24th Infantry regiment, who had won a combat infantry badge in Italy in World War II, was given the death penalty by an army court for failure to obey a command, a grossly unjust sentence unprecedented in army history. The offense occurred in the Kunchow-Taegu area when Lt. Gilbert had not slept for six days and was suffering from dysentery. He had been ordered to go beyond a roadblock on a suicide mission of no strategic utility, which he rationally refused to do. The Gilbert case is another example that reflects on the persecution of black American soldiers at this time.
Canada’s and Great Britain’s Korean War
Legacies of the war
In the 1952 election cycle, public dissatisfaction with the war fell on the Democratic Truman administration, enabling Republicans to win 38 more seats in the House and 36 Senatorial contests as well as the presidency. After two years of war Americans had grown tired and frustrated, though their feelings did not translate into support for peace or anti-imperialist movements, and they failed to reckon with the wide-scale atrocities committed. Right-wing generals promoted an early variant of the “stab in the back” myth. General James Van Fleet wrote in Reader’s Digest in July 1953 that the military could have achieved total victory against the North Koreans and Chinese but was prevented from doing so by civilian policy-makers. Remembered in this way, the generals used even greater levels of firepower in the next conflict fought under similar circumstances in Vietnam.
Across the Third World, China’s prestige was heightened by the Korean War because of its role in saving the Northern regime and standing up the United States. North Korea recovered its prewar levels of agricultural and industrial output by 1957 through the “superhuman efforts” of its population along with $1.6 billion in aid and technical assistance from the Soviet Union, China, and Eastern bloc countries. Though warped by rigid authoritarianism, including a purging of rivals to the Kim dynasty, the northern economy was more advanced than that of the South until the late 1960s. Presenting itself as the vanguard of world revolution striving for a fair international economic order, the DPRK provided free schooling and medical services, welfare for war invalids and families of the fallen, and sanctioned women’s rights. Over the long term, however, North Korea developed into a militarized garrison state, in part because the Korean War never officially ended.  North Korea was in turn used by the United States to broadcast the failings of state socialism, with most media depictions failing to provide any commentary on how its political evolution was impacted by the war.
Korea overall is a case study for showing the futility of war, as the war perpetuated rather than solved the countries’ problems and divisions. The horrendous violence and suffering directed against the Korean people was unconscionable, furthermore, and one can hope will never be repeated.
About the author: Jeremy Kuzmarov teaches history at the University of Tulsa. He is author of The Myth of the Addicted Army: Vietnam and the Modern War on Drugs (Massachusetts, 2009) and Modernizing Repression: Police Training and Nation Building in the American Century (Massachusetts, 2012). He has been active in the Historians Against the War organization and Tulsa Peace fellowship.
The author thanks Roger Peace for his excellent editing and guidance, and also Mark Selden and Alfred W. McCoy. Special acknowledgment is also given to the late Dr. Jack Tobin and the late Fred Branfman. Archives Visited: National Archives, College Park Maryland, Harry S. Truman Library, Independence Missouri, Carl Albert Research Center, Norman, Oklahoma; Woody Guthrie Archive, Tulsa Oklahoma.
 James R. Kerin, “The Korean War and American Memory,” Ph.D. Diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1994.
 Richard L. Halferty, “The Forgotten War in Korea: Remembrances of Veterans Sacrifices are Glaringly Absent,” The Washington Post, June 24, 2015.
 Halferty, “The Forgotten War in Korea.”
 Kerin, “The Korean War and American Memory;” Halferty, “The Forgotten War in Korea.”
 Paul D. Wolfowitz, “In Korea, a Model for Iraq,” New York Times, August 30, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/31/opinion/31wolfowitz.html?_r=0.
 George Katsiaficas, Asia’s Unknown Uprisings I: South Korean Social Movements in the 20th Century (PM Press, 2012). See also Jeremy Kuzmarov, Modernizing Repression: Police Training and Nation Building in the American Century (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2012).
 John L. Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History (New York: Penguin, 2010); David J. Bercuson, Blood on the Hills: The Canadian Army in the Korean War (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002), 229. See also David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter (New York: Hyperion, 2007).
 Bruce Cumings, The Korean War (New York: New American Library, 2010).
 Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations, rev ed. (New York: Basic Books, 2006), 117-124, 154-156.
 Howard Zinn, Postwar America, 1945-1971 (New York: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1973), 53, 54, 55. For larger U.S. geopolitical designs in Asia, see David Vine, Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Harm America and the World (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2015); America’s Asia: Dissenting Essays on Asian-American Relations, ed. Mark Selden & Edward Friedman (New York: Vintage Books, 1969).
 Saint Augustine quoted in Diana Preston, A Higher Form of Killing: Six Weeks in World War I That Forever Changed the Nature of War (New York: Bloomsbury, 2015), 7.
 Marilyn B. Young, “Bombing Civilians: From the 20th to the 21st Centuries,” in Bombing Civilians: A 20th Century History ed. Marilyn B. Young and Yuki Tanaka (New York: The New Press, 2009), 160; Charles K. Armstrong, Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013), 48.
 For a profile of Yo, see Bruce Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War I: Liberation and the Emergence of Separate Regimes, 1945-1947 (Studies of the East Asian Institute). (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1981).
 For astute insights into North Korean society and its evolution as a product of the war, see Armstrong, Tyranny of the Weak; Heonik Kwon & Byong Ho-Chung, North Korea: Beyond Charismatic Politics (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012) and Bruce Cumings, North Korea: Another Country ( New York: The Free Press, 2004).
 Ronald Steel, Walter Lippmann and the American Century (Boston: Little & Brown, 1980), 473. North Korean officials later claimed the U.S. actually bombed their residence as future negotiations were stalled.
 For a detailed history, Michael J. Seth, A History of Korea: From Antiquity to the Present (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2010).
 Dae-Sook Suh, The Korean Communist Movement, 1918-1948 (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1967), 132.
 Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, I, 36-38; Chong Sik-Lee, Counterinsurgency in Manchuria: The Japanese Experience, 1921-1940 (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, January 1967). Kim Sok-Won was thought responsible for the massacre of Chinese citizens in Manchuria.
 Mark Caprio, “Neglected Questions on the ‘Forgotten War’: South Korea and the United States on the Eve of the Korean War,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, January 31, 2011; Reinhard Drifte, “Japan’s Involvement in the Korean War,” in The Korean War in History, ed. James Cotton and Ian Neary (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1989), 120-134.
 Quoted in Laurence H. Shoup and William Minter, Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy (New York: Authors Choice Press, 1977), 228. For strategic planning after World War II, see also Noam Chomsky, For Reasons of State (New York: Pantheon, 1973).
 William L. Neumann, America Encounters Japan: From Perry to MacArthur (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1969), 2; Sentimental Imperialists: The American Experience in Southeast Asia, ed. James C. Thompson, Peter W. Stanley, John Curtis Perry (New York: Harper & Row, 1981).
 See Franz Schurman, The Logic of World Power: An Inquiry Into the Origins, Currents, and Contradictions of World Politics (New York: Pantheon Books, 1974), 197; “Washington Round-Up,” Aviation Week, July 2, 1951; Robert E. Herzstein, Henry R. Luce, Time and the American Crusade in Asia (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005).
 James Peck, Washington’s China: The National Security World, the Cold War, and the Origins of Globalism (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2006), 5.
 See William Hinton, Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village (New York: Vintage Books, 1966) and Mark Selden, China in Revolution: The Yennan Way Revisited (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1995).
 Bruce Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History (New York: Norton, 1997), 210; Thomas J. McCormick, America’s Half Century: United States Foreign Policy in the Cold War and After 2nd ed. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), 116.
 Charles K. Armstrong, The North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004); Wilfred G. Burchett, This Monstrous War (Melbourne, Joseph Waters, 1952), 43-45; Suzy Kim, Everyday Life in the North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013); Anna Louise Strong, In North Korea: First Eye-Witness Report (New York: Soviet Russia Today, 1949), 11. For more on Kim’s background, see Dae-Sook Suh, Kim Il Sung: The North Korean Leader (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988).
 Armstrong, The North Korean Revolution, 155, 56.
 Kim, Everyday Life in the North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950, 77, 86, 87, 88, 89, 98, 175.
 Armstrong, The North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950, ch. 6.
 Kim, Everyday Life in the North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950, 221.
 Jeremy Kuzmarov, Police Training, “Nation-Building,” and Political Repression in Postcolonial South Korea,” The Asia Pacific Journal, July 1, 2012, http://apjjf.org/2012/10/27/Jeremy-Kuzmarov/3785/article.html
 Armstrong, The North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950, 230, 231.
 Armstrong, The North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950, 233-235.
 Brett Reilly, “Cold War Transition: Europe’s Decolonization and Eisenhower’s System of Subordinate Elites,” in Endless Empire: Spain’s Retreat, Europe’s Eclipse, America’s Decline (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2012), 350.
 Jon Halliday and Bruce Cumings, Korea: The Unknown War (New York: Pantheon, 1988), 23; Dong-Choon Kim, The Unending Korean War: A Social History, trans. Sung-ok Kim (Larkspur, Calif.: Tamal Vista Publications, 2000), 80; Mark Gayn, Japan Diary (New York: William Sloane, 1948), 352.
 Burchett, This Monstrous War, Mitchell, “Control of the Economy during the Korean War: The 1952 Coordination Agreement and its Consequences,” in The Korean War in History, ed. Cotton and Neary, 153; Bruce Cumings, Origins of the Korean War, II: The Roaring of the Cataract, 1947-1950 (New Jersey: Princeton University Press ,1990), 137, 151, 470.
 Kuzmarov, Modernizing Repression, ch. 4; Gregory Henderson, Korea; The Politics of the Vortex (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968); Richard D. Robinson, “Betrayal of a Nation,” Unpublished Manuscript, 1960 (courtesy of Harvard Yenching Library),
 See my Modernizing Repression, chapter 4; Katsiaficas, Asia’s Unknown Uprisings: Vol 1. In Waegwon, rioters cut off the police chief’s eyes and tongue. The Soviet ambassador to North Korea paid some money to rebels through a liaison, though these revolts would have taken place anyways as the conditions were ripe in South Korea for rebellion, and the Soviet involvement was minimal.
 Kim, The Unending Korean War.
 Walter Sullivan, “Police Brutality in Korea Assailed: Torture, Wholesale Executions of Reds Held Driving People Into Arms of Communists,” New York Times, February 1, 1950, 3.
 Gordon Young, Journey From Banna (Xilibris, 2011), 159.
 For the historical pattern, see John Tirman, The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America’s Wars (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).
 Margaret Bourke-White, Portrait of Myself (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1963), 328-349; Bryan R. Gibby, The Will to Win: American Military Advisors in Korea, 1946-1953 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2012); Col. Robert Heinl Jr. Victory at High Tide: The Inchon-Seoul Campaign (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1968), 227. On police training, see Kuzmarov, Modernizing Repression. Arms and equipment were valued at over $110 million.
 Hun Joon Kim, The Massacres at Mt. Halla: Sixty Years of Truth Seeking in South Korea (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014), 35; Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War II, 2:250–59; John Merrill, The Peninsular Origins of the War (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1989), 125; Sheila Myoshi Jager, Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea (New York: W.W. Norton, 2014), 53.
 Kim, The Massacre at Mt. Halla, 34.
 Merill, Korea, 100; Kim, The Massacres at Mt. Halla, 34; Katsiaficas, Asia’s Unknown Uprisings, 100; Carl Mydans, More Than Meets the Eye (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1959), 292; Carl Mydans, “Revolt in Korea: A New Communist Uprising Turns Men Into Butchers,” Life, November 15, 1948, 55-58.
 John Foster Dulles, “’To Save Humanity from the Deep Abyss,’” New York Times Magazine, July 30, 1950, reprinted in The Korean War, ed. Lloyd C. Gardner (New York: Quadrangle Books, 1972), 84-85.
 Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War II, 285, 286, 402, 472; Bourke-White, Portrait of Myself, 328-349; Gibby, The Will to Win.
 Cumings, The Korean War, 10, 11; John Gunther, The Riddle of MacArthur: Japan, Korea and the Far East (New York: Praeger, 1975), 165; Armstrong, Tyranny of the Weak, 16. For insightful analysis, see Caprio, “Neglected Questions on the ‘Forgotten War.’” A curious story in connection with how the news of the fighting first reached Tokyo is related by John Gunther in The Riddle of MacArthur. On the morning of June 25, Gunther was with two important members of MacArthur’s staff, one of whom received a phone call, and came back to state that “a big story has just broken. The South Koreans have attacked North Korea.”
 Report, Major Millard Shaw, Acting Advisor, “Guard of the 38th Parallel by the National Police,” cited in Kuzmarov, Modernizing Repression, ch. 4; Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, II:129, 195.
 Gregory Henderson, “Korea, 1950,” In The Korean War in History, ed. James Cotton and Ian Neary, 179; Donald Nichol, How Many Times Can I Die? (Brooksville, Fl: Vanity Press, 1981). Nichol is considered the founding father of the air force’s human intelligence program.
 “On the 20th Anniversary of the Korean War – An Informal Memoir by the Office of Research Estimates Korean Desk Officer, Circa 1948-1950,” RG 263, Records of the CIA, History Source Collection of the DCI History Staff, 1945-1950, box 4, folder Korea, National Archives, College Park Maryland.
 Jager, Brothers at War, 62; Wada Haruki, The Korean War: An International History (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013); Armstrong, The North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950 and Armstrong, Tyranny of the Weak, 10, 14, 16. In March 1949, Kim had visited Stalin in Moscow and told him “we believe that the situation makes it necessary and possible to liberate the whole country through military means,” though Stalin demurred saying it was preferable to wait for a provocation from the South and counter-attack. Scholars who blame Stalin and Mao for the outbreak of war, according to Armstrong, give short shrift to the internal political dynamic while obscuring the aspirations of the North Korean revolution.
 James Carroll, House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006), 192; Stanley Sandler, The Korean War: No Victors, No Vanquished (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1999), 109; Amstrong, The North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950, 230.
 Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine, Arc of Empire: America’s Wars in Asia from the Philippines to Vietnam (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012); John L. Gaddis, Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security Policy (New York: Oxford University, 1982), 111, 112; Letter to the editor, Weekly Star, Robert Kerr Papers, U.S. Foreign Relations, clippings, Box 5, Carl Albert Congressional Research Center, Norman, Oklahoma.
 John T. McNay, Acheson and Empire: The British Accent in American Foreign Policy (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2001); Robert L. Beisner, Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 332; Peck, Washington’s China, 36. Supporting the perpetuation of white minority rule in Africa and cultivating ties with white supremacist leaders in South Africa and Northern Rhodesia (Roy Welensky), Acheson’s worldview was straight out of the 19th century era of great power competition.
 MacArthur quoted in Steel, Walter Lippmann and the American Century, 470.
 Steven Casey, Selling the Korean War: Propaganda, Politics and Public Opinion in the United States, 1950-1953 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008); Harry F. Kofksy, Harry S. Truman and the War Scare of 1948: A Successful Campaign to Deceive the Nation (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993).
 “The Time in Korea,” Time Magazine July 10, 1950, 9.
 Hajimu Masuda, Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015), 60, 61, 167, 201; Constituent letters, Robert S Kerr Collection, legislative, box 5, Carl Albert Congressional Research Center, Norman Oklahoma.
 Mary S. McAuliffe, Crisis on the Left: Cold War Politics and American Liberals, 1947-1954 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1978), 84.
 Charles J. Hanley, Sang-Hun Choe and Martha Mendoza, The Bridge at No Gun Ri: A Hidden Nightmare from the Korean War (New York: Henry Holt, 2001), 144.
 Ronald J. Caridi, “The GOP and the Korean War,” Pacific Historical Review, 37, 4 (November 1968), 425; Ronald J. Caridi, The Korean War and American Politics: The Republican Party as a Case Study (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1968), 31, 34, 35; “The Congress: ‘Time for Unity,’” Time Magazine, July 10, 1950, 8. Party luminaries like Herbert Hoover, advocate for establishing a “Gibraltar of the Western hemisphere” and isolationism towards the rest of the world and Thomas Dewey also voiced their support for a war against “communist aggression.”
 Senator Robert Taft, “The President Has No Right to Involve the United States in a Foreign War,” In We Who Dared Say No to War: American Antiwar Writing From 1812 to Now, ed. Murray Polner and Thomas E. Woods Jr. (New York: Perseus, 2008), 200-205.
 McAuliffe, Crisis on the Left, 72.
 Matthew E. Mantell, “Opposition to the Korean War: A Study in American Dissent,” Ph.D. Dissertation, NYU, 1973. On Niebuhr, see The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr, ed. Robert M. Brown (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987). See also Arthur Schlesinger Jr. The Vital Center: The Politics of Freedom (New York: 1949).
 McAuliffe, Crisis on the Left, 76; Roger Biles, Liberal Crusader: Paul H. Douglas of Illinois (De Kalb: Northern University Illinois Press, 2002); Robert Sherrill and Harry W. Ernst, The Drugstore Liberal (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1968). Wayne Morse (R-OR, later independent), one of two senators to oppose the Gulf of Tonkin resolution authorizing war in Vietnam, joined in a “clear pledge to back up the president in his statement for the defense of America’s security in Asia.” Morse expressed the prevailing liberal relief that “we have at long last…made clear to the freedom loving peoples of the world that the false, lying, vicious communist propaganda which would make it appear they cannot count on the U.S. to defend freedom in the world is really false and lying and vicious.” However after MacArthur crossed the 38th parallel, Morse was more of the dissenter, stating that “when we pull back the veil of the war propaganda of those who are advocating expanding the war in Asia, we are confronted with the ugly proposal on the part of their growing war clique in the U.S. that we commit an act which constitutes for the first time in American history an aggressive act of war against a foreign power.” Caridi, The Korean War and American Politics, 183.
 See John C. Culver and John Hyde, American Dreamer: A Life of Henry A. Wallace (New York: W.W. Norton, 2001).
 Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, An Untold History of the United States (New York: Gallery Books, 2012), 221; Culver & Hyde, American Dreamer, 456-457.
 McAuliffe, Crisis on the Left, 75.
 McAuliffe, Crisis on the Left, 84.
 Caridi, “The GOP and the Korean War,” 429, 430.
 Republican Party Platforms: “Republican Party Platform of 1952,” July 7, 1952. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=25837.
 Alan Schaffer, Vito Marcantonio: Radical in Congress (New York: Syracuse University Press, 1966), 204.
 Mantell, “Opposition to the Korean War,” 26.
 Mantell, “Opposition to the Korean War,” 28.
 John M. Swomley Jr., The Military Establishment, foreword by Senator George McGovern (Boston: Beacon Press, 1964), 209. Graham quoted in Kevin M. Kruse, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America (New York: Basic Books, 2015), 61. On Spellman’s career, see John Cooney, The American Pope: The Life and Times of Cardinal Spellman (New York: Crown, 1984).
 Weyand quoted in Charles Maechling Jr., “Counterinsurgency: The First Ordeal by Fire,” in Low Intensity Warfare: Counterinsurgency, Proinsurgency and Antiterrorism in the Eighties, ed. Michael T. Klare and Peter Kornbluh (New York: Pantheon, 1988), 43.
 Kompton quoted in Vannevar Bush, Endless Horizons (Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press, 1946). The use of the latest death technologies is detailed in U.S. Marines in the Korean War, ed. Charles R. Smith (Washington, D.C.: United States Marine Corps History Project, 2007). On the pioneering use of helicopters, see Lynn Montross, Cavalry of the Sky: The Story of U.S. Marine Combat Helicopters (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1954). On guided missiles, see David Anderton, “Project Typhoon Aids Missile Designers: New Electronic Computer Can Solve Problem of Entire Defense System,” Aviation Week, December 18, 1950, and on drones, Lindesay Parrott, “Air War Now Main Effort in Korea,” New York Times, September 21, 1952.
 E.F. Bullene, “Wonder Weapon: Napalm,” U.S. Army Combat Forces Journal, November 1952; Earle J. Townsend, “They Don’t Like ‘Hell Bombs’” Washington Armed Forces Chemical Association, January 1951; Cumings, The Korean War. See also Robert M. Neer, Napalm: An American Biography (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013). Napalm was developed by Harvard scientists encompassing napthenate and coconut palm added to gasoline at the end of World War II. Experimental missions were carried out on French civilians at the end of the war, including by bombardier Howard Zinn who became a life-long pacifist thereafter. See his You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Time (Boston: Beacon Press, 2002).
 Reginald Thompson, Cry Korea: The Korean War – A Reporters’ Notebook (Reportage Press, 2010), 94.
 Kim, The Unending Korean War.
 Allan Millett, They Came From the North: The War for Korea 1950-1951 (University Press of Kansas, 2010), 95; Callum MacDonald, Korea: The War before Vietnam (New York: The Free Press, 1987), 42; Sandler, The Korean War, 60. Dong Choon Kim notes that it was like a reenactment of the Hideyoshi invasions of the sixteenth century, rank and file soldiers and the righteous army defended the country with their own body after the King and government troops had fled.
 “New Enemy Tactics,” 8th Army War Diaries, July 18-26, 1950, G-2 Staff Section Report, July 18, 1950, U.S. Army, Unit Diaries, History and Reports, Harry S. Truman Library, Independence Missouri, box 6; “The Tank-Killing Shaped Charge,” Life Magazine, October 23, 1950, 67; Andrew Cockburn, The Threat: Inside the Soviet Military Machine (New York: Random House, 1983), 138; Sandler, The Korean War; Kim, The Unending Korean War.
 Cumings, Origins of the Korean War II, 667; Armstrong, Tyranny of the Weak, 26; Hajimu, Cold War Crucible, 58, 59, 78; John W. Riley Jr. and Wilbur Schramm, The Reds Take a City (NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1951).
 “Statement by Detective Who Left Seoul, 20 July 1950,” 31 July 1950 in RG 338, Records of the U.S. Army Operations, Tactical and Support, box 58, National Archives, College Park Maryland; Kim, The Unending Korean War, 134-135; Gavan McCormack and Stewart Lone, Korea Since 1850 (London: St. Martin’s, 1993), 120; Report of the Committee on Government Operations Made Through its Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Subcommittee on Korean War Atrocities, Jan. 7, 1954 (U.S. G.P.O., 1954), 4-6.
 John Melady, Korea; Canada’s Forgotten War (Toronto: McMillan, 1983), 56; Halberstam, The Coldest Winter; Sandler, The Korean War, 56, 76.
 William W. Epley, “America’s First Cold War Army” (Arlington, VA: The Institute of Land Warfare, 1999).
 Alfred R. Hausrath, “The KMAG Advisor: Role and Problems of the Military Advisor in Developing an Indigenous Army for Combat Operations in Korea” (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Operational Research Office, 1957), 29.
 Kim, The Unending Korean War, 130.
 In Donald Knox, The Korean War: Pusan to Chosin: An Oral History (New York: Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, 1985), 94.
 In Andrew Salmon, Scorched Earth, Black Snow: Britain and Australia in the Korean War (London: Aurum, 2011), 65.
 Heinl Jr. Victory at High Tide, 69, 102. See also Richard P. Hallion, The Naval Air War in Korea (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2011); Eugene Clark, The Secrets of Inchon: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Mission of the Korean War (New York: G.P. Putnam, 2002).
 Suh Hee-Kyung, “Mass Civilian Killings by South Korean and U.S. Forces: Atrocities Before and During the Korean War,” Critical Asian Studies, 4, 12 (December 2010); Jon T. Hoffman, Chesty: The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC (New York: Random House, 2002), 354; Heinl Jr., Victory at High Tide, 168. The city, Puller acknowledged, “lay in smoking ruins” after his men passed through it having asked and received MacArthur’s permission to put it to the torch.
 U.S. Marines in the Korean War, ed. Smith, 166, 178; Heinl Jr., Victory at High Tide; 237; 242; Thompson, Cry Korea; Marguerite Higgins, War in Korea: The Report of a Woman Combat Correspondent (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1951), 171. Reprisal killings were taken against northern collaborators when Seoul was retaken. Thompson, a correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph described Seoul as an “appalling inferno of din and destruction with the tearing noise of Corsair dive bombers blasting right ahead and the livid flashes of tank guns, the harsh, the fierce crackle of blazing wooden buildings, telegraph and high tension poles collapsing in utter chaos of wires. Great palls of smoke lie over us as massive buildings collapse in showers of sparks, puffing masses of smoke and rubble upon us in a terrific heat.”
 Lynn Montross, Cavalry of the Sky (New York: Harper, 1954), 173; Captain Walter G. Atkinson Jr., “Use of Portable Flamethrowers in 1st Cavalry Division Sector,” August 30, 1950, RG 338, Records of the U.S Army Operations, Eighth Army Chemical Corps, Historical Files, Box 1433, National Archives, College Park Maryland.
 Jon Halliday and Bruce Cumings, Korea: The Unknown War (New York: Pantheon, 1988), 163; Mark. J. Reardon, “Chasing a Chameleon: The U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Experience in Korea, 1945-1952,” In The U.S. Army and Irregular Warfare, 1775-2007, ed. Richard G. Davis (U.S. Army Center of Military History, 2008), 226; Paul F. Braim, The Will to Win: The Life of General James A. Van Fleet (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2001), 202.
 Kim, The Unending Korean War, 159; “Bandit Activities in South Korea,” in Command Report, Headquarters, Korean Communications Zone, September 1952, RG 554, Records of the General Headquarters, Far East Command, box 1, National Archives, College Park Maryland.
 Richard S. Ehrlich, “Death of a Dirty Fighter,” Asia Times, July 8, 2003; Stephen C. Mercado, The Shadow Warriors of Nakano: A History of the Imperial Japanese Army’s Intelligence School (Washington: D.C. Brassey’s, 2002), 224; Randall B. Woods, Shadow Warrior: William Egan Colby and the CIA (New York: Basic Books, 2013), 224. Poshepny was the prototype for Lt. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, a rogue CIA agent who embraced the dark side.
 William B. Breuer, Shadow Warriors: The Covert War in Korea (New York: John Wiley, 1996); Colonel Ben S. Malcolm, White Tigers: My Secret War in North Korea, with Ron Martz (Washington, D.C.: Brassey’s, 1992).
 Col. Michael E. Haas, Apollo’s Warriors: U.S. Air Force Special Operations During the Cold War (Maxwell Air Force Base: Air University Press, 1997), 26-27.
 Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (New York: Doubleday, 2007), 56, 57; Mercado, The Shadow Warriors of Nakano, 231; Nichol, How Many Times Can I Die?
 Hanley, Choe and Mendoza, The Bridge at No Gun Ri, 170.
 Paul M. Edwards, Korean War Almanac (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2006), pp. 103, 110.
 John S. Brown (U.S. Army Chief of Military History), “The Korean War: The Chinese Intervention,” online: http://www.history.army.mil/brochures/kw-chinter/chinter.htm.
 Historical Report for Period Ending 31 December 1952, War Crimes Division, Col. Claudius O. Wolfe, Zone Staff Judge Advocate and Major Jack R. Todd, JAGC, RG 554, Records of the General Headquarters, Korea Communications Zone, War Crimes Historical Files, War Crimes, box 20; Francis Hill, CAO, I Corps, November 10, 1950; November 16, 1950, Headquarters, 8th U.S. Army, EUSAK, Civil Assistance Section, 10 November 1950, RG 338, 8th U.S. Army, National Archives College Park Maryland, box 3403; 24th CIC Detachment War Diary, July 1-November 1, 1950, RG 338, Records of U.S. Army Operations, 24th Infantry, box 3483, National Archives, College Park Maryland.
 Mantell, “Opposition to the Korean War,” 156; Armstrong, Tyranny of the Weak, 38; Callum McDonald, “So Terrible a Liberation’: The UN Occupation of North Korea,” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 12, 2 (April-June 1991): 10; Halliday and Cumings, Korea, 163; Katsiaficas, Asia’s Unknown Uprisings; Knox, The Korean War, 413; Dong-choon Kim, “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Korea: Uncovering the Hidden Korean War,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, March 1, 2010; Cumings, The Korean War, 198, 199.
 Kim, The Unending Korean War, 157; McCormack and Lone, Korea Since 1850, 150; Cumings, Origins of the Korean War II, 721.
 Shu Guang Zhang. Mao’s Military Romanticism: China and the Korean War, 1950-1953 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995); Chen Jian, China’s Road to the Korean War (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996); Jager, Brothers at War, 56.
 Gibby, The Will to Win, 218; Bercuson, Blood on the Hills, 65.
 Montross, Cavalry of the Sky, 219.
 Glenn Garvin, “TV Review – When Hell Froze Over – the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir,” Miami Herald, March 25, 2013, http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/03/25/3305875/tv-review-when-hell-froze-over.html; Fehrenbach, This Kind of War, 375; Fehrenbach, This Kind of War, 375; Eric Hammel, Chosin: Heroic Ordeal of the Korean War (Zenith Press, 2007).
 Andrew Cockburn, “Follow the Money,” in The Pentagon Labyrinth, ed. Winslow T. Wheeler (Washington, D.C.: World Security Institute, 2011), 79; Halberstam, The Coldest Winter.
 Jerome S. Brower, Harold P. McCormick, “The Use of Incendiary Bombs for Cereal Crop Destruction,” May 29, 1951, RG 338, Records of the U.S Army Operations, Eighth Army Chemical Corps, Historical Files, Box 1433, National Archives, College Park Maryland.
 T.R. Fehrenbach, This Kind of War: A Study in Unpreparedness (New York: McMillan, 1963), 406; Salmon, Scorched Earth, Black Snow, 307. For comparison with Vietnam, see Nick Turse, ‘Kill Anything That Moves’: The Real America War in Vietnam (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2014).
 Montross, Cavalry of the Sky, 219.
 Richard J.H. Johnston, “Outnumbered GIs Lost Faith in Arms: Morale Hard Hit as the Enemy, Disregarding His Losses, Retained the Initiative,” New York Times, December 10, 1950, 5.
 Halberstam, The Coldest Winter, 403, 473.
 Roy E. Appleman, Disaster in Korea: The Chinese Confront MacArthur (College Station, TX: Texas A &M Pres, 1989), 360; Garrett Underhill and Ronald Schiller, “The Tragedy of the U.S. Army,” Look Magazine, February 13, 1951, 27.
 Garrett Underhill and Ronald Schiller, “The Tragedy of the U.S. Army,” Look Magazine, February 13, 1951, 27-28.
 Fehrenbach, This Kind of War, 470.
 James I. Matray, “Mixed Message: The Korean Armistice Negotiations at Kaesong,” Pacific Historical Review, 81, 2 (May 2012), 221-244; Brandon K. Gauthier, “Korea: What it was like to Negotiate with North Korea 60 Years Ago,” The Atlantic Monthly, July 26, 2013; Burchett, This Monstrous War, 123-166. Echoing historian Clay Bair, Matray concludes that “it was the UNC that had established the acrimonious tone for the truce negotiations with its insulting opening proposal. It acted on instructions from Ridgway, who seemed more interested in proving his toughness and placating Rhee than in reaching a quick settlement.”
 Charles S. Young, Name, Rank and Serial Number: Exploiting Korean War POWs at Home and Abroad (New York: Oxford, 2014). For the exploitation of the POW issue in Vietnam, see H Bruce Franklin’s classic, M.I.A. or Mythmaking in America (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1993).
 Ronald J. Caridi, “The GOP and the Korean War,” Pacific Historical Review, 37, 4 (November 1968), 432.
 Michael A. Bellesiles, A People’s History of the United States Military: Ordinary Soldiers Reflect on Their Experience of War, From the American Revolution to Afghanistan (New York: The New Press, 2012), 262 quoting Ridgeway; Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, Vol. II; Stanley Weintraub, MacArthur’s War: Korea and the Undoing of an American Hero (New York: The Free Press, 2000).
 Cumings, Origins of the Korean War II; Schurman, The Logic of World Power.
 William Manchester, American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur, 1880-1964 (New York: Laurel, 1978), 776; Richard H. Rovere and Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. The General and the President and the Future of American Foreign Policy (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Young, 1951), 12.
 Manchester, American Caesar, 780.
 Manchester, American Caesar; Fehrenbach, This Kind of War, 427, 428.
 Heinl Jr., Victory at High Tide, 76; “”MacArthur on Air Power,” Aviation Week, April 30, 1951, 12; Manchester, American Caesar, 150-151.
 Futrell, “Tactical Employment of Strategic Air Power in Korea,” 40. For technological innovations, see also Richard P. Hallion, The Naval Air War in Korea (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2011).
 Halliday and Cumings, Korea: The Unknown War, 117-118. According to Cumings, a partial table of the destruction shows: Pyongyang – 75%; Chongjin – 65%; Hamhung – 80%; Hungnam – 85%; Sariwon – 95%; Sinaju – 100%; Wonsan– 80%. Napalming of refugees is discussed in Tirman, The Deaths of Others, 104-05.
 Bruce Franklin, War Stars: The Superweapon and the American Imagination (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2008), 116.
 “MacArthur on Air Power,” Aviation Week, April 30, 1951, 12. The industry generally spent hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on public relations. Robert H. Wood, “How a Business Press Can Serve Its Industry,” Aviation Week, February 23, 1953.
 Charles K. Armstrong, “The Destruction and Reconstruction of North Korea, 1950 – 1960,” The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol. 8, Issue 51 No 2, December 20, 2010; Xiaoming Zhang, Red Wings over the Yalu: China, the Soviet Union, and the Air War in Korea (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2002); E. Bregeweid, December 27, 1950, RG 342, U.S. Air Force Command, Mission Reports of Units in Korean War, box 21, National Archives, College Park Maryland.
 Hanson W. Baldwin “The Whales of the Air Are Flying Again,” New York Times, August 14, 1955; Philip J. Klass, “Avionics New Role in Air Power,” Aviation Week, February 25, 1952, 65; “Avionics Puts Fighter on Target,” Aviation Week, March 2, 1953, 139. Blimps served as platforms for radar sentinels and electronic control systems designed to warn of enemy planes while engaging in antisubmarine warfare.
 Theodore Von Karman to Hap Arnold, December 15, 1945, in Prophecy Fulfilled: Towards a ‘New Horizon and Its Legacy’, ed. Michael H. Gorn (Create Space Publishing, 2012); Richard P. Hallion, George. Watson Jr., David Chenoweth, Technology and the Air Force: A Retrospective Assessment (Washington, D.C.: Air Force and Museums Program, 1997).
 Hallion, The Naval Air War in Korea; “Matador Opens New Era of Missile Warfare,” Aviation Week, September 24, 1951, 219; Lindesay Parrot, “Air War Now Main Effort in Korea,” New York Times, September 21, 1952; William B. Harwood, Raise Heaven and Earth: The Story of Martin Marietta People and Their Pioneering Achievements (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993), 252, 252. On origins see also Kenneth P. Werrell, The Evolution of the Cruise Missile (Maxwell, Air Force Base: Air University Press, 1985), 7, 36; Gordon Bruce, “Aerial Torpedo is Guided 100 Miles by Gyroscope,” New York Tribune, October 20, 1915, 1.
 “Navy Uses Robot Missiles against Targets in Korea,” New York Times, September 18, 1952; William J. Coughlin, “The Air Lessons of Korea,” Aviation Week, May 25, 1953; Annie Jacobsen, Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base (Boston: Little & Brown, 2011), 222. Drones were also used to survey nuclear testing in Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 1946 that resulted in the expulsion of the local population.
 See Annie Jacobsen, Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America (Boston: Little & Brown, 2014); Linda Hunt, Secret Agenda: The United States Government, Nazi Scientists, and Project Paperclip, 1945-1990 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991).
 Paul G. Gillespie, Weapons of Choice: The Development of Precision Guided Munitions (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2006), 45-51; “Heavyweights Over Korea: B-29 Employment in the Korean Air-War,” Air University Quarterly Review, 7, 1 (Spring 1954), 102, 103; David Anderton, “Project Typhoon Aids Missile Designers: New Electronic Computer Can Solve Problem of Entire Defense System,” Aviation Week, December 18, 1950; F. Lee Moore, “Flying a Bug Instead of a Beam,” Aviation Week, October 23, 1950, 57; Cabell Phillips, “Why We’re Not Fighting with Push Buttons,” New York Times, July 16, 1950, SM7. On Nazi scientists, see Jacobsen, Operation Paperclip.
 Nick Alexandrov, “Carpet Bombing History: Washington’s Anti-Monuments Men,” June 26-28, 2015, http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/06/26/carpet-bombing-history/; Commission of International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Report on U.S. Crimes in Korea, March 31, 1952, Pyongyang, Korea, www.wwpep.org/index/Resources_files/crime.pdf.
 1st Marine Special Action Report, Wonsan-Hamburg-Chosin, October 8, 1950-December 15, 1950, U.S. National Archives, College Park Maryland, RG 127, UDO40, Korea, G-2 ,Chosin Reservoir.
 “Communist Camouflage and Deception,” Air University Quarterly Review, 1, 1 (Spring 1953).
 Armstrong, “The Destruction and Reconstruction of North Korea, 1950 – 1960.”
 Conrad Crane, American Airpower Strategy in Korea, 1950-1953 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000), 40, 41, 43; Sahr Conway-Lanz, Collateral Damage: Americans, Noncombatant Immunity, and Atrocity after World War II (New York: Routeledge, 2006), 149. One 60-year-old man, too sick to brush away hundreds of flies that swarmed him, told a New York Times reporter that he “wanted to die – I would rather die than live like this.”
 Author’s personal Interview, Korean War Pilots, Boston Commons, Peace demonstration against the Iraq War, fall 2005; Salmon, Scorched Earth, Black Snow, 407.
 Eg. Captain Pressly, December 27, 1950, RG 342, U.S. Air Force Command, Mission Reports of Units in Korean War, boxes 21, National Archives, College Park Maryland. In this report, Pressly reported rocketing, napalming and strafing enemy troops on a hill, with an estimated 300 troop casualties. He then reported strafing a village at CT 2416 and starting three fires. 8 rockets and four napalm. There are hundreds of reports like this in 122 boxes in RG 342.
 Thompson, Cry Korea; I.F. Stone, The Hidden History of the Korean War (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1952), 258; Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, Vol. II, 706-07.
 Herbert Marcuse, One Dimensional Man, with a new introduction by Douglas Kellner (Boston: Beacon Press, 1964, reprint 1991).
 Quoted in Marilyn B. Young, “Bombing Civilians From the Twentieth to the 21st Centuries,” in Bombing Civilians, 2009, 160.
 Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, Vol II, 705; “Attack on the Irrigation Dams in North Korea,” Air University Quarterly Review, 6 (Winter 1953-1954), 41.
 Franklin, War Stars.
 Quoted in Wilfred G. Burchett, Vietnam North (New York: International Publishers, 1966). The Air Force claimed that air power “executed the dominant role in the achievement of military objectives,” with the threatened devastation of North Korea’s agricultural economy forcing Kim Il-Sung to the bargaining table. Robert Pape, Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996), 141.
 Rick Shenkman, Political Animals: How Our Stone Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics (New York: Basic Books, 2016), 185.
 Robert F. Kerr, Foreign Policy- Far East, Robert S. Kerr Papers, box 3, foreign policy, Carl Albert Congressional Research Center, Norman, OK.
 On the formative influence of the frontier, see Walter Hixson, American Settler Colonialism: A History (New York: McMillan, 2013).
 Casey, Selling the Korean War, pp. 160, 162, 161.
 Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, rev ed. (New York: Pantheon Books, 2002).
 “When the Red Shadow Fell, North Korea’s Liberated Capital Shows the Signs of Russian Rule,” Life Magazine, November 27, 1950, 58. A subsequent letter to the editor by a missionary who had known Mr. Ha referred to the brutality of the “red devils.”
 Harold H. Martin, “How Our Air Raiders Plastered Korea,” Saturday Evening Post, August 5, 1950, 26, 27.
 John Steinbeck, Bombs Away: The Story of a Bomber Team (New York: Penguin Classics, 2009); Michael Sherry, The Rise of American Airpower: The Creation of Armageddon (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987), 137.
 David Lawrence, “The Kremlin’s Offensive,” U.S. News & World Report, July 7, 1950, 48.
 Joseph and Stewart Alsop, “The Lessons of Korea,” Saturday Evening Post, September 2, 1950, 17.
 See for example Vladislav Zubok, A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War From Stalin to Gorbachev (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007).
 Marguerite Higgins, “The Terrible Days in Korea,” Saturday Evening Post, August 19, 1950, 26.
 Marguerite Higgins, War in Korea: The Report of a Woman Combat Correspondent, photograph by Carl Mydans and others (Garden City New York: Doubleday, 1951), 15, 16; Antoinette May, Witness to War: A Biography of Marguerite Higgins (New York: Beaufort Books, 1983). The prevailing gender norms of the time were reflected in a profile of Higgins in Life Magazine, which had as a caption that she “still managed to look good” despite being embedded with U.S. troops!
 Quoted in Cumings, The Korean War, 14-15.
 Mantell, “Opposition to the Korean War,”25;“Warning to the West,” New York Times, June 26, 1950. A typical article from the New York Times, September 28, 1950 “The Korean War: UN Forces Clean Up in Seoul, Drive Ahead in South,” begins triumphantly in describing that the 1st Division raised its flag over the US consulate after cleaning out pockets of resistance, and goes on to report air support operations targeting railyards and bridges and the death of 250 “reds” in one operation and 1,900 overall. The bodies of twelve American soldiers were reported found in Chinju after being tied up and shot, with two Americans surviving after playing dead and one North Korean killed because he presumably refused to shoot the “helpless Americans.” “The Korean War: UN Forces Clean Up in Seoul: Drive Ahead in South,” New York Times, September 28, 1950, 2. While there is nothing inaccurate in this reporting, much is left out including the desolation of the city following the UN “liberation” detailed by British journalist Reginald Thompson and voices of Seoul’s people. The enemy is depicted as being brutal, though commensurate or worse atrocities committed by U.S. and ROK forces are whitewashed.
 Mantell, “Opposition to the Korean War,” 85. The letter was later published in the Socialist Monthly Review which editorialized against the war.
 Hanley, Choe and Mendoza, The Bridge at No-Gun Ri, 162.
 Walter Sullivan, “GI View of Koreans as ‘Gooks’ Believed Doing Political Damage,” New York Times, July 26, 1950.
 Herzstein, Henry R. Luce, Time and the American Crusade in Asia.
 “Men at War,” Time Magazine, January 1, 1951, 23.
 Noam Chomsky, “The Responsibility of Intellectuals,” in American Power and the New Mandarins: Historical and Political Essays (New York: Vintage Books, 1967), 323-366.
 Richard H. Rovere and Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. The General and the President and the Future of American Foreign Policy (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Young, 1951), 102.
 Ibid., 109.
 Ibid., 238.
 Ibid., 250.
 See Tom Engelhardt, The End of Victory Culture: Postwar America and the Disillusioning of a Generation (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2007); Michael Latham, Modernization as Ideology (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002); Walt W. Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto (New York: 1956); Chomsky, “The Responsibility of Intellectuals.”
 Jacques Soustelle, “Indochina and Korea: One Front.” Foreign Affairs, 29, 1 (October 1950): 56-66.
 Henry A. Kissinger, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, foreword by Gordon Dean, published for the Council on Foreign Relations (New York: Harper Brothers, 1957), 43, 47, 49.
 C. Wright Mills, The Causes of World War III (New York: Ballantine Books, 1958, 1960), 95.
 See Chomsky, For Reasons of State.
 William O. Douglas “We Can’t Save Asia by War Alone,” Look Magazine, January 16, 1951.
 Steel, Walter Lippmann and the American Century, 470-476. Lippmann’s views on the Chinese revolution, which he was hostile to but felt the U.S. could do nothing to halt, are discussed in Peck, Washington’s China, 78.
 On corporate support for McCarthyism, see Michael Paul Rogin, The Intellectuals and McCarthy: The Radical Specter (Cambridge, MA: MIT University Press, 1969).
 Jo Ann Ooiman Robinson, Abraham Went Out: A Biography of A.J. Muste (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1981), 139, 283.
 Mantell, “Opposition to the Korean War;” Andrew Hunt, David Dellinger: The Life and Times of a Nonviolent Revolutionary (New York: New York University Press, 2006), 97.
 Mantell, “Opposition to the Korean War,” 87.
 “Communists: A Moral Certainty,” Time Magazine, August 14, 1950, 11.
 For a good discussion, see Myra MacPherson, ‘All Governments Lie:’ The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I.F. Stone (New York: Scribner, 2006).
 McAuliffe, Crisis on the Left, 75.
 “Korean War Lullaby,” http://www.trussel.com/hf/korean.htm.
 I.F. Stone, The Hidden History of the Korean War (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1953); MacPherson, ‘All Governments Lie,’ 264-267.
 Against the Beast: A Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire, ed. John Nichols (New York: Nation Books, 2004), 231; Paul Robeson “Denounce the Korean Intervention,” June 28, 1950 in If We Must Die: African American Voices on War and Peace, ed. Kristen L. Stanford (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2008), 191-192
 Scott Nearing, World Events, Winter 1950, Volume III; Winter 1951, Volume IV, Harry S. Truman Library, James B. Moullette Papers, Independence, Missouri, Box 2, folder pamphlets.
 Mills, The Causes of World War III, 88, 89.
 Ivan M. Tribe, “Purple Hearts, Heartbreak Ridge, and Korean Mud: Pain, Patriotism and Faith in the 1950-1953 ‘Police Action’” in Country Music Goes to War, ed. Charles K. Wolfe and James E. Akenson (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2005), 128, 130.Earl Nunn’s tribute to MacArthur was also a big seller, ending with the line: “though he did the best he could, there were some who thought he should, let the communists take over all creation.”
 Woody Guthrie, “Mr. Sickyman Ree,” “Han River Woman,” “Korean Bad Weather,” “Korean Quicksands,” and “Korean War Tank,” excerpted. Words & Music by Woody Guthrie. © Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Woody Guthrie Archive, Tulsa, Oklahoma. I thank Nora Guthrie and the Woody Guthrie archives for allowing publication of the material.
 Woody Guthrie, “Talking Korea Blues,” excerpted. Words & Music by Woody Guthrie. © Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Woody Guthrie Archive, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Woody Guthrie Archive, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
 Robert O. Bowen, “A Matter of Price,” in Retrieving Bones: Stories and Poems of the Korean War, ed. W.D. Ehrhart and Philip K. Jason (New Bruinswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1993), 143.
 James Drought, “The Secret” In Retrieving Bones, 156-157.
 Drought, “The Secret,” in Retrieving Bones, 146-147.
 Melinda Pash, In the Shadow of the Greatest Generation: The Americans Who Fought in the Korean War (New York: NYU Press, 2012), 173; Richard J.H. Johnston, “Outnumbered GIs Lost Faith in Arms: Morale Hard Hit as the Enemy, Disregarded his Losses, Retained the Initiative,” New York Times, December 10, 1950, 5; Martin Russ, The Last Parallel: A Marine’s War Journal (New York: Rhinehart, 1957); Curtis James Morrow, What’s a Commie Ever Done to Black People? A Korean War Memoir of Fighting in the US Army’s Last All Negro Unit (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1977). One symptom of low morale was the smoking of opium. The Pentagon reported that 715 soldiers were arrested for this purpose in 1952. Kathleen Frydl, The Drug Wars in America, 1940-1973 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 82 and Lukasz Kamienski, Shooting Up: A Short History of Drugs and War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 147.
 Johnnie letter to Dad, January 16, 1951, Papers of John B. Moullette, Harry S. Truman Presidential Library, Independence, Missouri, Box 1.
 Dean Acheson, response letter to Mr. Moullette, February 23, 1951, Papers of John B. Moullette, Harry S. Truman Library, Independence, Missouri, Box 1.
 John B. Moullette, State Teachers College Trenton, New Jersey, letter to Mr. George E. Sokosky, Columnist, c/o Times-Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana. Moullette went on to successful career in the field of education and his father proudly boasted of his accomplishments in a letter to Dean Acheson in 1969.
 Moullette to Moullette, January 16, 1951; Moullette to Acheson, January 18, 1951; Acheson to Moullette, February 23, 1951; all in Acheson correspondence folder, box I, Moullette Papers, HSTL; Casey, Selling the Korean War, 224.
 Kim, The Unending Korean War; Kim Dong-choon, “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Korea: Uncovering the Hidden Korean War,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, 9-5-10, March 1, 2010. – See more at: http://apjjf.org/-Kim-Dong-choon/3314/article.html#sthash.b8988fKP.dpuf.
 Kim, The Unending Korean War, 157; Cumings, The Korean War, 202; Bellesiles, A People’s History of the United States Military, 261; Sung Yong Park, “Report on U.S. War Crimes in Korea, 1945-2001,” Korea International War Crimes Tribunal, June 23, 2001; “Truth Commission: South Korea 2005,” United States Institute for Peace, http://www.usip.org/publications/truth-commission-south-korea-2005; and Choe Sang-hun, “Unearthing War’s Horrors years Later in South Korea, International New York Times, Dec. 3, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/03/world/asia/03korea.html.
 Charles J. Hanley, and Jae-Soon Chang, “Summer of Terror: At least 100,000 said executed by Korean ally of US in 1950,”Japan Focus, July 23, 2008, 2.Available online at http://japanfocus.org/-__J__Hanley___J_S__Chang/2827.
 James Cameron, Point of Departure (London: Oriel Press, 1978), 131-2; McDonald, Korea, 42; also Nichol, How Many Times Can I Die?,128. CIC agent Donald Nichol, a confidante of Rhee, said he stood by helplessly in Suwan as “the condemned were hastily pushed into line along the edge of the newly opened grave. They were quickly shot in the head and pushed in the grave…I tried to stop this from happening, however, I gave up when I saw I was wasting my time.”
 Kim, The Unending Korean War, 159, 160, 201-2; Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, II, 265.
 Bruce Cumings, “The South Korean Massacre at Taejon: New Evidence on US Responsibility and Cover-up,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 6, Issue 7 (July 2, 2008), http://apjjf.org/-Bruce-Cumings/2826/article.html.
 Hanley, Choe, and Mendoza, The Bridge at No Gun Ri, 98.
 Colonel Claudius O. Wolfe, JAGC, Zone Staff Judge Advocate, Jack R. Todd, Major, JAGC, Chief War Crimes Division, Historical Report for Period Ending 31 December 1952, RG 554, Records of the General headquarters, Korean Communications Zone, War Crimes Historical Files, box 220, National Archives, College Park Maryland. Once they reached Pyongyang, the U.S. POWs, many of them emaciated, were paraded in the main city street.
 Kim, The Unending Korean War, 171; Investigation Conducted by Eugene Wolf and Lt. Col Leon W. Konecki, 26-29 December 1950 with Deputy Chief of Staff Headquarters RG 554, Records of the General Headquarters, Far East Command, Reports of Investigations, 1950-1951, box 16; 24th Infantry War Diary, RG 338, Records of the U.S. Army, Operations, 25th Infantry Division, September 1950-31 October 1950, box 3481, National Archives, College Park Maryland.
 Cuming and Halliday, Korea’s Unknown War.
 Captain Pressly, December 30, 1950, RG 342, U.S. Air Force Command, Mission Reports of Units in Korean War, box 21, National Archives, College Park Maryland.
 Cumings, Origins of the Korean War II, 686, 707; Marilyn B. Young, “Hard Sell, ” in Selling War in a Media Age: The Presidency and Public Opinion in a Media Age ed. Kenneth Osgood and Andrew Frank (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2011), 129.
 Commission of International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Report on U.S. Crimes in Korea, March 31, 1952, Pyongyang, Korea, www.wwpep.org/index/Resources_files/crime.pdf. In one brutal revenge killing in Sinchon, American soldiers cut off a woman’s breasts and put a wooden club in her vagina before burning her alive in an act reminiscent of atrocities described in Vietnam’s Winter Soldiers investigation. See Winter Soldier (International Newsreel, 1971).
 Kim, The Unending Korean War, 157; McCormack and Lone, Korea Since 1850, 150; Cumings, Origins of the Korean War II, 751. North Korean atrocities are detailed in Historical Report for Period Ending 31 December 1952, War Crimes Division, Col. Claudius O. Wolfe, Zone Staff Judge Advocate and Major Jack R. Todd, JAGC, RG 554, Records of the General Headquarters, Korea Communications Zone, War Crimes Historical Files, War Crimes, box 20 which includes vivid photographs.
 See Hanley, Sang-Hun Choe, and Mendoza, The Bridge at No Gun Ri, 134; Conway-Lanz, Collateral Damage, 96-102. In January 1951, the U.S. military command investigated a company of American military police with the motorcycle squad who had fired their weapons indiscriminately from a train. Angry about their buddies being killed, the squadron shot at seven women and children, killed a fourteen year old boy and man carrying a bundle of clothes up a mountain, and injured a railroad signal man. When a transport officer and his aide asked them to stop shooting, the ringleader replied that it was “none of their business” and that “if they were, or liked ‘commies’ they should go north.” Report of Investigation Concerning Alleged Malicious Use of Weapons by Members of X Corps, January 10, 1951; Chief KMAG to Chief of Staff, November 15, 1950, Richard W. Weaver, Assistant Corps Inspector General, RG 554, Records General Headquarters Far East Command, Reports of Investigation 1950-1951, box 17, National Archives, College Park Maryland.
 Choon, “Forgotten War, Forgotten Massacres – The Korean War (1950-1953) as Licensed Mass Killing,” Hanley, Sung-Hun Choe and Mendoza, The Bridge at No Gun Ri.
 Salmon, Scorched Earth, Black Snow, 277. Australian soldiers also executed prisoners in cold blood.
 Cumings, The Korean War; Robert Jay Lifton, Home From the War: Vietnam Veterans Neither Victims Nor Executioners (Boston: Beacon Press, 1973); Aaron B. O’Connell, Underdogs: The Making of the Modern Marine Corps (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012), 192. O’Connell in a book published by Harvard University Press no less, lays out the brutalizing effect of boot camp training but then extols the Marines professionalism in Korea, saying that excessive violence and aggressive behavior was linked more to home-front problems like high rates of domestic violence and murder. The latter is no doubt true but one wonders if he or his editors have ever read the key literature on the war.
 Martin Russ, Happy Hunting Ground (New York: Atheneum, 1968), 73.
 Kahn Jr.The Peculiar War, 131.
 Henry Beston, “Soliloquy On the Airplane,” Human Events, 7, 42 (October 18, 1950), 1-4.
 Kamienski, Shooting Up, 155, 156.
 Tim Weiner, “Remember Brainwashing,” International New York Times, July 6, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/06/weekinreview/06weiner.html?_r=1. See Annie Jacobson, The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top Secret Military Research Agency (Boston: Little & Brown, 2015) and KAMIEŃSKI, Shooting Up, 155, 156. Edward Hunter, Brainwashing in Red China (New York: Vanguard, 1951).
 Historical Report for Period Ending 31 December 1952, War Crimes Division, Col. Claudius O. Wolfe, Zone Staff Judge Advocate and Major Jack R. Todd, JAGC, RG 554, Records of the General Headquarters, Korea Communications Zone, War Crimes Historical Files, War Crimes, box 20, National Archives, College Park Maryland; American POW’s in Korea: Sixteen Personal Accounts (North Carolina: McFarland, 1998); Gavan McCormack, “Korea,” in Burchett: Reporting the Other Side of the World, 1939-1983,ed. Ben Kiernan (London: Quartet Books, 1987), 168; William Shadish, with Lewis Carlson, When Hell Froze Over: The Memoir of a Korean War Combat Physician Who Spent 1010 Days in a Communist Prison Camp (New York: I Universe, 2007).
 Bellesiles, A People’s History of the United States Military, 273; Pash, In the Shadow of the Greatest Generation.
 Young, Name, Rank and Serial Number, 32; Richard Peters and Xiaobing Li, Voices From the Korean War: Personal Stories of American, Korean and Chinese Soldiers (The University Press of Kentucky, 2004), 246-247; Callum A, MacDonald, “’Heroes Behind Barbed Wire’ – The United States, Britain and the POW Issue During the Korean War,” in The Korean War in History, ed. Cotton and Neary, 153; Bertil Lintner, Blood Brothers: The Criminal Underworld of Asia (New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2002), 248; Cumings, Origins of the Korean War II, 202.
 Report of Investigation into Allegations Contained in Letter to International Red Cross from the Two Senior POWs per July 28 to August 11, 1951, RG 554, General Headquarters, Far East Command, Office of the Inspector General, Box 18, National Archives, College Park Maryland; Lee Hak Ku and Hong Chol, Sr. Prisoner Camp, Pusan to International Red Cross, June 8, 1951 Ibid; From Results of Trial. Richard R. Anderson, June 21, 1951; From the Results of the Trial, Isaac V. Davis, 25 June 1951.
 Report of Investigation into Allegations Contained in Letter to International Red Cross from the Two Senior POWs per July 28 to August 11, 1951, RG 554, General Headquarters, Far East Command, Office of the Inspector General, National Archives, College Park Maryland, Box 18
 Young, Name, Rank and Serial Number, 40; Peter Kalischer, “The Koje Snafu,” Colliers, September 6, 1952, 15-19; Melady, Korea, 157; Wilfred Burchett and Alan Winnington, Koje Unscreened (Peking, 1953). One American MP was killed in the melee either from a spear wounded inflicted by a rebellious prisoner or by his own concussion grenade according to conflicting accounts. Survivors later smuggled a letter signed by 6,223 prisoners to the media. It said, “Not a day, not a night but the sacrifice of some of our comrades occurs. The American guards, armed to the teeth, are repeatedly committing acts of violence and barbarity against our comrades. They drag them out and kill them either in public or in secret with machine-guns and carbines. They drive our comrades by the thousand into… torture rooms. Many patriots are loaded into iron barred cages of police cars and taken to the seashore where they are shot and their corpses cast into the sea.”
 Burchett and Winnington, Koje Unscreened, 121-125; Sandler, The Korean War, 215. Reference for incidents at the POW camp at Pong-am do: Col. Claudius O. Wolfe, UN Zone Staff Judge Advocate and Major Donald C. Young to Commander General, “Review of Report of Proceedings of a Board of Officers Appointed Pursuant to Article 121 Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of POWs, August 12, 1949,” National Archives, College Park, MD, RG 338, Records of the U.S. Army Commands, 1942-, “Korean Communist Zone, 1951-1952,” Box 509. On March 7, 1953, POWs on the island of Yonchondo mounted another rebellion which was put down at a cost of 27 POWs killed and 60 wounded.
 See Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman, The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea (Indiana University Press, 1989); “United States Biological Warfare During the Korean War: Rhetoric and Reality;” Tom Buchanen, “The Courage of Galileo: Joseph Needham and the Germ Warfare Allegations in the Korean War,” The Historical Association, 2011, http://www.csupomona.edu/~zywang/needham.pdf; Lone and McCormack, Korea Since 1850, 115-18; Diarmuid Jeffreys, “Dirty Little Secrets: Al Jazeera Investigates the Claim that the US Used Germ Warfare During the Korean War,” Al Jazeera, April 4, 2010; Jacobsen, The Pentagon’s Brain. Needham was red-baited and barred from travel to the U.S. until the 1970s.
 Historian Sheila Miyoshi Jager claims Needham relied too heavily on Chinese scientists intimidated by the repression that existed under Mao, and that Soviet documents reveal a cover-up in which the Chinese created false plague regions and injected persons sentenced to execution with the plague bacilli. (Jager, Brothers at War, 256). Endicott and Hagerman produced Chinese archival documents which show that Mao and his subordinates ordered investigation and debated the scale of the operations which they would not have done if it was all a hoax. The incriminating Soviet documents may have been fabricated as part of an effort by secret Police Chief Lavrenti Beria to discredit rivals. See Endicott and Hagerman, “Twelve Newly Released Soviet-era `Documents and allegations of U. S. germ warfare during the Korean War,” H-Diplo, July 5, 1999. Jager misleads her readers by confidently concluding it was all hoax when she does not cite or weigh the evidence presented by Endicott and Hagerman or discuss the findings of Al Jazeera’s investigation. She also dismisses knowledge of CIA psy-war operations and fact that the U.S. was later accused of germ warfare by Cuba and Vietnam with some substance it appears.
 Jeffrey A. Lockwood, Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as a Weapon of War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 126, 172. Lockwood provides an informative discussion of the controversy far better than Jager, with excellent historical background on Ishii and his rescue by the United States after World War II.
 Endicott and Hagerman, The United States and Biological Warfare; Julian Royall, “Did the US Wage Germ Warfare in Korea?” The Telegraph, June 10, 2010. Years after issuing his report, Joseph Needham said he was “97 percent convinced the charges were true.” Hugh Deane, The Korean War, 1945-1953 (San Francisco: China Book, 1999), 155.
 Halberstam, The Coldest Winter, 547; Private Jesse Ibarra, Interview by Colonel Jesse H. Bishop, 25 June 1951 in Report of Investigation RE Alleged Irregularities in the Administration of Military Justice in the 25th Infantry Division, 28 December 1950 to 8 March, 1951, RG 554, Records General Headquarters, Far East Command, Reports of Investigation 1950-1951, box 9, National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
 “Jim Crow Justice in Korea: The Case of Lt. Leon Gilbert,” Trade Union Youth Committee for the Freedom of Lt. Gilbert, New York; American Left Ephemera Collection, 1894-2008, University of Pittsburgh Archive, http://digital.library.pitt.edu/u/ulsmanuscripts/pdf/31735060483041.pdf.
 Report of Investigation RE Alleged Irregularities in the Administration of Military Justice in the 25th Infantry Division, 28 December 1950 to 8 March, 1951, RG 554, Records General Headquarters, Far East Command, Reports of Investigation 1950-1951, box 9, National Archives, College Park Maryland.
 Cited in Swomley Jr. The Military Establishment, 232.
 Bercuson, Blood on the Hills, 97. On Canadian involvement, see also Melady, Korea.
 Bercuson, Blood on the Hills, 31, 32.
 Bercuson, Blood on the Hills, 84. For a critical view of Pearson, see Yves Engler, Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping: The Truth May Hurt (Vancouver: Fenwood Publishing, 2012).
 Salmon, Scorched Earth, Black Snow, 44, 87, 198.
 Salmon, Scorched Earth, Black Snow, 122-23. Peet mentioned another soldier who when he removed the cigarette he was smoking, had the flesh of his lips come away with it.
 Mantell,” Opposition to the Korean War,” 66.
 James Van Fleet, “The Truth About Korea,” The Readers Digest, July 1953, 1; Braim, The Will to Win, 328.
 For example, Mr. D.A. Greenhill, U. Alexis Johnson and Kenneth T. Young, “Korean Internal Situation: The So Minh Case,” July 2, 1952; “Korean Internal Political Situation,” June 21, 1952, Harry S. Truman Papers, Korea, HST Library, Box 11; Suh Sung, Unbroken Spirits: Twenty-Five Years in South Korea’s Gulag (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001).
 Kuzmarov, Modernizing Repression.
 Katsiaficas, Asia’s Unknown Uprisings; Kuzmarov, Modernizing Repression.
 Cumings, North Korea; Armstrong, Tyranny of the Weak; Balasz Szalontai, Kim Il Sung in the Khrushchev Era: Soviet-DPRK Relations and the Roots of North Korean Despotism, 1953-1964 (Woodrow Wilson Center for International History, 2005), 40; Benjamin R. Young, “Juche in the United States: The Black Panther Party’s Relations with North Korea, 1969-1971,”The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue 12, No. 2, March 30, 2015. In 1964, Cambridge economist Joan Robinson wrote a report entitled “Korean miracle” praising the “intense concentration of the Koreans on national pride” in North Korea’s social and economic development, led by the country’s leader Kim Il Sung who was a “messiah rather than a dictator.” Kim enjoyed prestige within non-aligned circles, promoting North Korea as a vanguard state in resisting integration into the global capitalist economy and in forging its political independence, training two thousand guerrilla fighters from 25 countries and providing significant development aid. Noam Chomsky has noted that capitalist encirclement is sure to bring about the most autocratic qualities in socialist regimes.
 For excellent analysis, see Cumings, North Korea.
 Kwon& Ho-Chung, North Korea, 106; Chris Springer, Pyongyang: The Hidden History of the North Korean Capital (Gold River, CA: Saranda Books, 2003). This is similar to Vietnam where most war commemoration honors revolutionary heroes, rather than war victims and dead.
 See Larry J. Butler, Copper Empire: Mining and the Colonial State in Northern Rhodesia, c. 1930-1964 (New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2007). The Paley commission in 1951 constructed a national policy on resources and suggested that the U.S. should look to Latin America and Africa. The American government provided loans to the Central African Federation, headed by white supremacist Roy Welensky, to increase copper production. On the general drive for resources as a feature of U.S. foreign policy, see Harry Magdoff, The Age of Imperialism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1969).
 Cumings, The Korean War, 217; Laton McCartney, Friends in High Places: The Bechtel Story (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988); Roger Hilsman to Mr. Johnson, “Requirements for Petroleum Agreement,” January 3, 1964, RG 59, General Records Department of State, Office of Legal Affairs, Far Eastern Affairs, box 2, folder petroleum, National Archives, College Park Maryland.
 Democracy in Occupied Japan: The U.S. Occupation and Japanese Politics and Society, ed. Mark Caprio and Yoneyuki Sugita (New York: Routledge, 2007), 17; Roger Dingeman, “The Dagger and the Gift: The Impact of the Korean War on Japan,” Journal of American-East Asia Relations (Spring 1993), 42.
 Bruce Cumings, Dominion from Sea to Sea: Pacific Ascendancy and American Power (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 340-41; A.H. Raskin, “U.S. Arms Being Produced at 7 Times Pre-Korean Rate,” New York Times, June 25, 1952; “Production Step-Up Faces Rocky Road,” Aviation Week, January 8, 1951
 “McDonnell Backlog Climbs Steeply,” Aviation Week, October 16, 1950; “Missiles Super-Agency Fast Taking Shape,” Aviation Week, October 30, 1950; “Industry Poised for All-Out Mobilization,” Aviation Week, December 11, 1950, 13-14; Irving Stone, “New High Thrust Turbojet Seen for GE,” Aviation Week, December 4, 1950; Philip Klass, “Hughes Takes Wraps Off Avionics Giant: Fir is Major Producer of Air Defense Weapons,” Aviation Week, May 25, 1953, 14, 15; William D. Hartung, Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex (New York: The Nation Books, 2011); Charles Higham, Howard Hughes: The Secret Life(New York: St. Martin’s 1993); Kai Frderickson, Cold War Dixie: Militarization and Modernization in the American South (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2013); David L. Carlton, “The American South and the U.S. Defense Economy: A Historical View,” in The South, The Nation, and the World: Perspectives on Southern Economic Development, ed. David Carlton and Peter A. Coclanis (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2003), 160. A large Douglas Aircraft plant in Tulsa, Oklahoma was among those to reopen and prosper in the war years.
 Mantell, “Opposition to the Korean War,” 199.
 Noam Chomsky, “The Threat of Warships on an Island of World Peace,” in Making the Future: Occupation, Intervention, Empire and Resistance (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2012), 297-300; Michael T. Klare, The Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for the World’s Last Resources (New York: Picador, 2012); Joseph P. Gerson, “Countering Washington’s Pivot and the New Asia-Pacific Arms Race,” Z Magazine, February 2013.