For Your Reference

The U.S. War Against Korea

August 3, 2017

The following article, continued from the June 16 issue, is the third in a series providing background material on the U.S. occupation of Korea and the history of U.S. aggression against the Korean people.

In November 1950, MacArthur ordered the U.S. airforce to turn North Korea into a wasteland by destroying “every installation, factory, city, and village.” He congratulated the air force on November 8th when seventy B-29s dropped 550 tons of incendiary bombs on Sinuiju, “removing it from the map.” In the following week, napalm was used to completely burn the city of Hoeryong, and by November 25 MacArthur joyfully declared that “a large part of the northwest area between Yalu river and southwards to enemy lines was more or less burning” and would become “a wilderness of scorched earth.”

The war carried out against North Korea by U.S. imperialism was bestial and genocidal, and the U.S. came very close to using atomic weapons, especially after November 1950 when Chinese troops entered the war and completely routed U.S. forces in the north. On November 30th, Truman stated publicly in a press conference that the use of the atom bomb was “under active consideration,” and added further that the decision to use the bomb “would not wait for U.N. authorization.” On December 9th, MacArthur formally made the request to use atomic weapons, and outlined a list of targets. MacArthur later reflected “I would have dropped between thirty and fifty atomic bombs...strung across the neck of Manchuria.” He said he wanted to “spread behind us – from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea – a belt of radioactive cobalt...which has an active life of between sixty and 120 years.” MacArthur was not alone in his lunatic desires to use atomic weapons. At the time, many other U.S. military and civilian officials called for dropping the bomb on northern Korea and China.

While atomic weapons were not used during the Korean war, the use of chemical and germ warfare by U.S. forces was widespread, and napalm was dropped on thousands of civilian targets. U.S. saturation aerial bombing with conventional weapons, however, proved to be the most deadly method of war carried out by the U.S. By 1952, almost everything in northern and central Korea was completely flattened by this relentless bombing. The bombing was intentionally used by the U.S. military authorities to not only kill but to terrorize the entire population. As one U.S. official put it: “If we keep on tearing the place apart, we can make it a most unpopular affair for the North Koreans. We ought to go right ahead.” During U.S. Congressional hearings in 1951, the commander of the U.S. air force in the Far East, O’Donnel, stated that his mission “was to reduce towns of north Korea to heaps of ashes and destroy them as to make the Korean people get a terrible shock from it and desist from the war...Almost the whole of Korean Peninsula is in an awfully tragic state. Everything is being destroyed. Nothing worth mentioning remains.”

With the signing of the 1953 armistice, the Korean people proved that no force can conquer a people who have risen in defense of their freedom and independence.

It is estimated that during the three years and one month of war, the U.S. dropped on North Korea as much tonnage of bombs as they dropped on all the Pacific countries during the three years and eight month Pacific campaign during World War II. It also far exceeded the amount of bombs dropped on Germany.

Despite these barbarous methods of warfare used by the U.S., however, they failed to destroy the morale of the Korean people who continued to fight. After three years, North Korean resistance and repeated counterattacks against U.S. forces eventually resulted in defeat for U.S. imperialism. On July 27, 1953, the U.S. and North Korea signed an armistice agreement.

With the signing of the 1953 armistice, the Korean people proved that no force, no matter how powerful or strong, can conquer a people who have risen in defense of their freedom and independence. The arrogant desire of U.S. imperialism to occupy the entire Korean peninsula was crushed, and like the Japanese imperialists before them, the new U.S. occupiers of Korea were learning that the proud and heroic Korean people would never willingly submit to foreign aggression.