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Korean War - 1950-53

1945 - Korea divided at 38th parallel

1947 - elections in south created Republic of Korea (ROK), president Syngman Rhee - north became People's Democratic Republic of Korea, president Kim Il Sung

1948 - Russians withdrew troops

1949 - US began to withdraw troops in June

1949/12 - Mao arrived in Moscow for 2-month visit with Stalin, resulting in Feb. 1950 Sino-Soviet alliance; Stalin invited Ho Chi Minh to join Mao in Moscow in Feb. 1950: "Let's add to China's population of 475 million, the populations of India, Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines."

1950/03/10 - CIA predicted NK attack in June - Charles Willoughby, G-2 in Asia, filed 1195 reports to MacArthur in 12 months after June 1949, reported massive buildup of NK troops on border, large numbers Chinese troops of Korean descent entered NK, but MacArthur ignored the reports, said May 1950: "I don't believe a shooting war is imminent"

1950/04 - Stalin met with Kim Il-sung in Moscow but would not support Kim's plan to invade SK unless Mao agreed to help: "If you should get kicked in the teeth, I shall not lift a finger. You have to ask Mao for all the help." Kim visited Mao in Beijing and assured Mao as he had assured Stalin that the U.S. would not respond. Mao gave his approval because Mao was planning to invade Formosa and wanted Stalin's help. Stalin began to send Soviet supplies to NK and to plan the invasion, using the cover story that it would be a "counterattack" provoked by an alleged attack by SK. Mao was preoccupied with planning the Formosa attack and was surprised when the sudden invasion began in June.

1950/05/30 - Syngman Rhee lost elections, about to lose control of SK government. However, the argument of I.F. Stone in The Hidden History of the Korean War (1952) that the war caused by Rhee and the U.S. is not correct. The war was planned and initiated by Stalin and Kim.

1950/06/24 - (U.S. time = Saturday, June 24) (Korea time= Sunday, June 25) at 4 am NK invaded SK with 90,000 troops equipped with Soviet weapons and Soviet T-34 tanks, quickly overran SK defenses, captured Uijongbu highway center 20 mi. north of Seoul in 2 days, captured Seoul by June 28 as ROK fled south blowing up Han River bridges, killing refugees, trapping 44,000 own men north of river

1950/06/25 - Sunday, Truman returned to Blair House from Independence, MO, and met with NSC - ordered U.S. Navy and AF into SK to stop invasion (but not Army ground troops)

1950/06/26 - Monday, Truman asked and received support from UN - Russia was absent because boycotting Security Council until seat given to Communist China

1950/06/27 - Tuesday, 2nd UN meeting approved use of ground troops; Truman ordered the 7th Fleet to the Taiwan Strait to protect Formosa. - 11 days later, a 3rd meeting authorized a UN command under Gen. Douglas MacArthur - 15 nations would contribute 40,000 troops, plus 300,000 from the U.S. and 500,000 from ROK

1950/06/29 - Thursday, MacArthur went to the front, saw disintegration of ROK army, committed 13,000 U.S. troops of 24th Division, but were outnumbered 20 to 1, many surrendered or captured

1950/07/07 - MacArthur proposes his plan to "compose and united" all Korea in a great counterattack, but Truman delayed approval until NK attack was stopped.

1950/07/19 - Truman speech before Congress requested $10b for the "police action" and made radio speech to the American people that was vague and ambiguous - no mobilization for complete victory as in WWII

1950/07 - "July debate" over strategy - MacArthur supported by John Allison that U.S. should liberate and unite Korea - but Omar Bradley and JCS supported by George Kennan that U.S. should only restore boundary of 38th parallel and seek a political settlement rather than a military solution.

1950/07/23 - MacArthur gives JCS the details of his Inchon plan

1950/07/26 - MacArthur orders Gen Walton "Johnnie" Walker to "stand or die" at Taegu - Pusan defense force increased to 92,000 U.S. with 91,500 ROK and 1500 Brit vs. 98,000 NK

1950/08/07 - MacArthur begins counterattack from Pusan and stops NK attack

1950/08/28 - JCS approve Inchon plan - no order from Truman; only JCS recommendation "let action determine the matter"

1950/09/01 - NSC papers support Inchon plan, but only with UN support, with an offer of peace terms, and with only ROK forces to be used in northern border with China

1950/09/12 - "bomb at the Waldorf" - Acheson meeting with Brit and French to expand NATO troops with 10 German divisions and 4 U.S. Divisions

1950/09/15 - Inchon landing at high tide

1950/09/30 - public warning from China's Chou En-lai to stay away from the Yalu border - called by MacArthur "diplomatic blackmail" - but G-2 reported massive buildup of Communist China Forces (CCF) along northern side of Yalu

1950/10/8 - MacArthur crossed 38th line into NK at 3:14 am., 12 hours before UN passed resolution calling for a "unified, independent, democratic Korea" and instructing MacArthur to "insure conditions of stability throughout Korea"; Kim Philby passed to the Russians and the Chinese secret information about MacArthur's troop movements; on this same day, U.S. jets attack Soviet air base near Vladivostok as part of the "Secret Air War" between Russia and the U.S. on both sides of the Yalu.

1950/10/15 - MacArthur and Truman meet privately on Wake Island

1950/10/25 - 1st CCF attack across Yalu with 250,000 troops and Russian MIG-15 jets - but after two weeks, retreat back into China

1950/11/24 - MacArthur starts final offensive toward Yalu, at the same time as Chinese delegates arrive at UN to begin peace negotiations

1950/11/25 - 2nd CCF attack against MacArthur's weakened center line - UN and ROK forces retreat back into SK

1950/12/25 - CCF stopped at 38th; UN sought armistice but not MacArthur who urged all-out war against China

1951/01 - "great debate" by 82nd Congress over Truman's Dec. 19 declaration of national emergency, wartime controls, increase in U.S. troops for NATO to 6 divisions with Ike in command, $50b defense budget, doubled air groups to 95, increase Army to 3.5m troops, Japanese peace treaty, admit Greece and Turkey to NATO and add new bases in Libya, Saudi Arabia, Spain ; hearings held on Kenneth Wherry's Resolution 8 to require congressional authorization of any troops for NATO

1951/02/11 - 3rd CCF attack pushed UN forces back to Han River

1951/02/21 - Matthew Ridgeway's "Killer" counterattack pushed CCF back to 38th line by April 21

1951/04/11 - Truman fires MacArthur for speaking in public about using Nationalist Chinese troops in Korea - map

1951/04/22 - 4th CCF attack - CCF commander Peng Teh-huai ordered by Mao "win a quick victory if you can; if you can't, win a slow one." - drove Ridgeway back to Seoul by May

1951/05/02 - Malik speech hints at possible settlement

1951/06/01 - Ridgeway's "Ripper" counterattack pushed CCF 40 miles north of the 38th line

1951/06/05 - Malik began talks with Kennan about possible settlement

1951/07/10 - Panmunjon talks began, but settlement delayed by Stalin (until Stalin's death March 5, 1953)

1953/06/26 - armistice signed


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