Presentation on theme: "Overview. Context… WWII ended in 1945 We had been occupying Japan and helping them rebuild The UN was new and the US wanted to lend its support and gain."— Presentation transcript:
Context… WWII ended in 1945 We had been occupying Japan and helping them rebuild The UN was new and the US wanted to lend its support and gain “superpower” status Many soldiers had just returned home from post-war duties Domino Theory Fear of a 3 rd World War
Divided Korea After World War II, Japan’s former colony of Korea was divided into two occupation zones along the 38 th parallel with the Soviet zone in the north and the US zone in the south Before the occupation forces departed, an anticommunist regime was established in the south and a communist one in the north
US in Asia The US was uncertain as to the extent of its commitment in Asia It knew its umbrella definitely covered Japan, Okinawa, and the Philippines, but it was unclear about Taiwan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia Believing the US did not intend to protect South Korea, the USSR allowed the North Koreans to invade the south in 1950 Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s speech to the National Press Club omitted South Korea from the US “defensive perimeter”
North Korea Attacks: June 25, 1950 North Korean army crossed the 38th parallel with an invasion force totaling over 90,000 troops and 150 Soviet-built tanks By the night of June 28, Seoul had fallen and the South Korean forces were in disarray South Korea appealed to the United Nations for assistance The UN passed a resolution recommending that “the members of the United Nations furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the armed attack and to restore international peace and security to the area.”
United Nations As a member of the UN Security Council, the Soviet Union could have vetoed UN involvement in the war, but instead Moscow was boycotting the Security Council at the time in protest of the UN’s failure to seat a representative of the newly established People’s Republic of China In the absence of the USSR, the UN passed a resolution sending a military force to South Korea The force was predominately American with Douglas MacArthur as the Supreme Commander (remember him from rebuilding Japan?) There were also contributions from the UK, Canada and other Commonwealth countries.
Force Comparison North Korean People’s Army (NKPA) 14 Divisions (9 in invasion force) Soviet trained, armed and advised 150 tanks, almost 100 modern aircraft U.S. Armed Forces in 1950 10 Army divisions (4 in Japan) 48 USAF air groups 331 combatants (64 in Pacific) 2 Marine divisions (-)
Task Force Smith To stem the North Korea advance, the US deployed “Task Force Smith,” a delaying force of two reinforced rifle companies to Pusan MacArthur thought this “arrogant display of strength” would cause the North Koreans to take pause and slow their aggression Elements of Task Force Smith arriving at Taejon
Task Force Smith began occupying defensive positions on July 5 at 3:00 am –At 7:00 they began seeing enemy movement –At 8:16 they began firing artillery –At 2:30 the commander decided to withdraw When LTC Smith arrived at Ch’onan on July 6, he counted 185 men –He began with 540 After all stragglers returned, the total loss to TF Smith was 35% Task Force Smith
Implications of Task Force Smith Task Force Smith has become the poster child for the cost of military unpreparedness “No More Task Force Smiths” GEN Gordon Sullivan, Army Chief of Staff, 1991-1995 (administered the post Desert Storm Army downsizing)
- World War II peak Army strength was 8,268,000 - 89 combat divisions in June 1945 - June 1950 strength was about 591,000 (1/14 the peak World War II size) - 10 active combat divisions - But to keep them fielded, one battalion from each infantry regiment and one firing battery from each field artillery battalion had been eliminated - This move effectively reduced combat power by 1/3
108,500 troops under MacArthur 4 infantry divisions in Japan (7 th, 24 th, 25 th and 1 st Cavalry) Authorized peacetime divisions strength was 12,500 (13,500 for the 25 th ) Authorized wartime strength was 18,900 3 of the 4 divisions in Japan had about 11,000 men In addition to the missing infantry and artillery battalions each Lacked three anti aircraft artillery batteries Lacked the regimental tank companies Had only a company of M24 Chaffee light tanks in place of the divisional tank battalion Estimated the divisions could field 62% of normal infantry firepower, 69% of normal anti-aircraft capability, and 14% of armored support *Remember that at home, the American public was told that this was a “police action” to avoid fear of a WW3
Mostly outdated World War II equipment and much of it was unserviceable – Of 18,000 jeeps only 8,000 were serviceable – Of 13,780 2 1/2 ton trucks, only 4,441 were serviceable Some men were wearing tennis shoes because of a lack of boots ¼ of the small arms were defective
Occupation duties took precedence over training No unit training above the company level had taken place in Eighth Army before April 1949 Limited maneuver area and an annual personnel turnover rate of 43% impeded training The four divisions were rated as 65% to 84% combat ready – Some senior officers felt that 40% was more realistic US troops parade across the Yoshida Bridge
Pusan Perimeter: June 27 to Sept 15, 1950 The American forces were unprepared for the North Korean attack By the end of July, the North Koreans had pushed the U.N. forces to the southeast corner of the peninsula, where they dug in around the port of Pusan.
Inchon (Operation Chromite) Sept 15, 1950 MacArthur completely changed the course of the war overnight by ordering -- over nearly unanimous objections -- an amphibious invasion at the port of Inchon, near Seoul The Americans quickly gained control of Inchon, recaptured Seoul within days, and cut the North Korean supply lines American and ROK forces broke out of the Pusan Perimeter and chased the retreating enemy north
Inchon and Selected Principles of War Surprise Inchon was an unlikely landing site because of strong tides and mud flats Maneuver Amphibious turning movement Offensive Had to do something to reverse Pusan situation and gain the initiative Objective Landing at Inchon facilitated capture of Seoul; both the South Korean capital and the site of important road and railroad intersections
Inchon and Selected Elements of Operational Design “The vulnerability of the enemy is his supply position.” Douglas MacArthur Seoul railroad yards burning after Air Force dropped napalm, September 26, 1950.
Inchon and Selected Elements of Operational Design Bombed North Korean railcars Sept 21, 1950
Inchon and Selected Elements of Operational Design Seoul was decisive both for its symbolic value as the capital and as the most critical node in the supply line of the enemy attack. Seoul railroad yards burning after Air Force dropped napalm, September 26, 1950
Inchon and Selected Elements of Operational Design Termination Knowing when to terminate military operations and how to preserve achieved advantages. Success led MacArthur to continue attack into North Korea; a strategic miscalculation that ultimately led to his relief.
Approaching the Yalu MacArthur continued to push north, ignoring threats of Chinese intervention On October 25, the Chinese army attacked after having infiltrated into North Korea After suffering setbacks, the U.N. forces stabilized their lines by November 5 Chinese withdrew northward MacArthur launched a great offensive toward the end of November, which he optimistically hoped would end the war in Korea
Counteroffensive MacArthur's “all-out offensive” to the Yalu had barely begun when the Chinese attacked en masse on the night of November 25 Roughly 180,000 Chinese troops shattered the right flank of the Eighth Army in the west, while 120,000 others threatened to destroy the X Corps near the Chosin Reservoir On November 28, MacArthur informed the Joint Chiefs, “We face an entirely new war.” U.N. retreat ended about 70 miles below Seoul
Stalemate Beginning January 15, Ridgway led the U.N. in a slow advance northward U.N. re-recaptured Seoul (the fourth and final time it changed hands) on March 15, and had patrols crossing the 38th parallel on March 31 In the meantime, MacArthur had been steadily pushing Washington to remove the restrictions on his forces Truman declined for fear of widening the war (fear of WW3) and fired MacArthur for insubordination on April 11
MacArthur’s Relief MacArthur repeatedly made public statements that were contrary to official US policy In August, he sent a speech to be read to the VFW proposing Formosa’s utility as a base of operations He suggested that Truman Administration policies were responsible for the retreat of the Eighth Army MacArthur and Truman meet at Wake Island, Oct 14, 1950
MacArthur’s Relief On Dec 6, 1950, Truman published an executive order– aimed at MacArthur– requiring all government officials to clear their public statements on foreign and military policy with the Administration Truman planned to use recent military successes to invite the Communists to negotiate MacArthur broadcast an ultimatum to the enemy which undermined Truman’s authority Sent a letter to Congressman Joseph Martin further criticizing the Administration
MacArthur’s Relief “I deeply regret that it becomes my duty as President and Commander in Chief of the United States Military Forces to replace you as Supreme Commander, Allied Powers; Commander in Chief, United Nations Command; Commander in Chief, Far East; and Commanding General United States Army, Far East. You will turn over your commands, effective at once, to Lieutenant General Matthew B. Ridgway.” “But once war is forced upon us, there is no other alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end. War's very object is victory, not prolonged indecision. In war there is no substitute for victory.” MacArthur’s Farewell Address Apr 19, 1951
The End of Mobile War When Ridgway became Commander in Chief, Far East, Lieutenant General James Van Fleet took command of Eighth Army The Chinese attacked in April and again in May, but Van Fleet counterattacked By mid-June 1951, UN forces had regained a line that was for the most part north of the 38 th parallel This last fighting ended the year-long mobile phase of the war
Negotiation and Stalemate On June 29,1951, Ridgway broadcast a message to his Communist counterpart announcing his willingness to negotiate Eighth Army transitioned to an “active defense” Made several unsuccessful attempts to break Communist supply line with air and artillery Matthew Ridgway
Negotiation and Stalemate In spite of the slowdown in major maneuver, both sides expended enormous amounts of effort to solidify their lines in an “outpost war” Costly seesaw battles like Bloody Ridge, Heartbreak Ridge, and Old Baldy Heartbreak Ridge with Bloody Ridge in background
Negotiation and Stalemate Negotiations difficult POWs a major obstacle The UN feared mistreatment of repatriated prisoners by the Communists and wanted prisoners to decide for themselves whether or not to return home The Communists insisted on forced repatriations as was required by the Geneva Convention
Negotiation and Stalemate A poll by the Red Cross in early April 1952 revealed that of 132,000 Chinese and North Korean prisoners screened, only 54,000 North Koreans and 5,100 Chinese wanted to go home The Communists accused the UN of influencing the poll and negotiations broke down
Negotiation and Stalemate A couple of factors combined to bring the war to a close In early 1953, newly elected President Dwight Eisenhower increased pressure on the Communists by authorizing bombing of dams to flood the North Korean countryside Eisenhower also made it be known the US was willing to renew fighting at higher levels unless progress was made on the peace talks On March 5, 1953 Soviet premier Joseph Stalin died which brought on a power struggle in the USSR which forced them to focus more on internal affairs
Negotiation and Stalemate On March 28, 1953 an agreement was reached on the exchange of sick and wounded prisoners and on April 26 negotiations resumed Ultimately it was decided that prisoners who did not want to return home would be turned over to a neutral commission that would hold them for interview by their respective countries before releasing them There was one more Communist offensive and an incident in which South Korean President Syngman Rhee released without authorization 25,000 friendly North Korean prisoners, but finally on July 27, 1953 the armistice was signed
Korean War and the Cold War Truman put limitations on MacArthur because he had concluded that Korea was not worth risking a third world war Korea was part of the US policy of containment, but stopped short of initiating the policy of “roll back” Contributed to the formation of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) by Australia, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and the US in 1954 Secretary of State John Foster Dulles advocated a policy of rolling back Soviet gains and “unleashing” Chiang Kai-shek
Post-war Korea The war ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) encompasses 2 kilometers on either side of the 151 mile long Military Demarcation Line (MDL) Throughout the Cold War tensions along the DMZ remained high including an incident in 1976 in which two US Army officers were murdered by North Koreans as the Americans tried to cut down a tree that was obstructing the line of sight between two UN checkpoints
Korea Today North Korea remains communist and a nuclear threat Its nickname, the “Hermit Kingdom” reflects the closed nature of its society South Korea is a fully functioning modern democracy with an economy over 14 times greater than North Korea’s Panmunjom is the official diplomatic headquarters at the DMZ. North Korean guards, in brown, face their South Korean counterparts, in blue.
Big Ideas to Remember: US/USSR division of power in Korea after WWII North=communist South=democratic North invaded the South South asked the UN for help We stepped in “police action” 1950-1953 “The Forgotten War”