TLW's Korean War Historyscope
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: Nov. 24, 2012. Last Update: Jan. 25, 2017.
Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to the Korean War. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.
In 1857 Ch'oe Han-gi (1803-75) pub. Descriptions of the Nations of the World (Chigu chonyo), which introduces Koreans to the West and suggests that Korea open its doors to cultural interchange.
In the 1860s the Tonghak (Eastern Learning) Movement gains momentum in Korea, led by Ch'oe Che-u (1824-64), a syncretic religion combining Confuscian, Buddhist, Daoist and Roman Catholic elements to fight Western influence and help the poor and rural; Ch'oe is arrested in 1863 and executed in 1864. In 1862 the Chinju Uprising in Korea, led by a fallen yangban (court official) kills a number of corrupt and greedy officials. In 1863 Korean king (since 1849) Ch'olchong dies, and the "in-law" period begins, marking a low point in venality and corruption, causing the yangban-dominated society to begin coming unglued. In 1864 12-y.-o. Kojong II (1852-1919) becomes Yi king of Korea (until 1907), with his father Hungson Taewon-Gun (Taewon'Gun) (1821-98) acting as regent until 1873, then remaining dominant until his death, opposing foreign esp. Christian influence in Korea, while attempting reforms; after so many noble deaths, he decrees that the background color of the Korean flag shall be white, the color of mourning. In 1865 the Comprehensive Nat. Code (Taejon t'ongp'yon), an update of the Choson state code of admin. law is proclaimed in Korea. In Oct. 1866 a French expedition to Korea led by Adm. Pierre Gustave Roze (1812-82) in response to persecution of Roman Catholics occupies and sacks Kanghwa Island at the mouth of the Han River, but is unable to continue to the capital of Seoul and is forced to withdraw, becoming known as the French Disturbance of 1866; the U.S. vessel USS General Sherman sails up the Taedong River toward Pyongyang and is attacked by local Koreans, killing all 24 aboard, causing the U.S. to plan to open Korea to Westerners by force (1871). In 1868 an expedition led by Ernst Jakob Oppert (1832-1903) of Germany, put up to it by Roman Catholic Father Feron of France goes to Korea with 100 Chinese and Malaysian pirates to rifle royal tombs rumored to be full of gold, planning to steal the remains of the father of regent Yi Haeung in order to blackmail the regent into removing trade barriers, but the Koreans attack and force them to give up.
On May 16, 1871 the Yankee Disturbance of 1871 sees U.S. Marines under Capt. Robert Wilson Shufeldt (1822-95), backed by U.S. minister to Peking (former Calif. gov. #9 in 1863-7) Frederick Ferdinand Low (1828-94) attempt to pull a Commodore Perry on Korea, landing on Kanghwa Island at the mouth of the Han River; too bad, after getting their white butts kicked by the Taewon-gun, they are forced to withdraw.
In 1873 Taewon-gun of Korea is forced to give up his authority after his foreigner exclusion policy is deemed a failure, and his son King Kojong begins ruling (until 1907), although his daddy retains influence until his death in 1898.
On May 25, 1875 the Unyo Maru Incident is started by Japanese vessels sailing provocatively into Pusan, Korea accompanied by gunboat Unyo Maru, after which two more warships arrive within two weeks; after showing off their loud big guns they finally leave on June 20 and arrive in Nagasaki on July 1.
On Feb. 26, 1876 Japanese ships under the command of Kuroda Kiyotaka (1840-1900) land at Kanghwa Island in Korea, and do what the U.S. couldn't, forcing Korea into its first modern treaty, the Treaty of Kanghwa, opening it to Japan and recognizing Korean independence from China (no protest by Peking); Pusan and two other ports are opened to Japanese trade for the next 20 mo., and Japan acquires extraterritoriality; King Kojong of Korea sends a high-level official to Japan to observe the Meiji reform programs.
In 1879 Li Hongzhang is sent by China to Korea to advise them on resisting the Japanese.
On May 22, 1880 the U.S.-Korean Treaty of Amity and Commerce is signed, negotiated by Li Hongzhang of China and U.S. Capt. Robert Shufeldt, opening Korea to the U.S. with trade and extraterritoriality rights, causing xenophobes to turn to Obi-Wan, er, Taewon-gun (Heungseon Daewongun) (1820-98), "the Great Archduke" as their only hope.
On July 23, 1881 a group of xenophobic Koreans attacks the Japanese legation in Seoul, drawing support from the Chinese, who on July 24 murder Min Kyom-ho, head paymaster of the Tribute Bureau, whose elder brother is the adopted brother of fatherless Korean spider lady ("the last empress of Korea") Queen Min (1851-95); on Aug. 26 the Chinese free the Taewon-gun and take him to Tianjin, returning him to power, where he begins a struggle with Queen Min for control of the Korean govt., resulting in the Chemulpo (Chemulp'o) Treaty of Amity and Trade (engineered by Queen Min), a mutual defense treaty with the U.S., compensating the Japanese and giving them the right to keep a legation guard; the Yellow Sea port of Inchon (Chemulpo) in W Korea is opened to Japanese commerce, followed by world commerce in 1883; Korea sends several groups of students and observers to Japan - to become oddjobs? In 1883 the main Korean seaport of Pusan is opened to gen. commerce; the port of Wonsan on East Korea Bay in N Korea 110 mi. N of Seoul is opened to foreign trade.
On Dec. 4-6, 1884 the Korean Coup (Gapsin or Kapsin Jeongbyeon or Rev.) of 1884 sees the Japanese-backed Reform Party attempt to oust the Chinese from Korea by taking advantage of its war with France, killing a number of ministers and capturing the king before Chinese troops recapture him and secure the palace in Seoul, causing the Japanese to flee along with reformist leader Kim Ok-kyun (Ok-gyun) (1851-94); full war between China and Japan is narrowly averted.
On Apr. 18, 1885 the Li-Ito Convention between Li Hongzhang of China and Prince Ito Hirobumi (1841-1909) of Japan (who started out a xenophobe then studied at Univ. College London, becoming convinced that Japan needs to adopt Western ways) eases the Sino-Japanese confrontation over Korea with an agreement to withdraw troops and notify each other before intervening again; on Apr. 26 the British occupy Port Hamilton (Komun Island) after fearing that Russia might beat them to it, and the Chinese protest, but the British take their sweet time and stay until Feb. 27, 1887; on June 9 the Treaty of Tianjin, facilitated by British customs service (in China) man Sir Robert Hart recognizes the French protectorate of Tonkin in return for a promise to respect China's S border; on Dec. 22 Prince Ito forms Japan's first Euro-style cabinet, with himself as PM #1 (until Apr. 30, 1888). In Oct. Yuan Shikai (1859-1916) becomes resident Chinese dir.-gen. in Korea for diplomatic and commercial relations, working to strengthen China's grip and weaken Japan's for the next decade; meanwhile it's not working out the way he wants as Queen Min grows stronger, corrupting the Korean state, taxing the peasants, and increasing Japanese economic control.
In 1892 a mass movement begins in Samnye, Korea in Cholla Province to clear the name of Tonghak (Eastern Learning) movement founder Ch'oe Che-u (1824-64), who had been executed in 1864 on trumped-up charges.
On Apr. 26, 1894 Confucian teacher Chon Pong-jun (1854-95) becomes leader of the growing Tonghak movement in Korea, which begins to win against govt. forces, causing the king on June 10 to call for help from the Chinese, who send 3K men, causing the Japanese to respond on June 25 with 8K men, who occupy Seoul, after which the two powers forget about the Tonghaks, starting the First Sino-Japanese War (ends 1895) on July 23 after Japan seizes the Kyongbok Palace, forces the Korean govt. to conclude an alliance with it on Aug. 26, and accept reforms incl. ending slavery; on Sept. 17 14 Chinese ships under Qing Beiyang Fleet Adm. Ding Ruchang (1836-95) (who is wounded along with other offices on the bridge from the first shot of his own vessel the Dingyuan) are defeated by 12 Japanese ships under Adm. Count Sukeyuki Itoh (1843-1914) on the Yellow Sea in Korea Bay at the mouth of the Yalu River in the naval Battle of the Yalu River (largest naval battle of the war), with five Chinese ships sunk and three damaged vs. four Japanese ships damaged and no ships sunk, and 1.35K Chinese vs. 290 Japanese casualties; the Chinese suffer from corrupt munitions manufacturers who fill some of the shells with cement instead of high explosives; on Oct. 24 (night) 10K Japanese troops under field marshal Yamagata Aritomo (1838-1922) cross the Yalu River by pontoon bridge into S Manchuria, suprising 23K Chinese troops under Chinese gen. Sung Ching, and defeating them after a 3-hour battle, losing only four killed and 140 wounded, after which the Japanese take the local capital of Antung (Dandong) in Liaoning Province, and divide forces, one group going after Port Arthur and the other Mukden; on Nov. 6 Kinchow (Jinxian) is captured, followed by the port of Dalian on Nov. 7; on Nov. 21 (midnight) the Battle (Massacre) of Lushunkou (Port Arthur) sees 15K Japanese troops attack and defeat 13K Chinese troops and capture the port by night, after which the Japanese enter the city, only to find Chinese soldiers dressed up as civilians sniping at them, pissing them off and causing them to round up and massacre adult males at will, ending with 4.5K Chinese killed vs. 29 Japanese; meanwhile the Tonghaks rise in rebellion, forming the Righteous Army (Uibyong), becoming the largest peasant uprising in Korean history (ends 1895). On Apr. 17, 1895 after Japanese and Korean govt. forces brutally quash the Tonghaks and execute the leaders, the Treaty of Shimonoseki in the new town (1889) of Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture (known for its big fugu catch) ends the First Sino-Japanese War (begun 1894), giving Japan the upper hand in Korea, with Taiwan (Formosa) (until 1945), the Pescadores, and Port Arthur given to Japan (later returned in exchange for an indemnity); Japan takes over Taipei, Taiwan and turns it into a modern city; China's defeat opens the way for imperialist penetration and unrest, while Japanese control is challenged by popular uprisings. On Oct. 8 Korean Queen Min (b. 1851) is murdered by a plot led by Japanese legation minister viscount Miura Goro (1847-1926); in Dec. Japan forces the Kabo Reforms (a clone of the Meiji reforms) on the Korean govt., elevating the Korean king to emperor, declaring total independence from China with a constitutional monarchy and a Japanese-style cabinet, a modern police force and army, independent judiciary, and 3-level education system; the yangban class system is abolished along with Chinese-style civil service exams.
On Feb. 11, 1896 King Kojong of Korea flees to the Russian legation during yet another uprising, remaining under Russian protection for the next year while being used by the Russians to gain dominance, resulting in the Lobanov-Yamagata Agreement of June 9, establishing a condominium with Japan; Russia sends advisors, founds a Russian-Korean bank, and gains timber and mining concessions. On July 2 So Chae-p'il (Philip Jaisohn) (1864-1951) (recently returned from the U.S., where he studied medicine) founds the Independence Club in Korea, lobbying against foreign imperialism (ends 1898).
On Feb. 20, 1897 King Kojong of Korea leaves the Russian legation and moves into the a new palace in Seoul, and on Oct. 17 takes the title of emperor.
On Apr. 25, 1898 the Rosen-Nishi Agreement between Russia and Japan pledges non-intervention by both countries in the internal affairs of Korea, although Japan is allowed a free hand in economic matters. In Nov. the Korean Independence Club is dissolved, but popular opinion calls the king to reinstate it, then he flip-flops on Dec. 26 and arrests its leaders, causing riots.
On Mar. 18, 1900 Russia sends a squadron to Chemulpo (Inchon) to attempt to secure a concession for a naval base at Masan on the S coast of Korea, but Japan opposes it, and the two countries keep moving toward a collision; meanwhile a railway is completed from Chemulpo to Seoul.
On Jan. 30, 1902 the Anglo-Japanese Alliance is signed, recognizing the right of China and Korea to be free from Russian designs, while Japan recognizes Britain's rights in China, and Britain recognizes Japan's in Korea; Japan demands the withdrawal of Russian troops from Manchuria; meanwhile the Russkies milk a 1896 timber concession on the Yalu River in N Korea, and war is just around the corner.
In July 1903 Russian forces cross the Yalu River and occupy a Korean town, causing Japan to go nonlinear.
The 1st time since the Mongols that an Asian military force totally defeats a European power? On Feb. 8, 1904 (10:30 p.m.) "World War Zero", AKA the Russo-Japanese War (ends Sept. 5, 1905) over control of Manchuria and Korea begins with a surprise Japanese attack on the Russian naval squadron at Port Arthur (Lushun), followed by a formal declaration of war by Japan on Feb. 10 (the U.S. doesn't learn a lesson from this?); the Japanese, led by Field Marshal (since 1898) Prince Iwao Oyama (1842-1916) immediately occupy Seoul, and force Korea to annul all concessions made to Russia. On Apr. 13, 1904 the Japanese score a V in the naval Battle of Port Arthur, and invade Manchuria by land. On Apr. 22, 1904 Russian Far East cmdr. gen. Alexei Nikolayevich Kuropatkin (1848-1925) (imperial war minister since 1898) sends 25K troops under lt. gen. M.I. Zasulitch to block the main road from Korea to Manchuria so that refinforcements from the 1-track Trans-Siberia Railway can be given the needed 6 mo. to build up; too bad, on Apr. 30-May 1 the Battle of the Yalu River near Wiju (Uiju), North Korea on the Chinese border, the first major land battle of the Russo-Japanese War is a V for 42K Japanese of the 1st Army under Gen. Count Kuroki Tamemoto (1844-1923), after which the Russkies retreat N toward Fenghuangcheng. On June 27, 1904 the Battle of Motien Pass in Manchuria is a V for the Japanese under Gen. Count Kuroki Tamemoto (1844-1923) over 25K Russians under Gen. Count Feodor Keller (b. 1850), allowing the pass to be occupied on June 30, blocking the main road between the coast and Liaoyang; Keller dies in a counterattack on July 31. On Aug. 1, 1904 the Japanese begin the Siege of Port Arthur; in Aug. Korea is forced to accept Japanese diplomatic and financial advisers; on Aug. 24-Sept. 4 the Russians are defeated by the Japanese 1st Army under gen. Count Kuroki Tamemoto at the Battle of Liaoyang, followed on Oct. 5-17 by the Battle of Sha-ho (Shaho) River in Oct.; trenches are first used in this war?
On Feb. 23, 1905 the Japanese, led by Field Marshal Iwao Oyama (1842-1916) begin advancing toward the regional capital of Mukden (Shenyang), defeating the Russians on Mar. 10 in the Battle of Mukden (Shenyang) (first modern battle in history, with 400K Japanese against 350K Russians, and over 200K casualties); on May 27-29 the Russian Baltic Fleet is destroyed by the Japanese fleet under "Father of the Japanese Imperial Navy" Adm. Heihachiro Togo (1848-) in the Battle of Tsushima Straits, discrediting the tsar's govt.; on July 24 Tsar Nicholas II and Kaiser Wilhelm II sign the secret Treaty of Bjorko (Björkö) for mutual aid. On Aug. 12, 1905 the Anglo-Japanese alliance is renewed for 10 years, and is extended to incl. India, and is modified to provide for mutual support in case of attack by only one other power at a time. They were made for each other, blini and sake? On Sept. 5, 1905 defeated Russia signs the Treaty of Portsmouth at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, N.H. (first U.S. city to host the formal conclusion of a foreign war until ?), mediated by Pres. Teddy Roosevelt (who wins the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize for it), ending the Russo-Japanese War (begun Feb. 8, 1904), and becoming the first Asian V over a Western power in modern history, giving control of Manchuria to China, and control of Korea to Japan, bringing peace between Japan and Russia for four decades; Japanese foreign minister Jutaro Komura (1855-1911) is chief Japanese rep.; the Anglo-Japanese alliance is renewed for 10 years; Japanese Field Marshal Iwao Oyama becomes a bigger hero than ever, and is given the rank of prince in 1907.
In 1907 Sungjong abdicates, becoming the last Yi Dynasty king of Korea, and Japan is granted a protectorate over Korea. On Nov. 30, 1908 U.S. secy. of state Elihu Root and Japanese ambassador Kogoro Takahira sign the Root-Takahira Agreement, agreeing to mutual respect for each other's territorial possessions in the Pacific, upholding the Open Door Policy in China, and supporting by peaceful means the independence and integrity of China; U.S. fears of eventual war with Japan are relieved - it never had a chance to takahira root?
On Oct. 26, 1909 ardent Korean nationalist An Jung-geun (1879-1910) (who cut off parts of his fingers to write "Korean independence" on a Korean flag in blood) assassinates Japanese Prince Hirobumi Ito (b. 1841) on the railway platform in Harbin, Manchuria, where he came to meet with a Russian diplomat, giving the Japanese an excuse for the annexation of the Korean peninsula; An, who is hung next year believed that the Meiji emperor, whom he idolized, was being betrayed by Ito and that this would wake him up? - if this had never happened Japan would have been America's ally in WWII?
In May 1910 Japanese Gen. Terauchi Masatake (1852-1919) is appointed resident-gen. of Korea, and sets plans in motion for annexing it; on Aug. 22 Japan formally annexes Korea (until 1945) and names it Chosen (Choson), ending the Yi (Choson) Dynasty that ruled since 1392.
On Nov. 22-26, 1943 the First Cairo Conference is held between FDR, Churchill, and Gen. Chiang Kai-shek (along with Gen. Jiang Jieshi) to discuss measures for defeating Japan; independence is promised to Korea; Taiwan and Manchukuo (Manzhouguo) are promised to the Chinese Nationalists.
Hitler dances with the devil in the Paris light, FDR dances with the devil in the pale moonlight? On Feb. 4-11, 1945 the Yalta Conference is held by Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin to secretly decide Germany's fate, namely, dismemberment, with one-third of its E lands annexed by Poland and the Soviet Union, and what remains divided into zones of occupation, along with Austria; Stalin agrees to enter the war against Japan 2-3 mo. after the defeat of Germany only in exchange for guaranteed annexation of the Japanese-controlled S half of Sakhalin Island (with oilfields), the strategic Kurile Islands N of Japan, and the Japanese military base of Port Arthur in Manchuria, plus control of major railways lines in Manchuria, and the div. of Korea along the 38th parallel into Soviet and U.S. zones of occupation, with independence guaranteed after a max. of five years; FDR caves in exchange for the creation of the U.N., his new world policeman; after the other two pressure him, Stalin assures that there will be fair and free multi-party elections in Poland, and later reneges; on Feb. 4 Soviet deputy chief of staff Gen. ? Antonov tells the Big Three that the Red Army needs Allied bomber help to overcome German ground forces in the Eastern Front, and they agree to concentrate on lines of communication between Berlin, Dresden, and Leipzig; on Feb. 10 the Big Three agree to make Germany pay reparations; Stalin gets them to agree to immediately release Russians captured fighting for Germany; on Feb. 11 the Big Three sign the Yalta Agreement at the Lividia Palace, FDR not knowing that his govt. is riddled with secret Soviet agents who pass all of his plans to Stalin, and that his villa is bugged by the Soviet secret police?; on Mar. 1 FDR tells a joint session of Congress "I come from the Crimean Conference, my fellow Americans, with a firm belief that we have made a good start on the road to a world of peace"; 2 mo. later Stalin tells a Yugoslavian delegation visiting Moscow, "This war is not as in the past; whoever occupies a territory also imposes on it his own social system. Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach"; Churchill's daughter says that being with him and FDR "was like sitting between two lions roaring at the same time". On Aug. 8 the Soviet Union declares war on Japan; on Aug. 9 120K of 1M Soviet troops invade Korea and Manchuria. On Aug. 24 a blast occurs aboard Japanese transport Ukishima Maru while carrying 4K Koreans home, killing 549. On Aug. 26 after the Soviet Union lands 40K troops in North Korea to disarm the Japanese invaders, they reach Pyongyang. On Sept. 8 Korea is partitioned by the U.S. and Soviet Union. On Sept. 9 the Japanese in South Korea, Taiwan, China and Indochina surrender to Allies. On Dec. 15-26 the Big Three (U.S., Britain, Soviet Union) hold a 10-day meeting in Moscow seeking an atomic rule by the U.N. Council; on Dec. 27 they agree to divide Korea into two separate occupation zones and to govern the nation for five years.
On Feb. 8, 1946 Soviet-trained puppet Kim Il-sung (Il Sung) (1912-94) is appointed chmn. of the North Korean Provisional People's Committee. Speaking of Commies, British Labour leader (supposedly an ex-Marxist now) Sir Richard Stafford Cripps (1889-1952) leads the sale of British jet engine designs to the Soviet Union, incl. the Rolls-Royle Nene engine, which allows the Soviets to reverse-engineer it and build their own Klimov VK-1 engine which is installed in the MiG-15 jet in time for deployment in Korea in 1950, causing several B-29 bomber kills; next year Cripps becomes chancellor of the exchequer, launching the Crippsian Austerity Program, raising taxes and forcing a reduction in consumption to stablize the pound and boost exports while supporting nationalization of coal and steel, making him unpopular, causing BBC announcer McDonald Hobley to call him Sir Stifford Crapps.
In 1946 Korean engineer Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012) founds an underground church in North Korea, and ends up in a Communist concentration camp before fleeing to South Korea and setting up shop again.
In 1946 South Korean automobile maker Hyundai (Korean for modern) is founded by Chung Yu-jung (1915-2001).
Just when the U.S. is #1 on the planet, dumbo Truman single-handedly dismantles U.S. military might, insuring that the Korean War will be an American D? On July 26, 1947 Pres. Truman signs the U.S. Nat. Security Act, to take effect on Sept. 18, unifying the Dept. of War (Army), Navy, and newly-formed Air Force into the Nat. Military Establishment (NME), with the Marine Corps staying under the Navy Dept. and the Coast Guard under the Dept. of the Treasury (shifted to the Navy Dept. during time of war); after the abbrevation NME sounds too much like enemy, the name is changed on Aug. 10, 1949 to Dept. of Defense; it also establishes the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Nat. Security Council (NSC), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Sept. to replace the Nat. Intelligence Authority and the Central Intelligence Group; on May 1 rear Adm. Roscoe Henry Hillenkoetter (1897-1982) becomes dir. #3 of the CIA (until Oct. 7, 1950), going on to join super-secret Majestic-12 and help run the Roswell UFO coverup?; Allen Welsh Dulles (1893-1969) helps create the CIA, and becomes its first civilian dir. in 1953; the CIA hires Nazis for spying and intel?; on Sept. 17 U.S. Navy secy. (since 1944) James Vincent Forrestal (1892-1949), the chief planner of defense unification becomes U.S. defense secy. #1, giving it a paranoid dipstick baby-don't-stop-now anti-Communist mentality that spawns the Cold War policies of George Frost Kennan (1904-2005) and Paul Henry Nitze (1907-2004); on Sept. 18 William Stuart Symington (1901-88) (CEO of Emerson Electric Co., the world's largest manufacturer of airplane armament) becomes U.S. Air Force secy. #1 (until Apr. 24, 1950).
In Sept. 1947 the U.S. refers their dispute over Korea with the Soviet Union to the U.N., and in Nov. a U.N. commission is established to arrange all-Korean elections, which the Soviet-backed North Korean authorities refuse to cooperate with.
On Oct. 1, 1947 to counter the Soviet MiG-15, the transonic swept-wing (first for the U.S.) North American F-86 Sabre(jet) fighter makes its first test flight, becoming a success against the Soviet MiG-15 in the Korean War (1950-3); 7,800 are built by 1956, and 9,860 by 1994, becoming the most-produced Western fighter.
On Dec. 30, 1947 the Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 "Fagot" fighter jet makes its first flight, using swept wings to reach transonic speeds; it is first used in combat in the Korean War (1950-3),, causing the U.S. to respond with the F-86 Sabre.
The new Cold War chess game between the U.S. and Soviet Union makes opening moves on the Korean sideboard? On Feb. 8, 1948 the North Korean People's Army (NK) is officially activated; in Feb. the U.N. approves a resolution providing for elections in the U.S. (S) zone of Korea; on Apr. 8 Pres. Truman orders the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Korea, and on May 10 U.N.-supervised elections are held in South Korea for a constituent assembly, which on July 12 adopts a new 1948 Korean Constitution, and proclaims the Repub. of Korea (not South Korea, but Korea), with right-winger Syngman Rhee (1875-1965) (son of a Presbyterian minister) elected pres. on July 24 (until Apr. 26, 1960; on Aug. 15 the U.S. military formally relinquishes power to the South Korean govt.; meanwhile on July 10 the North Korean People's Council in the Soviet (N) zone promulgates a Soviet-style draft constitution for the Dem. People's Repub. of Korea (DPRK), holds rigged elections for the supreme people's assembly on Aug. 25, and on Sept. 9 in Pyongyang it formally proclaims the DPRK and elects Soviet puppet Kim Il-sung as PM, who claims jurisdiction over all of Korea and launches the Korean People's War, massacring 30K insurgents (mainly civilians?) on Cheju Island (Jejudo) S of South Korea on Apr. 3, 1948-May 1949; in Nov. the South Korean nat. assembly asks the U.S. to retain military forces until it can organize its army, and on Dec. 12 the U.N. Gen. Assembly adopts a resolution approving the request and recognizing the South Korean govt. as the only legitimate govt. on the peninsula; in the ensuing chess game the U.S. keeps the South Korean army at police levels while Stalin rejects Kim Il-sung's initial proposals for escalation to conventional warfare and only provides military equipment while withdrawing the Soviet army.
On Nov. 12, 1948 former Japanese PM Hideki Tojo (b. 1884) and six other WWII Japanese leaders, Gen. Itagaki Seishiro (b. 1885) (Kwantung Army chief), Gen. Heitaro (Hyotaro) Kimura (b. 1888) (cmdr. of Japanese forces in Burma), Gen. Kenji Doihara (b. 1883) (planner of the Mukden Incident), Gen. Iwane Matsui (b. 1878) (cmdr. of the Japanese Expeditionary Force), Gen. Akira Muto (b. 1892) (adviser to Tojo), and PM (1936-7) Koki Hirota (b. 1878) are sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal for engineering the murder of 8M civilians in China, Korea, Philippines, Indochina and various Pacific nations, plus tens of thousands of Allied POWs, as well as medical experiments with Chinese civilians and POWs; on Dec. 23 they are executed by hanging in Tokyo (an obvious attempt by U.S. authorities to give the good white folks back home a White Christmas?); they, along with 1,068 people convicted of WWII war crimes (incl. 14 class A war criminals) are listed on the scrolls of the Yasukuni Shinto Shrine in Tokyo for those who died fighting for the emperor, causing regular protests going for decades.
On Jan. 20, 1948 U.S. pres. #33 Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) is inaugurated for a 2nd term in the 48th U.S. Pres. Inauguration; 71-y.-o. Ky.-born Alben William Barkley (1877-1956) ("the Veep" - thought up by his 10-y.-o. grandson) becomes the 35th (and oldest ever) U.S. vice-pres.; new Hollywood It Girl Jane Powell (1929-) sings at the inauguration ball; on Jan. 21 Conn.-born Dean Acheson (1893-1971) (undersecy. of state from 1945-7) becomes U.S. secy. of state #51 (until Jan. 20, 1953), making the dept. of state more influential than the defense dept., which is reorganizing under over-the-hill son of an over-the-shoulder quarterback Gen. George C. Marshall, with Truman attempting to save $1B a year on it, uttering the soundbyte "a dollar's worth of defense for every dollar spent"; too bad, dumbo Truman believes that atomic weapons are okay to use on large cities in a war, causing him to order the scrapping or selling of most of the conventional military capability that mades the U.S. #1, incl. almost all of the Army inventory, while cutting funds to support Navy ships and landing craft, causing them to be mothballed or deteriorate; on Mar. 28 Truman's yes-man Louis Arthur Johnson (1891-1966) becomes U.S. defense secy. #2 (until Sept. 19, 1950), voicing Truman's arrogant belief in the atomic bomb by announcing big defense cuts on Apr. 23, with the soundbytes "This nation can no longer tolerate the autonomous conduct of any single service... A waste of the resources of America in spendthrift defense is an invitation to disaster for America", and "The Navy is on its way out. There's no reason for having a Navy and a Marine Corps, and General Bradley tells me amphibious operations are a thing of the past. We'll never have any more amphibious operations. That does away with the Marine Corps. And the Air Force can do anything the Navy can do, so that does away with the Navy"; meanwhile Truman utters the soundbyte "The Marine Corps is the Navy's police force and as long as I am president that is what it will remain. They have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin's", and openly attempts to elminate the it, barring its commandant from attending Joint Chiefs of Staffs meetings.
The Chinese Civil War ends with Mao painting the town Red? On Jan. 1, 1949 Peking (renamed Beijing next year) is taken by the People's Liberation Army without a fight, thanks to the work of Chinese Communist gen. Peng Zhen (1902-97); the Kuomintang collapses, ending the Chinese Civil War (begun Jan. 1946), and by Dec. Gen. Chiang Kai-shek flees with his 600K-man army to Taiwan, vowing to return one day; on Aug. 28 the U.S. State Dept. produces a White Paper on China, claiming that the U.S. had gone as far as an ally could go and that it's all Chiang Kai-shek's fault, becoming the last non-muddled report the U.S. State Dept. produces?; on Sept. 21 prosperous Chinese peasant's son Mao Tse-tung (1893-1976) proclaims the creation of the People's Repub. of China (PRC), with Zhou En-lai (1898-1976) as PM, finally adopting the Gregorian Calendar; on Oct. 1 Mao raises its very very red flag in a ceremony attended by umpteen zillions in Tiananmen Square, who believe this to be the 2nd greatest event in human history after the 1917 Bolshevik Rev. as they throw off the humiliating yoke of imperialism and capitalism to become slaves of the state?; on Oct. 2 the Soviet Union formally recognizes the PRC; on Dec. 2 Chiang Kai-shek proclaims Taipei, Taiwan as the temporary capital of "real" China; as the years go by, Mao centralizes absolute power to himself, becoming a de facto emperor - the more China changes, the more it stays the same?
By Feb. 1949 the 38th parallel border between North and South Korea (an inch away from Inchon) becomes a second war zone and militarily deadlocks; in Mar. the North Korean govt. signs a 10-year "economic and cultural" agreement with the Soviet Union; on June 30 a withdrawal of all U.S. forces from South Korea except for a 500-man military Advisory group is completed, and in July the South Korean nat. assembly enacts a military conscription bill authorizing a 200K-man standing army; in Oct. the U.S. Congress grants South Korea $60M in assistance; in Oct. the U.N. Korean Commission reports that the possibility of uniting Korea has grown "more and more remote", and that Korea is on the verge of a "most barbarous civil war"; after the Sept. proclamation of the PRC, Kim Il-sung begins to play Stalin against new Commie Kid on the Block Mao, but Stalin slips his leash while Mao steps up to the plate, believing that the wear-weary Yankees will never send troops; meanwhile Dean Acheson plays into Kim's hands by stating that South Korea is excluded from the U.S. defense perimeter, encouraging a North Korean invasion? In Apr. 1949 U.S. defense secy. Louis Arthur Johnson announces the cancellation of the 65K ton aircraft carrier USS United States, causing the Revolt of the Admirals to begin as the Navy tries to save its role in the nuclear game by dissing the new 6-engine Convair B-36 Peacemaker strategic bomber of the new U.S. Air Force, losing the carrier but later seeing the bomber prove vulnerable to Soviet MiG-15 jet interceptors; in June the Revolt of the Admirals causes the House Committee on Armed Services to begin investigating charges of malfeasance in office against U.S. defense secy. Louis Arthur Johnson and Air Force secy. William Stuart Symington, but they clear Johnson, saying "There has been a Navy reluctance in the interservice marriage, an over-ardent Army, a somewhat exuberant Air Force... The committee finds no unification Puritans in the Pentagon"; too bad, Johnson is allowed to go on with unification unimpeded, setting up the U.S. for defeat in the Korean War? On June 30, 1949 the last U.S. troops leave South Korea except for a 500-man military advisory group.
Figaro, Figaro, or, The definition of Cheesehead? On Feb. 9, 1950 rookie Rep. Wisc. U.S. Sen. Joseph Raymond "Joe" McCarthy (1908-57) bursts into nat. prominence with a Wheeling, W. Va. Lincoln Day Speech to the Ohio County Women's Repub. Club during which he holds up a piece of paper, saying "While I cannot take the time to name all the men in the State Department who have been named as members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring, I have here in my hand a list of two hundred and five (205) that were known to the Secretary of State as being members... and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy"; on Feb. 9 he calls U.S. secy. of state Dean Acheson (1893-1971) a "pompous diplomat in striped pants", and calls on Pres. Truman to furnish a list of State Dept. employees considered bad security risks, and to revoke his pres. order of 3-13-48; on Feb. 20 he changes the magic number of names to 81, and when Sen. (D-Ill.) Scott Wike Lucas (1892-1968) demands that he makes them public, he refuses, saying "If I were to give all the names involved, it might leave a wrong impression. If we should label one man a Communist when he is not... I think it would be too bad"; in Feb. the Tydings Committee (Subcommittee on the Investigation of Loyalty of State Department Employees) is formed to look into McCarthy's charges, chaired by Sen. (D-Md.) Millard Evelyn Tydings (1890-1961), and this time McCarthy names names, incl. China expert Owen Lattimore (1900-89), astronomer Harlow Shapley (1885-1972), jurist Philip Caryl Jessup (1897-1986), jurist Dorothy Kenyon (1888-1972), State Dept. diplomat (to China) John Stewart Service (1909-99), political scientist Frederick Lewis Schuman (1904-), State Dept. official Haldore Hanson (1912-92), Gustavo Duran (friend of Ernest Hemingway in Cuba), and U.S. Navy civilian employee (who helped scientists escape from Communist Hungary) Stephen Brunauer (1903-86); on Mar. 29 a cartoon in the Washington Post by Herblock (Herbert Lawrence Block) (1909-2001) coins the term "McCarthyism"; on May 4 Truman relents, releasing the files on the 81 cases McCarthy still claims he has, which McCarthy then claims have been stripped and skeletonized; after he lucks out and the stupid State Dept. fails to prevent the Korean War (or the Chinese from entering it), on Sept. 23 McCarthy claims that the Korean and Indochinese conflicts were planned in the 1945 Yalta Conference by Roosevelt and Stalin; the real reason Stalin approved them was his development of nukes, which neutralized the U.S.?; the Tydings Committee ends up in a partisan split, and the Dem. majority claims that McCarthy is full of it, to which the Repubs. respond that the Dems. are guilty of a whitewash; after three votes, all along partisan lines, the Senate also deadlocks; meanwhile, careers are ruined; John S. Service is fired but reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1957; Jessup is appointed by Pres. Truman as U.S. delegate to the U.K. next year, but the Senate refuses to approve him, after which Truman appoints him during their recess, after which JFK appoints him to the Internat. Court of Justice in 1961 (until 1970), causing him to become a legal folk hero and the Philip C. Jessup Cup to be named in his honor; after McCarthy smears his colleague Gen. George C. Marshall as a Comsymp (Commie sympathizer), Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower gets permanently pissed-off at him, later fighting the influence of the John Birch Society on the Repub. Party.
On June 10, 1950 after stepping up guerrilla activity in South Korea, which suffers from inflation, a cabinet crisis, gen. unrest and brutal police actions, the North Korean govt. proposes to the U.N. Korean Commission that elections for an all-Korean legislature be held in Aug. On June 25 North Korean forces (with permission from Stalin) cross the 38th parallel and invade South Korea, starting the Korean War (ends 1953); China assists the North, while U.N. troops, led by U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) aid the South; on June 25 the U.N. Security Council is called by the U.S., and the Soviet delegate doesn't attend, making it possible for them to call for the withdrawal of the North Korean troops and a ceasefire; on June 27 the U.N. Security Council calls on U.N. members to assist South Korea and invokes military sanctions, causing Truman to order the U.S. Air Force and Navy into the Korean conflict, and orders the U.S. Seventh Fleet into the Straits of Formosa to block an invasion of China by Formosa (freeing the Chinese to build up forces to cross the Yalu River into North Korea later?); on June 28 Seoul is captured by the North Koreans; on June 30 the first U.S. ground forces are committed; on July 7 the Security Council authorizes a unified U.N. command in Korea under U.S. leadership, and the hastily-formed U.S. Eighth Army backed by 20 other U.N. members takes the North Koreans on; MiG Alley in the Yalu River Valley in NW Korea becomes the scene of a 10-1 kill ratio for U.S. planes; in the opening months of the war, the South Korean military and police execute 4.9K pro-Communist civilians who signed up for reeducation classes, and don't admit it until Nov. 2009 - do you know why we're here? To jack my price up? In June just before the Korean War begins, Dean Rusk (1909-94) compares the rebellion there to the Am. revolt against the British. On July 5 Pvt. Kenneth Shadrick (b. 1931) becomes the first U.S. fatality in the Korean War. On July 25 a high-level meeting in South Korea decides that U.S. soldiers will shoot refugees approaching their lines, fearing that they are infiltrated by North Koreans, and on July 26-28 the 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment kills about 400 Korean refugees, mostly women and children carrying baggage and farm animals at No Gun Ri 100 mi. SE of Seoul; similar episodes later kill hundreds more, and the govt. tries to cover it up until the Associated Press pub. a story in 1999, prompting a 16-mo. Pentagon inquiry, which clears the Army, until in 2006 a letter from U.S. ambassador to South Korea (1949-52) John J. Muccio to Dean Rusk dated July 26 informs him that this is what the soldiers are ordered to do.
By early Aug. 1950 North Korea has occupied all but the 50-mi. Pusan perimeter in the SE east of the Naktong River; stiff U.S. resistance takes the oomph out of the North Koreans by the end of Aug. On Aug. 12-25 the Battle of the Bowling Alley in a narrow valley near Taegu, South Korea sees U.N. forces defeat North Korean forces, with 2.3K U.N. vs. 5,690 North Korean forces KIA. On Aug. 31 in the evening three North Korean divs. cross the Naktong River in a bid to take Pusan; the only thing in their way are the 200 men of Company C (Charlie Co.) and other elements of the 2nd U.S. Infantry Div.; by the morning of Sept. 1 only seven men appear to have lived through the night, but later as many as 67 survivors are counted; Company C cmdr. Capt. Cyril Sylvester Bartholdi (b. 1919) is captured, tortured, and killed; the North Korean attack penetrates 10 mi. before fizzling, having failed to drive the Americans off the peninsula, becoming the last major North Korean offensive.
On Sept. 13, 1950 after the war seems lost, the U.S. Eighth Army launches a counteroffensive from the Pusan perimeter to the N, followed on Sept. 15 by a risky surprise amphibious landing of army and 1st Marine divs. at the Battle of Inchon (Jinsen) (Chemulpo) at the mouth of the Han River on the Yellow Sea on the W coast of the Korean peninsula (20 mi. WSW of Seoul), which succeeds brilliantly, and ravages North Korean supply lines. On Sept. 26 U.S. forces recapture Seoul; the North Koreans flee N to avoid entrapment and recross the 38th parallel. On Sept. 26 U.S. forces recapture Seoul; the North Koreans flee N to avoid entrapment and recross the 38th parallel.
On Oct. 15, 1950 Gen. MacArthur and Pres. Truman meet on Wake Island, and the MacArthur assures Truman that fighting will be over by Christmas because there is no danger of Chinese or Soviet intervention; MacArthur sends the Eighth Army up the W coast and the Tenth Corps up the E coast to create a pincers movement attempting to prevent the North Koreans from escaping into Manchuria; too bad, on Oct. 15 token Chinese forces cross the Yalu River from Manchuria (Communist China) into North Korea. On Oct. 19 U.N. forces enter the North Korean capital of Pyongyang - pyong a gyang?
On Oct. 25-Nov. 4, 1950 the Battle of Unsan sees the Chinese 39th Corps attack the unprepared U.S. 8th Cavalry Regiment, killing 1,149 U.S. and 530 South Korean troops vs. 600+ Commie troops; on Apr. 11, 2013 Pres. Obama posth. awards the Medal of Honor to Chaplain Capt. Emil Joseph Kapaun (1916-51) for helping POWs at the prison camp near Pyoktong before dying of dysentery.
On Nov. 8, 1950 the first-ever jet airplane dogfight sees USAF Lt. Russell J. Brown shoot down two North Korean MiG-15s near the Yalu River. On Nov. 21 the first U.N. forces reach the Yalu River. On Nov. 24 Gen. MacArthur launches a major offensive to close the trap on the Northern Koreans; after new U.S. defense secy. (1950-1) Gen. George C. Marshall countermands MacArthur's order to bomb the Yalu River bridges, 200K Red Chinese Army troops under Gen. Lin Piao cross the river in full force on Nov. 25-26, surprising and driving the U.N. forces back in disarray across the 38th parallel on Nov. 29, while the Tenth Corps is evacuated by sea from the port of Hungnam on Dec. 10-24; on Nov. 30 MacArthur urges Truman to authorize a nuclear attack on the slant-eyed devils.
On Dec. 1, 1950 the U.N. Gen. Assembly creates the U.N. Korean Reconstruction Agency (UNKRA) to speed the rehabilitation of South Korea; by June 30, 1957 it spends $143M to construct 6K homes, 110 irrigation and flood control projects, and a gazillion schools, hospitals, and factories. On Dec. 16 Pres. Buck-Stops-Here Truman proclaims a Nat. State of Emergency in order to fight "Communist imperialism", and the same day the U.S. Office of Defense Mobilization is established. In Dec. Lt. Gen. Matthew Bunker Ridgway (1895-1993) assumes command of the U.S. Eighth Army in Korea. In 1950 the rise of Communism in Japan results in a govt. crackdown and the creation of the 75K-man Nat. Police Reserve, which is seen by some as the beginnings of a new Japanese army; in Sept. more than 10K prominent wartime leaders are rehabilitated overnight and released in an effort to bolster the country against the Commies; meanwhile the Korean War boosts the Japanese economy with exports to the U.S. military.
On Jan. 1, 1951 North Korean and Red Chinese forces begin a massive assault on U.N. lines, capturing Seoul on Jan. 4; by the end of Jan. U.N. forces halt their retreat and hold a defensive line 75 mi. below the 38th parallel; on Jan. 25 they counterattack, recapturing Seoul on Mar. 14-15 and reaching the 38th parallel by the end of Mar.
On Feb. 1, 1951 the U.N. Gen. Assembly declares that China is the aggressor in the Korean War. On Feb. 2 Samuel Fuller's The Steel Helmet debuts, becoming one of the first films on the Korean War; the film debut of grizzly Gene Evans as cigar-chomping Sgt. Zack, who leads a ragtag group of GIs against the North Koreans in an abandoned Buddhist temple; his helmet has a hole in it throughout the flick; dir. Fuller gets attacked for alleged pro-Communist anti-American sentiments, incl. a Commie talking to a black soldier about how it is back home, and GIs executing a POW. On Mar. 7 Operation Ripper by U.N. troops under U.S. Gen. Matthew Ridgway begins, going after the Chinese in Korea and recapturing Seoul on Mar. 14. On Mar. 21 the U.S. troop level in Korea reaches 2.9M.
On Apr. 11, 1951 having concluded that victory in Korea is impossible without starting WWIII, and having resisting all pressure to nuke North Korea and/or China and/or every Commie on the planet, deciding instead to hold the 38th parallel and seek a negotiated settlement, only to see Gen. Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) differ with him publicly and even advocate widening the war to China, U.S. pres. Harry S. Truman relieves MacArthur from command in Korea, saying that he "is unable to give his wholehearted support to the policies of the U.S. government and the United Nations"; Sen. Joseph McCarthy blasts him for it, saying that "Truman is surrounded by the Jessups, the Achesons, the old Hiss crowd. Most of the tragic things are done at 1:30 and 2 o'clock in the morning when they've had time to get the President cheerful"; MacArthur is replaced by Gen. Matthew Bunker Ridgway (1895-1993), and command of the Eighth Army is given to Lt. Gen. James Alward Van Fleet (1892-1992); on Apr. 19 MacArthur gives a Farewell Address to Congress, uttering the immortal soundbytes "In war there can be no substitute for victory" and "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away"; on Apr. 21 he is given a ticker tape parade in New York City; on Apr. 24 the Senate votes to investigate the admin.'s Far East policy and MacArthur's dismissal, holding hearings on May 3-June 25 which end in approval of a limited war in Korea. In Apr.-May the Chinese stage a final offensive in Korea, causing the U.S. Eighth Army to fall back.
On May 9, 1951 U.N. forces stage an air raid on Chinese positions on the Yalu River. On May 19 the U.N. begins a counteroffensive in Korea. On May 22 the U.S. Eighth Army counterattacks, and by June regains its positions N of the 38th parallel, and both sides dig in.
In June 1951 Dean Rusk gives a speech to the China Inst. in which he calls Chiang Kai-shek the legitimate ruler of China, and calls the Soviet Union the "jealous and implacable master" of Commie China, "whose price of friendship is complete submission", and accuses it of using the "cloak of the Korean aggression" to score inroads into Manchuria, "losing its great Northern areas to the European empire which has stretched out its greedy hands for them for at least a century"; the British protest, the U.S. State Dept. denies that he represents U.S. policy, and finally Dean Acheson holds a press conference saying it represents nothing new. On July 10 despite South Korean objections truce discussions begin in Kaesong between U.N. and Chinese Communist forces; on Oct. 8 they agree to move them to the village of Panmunjom in the DMZ; on Oct. 10-22 they meet to resolve procedural issues, then renew talks on Oct. 25.
On Sept. 13-Oct. 15, 1951 U.N. forces in Korea capture Heartbreak Ridge N of Yanguu. On Oct. 1 the 24th Infantry Regiment, the last all-black military U.S. unit is deactivated. On Nov. 27 Korean truce delegates in a plenary session approve a provisional ceasefire line to go into effect if armistice terms can be negotiated within 30 days, but on Dec. 27 the talks stall on POW exchanges and the building of airfields in North Korea.
In 1951 Robert Scott Lovett (1860-1932) is appointed U.S. defense secy. (until Jan. 20, 1953), becoming known as "the architect of the Cold War", going on to reverse the U.S. disarmament policy begun at the end of WWII, uttering the soundbyte "Heretofore this country has only had two throttle settings, one, wide open for war, and the other, tight shut for peace. What we are really trying to do is to find a cruising speed" - lovett or leave it? In 1951 the U.S. Army announces that combat troops in Korea have been testing Fiberglas armor which can stop missiles with speeds up to 1.5K fps.
On Feb. 5, 1952 the U.N. Gen. Assembly adjourns in Paris after voting to postpone action on the Korean conflict. On Feb. 18 Turkey joins NATO, and earns its seat by enthusiastic participation in the Korean War.
On May 30, 1952 Gen. Eisenhower resigns as military cmdr. of NATO and returns to the U.S. to seek the Repub. nomination for pres.; U.S. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway, former cmdr. of U.N. forces in Korea replaces him as Supreme Allied Cmdr. of Europe (SACEUR); Ellis Ormsbee Briggs (1899-1976) is appointed U.S. ambassador to South Korea (until 1955). On Oct. 8 negotiations at Panmunjom are broken off over U.N. refusal to repatriate North Korean and Chinese POWs against their will; negotiations are not resumed until next Apr.
On Nov. 4, 1952 after promising in the last week of the "I Like Ike" campaign to go to Korea (where the Korean War had stalemated), Gen. Dwight D. Eisenwhower defeats Adlai Stevenson, becoming the first Repub. U.S. pres. in 20 years. On Nov. 29 pres.-elect Eisenhower keeps his campaign promise to visit Korea to assess the ongoing conflict.
On Jan. 9, 1953 the South Korean ferry Chang Tyong-Ho sinks off Pusan, killing 249. On Feb. 27 F-84 Thunderjets raid a North Korean base on the Yalu River; the first-ever jet air dogfight occurs in the Korean War. Ding dong the witch is dead? Or don't stop believing? On Mar. 5 the 25-year (since 1928) assassination-attempt-free reign of Joseph Stalin ("Koba") (b. 1879) is ended by his death at age 73 (6 weeks after the birth of TLW), four days after having a stroke in his Kremlin apt. during an all-night dinner with Beria, Malenkov, Bulganin and Khrushchev which paralyzes the right side of his body; his death is not announced until Mar. 6 (after the piranhas feed); on Mar. 6 he is succeeded as PM by WWII aircraft and tank production chief Georgi Maximilianovich Malenkov (1902-88) (until 1958), with secret police chief Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria (1899-1953) as deputy PM (until July 10); marshal Klimenti Efremovich Voroshilov (1881-1969) becomes pres. (until 1960); on Mar. 14 Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (1894-1971) replaces Malenkov as first secy. of the Soviet Communist Party, then moves up to head of the Central Committee on Sept. 7 after Beria is out of the way; exiled Chechens are allowed to return home, and sick and disabled Korean War POWs are exchanged following Stalin's funeral; happy Eastern Europeans begin a de-Stalinization agitation - they'll be baaack? On Mar. 10 North Korean gunners in Wonsan fire on the USS Missouri, which responds by firing 998 rounds at the enemy position. On Mar. 25 the USS Missouri fires on targets in Kojo, North Korea, becoming the last time its guns fire until the Persian Gulf War.
On Apr. 16-18, 1953 the Battle of Pork Chop Hill in Korea 50 mi. N of Seoul pits the U.S. 7th Div. under Roswell Coverup Gen. Arthur G. Trudeau (1902-91) against Chinese Communist forces under Gen. Peng Dehuai (Te-huai), who have seized the non-strategic hill to test Chinese cooking, er, U.N. resolve, being driven off with heavy losses on both sides after nine U.S. artillery battalions fire 77,349 rounds. On Apr. 20-May 3 Operation Little Switch, the exchange of sick and wounded POWs after Stalin's death takes place in Korea. On Apr. 26 negotiations are resumed at Panmunjom following the death of Stalin and after discreet warnings from Pres. Eisenhower implying the use of nukes; by mid-June agreement is reached on repatriation of POWs; meanwhile South Korean pres. Syngman Rhee remains atom, er, adamantly opposed to a truce. On Apr. 26 in Korea two U.S. Air Force B-29s drop leaflets behind enemy lines offering a $50K reward and political asylum to any pilot delivering an intact MiG-15 to the U.S. for study; on Sept. 21 North Korean pilot Lt. Ro Kim Suk (No Kum Sok) lands his MiG-15 at Kimpo Air Base outside Seoul, collecting the reward after claiming to have been unaware of it; flight tests reveal that the MiG-15 is not supersonic, causing the Kremlin to cover its tracks by ordering development of a next-gen. Mach 2 craft with a 20 km ceiling. In May U.S. planes bomb North Korean dams, flooding rice fields.
On June 4, 1953 the North Koreans accept the U.N. peace proposals in all major respects. On June 10 U.S. Sgt. Ola Lee Mize (1931-), becomes a hero in Korea, winning the Medal of Honor. On June 18 South Korean pres. Syngman Ree orders the release of 27K North Korean POWs opposed to repatriation, causing the U.N. and Allies to denounce his actions and the Communists to charge that the U.N. had "deliberately connived" with him, using it as an excuse to table truce talks; on June 26 a special U.S. ambassador meets with Ree to talk him into truce terms, but 60K pissed-off Chinese Commies launch a bitter offensive against U.N. positions on July 13, and on July 15 45K U.N. troops under Gen. Maxwell Davenport Taylor (1902-) counterattack.
On July 10, 1953 U.S. forces withdraw from Pork Chop Hill in Korea after heavy fighting, and the truce conference resumes; on July 11 Pres. Rhee finally caves in and agrees to truce terms. At the first sign of smoke someone is dialing 911? Millions die for a line drawn in the sand and some medals, like a sick chess tournament using real people as pieces? On July 27 (Mon.) after seven weeks of negotiation on behalf of the U.S. and U.N. by New York atty. Arthur Hobson Dean (1898-1980), the "forgotten" Korean War ends with an Armistice Agreement signed in Panmunjon near the 38th parallel by the U.S. North Korea, South Korea, and the People's Repub. of China (PRC), ending (suspending?) the Korean War (begun 1950) after 3 years 32 days; a Military Armistice Commission (MAC) composed of U.N. and Communist officers is established to supervise the truce, which incl. the creation of a 2.4-mi.-wide Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) running 150 mi. between the two Koreas, where 1K plant species, 50 types of mammals (incl. the rare Asiatic black bear, Amur leopard and Siberian tiger) and hundreds of bird species, incl. two endangered cranes live; the Bridge of No Return is used for POW exchanges; total casualties: 800K soldiers killed and 1.6M wounded, plus 2M civilians killed and 2M-3M wounded; total South Korean casualties: 1,312,836, incl. 415,004 killed; U.N. casualties: 334,227, incl. 36,914 U.S. dead (36,576 official), and 103,284 wounded, 8,176 MIA, 7,245 POW, 131 Medals of Honor; Communist casualties: 1.5M-2M; and that's not counting the destruction of most of the peninsula, and the hundreds of thousands of families left homeless; the only war the U.S. enters in the 20th cent. that remains unresolved at the end of the cent. (until ?); U.S. Gen. Mark Wayne Clark (1896-1984) signs the armistice for the U.S., gaining "the unenviable distinction of being the first United States Army commander in history to sign an armistice without victory"; the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC), consisting of reps. from Sweden, Switzerland, Poland and Czech. is created to investigate truce violations outside the DMZ; a top-level political conference between the Communists and U.N. is scheduled for "within 3 months" "to insure the peaceful settlement of the Korean question"; M/Sgt. Anthony B. "Tony" Herbert is the war's most decorated GI, and later gets into a war with the U.S. govt. over alleged atrocity coverups in the Vietnam War; Capt. Joseph "Joe Mac" McConnell is the top U.S. ace of the war, with 16 kills; the Communists lose 954 aircraft in the war, 827 of them MiG-15s, 792 of them downed by U.S. F-86 Sabres in MiG Alley S of the Yalu River, losing only 78 Sabres. On Aug. 5-Sept. 6 the last U.S. and Korean POWs are exchanged in Operation Big Switch, becoming the last official act of the Korean War; U.S. health experts blame the poor condition of returned U.S. POWs on their refusal to eat Korean military rations - rotten cabbage is yummy? On Aug. 8 the U.S. and South Korea sign a mutual security pact, and the U.S. Congress appropriates $200M for South Korean reconstruction, while the Soviets chip in 1B rubles; meanwhile on Aug. 8 the Red Supreme Court of North Korea convicts 10 leading govt. officials of espionage and conspiracy to rebel, and sentences them to death. On Oct. 28 after the Communists accuse the U.S. of "perfidy", the U.N. delegate withdraws from the U.N.-Communist negotiations over Korea, and they are never resumed. In Nov. Communist China cancels the North Korean war debt, and concludes a 10-year economic aid pact giving them $300M over four years. On Dec. 26 the U.S withdraws two divs. from Korea.
In 1953 Jean Shepard (1933-) and Ferlin Husky (1925-) release A Dear John Letter, a big hit about the Korean War, launching Shepard's career as the 2nd female solo country singer after Kitty Wells in 1952.
In Jan. 1954 the U.S. and South Korea ratify a mutual-defense treaty granting the U.S. the right to maintain military forces in South Korea and promising U.S. military assistance only in the event of "external attack" on South Korean territory - the classic doctor-patient relationship? On Feb. 26 U.S., British, Soviet, and French foreign ministers meeting in Berlin agree to sponsor a conference on Far Eastern affairs incl. the Korean question, and on Apr. 26 the Geneva Conference convenes (until June 15) to discuss what to do about Korea and Indochina, attended by reps. of 19 states (the Soviet Union and all South Korean war belligerents except South Africa); on June 15 after the Communists demand that a neutral-nation commission supervise Korean elections rather than the U.N., the U.N. delegation walks out; on July 21 (3:42 p.m.) a truce is signed bringing an end to the 8-y.-o. Indochina War. In July South Korean pres. Syngman Rhee visits the U.S. and calls for a combined attack on the Chinese mainland by the U.S., Nationalist China and the U.S.; the U.S. officially ignores him, and on Aug. 18 discloses plans to withdraw four of six U.S. divs. from South Korea.
On Mar. 24, 1955 the South Korean assembly declares the 1953 armistice null and void and calls for the abolition of the NNSC after charging that the Communists, abetted by its Polish and Czech members were building up their military; in Aug. violent demonstrations over this issue erupt in South Korea, causing MAC to agree on Aug. 29 to reduce NNSC personnel from 79 to 40 (not that the Commies care about it anyway?); meanwhile South Korea accuses Japan of commercial dealings with North Korea and places a trade ban on it (until Jan. 1, 1956).
On May 15, 1956 South Korean pres. Syngman Ree is reelected for a 3rd term.
On May 30, 1958 the U.S. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of WWII and the Korean War in Arlington Cemetery in Va. is dedicated. In May elections in South Korea give Pres. Rhee's Liberal Party 125 of 233 seats in the nat. assembly; in Dec. the opposition Dem. Party goes on a sit-down strike over a proposed rev. of the nat. security law, causing all of them to be evicted on Dec. 24, and the remaining members to pass a law providing for penalties for criticizing the Dear Leader, er, pres.
In Apr. 1959 the South Korean govt. shuts down the opposition newspaper Kyung Hyang Shinmun. In July after the Progress of Party Incident, South Korean opposition leader Cho Bong Am (who received 2M votes for pres. in 1956) is hanged as a Communist agent. In Dec. North Koreans held in Japan since WWII begin to be repatriated.
On Jan. 18, 1960 the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty is signed in Washington, D.C., and ratified by the Japanese House of Reps. on June 19 despite violent riots, and becomes effective on June 23; meanwhile a U.S.-Japanese summit is planned for June, but on June 16 after three weeks of leftist anti-U.S. and anti-treaty demonstrations, PM Nobusuke Kishi requests Pres. Eisenhower to postpone his scheduled visit. On Mar. 15 South Korean pres. Syngman Rhee is reelected for a 4th term after an opposition party official is beaten to death and he runs unopposed; on Apr. 19 the 1960 South Korean Student Rev. begins to protest the rigged elections, causing police to fire on demonstrators in Seoul, killing 127, after which on Apr. 27 Rhee rhee-signs, signs-off and flees into exile in Honolulu, Hawaii in late May - doo doo doo doo doo-doo, doo doo doo doo dah (Hawaii Five-O Theme)? The beginning of America's Camelot? On July 11-15 (Mon.-Fri.) the 1960 Dem. Nat. Convention is held in Los Angeles, Calif.; despite a nominating speech for Adlai E. Stevenson by Minn. Sen. Eugene McCarthy, backed by Eleanor Roosevelt, and more opposition from Sen. Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson, on July 13 (167 years after Jean-Paul Marat is stabbed in his bath by Charlotte Corday in 1893) 43-y.-o. Mass. Sen. John F. Kennedy is nominated for pres. on the 1st ballot with 806 votes (youngest pres. candidate and 2nd Catholic pres. candidate in U.S. history after Alfred E. Smith in 1928), giving his New Frontier Acceptance Speech, mentioning a "New Frontier - the frontier of the 1960s - the frontier of unknown opportunities and perils - the frontier of unfulfilled hopes and unfilled threats... It sums up, not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them"; "Today our concern must be with that future. For the world is changing. The old era is ending. The old ways will not do. Abroad, the balance of power is shifting. New and more terrible weapons are coming into use. One-third of the world may be free, but one-third is the victim of a cruel repression, and the other third is rocked by poverty and hunger and disease. Communist influence has penetrated into Asia, it stands in the Middle East, and now festers some ninety miles off the coast of Florida. Friends have slipped into neutrality and neutrals have slipped into hostility. As our keynoter reminded us, the President who began his career by going to Korea ends it by staying away from Japan." On July 29 after freedom of assembly and speech is proclaimed, gen. elections are held in South Korea, and the Dem. Party wins more than two-thirds of the nat. assembly seats; on Aug. 13 liberal Yun Po Sun (1897-1990) is sworn in as pres. (until 1962); on Aug. 19 U.S.-educated John Myun Chang becomes PM (until 1961).
On Feb. 28, 1961 the South Korean govt. approves an agreement with the U.S. to increase its $207M in aid by $43M - too bad, you can't buy love? On May 16 after student demonstrations in South Korea, an anti-Communist military coup led by army chief of staff Gen. Chang Do Yung (1923-) takes power and declares a military dictatorship on June 6; after a power struggle on July 3 Yung is forced to resign, and Maj. Gen. Park Chung-hee (Pak Chong-hui) (1917-79) is elected chmn. (until 1979), arresting Yung and ruling with an iron hand, closing the nat. assembly, arresting thousands, and setting up the KGB-clone Korean CIA (KCIA), headed by Oddjob, er, Kim Chong-p'il (Jong-pil) (1926-); meanwhile he begins an austerity program and reopens negotiations with Japan. On Aug. 12 in order to keep the large flow of U.S. money coming in, the South Korean govt. announces that the military junta will end martial law in Dec. 1962, and restore civilian control in 1963. On Oct. 5 the Internat. Red Cross announces that 72K North Koreans have been repatriated from Japan since Dec. 1959. On Mar. 21 after the govt. of South Korea prohibits over 4K former political prisoners (all members of previous regimes) from participating in politics for 6 years, pres. (since 1960) Posun Yung resigns in protest, and on Mar. 24 Park becomes pres., instituting a 5-year plan to increase agricultural output and electrical power and reduce unemployment, replacing the hwan ($0.0077 U.S.) with the new won ($0.077 U.S.). On Dec. 17 a referendum in South Korea approves a new 1962 South Korean Constitution, to go in effect with the promised 1963 elections.
On Oct. 24, 1962 John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate debuts, written by Frankenheimer and George Axelrod based on the 1959 Richard Condon novel set in 1952, starring Frank Sinatra as Maj. Bennett "Ben" Marco, Laurence Harvey as Medal of Honor winner Raymond Shaw, Angela Lansbury as his Commie agent mother Mrs. Iselin, James Gregory as her Commie agent hubby U.S. Sen. John "Johnny" Iselin ("there are exactly 207, er, 104, er, 275 card-carrying members of the Communist Party in the State Dept."), and Janet Leigh as Sinatra's babe Eugenie "Rosie" Rose (Eldorado 5-9970) in an eerie mix of the Korean War, the McCarthy years, brainwashing theory, and the JFK assassination, which hasn't occurred yet, pissing off both leftist and rightist critics while pleasing conspiracy theorists; Khigh Dhiegh plays Commie pshrink Yen Lo, Henry Silva plays Korean double agent Chunjin, John McGiver plays Sen. Thomas Jordan, Leslie Parrish plays his daughter Jocie; establishes TV dir. Frankenheimer as a film dir.; the Queen of Diamonds sets off Raymond Shaw's assassin programming mode; "Raymond Shaw is the bravest, kindest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life"; "Raymond Shaw, hell, hell" (ending).
On Mar. 16, 1963 the South Korean military junta withdraws its promise of elections for four more years of military rule, causing demonstrations in Seoul on Mar. 22; on Mar. 26 U.S. state dept. official Lincoln White breaks U.S. silence on South Korea, saying that a prolongation of military rule "could constitute a threat to stable and effective government", after which the military offers civilian leaders a compromise offer of a civilian-military junta, which the civilian leaders reject, causing the U.S. govt. to threaten to withdraw $25M in aid; on Apr. 6 after a personal letter from JFK, elections are promised for the fall. On Apr. 4 Pres. Kennedy announces that 4K Soviet troops left Cuba in Mar. in addition to the 5K who left last Nov., but this "still leaves some thousands on the island", which "we hope are going to be withdrawn"; he also announces a reduction in economic aid to South Korea, says that he opposes the spread of nukes to the Middle East, and disses a $12B budget cut for 1964 proposed by ex-pres. Ike, saying it would result in an economic decline and impede defense. On Aug. 30 Gen. Park Chung-hee of South Korea officially retires from the military, and on Aug. 31 his Dem. Repub. Party (DRP) announces elections for Oct. 15, giving rival parties only 1 mo. to pick candidates and launch campaigns; on Oct. 15 pres. elections give Park a V over Posun Yun with 47% of the vote; on Oct. 26 legislative elections give his new Dem. Repub. Party a majority in the new unicameral parliament.
On Oct. 23, 1963 Burt Topper's B&W War Is Hell debuts, starring Baynes Barron as Sgt. Garth and Michael Bell as Pvt. Seldon in the Korean War; the flick is playing at the Texas Theater in Dallas when Lee Harvey Oswald is arrested.
On May 2, 1964 despite a special $15M U.S. grant to fight rice shortages, South Korea devalues the won (equal to 100 jeon) by almost half - no won situation jokes here? On May 9 student demonstrations against his efforts to restore relations with Japan cause South Korean pres. Chung Hee Park to reshuffle his cabinet; on June 3 after more demonstrations, martial law is proclaimed again (until July 28), causing more demonstrations, charges of corruption, and the resignation of several ministers.
On Sept. 17, 1964 Guy Hamilton's Goldfinger (James Bond 007 flick #3) debuts, starring Sean Connery as James Bond 007, Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore, Gert Frobe as Goldfinger, and Harold Sakata as his Korean asst. Oddjob with the frisbee-sword hat, plus a cool theme song by half-black half-white Welsh singer Shirley Veronica Bassey (1937-), which is a hit, causing her to go on and sing the themes for "Moonraker" and "Diamonds Are Forever"; Bond first orders a "vodka martini - shaken, not stirred"; first use of his silver 1964 Aston Martin DB5, which becomes "the world's most famous car", and is purchased in 1969 for $12K by U.S. radio jock Jerry Lee; the subliminal suggestions of naked women in gold paint plus the clever use of the double entendres finger, oddjob, shaken not stirred, and 007 sells big tickets?; "What's your name?" (Connery); "Pussy Galore" (Blackman); "I must be dreaming" (Connery).
On Jan. 15, 1965 Pvt. Charles Robert Jenkins (1940-) deserts his U.S. Army unit while on patrol along the DMZ and crosses into North Korea; he later claims he was drunk and made a mistake, but he stays in the country for two decades, and marries Hitomi Soga (1959-), who was abducted from Japan by spies in 1978; in 2002 they return to Japan with Jenkins and their daughters, settling in Mano on Sado in NW Japan; in 2004 he is court-martialed and spends 25 days in Japan; in June, 2005 he returns to the U.S. briefly to visit his ailing 91-y.-o. mother in Weldon, N.C. On Feb. 25 South Korea sends 600 ROK troops to aid South Vietnam, causing North Korea on Mar. 26 to announce its readiness to aid the Communists in Vietnam; South Korea sends 143K troops by next year and 300K by the end of the war; in 1998 it expresses regret to Hanoi for participating in the war. On Apr. 3 South Korea and Japan finally end their grievances with a peace treaty, causing student protests in South Korea on Apr. 13-17, while the opposition in parliament engages in violence; on June 22 South Korea restores diplomatic relations with Japan, signing the Korea-Japan Normalization Treaty, providing for $800M in grants and low interest loans as reparations for Japan's 35-year occupation of the Korean peninsula, along with Japanese fishing rights off the Korean coast, rights for Koreans living in Japan, and trade relations; too bad, South Korean dictator Park Chung-hee gives part of the dough to families killed by the Japanese and owners of destroyed property, but snubs those conscripted into slave labor or the Japanese military, along with the "comfort women" forced to give sex services to the Japanese, and uses the rest to build the country's infrastructure, with the motto "Poor people, strong state"; on Aug. 26-Sept. 25 more protests cause martial law to be proclaimed again, with the police occupying univs. and arresting hundreds.
On Oct. 19-Nov. 2, 1966 Pres. Johnson visits Southeast Asia incl. New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, South Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea; on Oct. 24-25 the Manila Summit Conference in Philippines of seven nations headed by Johnson, incl. allies Australia, Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand, South Korea, and South Vietnam pledges to withdraw from Vietnam within 6 mo. if North Vietnam In Oct. 1966 North Korea begins returning to its old allegiance with the Soviet Union, backing off its support of Communist China and its Cultural Rev. - how 'bout them missiles? In 1966 South Korean gen. Choi Hong Hi (1918-2002) founds the Internat. Taekwondo Federation, combining the Korean martial art of Taek Kyon with Japanese karate.
On Mar. 3, 1967 pres. elections in South Korea give another V to Park Chung-Hee; meanwhile North Korea stages border raids and guerrilla operations to shake him up. In 1967 North Korea insitutes compulsory education, emphasizing science, technology, productive labor and Communist ideology.
On Mar. 22, 1967 Kim Woo-Jung (Woo Chong) (1936-) founds Daewoo Group (Korean "Great Universe") (originally Daewoo Industrial) in South Korea as a textile-trading co. with $18K in capital, gaining govt. backing to grow to $25B in annual sales; too bad, it overextends and collapses in 1999, causing Woo-Jung to flee to France, after which he returns in 2005 and is arrested and sentenced to 10 years.
Beginning in 1968 large numbers of Koreans begin immigrating to the U.S. On Jan. 21, 1968 a 31-man North Korean paramilitary unit disguised as South Korean soldiers assaults the Bue House, home of South Korean pres. Park Chung-hee, but are stopped 800m away by police, then give nervous replies, giving themselves away, after which 39 commandos are killed, and two escape, only to be tracked down and killed; in response Seoul organizes Unit 684, an assassination squad that isn't disbanded until 1971. On Jan. 23 North Korea seizes the intelligence ship USS Pueblo and its 83-man crew, commanded by Idaho-born Lloyd Mark "Pete" Bucher (1927-2004) off the port of Wonsan in the Sea of Japan outside the 12-mi. limit, charging them with being on a spying mission; Bucher utters the soundbyte "I was not commanding a ship of war, I was commanding an auxiliary ship"; one crew member is killed, and the rest are held captive for 11 mo; meanwhile last minute attempts to destroy classified info. and espionage equipment are thwarted, seriously compromising U.S. security; on Apr. 15 a U.S. intel plane is shot down 90 mi. off the Korean coast. On Apr. 15-17 Pres. Johnson confers with the U.S. military cmdr. of South Vietnam and Pres. Park Chung-hee of South Korea in Honolulu; meanwhile on Apr. 15 the North Koreans shoot down a U.S. intel plane 90 mi. off the coast, raising tensions near the war point. On Dec. 23 after the U.S. admits that it violated North Korean waters, the 82 surviving crew of the USS Pueblo cross the Bridge of No Return to South Korea preceded by the casket of Duane D. Hodges, wounded during the seizure of the ship on Jan. 23; as soon as the crew is safe the U.S. reneges on its admission, and the 60K U.S troops in South Korea tell them to stuff it; the Pueblo is put on display in Pyongyang Harbor (until ?).
In 1968 Richard Hooker (H. Richard Hornberger) (1924-97) pub. MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors, about the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital Unit 4077 in Uijeongbu, South Korea during the Korean War; rejected by 21 pubs. before William Morrow in New York takes a chance on it; filmed in 1970; becomes a CBS-TV series in 1972-83.
U.S. troops in South Korea in 1969: 50K. On Apr. 15, 1969 a U.S. Navy EC-121 electronic intel plane is shot down in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) by North Korean MIGs, killing all 31 aboard; Pres. Nixon considers a plan to stage a nuclear strike in retaliation. On May 6 Navy Secy. John H. Chafee refuses to authorize disciplinary action against officers and crew of the USS Pueblo, which was seized on Jan. 23, 1968 by North Korea. On June 5-17 the Internat. Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties is held in Moscow, the first meeting since 1960, and the largest before the collapse of the Soviet Union, with the Chinese, Koreans, and Vietnamese Communists absent, causing the phenomenon of Eurocommunism to emerge. On July 25 U.S. Pres. Richard Nixon declares the Nixon Doctrine, named by the press after he makes a casual statement during a stopover in Guam on a return trip from Vietnam; in the future the U.S. will expect Asian allies to assume responsibility for their own defense, "except for the threat of a major power involving nuclear weapons". On Aug. 21-22 Pres. Nixon meets with South Korean pres. Park Chung-hee to explain his new Nixon Doctrine. On Sept. 13 the South Korean Nat. Assembly holds a secret session permitting pres. Park Chung-hee to stand for a 3rd term despite a constitutional term amendment, getting an amendment approved by a referendum on Oct. 17. On Dec. 11 a Korean Airlines YS-11 en route from Gangneung to Seoul-Gimpo is hijacked by a North Korean agent to North Korea; all 46 passengers and four crew remain in North Korea, their fate unknown.
On Mar. 5, 1970 after 43 nations ratify it, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty comes into force; by 2010 189 states sign it, notable exceptions being Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. On June 24 North Korean PM Kim Il-sung offers to sign a pact with South Korea leading to eventual reunification on certain conditions, mainly the pullout of U.S. troops, but Pres. Park Chung-hee rejects it, saying that the U.N. should be involved. On July 11 after a July 8 U.S. announcement of its intention to reduce forces in South Korea, talks begin to withdraw 60K U.S. troops from South Korea starting in July 1971, with the ROK govt. demanding massive military equipment and training. On Nov. 13 South Korean laborer Chon T'ae-il immolates himself to protest exploitation of labor, becoming a martyr for the growing labor union movement.
On Feb. 5, 1971 Red Cross officials from Japan and North Korea reach an agreement in Moscow to repatriate 15K North Koreans from Japan, which is completed in Nov. On Mar. 12 South Korean troops replace U.S. troops along their 151-mi. armistice border for the 1st time. On Apr. 27 South Korean pres. (since 1961) Park Chung-hee is reelected to a 3rd 4-year term, defeating New Dem. Party candidate Kim (Dae-jung) (Tae-jung) (1925-), who receives 45% of the vote despite Park portraying him as a pro-North Korean radical, and an assassination attempt via a truck crashing into his car, injuring him; his opposition grows so strong that Park declares a state of emergency in Dec. On Aug. 20 Red Cross officials representing North and South Korea meet in Panmunjom to discuss reuiniting families divided by the Korean War, becoming the first bilateral talks between members of the divided country since the war; they only talk briefly, then smile real big and shake hands across the table, and adjourn until Aug., continuing to Sept. 16 without an agreement. On Sept. 6 China agrees to provide North Korea with military assistance. In 1971 South Korea launches the New Village Movement to help rural development.
On Oct. 17, 1972 martial law is proclaimed in South Park, er, Korea, stifling the political opposition; the U.S. fails to intervene because of Park's commitment of troops in Vietnam. In Nov. the Yusin Constitution is promulgated in South Korea, promising liberal political reforms (ends 1979).
On Aug. 8, 1973 South Korean opposition leader Kim Dae-jung (1925-) is kidnapped from his hotel in Tokyo by agents of Park Chung-hee's KCIA, who plan on drowning him by throwing him from a boat at sea until a U.S. military heli foils it; after internat. criticism and pressure from Tokyo and the U.S. he is returned to his home in Seoul on Aug. 13.
On Aug. 15, 1974 (10 a.m.) (Korean Independence Day) South Korean pres. Park Chung-hee's 2nd wife Yuk Young-soo (b. 1925) is murdered by Japanese-born North Korean gunman Mun Segwang, who was trying to kill him - better luck next time? In 1974 employees of the South Korean newspaper Dong-A Ilbo strike to protest the planting of Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) agents in their offices, and pres. Park Chung-hee withdraws them under pressure then orders a commercial advertising boycott, almost forcing it into bankruptcy until intellectuals and blue-collar workers unite to buy advertising.
In May 1975 after the Koreagate scandal breaks, about high level KCIA agents trying to buy influence in the U.S. govt., South Korea issues Emergency Measure No. 9, making criticism of the pres. a crime (until 1979). On Aug. 11 the U.S. vetoes the proposed admission of North and South Vietnam to the U.N. following the Security Council's refusal to consider South Korea's application.
By 1976 total U.S. aid to South Korea since 1946 reaches $12.6B. On Mar. 1 the Independence Day Declaration for Democratization is arranged by South Korean opposition leader Kim Dae-jung, who is arrested and sentenced to five years in prison, changed to house arrest in 1978. On Aug. 18 the Ax Murderer Incident sees two U.S. U.N. Command soldiers killed and eight wounded while trying to chop down a tree obscuring their view in the DMZ in Panmunjom, Korea. In 1976 Lucky Goldstar Electronics and Samsung make the first color TV sets in South Korea; Samsung exports its first color TVs to the U.S. next year.
Beginning in 1977 agents of the govt. of North Korea begin abducting Japanese citizens (until 1983), later admitting to 13, although up to 70-80 may have been kidnapped; either way, Japan develops a hardline policy against the North Korean govt. in reaction.
The Oddjob Year in South Korea? On Oct. 9, 1979 after Kim Young-Sam (Yong-Sam) (1927-) takes control of the opposition New Dem. Party in South Korea, South Korean pres. Park Chung-hee (b. 1917) gets the Nat. Assembly on Oct. 9 to oust him, causing all 70 members to resign in protest on Oct. 12, accompanied by demonstrations, causing Park to get in an argument with Lt. Gen. Kim Chae-gyu (Jae-kyu) (1926-80), head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) over sending in the army, and on Oct. 26 Chae-gyu turns Oddjob and shoots Park in the head at a private dinner party he has invited him to, killing him, along with his main bodyguard Ch'a Chi-ch'ol; PM (since 1976) Choi Kyu-hah (1919-2006) becomes pres. #10 of South Korea (until May 17, 1980), and on Dec. 7 he cancels Emergency Measure No. 9 (1975), allowing hundreds of dissidents to be released from jail; on Dec. 12 Maj. Gen. Chun Doo-hwan (Tu-hwan) (1931-) leads a military coup, arresting the army chief of staff and sealing off Seoul, taking the army HQ after a long battle; Maj. Gen. Roh Tae-woo (No T'ae-u) (1932-) becomes head of the Seoul army garrison, and Maj. Gen. Chong Ho-young (Jeong Ho-yong) becomes cmdr. of special forces; Chae-gyu is hanged next May 24 along with four KCIA aides. On Dec. 29 the U.S. begins pub. its List of State Sponsors of Terrorism, starting with Iraq (until 1982, then 1990-2004), Libya (1979-), and South Yemen (1979-90), then Cuba (1982-), Iran (1984-), Sudan (1993-), North Korea (1988-2008), and Sudan (1993-) - guess why is Saudi Arabia always exempt, kaching?
In Apr. 1980 South Korean Gen. Chun Doo-hwan (1931-) seizes control of the KCIA, setting off demonstrations, growing to 100K on May 15 in Seoul; on May 17 Chun seizes power and announces Martial Law Decree No. 10, closing down all univs. and the Nat. Assembly, and prohibiting political action; on May 18 the Kwangju Massacre sees military paratroopers drop in and slaughter protesting students, causing a gen. revolt by May 21, with more troops arriving on May 27, killing hundreds and wounding or arresting thousands; the Carter admin. approved the plans after being misled by faulty intel on the size of the revolt; on May 31 Chun establishes the joint military-civil Special Committee for Nat. Security Measures; on Aug. 16 the puppet pres. steps down; on Aug. 22 Doo-hwan officially resigns from the military, then is elected pres. on Aug. 25 (until 1988), and gets a new 1980 South Korean Constitution passed in Oct., limiting a pres. to only one term; on Sept. 17 Roman Catholic dissident ("the Nelson Mandela of Asia") Kim Dae-jung (1924-2009) is convicted of sedition and sentenced to death, but after a letter from Pope John Paul II on Dec. 11 asking for clemency, next Jan. 23 his sentence is commuted to 20 years, and he is released in 1982 and exiled to the U.S., returning in 1985 and leading the opposition, becoming pres. in 1998. On July 18 U.S. Rep. (D-N.Y.) (1975-93) Stephen Joshua Solarz (1940-2010) becomes the first U.S. official to visit North Korea since the end of the Korean War, and the first to meet with Kim Il-sung, going on to chair the Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
On Feb. 2, 1981 South Korean pres. Chun Doo-hwan becomes Pres. Reagan's first White House guest, legitimizing his dictatorship; later in Feb. Chun is reelected, supposedly for one term max under the 1980 constitution.
On Mar. 19, 1982 Korean dissidents set the U.S. govt. offices in Pusan, South Korea on fire, killing a South Korean student and injuring three, becoming the first attack on a U.S. mission in South Korean history; leaflets are left at the scene demanding U.S. withdrawal; on Apr. 4 after 6K are arrested, nine univ. students are charged, incl. alleged planner Kim Hyon Jang. On Nov. 26 failure to handle the economy causes Zenko Suzuki to resign, and on Nov. 27 Yasuhiro Nakasone (1918-) becomes Japanese PM #71-#73 (until Nov. 6, 1987); he gets the govt. to float a $4B loan to South Korea, causing Japanese business there to mushroom.
In 1983 the pop. of North Korea is 19.2M, South Korea 59.1M. KAL drops off the radar screen in Andropovland? On Sept. 1 (3:30 a.m.) Korean Air Lines (KAL) Flight 007 (Boeing 747) en route from New York City via Anchorage to Seoul is shot down over the Sea of Japan (East Sea) near Moneron Island W of Sakhalin Island off Siberia (birthplace of Yul Brynner) by two Soviet Sukhoi SU-15 fighters after it strays off course into Soviet airspace, killing all 269 aboard, incl. 61 Americanskis, incl. U.S. Rep. (D-Ga.) (since 1975) Lawrence Patton "Larry" McDonald (b. 1935) (a physician), and playing into Reagan admin. hands who had been calling the Soviet Union an evil empire, forever stinking up Andropov's name, esp. after the Soviets start out by denying knowledge then claiming it was a deliberate U.S. provocation to test their defenses as a prelude to war, although the U.S. later reveals that it had a recon plane in the vicinity earlier; on Sept. 1 U.S. Sen. (D-Wash.) (since 1941) Henry Martin "Scoop" Jackson (b. 1912) holds a news conference in Everett, Wash. to deplore the incident, then dies of an aortic aneurysm; on Sept. 6 the Soviets finally admit to shooting it down, claiming they didn't know it was a civilian aircraft; on Sept. 25-26 Soviet Lt. Col. Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov (1939-) makes a 5-min. decision that saves the world from nuclear Armageddon when he ignores a false warning of a U.S. missile attack; the Reagan admin. drops its prohibition on civilian use of GPS so that aircraft can better determine their location, although precision is limited to 100m until 2000, when it goes to 20m like the military gets. On Oct. 9 Pres. Chun Doo-hwan of South Korea with his cabinet and other top officials are scheduled to lay a wreath on a monument to Burmese leader Aung San (assassinated on July 19, 1947) at the Martyrs' Mausoleum in Rangoon, Burma (Yangon, Myanmar), when a bomb set by North Korean forces explodes, killing 21 and wounding 47, Hwan arrives late and escapes injury, but 17 South Koreans, incl. the deputy PM, foreign minister Lee Bum Suk, two more cabinet ministers, and the ambassador to Burma are killed, along with two Burmese; Burma suspends diplomatic relations with North Korea, and China reprimands North Korea, refusing to meet or talk with its officials for months.
On May 5, 1986 massive anti-govt. demonstrations begin in Inchon, South Korea, followed by more in Seoul in late Oct. after opposition leader Kim Dae-jung announces on Sept. 12 that he will return from exile in the U.S. (since 1983) after serving 2.5 years of a 20-year prison stence for sedition, saying "The Korean government will not be so stupid as to repeat that sort of thing" (assassination of Filipino opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino).
In Jan. 1987 a student at Seoul Nat. Univ. in South Korea is tortured to death by police, and for the first time they actually admit it publicly. On Apr. 13 South Korean dictator Chun Doo-hwan bars al public discussion of amendments to the constitution, flip-flopping on his agreement last Apr. to a dialogue; after his ally Gen. Roh Tae-woo is announced as the Dem. Repub. Party candidate for pres. on June 10, street fighting erupts in Seoul. On June 20-21 tens of thousands of riot police in South Korea clash with demonstrators protesting against Pres. Chun Doo-hwan. On June 29 Roh Tae-woo surprises govt. critics by announcing an Eight-Point Reform Plan, rohtaewooing, er, restoring human and political rights, and freeing political prisoners; Chun Doo-hwan accepts it on July 1 (probably because of the upcoming Summer Olympics); on Oct. 27 the nat. assembly ratifies a new 1987 South Korean Constitution (revision of the July 17, 1948 constitution), establishing direct pres. elections and other dem. reforms. On Nov. 29 Korean Airlines KAL Flight 858 disappears off Burma over the Indian Ocean, killing all 115 aboard; North Korean agents are suspected of planting a bomb. On Dec. 16 South Korea holds its first direct pres. election in 16 years, and the govt.'s handpicked candidate Roh (pr. NO) Tae (Roh-tae) Woo (1932-) (chmn. of the ruling Dem. Justice Party), wins with 37% of the vote, beating opposition leaders Kim Young-sam (28%) and Kim Dae Jung (27%), who cancel each other out; the "new" Japan-clone South Korea dramatically increases exports to $47B this year, compared with $33M in 1960, fueled by the Korean chaebol (conglomerates) of Hyundai and Samsung.
On Feb. 25, 1988 Roh Tae-woo is sworn in as pres. of the Repub. of Korea (ROK) (South Korea) (until 1993); too bad, Nat. Assembly elections in Apr. give the opposition a majority. In June Roh Tae-woo of South Korea proposes a new relationship with North Korea, offering reunion talks - just don't trash my truck? On Sept. 17-Oct. 2 the XXIV (24th) Summer Olympics are held in Seoul, South Korea; North Korea (whose request to co-host the games was refused), Cuba, Ethiopia, and Nicaragua boycott it; 8,391 athletes (incl. 2,194 women) from 160 nations compete in 263 events in 27 sports; baseball, Taekwondo, and women's judo are demonstration sports; table tennis makes its debut, with China and South Korea both winning two titles; Roy Jones Jr. (1969-) loses the gold in boxing to Park Si-Hun (1965-) of South Korea in a 3-2 decision that raises cries of fixing, after which all three judges ruling against Jones are suspended; in the 2nd round of bantamweight boxing a Korean boxer loses to a Bulgarian, causing the Korean coaches to enter the ring and hit the referee, after which the Korean officials turn off the electricity in the ampitheater and go home. On Oct. 18 South Korean Pres. Roh Tae-woo in an address to the U.N. Gen. Assembly calls for a summit with North Korea's pres. to sign a non-aggression pact.
On Feb. 27, 1989 Pres. Bush warns of what he calls the "fool's gold" of trade protectionism in an address to South Korea's nat. assembly.
On Mar. 15, 1990 Jiang Zemin of China visits North Korea to meet with Kim Il-sung. On June 5 Mikhail Gorbachev meets with South Korean pres. Roh Dae Woo in Earthquake City San Francisco, Calif. causing diplomatic relations to be opened effective Oct. 1. On Sept. 5-7 the PMs of North and South Korea meet for two days, becoming the highest level contact since the Korean War. On Sept. 29 Japan and North Korea decide to talk about opening diplomatic relations, but the mention of paying reparations to victims of Japanese colonialism throw them off track. On Nov. 12 56-y.-o. poetry and tropical fish-loving Japanese Yamato emperor #125 Akihito (Heisei) (1933-) formally assumes the Chrysanthemum Throne in $64K 12-layer silk kimono, with his wife Empress Michiko (a commoner he met on a tennis court) ascending the smaller Michodai throne in a $100K 5-layered silk damask robe; a 10-day $97M coronation party is attended by heads of state from 158 nations, with only Afghanistan, North Korea, and Iraq not invited - does it tickle? On Dec. 29 former South Korean pres. Chun Doo-hwan returns to Seoul after two years of voluntary internal exile.
On Apr. 16-18, 1991 Gorbachev visits to Japan, failing to win a major aid package, then goes to South Korea.
On Jan. 6, 1992 U.S. pres. George H.W. Bush travels to South Korea for talks. On Aug. 23 China and South Korea announce the reopening of diplomatic relations.
On Feb. 25, 1993 Kim Young-sam (1927-) becomes the first non-military candidate in three decades to be sworn in as pres. of South Korea (until Feb. 25, 1998); on Mar. 7 he grants amnesty to thousands of prisoners. On Mar. 12 North Korea announces that it is withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; on June 12 it changes its mind after internat. pressure. On June 11 Pres. Clinton goes to Seoul, attempting to pressure North Korea to end its nuclear program. On Nov. 8 Pres. Clinton issues a sharp warning against North Korea for developing nukes.
In Jan. 1994 North Korea signs an agreement with the U.S. to permit inspection of seven nuclear facilities, which some South Koreans criticize as too lenient; on Jan. 27 South Korea announces an agreement to deploy a U.S.-built Patriot antimissile system; on Feb. 15 North Korea permits a limited inspection of all its nuclear facilities, but on Mar. 21 the U.N. Atomic Energy Agency demands full inspects, causing North Korea to threaten to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty again; on May 14 it is disclosed that North Korea has been refueling its Yong-byon nuclear reactor. On Apr. 22 Lee Hoi-chang resigns after only 4 mo. as PM of South Korea, saying that he is frustrated with Pres. Kim Yong-sam's domination of policy decisions regarding pesky North Korea and its nuclear facilities; on Apr. 28 he is succeeded by deputy PM Lee Yong-duk, a North Korean defector; he is replaced on Dec. 17 by Lee Hong-koo. On July 8 82-y.-o. North Korean pres. (since 1948) "Great Leader", "Dear Leader" and "Eternal President" Kim Il-sung (b. 1912) dies of a heart attack, and his 5'3" playboy son (wearing a bouffant hairstyle to look taller) Kim Jong-il (Jong Il) (Chong-il) (1942-2011) takes power in the dirthole fever pitch slave labor camp police state of North Korea, becoming pres. and gen. secy. of the Communist Party and new Great and Dear Leader in what amounts to Communism's first family succession; daddy's attempt to build the military to conquer the South ruined the economy, causing many North Koreans to starve as his son takes power after a delay in which who knows what was going on behind the scenes; up to 2M North Koreans die from malnutrition by the end of the cent., while Kim goes for women, fast cars, and fine dining, his favorite food being roast donkey, and his cognac budget of $2K a day no problemo?; an avid film buff, he builds a library of 20K foreign films and produces several films, all self-serving moose hockey history?
On July 27, 1995 (42nd anniv. of the Korean Armistice) the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is dedicated by Pres. Clinton.
In 1997 Hwang Jang-yop (1923-2010) becomes the highest-ranking North Korean defector, whom the Washington Post compares to "Josef Goebbels defecting from Nazi Germany".
On Feb. 25, 1998 Roman Catholic anti-authoritarian "Nelson Mandela of Asia" Kim Dae-jung (Tae-jung) (1925-2009) is sworn in as pres. of South Korea (until Feb. 25, 2003), calling for reconciliation with North Korea and advocating market-oriented economics to fight the country's economic woes, worst since the war ended in 1953 - somebody pinch me I'm dreaming? On Apr. 11 South and North Korean delegates attend a meeting in Beijing to discuss the north's food shortage problems, becoming the first official communication between the two countries in four years; Dear Leader Kim Jong-il is seen downing a mug of expensive cognac in a single gulp? On Aug. 23 internat. aid agencies warn that North Korea's food distribution system has virtually shut down, with only 10% of its rice fields cultivated; 2.3M died of famine since 1995. On Aug. 27 South Korea and Kuala Lumpur announce economic recessions. On Aug. 31 North Korea launches an experimental missile over Japan, letting them freak then declaring it is simply a scientific probe - I saw that Star Trek episode? On Sept. 5 Kim Il-sung's son Kim Jong-il (Jong Il) is officially declared "Great Leader" of North Korea.
On May 20-25, 1999 the U.S. inspects a suspected nuclear weapons site in North Korea, finding nothing. In June two North Korean ships are sunk and another disabled after trespassing in South Korean waters.
On May 19, 2000 South Korean PM Park Tae-joon (1927-) resigns soon after taking office after a financial scandal is revealed. On June 13-15 South Korean pres. Kim Dae-jung meets with North Korean pres. Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang, becoming their first meeting; they hold a banquet, singing "Our Wish Is Unification"; on June 19 the U.S. eases trade sanctions against North Korea; on Oct. 13 Dae-jung is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, although Japan and China don't relish the prospect of a reunited Korea; Jong-il was just having fun? On June 15 the presidents of North and South Korea sign a historic Korean Peace Accord after 50 years of anything but. On July 21 Russian pres. Vladimir Putin meets with North Korean pres. Kim Jong-il, and the latter pledges to discontinue his long-range missile program in exchange for help in sending satellites into space - thank you for being stupid? On Aug. 15-18 dozens of North and South Korean families are reunited in Seoul. On Oct. 23 Madeleine Albright holds talks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il.
On Jan. 29, 2002 Pres Bush delivers his 2002 State of the Union Address, calling Iran, Iraq, and North Korea the "Axis of Evil", using the term "weapons of mass destruction" (WMD), and saying that the war on terrorism is "just beginning". On Oct. 16 North Korea admits to developing nukes, pissing off da world.
On Jan. 10, 2003 North Korea announces that it is pulling out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty - 5-4-3-2-1 is scheduled to premiere when? On Feb. 25 after promoting an end to regionalism in politics via an Internet campaign, human rights atty. Roh Moo-hyun (1946-2009) becomes pres. #16 of South Korea (until Feb. 25, 2008). On Mar. 28 Japan launches its first spy satellites, causing North Korea to go nonlinear and huff and puff. On Oct. 20 Pres. Bush pushes North Korea's nuclear threat to the forefront of the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Summit in Thailand - to cries of "chicken" from the far-right wing when he doesn't just invade them like he did Iraq?
On June 20, 2004 Al-Jazeera airs a videotape from Al-Qaida showing South Korean hostage Kim Sun-il (b. 1970) pleading for his life and for his govt. to pull troops out of Iraq; on June 22 he is beheaded, becoming the 3rd in the Middle East in a little over 1 mo. On Sept. 13 the BBC quotes the foreign minister of North Korea as explaining a 2-mi.-wide mushroom cloud from an explosion on Sept. 9 as due to planned demolition for a hydroelectric project, and not from a nuclear test as speculated. In Oct. North Korea launches its "Let's Trim Our Hair According to the Socialist Lifestyle" program, requring all males to mow their locks to stay under a 2-in. limit; even Kim Jong-il trims his famous pompadour to go with the program; by Feb. the state-run Central TV is openly singling out and ridiculing slackers.
On Feb. 10, 2005 North Korea declares publicly that it possesses nukes just as the U.S. believes it is about to return to the negotiating table after an 8 mo. hiatus; this time the Bush admin. avoids all bluster about having to invade an "axis of evil" country possessing WMD; North Korea becomes the 9th nation to get nukes (U.S. 6K, Russia 8.5K, Britain 200, France 350, China 400, India 45-95, Pakistan 30-50, Israel 200). On Feb. 14 the U.S. govt. announces that a test of its nat. ballistic missile defense system, designed to defend against missiles launched from North Korea across the Pacific Ocean has failed for the 2nd time in as many months; the interceptor bases are in Alaska and Calif.; the same day South Korea announces high-level military talks with North Korea in an effort to coax it to return to 6-nation disarmament negotiations; at the same time Seoul officials say it's too early to declare North Korea a nuclear power as the alleged nukes haven't been confirmed. On Mar. 15-21 U.S. secy. of state Condi Rice visits Asia, concluding in Beijing, where she states that North Korea could face internat. sanctions for pulling out of 6-way talks on nuclear disarmament a year earlier; she also mentions U.S. displeasure over heightened Chinese tensions with Taiwan, and attends a Palm Sunday church service on Mar. 20. On July 26 North Korea ends a 13-mo. boycott and begins talks in Beijing on denuclearizing. On Aug. 23 Pakistani Pres. Gen. Pervez Musharraf (b. 1943) confirms that nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, father of Pakistan's nuclear program had provided North Korea with centrifuge machines to make fuel for an atomic bomb, as well as uranium hexafluoride for processing into fuel; he had already confessed in Jan. 2004 to trafficking nuclear secrets and parts to other countries, and was pardoned by Musharraf, but remains under house arrest to force cooperation with the authorities, who continue to keep him muzzled even after an Aug. 22, 2006 announcement that he is suffering from prostate cancer; Musharaff's defection from Muslim terrorist ranks causes him to be targed for assassination. In Aug. the U.S. blacklists a bank in Macao accused of laundering counterfeit U.S. currency printed by North Korea, causing banks around the world to follow suit. On Sept. 18 North Korea pledges to drop its nuclear weapons programs and rejoin internat. arms treaties in a unanimous agreement with the other five parties at 6-party talks (China, Japan, Russia, U.S., the two Koreas). On Nov. 14 Pres. Bush leaves for a 8-day trip of Asia, incl. Japan, China, and South Korea, and on Nov. 15 attends the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Conference in Busan, where leading members, the U.S., China, South Korea, Russia, and Japan agree to support free trade talks at the WTO; on Nov. 16 he tells China to be more like archrival Taiwan, and asks them to open its economy to foreign competition to narrow its $200B trade surplus with the U.S. - he should have kept mum? On Nov. 16 Pres. Bush and South Korean Pres. Roh Moo-hyun meet in Gyeongju, Korea's ancient capital, and declare that a nuclear-armed North Korea "will not be tolerated", but stress that the little problem they're having with them should be resolved through peaceful and diplomatic means down to the x-y-z.
On Jan. 1, 2006 the U.N. World Food Program, which fed 600K in North Korea last Dec. officially shuts off aid to the country's 22M people at the govt.'s request. On June 26 the U.S. announces deployment of PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced Capability-3) interceptor missiles on U.S. bases in Japan for the first time in anticipation of North Korean tests of a long-range missile capable of reaching both nations; in 2004 the PAC-3 was deployed in South Korea, and it has also been deployed in Taiwan. A rare Commie fireworks tribute to U.S. Independence Day? On July 4 North Korea, ignoring repeated internat. warnings tests their Taep'o-Dong 2 (Taepodong-2) missile (2985-9320 mi. range), which proves a dud and breaks up and crashes into the Sea of Japan; six more missiles are launched in the next 24 hours, drawing protests from 13 nations while Dear Leader and Lodestar of the 21st Cent. Kim Jong Il remains crazy like a fox?; on July 5 the U.N. Security Council attempts to impose sanctions, but Russia and China block it; on July 6 the North Korean foreign minister declares that his country has a right to test missles as a "self-defense deterrent", and "If anyone intends to dispute or add pressure about this, we will have to take stronger physical actions in other forms." On Oct. 6 (Fri.) the U.N. Security Council unanimously urges North Korea to abandon all atomic weapons and cancel test plans; on Oct. 9 North Korea detonates a nuke underground anyway, causing Pres. Bush to call it "a threat to internat. peace and security", and the U.N. Security Council to weigh severe sanctions; Russia is alone in saying it has "no doubts" over the North Korean claim of an underground atomic explosion, while U.S. experts claim it was a dud at a mere 1 kiloton. On Oct. 14 the U.N. Security Council votes unanimously to impose sanctions on North Korea for its claimed nuclear test, calling it a "clear threat to international peace and security", causing its ambassador Pak Gil Yon to walk out of the council chamber after calling their action "gangster-like" for ignoring the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which gives U.S. ambassador John Bolton a chance to snicker; the resolution was castrated of its authorization of military action by Russia and China, but bans luxury items such as cognac, French wine, and lobster loved by Kim Jong-il. On Oct. 17 U.S. officials announce that satellite images of North Korea indicate they are getting ready for a 2nd nuclear test as it holds huge rallies and proclaims that U.N. sanctions amount to a declaration of war. On Dec. 14 the U.N. Gen. Assembly elects Ban Ki-moon (1944-) of South Korea as U.N. secy.-gen. #8; he is sworn in on Jan. 1, 2007 (until ?), with the soundbyte "My mission could be dubbed Operation Restore Trust". On Dec. 17 North Korea begins nuclear talks with the U.S. and four other nations in Beijing after a 13-mo. hiatus, proclaiming itself a nuclear power and calling on the U.S. to soften its stance.
On July 27, 2006 Joon-ho Bong's The Host (Gwoemul) debuts, about a hilarious monster film set in the polluted Han River in South Korea.
As of 2007 nine countries have nukes: U.S., Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel (unacknowledged), India, Pakistan, North Korea; Iran is suspected of pursuing them; Indonesia is suspected of pursuing them in the 1960s after China's 1964 nuclear test; South Africa had them but gave them up in 1991; Egypt is pursuing a nuclear power program; Sweden has been a question mark since the 1950s; Japan has an official anti-nuke policy; more than 30 countries without nukes possess the materials and capabilities to make them using plutonium produced by a total of 435 operating nuclear power reactors worldwide; the U.S. and Russia possess 95% of the 27K known nukes; the original 1980s calculation of nuclear winter conditions only used 100 Hiroshima-sized 15K-ton A-bombs. On Feb. 12, 2007 after a marathon session led by U.S. envoy Christopher Hill, six countries reach a tentative agreement toward North Korean nuclear disarmament, incl. giving them energy assistance. On Feb. 22 South Korean businessman Tongsun Park (1935-) is sentenced to five years in prison for taking $2M to work on Iraq's behalf in the U.N. oil-for-food program. On Apr. 2 the U.S. and South Korea conclude a free trade agreement, the biggest for the U.S. since the 1992 NAFA agreement; meanwhile on Apr. 1 the hilltop hotel where delegates are meeting is rocked by 1K protesters, with one man setting himself on fire. An eerie reverse restaging of Pickett's Charge and Columbine H.S. put together? Four days too early proves he needs to study more history? On Apr. 16 loner South Korean lousy student English senior Cho Seung-hui (1984-) (in the U.S. since 1992) stages the deadliest shooting in U.S. history (until ?) at the Blacksburg, Va. campus of Virginia Tech, killing two at West Ambler Johnston Hall at 7:15 a.m., followed by 33 more plus himself in Norris Hall at 9:15 a.m., and wounding 43; he lamely attempts to conceal his identity, half-filing away serial numbers on his $571 (incl. 50 rounds of ammo) Glock 19 9mm semiauto and $250 Walther P22 .22 handgun (both with 33 cap. magazines) and shooting himself in the face, but leaves a typed 8-page note ranting against rich kids, debauchery, and deceitful charlatans, with the soundbyte "You caused me to do this"; Prof. Carolyn Rude reveals that plays he wrote for her class, incl. Richard McBeef were so violent and twisted that she referred him to a univ. counseling service; "Ismail Ax" in red ink was found on one of his arms; he signed into class with the name "?" (Question Mark); between Ambler and Norris he mails an elaborate videotape package to NBC in New York City which praises the Columbine shooters; the incident is seized on by gun control advocates, all bringing up the factoid that Britain had 46 homicides in 2006 vs. 590 in New York City alone, and that the death rate from firearms in the U.S. is 46 per million vs. 0.9 in Britain, although it's 146 in South Africa and 213 in Brazil; after the NRA caves, the U.S. House passes a new gun control bill on June 13 to fix flaws in the nat. gun background check system that allowed him to buy guns despite known mental health problems, requiring reporting of flagged nuts like him to the FBI's Nat. Instant Criminal Background System (NCIS), the first major U.S. gun law in more than a decade. On Oct. 3 100K attend the Arirang Festival in Pyongyang, North Korea, while Kim Jong-il and South Korean pres. Roh Mooh-Hyun sign a reconciliation pact pledging to seek a permanent peace agreement to end the 54-y.-o. ceasefire; on Oct. 2 Jong-il vows to shut down North Korea's nuclear reactor. On Nov. 14 North Korean PM Kim Jong-Il arrives in Seoul for his first talks in 15 years with South Korean PM Han Duk-soo. On Dec. 1 Pres. Bush writes a Personal Letter to Mr. Chairman (North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il), urging him to fully disclose his nuclear programs by year's end, which is seen as a turnaround in his labelling of his regime as part of an axis of evil. On Dec. 19 Lee Myung-bak (1941-) AKA "the Bullzodzer" (former construction boss, known for his recent environmental efforts) of the conservative opposition Grand Nat. Party wins the South Korean pres. election by a landslide.
In 2008 the Great 2008 Recession sees U.S. stock market investors lose $7T this year as the Dow Jones Industrial Avg. peaks at almost 13K in May, then crashes to 6.5K by Mar. 2009, then begin a long slow rise, reaching 8.5K by May 2009; rising oil prices cause inflation in the U.S., which spreads into a global food crisis (worst in over 30 years) that rocks Egypt, North Korea, Haiti, Indonesia, et al., sparking food riots and spilling into net-producer nations such as Thailand; the whole fiasco is caused by the huge waste of the U.S. Iraq War, or is war good for the economy and it's the fault of global warming, or is it the Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage crisis? On Feb. 27 U.S. secy. of state Condoleezza Rice stops in Tokyo on the final leg of an Asian trip to deal with North Korea's nuclear program, expressing regret over the case of U.S. Marine SSgt. Tyrone Luther Hadnott (1970-), accused of raping a 14-y.-o. Japanese girl and arrested on Feb. 11, which Japanese PM Yasuo Fukuda called "unforgivable"; he is charged on Apr. 24. On June 10 protests over high fuel prices erupt in Asia, incl. truckers in Hong Kong and tire-burning demonstrators in India and Nepal; meanwhile a meater protest of 80K in Seoul, South Korea against pres. Lee Myung-bak is staged over his Apr. agreement with Pres. Bush to resume U.S. beef imports, which were banned in 2003 after a case of mad cow disease was discovered. On June 26 Pres. Bush moves to drop North Korea from a list of countries sponsoring terrorism and lift some trade sanctions after it turned over a report with details of plutonium production, signalling the start of an "action for action" process to dismantle its nuke program - start here, my 24/7 modem? On Oct. 11 zonked Pres. Bush removes North Korea from its terrorism blacklist, pissing of Japan, 70-80 of whose citizens were kidnapped by North Korea from 1977-83, giving them a permanent grudge. On Dec. 11 nuclear talks with North Korea by the Bush admin. collapse, causing it to be left for Obama's admin.
On Mar. 9, 2009 the U.S. and South Korea stage annual war games, causing the North Koreans to prepare for an invasion - like they don't deserve it? On Mar. 26 Pres. Obama holds the first-ever White House Internet Forum; meanwhile his admin. issuing a warning to North Korea not to launch a rocket in orbit in Apr. after it was seen being put into position on its pad. On Apr. 3 unemployed Korean immigrant Jiverly Wong (Voong) (1967-) kills 13 and wounds four in a rampage at a citizenship class in an immigrant community center in Binghampton, N.Y. before killing himself. On Apr. 5 North Korea launches the Taepodong 2 comm sat to protests by Japan and the U.S.; too good, the 3rd stage fails, and it falls into the Pacific Ocean - there is only one Lord of the Ring? On May 25 (morning) (U.S. Memorial Day - thanks for thinking of us?) North Korea conducts its 2nd underground nuclear test in three years, drawing global condemnation, incl. from Russia and China, and the U.N. Security Council; their Apr. 5 launch of a long range missile compounds the condemnation, which doesn't stop them on May 27 from announcing that it no longer honors the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War, and that it will respond with "a powerful military strike" if any nation tries to stop it from exporting missiles and WMDs, calling such naval actions a "declaration of war"; on May 26 South Korea announces that it would join nations doing just that - they have decided that Obama is another Jimmy Carter already? On June 8 a North Korean court sentences U.S. journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee to 12 years in a labor camp for illegal border crossing from China, increasing tensions with the U.S. On June 12 the U.N. Security Council imposes tough new sanctions on pesky North Korea, incl. authorizing ship searches on the high seas to look for nukes; meanwhile on June 16 rabbit-scared South Korean pres. Lee Myung-bak visits the White House, and otains assurances that the U.S. will continue protecting his country from attack by North Korea, with Pres. Obama uttering the soundbyte that he doesn't think that North Korea "will or should be a nuclear power" - watch myung bak, okay? On June 21 Pres. Obama's approval index goes negative for the first time ever, with 32% of voters strongly approving of his performance and 34% strongly disapproving; meanwhile Obama says that the U.S. is "fully prepared for any contingencies" with madass North Korea, which is threatening a long-range missile test on July 4 in the direction of Hawaii. In June a Christian woman is executed in North Korea for the crime of distributing Bibles. On July 6-7 a cyberattack targets govt. Web sites in the U.S. and South Korea; North Korea is suspected. On July 16 after it test-fires a barrage of ballistic missiles into waters off its E coast, the U.N. imposes new sanctions on pesky North Korea in an effort to stifle its nuclear ambitions; by Sept. North Korea is going with the Iraqi flow and placing IEDs on roadsides. On Aug. 4 (Pres. Obama's birthday) ex-U.S. pres. Bill Clinton arrives in North Korea on his first diplomatic mission, quickly negotiating the release of U.S. Current TV journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling, succeeding where his wife Hillary (who on Aug. 26 called the North Koreans "unruly children") couldn't because old fart Dear Leader Kim Jong-il wanted to be seen with handsome in public, and he wanted a chance to get back in the spotlight, despite torpoeding all efforts at isolating North Korea? On Aug. 18 (07:40 GMT) South Korea launches its first satellite, the $400M Naro-1, pissing off North Korea. On Aug. 18 a senior Iranian official announces that Iran is ready for negotiations with the West on its nuclear program based on mutual respect and without preconditions; meanwhile RPGs and other weapons are found on an Australian cargo vessel en route from North Korea that is searched by the UAE, which Iranian officials deny are bound for them, calling it all a "Zionist plot". On Sept. 12 two German merchant ships traverse the fabled Northeast Passage after melting ice opens a route from South Korea along Russia's Arctic coast to Siberia. On Oct. 10 North Korea fires five short-range missiles off its E coast and declares a "no sail" zone until Oct. 20. On Nov. 10 the North and South Korean navies exchange gunfire, becoming the first time in seven years. On Nov. 13 Pres. Obama visits Tokyo, calling himself "America's first Pacific president", and vowing that the U.S. "will not be cowed by threats" from North Korea, which he says for decades "has chosen a path of confrontation and provocation, incl. the pursuit of nuclear weapons"; continuing his new style, on Nov. 14 he bows to Japanese emperor Akihito; on Nov. 15 Obama becomes the first U.S. pres. in over 40 years to meet with the rulers of Burma (Myanmar). On Nov. 16 (soundbyte day?) Iranian pres. Imadinnajacket utters the soundbyte that "The Iranian nation's nuclear rights are not negotiable"; meanwhile on Nov. 15 Pres. Obama visits Shanghai, uttering the soundbyte: "I continue to believe that the greatest threat to the United States security are the terrorist networks like al Qaeda", along with the soundbyte: "We do not seek to contain China's rise. On the contrary, we welcome China as a strong and prosperous and successful member of the community of nations", adding that he sees no need to change the One-China Policy of regarding Taiwan as part of Red China; he gives his consent to a plan by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Singapore to delay a binding agreement on climate change until next year; he also calls for greater Internet freedom in China, but in his Nov. 16 town hall meeting with 40 carefully-selected Beijing U. students, he refuses to discuss China's Internet censorship or meet with liberal leaders, many of whom were put under detention, which he doesn't object, then lets Chinese pres. Hu Jintao control a 30-min. news conference on Nov. 17, making the U.S. look like it's getting weak and whimpy; on Nov. 18 Obama tells the press in Beijing that the U.S. needs to contain its rising deficits (which have passed the $12T mark) in order to avoid "double-dip recession", and urges Hu Jintao to allow the yuan to rise, but is ignored; on Jan. 19 Obama visits Seoul, and says that he's willing to help North Korea with its economy and end its 50-year isolation if they finally move toward nuclear disarmament. On Nov. 30 North Korea announces a devaluation of its currency by two zeroes. On Dec. 8 Stephen Bosworth, Pres. Obama's first envoy to North Korea arrives in Pyongyang to try and talk them into going back to the nuclear talks it walked out of a year ago - make it work was the answer? On Dec. 20 a plane loaded with North Korean weapons is impounded in Bangkok; it is thought to have been heading for Iran. On Dec. 24 Korean-Am. Christian missionary Robert Park (1981-) crosses into North Korea carrying a letter to Kim Jong Il calling attention to his tens of thousands of political prisoners; he is arrested, becoming another one, then is freed on Feb. 6, 2010 - he'll file the letter on the pile?
On Jan. 1, 2010 North Korea issues a New Year Message calling for an end to hostility with the U.S. and a nuke-free peninsula, just week after sending signals that it wants to end its year-long boycott of nuclear disarmament talks - hold that tiger? On Jan. 21 the govt. of South Korea turns off the lights at 7:00 p.m. and tells its workers to go home and make babies to help reverse the pop. decline. On Mar. 26 the 1.2K-ton South Korean naval ship Cheonan sinks off Baengnyeong Island in South Korea, killing 26 marines; on May 21 U.S. state secy. Hillary condemns North Korea for the torpedo attack, promising to marshal an internat. response with Japan, China and other countries, with the soundbyte that "provocative actions have consequences"; North Korea warns of war if punished. On May 4-5 North Korean leader Kim Jong-il visits Beijing, China; neither country admits to the visit. On May 24 Pres. Obama orders the U.S. military to coordinate with South Korea to "ensure readiness" for possible aggression by North Korea; on May 25 North Korea severs all ties with South Korea as tensions soar; on May 26 U.S. state secy. Hillary Clinton leaves Beijing after two days and arrives in Seoul in a show of support. On June 3 U.S. Sen. Jim Webb cancels a visit to Burma after reports by a high-level defector that the Burmese military junta is mining uranium and working with North Korea to develop nukes. On June 28 after Pres. Obama urges the Chinese to take a stronger stance on the Mar. 26 warship sinking, North Korea accuses the U.S. of bringing weapons into the Panmunjom truce village in the DMZ, and threatens a "new" nuclear deterrent. On July 21 the U.S. announces new sanctions on North Korea, warning it of serious consequences if it attacks South Korea. On July 23 North Korea threatens the U.S. and South Korea with "nuclear deterrence" if they go ahead with naval maneuvers on July 26 in the Sea of Japan. On Aug. 25 former U.S. pres. Jimmy Carter arrives in Pyongyang, North Korean on a private mission to free imprisoned African-Am. Aijalon Gomes (1979-) of Boston, Mass., who is serving eight years for illegal entry via China; he arrives in Boston with Carter on Aug. 27. On Aug. 30 Pres. Obama broadens U.S. financial sanctions on North Korean, and freezes the assets of four North Korean citizens and eight firms to punish it for the sinking of the South Korean warship. On Aug. 31 North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il returns from a trip to China, where he met with pres. Hu Jintao, leaving observers clueless about who his successor will be. On Sept. 16 South Korean pres. Lee Myung-bak names Kim Hwang-sik as PM of South Korea (until ?). On Sept. 28 Kim Jong-il's son Jong-un (1983-) officially becomes 2nd in command in nuke-powered North Korea. On Oct. 29 North Korean troops fire two rounds toward South Korea at the border, who immediately fire back; a repeat happens on Nov. 3. On Nov. 21 U.S. scientist Siegfried Heckler claims that North Korea showed him a covert uranium enrichment facility. On Nov. 23 North Korea fires artillery shells at Yeonpyeong Island, causing South Korea to respond with its own artillery fire; White House deputy press secy. Bill Burton says that Pres. Obama "is outraged by this action" and that "We stand shoulder to shoulder with South Korea"; on Nov. 24 a U.S. aircraft carrier group takes off for Korean waters; on Nov. 25 South Korea sends troops to fortify the island and border, while South Korean defense minister Kim Tae-young resigns after criticism that the response was too slow. On Dec. 3 amid growing tensions in the Korean Peninsula, the U.S. and Japan launch their biggest-ever joint military exercises off Japan's S islands near South Korea. On Dec. 21 China urges North Korea to allow U.N. nuclear monitors to alleviate internat. tensions.
On May 17, 2011 a U.N. Report on China claims that for more than a decade China has been aiding Iran and North Korea in developing ballistic missiles and nukes and getting around sanctions. On June 12 South Korea announces that North Korea can likely miniaturize a nuke for placing on a rocket. On June 18 NewsMax reports that North Korea may have tested a "Super EMP" weapon that produces a large electromagnetic pulse. On June 29 the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security pub. a new list of specially designated countries that support terrorism, adding Israel for the first time while dropping North Korea; meanwhile the Obama admin. resumes formal contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, whose avowed goal is Islamist takeover of the U.S., while U.S. deputy nat. security advisor John Brennan says that the new Obama admin. counterterrorism strategy will be to focus on would-be terrorists in the U.S. who are inspired by al-Qaeda's "hateful ideology", and adds that this is the first strategy to "designate the homeland as a primary area of emphasis in our counterterrorism efforts"; on June 30 Hillary Clinton in Budapest says that the Obama admin. is loosening criteria for interaction with the Brotherhood, permitting diplomats to deal directly with low-level officials; on July 2 Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan says that they are "ready for dialogue", but only "within a framework of mutual respect", calling for the Obama admin. to "side with the rights of the people and their demands and to stop supporting the corrupt and tyrannical regimes, backing the Zionist occupation and using double standards"; meanwhile the Obama admin. imposes financial sanctions on Syrian and Iranian domestic security forces for killing of peaceful anti-govt. protesters in Syria. On July 12 the U.N. stinks itself up by making North Korea the pres. of its Conference on Disarmament, joining China, Iran, and Pakistan to stop the arms race. On Nov. 22 South Korea passes a free trade agreement with the U.S. that had been in limbo since 2007. On Dec. 5 the U.S. govt. reports that North Korea is readying its first road-mobile ICBM, capable of hitting the U.S. On Dec. 17 Korean dictator (since 1994) Kim Jong-il (b. 1941) dies, and is succeeded by his youngest son Kim Jong-un (1983-), who on Dec. 29 is declared the new nuclear-packing supreme leader (until )?; on Dec. 22 (3:00 p.m. EST) the U.N. observes a Minute of Silence for Kim Jong-il, pissing off Western delegations, who boycott it; on Dec. 28 the U.N. lowers its flags worldwide for the clown's 2-day funeral.
On Apr. 17, 2012 the U.S. cedes control of the military of the Repub. of Korea after 50 years, dissolving the Combined Forces Command.