With the Chinese intervention, the United States confronted a hard truth: Threatening a nuclear attack would not be enough to win the war. It was as if the Chinese hadn’t noticed—or, worse, weren’t impressed by—the atomic-capable B-29s waiting at Guam.
President Truman raised the ante. At a November press conference, he told reporters he would take whatever steps were necessary to win in Korea, including the use of nuclear weapons. Those weapons, he added, would be controlled by military commanders in the field.
In April of the next year, Truman put the finishing touches on Korea’s nuclear war. He allowed nine nuclear bombs with fissile cores to be transferred into Air Force custody and transported to Okinawa. Truman also authorized another deployment of atomic-capable B-29s to Okinawa. Strategic Air Command set up a command-and-control team in Tokyo.
This spate of atomic diplomacy coincided with the end of the role played by Douglas MacArthur. After MacArthur had publicly and repeatedly differed with the president over military strategy in Korea, Truman replaced him with General Matthew Ridgway, who was given “qualified authority” to use the bombs if he felt he had to.
In October, there would be an epilogue of sorts to the Korean nuclear war. Operation Hudson Harbor would conduct several mock atomic bombing runs with dummy or conventional bombs across the war zone. Called “terrifying” by some historians, Hudson Harbor merely tested the complex nuclear-strike machinery, as the Strategic Air Command had been doing for years over American cities.
Eisenhower adopted a get-tough policy toward the communists in Korea. He suggested that he would “unleash” the Nationalist Chinese forces on Taiwan against communist China, and he sent only slightly veiled messages that he would use any force necessary (including the use of nuclear weapons) to bring the war to an end unless peace negotiations began to move forward.
The Chinese, exhausted by more than two years of war, finally agreed to terms and an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. The United States suffered over 50,000 casualties in this “forgotten war,” and spent nearly $70 billion. The most frustrating war in U.S. history had come to an end. America’s first experience with a “limited war,” one in which the nation did not seek (and did not obtain) absolute victory over the enemy, did not bode well for the future. Conflict in Vietnam was just around the corner.
On January 23, 1968, the USS Pueblo, a Navy intelligence vessel, in international waters, engaged in a routine surveillance of the North Korean coast, was attacked, fired on, and boarded forced to surrender. The Americans had attempted to escape, and the North Koreans opened fire, wounding the commander and two others. With capture inevitable, the Americans stalled for time, destroying the classified information aboard while taking further fire. Several more crew members were wounded. The crew were taken prisoners and held for nearly a year. they were tortured and forced to study propaganda materials and beaten! The ship was never released. the US never was compensated nor did the US ever do anything about it.
Just months after the Pueblo Crew were freed, on a Tuesday morning in April, a US Lockheed EC-121 propeller driven spy plane with 31 crew members, known by its radio call of Deep Sea 129, took off from a base in eastern Japan and was tracked north-west towards the coast of North Korea. So long as its route remained above international waters, the US crew were in the clear. “Two-hundred of these flights were executed without incident in just the first three months of 1969,”
As Tuesday progressed, the EC-121 aircraft neared North Korea and began to circle some 120kms off the coast to see what information it could gather. At about 12.30pm, several Russian built MiG jets took off from a North Korean base and headed towards the plane.
This did not go unnoticed by US radars in Korea who warned the crew but the aircraft made no acknowledgment of the warning.At 1pm, Deep Sea 129 checked in with base, yet did not mention the approaching MiGs. It was the last communication from the plane; around 20 minutes later it fell off radar screens.
“If it did receive the warnings, the EC-121 probably would have begun diving for the sea to gain speed and to drop below enemy radar coverage,” wrote Mr Mobley.“At a minimum, the aircraft would have turned away from the North Korean coast [to] avoid provocative action.”
The North Koreans had been observing the EC-121 flight paths. They’d seen how slow and lumbering the planes were and, just weeks earlier, had moved their most powerful fighter jets to a base near the coast.
“One [MiG] flew a defensive patrol and approached no closer than 65 miles from the EC-121. The second fighter raced to the EC-121, shot it down about 80 miles off the coast, and immediately returned to North Korean airspace. Simplicity itself.”
Pyongyang justified the downing, saying it was due to the “grave provocation of infiltrating deep into the territorial air space of the republic.”
George Carver, a CIA Vietnam specialist said that “Nixon became incensed and ordered a tactical nuclear strike … The Joint Chiefs were alerted and asked to recommend targets,” reported the Guardian.
Bruce Charles, a US fighter pilot stationed at the time in South Korea, had a nuclear bomb stashed in his jet ready to drop at a moment’s notice on a specific North Korean air strip.
In 2010, he told the US National Public Radio (NPR) that he was put on high alert following the 15 April attack.
“When I got to see the colonel, it was very simple. He described the shooting down of the EC-121 about a hundred miles at sea. And that he had a message, saying to prepare to strike my target.”
His bomb was 20 times larger than the one that fell on Hiroshima.
But the final order never came. In Washington DC, National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger reportedly persuaded Nixon to sleep on it.
In the days that followed, the US considered nuclear or more limited conventional strikes. However, there was a concern any strike would start a full-scale war.
“The danger of a wide war tends to trump whatever benefit you think might come from punishing your enemy here with a retaliatory strike,” Dan Sneider of Stanford University, told NPR.
Instead, the US soon after resumed its EC-121 flights, but now with beefed up military escorts. No military strikes ever occurred against the North. Some praised Nixon for his restraint and no further spy planes were lost.
“The EC-121’s mission was never completed, the aircraft was never recovered. Thirty sailors and one Marine never saw home base again,” said Captain Wright of the 15 April incident.
In 1994 Pres. Clinton succeeded in closing North Korea’s Youngbon Nuclear power Plant in exchange for oil deliveries. This shut down the North Korea capacity to engage in Nuclear Production. Yet it was Congress and not Clinton that conditioned the agreement to shut down and not dismantlement. Also no follow through! As a result the North simply restarted it!
Pres. Bush was no better! Stuck on his AXIS OF EVIL, Bush sought a Regime change! The result was that the North Koreans nuclear program progressed to the point of the first successful nuclear tests in 2006! And, another one only a month after its withdrawal from the Six-Party Talks in 2009!
Obama’s Strategic Patience No Carrots No Sticks in his Inaugural speech was to receive a North Korean Response! That of additional Nuclear Missiles and Nuclear Tests! The Administration then went into Strategic Patience …. with their Six-Party Talks.. it seems that they had simply disregarded those Five Party Talks!Tough UN Sanctions went no where! Attempts at UN Security Sanctions did little due to the fact China was, as always, reluctant to put too much pressure on the regime for fear of ” destabilizing its “reclusive neighbor”–as if that was ever a worry!
it is about time a President takes control of the situation and carries a big stick! Nearly a century of diplomacy has delivered nothing but an enemy with atomic weapons ready to hit our cities and to offer these weapons of mass destruction to other rogue nations! read the history i have transcribed above … then google for the rest! one president after the other… how many lives lost already? How many turns of the cheek before we take action? should we lose a city? President Trump was correct in his reply! Honor your President by standing with him! God Bless America And our Commander and Chief!!!!