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The sobering plot came three years after the end of World War 2 after the Allies liberated Korea from Imperial Japan and the country was divided into the two zones seen today along the 38th parallel. A socialist government was set up in the north under the communist leadership of Kim Il-sung, and a capitalist state in the south under the democratic leadership of Syngman Rhee. However, both sides claimed to be the only legitimate government of Korea and tensions soon boiled over when the North Korean military – supported by China and the Soviet Union – crossed the border and advanced into South Korea.
This led to the United Nations Security Council authorising the formation of the United Nations Command of 21 counties to repel what was recognised as an attack on democracy.
Leading that was General Douglas MacArthur, who brought initial success, however after suffering a series of major defeats and clashing with then-US President Harry Truman, he was removed from command.
The conflict would rage on for two more years until the Korean Armistice Agreement, which established the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), however, no peace treaty was ever signed, and the two Koreas are technically still at war.
In an interview with author Bob Considine, who would go on to publish ‘Gen. Douglas MacArthur,’ the war veteran said: “Of all the campaigns in my life the one I felt the surest of was the one I was deprived of waging properly.
“I could have won the war in Korea in a maximum of 10 days, once the campaign was under way, and with considerably fewer casualties than were suffered during the so-called truce period.
“The enemy’s air would first have been taken out.
“I would have dropped between 30 to 50 tactical atomic bombs on air bases and other depots strung across the neck of Manchuria from just across the Yalu River at Antung to the neighbourhood of Hunchun.
“That many bombs would have more than done the job.”
The five-star general, who passed away in 1964, explained how he planned to overcome North Korea in days.
He added: “Dropped under the cover of darkness, when his planes were in for the night, they would have destroyed the air force on the ground, wiped out his maintenance and his airmen.
“With the destruction of the enemy’s airpower, I would then have called upon 500,000 of Chiang Kai-shek’s troops, sweetened by two US Marine divisions.
“These would have been formed into two amphibious forces. One, totalling four-fifths of my strength and led by one of the Marine divisions, would have landed at Antung and proceeded eastward along the road that parallels the Yalu.
“The other force, led by the other Marine division, would have landed simultaneously at Unggi or Najin in the east, hit the same river road, and moved very quickly westward.
“The forces could have joined in two days, forming a wall of manpower and firepower across the entire northern border of Korea.”
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General MacArthur claimed the plan would have led to the North Koreans being squeezed on all sides.
He continued: “Now, with the northern border sealed, the 8th Army, spread roughly along the 38th Parallel, would then have put pressure on the enemy from the South.
“The amphibious forces would press down from the North. Nothing in the way of supplies or reinforcements could have moved across the Yalu.
“North Korea, holding not less than one million to 1 1/2 million of the enemy, could not have sustained it.
“It had been picked clean. The enemy commander would have been starved out within 10 days after the landings.”
However, there is no telling on whether the plan would work and it would no doubt have led to relationships with the USSR being strained even further than they already were.
While US experts had predicted that the Soviet Union would not have nuclear weapons until the mid-Fifties, the first Soviet bomb was detonated on August 29, 1949, shocking the entire world.
And with North Korea being backed by the USSR, the military doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction would have guaranteed that both countries obliterated each other in the event of one or more using nuclear weapons.
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