When the Korean War began during the summer of 1950 many Americans were wondering aloud "Is this the beginning of W.W. III?" One year later they were relieved to find that it was not a world war, but the butcher's bill stood at 70,000 U.S. casualties and still there was no end in sight. This article examines these first 365 days of combat, taking into account all losses and gains.
There is a set of rocky hills close to the 38th Parallel that came to be known as "Heartbreak Ridge" in the Fall of 1951. It came to pass when a plan was made to secure these hills for the U.N Forces - they thought this would be done in one day - but it continued for a full month. At long last, the 23rd Regiment of the 2nd U.S. Infantry Division finally wrested Heartbreak Ridge from a numerically superior enemy on October 12 - and in so doing, lost half their strength (1,650 men).
Attacking across a 125 mile front, the Chinese Army launched their spring offensive on May 17, 1951; unable to make any advances, they retired two weeks later, leaving behind some 80,000 dead.
"The Communist hit first on the east central front. A quick rout of two ROK divisions caught the U.S. 2nd Division, commanded by Major General Clark Ruffner, in a dangerous pocket with their east flank exposed...One officer called the Red onslaught 'an astounding demonstration. They wade right through macine gun or artillery fire. The bodies pile up and they walk right over the bodies and the pile of bodies gets higher.'"
By the Winter of 1951 another round of cease-fire and truce agreements between UN and Communist field commanders had once again come to naught - and America's second Thanksgiving in Korea soon gave way to America's second Christmas in Korea. This brief column lays out what went wrong in the last negotiations and American Secretary of State Dean Acheson declared that the U.S. would remain in Korea even after a peace agreement has been signed.
Those darn misogynists in Washington fell asleep at the switch again when they appointed a woman to fill the number two spot at the Department of Defense. The woman in question was Anna Rosenberg (1902 – 1983), an experienced and well-respected hand in the Nation's Capital who served in that post between 1950 and 1953. During the middle of the war she paid a visit to the American military installations in Korea and wrote warmly about all that she had seen.
By the time November of 1952 rolled around the Korean War was in stalemate; this made the 1952 election one that was about progress as the American voters looked for a candidate who could make sound decisions and offer a leadership that would take the country (and the war) in a better direction. Neither candidate was looking for a victory in Korea, both campaigned on finding "a peace". When President Truman taunted Eisenhower to "come forward with any plan he had for peace in Korea" it resulted in the retired general standing before the microphones and uttering pensively: "I will go to Korea". The electorate was at once reminded as to how trusted he had been in the past and Eisenhower was elected, carrying 41 states and receiving nearly 58 percent of the popular vote.
More on the 1952 presidential election can be read here...