Paul Atwood, a Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, provides a concise summary of the history that informs North Korea’s “relations with the United States” and “drives its determination never to submit to any American diktat”.
Excerpts from Atwood’s summary are here used as a framework, with other sources where indicated.
Atwood notes it is an American “myth” that the “North Korean Army suddenly attacked without warning, overwhelming surprised ROK defenders.” In fact, the North/South border “had been progressively militarized and there had been numerous cross border incursions by both sides going back to 1949.”
Part of what made the US’s ultimate destruction of Korea (which involved essentially a colossal version of one of the cross-border incursions) “inevitable” was the goal of US planners to access or control “global… resources, markets and cheaper labor power”.
In its full invasion of the North, the US acted under the banner of the United Nations. However, the UN at that time was “largely under the control of the United States”, and as Professor Carl Boggs (PhD political science, UC Berkeley) puts it, essentially was the United States. (28) While it is still today the world’s most powerful military empire, the US was then at the peak of its global dominance – the most concentrated power-center in world history. Almost all allies and enemies had been destroyed in World War II while the US strategically preserved its forces, experiencing just over 400,000 overall war-related deaths after Germany and Japan declared war on the US, whereas Russia, for example, lost tens of millions fending off the Nazi invasion. Boggs further notes that as the UN gradually democratized, US capacity to dictate UN policy waned, with the US soon becoming the world leader in UN vetoes. (154)
In South Korea, “tens of thousands” of “guerrillas who had originated in peoples’ committees” in the South “fought the Americans and the ROK” (Republic of Korea), the Southern dictatorship set up by the US. Before hot war broke out, the ROK military “over mere weeks” summarily executed some 100,000 to 1 million (74) (S. Brian Wilson puts the figure at 800,000) guerillas and peasant civilians, many of whom the dictatorship lured into camps with the promise of food. This was done with US knowledge and sometimes under direct US supervision, according to historian Kim Dong-choon and others (see Wilson above for more sources). The orders for the executions “undoubtedly came from the top”, which was dictator Syngman Rhee, the “US-installed” puppet, and the US itself, which “controlled South Korea’s military.” After the war, the US helped try to cover up these executions, an effort that largely succeeded until the 1990s.
At a point in the war when the US was on the verge of defeat, General Douglas MacArthur “announced that he saw unique opportunities for the deployment of atomic weapons. This call was taken up by many in Congress.” Truman rejected this idea and instead “authorized MacArthur to conduct the famous landings at Inchon in September 1950”, which “threw North Korean troops into disarray and MacArthur began pushing them back across the 38th Parallel”, the line the US had “arbitrarily” drawn to artificially divide Korea, where there was “overwhelming support for unification” among the country’s population as a whole. The US then violated its own artificial border and pushed into the North.
China warned the US it would not sit by while the its neighbor was invaded (China itself also feared being invaded), but MacArthur shrugged this off, saying if the Chinese “tried to get down to Pyongyang” he would “slaughter” them, adding, “we are the best.” MacArthur “then ordered airstrikes to lay waste thousands of square miles of northern Korea bordering China and ordered infantry divisions ever closer to its border.”
It was the terrible devastation of this bombing campaign, worse than anything seen during World War II short of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that to this day dominates North Korea’s relations with the United States and drives its determination never to submit to any American diktat.
General Curtis Lemay directed this onslaught. It was he who had firebombed Tokyo in March 1945 saying it was “about time we stopped swatting at flies and gone after the manure pile.” It was he who later said that the US “ought to bomb North Vietnam back into the stone age.” Remarking about his desire to lay waste to North Korea he said “We burned down every town in North Korea and South Korea too.” Lemay was by no means exaggerating.
Lemay estimated the US “killed off” some “20% of the [North Korean] population.” (For comparison, the highest percentage of population lost in World War II was in Poland, which lost approximately 16.93 to 17.22% of its people overall.) Dean Rusk, who later became a Secretary of State, said the US targeted and attempted to execute every person “that moved” in North Korea, and tried to knock over “every brick standing on top of another.”
Boggs gives many examples of mass atrocities, one taking place in 1950 when the US rounded up “nearly 1,000 civilians” who were then “beaten, tortured, and shot to death by US troops”, another in Pyongyang when the US summarily executed 3,000 people, “mostly women and children”, and another when the US executed some 6,000 civilians, many with machine guns, many by beheading them with sabers. He notes this list, just of the major atrocities, “goes on endlessly.” (75)
When Chinese forces followed through on their threat and entered North Korea, successfully pushing back US troops, Truman then threatened China with nuclear weapons, saying they were under “active consideration.” For his part, “MacArthur demanded the bombs… As he put it in his memoirs:
I would have dropped between thirty and fifty atomic bombs…strung across the neck of Manchuria…and spread behind us – from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea- a belt of radioactive cobalt. It has an active life of between 60 and 120 years.
Cobalt it should be noted is at least 100 times more radioactive than uranium.
He also expressed a desire for chemicals and gas.
In 1951 the U.S. initiated “Operation Strangle”, which officials estimated killed at least 3 million people on both sides of the 38th parallel, but the figure is probably closer to 4 million [“mostly civilians” and “mostly resulting from US aerial bombardments” in which civilians “were deliberately targeted” (54, 67-8), as were “schools, hospitals, and churches” (65). Estimates for the death toll also go “much higher” than 4 million (74)].
Boggs notes US propaganda during this time period (the US was a world leader in eugenics scholarship and race-based “legal” discrimination) dehumanized Asians and facilitated targeting and mass executions of “inferior” civilians: the “US decision to target civilians … was planned and systematic, going to the top of the power structure. …no one was ever charged…” Some in the US forces, such as General Matthew Ridgeway, claimed the war was a Christian jihad in defense of “God”. (54-5) Analysts at George Washington University, looking at US contingency plans from this era to wipe out much of the world’s population with nuclear weapons, determined a likely rationale for the US’s doctrine of targeting of civilians is to “reduce the morale of the enemy civilian population through fear” – the definition of terrorism.
The question of whether the U.S. carried out germ warfare has been raised but has never been fully proved or disproved. The North accused the U.S. of dropping bombs laden with cholera, anthrax, plague, and encephalitis and hemorrhagic fever, all of which turned up among soldiers and civilians in the north. Some American prisoners of war confessed to such war crimes but these were dismissed as evidence of torture by North Korea on Americans. However, none of the U.S. POWs who did confess and were later repatriated were allowed to meet the press. A number of investigations were carried out by scientists from friendly western countries. One of the most prominent concluded the charges were true.
At this time the US was engaged in top secret germ-warfare research [including non-consensual human experimentation] with captured Nazi and Japanese germ warfare experts, and also [conducting non-consensual human experimentation on tens of thousands of people, including in gas chambers and aerial bombardments, with mustard gas and other chemical weapons,] experimenting with Sarin[, later including non-consensual human experimentation], despite its ban by the Geneva Convention.
Boggs notes the US “had substantial stocks of biological weapons” and US leaders thought they might be able to keep their use “secret enough to make a plausible denial”. They also thought that if their use was uncovered, the US could simply remind its accusers that it had never signed the 1925 Geneva Protocol on biological warfare. (135-6)
A 1952 US government film made to instruct the US armed forces on the US’s “offensive biological and chemical warfare program” says the US can “deliver a biological or chemical attack … hundreds of miles inland from any coastline” to “attack a large portion of an enemy’s population.” The film shows US soldiers filling bio/chemical dispersal containers for “contamination” of enemy areas, and then a cartoon depiction of US bio/chem weapons agents being delivered from US ships, passing over Korea, and covering huge swathes of China.
Boggs notes “the US apparently hoped the rapid spread of deadly diseases would instill panic in Koreans and Chinese, resulting in a collapse of combat morale”. (136)
Atwood adds that as in the case of the Rhee/US mass executions of South Koreans, Washington blamed the evident use of germ warfare on “the communists”.
The US also used napalm, a fiery gel that sticks to and burns through targets,
…extensively, completely and utterly destroying the northern capital of Pyongyang. By 1953 American pilots were returning to carriers and bases claiming there were no longer any significant targets in all of North Korea to bomb. In fact a very large percentage of the northern population was by then living in tunnels dug by hand underground. A British journalist wrote that the northern population was living “a troglodyte existence.” In the Spring of 1953 US warplanes hit five of the largest dams along the Yalu river completely inundating and killing Pyongyang’s harvest of rice. Air Force documents reveal calculated premeditation saying that “Attacks in May will be most effective psychologically because it was the end of the rice-transplanting season before the roots could become completely embedded.” Flash floods scooped out hundreds of square miles of vital food producing valleys and killed untold numbers of farmers.
At Nuremberg after WWII, Nazi officers who carried out similar attacks on the dikes of Holland, creating a mass famine in 1944, were tried as criminals and some were executed for their crimes.
Atwood concludes it is “the collective memory” of the above “that animates North Korea’s policies toward the US today”.
Under no circumstances could any westerner reasonably expect … that the North Korean regime would simply submit to any ultimatums by the US, by far the worst enemy Korea ever had measured by the damage inflicted on the entirety of the Korean peninsula.
Originally published on 2017-04-26
About the author: Robert J. Barsocchini is an independent researcher and reporter whose interest in propaganda and global force dynamics arose from working as a cross-cultural intermediary for large corporations in the US film and Television industry. His work has been cited, published, or followed by numerous professors, economists, lawyers, military and intelligence veterans, and journalists. He begins work on a Master’s Degree in American Studies in the fall.
Boggs references: Boggs, Carl. The Crimes of Empire. London; New York: Pluto; Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Print.
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
Source: Counter Currents
PrefaceIn the area where the multilingual state of Belgium is located, the main political mark today is the general openness for the expression of different attitudes and policies. Therefore, there are almost unlimited options in drawing political boundaries. That is unlike, for example, as well as with multilingual Switzerland, where the mountains create natural areas for the four different language districts and many political-administrative cantons. The physical openness of the area also causes Belgium to be more open for influences from outside and therefore sensitive to changes in the European policies.One way to look at the situation in Belgium is ...
With a critical public increasingly turning to social media to scrutinize the claims of the mainstream as well as the credibility of the assertions made by the various NGOs and government-funded human rights organisations, it’s arguably becoming more difficult for the corporate press to pass their propaganda off as legitimate news.
This is particularly the case during periods when the establishment pushes for military conflicts. One salutary lesson from the Iraq debacle, is that the public appear not to be so readily fooled. Or are they?
It’s a measure of the extent to which the mass media barely stray from their paymasters ...
All of the Balkans, legendary German Reichskanzler (Imperial Chancellor) Otto von Bismarck famously said, were not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. And Bismarck, a Prussian landowner or junker had nothing but amused contempt for Pomeranian grenadiers who were regarded as a standing joke in the German Army.
In 1890, brash, young new German Emperor Wilhelm II fired Bismarck after 28 years as minister-president of Prussia and then first Imperial Chancellor of Germany. He abandoned the priority policy of maintaining warm ties and close communications with Russia that Bismarck had always followed and scrapped the Dreikaiserbund, the League of ...
The United States of America has sunk to a new low in diplomacy and civilized relations between nation states with its demand that Russia close its consular missions in San Francisco, Washington and New York, quickly followed by its order that the consular staff leave the premises while the FBI conducted a search of the premises and staffers personal apartments. To order the closure of a mission, or to order the withdrawal of a member of diplomatic staff, is within its right but a search of consular property is not. It is a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention on ...
The Kaunas Garage Massacre of the Jews in June 1941It was with great interest that I read the op-ed jointly penned by Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and his Lithuanian counterpart, Gabrielius Landsbergis, in last Friday’s Jerusalem Post. As could be expected, such initiatives are usually written to offer a rosy picture of the wonderful relations between two countries and the bright prospects for future cooperation. As a descendant of Lithuanian Jews, a frequent visitor to Lithuania ever since independence, and the co-author of a recent book on the rampant Holocaust distortion orchestrated by successive Lithuanian governments, I didn’t know whether to ...
Few people know that, in fact, in those years, overseas aircraft inflicted an unpunished blow on the Soviet territory. It happened in the Far East in October 1950.On October 8, 1950, at 4.17 p.m. local time, two Lockheed F-80C Lockheed "Schutting Star (Meteor)" violated the state border of the USSR and, having deepening into the territory for almost a hundred kilometers, attacked the Soviet military airfield Suhaya Rechka 165 kilometers from Vladivostok, in the Hasan district. As a result of firing by the US Air Force seven Soviet squadron aircraft were damaged, one completely burnt in the parking lot.That autumn ...
As some of you may remember I am compiling a criminal dossier on the western powers concerning, among other things, their preparations for Operation Barbarossa II, the term that I use for NATO’s build-up of forces in Eastern Europe threatening the security of Russia.In June, the BALTOPS 2017 NATO naval and air exercises were conducted in the Baltic Sea near Kaliningrad and the approaches to St. Petersburg simultaneously with the Saber Strike military ground exercises in Latvia and Lithuania.On July 11th NATO’s Sea Breeze naval exercises began in the Black Sea, threatening Russia’s southern flank. The NATO exercises are conducted ...
The Crimean Tatar writer and artist Diana Kadi recently wrote an open letter to Angela Merkel:“I am the author of a novel about the Crimea. Since an information war is being waged of such intensity that propaganda and lies have become the norm, I believe that it is important for me to set forth my views on the subject of the Crimea. Ukrainian politicians claim that Russia is the aggressor and that Crimean Tatars are oppressed, but that is simply untrue. My people have once again become an instrument of political manipulation. The alleged oppression of the Crimean Tatars is ...
When I was living in San Francisco in 1981, I met and became friends with Chun Sun-Tae, a Korean immigrant who had come to the United States as a college student in the 1960s and ran a small luggage shop in Oakland. James, as he was known, had grown up in the 1940s in the city of Kaesong in what was then the northern frontier of South Korea.
One warm day in June, 1950, he went camping with a group of friends at a nearby lake. The next morning, they woke to the sounds of artillery and gunfire: Kaesong had just ...
Big Brother in the Aisles of HyVeeRepeat a lie often enough, the conventional Nazi propaganda wisdom ran, and it will become an accepted truth.This last Veterans Day weekend, I couldn’t watch a sporting event, listen to a car radio, or even go shopping at the local grocery store without hearing a Great American Lie repeated over and over.Sports announcers, radio talk-show hosts, commercials, and even a recorded voice blasted into the aisles of the HyVeee supermarket told me again and again that I owed my great American “freedom” to veterans and current enlistees of the U.S. military – in other ...
To clarify the importance of the January 23rd coup attempt in Venezuela we remember that ever since WWII the customary motivation for violations of the Convention on Genocide has been to gain a region’s natural resources. For example Iraq, Libya, Syria, Haiti, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Guatemala, and others. The people of resource-rich areas are forced into flight, exile, refuge elsewhere, or are attacked by disease, or starvation, or directly murdered by military programs, or divided internally into civil wars assuring the death of multitudes.Damages are inter-generational with the effects of depleted uranium weaponry or ...
The U.S. Government certainly leads the world in invasions and coups.In recent years, it has invaded and occupied — either by military assault or by coup, but in either case followed by installing (or trying to install) a new regime there — a number of countries, especially Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen. U.S. propaganda says that its invasions and military occupations (and it denies its coups) are to benefit the people in the invaded and militarily occupied countries, or to bring them ‘democracy’, and are not done merely to benefit the people who control the U.S. Government (which itself is not a ...
It only took a few months under Donald Trump’s presidency for the US to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, impose new sanctions on Russia, reverse the normalisation of diplomatic relations with Cuba, announce its intention to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, warn Pakistan, threaten Venezuela with military intervention, and declare a readiness to strike North Korea with ‘fire and fury … the likes of which this world has never seen before.’ The Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Israel are the only countries on better terms with the US since Trump’s arrival in the White House on 20 January.Trump is ...
In June and July 1941, detachments of German Einsatzgruppen, together with Lithuanian auxiliaries, began murdering the Jews of Lithuania. Groups of partisans, civil units of nationalist-rightist anti-Soviet affiliation, initiated contact with the Germans as soon as they entered the Lithuanian territories. A rogue unit of insurgents headed by Algirdas Klimaitis and encouraged by Germans from the Sicherheitspolizei and Sicherheitsdienst, started anti-Jewish pogroms in Kaunas (Polish: Kovno) on the night of 25–27 June 1941. Over a thousand Jews perished over the next few days in what was the first pogrom in Nazi-occupied Lithuania. The most infamous incident occurred in what was ...
The events which led to the 2014 coup in Ukraine are generally blamed on anti-Russia actors, including the United States and EU.Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was recently in the EU where he said the following,“The largely-provoked-from-the-outside Ukrainian crisis has become the direct consequence of such short-sighted policy of Washington and Brussels”.He continued,“We hope that Germany and France, as partners within the Normandy format, as well as the US who have a special influence on the Kiev establishment, will use their means to change the situation”.Lavrov went on to define his hopes for Ukraine stating,“We want to see Ukraine a ...
Brzezinski’s death at 89 years of age has generated a load of propaganda and disinformation, all of which serves one interest group or another or the myths that people find satisfying. I am not an expert on Brzezinski, and this is not an apology for him. He was a Cold Warrior, as essentially was everyone in Washington during the Soviet era.For 12 years Brzezinski was my colleague at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where I occupied the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy. When I was elected to that chair, CSIS was a part of Georgetown University. ...
PRISTINA, Kosovo — It was the fall of 2000, just over a year after the end of the war in Kosovo, when two NATO military intelligence officers produced the first known report on local organized crime, painting the former political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), Hashim Thaci, as having “established influence on local criminal organizations, which control [a] large part of Kosovo.”
The report, the existence of which has not been previously reported, was widely distributed among all NATO countries, according to former NATO sources interviewed by GlobalPost. And year after year as the nascent democracy of Kosovo struggled ...
What is impeachment?Linguistically, the noun impeachment is a synonym for charging and it comes from the verb to impeach meaning to charge someone. In political science, the verb to impeach has two meanings: Formerly, to charge a person with treason or other very serious crime against the state or/and nation before the Parliament or National Assembly. Contemporary, to charge head of state (the President or similar) or minister with treason or with crimes against the state.As a noun with political meaning, impeachment means the charging of treason or other very serious crime which is brought against a head of state ...
The conflict that raged throughout the former Yugoslavia was met by a wall of silence when it came to important issues. These important issues apply to America and the United Kingdom supporting Islamists in a brutal civil war in Bosnia and then installing a new nation by ignoring international law in Kosovo. Also, is it credible to believe that the vast majority of major news agencies and national governments did not know about thousands of Islamists in Europe who were sent to slit the throats and behead Orthodox Christians?
After all, if the reality of what really happened in Bosnia and ...
Records are replete with references to early Irish Catholics in the West Indies. Gwynn in Analecta Hibernica, states: ‘The earliest reference to the Irish is the establishment of an Irish settlement on the Amazon River in 1612.”(1) Smith, in Colonists in Bondage, reports: “a Proclamation of the year 1625 urged the banishing overseas of dangerous rogues (Irish Political Prisoners); kidnapping (of Irish) was common.”(2)Condon states that the first considerable emigration from Ireland to the southern latitudes of America was to Guiana in 1629.(3) Newton declares that Antigua and Montserrat were occupied as early as 1632 and that many emigrant Irish ...
Linguistic Nationalism in Belgium and the Walloon-Flemish Cleavage
Why the Latest Claims Against Assad are a Pack of Lies
Bismarck, the United States and the Pomeranian Grenadier
International Law? The Americans don’t give a Damn
Lithuania Promotes a False Holocaust Narrative
How the United States Bombed the USSR on October 8, 1950
The Operation Barbarossa II File: But Who will Prosecute?
The Crimean Tatar Card is Being Played Again
Can the United States Own Up to Its War Crimes During the Korean War?
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
A Note on the Crime Against Venezuela
What Results When the U.S. Invades a Country: “Bring Them Democracy”
US Foreign Policy is as Bellicose as Ever
The “Kaunas Garage Massacre” in 1941: The Lithuanians are Clubbing Lithuania’s Jewish (Litvakai) to Death (Photos)
The 2014 Ukraine Coup was as Much about China as Russia
Zbigniew Brzezinski – War Criminal Supreme
Kosovo’s Mafia: How the US and Allies Ignore Organized Crime
Impeachment in American Political System
Bosnia and Kosovo: Radical Islam, Organ Trafficking and Western Mainstream Media Bias
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS