SINCHON COUNTY, North Korea–Over the past few years the Korean people have been able to expose the truth about a number of atrocities by Washington’s military forces during the 1950–53 Korean War. Many others, however, remain covered up and receive virtually no mention outside the Korean peninsula. One such massacre took place in Sinchon, a city located in what is today North Korea.
During the Socialist Workers Party and Young Socialists leadership delegation’s visit to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK), we toured the Sinchon Museum, which documents what north Koreans consider the worst atrocity to have taken place in the north during the war.
Along with revelations of other massacres by U.S. forces, the museum helps to highlight the fact that in their assault on Korea five decades ago the imperialists waged a total war on the population and infrastructure of the country.
In the aftermath of Tokyo’s defeat in World War II, revolutionary upheaval spread throughout the Korean peninsula. Washington enforced the division of the country at the 38th parallel and sent in troops to crush uprisings in the south, establish a military regime, and prepare to launch a war to bring the rest of Korea back under imperialist domination.
In September 1950, four months after the outbreak of the Korean War, tens of thousands of U.S. troops poured into Korea and began a northward offensive. Sinchon County was occupied for 52 days in the closing months of that year. Dozens of photographs and artifacts documenting the roundups and executions of Korean patriots and indiscriminate killings of men, women, and children are on display at the museum.
One of the historical sites marks mass graves where the slaughtered were buried. According to Ri Song Jin, a witness to the massacre, imperialist forces tortured many Korean patriots in the basement of the Sinchon church at the beginning of the occupation, then buried the dead and near-dead bodies in a trench.
We also visited an area that was bombed and learned that as U.S. forces marched out of town they destroyed most of the homes, factories, farm implements, and arable land.