China Protecting its Teeth in 1950 Korea – Part 5/9

February 26, 2011

During war, it is the job of a nation’s media to stir up nationalism and support the troops. When this happens, often the enemy is demonized on both sides, which stirs paranoia and hate, but the truth is more complicated.

Considering China’s history since the First Opium War in the early 19th century to 1949 (a century of war, rebellions and civil war), when UN forces neared China’s border, China’s leaders feared an invasion and reacted.

It’s possible if the UN had not moved beyond the Chongchon River and allowed North Korea’s communist government to survive in the area between that river and the Yalu River, China might not have attacked. It also didn’t help that the US moved forward to attack the Chinese positions after both sides had retreated after China’s first assault.

Meanwhile, at the Chosin Reservoir, the troops of the US 10 Corps celebrated Thanksgiving and dealt with the cold and harsh conditions. An offensive was planned for November 27. Having heard what was happening to the UN forces to the West, the Marines got ready for the worst possible combat situation. The objective of the operation was to take the city of Kanggye where the North Korean government had fled.

The offensive stalled against stiff Chinese resistance and the 10th Corps fell back. Then the Chinese attacked with six divisions.

Soon the 10th Corps was surrounded. The commanding General Oliver P. Smith said, “Gentlemen, we are not retreating. We are merely attacking in another direction.”

The situation was dire. On December 1, elements of the 10th Corps moved from the Chosin taking the wounded with them. The Chinese attacked from all sides.

After thirteen days of fighting while moving toward the ocean and the waiting US Navy, the first of the 10th Corps reached safety.

McArthur wasn’t near the combat as the UN forces retreated from North Korea with great losses. To make matters worse, the UN field commander General Walker was killed in a jeep accident.

Walker was replaced with General Matthew B. Ridgway. His levelheaded wisdom and experience brought a vital balance to the battlefield. He quickly discovered that the moral and confidence of UN troops was poor.

Ridgway attempted to hold the line at Seoul but on January 3, 1951, Seoul fell for a second time.

Return to China Protecting its Teeth in 1950 Korea – Part 4

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


China Protecting its Teeth in 1950 Korea– Part 1/9

February 22, 2011

While searching Google for a Monroe Doctrine link, I stumbled on PCMS Social Studies and a post that appeared January 20, 2011.

Quote: “The Monroe Doctrine was put in place on December 2, 1823 by (President) James Monroe….   He did not want European Countries coming back and taking over the United States….  I know that I would definitely not want someone telling me I have to change the way I believe.”

China’s reaction was the same in 1950 when the People’s Liberation Army entered the Korean War.

Because Korea sat precariously between China, Russia and Japan, Korea had always been at the mercy of its bigger neighbors. For centuries, those nations had fought each other in Korea.

As World War II was ending, in July 1945, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin used his troops in coordination with the US to force the Japanese out of Korea. The Soviet and US armies met at the 38th parallel and agreed to divide Korea along that line.

The Soviets would control the northern half of Korea and the US the south.

While Soviet Russia and America were dividing the spoils of war in Europe and Asia, China was involved in a bloody civil war between the Communist and Nationalist Parties that would last until 1949

Prior to Japan occupying Korea in 1900, Korea had been a tributary state of China for centuries. However, China was in no shape to protest what Russia and the US was doing in Korea.

Two years later, the super powers left Korea leaving behind a Communist state in the north and a capitalist republic in the south ruled by a Korean authoritarian dictator educated at America’s Princeton University.

On June 5, 1950 at 4:00 AM, the Korean War started when North Korea declared war and invaded South Korea by land and sea.

Since the US had deprived South Korea of weapons and ammunition in fear that the south might invade the north and start a war, the North Korean army met little resistance.

The US strategy of restraint had backfired. South Korea had no weapons to defend itself. In two days, Seoul, the capital of South Korea fell to the invading army.

North Korea counted on America doing nothing. However, the majority of Americans in the US was outraged and demanded action, which caused President Truman to send in the United States air force while the US Navy bombarded Korea from the sea.

On July 19, 1950, President Truman called on the United Nations to act quickly and stop the aggression of Communist North Korea.

In the beginning, the US army was weak and far from Korea mostly in Europe. The huge American army that won World War II in 1945 had been disbanded resulting in a much smaller force.

In early July, 1950, an American brigade entered Korea and fought North Korean troops thirty miles south of South Korea’s captured capital of Seoul. The first battle didn’t go well for the US.

Learn about The Lips Protecting China’s Teeth

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.