Time Capsule 1950: North Korea Invades South Korea, June 25, 1950

Lead: In an attempt to unite a Korea divided along ideological lines, in June 1950, forces of the People’s Democratic Republic invaded the south. At first, they were nearly everywhere successful.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: At the Yalta and Potsdam Peace Conferences near the conclusion of World War II, the allied powers divided the world into spheres of influence. Though its participation in the Pacific theater had been minor, the Soviet Union demanded a say in the future disposition of the Korean peninsula. Korea was divided along the 38th parallel. Initially, the west anticipated that there would be national elections, but in 1948 the powers established rival governments in North and South Korea.

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Truman and MacArthur

Lead: By firing Douglas MacArthur President Harry Truman was forced to endure a fire-storm of criticism but in doing so strengthened the constitutional office of commander-in-chief.

Intro: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: After nearly being thrown off the peninsula during the previous summer, by fall 1950 victorious United Nations forces mostly Americans were moving back into North Korea. Things went very well until Thanksgiving when China entered the war and her troops forced the allies into another demoralizing retreat. This continued until late winter when under Matthew Ridgeway the Eighth Army recouped its losses and began to move slowly back north. When they reached the vacinity of the 38th parallel, Harry Truman felt the time was ripe for a cease-fire inplace. Theater commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur disagreed and without permission from Washington began to issue public statements on his own threatening and taunting the Chinese. In addition he allowed himself to be used in a not-so-subtle public attempt to undermine the policy of his Commander-in-Chief. A letter from MacArthur to the Republican leader was read on the floor of the House of Representatives. In it he said that if we were not in Korea to win the administration should be indicted for the murder of American boys. It was clear that despite his military leadership and tactical genius, MacArthur was becoming a loose cannon and a serious liability to American policy. After much consultation and with the unanimous support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Truman fired him.

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