Thursday, July 27, 2017

JULY 27 = Korean War Armistice is Signed



The Korean War came to a complete if inconclu-sive end on today's date, July 27 in 1953. The preamble to the treaty itself (the signing is pictured  above) makes that clear enough for all to see:

"The undersigned, the (all the belligerent states), in the interest of stopping the Korean conflict, with its great toil of suffering and bloodshed on both sides, and with the objective of establishing an armistice which will insure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved, do individually, collectively, and mutually agree to accept and to be bound and governed by the conditions and terms of armistice set forth in the following articles and paragraphs..."

And that was it.  No formal surrender as the Germans had done at Reims in 1945, and no grand ceremony of complete surrender as the Japanese had delivered on the Battleship Missouri in Tokyo harbor, also in 1945. It was for the "... stopping the Korean conflict, with its great toil of suffering and bloodshed on both sides...." and that was it. The two sides has spent over three years beating each others brains out, and they both had had enough.

The Korean War and It's Course

The Korean War had begun on June 25, 1950 when the Army of Communist North Korea suddenly and without provocation invaded the territory of Non-Communist South Korea in great numbers. This was a complete surprise to the western powers which supported a fee and independent government on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula.  Soon it became clear that the South Korean Army would not be capable of defending their territory without assistance from it's western allies. In his thoughts about whether or not to intervene, U.S. President Harry Truman thought back the policy of appeasement which had ultimately lead to World War II: "If this was allowed to go unchallenged, it would mean a third world war, just as smaller incidents had brought on the second world war.” After debating the matter, the United Nations Security Council, June 27, 1950, published Resolution 83 which recommended member state military assistance to the Republic of Korea. This lead to armed forces from well over a dozen United Nations member states other than the U.S. and the Republic of Korea (ROK)  into combat operations against the communist forces which were supported militarily by the U.S.S.R.

The Fighting goes Up and Down Korea Until a Stalemate is Reached

The North Koreans smashed a path all the way to a small parcel of land known as the Pusan Perimeter. There the U.S./R.O.K. hung on by their fingernails until September 1950, when a surprise landing by the U.S. Marines under the command of General Douglas MacArthur far in the 
rear of the North Korean lines broke the back of their offensive and forced them to withdraw deep into their won territory, all the way to the Chinese boarder.Then the Chinese attacked with over 30 Divisions in November and December of 1951, thus forcing the U.N. (United Nations) forces back to nearly the 39 parallel wherein the war began in the first place, Eventually Truman fired MacArthur on April 11, 1951, for insubordination over the war's direction. The fighting and bloodshed went on until Dwyght Eisenhower took over as President. 

Ike Goes to Korea, Changes Course...Slightly

All throughout the 1952 Presidential Campaign General Eisenhower (below) had pledged that if elected he would go to Korea to see the 
stalemate for himself. Thus when he became President in January of 1953 and saw that stalemate in person, he decided a new approach was needed.  He began allowing Nationalist 
Chinese forces from Taiwan to launch harassing air raids for their territory. He began leaning on the South Koreans to scale back on some of their demands.  And most importantly he began to publically hint that he might use the American nuclear advantage to break the stalemate in Korea. Whether or not Ike's hint that he might nuke the north were serious (that would likely set off World War III) the new approach helped. By July 1954 the two sides had hammered out their differences and had an ARMISTICE treaty ready to go.  And this was signed by the belligerents at the village of Panmunjom.

ARMISTICE NOT a Peace Treaty

This is why I made such a point referring the end of the Korean War as being complete, but inconclusive. The combat has long since stopped, and we can all be thankful for that. But and "Armistice" refers just to a cessation of hostilities, not a formal state of peace brought about by thee surrender of one side to the other..  And an armistice is all we have with North Korea.  And whatever one can say about communism -vs- capitalism, one has only to look at the bright vibrant economy
of the South Korea -vs- the misery, slavery, and "let's threaten the world with nukes" attitude of the "Dear Leader" in charge of North Korea, to have a clear answer about whether thee Korean War was worth he trouble.










Seoul, South Korea
                                                                                                                Pyongyang, North Korea





Sources =

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/armistice-ends-the-korean-war

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Armistice_Agreement

https://web.archive.org/web/20140305164517/http://news.findlaw.com/cnn/docs/korea/kwarmagr072753.html

"Truman" by David Mc Cullough, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1992.

http://historysstory.blogspot.com/2013/06/june-25-korean-war-begins.html













Sunday, July 16, 2017

JULY 16 = The Atom Bomb is First Tested



On today's date, July 16 in 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m., the first atom bomb is success- fully tested in Alamo- gordo, New Mexico. This was the end result of  the Manhattan Project,  which was the code name that was given to the efforts of the United States government to produce an Atom Bomb. Pictured above is a photo of the explosion.

 Leó Szilárd and Albert Einstein Warn FDR

The effort had been going on for some years, ever since a letter written by the famed physicist Albert Einstein, and conceived by Einstein and the Hungarian physicist Leó Szilárd In 1939 was sent to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Einstein (below) and Szilárd came to the conclusion that the neutron-driven fission of heavy atoms could possibly utilized to create a nuclear chain reaction which could yield vast amounts of energy for electric power generation or... atomic bombs. In the letter, written on August 2, 1939, just one month minus a day that Hitlers' armies invaded Poland and began World War II. And the letter didn't hesitate to point fingers:

"I understand that Germany has actually stopped the sale of uranium 
from the Czechoslovakian mines which she has taken over. That she should have taken such early action might perhaps be understood on the ground that the son of the German Under-Secretary of State, von Weizsäcker, is attached to the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut in Berlin where some of the American work on uranium is now being repeated."

General Groves Assembles the Team

This led FDR to the conclusion that a committee of scientists needed to be formed in order to counter the Nazi threat.  Initially the amount of $6,000.00 was granted toward this project, but with onset of war with Germany in December of 1941 this cap was removed. Brigadier
General Leslie Groves (left) who had himself spent his army career as an engineer, was put in charge of organizing the whole project, which included assembling the finest scientific minds in the United States, and bringing them into his program. Groves was introduced to Robert Oppenheimer.  Oppenheimer had like Einstein and others had made known his concerns about the Germans coming up with an atomic weapon, and this brought him to Groves attention. Groves had been favorably impressed with clarity of Oppenheimer's vision as well as his determination to get the bomb before the Germans could.  These were two very different types of men; Groves determined and quite boorish, and Oppenheimer cerebral and intellectual. But they both managed to work together at the secret facility that was put together by Groves at Los Alamos, New Mexico. In true U.S. Governmental fashion, the Manhattan Project grew to the employment of over 130,000 people and cost close to US $2 billion (roughly $27 billion in 2016 dollars).

The Bomb is Assembled and Tested

Neither Groves nor Oppenheimer were pleasant taskmasters for the men working under them. Maj. General Kenneth Nichols called Groves "...the biggest sonovabitch I ever met in my life. I hated his guts and 
so did everybody else." But with the men working at Los Alamos and elsewhere in the country he and Oppenheimer produced results - the bomb which was tested on this date.  The first detonation of a nuclear weapon was given the Code Name "Trinity"
by the ever mercurial Oppenheimer (right) who had been so inspired by the poetry of John Donne a  poet of Elizabethan England.  After an earlier delay Groves resumed the countdown. At the sixty second point, the scientists smeared suntan lotion on their faces, slipped on welding goggles, and huddled behind their sandbag shelters.  And at 5:29 a.m. the detonation unleashed the explosive energy of about 22 kilotons of TNT (92 TJ). There was only one possible target left, as Germany was out of the war, and that was Japan. It was so used on Hiroshima (Aug. 6) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9, 1945), after which Japan finally surrendered. By March 1946, when Oppenheimer met President Harry Truman, he had long since decided that the use of the Atom bomb had been terribly wrong. "Mr. President, I have blood on my hands," To which Truman sternly replied "It'll all come out in the wash." After Oppenheimer had departed, Truman said to an aide: "Don't you bring that fellow around here again." Such are the vagaries at the intersection of politics and science.....


SOURCES =



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstein%E2%80%93Szil%C3%A1rd_letter

 http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0028869/bio

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Project

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_(nuclear_test)

"Past Imperfect - History According to the Movies" Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1995.