Having heard so many negative things from the western media about North Korea, I approached my trip to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) with great misgivings. What could I learn in this “Stalinist theme park”-as the BBC called it? What of the gulags? Were people starving? Was an internal revolt imminent? The one thing of which I was certain was that I wanted to see the situation first-hand, a thought reinforced by my first encounter with the North Korean sponsors of our trip during meetings in Beijing. As I drank the last bit of insamju (ginseng liquor) with my Korean host, he concluded: “you’ve heard so much about my country-now you’ll have a chance to see for yourself-with your own eyes-what it’s like.”
Arriving the next morning at the Beijing airport, we hooked up with other members of our delegation, a specially chosen group designated to investigate US biological warfare and other wartime atrocities as well as to visit a cooperative farm and children’s nursery: a Filipina, two comrades from Peru, a UPS driver and his friend from Spain, two Greeks and two Russians. We were to spend the next four days together, a working group helping prepare for a much larger conference a few days later.
At the Pyongyang airport, we were greeted by dozens of party officials and media people, whisked through customs without the normal delays and searches, and immediately taken to what would be our home in Pyongyang: a luxurious hotel on an island in the middle of the Daedong River directly across from downtown. We were given a detailed itinerary for the next few days, after which dozens more delegates were to arrive.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the armistice ending the Korean War, peace activists from around the world had been invited to North Korea for an International Conference for Peace on the Korean Peninsula. In response, 63 representatives of 43 organi- zations from 26 countries assembled in Pyongyang from July 23 to 25. The gathering was especially timely since the US has recently threatened North Korea with a “pre-emptive” nuclear strike while intensifying 50 years of economic and psychological warfare. Only a few countries sent official representatives (among them Laos and Vietnam); the rest of us were affiliated with NGOs.
Simultaneously, an international war crimes tribunal dealing with US activities during and since the Korean War was also convened, and there was a plethora of commemorative events on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of what is called “the victory over the US in the Great Fatherland Liberation War.” Long known as the “Hermit Kingdom,” Korea is a proud and ancient civilization, and Northerners pride themselves on having been the first people to defeat the US in a war. Although they continue to pay a high price for their bold refusal to give in to the world’s greatest military power, they remain determined to maintain their national independence and autonomy from US hegemony.
For North Korea, the conference and war crimes tribunal were exceptionally significant occurrences. The proceedings were reported every day in Nodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the Workers Party, discussed in the government’s daily Information Bulletin, and heavily covered on television. All of us took on our tasks with great sobriety and seriousness. The judges were respected leaders of international peace and justice organizations from India, Greece, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Portugal, Egypt, and Belgium. The chief judge, Mr. Jitendra Sharma, is President of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and in India, a member of the prestigious Queen’s Council. The prosecutors consisted of two US citizens (Beth Lyons and myself), a Canadian, a North Korean, a Russian and a Spaniard. We heard testimony from survivors of US atrocities, from a US veteran of the war, and from experts who have studied the ongoing US offensive against the DPRK. Moreover, we convened one day of the proceedings several hours’ drive south of Pyongyang in Sinchon, where we visited the site of a ghastly massacre during the war.
One of the eyewitnesses who came forward to testify was Lee Ok-hui. A proud, erect woman, she has lived most of her life without her arms. When she was 7, US troops arrived in her village in North Pyongyan province. Her father, a member of the Workers Party, was promptly arrested and her entire family evicted from their home. Hungry and afraid, she returned a few days later to the family home to get something to eat. As she approached the house, two American soldiers ran after her. The front door had been nailed shut, so the soldiers were able to grab her. She clung to them, hoping they would have pity on a child. Instead, one kicked her with his knee. She cried for her mother, but the soldiers shot her, blowing off her right arm. Instinctively, she grabbed the door with her left arm. Another shot rang out and she lost consciousness. When she awoke, the soldiers were sawing off her other arm, not in one piece but into three pieces. After the war, she was unable to write, but she worked hard and by taking oral examinations, was able to graduate from the university. Unable to hold her children to breast-feed them, she devised a way to do so while they lay on a table. Her first child is named “revenge”; her second, “we will”; and her third, “forever through the generations.” Her testimony was painful to hear as it brought a lifetime of suffering into vivid detail.
Two nights later, there was a knock on the door of one of the American delegates. Hotel workers carrying a bag of corn told us that Lee Ok-hui wanted to share with us the sweetness of the first harvest of the year. Later, as we ate the corn in the hotel’s rooftop restaurant, many of us cried. Her generosity to us was a sign of our work’s importance and gave us renewed energy to carry on.
The tribunal also heard from a bevy of experts who brought forth well-documented details of US aggression against the DPRK. Professor Oh Il-Son of Kim Il-sung University clarified the details of US economic warfare over the past 50 years. Although forbidden by the Armistice Agreement of 1953, the US has nonetheless imposed an economic blockade that has crippled the North’s economy. Other countries, especially Japan, have been persuaded to join the effort to isolate and impoverish the DPRK. Although the agreements of 1953 and 1974 banned economic sanctions, even international law has not stopped the US from constraining DPRK trade, financial transactions and almost all areas of its economy. Beginning with the Trading with the Enemy Act and Export Administration Act of 1950 through the Foreign Assistance Act of 1975 and the Export Banking Act of 1988 (forbidding loans to North Korea), the US has continually sought to break the North Korean system. Altogether more than 100,000 articles have been banned by the US from being exported to North Korea. Airplanes, trucks, computers, semi-conductors are all included in the ban as are cosmetics, face powder and bicycles. Although the Clinton administration took steps to lift the sanctions, Bush & Co. have sternly reinforced them. Today, finance, trade, fixed investments, transportation and postage-all branches of the economy-are subject to US restrictions. The direct cumulative effects of US economic warfare were estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Indirectly, when one factors in the continual US military threats and the necessary defense expenditures of the DPRK, the US has bullied a small country into economic crisis-and then mobilized the international mass media to blame the victim. Whether or not the leadership of the DPRK has made mistakes in economic management, the cumulative effects of more than half a century of US economic warfare have been devastating.
Other presentations to the tribunal included details of how the US has obstructed national reunification and of the crimes committed in South Korea by US troops (an average of 5 per day against women-more if one counts all categories of crime-and US troops cannot be tried in South Korean courts).1 One of the more damning presentations concerned Japanese and US biological warfare against Korea. Japanese Professor Mori Masataka has researched biowarfare for more than a decade. He conducted site visits in more than a dozen parts of China, and concluded that more than 270,000 Chinese were killed by Japanese biowar before 1945. Although the US investigated Unit 731 (the special Japanese biowar outfit)2 four times between August 1945 and December 1947, each investigation conveyed immunity to men whose actions were clearly criminal. After the third investigation, Gen. Douglas MacArthur was convinced that “Japan’s germ warfare research is of great significance to US national security. if the US brings them to trial, other countries will learn.” and after the final investigation, US officer Edwin Hill commented, “We cannot get this information in our labs.” As a result, rather than bringing members of Unit 731 to trial as war criminals, the US granted them immunity in exchange for their expertise. Many went to work for the US military, and others became major figures in giant Japanese pharmaceutical corporations and prestigious universities. Fort Detrick, Maryland became the center of US germ warfare in 1947. During the Korean War, North Korea reports that the US used germ warfare on more than 1000 occasions, especially in the period from January to June 1953-near the end of the war when the US realized it could not win a military victory. The War Museum in Pyongyang contains vials of infected insects as well as bombs that were used to drop them. Smallpox powder was spread in residential areas as early as 1951, and in 1952, at least 10 kinds of germs and pests were disseminated by 20 kinds of bombs, especially on traffic and railroad lines leading to China. North Korean prisoners exchanged in April 7, 1953 were found to have been infected with the plague.3
As mentioned earlier, the tribunal traveled to Sinchon, where we heard testimony and visited the site of a gruesome killing spree launched by the US on October 17, 1950. In 52 days, more than 35,000 people were killed after the area was occupied by the US. Some 8000 children and 400 teachers were massacred. At the bridge over the Sok Dang River, more than 2000 people were tied up-sometimes in groups-and thrown into the water to drown. Even more horribly, 1200 people were burned to death in the ice storehouse. Witnessing the site and seeing the marks still scratched into the black, sooty walls and ceilings by human beings trying to escape the burning inferno brought by the US was an eerie, terrifying experience. The Sinchon Museum reminded me of the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. As I observed victims’ eyeglasses, hair, shoes and personal belongings stacked together, I felt simultaneous rage and horror, disbelief and anger. As we rode away from the area, Vietnamese delegate Tran Trong Giap told me, “The Korean War was the most barbarous war in history. We had 2 or 3 My Lais in Vietnam, but here there were too many massacres and the US killed thousands, not hundreds.”4
When we reconvened, Jitendra Sharma noted that this tribunal was extraordinary in many ways. A people’s tribunal, we lacked the power to enforce our judgment or to impose sentence. Nonetheless all of us felt that our actions carried a heavy responsibility and we took our mission seriously. Although the accused were not present, their responsibility could not be avoided through absence, as Mr. Sharma observed.
The tribunal found the US responsible for “flagrant violations of the UN charter and international law” through such actions as dropping over 600,000 tons of bombs on Korea, the use of chemical and biological warfare, the wholesale destruction of cities and towns, and, after the armistice, the continuing threats of nuclear war, continual penetration of the airways and waters of North Korea, and the economic blockade. As Sharma noted, these were not accidental or isolated incidents but were premeditated and planned. In a spirit of generosity and reconciliation, the following sentence was determined to be appropriate:
1. Official apology by the US
2. Compensation to the victims
3 That the US will find and try those individuals responsible
4. An obligation to enact new US laws to establish responsibility and provide for investigations
5. Immediate end to US aggression against the DPRK and a non-aggression pact through US-DPRK talks
6. Removal of US troops from Korea and an end to the economic blockade
7. US restraint from future interference in Korea affairs
The International Conference sent letters to the UN Secretary General and members of the US Congress asking them to respect the will of the Korean people and to constrain the militarism of the Bush administration. In addition, we affirmed our intention to launch dynamic activities to expose the bellicosity of the US to the world’s people and to support the Korean people in their quest for peace and national reunification. Encouraged by our unity, we pledged to help build a worldwide protest movement against the anti-DPRK policy of the US.
While most of our days were extraordinarily well organized, some of the more memorable moments occurred quite by accident. On our third day, before most delegates had arrived, we finished watching two movies (one on biological warfare, the other on 50 years of the US economic blockade of North Korea) when one of our group insisted we go bowling at the alleys next door. Many of the guides had already left, and luckily, we were able to convince the rest that we should be allowed a few moments of recreation after having worked so hard. Entering the fully automated scoring and pin-setting 30-lane facility, we were quickly fitted with shoes and joined dozens of Koreans sipping beer, chatting, and bowling. Most enthusiastic among our group were the Greeks. Completely unskilled, they made up for their poor performance with their exuberant emotions.
As I sat mulling over the past few days, someone handed me a beer. Sipping away, I felt a tap on my shoulder from the adjoining lane’s bowlers. “What country?” asked a man not quite my age as he smiled. Hesitating, I checked to see if we were being watched. Having assured myself that we were having a private conversation, I answered “USA.” The friendly and quizzical look on his face turned into a mixture of disbelief and horror. He quickly relocated to the other side of his alley, and as soon as his friend finished his frame, he pointed me out and told him of my national origin. His friend smiled and nodded at me, but the inquisitor remained clearly upset with my presence. I pondered whether to try and explain to him exactly who I was and what I was doing in his country, but soon thought better of it, since any attempt to communicate might cause him trouble-but also might result in a bowling alley brawl (a fear I now chalk up to my American upbringing rather than any experiences in Korea-North or South).
The next day we drove to the Tae Kam Ri Cooperative Farm on the outskirts of the city, where we saw a medley of organic vegetables thriving on terraced hillsides. Park Jae-hong patiently explained to us how the farm, today a thriving community of 600 families, was devastated during the war, with only 19 people surviving by hiding for days in an earthen and wood bunker. He witnessed his own father buried alive by US troops, one of 15 villagers killed together that day, their hands bound to one another as they were interred. Yet he bore me no of the animosity. As we shared cigarettes and viewed the scenic countryside, he pointed out where US bombs had de- stroyed the reservoir on the bluffs over us, completely flooding the region and killing hundreds of people. Between the flood, napalm and germ warfare the whole region was reduced to ashes and corpses.
On our way back to the hotel, it was raining heavily and our minibus was unable to pull out of a deep rut under a bridge. Despite the driver’s best effort, the van would not move. There we were, cows grazing nearby, the army coming to see what had happened, locals curiously looking on. While it was pouring buckets and quite cold, the tranquility of the moment remains with me. Soon we piled into a few cars, were shuttled to the far end of the subway and made our way back to the city on the metro. In the middle of the day, the trains were practically empty. Our guides insisted we exit at each stop, where they patiently pointed out the specific references of the mosaic murals and thematic unity of each handsomely decorated station. Once we were downtown, there was no one waiting to shuttle us to the hotel, giving us a chance to see the area adjoining the train station. I noticed several small stalls hawking ice cream and made up my mind to try it. Before I could, however, our ride arrived and we were back at the hotel. At the first opportunity, I tried to change money so I could buy ice cream, but the hotel desk brusquely asked why I needed DPRK currency and refused to exchange any.
Later, my resolve to taste the ice cream-to say nothing of my desire to experience the city on my own-led me to walk back to the train station. By then it was a hot, muggy day, and I was completely covered with sweat by the time I found the vendors. None would so much as even discuss selling me ice cream, neither for dollars, Euros or cigarettes. At every booth, I was quickly waved off. Disappointed, I walked a bit further and found a beer bar. As I entered, the entire place came to a halt, everyone staring in my direction. All the seats were full. Since no one motioned me over, I trudged back to the hotel, only to be grilled by one of the Spaniards in our delegation as to where I had been.
Clearly we were treated as special guests. My hotel room had BBC and cable television, a refrigerator and numerous electrical appliances, while in the Great Study Hall of the People, the full reading rooms (larger than those in the Boston Public Library) had two light bulbs burning high in the ceiling that surely provided little assistance to the dozens of people with their heads bent closely to books. Our contact with “normal” Koreans was quite limited. Our bus driver, for example, while waiting for us after the mammoth celebrations on the night of the 50th anniversary of the victory (or armistice), informed me that I spoke Korean like a Southerner. When I told him I learned it in Gwangju, he was elated and warmly shook my hand. It seems that every Northerner knows in great detail of the 1980 uprising that ultimately overthrew the US-created military dictatorship.5 The following night in the hotel, I elected to have a traditional Korean massage. One hour cost something like $20. (The DPRK uses Euros as its foreign currency of choice.) Dozing off, I briefly regained consciousness an hour and a half later, and the masseuse was still working on me. I asked her about the time. Smiling, she replied that she had seen me on television and liked what I had said about peace. As a gesture of thanks, she was voluntarily extending my treatment.
None of the above should be interpreted to mean, however, that the delegation and our Korean hosts did not delve into sensitive issues nor enjoy each other’s company, particularly when we congregated in the wee hours over drinks and (anjou) snacks. Many of us soon became quite happy to see each other, greeting each other warmly at breakfast and taking care of each other on our numerous excursions. One of my favorites was Maysara, leader of the Arab-Korean Friendship Society. In a world where real gentlemen are few and far between, he set a fine example of appropriate behavior tempered by his love of drink. A Palestinian by birth, he has long paid great attention to Korea and has written some five books about Kim Jong-il-a feat that has earned him personal meetings with the “Dear Leader.”
One of the recurrent issues that arose for me was how much US and DPRK accounts of significant events were at odds with each other. The first time this arose was in regard to the US claim (which I fully believed when I arrived in Pyongyang) that North Korea had launched a missile over Japan to show its military capability. The DPRK proudly speaks of the satellite, not missile, which it launched successfully (US accounts now agree that it was a satellite but claim it was unsuccessful).
Another piece of common knowledge in the US is that the war began on June 25, 1950 when the North invaded the South. Yet, for the DPRK, on that date the US and the South began the war when the South first attacked across the 38th parallel. In 1949 alone, the DPRK counted 2617 cases of attacks across the 38th parallel in which hundreds of their soldiers were killed. Moreover, between 1945 and 1950, the US military government and their South Korean successor regime under Syngman Rhee killed more than 100,000 patriots in the South.6
In the US, the character of the war is portrayed as a military conflict-of soldier vs. soldier-yet for the people of North Korea, the war meant that every city and nearly every town was completely destroyed by bombs and artillery. According to the New York Times of August 18, 1952 (a copy of which was in the Pyongyang War Museum), the US had used five times the amount of napalm on Korea as had been used in all of World War 2.
The USS Missouri was said to have fired on Seoul when the North occupied it. Civilian massacres were commonplace (in the South as well-as we have learned in the wake of the No Gun Ri revelations as dozens of South Koreans have come forward with similar stories). DPRK statistics tell us that between 1945 and 1953, one-sixth of all Koreans were killed-about five million people. I heard first-hand from one survivor, Choi Gee-ok, of the horror of cleaning up corpses in Pyongyang after napalm and aerial bombardment had left scores of people in her immediate vicinity maimed beyond recognition.
In the US, we are continually told that North Korea has been the one violating the 1994 Agreed Framework. Yet in the DPRK, the view is that the US first reneged on promises to lift the blockade and deliver heavy fuel oil and build two light-water reactors (for which ground was never even broken). According to DPRK sources, if they had continued building their nuclear reactors, they now would have 3 on-line producing more than 250 Megawatts of power annually. Their energy crisis is today of huge proportions, as elevators do not work in high-rise apartment buildings, factories have been closed down, and central heating systems are turned off.
I believe that Donald Rumsfeld and his buddies in the Bush team have lied to us once again: The system in North Korea is nowhere near collapse. As far as I could see, food was growing everywhere, and hopes were high for a bumper crop. Even if the harvests are abundant, however, the DPRK will still face shortages. Historically, the North has been dependent upon the South for food. The division of the country, the collapse of the Soviet Union (the DPRK’s main trading partner), and a series of floods and droughts (as well as tidal waves of mammoth proportions), all contributed to a horrific famine in the 1990s that killed as many as a million people. Despite the DPRK’s best efforts, there is an annual shortfall of between a million and 1.3 million tons of food, according to Ri Ho-rim, Deputy Secretary-General of the DPRK Red Cross.
For Bush & Co., Kim Jong-il is evil incarnate, yet in the DPRK, the opposite appears to be believed: his leadership is viewed as essential to the country’s survival in the face of US attempts at dominating it. I found an almost mystical worship of the Dear Leader to be operative. People’s faith in him is boundless; their commitment to carry through his policies firm; and their love for him deep. I found the people to have been uncorrupted by consumerism, to be pure and innocent-and completely opposed to Bush’s doctrine. Not only did people seem quite loyal to the government, they are ready to fight the US at a moment’s notice if they are attacked. Indeed the determination of the people to resist is the reason why the US has pledged not to invade North Korea (they know they would suffer a great defeat) but instead have insisted they may use nuclear weapons. Unlike the satellite regimes in Eastern Europe which collapsed as soon as Soviet support for them wavered, the DPRK is firmly rooted in indigenous struggles and sacrifices. Its survival over the last decades must be attributed to more than what is thought to be its character as a “police state.”
I was continually amazed at my NK hosts’ naiveté. Although the US never followed the terms of the armistice signed in 1953- especially Paragraph 4 calling for the withdrawal of all foreign troops-as well as the provision forbidding blockades, North Koreans had faith that a peace treaty was the solution to their present predicament. They had never heard of the trail of broken treaties, or any of the gruesome details of the US government’s abrogation of Native American treaties, and themselves suffer from continuing false promises made by the US. Yet what choices do they have?
Sadly, few Americans understand the pain our government inflicts upon Korean people-that it has done so since 1945-and that it continues to threaten the people of the DPRK with genocide. Since the armistice of 1953, US aggression has continued unabated. From 1976 to 1993, “Operation Team Spirit” threatened invasion and nuclear war on the DPRK. According to the DPRK, every day US planes capable of dropping nuclear weapons approach the 38th parallel and, at the last minute, veer off. For people in the DPRK, the possibility of a US nuclear attack has thus been a daily reality for decades. In the 1980s and 1990s, North Korea reports that there were more than 7900 provocative acts per year, and the US admits to daily high-altitude surveillance flights over North Korea. Over the years since the armistice, at least ten US planes, including an EC 121 spy plane, have been shot down by the DPRK. In March 2003, the US deployed a dozen B-52 bombers and an equal number of B-1’s to the US Pacific territory of Guam, within range of the DPRK.
One of the chief tourist attractions in Pyongyang is the USS Pueblo, the spy ship captured in 1968 and secretly towed around the peninsula and up the Daodang River to its current location. US negotiators apologized for the invasion of DPRK territorial waters and pledged in writing never to do it again, yet the DPRK reports hundreds of subsequent intrusions into its territorial waters.
No matter who sits in the White House with his finger on the nuclear trigger, the problem is not the man: it is the system. The best of modern US presidents exemplifies my point. Romanticized as Camelot, JFK’s presidency is regarded today as one of optimism and hope, of peace and prosperity. Yet it was Kennedy who initiated Agent Orange spraying in Vietnam, thereby putting himself in the same category as Saddam Hussein as heads of state who have sanctioned the use of chemical warfare. Indeed, Hussein’s Hallabja massacre pales by comparison: instead of one attack, JFK continued chemical warfare for years, killing and maiming untold thousands of people. JFK took the world to the brink of nuclear disaster as well. Bush’s nuclear threats on North Korea’s decision to develop a nuclear deterrent follow in the footsteps of JFK’s bullying of Cuba. While Kennedy enforced the Monroe Doctrine in the nuclear age, Bush applies it to the whole world.
The long history of US nuclear threats against the DPRK is an ominous sign of what may happen in the future. Beginning with General Douglas MacArthur’s resolve during the war to detonate nuclear weapons along the Chinese border to create a zone of death, through Eisenhower’s decision to use nuclear weapons in 1953,7 the US has been poised to devastate the DPRK. “Honest John” nuclear artillery was brought to South Korea in 1957 and when the neutron bomb was developed, it was deployed in Korea. In the early 1990s, Operation Team Spirit was suspended, but other nuclear war exercises occurred. Today, the US has a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy as to whether it has nuclear weapons in South Korea. To be sure, dozens-some say hundreds-of nuclear weapons are on US ships and planes within range of the DPRK.
People in the DPRK were much more aware than Americans of our government’s plans to attack North Korea, often discussing OP Plan 5027 (dealing with an attack by the DPRK), 5028, and the recently updated OP Plan 5030-seeking internal collapse of the DPRK based on psywar and US attacks. When I was in Pyongyang, the danger of nuclear attack seemed palpable. Early one calm morning, the air raid sirens went off at he same moment that I was looking at downtown from high up in the hotel. I thought this was it, and told my roommate, a US photographer, to be sure he had film in his cameras.
Despite their current hardships, the people of North Korea are industrious, unified and determined to control their own land and lives. Twenty-five years ago, the DPRK was ahead of South Korea economically. With any luck, North Koreans will be able to turn the current crisis into an opportunity for rapid progress. One of the factors in the international constellation of forces that might aid them in so doing is the solidarity and support of people around the world.
1. Under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), not only are US servicepeople exempt from prosecution in Korean courts, but also the commander of Korean armed forces is the UN (US) commander.
2. See Unit 731 Testimony by Hal Gold (Singapore: Yenbooks, 1996).3. This and other atrocities are well documented in Alan Winnington and Wilfred Burchett’s Plain Perfidy: The Plot to Wreck Korean Peace (Peking: published by the authors, 1954). Leading up to, during and after the armistice negotiations, the US side repeatedly violated its previous agreements. This book constitutes one of the most eloquent expositions of US crimes-ranging from medical experimentation on prisoners to biological warfare. A more recent expose of US germ warfare is Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman, The United States and Biological Warfare (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998). Burchett’s Again Korea (New York: International Publishers, 1968) is an indispensable source on the DPRK.4. US responsibility for the Sinchon Massacre is a debated topic in South Korea. Right-wing thugs who lost properties because of the Workers Party land reform were also involved in the Sinchon orgy of blood. Apparently, holocaust denial is not limited to German atrocities during World War 2. The same forces that collaborated with Japanese colonization of Korea control the mass media in South Korea. Unlike Germany, which has been subjected to extensive investigation and compelled to pay substantial reparations to its victims, Japan-and subsequently the US-have never been compelled even to reveal the full extent of their atrocities.
5. See my article on Kwangju in S&D #27.
6. Northern estimates of the number of Southerners killed before June 25, 1950 ranged up to one million. The most brutal of the massacres perpetrated under the US military government was on the island of Jeju, where upwards of 30,000 people were killed (some estimates place the number closer to 70,000).
7. On May 19, 1953, Eisenhower’s decision to use nuclear weapons was supported by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and General Omar Bradley.