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MacArthur’s Command Plan of Dropping Atomic Bomb during the Korean War

Sangho Lee 1

1건국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

One of the mistakes in the history of the Korean War is MacArthur’s Command’s plan of dropping atomic bomb. Fallacy was known to the people without accurate historical evidence. That is to say, MacArthur was blamed as ‘Warmonger’ whom advocated using the nuclear weapons in the Korean War. This essay would correct such the fallacy, utilizing the documents of MacArthur Archives (MA) and National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). And then we would investigate drafting process, debate course, and final decision of MacArthur’s Command’s plan of dropping atomic bomb during the Korean War. G-2, G-3 and ORO of the FECOM had produced many research papers about that subject, examined feasibility study, and deliberated appropriate. Especially, debate on the Using A-bomb was accelerated after the Task Force Smith had defeated in Osan Battle in July 1950. G-3 Department of Army investigated using the nuclear weapons, but G-2 Department of Army took an opposite. Meanwhile, regular studying about the using the A-bomb was progressed in the MacArthur's Command circle. Typically, ORO, FECOM took charge of that task. But the research of the ORO, FECOM showed reserve using the A-bomb in the Korean battlefield, because of ill preparation for aftereffect. However, consent unanimously about the plan was arisen in the 8th Army and Ⅹ Corps. They estimated that using the A-bomb was in effective. But, in the process of discussion, it was raised several points. The most important local problem is the identification and accurate location of suitable targets for atomic attack. Also, the ORO, FECOM study is largely predicted on the effect of atomic bombs in flat areas whereas the terrain of Korea is almost entirely hilly and mountainous. Moreover, it was raised possible enemy retaliation in kind or against Japan. In conclusion, using the A-bomb in the Korean battlefield was not pertinent. On the one hand MacArthur strongly claimed the atomic bomb on the way of military situation, but on the other he rejected using the nuclear weapons in the battlefield. In other words, he was an advocate of A-bomb toward Washington Administration, and that was reflected by the unit’s request under his direction. MacArthur intention of using of A-bomb requested an all-out war against the China and turning of Truman Administration toward war policy, not ardently consideration about using the nuclear weapons.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.