‘Em At The 38th Parallel:
The Soviet Intervention In Korea
By Chris Oakley
October 5th--The U.S. House of Representatives Un-American Activities Committee convenes its first hearing on Senator Joseph McCarthy’s allegations of Communist infiltration of the State Department and the Pentagon.
October 8th--Emperor Hirohito is laid to rest in the largest memorial service for a public figure in Japan since the 1912 funeral of Emperor Meiji.
October 10th--A Soviet spy plane is shot down in Norwegian airspace, amplifying NATO fears of an impending Soviet invasion of Norway.
October 12th--Julius Rosenberg, an electrical engineer convicted of espionage nearly seven months earlier after he was found to have passed U.S. atomic research secrets on to the Soviet Union prior to the escalation of the Korean conflict into World War III, commits suicide in his cell at New York’s Sing Sing Prison; a guard discovers his body the next morning. At the time of his suicide Rosenberg and his wife Ethel had both been scheduled for execution for their spying activities on Moscow’s behalf.
Unable to cope with the trauma of losing her husband of twelve years, Ethel Rosenberg dies of a heart attack just hours after Julius’ suicide. If the executions had gone forward, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg would have been the first U.S. citizens to be put to death for spying since the end of the Second World War.
October 13th--FBI director J. Edgar Hoover testifies before the House Un-American Activities Committee concerning his agency’s probe into allegations of Communist infiltration of the Pentagon and the State Department.
October 14th--U.N. ground troops defending Odaejin smash through the center of the Communist lines in a surprise nighttime attack that inflicts heavy losses on Chinese and North Korean forces.
October 16th--The battle for Odaejin ends in a victory for U.N. forces as the Communist units which had been attempting to push them out of the town begin a hasty withdrawal toward the banks of the Yalu River.
October 17th--The most senior PLA general connected with the failed Communist offensive to recapture Odaejin from the U.N. ground forces in Korea is stripped of his rank after a summary court-martial and executed by firing squad.
October 19th--U.S. and Allied carrier jets bomb five Chinese airfields north of the Yalu River, knocking two out of action completely and severely damaging the other three.
October 20th--A Soviet government plan to crush the New Awakening movement by having its leaders arrested goes seriously awry when a Moscow policeman secretly sympathetic to the dissident faction tips off local NA members about the impending raid.
October 22nd--The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff hold a closed-door meeting at the Pentagon to discuss what can be done to reinforce the badly strained NATO defense lines in continental Europe.
October 24th--The rogue NKVD agents who were responsible for assassinating Lavrenti Beria disappear en route to a Siberian labor camp, where they were scheduled to be incarcerated for an unrelated crime. They will not be heard from again for more than sixteen years.
Ironically, the very camp to which the agents were being taken at the time of their disappearance was also holding relatives of the Jewish dissident whom the NKVD had framed and executed the year before for Beria’s murder.
October 25th--In retaliation for the U.N. air strike on Chinese airfields north of the Yalu six days earlier, North Korean air force bombers raid U.S. air bases south of the 38th parallel. In spite of having little warning of the impending attack, U.S. air defenses shoot down nearly half the North Korean planes involved in the attempted bombing.
October 27th--Hungarian premier Istvan Dobi is rushed to a Budapest hospital after complaining of headaches and blurred vision. Examination by a team of doctors, including Dobi’s personal physician, subsequently reveal that the Hungarian leader appears to be in the early stages of radiation poisoning.
October 28th--The Moscow police officer who foiled the Soviet government’s attempt to crush the New Awakening movement is arrested by his fellow policemen and turned over to a squad of NKVD agents for summary execution.
October 30th--Fearing that their last chance to expose the truth about the June assassination attempt on Istvan Dobi’s life might be slipping away, the Hungarian security agents who formerly led the investigation into the assassination plot secretly contact the American diplomatic legation in Budapest to ask for CIA help in reviving their inquiry.
October 31st--U.N. armor and infantry units begin advancing on Munchon.
November 2nd--Security for all members of Congress is tightened after a suspicious package arrives at the office of Sen. Joseph McCarthy and is determined by Capitol Hill police to be a bomb. Further inspection of the device reveals the bomb was set to go off as soon as the package was opened by McCarthy or a member of his staff.
November 3rd--U.S. fighter jets bomb NKPA defensive positions near Munchon as U.N. ground forces reach the outskirts of the town.
November 4th--A second mail bomb intended for Joseph McCarthy’s office is intercepted by U.S. postal inspectors in Chicago.
November 6th--The last pocket of NKPA resistance in Munchon is overrun by U.N. troops.
November 10th--One of the two devices used in the attempt to bomb Joseph McCarthy’s office is traced to an address in Oak Park, Illinois which the FBI’s Chicago regional branch suspects to be a safe house for Communist agents.
November 12th--Federal and state law enforcement officers in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana arrest forty-one people in connection with the thwarted plot to assassinate Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
November 13th--The commander-in-chief of Soviet ground forces in Korea orders three of his elite tank units to launch a full-scale immediate assault to retake Munchon from U.N. troops.
November 14th--U.N. armored forces begin a counterattack against the Soviet troops fighting to retake Munchon for the Communists.
November 16th--The principal conspirators in the failed plot to assassinate Senator Joseph McCarthy are indicted in a federal court in Milwaukee. That same day, Capitol Hill police find the body of a Congressional staffer suspected of having been in on the bomb plot.
November 17th--The House Un-American Activities Committee holds a special set of hearings on Congressional security.
November 18th--The Red Army offensive to drive U.N. forces out of Munchon begins to fall apart in the face of constant U.S. and South Korean air strikes.
November 20th--The Soviet battle lines near Munchon collapse after a surprise U.N. assault on the Red Army’s left flank.
November 21st--The U.S. House of Representatives passes a bill classifying the Communist Party USA as a terrorist organization and making membership in the CPUSA a crime punishable by prison terms of twenty-five years to life. A sub-paragraph of this bill mandates the death penalty for party members found to have been involved in sabotage against vital U.S. defense industries.
But the bill’s passage has not by any means been unanimous; even in the fiercely anti-Marxist political atmosphere which prevails in the United States at the point, many Congressmen believe that the Anti-Communist Security Act, as the bill is formally known, may constitute a violation of the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
November 22nd--The Anti-Communist Security Act comes to the U.S. Senate for debate.
November 24th--General Matthew B. Ridgway is dispatched to West Germany to take command of NATO ground operations in Europe.
November 25th--The Anti-Communist Security Act passes the Senate by a vote of 87-13. President Truman will sign the ACSA into law the next day.
November 27th--The American Civil Liberties Union goes to federal court to file an emergency injunction aimed preventing the ACSA, which is scheduled to take effect at midnight US Eastern Time on December 1st, from being implemented by the U.S. government. Just hours later the Justice Department files a counter-injunction on behalf of the Truman Administration asking the courts to let the new law be put into effect as planned.
November 28th--U.S. and allied attack jets bomb NKPA and PLA supply concentrations at the town of Undok near the Chinese-North Korean border.
November 29th--In a sign that morale within the NKPA may not be as strong as government propaganda wants everybody to believe, a troop train is pulled over near the village of Yup’yong after a squad of NKPA enlisted men mutiny against their officers for failure to provide adequate food supplies. The mutineers will be executed the next day.
December 1st--The Anti-Communist Security Act officially takes effect. That same day, U.S. Marines capture the North Korean coastal town of Najin in an amphibious assault which sees both sides sustain heavy losses.
December 3rd--U.N. ground forces in Korea begin advancing on the town of Taegwan.
December 4th--U.S. and South Korean warplanes bomb and strafe an NKPA supply convoy near the village of Songjianghe, destroying hundreds of tons of munitions and equipment along with a dozen North Korean air force fighters.
December 7th--At ceremonies marking the tenth anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Harry Truman delivers a speech defending the Anti-Communist Security Act as "a vital tool for protecting the American way of life against the threat of Marxist subversion".
December 8th--Braving winter cold and the disapproval of many of the city’s more conservative citizens, 2500 New Yorkers rally in Times Square to call for an immediate repeal of the ACSA.
December 10th--Taegwan falls to U.N. troops.
December 12th--U.S. and allied paratroopers seize the town of Kanggye in a daring behind-the-lines assault meant to disrupt Communist ground operations.
December 15th--For the second time since the Korean conflict began, U.N. ground forces begin an assault on Pyongyang. The success of the airborne attack on Kanggye three days earlier will subsequently be credited with helping make it possible for MacArthur’s troops to mount this new push on the North Korean capital.
December 17th--The PLA expeditionary forces which were to have carried out Special Operation A-13 are disbanded on orders from the general staff in Beijing; most of these personnel will be subsequently reassigned to the Korean Peninsula to shore up the Communist ground contingent in that theater.
December 18th--The long-anticipated Soviet invasion of Norway begins at 2:00 AM local time. The assault is preceded by Red Air Force bombing raids against most major Norwegian cities, among them the capital Oslo; the initial phase of the invasion itself consists of a three-pronged armored thrust across the Norwegian-Soviet border. While the armored assault goes relatively well-- penetrating ten miles into Norwegian territory during the first hours of the offensive --communications errors seriously delay the second phase of the invasion, a series of scheduled airborne drops on Tromso, Narvik, Bode, and Trondheim. A diversionary amphibious landing at Stavanger, meant to draw vital NATO combat troops away from the actual main Soviet battlefront, turns into a full-blown disaster as rough seas and determined resistance by Norwegian and allied coastal defense units stationed near the intended Soviet beachhead wipe out nearly forty percent of the landing force before they can even disembark from their landing craft.
December 20th--U.S. and allied forces in Korea advance to within artillery range of Pyongyang. Despite bombastic vows to "defend the sacred capital to my last dying breath", North Korean ruler Kim Il Sung quietly begins making preparations to have himself, his family, and his most trusted political and military advisors evacuated from the city should U.N. troops enter the capital.
December 22nd--The U.S 10th Mountain Infantry division, backed by British and Norwegian ski troops, launches a three-column counterattack against Soviet ground forces near the Norwegian- Soviet frontier. Simultaneously, Royal Navy carrier planes bomb Red Army defensive positions near the coastal town of Vadso.
December 23rd--Soviet civil defense officials in the city of Murmansk hold what they claim is a routine evacuation drill to test the readiness of local emergency services for a large-scale disaster. What they neglect to mention is that this exercise is actually a cover for plans to relocate the civilian population of Murmansk in the event that NATO forces drive Red Army troops out of Norway and onto Soviet territory.
December 26th--Hungarian premier Istvan Dobi dies of radiation poisoning.
December 27th--U.N. ground troops in Korea enter Pyongyang amid heavy NKPA resistance. Kim Il Sung and his family and cabinet are immediately taken to safety in China; meanwhile, the staffs of the Soviet and Chinese embassies in the North Korean capital are flown to an airstrip near the border village of Hyesan.
December 30th--Istvan Dobi is laid to rest in the largest funeral held for a Hungarian head of state in nearly a generation. That same day, CIA investigators in eastern Europe turn up conclusive evidence indicating that the Soviet Union did indeed play a key role in the thwarted attempt on Dobi’s life back in June.
December 31st--General MacArthur launches his so-called "New Year’s Eve offensive", an armored and infantry assault on the heart of Pyongyang meant to crush Communist resistance in the North Korean capital once and for all.
To Be Continued...