Eisenhower goes to Korea - HISTORY
Year
1952

Eisenhower goes to Korea

Making good on his most dramatic presidential campaign promise, newly elected Dwight D. Eisenhower goes to Korea to see whether he can find the key to ending the bitter and frustrating Korean War.During the presidential campaign of 1952, Republican candidate Eisenhower was critical of the Truman administration’s foreign policy, particularly its inability to bring an end to the conflict in Korea. President Truman challenged Eisenhower on October 24 to come up with an alternate policy. Eisenhower responded with the startling announcement that if he were elected, he would personally go to Korea to get a firsthand view of the situation. The promise boosted Eisenhower’s popularity and he handily defeated Democratic candidate Adlai E. Stevenson.Shortly after his election, Eisenhower fulfilled his campaign pledge, though he was not very specific about exactly what he hoped to accomplish. After a short stay he returned to the United States, yet remained mum about his plans concerning the Korean War. After taking office, however, Eisenhower adopted a get-tough policy toward the communists in Korea. He suggested that he would “unleash” the Nationalist Chinese forces on Taiwan against communist China, and he sent only slightly veiled messages that he would use any force necessary (including the use of nuclear weapons) to bring the war to an end unless peace negotiations began to move forward. The Chinese, exhausted by more than two years of war, finally agreed to terms and an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. The United States suffered over 50,000 casualties in this “forgotten war,” and spent nearly $70 billion. The most frustrating war in U.S. history had come to an end. America’s first experience with a “limited war,” one in which the nation did not seek (and did not obtain) absolute victory over the enemy, did not bode well for the future. Conflict in Vietnam was just around the corner.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Chinese overwhelm Allies in North Korea

Three weeks after U.S. General Douglas MacArthur first reported Chinese communist troops in action in North Korea, U.S.-led U.N. troops begin a desperate retreat out of North Korea under heavy fire from the Chinese.Near the end of World War II, the “Big Three” Allied powers–the ...read more

Johnson establishes Warren Commission

One week after President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas, President Lyndon B. Johnson establishes a special commission, headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, to investigate the assassination.After 10 months of gathering ...read more

Byrd flies over South Pole

American explorer Richard Byrd and three companions make the first flight over the South Pole, flying from their base on the Ross Ice Shelf to the pole and back in 18 hours and 41 minutes.Richard Evelyn Byrd learned how to fly in the U.S. Navy and served as a pilot in World War ...read more

Last day at VW for Jose Ignacio Lopez

On November 29, 1996, top Volkswagen official Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua resigns from his job amidst accusations of racketeering and industrial espionage.Lopez had risen through the ranks as a purchasing executive at GM, where he had pioneered what The New York Times called ...read more

U.N. votes for partition of Palestine

Despite strong Arab opposition, the United Nations votes for the partition of Palestine and the creation of an independent Jewish state.The modern conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine dates back to the 1910s, when both groups laid claim to the British-controlled ...read more

McNamara resigns as Secretary of Defense

Robert S. McNamara announces that he will resign as Secretary of Defense and will become president of the World Bank.Formerly the president of Ford Motor Company, McNamara had served as Secretary of Defense under two presidents, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, from 1961 ...read more

Communists vow to smash Phoenix program

The Viet Cong High Command orders an all-out attempt to smash the Phoenix program. Hanoi Radio broadcasted a National Liberation Front directive calling for a new offensive to “utterly destroy” Allied forces. The broadcast added that the new operation was particularly concerned ...read more

Americal Division stands down and departs

The U.S. 23rd Division (Americal) ceases combat operations and begins its withdrawal from South Vietnam. The division had been activated in Vietnam on September 25, 1967, after which it assumed control of the 11th, 198th, and 199th Infantry Brigades (and associated support ...read more

Sue Miller is born

Contemporary novelist Sue Miller is born this day in Boston.Miller graduated from Radcliffe College in 1964 and briefly worked as a high school teacher. She later worked as a model, a cocktail waitress, and administered psychological tests to rats in a university lab. She took ...read more

Actress Natalie Wood drowns

On this day in 1981, the actress Natalie Wood, who starred in such movies as Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story, drowns in a boating accident near California’s Catalina Island. She was 43 years old.Born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko on July 20, 1938, in San Francisco, ...read more

Sand Creek massacre

On this day in 1864, peaceful Southern Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians are massacred by a band of Colonel John Chivington’s Colorado volunteers at Sand Creek, Colorado.The causes of the Sand Creek massacre were rooted in the long conflict for control of the Great Plains of eastern ...read more