November 29, THIS DAY IN AMERICAN HISTORY

November 29, 1952 – U.S. President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower fulfills a campaign promise by traveling to Korea to find out what can be done to end the conflict. In late 1952, Eisenhower went to Korea and discovered a military and political stalemate. Once in office, when the Chinese began a buildup in the Kaesong sanctuary, he threatened to use nuclear force if an armistice were not concluded. His earlier military reputation in Europe was effective with the Chinese. The National Security Council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Strategic Air Command (SAC) devised detailed plans for nuclear war against China. With the death of Stalin in early March 1953, Russian support for a Chinese hard-line weakened and China decided to compromise on the prisoner issue. In July 1953, an armistice took effect with Korea divided along approximately the same boundary as in 1950. The armistice and boundary remain in effect today, with American soldiers stationed there to guarantee it. The armistice, concluded despite opposition from Secretary Dulles, South Korean President Syngman Rhee, and also within Eisenhower’s party, has been described by biographer Ambrose as the greatest achievement of the administration; Eisenhower had the insight to realize that unlimited war in the nuclear age was unthinkable, and limited war unwinnable.




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