February 14, 1951 – Korean War: The Slow Trek North
February 14, 1951 – News from Korea and it was hopeful. The allies were still moving ahead in Central Korea. As of this day, UN Forces had gained up to six miles as they closed in on enemy forces from the east, west and south. The whole line was reported to be within 35 miles of the North-South border; the 38th Parallel. And as was the situation all Winter, with as much trouble from mud and ice-choked rivers as the enemy. The first sizable counter-attack by the enemy was made beyond Pyeongchang which had been captured earlier in the day by UN forces.
By latest estimates, the war so far had caused some 624,000 enemy casualties and 49,000 US casualties. It did not reflect the casualty counts of other UN forces in Korea, nor did it count civilian casualties caught in the fighting.
The UN’s Good Offices Committee had been trying to make contact with the Chinese in order to talk about some peaceful resolution to the Korea conflict. However, reports from Radio Peking said that internal strife, with anti-Communist underground groups springing up were causing the Chinese to step up their domestic policies and cracking down on dissidents. So far, these underground militias had caused hundreds of casualties among government troops. State Department officials took it to mean the Communists were staging a full-scale purge to make their grip on China more secure.
Meanwhile, back home; on Capitol Hill arguments were put forth to increase troop strength in Europe and to consider reinstating the Draft of 18-year olds into the Armed forces. Former Governor Harold Stassen told a Senate Committee that he favored sending troops to Europe and building up a big air force. He disagreed with Senator Taft’s view that Congress should decide the number of troops to be sent abroad. He said the overwhelming majority of American people as well as the 2/3 majority of the Republican Party favored sending those troops overseas.
And the Senate Sub-committee investigating charges of political influence and favoritism surrounding loans by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation got heated. It began when Senator Fulbright was approached and asked by a Radio reporter if he ever used influence to get an RFC loan for a constituent. Likewise, Senator Douglas of Illinois acknowledged that three times, when he was a new Senator, had asked the RFC to approve certain loans. He added that he was sorry he did that.
And that’s just a small sample of the news that made up February 14, 1951 – as reported by Edward R. Murrow and the News.