|◄ AUGUST ►|
|◄ 1950 ►|
|President:||Harry S Truman (D)|
|Vice-President:||Alben W. Barkley (D)|
|House:||261 (D)||167 (R)||2 (Other)||5 (Vacant)|
|Southern states:||102 (D)||2 (R)||1 (Vacant)|
|Senate:||54 (D)||42 (R)|
|Southern states:||22 (D)|
|US killed in action,||1,810||(This month)|
|Korean conflict:||4,729||(Since Jun 28, 1950)|
Note: Romanization of names for Asian people and places have changed since 1950. Asian names on this page are given as reported in original news reports. In Korea, official U.S. communiques and the American press typically used Japanese-based romanization schemes for Korean cities, rivers and other landmarks. This practice stems from using outdated maps which reflected Japan’s occupation of Korea before and during World War II. In China, a number of inconsistent romanization systems were used. China adopted the Hanyu Pinyin romanization standard in 1982. South Korea adopted its Revised Romanization of Korean standard in 2000. Contemporary romanization renderings are given in parentheses in the text wherever they differ from original reports.
▲Tuesday, August 1
Aug 1: The North’s Korean Peoples Army (KPA) continues to chip away at ground defended by a decimated South Korean army and dangerously understrength American forces. The day before, Chinju (Jinju) fell to the KPA, placing them within fifty miles (80 km) of the port of Pusan (Busan). Pusan is the only deep-water port available to the U.N. If Pusan is lost, the complete destruction of American and South Korean forces is assured. With Chinju fallen, the KPA has Masan in its sights. Masan lies only thirty miles (50 km) from Pusan. This creates a deep crisis for the U.N. command. Because most of the American and South Korean forces are active far to the north — at Yongdok (Yeungdeok), Andong, and along the approaches to the temporary capital of Taegu (Daegu) — the southern half of the western front is lightly protected. The U.N. command pulls troops from Sangju and rushes them to Masan. It also rushes the first American World War II-era medium tanks, which have just arrived at Pusan. At Yongdok, South Korean forces, backed by heavy around-the-clock bombardment by five U.S. Navy cruisers off the coast, retake the ruined town. The KPA 4th Division loses about 40 percent of its strength in casualties at Yongdok in more than two weeks of fighting. But at Andong, the KPA prevails over the South Koreans after a week of hard fighting. Meanwhile, the U.N begins issuing general orders for all American and South Korean forces to begin an orderly withdrawal to positions along the east bank of the Naktong (Nakdong) River, and along a line from the Naktong to Yongdok to the north. This position becomes known as the Pusan Perimeter. U.N. troops will desperately fight to maintain this perimeter, especially the southern part, over the next six weeks as more troops and material continue to pour into Pusan.
Aug 1: Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan and Commanding General of the U.N. forces in Korea, meets with Gen. Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the Nationalist Republic of China on Taiwan. Gen. Chiang is worried that the war in Korea will distract the U.S. from its commitment to defend the Nationalists from the Communist People’s Republic of China on the mainland. At the conclusion of the meetings, MacArthur tells reporters that plans have been made to coordinate U.S. and Nationalist Chinese forces to counter “any attack which a hostile force might be foolish enough to attempt.”
Aug 1: The Soviet Union returns to the U.N. Security Council after having refused to allow its delegate to attend since January. The Soviets boycotted in protest over the Security Council’s refusal to eject the Nationalist China representative from Taiwan and seat one from the People’s Republic of China. During the Soviets’ absence, the Security Council authorized the U.N. to enter the Korean War, a move the Soviets could have vetoed. The Soviet delegate Yakov Malik returns today because it is now the Soviet Union’s turn hold the Council Presidency for the month. Immediately after calling the Council to order, Malik announces that “the representative of the Kuomintang (Nationalist) group seated at the Security Council does not represent China and cannot therefore take part in the meetings of the Security Council.” U.S. Ambassador Warren Austin challenges Malik’s ruling. Following a lengthy debate, Malik’s ruling is overturned in an 8-3 vote. Western powers expect that no further constructive action on Korea will come from the Security Council for the rest of the month.
Aug 1: King Leopold III of Belgium finally announces that he will delegate his powers to his nineteen-year-old son, Crown Prince Baudouin. Leopold promises further to abdicate on September 7, 1951 when the Crown Prince reaches the age of twenty-one. His announcement comes as the country teeters on the brink of civil war between the mainly agricultural Dutch-speaking Flanders region, where support for the King is strongest, and the wealthier, industrialized French-speaking Wallonia, which opposed the King’s return from exile. The violence on Sunday, when three Socialist demonstrators near Liége were killed by submachine gun fire while police were dispersing a crowd, sent the Cabinet into an emergency session. Twenty-four hours of frantic negotiations between the ruling Social Christian (Catholic) party, which rammed through legislation to allow the King’s return, and opposition parties led by the Socialists, finally lead to the compromise. The King’s proclamation is broadcast just as about 10,000 demonstrators have stormed through central Brussels in defiance of government roadblocks into the city. Former Socialist Prime Minister Achille Van Acker informs the marchers of the compromise. The crowd reacts with a mix of cheers and boos — many want the King to leave immediately. But the overall mood is celebratory. Thousands who are marching toward Brussels keep marching, but to celebrate rather than demonstrate.
▲Wednesday, August 2
Aug 2: After two weeks of nonstop strikes, protests and sabotage by Walloon opponents of Belgium’s King Leopold III, it is now the King’s supporters’ turn to express their anger at yesterday’s announcement that the King is turning over the royal prerogative to his son, Crown Prince Baudouin and will abdicate next year. Leopoldists in Flanders set off bombs in front of the Socialist trade union headquarters in Antwerp and at other Socialist targets in the city. In Brussels, Prime Minister Jean Duvieusart weathers a stormy caucus meeting of his Social Christian (Catholic) Party, where delegates criticize him for caving to the Socialists under threats of civil war. One Social Christian leader declares that the party could put 300,000 Flemish demonstrators on Belgium’s streets if it wanted to. Meanwhile, in the Liège suburb of Grâce-Berleur, more than 10,000 turn out to attend the funeral of Albert Houbrechts, Henri Vervaeren, and Pierre Cerepana. All three were killed by the police on Sunday. (A fourth man, Joseph Thomas, will die of his wounds on August 6.) The strikes in Wallonia are officially over, but workers have not yet returned to work in Liège and Charleroi; they’re staying out in mourning for those killed.
▲Thursday, August 3
Aug 3: U.S. and South Korean forces complete a general planned fighting withdrawal to new defensive lines along the Naktong (Nakdong) River to the west and to defensive positions in the north. The Pusan (Busan) Perimeter, as it is known, represents the first time in the Korean War in which there is something approaching a single, continuous line of defense with a few reserves in the rear. This continuous line is designed to deprive the Korean People’s Army (KPA) of its favorite tactic of going around American or South Korean flanks to cut them off and attack from the rear. Along the south coast, American forces hold off a furious six-hour KPA attack at a narrow pass known as the Notch, about halfway between Chingu (Junju) and Masan. But Air Force pilots returning from bombing runs report that the KPA is rushing more troops to Taejon (Daejeon), where they can be quickly dispatched to Kochang (Geochang) for an assault on Taegu (Daegu), or to Chinju (Junju) for a renewed drive to Pusan. The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, which arrived at Pusan just yesterday, is rushed to the Masan front in preparation for an American counterattack — the first American counterattack of the war. In Pusan itself, the South Korean government imposes a strict curfew and American forces dramatically increase security in the city. Guerrilla activity around Pusan have authorities worried that a large influx of refugees is being exploited as cover by the North Koreans to move saboteurs closer to the port facilities. Handbills are already circulating in Pusan urging residents to rise up against the “Syngman Rhee puppets.”
▲Friday, August 4
Aug 4: The U.S. State Department cancels the passport of African-American singer and activist Paul Robeson, after he refuses to sign a loyalty oath stating that his is not a member of any Communist organizations.
Aug 4: Counterattack magazine, which in June published Red Channels, the pamphlet that serves as the basis of the Hollywood blacklist, adds three more names to its list. Counterattack claims that actors Marlon Brando and Burt Lancaster, and director Elia Kazan, all have a “Communist front record.”
▲Saturday, August 5
Aug 5: The North Korean Peoples Army (KPA) begins infiltrating across the American and South Korean defenses along the Naktong (Nakdong) River. Two separate incursions bring elements of the KPA’s 13th Division across at Naktong-ni (Nakdong-myeon), forty miles (65 km) north of Taegu (Daegu). The U.S. Air Force makes strafing and bombing runs, but they fail to halt the crossings. North Korean units that make it across the river melt into the mountains to the east. But the crossing that worries the U.N. command the most takes place in the southwestern part of the perimeter, at a bend of the Naktong River northwest of the mouth of the Nan River. This bend, known as the Naktong Bulge, is just above the Masan Front, which has seen fierce fighting over the past week. If the KPA occupies the mountain peaks in the bulge, it will have a commanding view of Yongsan (Yeongsan) and threaten an important north-south highway that is essential for U.N. troop movement and supplies to Mason and the rest of the western front south of Taegu (Daegu). On the northeastern corner of the perimeter, the KPA attacks Yongdok (Yeungdeok) and drives the South Koreans south about six miles (10 km).
Aug 5: A B-29 Superfortress carrying a partially-assembled Mark 4 nuclear bomb crashes shortly after takeoff from Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base, thirty-five miles (55 km) northeast of San Francisco. Twelve men of the twenty on board are killed, including the 9th Bombardment Wing commander, Brigadier Gen. Robert F. Travis. The bomber hits the ground and bursts into flames after narrowly missing an on-base trailer park that provides temporary housing for base employees. Ten on board the B-29 are able to escape, but two of those who make it out will die of their injuries. When the 5,000 pounds of conventional explosives in the Mark 4’s detonation device explodes, it blows a crater twenty yards across and six feet deep. The explosion ignites sixteen travel trailers. Seven more people on the ground are killed, including five firefighters. Forty-nine people are admitted to the hospital, and another 124 are treated with minor injuries. Fortunately, the nuclear core of the Mark 4 had been removed and was being shipped by a separate plane. Fairfield-Suisan Air Force base will be renamed Travis Air Force Base in October in honor of Gen. Travis. The fact that parts of an atomic bomb was on board the plane will not be revealed until 1994.
▲Sunday, August 6
▲Monday, August 7
Aug 7: The First Battle of the Naktong (Nakdong) Bulge begins as the North’s Korean Peoples Army (KPA) occupies most of Cloverleaf Hill and Obong-ni Ridge. From these peaks, the North Koreans have a commanding view of the east-west supply road to Yongsan (Yeongsan) and Highway 13, an important north-south road that is essential for the movement of troops and supplies along the southwestern perimeter. American and North Korean forces will battle over these two peaks over the next ten days.
Aug 7: In the far southwest corner of the Pusan Perimeter, between Chinju (Jinju) and Masan, American forces launch their first counter-attack of the war in an effort to recapture Chinju. The 2d Battalion of the 35th U.S. Infantry Division leads the attack from the narrow passage known as the Notch. After five hours of heavy fighting, they reach their objective just a few miles short of Muchon-ni. At the same time, the Americans open two more lines of attack from the other side of Mount Sobuk-san (Seobuksan) at Chindong-ni (Jindong-ri). The first objective is to clear the KPA from the mountain, a task that proves impossible. Old mine shafts and tunnels on Sobuk-san’s western slopes provide ready-made underground bunkers, assembly points, supply depots and hideouts for the enemy. It will remain the main assembly area for the KPA’s combat operations in this sector throughout the month of August. Clearing the mountain is made doubly difficult by the searing 112°F (44°C) heat. Fully half of U.S. casualties are due to heat exhaustion alone. The second objective is for the 5th Regimental Combat Team to press westward on the secondary road from Chindong-ni (Jingdong-myeon) to Munchon-ni. The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade — which had arrived at Pusan (Busan) just a few days earlier — is to follow the 5th Regimental Combat Team until it reaches a fork in the road to go south to Kosong (Goseong) and then move westward through Sachon (Sacheon) and then northward again to cut the KPA off at the rear. But the two units run headlong into a KPA ambush at Fox Hill, which overlooks the road junction just a couple of miles west of Chindong-ni. And as if that weren’t bad enough, they discover that the KPA has set up a roadblock just east of Chinding-ni, preventing supplies from coming in from Masan. It will take three days of intense fighting before American forces drive the KPA off of Fox Hill and away from the roadblock to the rear, allowing the southern two attacks to resume. But while U.N. commanders are mainly worried about events unfolding between Chinju and Masan and at the Naktong Bulge, the KPA is quietly infiltrating into the rugged mountains far to the north, between Uisong (Uiseong) and Pohang. With no roads to speak of in this area, U.N. commanders are convinced that the area poses no significant danger of a KPA advance.
▲Tuesday, August 8
▲Wednesday, August 9
Aug 9: Three North Korean divisions and an independent regiment have launched a major drive along the eastern flank of the Pusan Perimeter. The KPA 8th Division is tasked with driving down the road from Uisong (Uiseong) toward Yongchon (Yeongcheon). But the South Koreans catch it by surprise at Uisong and blocks the move. On the east coast, the KPA’s 5th Division presses its drive down the coastal road from Yongdok (Yeungdeok), as the KPA’s 766th Independent Regiment leaves that road and goes into into the mountains to surround the South Korean forces. After the KPA 5th Division drives the South Koreans to Changsa-dong (Jangsa-ri), the South’s Republic of Korea (ROK) forces discover that they are vulnerable to KPA guerilla’s hiding out in the mountains to the west. Meanwhile, U.N. command sends two ROK battalions north from Kigye, which immediately run into elements of the KPA’s 12th Division hidden in the mountains. The ROK are immediately thrown back to a position about two miles (3 km) southeast of Kigye. At the Taegu (Daegu) sector, the KPA crosses the Naktong (Nakdong) River just a couple of miles south of Waegwan, where the river is only five feet deep and has a firm, sandy bottom. Although the U.S. 5th Cavalry Regiment directs automatic weapons fire and artillery against the enemy, most of the KPA force reaches the east bank safely and moves inland into the hills. In the southwestern flanks, fierce battles between the KPA and American forces in the Naktong Bulge over the past two days result in a stalemate. But in the front at Masan, the Marines and 24th Infantry finally manage to clear the KPA from Fox Hill and the roadblock east of Chindong-ni (Jindong-ri). They will resume their counterattack toward Chinju (Jingu) the next day.
▲Thursday, August 10
Aug 10: On the east coast, the KPA’s 5th division has infiltrated around the South Koreans at Changsa-dong (Jangsa-ri) and cut the coastal road below them at Hunghae, just five miles (8 km) north of Pohang. The South Korean 3rd Division is now surrounded. In the Taegu (Daegu) sector, air strikes and artillery hit North Korean positions at Hill 268, just twelve miles (19 km) from the South Korean temporary capital. American forces direct tank fire from the principal highway northwest of the hill, while artillery fire is launched from the south. Trapped between the two fires, the North Koreans try to retreat back across the Naktong (Nakdong) River. Out of an estimated force of a thousand North Korean People’s Army (KPA) soldiers, only three hundred survivors recross the river to the west bank.
Aug 10: Since Monday, the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) in the Chinju (Jinju)-Masan Front at the far southwestern flank of the Pusan (Busan) Perimieter has successfully thwarted the first American counter-attack of the war. That’s when the 2d Battalion of the 35th U.S. Infantry Division stepped off from a narrow passage known as “the Notch” to begin a northern push to Chinju (Jinju). After a hard five-hour battle, the 2nd reached its objective just to the east of Muchon-ni, where they were supposed to have met the The 5th Regimental Combat Team that was to come up a secondary road from Chindong-ni (Jindong-ri). But the 5th, along with a Marine brigade that was supposed to take a more southerly route through Kosong (Goseong) and Sachon (Sacheon) to cut off the enemy at the rear, have been bottled up at Chigdong-ni. KPA forces on Fox Hill blocked their way forward, and other KPA forces manning a roadblock to the east of Chindong-ni had cut off the supply line from Masan. Those threats have finally been removed, and the 5th Combat Team and the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade begin their part of the counter-attack, three days late. By nightfall, Marines get halfway to Kosong (Goseong). But the 5th is stopped at Pongam-ni (Bongam-ri), which sits in an extremely narrow valley, sandwiched between a ridge of Mount Sobuk-san and another ridge to the south. KPA forces from the southern ridges, supported by more troops in the Sobuk-san stronghold, halt the 5th’s westward movement for the next four days of bitter fighting in what becomes known as Bloody Gulch.
Aug 10: The film noir classic Sunset Boulevard premiers at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. It portrays a faded silent screen star who failed to make the transition to talkies. It stars Gloria Swanson, who herself is a silent screen star who hadn’t made a major motion picture since 1934. The New York Times raves: “‘Sunset Boulevard’ is that rare blend of pungent writing, expert acting, masterly direction and unobtrusively artistic photography which quickly casts a spell over an audience and holds it enthralled to a shattering climax. Gloria Swanson was coaxed out of long retirement to portray the pathetic, forgotten film queen, Norma Desmond, and now it can be said that it is inconceivable that anyone else might have been considered for the role.” The film also stars William Holden and Erich von Stroheim, and features cameos by Director-Producer Cecil B. DeMille, gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, and silent film actors Buster Keaton, H.B. Warner and Anna Q. Nilsson.
Aug 10: The first shipment of American military aid arrives in Saigon, capital of the French Indochina State of Vietnam. French troops guard the ship while its cargo of bulldozers, transport and combat equipment is offloaded by Vietnamese workers. The cargo will go toward supporting France and the newly-proclaimed the government of Vietnam in its fight against the Vietminh insurgency. Vietnam gained limited sovereignty within the French Union in February, with France retaining control over foreign policy and military affairs.
▲Friday, August 11
Aug 11: As American reinforcements are being rushed from Kyongju (Gyeongju) to Pohang, they are ambushed by the KPA at Tongnam-ni (present-day Gangdong-myeon). Enemy fire hits the lead truck, causing it to swerve and block the road. Automatic weapons then open up over the rest of the column. Another force at the Pohang airfield is sent westward to rescue the company at Tongnam-ni, but they are ambushed a little west of Pohang. By nightfall, KPA forces are operating about three miles (5 km) south of Pohang. In the Naktong Bulge along the southwestern flank of the Perimeter, the KPA 4th Division has completed its crossing of the Naktong (Nakdong) river. Using rafts and an improvised bridge, they bring across trucks, heavy mortars, artillery and even a few tanks. Consequently, an American attack that is intended to push the enemy back into the river completely fails. On the southern Masan front, the Marines take Kosong after (and with close air support) destroying most of a large KPA convoy consisting of 200 vehicles, trucks, jeeps, and motorcycles loaded with troops, ammunition, and supplies. The Marines are now ready to turn westward toward Sachon. But on the middle road at Pongam-ni (Bongam-ri), American forces are still caught at a narrow passage in the road they call Bloody Gulch, fighting off wave after wave of KPA attacks from the Sobuk-san stronghold.
Aug 11: Ethel Rosenberg is arrested in New York City and charged with espionage. Her husband, Julius Rosenberg was arrested a month earlier. Her brother, David Greenglass, accused the Rosenbergs of recruiting him into a spy ring to pass atomic secrets to the Soviet Union in 1945 when Greenglass was working at the Los Alamos atomic project in New Mexico.
Aug 11: Belgium’s nineteen-year-old Crown Prince Baudouin is sworn in as Regent before a joint session of the two houses of Parliament. The ceremony takes place after both houses, following an acrimonious debate, approve a bill allowing the transfer of power from King Leopold III. The ceremony is interrupted briefly when a Communist deputy — some claim it was party chairman Julien Lahout — cries out the anti-monarchist slogan, “Vive la Republique.” The Socialists, while opposed to Leopold’s return from exile, were never against the monarchy itself. They join the pro-Leopoldist Social Christian (Catholic) Party in a spontaneous demonstration in support of the young prince. Baudouin will reign as Regent until his twenty-first birthday on September 21, 1951, when his father will formally abdicate in favor of the prince.
▲Saturday, August 12
Aug 12: In the northeastern flank of the Perimeter, North Korean rockets fall on Pohang as KPA soldiers are seen entering the town. Sporadic mortar and machine gun fire is aimed at the airfield southwest of Pohang, but none hit their marks. Near the South Korean temporary capital of Taegu (Daegu), where the Naktong (Nakdong) River has dropped three feet since August 10, elements of the KPA’s 15th Division begin crossing north of Waegwan and are gathering in the Yuhak-san mountain range five miles east of the crossing. This places them about fifteen miles (25 km) north of Taegu, with two possible routes into the city. Southwest of Taegu, KPA forces cross at three abandoned ferry crossings west of Hyongpung (Hyeonpung). They capture the hills overlooking Highway 13, threatening any American or South Korean forces that may be sent south to the Naktong Bulge and blocking any troops that may be coming north to reinforce defenses around Taegu. The KPA makes another crossing at Yongpo, and drives northeastward toward Taegu. But after a six-hour battle, that force is driven back to the riverbank and dispersed. Down at the Bulge, the situation is dire. The KPA 4th Division has completed its river crossing and has firmly entrenched itself in the hills overlooking Yongsan (Yeongsan) and Namji-ri, where a river crossing would leave the way to Puson (Buson) wide open. On the southwestern flank west of Masan, the U.S. Marines meet light resistance while striking out westward from Kosong (Goseong) toward Sachon (Sacheon), coming to within four miles (6 km) of the town. But the American forces that have been stopped at Pongam-ni (Bongam-ri) are now surrounded on three sides by KPA forces and are under threat of being annihilated. With so much pressure being exerted by the KPA throughout the Perimeter, U.N. command determines that the Marines are more urgently needed elsewhere, and cancels the counterattack to Chinju (Jinju). The Marines outside of Sachon are ordered to return immediately to Chindong-ni (Jindong-ri) for redeployment at the Bulge. The rest of the American forces on the Masan front are ordered to retreat back to Chindong-ni and Koman-ni (Geoman-ri) to take up positions on Sobuk-san’s eastern slopes.
Aug 12: The North Korean government announces that it will claim Seoul as the capital of a unified Korea on August 15, the second anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Korea by the United Nations. It says the move is to demonstrate to the world the unity of South and North Koreans and serves as justification for the “liberation” of all of South Korea. The announcement is consistent with a manifesto issued by Pyongyang in June, before the war began, in which North Korea called for elections in a unified Korea on August 15. Until now, all previous announcements by North Korea have referred to Pyongyang as the “temporary capital” of the Democratic Korean People’s Republic.
Aug 12: The Vatican releases the encyclical Humani generis (The Human Race), in which Pope Pius XII warns against “some false opinions threatening to undermine the foundations of Catholic Doctrine.” He warns that existentialism, idealism and other new philosophical and theological concepts are “today, like a flower in the field in existence, tomorrow outdated and old-fashioned, shaken by the winds of time.” As for the theory of evolution, Pius takes a more nuanced position. He says the Church “does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. … Let them strive with every force and effort to further the progress of the sciences which they teach; but let them also be careful not to transgress the limits which We have established for the protection of the truth of Catholic faith and doctrine.”
▲Sunday, August 13
Aug 13: North Korea sends the following directive to top military leaders in the battlefields: “Kim Il Sung has directed that the war be carried out so that its final victory can be realized by 15 August, fifth anniversary of the liberation of Korea. … Our victory lies before our eyes. Young soldiers! You are fortunate in that you are able to participate in the battle for our final victory. Young soldiers, the capture of Taegu (Daegu) lies in the crossing of the Naktong (Nakdong) River … The eyes of 30,000,000 people are fixed on the Naktong River crossing operation… Pledge of all fighting men: We pledge with our life, no matter what hardships and sacrifice lies before us, to bear it and put forth our full effort to conclude the crossing of the Naktong River. Young Men! Let us protect our glorious pride by completely annihilating the enemy!!” Two weeks before the war began in June, North Korea set August 15 as the date for celebrating Korea’s unification under the communist regime. American and South Korean commanders believe the Communists are preparing to launch a “final offensive” to coincide with the anniversary.
▲Monday, August 14
Aug 14: On the eastern flank of the perimeter, Pohang falls to the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA). The U.S. Air Force quietly abandons its airfield southeast of Pohang after receiving reports that a North Korean column is driving south from Yondok (Yeungdeok) with artillery that could bring the field under fire. The Army stays behind to defend the field, but observers say the airfield’s loss could have been avoided if the Eighth Army high command had taken adequate defensive preparations three weeks ago when the Air Force began warning that the airstrip was vulnerable to attack. In the Taegu (Daegu) sector, the KPA attempts a second Naktong (Nakdong) River crossing at Yongpo in a drive to Taegu. The KPA only makes it about a mile and a half (2 km) beyond the crossing before heavy American infantry, artillery and mortar fire force the North Koreans back across the river. In the southwestern flank, American forces are pulling back to defensive positions along the eastern slopes of Sobuk-san’s eastern slopes between Koman-ni (Geoman-ri) and Chindong-ni (Jindong-ri) while the Marines are being redeployed to the Naktong Bulge. Of all the threats confronting the U.N. command in what remains of South Korea, the Naktong Bulge is considered the most serious, because it threatens their ability to move troops and material along the western Perimeter. Losing that route will put Pusan (Busan) in grave jeopardy.
▲Tuesday, August 15
Aug 15: Today was supposed to be the big day, according to North Korean Premier Kim Il Sung, who had set August 15 as the day for final victory and the reunification of Korea. That reunification hasn’t come yet, but he uses the fifth anniversary of Japan’s withdrawal from Korea to broadcast from Pyongyang an order calling on his army “to destroy the South Korean and United States [troops] to the last man” by the end of August. “The longer this is delayed, the stronger will become the United States and South Korean defenses.” In the eastern flank at Changsa-dong (Jangsa-ri), where the South’s Republic of Korea (ROK) 3rd Division is surrounded, the U.N. orders its evacuation by sea beginning with about 400 of the critically wounded. At the Taegu (Daegu) front at dawn, an American company on Hill 303 north of Waegwan spots KPA troops and two tanks moving south along the river road and another column moving to their rear. By 8:30, the hill is completely surrounded. A relief column tries to rescue the surrounded company but are driven back. The hill is overrun, and somewhere between forty and forty-five Americans are taken prisoner. North Korean forces on the high peaks of Yuhak-san are also applying heavy, non-stop pressure on ROK forces at Tabu-dong (Dabu-ri). In the southwestern flank, U.S. Marines have arrived at the Naktong (Nakdong) bulge area from their previous engagements on the Mason front. Their orders are to prepare to attack by August 17.
Aug 15: Thirteen men from Baltimore begin training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. They are believed to be the first group of draftees to be inducted into the Army since the draft’s revival last month.
Aug 15: Princess Elizabeth of England gives birth to her second child , a girl, at Clarence House in London. Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise weighs six pounds even (2.7 kg), and is third in line to the throne, behind her mother and her older brother, Prince Charles, who was born twenty-one months ago.
▲Wednesday, August 16
Aug 16: Morton Sobell, a research scientist and engineer, is abducted by secret police in Mexico City where he fled with his wife and children. The Sobells flew to Mexico City on June 22, just six days after David Greenglass was arrested and charged with passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. Morton is a close, personal friend of Julius Rosenberg. Two days later, he will be driven to a border crossing in Laredo and turned over to the FBI without undergoing extradition proceedings in Mexico.
▲Thursday, August 17
Aug 17: In the Taegu sector, American troops, supported by air force strikes, re-take Waegwan and Hill 303 after an all-day fight. The intense air strikes, which include strafing and dropping napalm, result in a complete KPA rout. But on regaining Hill 303 north of Waegwan, the 5th Cavalry Regiment discover the bodies of thirty-six captured American prisoners of war. Five survivors tell the story: They were taken prisoner on August 15 when the KPA overwhelmed Hill 303. Their captors gave the POWs cigarettes, water and fruit that first night, but denied them food and water over the next two days. During the intense American and South Korean counterattack in the area earlier today, the North Korean Army tried to evacuate the POWs across the Naktong (Nakdong) River, but heavy bombing and automatic fire prevent their crossing. A North Korean officer ordered the men shot. Guards fired on the Americans who are kneeling in a gully with their hands tied behind their backs. Five survived when their fellow soldiers fell on top of them.
Aug 17: American and South Korean forces launch counterattacks on multiple fronts along the Pusan (Busan) Perimeter. In the northeast at Pohang, American forces execute a successful sea evacuation of the South’s Republic of Korea (ROK) 3rd Division from Changsa-dong (Jangsa-ri), where it has been surrounded by the North’s Korean Peoples Army (KPA) for more than a week. The ROK 3rd is redeployed south of Pohang to join the fight in pushing the KPA north from the Taegu (Daegu)-Yongchon (Yeongcheon)-Pohang lateral road. By evening, attacks by the ROK Capital Division at Angang-ni threaten to surround a KPA regiment and it withdraws into the mountains north of Kigye. The KPA 12th Division also begins to withdraw from the hills around Pohang following two days of intense bombardment from U.N. naval and air forces. The next day, the KPA 12th orders all of its units to retreat back to Pihak-san, a 2,400 foot (730 m) peak six miles (10 km) north of Kigye, for reorganization.
Aug 17: At the Naktong Bulge south of Taegu, American forces have been locked in a fighting stalemate with the KPA 4th Division entrenched on two adjoining peaks, Cloverleaf Hill and Obang-ni Ridge. After a hard day of intense fighting, Americans succeed in capturing the Cloverleaf, the northern peaks of Obong-ni, and Ohang Hill, which overlooks an old ferry crossing that the KPA used to cross the Naktong on Aug 5. Further south on the Masan front, fierce fighting takes place just west of Koman-ni (Geoman-ri), but at the end of the day, little ground is exchanged. Despite intense daily battles in the region, this costly stalemate will grind on through the end of the month.
Aug 17: The Institute for Numerical Analysis at the National Bureau of Standards unveils the world’s fastest computer at the University of California, Los Angeles. The SWAC (Standards Western Automatic Computer) supplants the previous speed champion, SEAC, which was formally inaugurated just two months ago. Like SEAC, SWAC is designed to be a small-scale computer that can be built and put into operation quickly and expanded upon over time, while giving the NBS time to develop a more powerful computer. SWAC uses 2,300 vacuum tubes, including 37 Williams tubes, a kind of a cathode ray tube like the ones used in televisions, which are used as memory devices to store 256 words of memory, with each word being 37 bits long. It can add two numbers and store the result in 64 microseconds. Multiplication takes 384 microseconds. In 1952, mathematicians using SWAC will discover five new prime numbers. Dorothy Hodgkin will use SWAC to perform an X-ray analysis of the structure of vitamin B12, which will earn her a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964. The computer will remain in use at UCLA, with numerous modifications, until 1967. SWAC’s designer, Harry Huskey, had been involved with the ENIAC project in the mid 1940’s and spent a year in England in 1947 working with computer pioneer Alan Turing.
▲Friday, August 18
Aug 18: Taegu (Daegu), South Korea’s temporary capital, normally has about 300,000 residents, but refugees have swollen its population to 700,000. Early in the morning, seven rounds of enemy artillery shells land near Taegu’s rail station, causing panic throughout the city. President Syngman Rhee’s government abruptly orders the city’s evacuation and Rhee moves his capital to Pusan (Busan). This evacuation creates a very dangerous situation, with panicked refugees pouring out of the city and clogging the roads. The gridlock threatens to stop all military traffic, and is undermining the morale of the troops defending the city. The U.S. Eighth Army, which has overall responsibility for defending the entire Perimeter, halts the evacuation and persuades Rhee to come back to Taegu the following day. Meanwhile, about thirteen miles (21 km) north of Taegu at Tabu-dong (Dabu-ri), American forces begin attacking north on the road toward Chonpyong-dong (Cheonpyeong-ri). The road threads its way through a narrow valley, sandwiched between the 2,800-foot (850 m) tall Yuhak-san mountain to the left, and another 2,400-foot (730 m) mountain to the right. The South’s Republic of Korea (ROK) 11th and 12th Regiments have been battling the KPA 13th Division on Yuhak-san for more than a week, but the North Koreans broke through and have begun taking up positions northeast of Tabu-dong which pose a direct threat to Taegu. The KPA 13th has also just received fourteen brand-new T34 tanks from the Soviet Union. American forces press northward from Tabu-dong and reach a spot north where the road turns due north to Chonpyong-dong. There, they stop and establish defensive positions. Shortly after nightfall, the North Koreans attack but are unable to make any headway after the Americans knock out two of the KPA’s shiny new tanks. The Americans will name this narrow valley the Bowling Alley. South of Taegu at the Naktong (Nakdong) Bulge, the KPA 4th Division is forced to withdraw across the river after losing nearly all of its heavy equipment and weapons. The Americans bury more than 1,200 enemy dead. Further south on the Masan front, pitched battles mark the start of the two-week Battle of Battle Mountain. A northern ridge of Sobuk-san (Seobuksan), Battle Mountain (Hill 665) will change hands at least nineteen times between now and the end of the month. That’s according to one estimate; no one will know the exact count for sure. The peak will often change hands two or three times on a 24-hour period. North Korea now controls about 80% of South Korean territory.
Aug 18: Buried deep in one of four communiqués issued by Gen. Douglas MacArthur the next day is this paragraph: “On the west coast, ROK (Republic of Korea) Navy forces landed on the east coast of Tokchok-do (Deokjeok-do) Island early Aug. 18 after a short bombardment by United Nations ships. Occupation of Chin-ni (Jin-ri) village on that island was accomplished without incident.” A United Press report speculates that the island “could serve as a vital base of operations from which to attempt a blockade of North Korean war material shipments to the south. It also was considered possible that the landing force was in the nature of a test for future amphibious operations.” In fact, the landing of the ROK Navy patrol, supported by warships from the British Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy, is part of a series of reconnaissance probes and preparations for a planned mid-September landing at Inchon (Incheon). The Communists have deployed just about every available resource at their disposal to breaking the Pusan (Busan) Perimeter, leaving Inchon lightly defended. U.N. Command hopes that by publicizing the landing at Tokchok-do, they can induce the KPA to divert some of its meager defenders at Inchon southward.
Aug 18: The U.S. State Department suspends the passport of American artist and peace and labor activist Rockwell Kent. Kent’s preferred politics is democratic socialism, not communism — although he has been an advocate of continued friendship with the Soviet Union, America’s old wartime ally against fascism. In 1949, he attended the World Peace Council and signed the Stockholm Appeal, which calls for nuclear disarmament. The State Department cites Kent’s travel to Moscow ahead of the conference as its reason for suspending his passport. Kent will fight the State Department in court. In 1958, the U.S. Supreme Court will affirm his right to travel by declaring the passport suspension a violation of his civil rights.
Aug 18: Charismatic Belgian Deputy Julien Lahaut, chairman of the Belgian Communist Party, is assassinated in his home outside of Liège. Two men arrive at his house at 9:15 p.m. and ring the doorbell. Lahaut’s wife answers, and the two men ask to speak to her husband. She calls her husband to the door and returns to the kitchen. Two shots ring out, with one bullet entering Lahaut’s head. There are no witnesses. Lahaut’s friendly and jocular personalty, which contrasts remarkably against other more typically dour and angry Communist politicians, has made him personally popular in Belgium, even if his policy positions are widely panned. His four-year internment at Mauthausen concentration camp by the Nazis during World War II also earned him considerable respect. Consequently, his assassination shocks the nation. Many believe that Lahaut was the unknown man who shouted the anti-monarchist refrain “Vive la Republic” during Prince Baudouin’s swearing-in ceremony last Friday, although no one knows for sure. His assassins are believed to be Belgian royalists, but no one will ever be brought to trial.
▲Saturday, August 19
Aug 19: At Pohang, the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) Capital Division has advanced to high ground two miles (3 km) north of Kigye. The ROK 3rd Division enters Pohang again and reaches a point a mile and a half (2 km) north of town. The next day, ROK forces will push another three and a half miles (5 km) north of Pohang while the Capital Division will make gains further north of Kigye. Captured North Korean prisoners say some units haven’t been resupplied since August 12. In the Taegu sector, two days of counterattacks by American and Republic of Korean (ROK) forces push the North’s Korean Peoples Army (KPA) back just enough to secure the South Korean temporary capital of Taegu (Daegu). President Syngman Rhee responds to heavy pressure from U.N. commanders and returns his seat of government to Taegu, and civilian refugees begin returning to the city. On the southwestern flank, U.N. naval forces bombard Tongyong (Tongyeong) and provide cover as ROK Marines take the port town.
Aug 19: Off the west coast of Korea southwest of Inchon (Incheon), Canadian and British ships support an ROK amphibious landing on Yonghung-do (Yeongheung-do) Island. From there, the task force will extend its control to other islands between Tokchok-do (Deokjeok-do) and Yonghung-do. The next day, a small landing party will land at the tiny island of Palmi-do at the mouth of Inchon harbor. They will disable the lighthouse and destroy its radio equipment before leaving. The press will report the landing at Yonghung-do, but offer very little explanation for it. U.N. commanders hope that by mentioning the island incursions in its press communiqués, they will entice the KPA to redeploy part of its small defense force at Inchon further south. The action on Palmi-do, of course, remains undisclosed.
▲Sunday, August 20
Aug 20: Great Britain’s War Office announces that the first British troops being sent to the Korean War to fight under the auspices of the United Nations will depart from Hong Kong on August 25. The infantry force is comprised of two battalions: the 1st Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, and the 1st Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regiment.
▲Monday, August 21
Aug 21: With federal mediation efforts to resolve a labor dispute between unions representing railroad yard switchmen and conductors and the nations’ railroads remaining in stalemate, the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen and the Order of Railway Conductors call a limited five-day strike against three short-line railroads in Louisville, Cleveland, and St. Paul, Minnesota. Workers at the Minnesota Transfer Railway, the Kentucky and Indiana Terminal, and the River Terminal Railway in Cleveland walk off their jobs at 6:00 a.m. Because of the limited nature of the strike, the general public won’t feel any immediate impact. But because these rail lines service several important industrial areas, the government is worried about the effect the strike may have in the Korean War effort. Already, Republic Steel has shut down its plant in Cleveland ahead of the strike, as did Carnegie-Illinois Steel with its plants in South Chicago and Gary, Indiana. Those shutdowns result in almost 29,000 steelworkers being laid off. Rumors circulate that President Truman may use his emergency powers to nationalize the railroad again as he did in 1948. White House spokesmen deny that any such moves are underway.
Aug 21: Shortly before midnight in the Taegu (Daegu) sector, on the road just a couple of miles north of Tabu-dong (Dabu-ri), an American company on a high ridge of Mount Yuhak-san reports that they can hear the rumble of tanks coming south from Chonpyong-dong (Cheonpyeong-ri). American artillery fires an illuminating shell, and spotters count nineteen vehicles coming down the road. When the KPA column comes to within 125 yards (115 m) of an American Pershing tank, the Pershing knocks out the lead North Korean tank. In the five-hour night battle that follows, Americans and South Koreans knock out nine enemy tanks, four self-propelled guns, and several trucks and personnel carriers. The KPA column is completely destroyed. American patrols go out at dawn and count the enemy dead. Based on that count and statements from eleven prisoners captured by the patrols, they estimate that the KPA casualties number about 1,300. The POWs estimate that only about a fourth of their comrades remain. The Americans name the area the Bowling Alley during the night battle after watching the enemy tanks firing shells down the very narrow valley toward American positions. Seeing the balls of fire going down the valley and hearing the sound of the battle echoing off of the ridges, this spectacle reminds the men of bowling balls careening down the alley toward the pins. The KPA will continue to launch nightly attacks down the Bowling Alley, but their intensity will be greatly diminished. The greater threat now comes from KPA guerrillas who have infiltrated around Tabu-dong and are threatening the U.N. supply lines from Taegu. At the Masan Front, daily battles continue to rage over control of a ridge dubbed Battle Mountain, with the contested ridge changing hands on a daily, and even hourly, basis. But elsewhere on the Perimeter, KPA action has fallen off noticeably. In the next ten days, the KPA will take the time to reorganize, resupply, and replan. According to intercepted messages, the KPA has ordered massive quantities of ammunition to be sent south, along with detailed maps of the Taegu sector.
▲Tuesday, August 22
Aug 22: About 100,000 people turn out for the funeral of Julien Lahaut, the Belgian Communist Party chairman and a popular member of the Chamber of Deputies who was assassinated last week at his home in an industrial suburb of Liège. Another 300,000 workers throughout the industrial provinces of Wallonia dropped their tools in mourning. It is one of the largest funerals in Belgium’s history, surpassed only by those of King Albert and Queen Astrid, the beloved first wife of King Leopold III. The funeral is a coda to the months of turmoil over the question of King Leopold’s return, turmoil that threatened to plunge Belgium into civil war just three weeks earlier.
▲Wednesday, August 23
Aug 23: All of Washington is stunned when unions representing railroad yard switchmen and conductors announce that their negotiations with the nations’ railroads under government mediation are deadlocked and that they are issuing a nationwide strike call for 6:00 a.m. Monday. The announcement catches railroad companies and the White House by surprise. It is now all but certain that President Truman will be forced to invoke a 1916 law to nationalize the nation’s railroads. Meanwhile, Canada is crippled by its own nationwide railroad strike, which has now entered into its second day.
▲Thursday, August 24
▲Friday, August 25
Aug 25: The U.S. Army says that two Chinese armies are massing along the Korean border with 120 heavy tanks supplied by the Soviet Union. U.S. experts strongly doubt that the Chinese will intervene in the Korean war, but the movement raises new threats for U.N. forces that are just now arriving on the Korean peninsula. The main Chinese concentration is centered around Antung (Dandong), at the mouth of the Yalu River which serves as the border between North Korea and China. Defense Department experts estimate that as many as 200,000 Chinese soldiers may be positioned along the river. Meanwhile at the Pusan (Busan) Perimeter, the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) appears to be breaking off contact with U.N. forces. At the Masan front, neither the KPA nor American have succeeded in holding and keeping Battle Mountain, a northern ridge of Sobuk-san (Seobuksan), for more than a day at a time despite heavy losses on both sides. The frustrated KPA is now pulling back from Koman-ni (Geoman-ri) although elements remain in the deep valleys and abandoned coal mines of Sobuk-san. In the northwest corner in the Taegu (Daegu) sector, American and Republic of Korea (ROK) forces have widened their control over the peaks overlooking the Bowling Alley, the name they’ve given the road sandwiched between two mountain ranges from Tabu-dong (Dabu-ri) to Chonpyong-dong (Cheonpyeong-ri). They’ve also cleared out KPA guerrilla activity threatening the supply line from Taegu. The KPA launched the last of their fruitless nightly attacks down the Bowling Alley shortly after midnight, and now it appears that they are retreating northward. One American officer near Taegu tells a reporter, “I believe they have shot their wad.” The Grey Lady, apparently unaware of the origins of that unfit-to-print-in-1950 idiom, repeats it on page three of the next day’s New York Times.
Aug 25: President Truman orders the nationalization of the nation’s railroads, effective the next day at 4:00 p.m. eastern time. The railroads will fall under U.S. Army control. The order comes ahead of a scheduled strike scheduled for Monday morning. Truman says this step is necessary to protect the nation’s security, defense and health. Unions pledge their cooperation and call off their strike.
Aug 25: The USS Benevolence, a World War II hospital ship undergoing sea trials after being taken out of mothballs, collides with the freighter SS Mary Luckenbach in heavy fog off San Francisco and sinks. The Benevolence, which has an 802 patient capacity, has been reactivated to support the Korean War effort and is returning to port when it is rammed by the Mary Luckenbach. The Benevolence sinks within 15 minutes in shallow waters, its starboard resting just four feet below the water’s surface. Five hundred and five crew members are rescued, but twenty-three others are lost. The Mary Luckenbach, with its bow heavily damaged, returns to port for repairs. Both captains will be cited for excessive speed.
▲Saturday, August 26
▲Sunday, August 27
Aug 27: Actress Jean Muir becomes the first casualty of the Hollywood blacklist when General Foods abruptly cancels the season premiere of the NBC sitcom The Aldrich Family, just hours before it is set to air. General Foods, which sponsors and produces the show, says she has become a “controversial personality.” Muir had been active in the formation of the Screen Actors Guild, and her willingness to challenge the Studio System had made her a very visible woman at a time when they were expected to be quiet and “nice.” She had never been a Communist party member, but the notorious pamphlet Red Channels, published in June, named her a Communist sympathizer. General Foods acted after receiving about twenty phone calls from anti-Communist crusaders orchestrated by the Joint Committee Against Communism in New York. Says Muir, “It seems unbelievable that an actress can have such a setback in her livelihood and career based on nothing more than unsubstantiated accusations made over the telephone and by telegram. General Foods corporation itself makes clear in its statement that they have not gone into the truth of the charges.” Variety blasts NBC and General Foods for “playing into the hands of the self-anointed. Surely neither General Foods nor any agency believes that the score of telephone call … could stop the sale of Jello.” Billboard says, “It’s nothing but hysteria. … Her husband, Henry Jaffe, talked and pleaded with top sponsor execs, agencies, the network nabobs and they are all horrified. This was a terrible thing. But nobody is putting Jean Muir back on the air.” Film and television roles will disappear completely for her until 1958. Stage actress Nancy Carroll will replace Muir when The Aldrich Family returns on September 3. General Foods’ action leads other advertisers and producers to comb through their projects to see if they have anyone on their rolls listed in Red Channels. Says one unnamed broadcast executive, “The Red Channels book now is the Bible up and down Madison Avenue.”
▲Monday, August 28
Aug 28: Since the Pusan (Busan) Perimeter defensive positions were established at the beginning of the month, United Nations commanders have succeeded in protecting the vital southeastern port. They have done this while contending with understrength, ill-equipped, and untrained American forces; decimated, exhausted and demoralized remnants of the South Korean army, a lack of reserve forces to plug holes in the battle lines, and shortages of ammunition, tanks, and heavy artillery, especially during the early days of the war. Sometime during late August, it is estimated that U.N. force strength has finally reached rough parity with the enemy. And while the KPA has had several victories that have threatened to overwhelm American and South Korean forces in the Pohang, Taegu (Daegu), Naktong (Nakdong) Bulge and Masan fronts, the KPA was unable to press its advantages due to disruptions to its extended supply lines caused by heavy bombing by U.N. air forces. The KPA is now marshaling its resources for a massive offensive to push the Americans and South Koreans off of the peninsula. The offensive is slated to begin on September 1, with the opening salvos opening up at Pohang, possibly as a diversionary move, a few days earlier.
Aug 28: In the very early morning hours the day before, a North Korean attack overran a company of a Republic of Korea’s (ROK) Capital Division, north of Kigye and west of Pohang. The attack caused the entire ROK 17th Regiment to give way and lose Kigye. This, in turn, caused the neighboring regiment to give way. Soon, like a chain of dominos, the entire Division falls back three miles (5 km) to the south side of the Kigye valley, all before dawn. U.N. Command quickly rushes reinforcements to shore up the Perimeter’s eastern flank, and is now prepared to counterattack. But that counterattack plan is cancelled when the ROK is pushed further back toward Angang-ni. Simultaneously, elements of the North’s Korean Peoples Army (KPA) have pushed through ROK positions southwest of Pohang. Elsewhere around the Perimeter, the battle lines are largely quiet, with only occasional fights breaking out between probing and reconnaissance patrols and individual units. American Army intelligence warn that an assault aimed at severing the railroad and highway between Taegu (Daegu) and Pusan (Busan) “may be expected at any time.”
▲Tuesday, August 29
Aug 29: The first British ground troops arrive in Pusan (Busan), South Korea. The 1st Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment and the 1st Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders disembark from the aircraft carrier HMS Unicorn and the cruiser HMS Ceylon to the sounds of military bands and bagpipes. They are the first United Nations ground forces other than those of the United States to arrive in South Korea. Naval and air forces from Australia, Canada, Britain, and New Zealand have been participating in air and sea campaigns for several weeks.
▲Wednesday, August 30
▲Thursday, August 31
Aug 31: The Joint Committee Against Communism in New York have struck again. Fresh off of their victory in getting television actress Jean Muir blacklisted for alleged (and unproven) Communist sympathies, the group successfully pressures RCA Victor and Columbia Records to withdraw recordings of a song called “Old Man Atom.” Rabbi Benjamin Schultz, the committee’s director, claims the song follows the Communist Party “peace line” and reflects the propaganda of the anti-nuclear Stockholm Appeal, which has been heavily promoted by the Soviet Union. But in fact, the song was written five years earlier, by Los Angeles newspaper reporter Vern Parlow, shortly after the U.S. detonated two atomic bombs over Japan. Parlow points out that this was “long before any of these peace offenses.” Folk singer Sam Hinton recorded the song for a small West Coast record label, which was then re-released by Columbia. The RCA Victor version was recorded by the popular Western band, Sons of the Pioneers. Bing Crosby is even set to record a version for Decca. The song is full of puns and clever wordplay; for example: “We hold these truths to be self-evident/All men may be cremated equal,” and “The people of the world must pick out a thesis/Peace in the world, or the world in pieces”. By mid-August, the Pioneers’ version appeared on Billboard’s survey of what Country and Western D.J.s “think tomorrow’s hits will be.” WNEW’s Martin Block has given the Columbia disk national exposure on his syndicated radio program, Make Believe Ballroom. But with the record companies pulling their disks, many radio stations are rushing to ban the song. The New York Times exclaims, “A new high in absurdity has been reached …this new form of censorship by self-appointed groups is a threat to freedom. … If the song that caused all the furor, ‘Old Man Atom,’ is propaganda at all, it is by rights American, not Russian, propaganda.”
Aug 31: TWA flight 903, flying its regular run from Bombay to New York’s Idlewild airport, crashes shortly after beginning its Cairo-to-Rome leg, killing all fifty-five people on board. The Star of Maryland, a Lockheed L-749A Constellation, departs from Cairo at 1:30 a.m. local time with forty-eight passengers and seven crew members. Twenty minutes later, as the plane is climbing to 10,000 feet (3,000 meters), the crew reports that its number three engine is on fire and it needs to make a priority landing back at Cairo. It doesn’t make it. The burning engine breaks loose from the plane and plane crashes near the village of Itay el Barud on the edge of the western desert. The plane plows through a narrow-gauge railroad and burns, incinerating everyone on board. Another TWA plane spots the wreckage and radios the location. Rescuers trek fifteen miles (24 km) over hot sands and finally reach the wreckage late in the afternoon. The wreckage is strewn over 500 yards (460 meters). The victims are badly charred, delaying identification. Twenty-three Americans are on board, along with those from a dozen other countries. Among those killed are Egyptian actress Camelia, Indian polo star Prithi Singh, Houston oil executive Aubrey William Schofield, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology dean of students Dr. Everett Moore Baker.