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What If America Had Nuked China?

Nagasaki and Hiroshima are infamous in the minds of the world today. Symbols, of the only two uses of atomic bombs in an act of war. Thanks to M.A.D., it stayed like this. Yet… There was a time, in the 1950’s, where the use of the nuke was still up to debate For some, atomic bombs could be seen as a legitimate strategy in war. Which is exactly what General Douglas MacArthur wanted to use them for, once the Chinese attacked, during the Korean War. The public fight over this idea lead to Truman infamously firing him. China was never nuked, and the war was eventually a stalemate. But still, the very concept of this idea, is fascinating. What if America actually DID drop the atomic bomb during the war? What if America had nuked China? First off, historical context. When Korea was liberated from Japan, it was split between the Soviets, and Americans. Communist government in the North, non-Communist government in the South. The plan was eventually to reunify, but like everything in the Cold War, this didn’t work out. In 1950, Kim Il Sung (our Dear Leader) launched a surprise invasion against the South, to unify the country. The U.S. then lead a U.N. Peacekeeping Force, to go fight back the North Koreans. Long story short, in just the span of a few months, the U.S. and South were able to obliterate the North Koreans. Seoul was destroyed, but liberated, and Pyongyang was captured. Pushing the North, all the way up, to the Chinese Border. China saw this as a threat to their own Security, and began secretly moving troops to the border. In November 1950, Chinese soldiers crossed the border in secret, and attacked. The entire U.N. Peacekeeping Force retreated to the 38th Parallel, where they were able to stop the Chinese advance. But, the damage was done. Enraged so much that the Chinese had done this, MacArthur began looking for ANY option to defeat the Chinese. One of which, was nuclear weapons. At the beginning of the war, Truman himself said that “all weapons in the arsenal are considered”. Including the bomb. This opinion, however, changed over the months. By 1951, however, MacArthur still wanted to use nuclear weapons. Truman didn’t, because he feared escalating the war for something he saw unnecessary, compared to Europe. While many at the time did throw the idea around, MacArthur pushed the idea forward. So… what if in this alternate scenario, Truman actually listened to MacArthur? No matter how unrealistic could have been, what if the United States allowed MacArthur all the tactical nukes he required against the Chinese, and the U.S. nuked China, during the Korean War? In this scenario, MacArthur’s request for 50 Atomic Bombs is approved by all sections of the U.S. government required to approve it. Be it Truman, or the Joint Chiefs. Do we instantly see 50 Hiroshima’s? No. MacArthur didn’t want to use nuclear weapons to wipe out the Chinese in a nuclear genocide, he was a tactician, and wanted to use the nukes agains Chinese military targets in Manchuria, across the Yalu River. Power Plants, Air Strips, Bases, anything that slowed the Chinese war effort. He wanted to create a sea of irradiated Cobalt, stretching the border, that would prevent the Chinese from even crossing into Korea. His words. And in the scenario, this plan is set into motion. In 1951, the United States escalates the Korean War, by unleashing Tactical Nuclear Bombings across the border with China. B-29s are fitted with air-burst atomic bombs, and fly over into Manchuria. The aim is to create such a radioactive sea, that the Chinese couldn’t cross into Korea for 60 years. As any person in the 21st Century would think, this plan would cause some immediate and serious problems. And you, person, would be right! Not even going into the fact that American air capabilities would be stretched to their absolute limit, in such an operation, but as well, that crucial air domination that the us ground forces needed in the actual combat, would be diverted all the way to the North, for at least a few days. Because of the process of 50 nuclear bombings, its a slow, drawn out process, as B-29s, however we may have, would fly over, drop their bomb, and fly back. All across the Korean border. By the span of 2 or 3 days, Korea is cut off from China. So… America used nuclear weapons in a conventional war. Yay. MacArthur theorized that the Soviets would be so shocked by America’s display of raw nuclear power, that they would step down. China would retreat, and be defeated. And America, would be victorious in war. The world, and everyone, would indeed be shocked. Not because of America’s power, but because the United States escalated a small foreign war, by glassing China with nuclear bombs, and creating a radioactive wasteland. America does certainly win the Korean war, as China’s army is cut off and eventually destroyed within the peninsula. The U.S. pushes up and all of Korea is unified under a non-Communist government. The war, in all respects, is over. It’s pretty much the international equivalent of taking out a grenade during a little league hockey brawl. And, just like the grenade, the action vastly overshadows the actual conflict. This ramification makes the Korean War the most influential war in human history. Why is this such an issue? In our timeline, the raw power of the atomic bomb was so dangerous, those in government realized it could only be used in the most dire situations. Eventually the bomb became so powerful, so dangerous, that no situation, except WWIII, called for a nuclear weapon ever to be used. And so the Cold War, while filled with tension, resulted in no war. Because both sides realized… it wouldn’t be worth it. In the early 1950’s, the bomb was still in its infancy. It was small enough, and there were so few, that nuclear war destroying the world, wasn’t a real possibility. Mutually Assured Destruction, wasn’t really a thing. This was a time of moral questions. How do we wield this new weapon? Do we use it like any other tool of war to gain strategic advantages? and Tactically destroy militaries in a potential war? or do we realize that if we use this weapon, our enemies have an excuse to use it too? It’s like when one side used Mustard Gas for the first time in war. Yes, it was an immediate tactical advantage… but don’t be surprised if the enemy innovates, and uses it against you too… It’s Pandora’s Box. Displaying Nuclear Force by bombing Manchuria 50 times because of a foreign Civil War, sets a dangerous new precedent. The atomic bomb to some was more than a weapon of war, but to others, it had clear tactical advantages. And that’s all they saw. In this alternate timeline, the Soviet Union is absolutely terrified about what could potentially happen. Since we all know Russia, we know they traditionally don’t take threats very kindly. United States has displayed it will use its nuclear arsenal on a whim in a very small scale war. And not even against the Superpower. So its only logical for the Soviets to assume the U.S. would need even less of a reason to use it on their mortal enemy. The U.S.S.R. So… we have two situations that could happen. One: China and the Soviet Union immediately escalate the war following the bombings. The Korean War is just the first phase of World War III. For now, its a conventional war, with occasional nuclear bombardments against armies in Europe. But… long story short, it escalates, and we all die as nuclear technology progresses, destroying cities, before both nuclear powers obliterate each other. Two: The Soviets don’t reach by declaring war. But instead use this as an excuse for their own interests, using nuclear weapons against enemies in Central Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. The idea surrounding nuclear bombs isn’t that they can destroy the entire world, but that there will be some instances where using them is useful. This idea surrounding nuclear bombs, unsurprisingly, isn’t the most stable. For you know, Living. So… this might escalate into WWIII, later down the line. Say for a Cuban Missile Crisis, or another alternate crisis, that both sides might think a nuke would be a reasonable idea. Because of the Americans in Korea. Either way, its highly unlikely humanity would survive the 20th Century if MacArthur had bombed China. We would have won the war, but we would have opened Pandora’s box in the process. Was MacArthur an idiot? Of course not. He was a war hero, a General, and his decisions lead America to victory in the Pacific. But. He was stubborn. And as anyone dealing with new technology, misunderstood the implications that using atomic bombs would have on future generations. He just saw victory. Today in the 21st Century, we can sit and laugh at the idea of MacArthur’s But, this was actually a common idea among many in the military and government of the early 50’s. Truman even said “no options were off the table” at the start of the war. Thank God they never did it, and saw what would have happened. My point is its always easy to poke fun when we know the ramifications of future decades. Anyway, what do you think would have happened? This is simply one scenario out of the countless possibilities. It’s always fun to theorize. (Seriously?) This is Cody, of Alternate History Hub Oh, one more thing. I have a second channel, called “KnowledgeHub” I don’t talk about alternate history (ohh roasted sorry) But I try to talk about everything else. History, facts, geography… so if you wanna hear more of my voice, just click right here, and check it out.
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b379aN45VEE

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