Alternate History

1953: The Korean War Goes Atomic

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General Eisenhower in 1964

The Korean War Goes Atomic

On September 9, 1952, after campaigning in Baltimore, Maryland, Dwight D. Eisenhower is involved in a car accident when the driver, Joseph Goodman, suffered an epileptic seizure at the wheel after looking at a flashing traffic light. The car collided with the lobby of an office building. Goodman was killed and General Eisenhower was dazed, yet unhurt. At Johns Hopkins Hospital, the examining doctor found that Eisenhower was suffering from 'post-trauma complications'. Richard Nixon, Eisenhower's running mate, took over the campaign as a single candidate, and the Republicans, quoting Nixon in a 1954 interview, 'lost interest'. Adlai Stevenson II is inaugurated as President. However, Stevenson becomes known as the US's most disgraced president.

The Mistake

After Stevenson is elected, the immediate aftermath would later be called 'Battle of the Presidents' as Stevenson and North Korean president Kim Il-sung immediately disliked one another and are opposed to the other's political outlook. This strains the relationship between the Koreans and the Americans, with no hope for imminent detente as North Korean forces push through the Korean Demilitarized Zone on February 27, 1953. The Americans are flushed out of North Korea entirely in the 'Thursday Bloodshed' which occurred from February 19 to 25, 1953.

On May 6, 1953, Stevenson and former Governor of Wyoming Lester C. Hunt are relaxing before dinner during a special reception at the Chicago Board of Trade Building, having met with other Democrats to discuss changes made to the party platform. During the conversation, Hunt jokes, "I guess if you're not good enough, they'll have to drop the H-Bomb", to which Stevenson responds, "Yeah, we could really use those in Korea." This was a foreshadowing of the events to come.

On May 23, 1953, Kim Il-sung announced that, on a televised broadcast, that they will not sign an armistice agreement. On May 28, Stevenson meets with his aides and they come to an agreement.

They will use a bomb on North Korea.

The Result

On July 19, 1953, at 3:41 pm, a Teller-Ulam thermonuclear bomb, code named 'Wraith' landed on Pyongyang, North Korea. In America, news reports called it "The New Hiroshima".

Over five million were vaporized, and those who didn't die were quarantined due to radiation. In a matter of days, there was no longer such thing as the city of Pyongyang, North Korea.

As a result of this, the war escalated over a course of a year, culminating in Operation Icebreaker, an American - South Korean operation to take the Tumen River and push east in November 1954. This fails miserably, although the political pressure prompted Stevenson to pass the torch onto John Sparkman, his VP; Sparkman serves over a full term in office.

Stevenson was disgraced, but refused to leave politics without dignity. He was elected Governor of Minnesota in 1956, a position he kept until his death in 1962 of a cardiac arrhythmia.

Kim Il-sung was killed in the explosion, leaving North Korea in jeopardy. After this, North Korea becomes an oligarchy, with Kim Jong-il, Il-sung's son, in the center. Only 13, he is the youngest person ever to hold office in North Korea. This government thrives for little over two years. In March 1955, when American and South Korean forces launch an attack to recapture the DMZ. The border between North Korea and Russia begins to become blurred. The Korean peninsula is at peace once again.

However, in a surprise move, the Soviets, under command from General Secretary Alexei Kosygin, invades North Korea in August 1955. The Korean government collapses and North Korea becomes the Korean Republic of Russia, with Nikolai Pogodny as its leader.

Meanwhile, in Cuba, Castro and his revolutionary forces, in the midst of the terror, assassinated Fulgencio Balista and took control of Cuba in 1954. Amidst the confusion, Castro forged a coalition with Joseph Stalin, meeting at a summit in 1955. Castro and Guevara promised freedom, but according to President John Sparkman, the Cuban Communists were a 'major threat', being the 'closest centre for Communist activity'. Sparkman vowed to protect the nation from any 'threats that may arise from the gulf'.

In 1957, President Sparkman made a life-or-death decision, along with his Secretary of Defense, Dwight D. Eisenhower; the U.S. military was to capture control of Northern Cuba. The invasion started on July 12, 1957, with U.S. forces stationed in the south invading. In his speech preceding the attacks, he advised every American to 'hold their breath and count to ten'.

However, unlike the Bay of Pigs invasion in OTL, this was successful. By October 1957, the U.S. military had pushed across and had captured the north part of the peninsula. The revolutionaries still held the south of Cuba.

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