The Final Battles
When Korea began to look like a bottomless swamp, Far East commander Mark Clark formulated a hard-line, MacArthuresque blueprint for a military solution in late 1952. His plan envisioned amphibious landings, airborne assaults and air and naval attacks on Manchuria. It also recommended dropping the ultimate weapon. "I consider it necessary that plans be made for the use of atomic weapons," Clark messaged the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But Washington said no. A presidential election was being held, and decisions on escalating the war would have to wait until the political fighting was resolved. Harry Truman, whose approval ratings had slipped to around 30 percent, had already decided against seeking re-election. The Democratic nominee to replace him was Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson. On the Republican side, Sen. Robert Taft at
President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower, flanked by Gen. Mark Clark, top commander in the Far East, and James Van Fleet, Eighth Army commander, review troops in Korea.