Occurrence at Nogun-ri Bridge

An Inquiry into the History and Memory of a Civil War

Author: Bruce Cumings

Abstract:

This inquiry begins with the American Civil War and then moves into an investigation of history and memory in the context of the Korean War, using the alleged massacre of Korean civilians in the vicinity of Nogun village (Yongdong country) as a focal point. The article describes the progressive political background of Yongdong county and argues that revelations about the Nogun-ri massacre must be seen against the backdrop of leftist activity and guerrilla warfare in an area that was long known as the "red county." Finding themselves facing "essentially a guerrilla war [fought] over rugged territory," the American military forces responded by creating a free-fire zone. The author links these free-fire operations with U.S. actions during the war in Vietnam and then explores how and why the U.S. government (with the complicity of the mainstream media) has buried stories about the murder of civilians and he weighs U.S. responsibility for these atrocities.
Regions: East Asia
Countries: Korea

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December 2006
© 1998 ILO/Derrien J.M.