No Gun Ri: What Really Happened?
In 2001, authors Charles J. Stanley, Sang-Hun Choe and Martha Mendoza published The Bridge at No Gun Ri: A Hidden Nightmare from the Korean War. The book immediately drew attention because of a horrific event that was illuminated within its pages. The authors claimed that on July 26, 1950, up to 400 South Korean refugees were slaughtered by American troops under the bridge at No Gun Ri (Hanley, 145). Despite the very convincing evidence that Hanley and his fellow authors have compiled, there are many loopholes in their story. Evidence does prove that something did indeed happen at No Gun Ri, but it may not have been how these authors described it.
Hanley, Choe and Mendoza present substantial evidence that supports a massacre taking place at No Gun Ri. They interviewed sixty American and Korean witnesses, who claimed to have been present at No Gun Ri. In the middle of the book, there are copies of a few American orders that were issued during the war, all of which command American troops to fire upon any refugees they encountered in certain regions. These two alone are enough to provide a stable foundation upon which they build their argument.
Certain situations within the Korean War itself also add to the argument. American soldiers dehumanized the Koreans, because, “It was easier to think of them as not quite human, as something beneath us” (Tomedi, 18). Any command to kill the Korean refugees could be carried out more readily if they thought they weren’t killing humans. In addition to this, rumors about armed Korean refugees killing American soldiers put our soldiers on edge. “Stories quickly circulated in the Garryowens’ ranks about saboteurs, grenades, guns among the civilians” (Hanley, 83). Already jumpy soldiers wouldn’t hesitate if they felt their own lives were in danger. All of this evidence puts together a solid argument that something did indeed happen at No Gun Ri. But that’s where the evidence becomes blurred. _The Bridge at No Gun Ri_ claims that up to 400 Korean refugees were killed. However, with the evidence the authors present, parts of the story may not have happened the way that they claim.
First, there are at least two people who were interviewed about No Gun Ri but were actually...