In 1951, on the direct orders of U.S. President Douglas MacArthur, General Matthew Ridgway led U.S. and allied troops across the Yalu River into the People's Republic of China.
Pacific War Redux by Eric LippsPresident MacArthur justified this action by noting the participation of Communist China on the North Korean side in the ongoing Korean War. "I will not see this nation humiliated and our allies in Seoul enslaved or slain by the soulless Mongol hordes of a godless Asiatic regime," the President would explain to the American people in a nationally televised address on April 13.
MacArthur's rise to the presidency, ironically, was due in part to an earlier episode in which he had exercised military restraint rather than aggression. In June 1932 the so-called "Bonus Expeditionary Force", made up of military veterans, their families, and supporters had arrived in Washington D.C. to hold a mass protest in hopes of securing the service bonuses they had been promised under the 1924 Adjusted Service Certificate Law, which had been scheduled to mature in 1945. "I will not see this nation humiliated and our allies in Seoul enslaved or slain by the soulless Mongol hordes of a godless Asiatic regime,"" ~ President MacArthurThe Depression had made many veterans all but destitute and inspired calls for the bonuses to be paid in full immediately.
On July 28, following an altercation with police in which two protesters were killed, a riot had erupted and President Herbert Hoover had ordered in the U.S. Army under MacArthur and his subordinate Maj. Gen. George S. Patton. The hotheaded Patton, who had arrived with six battle tanks from Fort Myer, Virginia, issued an order for them to fire on the Bonus Marchers, but MacArthur, declaring that he would not permit U.S. soldiers to fire on other U.S. soldiers, countermanded it immediately.
That incident proved crucial to MacArthur's political ambitions. In 1948, the General - by then the "hero of the Pacific" for his World War II exploits - would be nominated for president by the Republican Party and would easily defeat the widely unpopular President Harry S Truman in the November election. When war broke out in Korea, it would be he, and not Truman, who would be Commander in Chief - and it would be others who would fight the war, to the Yalu and beyond.