The Bridge at No Gun Ri

The incident happened–Koreans who were fleeing from the North Korean army were killed by American soldiers in July 1950. But the details of the incident are conflicted and debated.

Associated Press reporters Charles Hanley, Martha Mendoza, and Sang-hun Choe published a series of articles in 1999, which detailed the incident using eye-witness accounts. Those articles were turned into a book: The Bridge at No Gun Ri: A Hidden Nightmare from the Korean War.

The AP articles and subsequent book set off a massive debate, including investigations by both the U.S. and Republic of Korea, as well as other news agencys.

At the center of the debate are the claims that the killing came on orders from higher-ups in the U.S. Army and the number of Koreans killed in the incident. Investigations found that one AP witness had given false testimony and wasn’t involved in the incident or even in the region during the attack. That fact, however, didn’t discredit all of the AP’s research, so ultimately, the incidents remains largely disputed.

In 2002, a second book about the incident was released. This one was written by Robert Bateman, a U.S. military officer. No Gun Ri: A Military HIstory of the Korean War Incident details not only the event but the controversy that ensued after the AP articles were published.

I admit that I haven’t read either of these books. And now 60 years removed from the incident, the likelihood of obtaining concrete proof about the discrepancies over what happened is small. But I’m intrigued and have put both books on my “to read” list.

This Wikipedia entry ( a good job explaining the incident and the debates that surround it.


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