July 8, 2010
The United States drew up plans for a tactical nuclear strike against North Korea in 1969, but quickly stepped back from the brink fearing it would trigger an all-out war, newly declassified documents in Washington have shown.
The planned strike saw US bomber pilots being put on high alert following the North’s shooting down of a US spy plane over the Sea of Japan in April 1969, killing all 31 Americans on board.
Documents released by the National Security Archive in Washington detail plans for Operation Freedom Drop which included conventional war and a nuclear attack using bombs 20 times the size of that dropped on Hiroshima.
A memo dated June 1969 to Richard Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, listed “pre-co-ordinated options for the selective use of tactical nuclear weapons against North Korea” to knock out 12 key command centres, airfields and naval bases.
The memo also outlined a more drastic option that would have completely nullified Pyongyang’s capacity to retaliate against the US strike.
This article was posted: Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 3:50 am