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Busan (부산 or 釜山, officially Busan Metropolitan City), romanized as Pusan before 2000, is South Korea's 2nd largest city after Seoul, with a population of approximately 3.6 million. The city is located on the southeastern-most tip of the Korean peninsula. Located within South Korea's largest industrial area, "Southeast economic zone", the city is the cultural, educational and economic center in the region. It is the largest port city in South Korea and the world's fifth busiest seaport by cargo tonnage. The most densely built up areas of the city are situated in a number of narrow valleys between the Nakdong River and Suyeong River, with mountains separating some of the districts.

Busan's roots stretch back to the 8th Century. In the 15th Century, Busan was designated a trading port Japan, and even accepted Japanese settlers, eventually giving birth to the settlement of Waegwan. In 1876, Busan became the first international port in Korea after the country was opened to foreign diplomacy. During the Korean War, Busan was one of the few cities to remain under South Korean control for the duration of the war. It even served as the temporary capital of South Korea.

Busan in The Hot War[]

UN forces, under Douglas MacArthur had developed a defensive perimeter around Pusan early in the Korean War, and continued to hold it even after Red China intervened.[1] The United States Air Force established a base near Pusan, and flew regular bombing missions against the north during the course of the war,[2] including the fateful atomic attacks against Manchuria on January 23, 1951.[3] However, in mid-April 1951, the field was attacked from the air forcing returning bombers to divert to Japan and was abandoned.[4]

By the summer, the fighting had shifted away from Pusan enough that the city became a popular destination for soldiers on leave. Consequently Pusan was heavily influenced by, and thus catered to, American culture. That ended in July, when the Soviets dropped on atomic bomb on the city in response to a series of bombs the U.S. had dropped on Soviet positions in West Germany.[5]


  1. Bombs Away, pg. 7, ebook.
  2. Ibid., pg. 22.
  3. Ibid., pgs. 53-57.
  4. Ibid. pg. 287.
  5. Fallout, loc. 2182.