Conflict in Asia - Korean war

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  • Korean War
    • Context
      • Communist North governed by Kim Il Sung
      • Capitalist South governed by Syngman Rhee
      • Separated after WWI by the 38th parallel
    • Beginning of the conflict
      • Caused by nationalisation - both wanted to unite Korea under their own ideologies
      • In 1950, North Korea sent 75,000 troops into South Korea
        • They thought that since USA had withdrawn their troops, they would not get involved
      • North Korean army pushed South Korea into Pusan (the very south)
      • USA convinced UN to support South Korea against communism
        • This could only happen because USSR was not in the UN as a protest so did not veto the decision
          • Protest was because UN would not recognise the new communist Chinese government
    • Main events
      • Inchon Bay Landing
        • UN invasion in September 1950 led by General MacArthur
        • Attacked near Seoul, 150 miles behind enemy lines
        • Surprise attack
        • UN forces managed to push S Korea behind 38th parallel
        • Tanks, ships and soldiers - provided by UN, mostly USA
      • Chinese counter attack
        • US troops had pushed into the North and towards China, thinking that China would not intervene
        • October 1950 - China sent in 200,000 troops & tanks/weapon
        • Pushed S Korea back and recaptures Seoul
        • By March 1951, both were back on either side of the 38th parallel
    • Significance and impact
      • They remain divided by the 38th parallel
      • 1.2 million deaths - 536000 from S Korea and allies, and 700000 from N Korea and allies
      • UN and USA saw it as a victory - were more confident going into Vietnam war
      • Escalated Cold War tensions
        • Gave USA and UN a poor reputation as they invaded N Korea unecessarily
    • Stalemate
      • 1951-53 Truman did not want to escalate the war
        • Ordered troops not to attack further, sacked General MacArthur
      • Both forces were defensive on the ground
      • Bombing continued until 1953
    • Peace talks
      • Lasted 2 years 1951-53
      • Peace reached when Eisenhower replaced Truman - he was more willing to compromise
      • Stalin died in 1953 so N Korea was less confident in USSR support
      • Temporary agreement reached - demilitarised zone at 38th parallel


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