Causes of the Korean War

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  • Reasons for the outbreak of the Korean War.
    • The Division of Korea
      • Korea was divided into North and South Korea by the 38th Parallel. There was a lot of hostility between the two sides.
      • In 1950, Kim Il Sung ordered the invasion of South Korea. The North Korean forces were supported by equipment from the USSR. Later they were supplied from China.
      • Within four months, the North had taken over almost all of Korea except a small corner in the south-east.
    • The Cold War
      • The USSR and USA were in conflict with after the end of the Second World War: The USSR was Communist and the USA was Capitalist.
      • After the IIWW, the USSR had taken control of many countries in Eastern Europe. The USA was committed to stopping the spread of Communism.
    • Different Governments in Korea
      • Korea had been ruled by Japan until 1945. When the war ended the North was freed by Soviet Troops. The South was freed by American Troops.
      • After the war, the North continued to be Communist led. It had a communist leader who had been trained by the USSR
      • The leader of North Korea was called Kim Il Sung
      • The South was ruled by Syngman Rhee. He had been elected to power in 1948, but his government was not very democratic. However, the USA supported Rhee because he was anti-communist
    • The Truman Doctrine
      • In 1947, US President Truman made it clear that the USA would help countries which might be taken over by Communists.
      • This policy was called the Truman Doctrine
      • The policy of the USA trying to stop the further spread of Communism
      • Because of this, the USA put $2 billion of aid into China to help the Nationalists (anti-communist government). However China still went communist.
    • Support from other countries
      • The USA intervened to support the South. Truman immediately sent warships to South Korea and offered advisers and supplies to the South.
      • The USA appealed to the United Nations (UN) to stop the invasion. The UN was an international organisation, which had replaced the League of Nations, set up to solve disputes.
      • The USA had blocked China from joining the UN in 1949. In protest, the USSR was boycotting (refusing to take part in) the UN. The USA put pressure on the UN to send troops to defend South Korea. Because the USSR was not present at the meeting, it could not veto (block) this suggestion.
        • The UN agreed to send troops to Korea. These troops would be from a number of countries but would include many American troops and be led by an American general called MacArthur


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