Origins of the Korean War
- Korea under Japanese control since 1910, 1945 USSR invaded Korea, so US moved troops into South Korea.
- 1945- USSR and USA agree to four-power trusteeship
- Agreement to liberate Korea at Potsdam Conference 1945- US propose Korea split along 38th parallel.
- Kim Il Sung with USSR in North, Syngman Rhee with US in South.
- Stalin and China encouraged Kim Il Sung to attack S Korea, providing aid and military equipment.
- June 1950- N Korea attacked the South, start of Korean War.
- US didn't include Korea in Defensive Perimeter Strategy, failed to see usefulness in its resources.
Why did the US become involved?
- Increasing Cold War tensions.
- 1949- China fall to communism, South Korea surrounded by communists.
- Wanted to defend non-communist countries.
- To contain communism.
- August 1949- USSR now had atomic power too, US weren't more advanced anymore.
Korean War 1950
1. Pusan and Inchon (June-September 1950)
- June 1950- N Korean Army surprise attacks the South. Truman saw the attack as a direct communist challenge. US asked UN to get involved June 1950.
- MacArthur organised reinforcement of Pusan Perimeter, and counter-offensive by sea at Inchon, drove N Koreans back to the North. September- Seoul retaken.
2. Rollback of Communism to the Yalu River (September-October 1950)
- Yalu River is border between China and Korea- China started to spread communism beyond the border. US trops took action, stopped communism spreading beyond 38th parallel.
- UN got involved- pushing communism back to the 38th parallel.
3. Chinese Involvement and Escalation (October 1950- Feb 1951)
- January 1951 Chinese crosssed 38th parallel and took Seoul. Was thought 3rd World War was to begin- MacArthur had planned targets to be hit with 26 atomic bombs.
4. War of Attrition (Jan 1951-July 1953)
- Operation Thunderbolt, Operation Killer, Operation Ripper and Operation Rigged- US and UN recamptured Seoul and drove N Koreans to 38th parallel.
- Truman prepared for Limited peace, but MacArthur didn't follow Truman's orders so was sacked in April 1951. Operation Piledriver began US peace talks.
- Eisenhower threatened nuclear weapons, and eventually the war ended July 1953.
Disagreements between MacArthur and Truman
- MacArthur was Supreme Commander of the UN forces in Southwest Pacific Area.
- MacArthur was very popular in the press and with US pooeople, making it difficult for Truman to remove him.
- In October 1950 MacArthur refused to salute Truman.
- MacArthur publically questioned Truman's decisions and even argued against Truman's policies.
- March 1951 MacArthur publically stated that he wanted to poison the Yalu river.
- After Truman informing MacArthur of his intention of a ceasefire on the 38th parallel in March 1951, 4 days later MacArthur publically threatened China with war.
- April 1951 MacArthur was sacked.
Financial Consequences of the Korean War
- US military spending more than trippled 1950-53 in NSC68
- US increased spending to pay for expense of military build-up about nuclear weapons.
- Chinese economic reconstruction very costly.
- USSR planned a compromise and detente insteasd of costly option of war.
Strategic Consequences of the Korean War
- Military secure with large army, long-term US economic aid. Rhee overthrown 1961-coup detat.
- Powerful military, close links to USSR and China. KIS followed Stalin's lead.
USA, USSR, PRC and UN:
- Loss for US, had limited power in Asia.
- Stalins death caused a power struggle.
- Mao's support for USSR strengthened Sino-Soviet relations.
- USSR requested China pay for all military equipment they supplied.
- UN could claim victory for limited war, but failure to resort to using nuclar weapons raised questions.
Military Consequences of the Korean War
- US armed forces more than doubled.
- Forced to fight limited war of air-strikes, attrition and nuclear threats.
- 4 million Korean casualties- 10% of population, more than 30,000 US men killed.
- US disarmament policy for Japan reversed so that they could be involved in Defensive Perimeter Strategy,
- US nuclear weapons unuseable for fear of global destruction.