The Korean War

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The Korean War

Causes of the War

  • Korea had formerly been under Japanese rule but after WW2 it was divided at the border
  • Northern half occupied by Soviet, south by americans
  • Super powers could not agree on koreas future 
  • By 1948 the North was ruled by Kim il-Sung and south by Syngman Rhee
  • Started to quarell- both wanted authority over the whole country= force taken 
  • Then 25th June 1950 N.Korean forces crossed the border in a full scale invasion of the South

American Reponse:

 -Truman believed USSR was behinf the attack

-Feared unless action was taken their whole position in middle east would be under threat

  • Appeared to American that while communism had been contained in Europe it was fast spreading into Asia 
  • Truman took issue to the Un who condemed the attack and ordered armed intervention on behalf of S.Korea.
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The Korean War:

  • America spllied 50% of the troops, 86% of naval forces and 93% of airpower sent by UN
  • Truman appointed General Dougas MacAUrthur as commander of these forces 

Events of the Korean War

  • The S.Korean Capital Seoul was captured and within 2 months they had trapped the S.Korean forces in a small area around Pusan 
  • UN sea bourne forses landed at Inchon and recaptured the capital Seoul. The S Korean and UN forces were able to counter attack and drive the communists back over the 38th parallel.
  • Despite a warning by China not to cross the 38th parallel into N Korea, UN forces advanced to within 100kmof the Chinese border.  
  • As a result, the CHinese gov. sent 300,000 'volunteer' troops to support the N Korean army.  They drove back the UN troops and then advanced into S Korea
  • UN forces halted te Chinese/N Koreans in Jan 1951, and pushed them back across the 38th parallel in March.
  • macAurthur wanted to continue North and attack China directly, using nuclear weapons.  But Truman feared that this would bring the Soviet Union into the war, and he sacked MacArthur.
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The Korean War

Truman abandoned the aim of all out victory which MacArthur had wanted, in favour of a limited war.

By Summer 1953 negotiations for a peace treaty stalled and reopened with diputes over POWs and accusations of US war crimes.  

Finally 2 years later an armistice was signed at Punmumjom.

The peninsula remains divided at the 38th parallel  with a demilitarised zone separateing the 2 and a continuing state of mistrust and tension between each.

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What role did the USSR play in the Korean war?

  • Exploded an automic bomb- thereby ending the US monopoly of nuclear weapons
  • Stalin had only reluctantly supported Il-Sunngs actions in order to stop NK fro becoming Chinese satillite 
  • Stalin withdrew all soviet pilots and advisors from NK
  • USSR not at united nations = allowing US invasion
  • After 1945- USSR occupied NK
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What roles did the USA play in the Korean War?

  • American troops occupied SK
  • Truman decided that the soviet union was behind NKs attack- had to be resisted or the whole american opposition in far east was at risk
  • trumans response to korea attack = took the issue to UN where the secuirty council condemned the attack and ordered the use of armed force itervention on belhalf of SK- MacArthur in charge of forces 
  • USA supplied 50% of troops, 86% of naval forces and 93% of forces air power- USA underestimated Chinas anxiety
  • Landed force to rear of Inchon.
  • Americans alarmed at invasion of SK
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What role did China play in Korean War?

  • Peoples republic of China proclaimed by Mao Zedong- US did not expect communist revolution to be successful
  • Nov. 1950-300,000 Chese troops crossed border and forced UN troops to retreat south of 38th parallel once more- Chinese tropps called volunteers to avoid a formal declaration of war
  • Chinese troops bolstered strength of NK forces.
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Results of the Korean War

1) Over 2 million killed in war.  The border remained near to the 38th parallel; the peninsula remained divided.  There was no peace treaty, though the agreement of 1953 proved duriable

2) Truman and the democrats were defeated in the elections of 1952; this ending what MacArthur described as 'twenty years of treason'.

3) War confirmed America commitment to containment on a global scale- Continued to supoort SK and Taiwan.  Taiwan susvived as an independant state.

4) US role in Korean War embittered relations with China for almost twenty years.

5) US signed a treaty with pjilippines - Anug 1951 and another with Australia and NZ sep. 1951.  To counter the percieved communist threat in Asia.

6) Hastened the end of US occupation of Japan and peace treaty digned in Sep 1951.  Americans help build japanese ecomnony, so that Japan would not be vulnerable to communism.

7) War turned NATO into a full blown military alliance.  Truman tripled defence expenditure, so that US could meet Soviet threat anywhere in the world. 

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