The Korean War- INTRO
- End of WW2, Korea was freed from Japanese control.
- North Korea occupied by soviet soldiers; South Korea by american soldiers
- It was agreed that there would be free elections and Korea would be united in the future
- Americans agreed with this because two-thirds of the population lived in the south, and so theyt felt communist north would be outvoted
- By 1948 this proved impossible and so two independent governments were set up, divided by the 38th Parallel.
- Elections were held in the south, which resulted in South Korea being ruled by anti-communist government, led by Syngman Rhee, the capital at Seoul.
- Soviets set up a communist government in the north, under Kim Il Sung, capital at Pyongyang.
- Although soviet and american troops left in 1949, north still supported by USSR and south by the USA.
- Victory of communists in China under Mao Zedong in 1949 meant that North Korea had a border with another communist state.
- Koreans not satisified with the division of their country and both leaders claimed to be the ruler of the whole country.
- What caused the war is uncertain.
- Stalin definitely supplied the north with tanks and encouraged them, and communists in China probably urged the north to attack
- Communists claimed to be protecting themselves as troops from the south had crossed the 38th parallel.
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The North Korean advance
- 1950- North Koreans attacked South Korea and advanced quickly, crossing the 38th parallel and capturing the south capital of Seoul.
- Soon occupied the whole of south korea apart from the south-east corner known as the Pusan Pocket.
- A problem for Truman and the Americans. Thought they were losing the cold war as USSR had successfully tested the atom bomb in 1949 and communism was successful in China.
- USA believed in the Domino Effect and felt they had to resist the spread of communism.
- Americans referred the invasion to the security council of the UN, but began moving troops in Japan to Korea before a decision had been made by the UN.
- Security council appealed to north to withdraw its troops from the south
- When this was ignored, it was declared that North Korea was the aggressor and called on all member states to send help to the south.
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- A UN army made up of 16 nations was sent to Korea.
- It was led by American General Douglas MacArthur.
- Most troops were american, and Truman saw it as part of the truman doctrine to contain communism.
- North Koreans surprised by the american marines, who landed at Inchon and cut off their supplies.
- The north koreans were forced to retreat.
- At this stage, Truman went beyond containment. With UN backing, american troops invaded the north, captured Pyongyang and occupied two-thirds of the country.
- Soon reached the Yalu river, the border with communist china.
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Final advances of the Korean War
- China now concerned about the american advance and decided to help the noth koreans
- About 250,000 chinese troops entered Korea.
- Too many of them for the americans, and by January 1951, they had driven the UN troops out of North Korea and once again captured Seoul.
- MacArthur wanted to launch an all out attack on China using the atom bomb. Truman dismissed MacArthur and decided to go back to his policy of containment.
- By June 1951, the UN troops had driven the communists out of south korea and defended the frontier.
- Peace talks began in 1951 and there was very little fighting for the next two years.
- Agreed in 1951 that the frontier would remain along the 38th Parallel.
- War proved to be costly for Korea. Country devastated by the fighting, about 4 million soldiers and civilians killed and 5 million became homeless.
- American losses were around 50,000
- Other UN troops lost about 17,000
- Chinese suffered about 900,000 casualties.
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