history unit two: the korean war 1950-53


1      Korean war 1950-53

1.1    Asia

Emergence of Communism in China:

-        China was viewed by the USA as a serious threat in Asia as it was geographically large with huge natural resources and the biggest population on earth.

-        Despite US support of nationalist KMT in the civil war, the communists were eventually victorious and on 1st October 1949, Mao Ze Dong announced the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

-        China allied itself with the Soviet Union and became involved in the Korean War. The USA was forced to try to contain China as part of the policy of containment and refused to recognise the new regime as China’s legitimate government.

-        Russia was happy with the takeover and signed a Treaty of Friendship in 1950, promising to help militarily, economically and technologically.

-        Stalin’s attempts to obtain the Chinese seat at the UN were rejected so the Soviet delegation staged a walkout.

-        The USA’s fears of neighbouring countries becoming communist was known as domino theory. This meant containment must become a worldwide policy.

1.2    Causes of Korean war

-        Truman Doctrine 1947 widened the USA’s commitment to contain the spread of communism. Truman stated the USA would help any country resisting armed minorities or outside pressures.

-        The loss of China to communism in 1949 was a blow for the USA as they had provided help to the Nationalists.

-        In 1949 the USSR developed an atom bomb and in 1950 USSR and China signed a friendship treaty. Cold War tensions shifted from Europe to Asia.

-        Many Americans believed in the domino theory; one country after another would fall to communism.

-        President Truman was under pressure in the USA, especially from the Republicans and Senator McCarthy for being weak on communism. This increased pressure on him to react decisively to the invasion of communist North Korea in June 1950.

-        Korea was divided on Cold War lines in1948 along the 38th parallel. North Korea was ruled by Kim Il Sung, communist, and South Korea by Syngman Rhee, supported by USA.

-        American and Russian troops left but both Korean leaders wanted to reunite all of Korea under their system of government. Between 1948 and 1950 thousands were killed in clashes between North and South.

-        In June 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea and within three months the South Korean army was pushed into a small area in the South called the Pusan pocket. The…


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