Korean War Essay, Research Paper
The Korean War In the beginning Korea was controlled by the Japanese. They were driven out after WWII by the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1945, Korea was divided into North Korea and South Korea. The North was controlled by the Soviet Union and the South was controlled by the United States. The obvious happened when N. Korea was put under the Soviet s control and it became communist. The south however remained democratic. These two halves were divided at the 38th parallel. This division was meant to be temporary, but the Cold War tensions. Finally, in 1948, each half set up a separate government and claimed the whole country. The North was lead by Kim II Sung who was originally Kim Sung Chu. He ruled the People s Republic of Korea from 1948 until his death. Kim joined the Communist party in 1931, and fought the Japanese occupation forces in the 1930s. He also commanded a Korean unit in the Soviet army in WWII. As the premier, he directed the invasion of South Korea. His ideas were not all bad though. Sung also, through communism, gave land to poor peasants and formal equality to women. The South was lead by President Syngman Rhee. He lead the Korean movement for independence from Japan and was the first president of the Republic of Korea. In 1896 he joined the Independence Club, advocating progressive reform and opposing foreign domination. Although he was imprisoned for 6 years in 1898 he then moved to the US to receive a doctorate from Princeton University. He then converted to Christianity. Returning to Korea as a YMCA worker shortly before Japan annexed his country in 1910. Opposed to Japanese rule, he was forced to return to the United States in 1912. There Rhee was elected president of the Korean provisional government. The US policy was to stop the communist takeover of the South so the US sent troops to counterbalance the North s Forces. In 1949 though, both the US and Soviet Union had pulled their troops out. This left the two countries facing each other over the 38th parallel. On June 25, 1950 after several clashes between the troops, North Korea invaded the South. There is a slight possibility that the Korean war could have been partly catalyzed by the speech of Secretary of State Dean Acheson. In that speech he explained the US defensive perimeter to stop the spread of communism. This plan did not seem to include South Korea so the North Koreans could have believed that the United States would not have intervened in the invasion.
Immediately following the initial attack the UN held an emergency meeting. Keep in mind the Soviets were not present to veto the pledge of support because of its boycott against the UN for not admitting communist China. Two days later the US pledged support for S. Korea. The UN also supported for the US and S. Korea calling N. Korea an “aggressor.” After the initial invasion the North Koreans overran the South Koreans. The MacArthur launched a counter-attack at the 38th parallel to recapture Seoul. Next, the UN, re-equipped, surrounded large numbers of North Koreans and forced the surrender of thousands. In late November China entered the war with some 300,000 troops on the side of communist North. With the US greatly outnumbered the established a stable defense at the 38th parallel. With China involved MacArthur called for a great expansion of the war. He proposed that the US blockade China s ports, bomb China s major cities, and have Taiwan s forces, under Chaing, attack mainland China. There was a great debate that followed. The supporters stated the facts that Korea would win the war with China s new priority and we would probably win because of the support we would gain from our allies. Opponents of the plan offered the suggestions that this action would bring the Soviet Union into the war and that this action would result in WWIII. Truman was opposed to this idea and disregarded it. MacArthur then publicly opposed and attacked the US government. Truman disliked this greatly and promptly dismissed MacArthur and relieved him of his position. The war was officially ended in 1953 yet it is still in a stalemate today. Neither side seems willing to change.