The Korean War

The Korean War The Korean War (1950-1953) The Korean War was the first war in which the United Nations played a major role in. It was also part of the cold war between the US and Soviet Union. One of the deadliest war in history, it took many lives in such a short span of time of three years. Even after all these deaths, the conflict isn’t completely resolved in Korea. There are still American troops stationed in South Korea, in case the Communists decide to take aggressive action. In WW II, Japan had gained control in Korea. At the end, when Japan was defeated by the Allies, the US and Soviet forces moved in Korea . Korea was divided to serve as the purpose to move the Japanese troops out.

The line which was at the 38th parallel divided the country in about half. The Soviet forces were responsible for the north and the US for the south part of Korea. Later, this partition was made permanent. In 1947, the UN declared for elections to be held in all of Korea to decide one government for the country. However, North Korea refused to take part in the elections and didn’t allow it. So on May 10, 1948, South Korea voted for a national assembly which set up the Republic of Korea.

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On September 9, North Korea set up the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. North and South Korea claimed the whole country and their troops fought several times between 1948-1950. The US removed it’s troops from South Korea in 1949. It also said that Korea was outside of US defense line. North Korea saw it’s chance for military action to take over South Korea. In June 1950, North Korea surprised South Korea with an attack.

At the time, the North Korean Army had 135,000 soldiers, most of them veterans of WW II. It also had airplanes, tanks, and artillery that outnumbered South Korea by three to one. On the other hand, South Korea had 65,000 combat troops who had small arms and light artillery. On the day the war began, the UN Security Council issued a resolution demanding the Communist retreat back to the 38th parallel. The Soviet Union was a permanent member of the Security Council. However, it didn’t go to the meeting because it had been boycotting the Council meetings.

This was because the Council was denying the Communist Chinese government. If the Soviet Union had been there, it could have voted against the resolution or deliver a veto. North Korea chose to disregard the resolution. On June 27, North Korean troops reached South Korea’s capital, Seoul. Seoul fell in four days.

In the US, President Truman and the UN took action to stop North Korea from advancing. President Truman, going by his containment policy, sent US air and naval forces to help South Korea. The UN also asked its members to help South Korea. On June 30, Truman ordered the first ground troops to go to South Korea. General Douglas Macarthur was the commander of the ground forces. Congress supported Truman but didn’t officially declare war on North Korea. Other troops from UN nations began soon after the US. Part of the US army on July 1, came from Japan to southernmost Korea at Pusan. Soon, these troops very moving close to south of Seoul.

The first fight that took place between the US and North Korea was at Osan, south of Seoul. North Korea had already surpassed Seoul. On July 7, Truman named General MacArthur the commander of UN Commands. He had control over all of the forces in South Korea. By August 2, the North Korean army had advanced to the Pusan Perimeter. The Pusan Perimeter was on the southeast corner of South Korea.

This was one of the many turning points in the war because the North Koreans lost nearly 58,000 people. The UN ground forces were led by General Walker who attacked the North Koreans with reserves. US planes helped out by destroying the enemy from above. On August 6, the North Koreans succeeded in crossing the river that stopped them from reaching Pusan. However, the UN forces counterattacked and pushed them back on August 25. North Korea tried to attack the Pusan Perimeter again on September 3, but the UN forces stopped them on September 8.

Another turning point came on September 15, 1950 at the Inchon Landing. This was personally handled by General MacArthur. He had to take special precautions because of the tides at Inchon which could have trapped the boats with soldiers in it. These troops stopped the advancing North Koreans to reach Pusan Perimeter. MacArthur led the troops to recapture Seoul from North Koreans on September 26.

General Walker’s troops defeated the enemies they were fighting at the Pusan Perimeter. Walker and MacArthur joined at Seoul and demanded the surrender of North Korea. In late September, the UN forces decided to invade North Korea. By October 19, South Korean troops had captured the capital of North Korea, Pyongyang. This forced the North Koreans to retreat north. The two troops led by MacArthur and Walker split.

MacArthur went northeastern towards the North Korea-China border. The other went in to northeastern parts of North Korea. Despite Chinese warnings, MacArthur ordered the troops to go on until they fought the Chinese on October 25. On November 6, the Chinese decided to withdraw. Convinced that his troops outnumbered the Chinese, MacArthur ordered to attack on November 24. In reality, China had a force of 300,000 which it sent on November 26 and 27 to defeat the UN forces.

On December 4, the UN forces began to withdraw from Pyongyang. Meanwhile, the North Koreans advanced forward and took Seoul by January 4, 1951. The UN forces withdrawal ended on January 10. After Walker was killed in an accident, Lieutenant Ridgway took over. With his leadership, the Allied troops caused serious damage to the North Koreans and started to move north once again on January 16,1951.

Ridgway came up with a new way to defeat the enemy which was going slower to kill a lot of the enemies. Once again, the troops captured Seoul on March 14. The war took a slight turn. Both sides were no fighting on the sides of the 38th parallel. Sometimes this duration of time is called “Battle for the Hills”.

On April 11, 1951, Truman suspended MacArthur from command. This was because MacArthur wanted to use bombs on Manchuria which would directly involve China. Truman’s administrations disagreed because they were afraid of another World War. He was replaced with Ridgway. Even though peace talks began in July, the war went on for two more long years. On June 23, 1951, a Soviet delegate to the UN encouraged cease-fire. The talks started on July 10.

An agreement that the 38th parallel would be the division of Korea was nearly made on November 27. This couldn’t happen because a truce had to be reached in 30 days. Several things stopped this from happening. The UN wanted the prisoners of both sides to choose where to go, since a lot of the prisoners didn’t want to go back under communist rule. The Communists couldn’t agree because then they would be admitting that communism had failed.

This conflict ceased the truce talks in April 1952. On October 8, the UN were forced to delay the talks because of voluntary repatriation. The death of Stalin in 1953 encouraged the Soviets to go ahead with the peace talks. Finally on March 28, the Communists agreed to exchange sick and injured prisoners. Between April and May, 684 sick and injured prisoners were received for the return of 6,670 communist prisoners. Later, on April 26, the communists agreed with voluntary repatriation.

An armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. In 1954, Soviet and UN nations met in Switzerland to decide a permanent peace plan. This never happened because questions still remained about the unification of Korea. There were many outcomes to this war; however, they weren’t very good. The US spent $67 billion on the war.

Korea was heavily damaged and their property damages were more than one billion dollars. About one million Korean civilians were killed. This doesn’t even include the soldiers who gave up their lives. There were about 580,000 UN and South Korean troops killed and 1,600,000 Communists were killed. After all these deaths, Korea ended up being the way it was when the war started.

One outcome remains to be decided and dealt with. It’s if North and South Korea will ever reach peace because even today American troops are stationed there, just in case. Bibliography Gardner, Lloyd C. ” The Korean War. ” The World Book Encyclopedia. London: Scott Fetzer, 1989, Vol 11.

Middleton, Harry J. The Compact History of the Korean War. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1965.

The Korean War

The Korean War THE KOREAN WAR The Korean War is often referred to as the forgotten war. There exist no monuments in Washington D.C. to acknowledge the thousands of American soldiers who fought valiantly and died for their country’s political interests. There are no annual parades, and little information in text books to shed light on the war. Korea was a bloody war.

The United States sustained over 140,000 casualties with 33,000 killed in action, yet the U.S. never formally honored its fallen soldiers.1 The war was another chance to indirectly overpower communism in the beginning of the Cold War. Interestingly it was fought on Asian soil through Asian politics. The lack of interest by the American public following the war reflected a national desire to forget the events of the war as quickly as possible. However, the Korean War must be remembered in order honor those whose who died for their country’s political convictions. For hundreds of years Korea was dominated by the Chinese empire.

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During World War II, Japan seized Korea from the Chinese and used its natural resources to fuel its war effort. After Japan was defeated by the allies, Korea became occupied by the Russians in the North and the Americans in the South. Both the U.S. and the Soviets realized Korea was a strategic country; it was important to occupy because it lay in-between China, Japan, and the Soviet Union. North and South Korea was divided by the 38th parallel, it evenly split the country into two regions.

Both Russia and America became politically involved in Korea, therefore, each set up strong military and governmental ties.2 The United States wanted Korea to be held under democratic rule, while the Soviets wanted communist rule. They took these conflicting views to the United Nations (UN.) which had just been set up to prevent another world war and help with international elections.3 The UN. decided that both sides of Korea should have their own elections. The elections were held on January 12, 1948.4 Since North Korea favored communism, the people elected the Russians and Kim Il Sung, a former guerrilla leader. South Korea favored democracy and formed the Republic of Korea (ROK) under U.S.

educated, Dr. Sygman Rhee.5 The Soviets withdrew from North Korea in 1949. They left a communist dictatorship with a well trained, well armed, North Korean-Soviet army. In fear of the North Koreans newly developed strength, the U.S. left South Korea with some small arms and military advisors. American troops left Korea at the end of 1949.6 Both the North Koreans and the Russians wanted to overthrow South Korea to expand their empire.

Above all, Russia had a chance to oppose its economic and military rival, the United States. North Korea, armed with Soviet tanks, boats, planes, and guns, planned a surprise attack across the 38th parallel into South Korea. Late Saturday evening on June 24, 1950, president Henry Truman got a urgent phone call. Truman was informed that a well organized and many pronged invasion of South Korea by the North Koreans was under way. The U.S.

was obliged to defend South Korea.7 The invasion of South Korea was prompted by the Soviet Union, therefore, the invasion was a direct challenge to the United States. For many years before Korea, the U.S. and the Soviets were in competition for the number of countries backing them. This was known as the Cold War. In the Cold War, neither the U.S.

or Russia dared to directly oppose each other because both were nations with atomic weapons. Both countries used economic, political, and small military victories using other countries to fight their battles.8 Communist North Korea’s invasion of South Korea altered the Cold War situation. Now, by backing with South Korea, the U.S. had a chance to oppose the Soviets in force. With support from the United Nations, the U.S.

ordered North Korea back over the 38th parallel because they had violated international peace agreements. North Korea disregarded the demand, and pushed further into South Korea. With this, Truman ordered General MacArthur to send two American divisions to assist South Korea in repelling the invasion. As conflict infused, the UN. and South Korean forces were all put under command of Gen.

MacArthur. The Unites States was aware that if North Korea succeeded, it would be a huge gain for communism and could possibly generate genocide of the South Koreans because of their democratic beliefs.9 The North Koreans achieved complete strategic surprise with the timing, as well as the scale, of their invasion. They raced across the thinly guarded 38th parallel, and simultaneously launched a series of amphibious attacks on the east coast. Panicking, the ROK began to blow-up most all the bridges leading into South Korea in order to slow down the North Korean advance. MacArthur, seeing his troops overwhelmed by the on rushing invasion, sent urgent messages to the White House demanding more troops and supplies. Unseasoned troops were sent from U.S.

bases in Japan, and within a week, the allied forces were being mauled by a fierce North Korean invasion. As the allied situation became more dire, fifteen nations, mostly the Atlantic allies, sent armed forces to fight in Korea. The Korean police action had now become the Korean war.10 The U.S. and allied forces had been pushed back all the way to Taejon, where they held an indefinite position. The allies held Taejon for five days and allowed much needed troops and supplies to arrive at Pusan*.

When the troops that arrived at Pusan, they created a defensive perimeter to hold back the North Koreans from capturing the entire country.11 The success of the North Koreans was an partly a cause of the allies underestimating their military ability. This was commonly known as Gook Syndrome where the Koreans were thought to be inferior, and as a result, the allies made many careless mistakes.12 MacArthur, realizing the severity of the allied situation, decided to land an army to the North, behind Pusan to cut off the North Korean retreat. This was known as Operation Chromite. The plan was to land the allied forces at the coastal city of Ichon*, were nearly 100,000 North Koreans forces were stationed. Attacking Ichon from the sea was an enormous gamble, yet the cities strategic position was key in winning the war.

Ichon was heavily guarded by * see map artillery and mines, so the allies mustered up 200 ships and countless aircraft to partake in the assault. On early September 15, 1950, after extensive air raids on the North Koreans, the allied forces stormed the beaches at Ichon.13 After eight hours of heavy fighting, the North Korean forces retreated out of the city. It was a spectacular victory for the UN., and was considered the most successful amphibious assault in military history.14 Once the UN. had a firm hold on Ichon, armored units raced inland and prepared to attack Seoul, the capitol of South Korea. Seoul was heavily reinforced from the 50,000 North Korean forces who had retreated from Ichon to aid in holding the city.

Seoul was bombarded by the allies for three days with little result. On the fourth day, the allies rushed the city. Street to street guerrilla warfare insued, and both sides took huge loses. After the twelfth day of bitter fighting, the badly wounded North Korean forces retreated back across the 38th parallel.15 With a chance to put the kill on the North Korean forces, MacArthur commanded his troops to cross the 38th parallel into North Korea. There was a risk of communist Russia or China entering the war, but MacArthur found it unlikely.

With a speedy push, UN. troops arrived at the North Korean city of Pyongyang. A small skirmish took place in the outskirts of the city, but within one day, the city was won over to the allies. MacArthur’s troops moved swiftly, and with little fighting captured most of North Korea in one month. The UN.

forces received little resistance and the remaining North Korean troops were seen crossing the Yalu River into China.16 With a hope to overtake some of the retreating North Korean troops, MacArthur ordered the UN. forces to move north to the Manchurian border between China and North Korea. This command was in direct defiance of presidential orders, because encroaching on the Chinese border could cause China or Russia to enter the war.17 Yet, MacArthur dismissed the threat, and pushed forward. China feared the UN. would attack them, and they needed to protect valuable hydroelectric power plants on the Yalu River. They massed 300,000 Chinese soldiers on the Manchurian border to wait for the UN.

to arrive. On November 8, 1950, the UN. troops moved deeper into the mountainous Manchurian region. The Chinese troops lay coiled like a viper, and …

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