Background of The Korean War 1910 - 1945 • Korea used to have some of Asia's most prominent communist groups and activists • These organizations worked underground to reestablish Korea's independence during Japan's occupation of the Korean Peninsula (1910- 1945) Occupation • In 1945 Korea was occupied by Soviet forces in the north and American forces in the south. • The line that was chosen to separate the two was the same one that Japan and Russia used in the early part of the 20th century. • It was called the 38th parallel. Kim II Sung • 33-year-old, soviet army captain, Kim II Sung became known to be a heroic guerrilla commander. • In early 1946, Soviet occupying forces chose him to head the provisional government for North Korea. • 3 weeks after the Southern Republic of Korea was made, _____ was named premier of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on September 9th 1948. Progression & Economy Kim didn't want a Soviet satellite state and instead embraced Korean nationalism. The focus of which was the Korean People’s Army. Under Kim's rule: •over 2 million acres of land were redistributed in under a month •women were guaranteed equality under the law •political action cells were formed to educate the population It was clear that under his rule, North Korea had become economically well-endowed in comparison to South Korea. In June of 1949 both the Soviets and Americans had left the peninsula, this is when Kim's plan to unite Korea became evident. On the Brink of War • South Korea obviously appeared to be faltering, but President Syngman Rhee (South Korea) unleashed a brutal campaign against suspected communists and leftists. • At first Kim wanted to use force, however he needed support and so he turned to Stalin for help. Stalin supported his invasion plan, and advised him to get support from China’s new communist leader, Mao Zedong. He did and was now on the brink of war. Causes of the Korean War Leading Causes of the Korean War • Reputation – American Army had recently upped the anti as far as the arms race went and Truman wanted to display the power and wealth of America internationally. – The USSR wanted better results and a chance to prove themselves after the Berlin Blockade. This was particularly important to Stalin. – They felt that the Korean war was their way of proving their reputation. Leading Causes of the Korean War • Support – The USA wanted to support Syngman Rhee because he was a democrat surrounded by communism – USA: supported South Korea. – The USSR wanted to support the communist nation, because of the same political ideals. – USSR: supported North Korea. – They could not get involved in a war against communism without directly fighting the USSR. Leading Causes of the Korean War • Cold War – Stalin encouraged the spread of communism as long as it did not result in a war with America. He soon realized that nuclear war might be a possibility and wanted to avoid that and beat the USA using more indirect means. – The Domino Effect - Truman believed that if Korea fell to communism, Japan (a major trading partner) would follow. – The Truman Doctrine stated that the USA would lend aid to any country not wishing to be suppressed by the political ideals (communism) of any other country. – April 1950 the American National Security Council issued a report recommending direct involvement (a proxy war) against communism. – Stalin saw that the Korean War Was a chance for a war by proxy. Kim II Sung visited Stalin to persuade him that he could conquer South Korea. This map is from an American magazine from 1950. This shows how much the US feared communism in the far east. United States, United Nations, and the Soviet Union’s Response to the Korean War United Nations • The United Nations now had to formulate a plan. Sixteen member states would provide troops under a United Nations Joint Command. It would fight with the South Korean army. • This United Nations force was dominated by America even to the extent of being commanded by an American general – Douglas MacArthur • On September 15th 1950, United Nations troops landed at Inchon. The landing was a huge success and the United Nations effectively cut the North Korean army in half and pushed them out of South Korea. • Note: MacArthur was later fired by Truman for getting the Chinese involved in the war. Soviet Union • Soviets sold Chinese military equipment, including artillery and MIG fighter planes. • The USSR also provided advisers and military hardware to the North Koreans. • Soviet pilots flew MIGs against US planes. • However, Stalin was unwilling to become involved with the United States in a war over Korea. United States • The US provided the majority of the UN military forces which drove the North Koreans out of South Korea and still stand guard along the border. The US moved their troops into South Korea quickly. • The US and the Soviets agreed to divide Korea temporarily to avoid long term decisions regarding Korea's future. • Although the United States took the lead in the Korean action, it did so under the order of the United Nations. China Enters the Korean War Why did China enter the war? • UN forces pushed north to China • Crossed 38th parallel – Yalu River and border with China • Mao Zedong already made it clear that China would not tolerate foreign forces on border What happens next? • October 14 to November 1, 1950 – Chinese send 180,000 of the People’s Volunteer Army to cross Yalu River – They pushed the American forces back • November 2 – UN realizes that the attack was done by Communist China “Home-by-Christmas” offensive • November 24 – MacArthur launches offensive attack • Chinese army retaliates with full force • American and South Korean units retreat • Ends January 1951 The Korean War Armistice The Korean War Armistice • Designed to insure an end to warfare and all acts of armed force in Korea until a definitive peaceful could be achieved • It was signed on July 27,1953 • Covered issues such as - exchange of prisoners of war - location of a demarcation line • Intended as a temporary measure, but the 38th parallel remains standing even today. • Enforced by a Military Armistice Commission • Armies began the awkward process of disengagement over the 4km wide DMZ. • It provided… àsuspension of open hostilities àfixed demarcation line with a four kilometre (2.4 mile) buffer zone - the so-called demilitarization zone àA mechanism for the transfer of prisoners of war Map of Korea • 1954 - an international conference in Geneva was organized by the United States - discussed the political future of Korea - no agreement was produced • Armistice- only safeguard for peace on the Korean peninsula Winners? Losers? • After three years, July 27, 1953- ceasefire stopped the fighting • Although there was no declared winner, South Korea never succumbed to a communist rule. • There was an armistice signed by North Korea, China, and the UN but not by South Korea. • The armistice was NOT a peace treaty, just a temporary cessation of hostilities. • Korea is still split up into North Korea (communist) and South Korea (non- communist) • The border between the two countries has remained one of the most heavily-armed stretches of land on Earth Big Questions • Did it improve American status overseas? • Did it stop the Domino Effect from happening again? • How did this war effect North and South Korean relations for the future? • Will the 38th parallel ever be diminished?
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