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Korean war 1950-1953

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Paul Hendrix

on 13 June 2015

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Transcript of Korean war 1950-1953

Korea in the 1st half of the 20th century
Since 1910, Korea had been a Japanese colony.
At the Potsdam conference, the USA and the USSR agree to jointly occupy Korea, splitting the occupation at the 38th lateral degree.
August 10th 1945: USSR troops invade Korea from the North.
August 15th 1945: Japan surrenders to the Allies.
August 26th 1945: the USSR troops reach 38 parallel north and halt their invasion as agreed.
September 9th, 1945: US troops reach Seoul and accept Japanese surrender of South-Korea.
Troops remain in the area to establish control.
March 12th, 1947: Truman doctrine
US would provide political, military and economic assistance to all democratic nations under threat from external or internal authoritarian forces (communism).
Marked a move away from isolationism to active foreign policy.
What were the causes of the Korean War?
How did the international community respond?
What effects did the Korean War have on subsequent global politics?
When the Cold War became hot.
First "proxy war" between Eastern and Western blocs: "a war instigated by a major power that does not itself become involved."
Terrible toll: around a total of 4 million Koreans were killed, injured or went missing.
3 million of those were civilians.
War became unpopular in US.
Affected global politics for years to come:
Increased Cold War tensions
North and South Korea still divided.
The division
In both North and South Korea, governments are established that claim to be the legitimate government and want to unite Korea.
In the South, Syngman Rhee wins the elections and proclaims the Independent Republic of Korea.
In the North, communist leader Kim Il Sung proclaims the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Both deny each others claim to existence.

In the previous months, Kim Jung Il had sought support from both Stalin and the new communist leader in China, Mao Zedong.
Global power balance had changed: USSR now had nuclear weapons, the Chinese civil war was won by the communists, and American troops had retreated from Korea a few years earlier. Stalin felt the time was right.
Mao had not forgotten the Korean support during the Chinese civil war and wanted to strengthen communism in Asia.
So, Both agreed to support the war effort unofficially, with commanding officials as well as military resources.
June 25th, 1950: North Korea crossed the 38th line and invaded South Korea.
In an attempt to stop the North Korean advance, the South Korean army blew up the bridge over the Han river, killing 4000 civilians that were on it at the time.
Within three days, Seoul fell to the North Koreans.
Summer of terror: Rhee order massacre of 100.000 "internal opponents".
South Korean and UN troops were pushed back to Pusan in the Southern tip of Korea.
Start of the Korean War
US response
Initially, Truman did not expect war. Moreover, he was cautious not to cause a global conflict with USSR.
Therefore, he turned to the UN. 25th June, UN condemned North Korean actions and pledged to provide military assistance to the South. USSR boycotted because of refusal to admit China membership.
American troops under the flag of the UN and the ROK army (Rep. of Korea) had started an offensive by early July.
North Korean troops were pushed back across the 28th partition line by October 1st 1950, and the capital Pyongyang was captured on October 19th.
MacArthur wanted to push further into China, but Truman disagreed and relieved him of command.
China intervenes (October-December 1950)
When UN troops crossed the 38th parallel, both Stalin and Kim Il Sung requested that China intervene.
Under command of Peng Dehuai, 200.000 Chinese troops entered North Korea on October 25th, on the claims that US bomber had invaded Chinese airspace.
Chinese and Korean troops drove back UN troops to the 38th parallel, and a large evacuation was took place at the port city of Hungnam (105.000 soldiers and 98.000 civilians).
Subsequently, UN troops were further pushed southwards and Seoul was captured again on January 4th 1951.
July 1951 - 1953: stalemate
Eventually, both sides would come to a stalemate around the 38th parallel.
Fighting continued for two years, but territories were no longer won or lost.
Large scale bombing of North Korea continued.
Chinese troops suffered much more casualties than UN troops.
In the meantime, secret armistice negotiations were begun at Kaesong on July 1951.
Major issue was the prisoner of war repatriation. Many Chinese and North Korean soldiers refused to go back to their countries.
July 27th, 1953: armistice agreement was signed.
Neutral Nations Repatriations Committee under Indian general K.S. Thimayya.
Korean Demilitarized Zone.
No official peace treaty.
Put yourself in the shoes of the leaders that were involved in the Korean war, and prepare a short statement (100 words each) that justifies the countries actions during the war:
Syngman Rhee (South Korea)
Kim Il Sung (North Korea)
Harry Truman (USA)
Mao Zedong (China)
Joseph Stalin (USSR)
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