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The Korean War

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George Tao

on 12 February 2015

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Transcript of The Korean War

The Korean War
90,000 N. Koreans invaded S. Korea on 25 June 1950
US had to respond in fear of domino effect - spread of communism
1 July 1950 - US and 15 other nations troops led by General Douglas MacArthur landed in Korea
Course of the War
N. Koreans took over much of S. Korea pushing S. Koreans and its allies back
MacArthur retook Seoul and pushed N. Korea back to the 38th parallel
Plan switched from 'containment' to 'rollback' - reunite Korea and end communism
Took Pyongyang, but with Chinese intervention (200,000 soldiers) Americans were pushed back
Plan switched back to 'containment'
Peace treaty in July 1953
Background to Conflict
Japan annexed Korea in 1910 but continued to stay there til 1945 after WWII
Why Stalin entered the war...
Communists win Chinese Civil War + Atomic Bomb + Economic Difficulties in the West = Communist Takeover in Asia
Role of Mao Zedong
Kim Il Sung made it seem like Stalin was enthusiastic about supporting the war

How It All Started
USA & USSR had joint responsibility for repatriating the Japanese forces. 38th parallel line of latitude became the dividing line -- USSR occupying N Korea while USA occupied S Korea
US influence in Japan strong anti-communist influence
Soviets supported young Russian-trained Korean communist Kim Il Sung
Stalin's opportunism: tendency to advance into situations where he thought he could do so wo a strong response
US military supported elderly Synghman Rhee, a rebel who fought against Japanese and spent most of his life in exile
Stalin was cautious and did not allow himself to allow great support/assistance to the South
Democratic People's Republic of Korea established in Sept 1948
Republic of Korea established May 1948 -- legitimized by UN
Planned an invasion of Taiwan
Unprepared & paid little attention attack on the South came as a surprise
Some historians believe that Stalin had nothing to do with the North's invasion but that it was a reaction to South's attacks
Why did superpowers get involved?
Kim il Sung's role in cold war
Kim Il Sung and Synghman did want to unite both sides of Korea but were unable to do so themselves -- Soviets and US came to help
Kim Il Sung tried really hard to persuade Stalin to help support North's attack on Korea
Full transcript