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South Korean War Research Paper

As long as humans have been on this earth there has been war. The idea of world peace is a dead theory if you look deeply into the past of civilization. It’s almost as if death and destruction follows the human race. The land of the free, or the United States, wasn’t always this free, just as many other countries they decided that bloodshed was the best way to claim what they desired, whether that be religion, political views, money, or power; North and South Korea are no exception to this.

Except freedom wasn’t exactly on anyone’s agenda during this war. While it’s true South Korea wanted the freedom to be a democracy the main agenda on almost everyone’s mind was the spread of communism; depending on what side you were on, this included either continuing the spread or stopping it. The Korean War is just one of the many accounts of bloodshed over communism; the perfect example of sending bold young men to die for a cause that’s not as dignified as the Uncle Sam posters would lead one to believe.

It was a grotesque and unnecessary war (considering no one even really won this war) that caused over 5 million people’s lives to be lost and despite being known as the “Forgotten War”,will certainly never be forgotten. While the Korean War may not have officially started this tale really began on September 8, 1945, just eight short months after the end of World War II, when the Japanese surrendered to Korea below the Thirty-eighth parallel (KoreanWarTimeline).

The 38th Parallel is the line that was used to separate the Republic of Korea and the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, or North and South Korea. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Korea had been a part of the Japanese empire, and after World War II it fell to the Americans and the Soviets to decide what should be done with their enemy’s imperial possessions. In August 1945, two young aides at the State Department divided the Korean peninsula in half along the 38th parallel. The Russians occupied the area north of the line and the United States occupied the area to its south” (KoreanWar-Facts&Summary). This caused the United States to appoint “Lt.

General John Hodge as military governor of South Korea and head of the USAMGIK (United States Army Military Government in Korea)” (KoreanWarTimeline), which showed the communists countries that the United States will stop at nothing to support countries that want to be democracies. “Even so, the North Korean invasion came as an alarming surprise to American officials. As far as they were concerned, this was not simply a border dispute between two unstable dictatorships on the other side of the globe. Instead, many feared it was the first step in a communist campaign to take over the world.

For this reason, nonintervention was not considered an option by many top decision makers” (KoreanWar-Facts&Summary). Furthermore, on “March 12, 1947, Harry Truman, the at the time U. S. President, pledged that the United States would help any country that is under the threat of communism. It became popularly known as the Truman Doctrine” (KoreanWarTimeline). North and South Korea obviously butted heads due to their conflicting political views, but the first act of violence between them didn’t occur until April 3, 1948. The Jeju Uprising took place, south of the Korean Peninsula.

Koreans sympathetic to the North’s influence on the people. More than 140,000 people were killed” (KoreanWarTimeline). Even though 140,000 people were killed the war still hadn’t officially begun, and it wouldn’t until June 25, 1950. By October, 1948 the Left-Leaning South Korean soldiers had begun to have more and more and issues with the way the Jeju Uprising was handled. So, naturally they decided to start the Yeosu-Suncheon Rebellion, because rebellions are how the world solves their civil problems (KoreanWarTimeline).

The tension between communist North Korea and democratic South Korea was bubbling, while no one wanted to start another war so soon after World War II, but at this point it seemed inevitable. Everyone knows that you can’t start a war without having other countries to back you up, what’s the fun in only killing your own people? On October 1, 1948, The People’s Republic of China (Communist China) is formed. This is significant because of North Korea’s role in assisting the communists during the Chinese Civil War” (KoreanWarTimeline).

In early 1949 Kim Il-Sung pressed his case with Soviet leader Joseph Stalin that the time had come for a conventional invasion of the South. Stalin refused, concerned about the relative unpreparedness of the North Korean armed forces and about possible U. S. involvement” (KoreanWar). So, under the advice of Stalin, Kim Il-Sung built up his army for another year. “In the course of the next year, the communist leadership built the KPA into a formidable offensive force modeled after a Soviet mechanized army.

The Chinese released Korean veterans from the People’s Liberation Army, while the Soviets provided armaments” (KoreanWar). This is a huge step for China considering they’re never really nice, even to the people they’re supposed to be helping, they’re all spice and not everything nice. War is finally declared between the two feuding countries. “In January 1950, the Korean Aid Bill is defeated in Congress, in the House of Representatives by one vote. This action cut off all aid to South Korea” (KoreanWarTimeline).

Which honestly doesn’t make any sense why would anyone pull out of a state right before the war starts. Furthermore, “On June 25, 1950, North Korea launches a full scale attack against South Korea. North Korean infantry and tanks cross the 38th Parallel and meet little resistance. This is the start of the Korean War” (KoreanWarTimeline). While it may seem like the war started back in 1945, but throughout history many countries argue for years without wanting to declare war. South Korea wasn’t expecting an attack so they had no idea how to retaliate, which resulted in the capital, Seoul, being taken over.

The only area that still belonged to South Korea was Pusan, On the side of communism was North Korea, China and The Soviet Union and fighting against them was South Korea and The UN (The United States and The United Kingdom. When a country decides to declare war they generally ask other countries to help them out. South Korea received combat help from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Philippines, Colombia, Ethiopia, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey.

They also received Medical and other help from: Denmark, Italy, India, Israel, Norway, Sweden, Cuba, El Salvador, Japan, Spain and Taiwan. North Korea received military help from China and the Soviet Union. Australia sent almost 18,000 troops to them (SummaryofKoreanWar). “The Korean War was the first “hot” war of the Cold War. Over 55,000 American troops were killed in the conflict. Korea was the first “limited war,” one in which the U. S. aim was not the complete and total defeat of the enemy, but rather the “limited” goal of protecting South Korea”(SummaryoftheKoreanWar).

The fight didn’t go well for the South Korean troops and aids. “The North Korean army was well-disciplined, well-trained and well-equipped; Rhee’s forces, by contrast, were frightened, confused, and seemed inclined to flee the battlefield at any provocation. Also, it was one of the hottest and driest summers on record, and desperately thirsty American soldiers were often forced to drink water from rice paddies that had been fertilized with human waste. As a result, dangerous intestinal diseases and other illnesses were a constant threat” (KoreanWar-Facts&Summary).

President Truman and General Douglas MacArthur had to think of a plan or they were never going to win this fight. “An amphibious assault at Inchon pushed the North Koreans out of Seoul and back to their side of the 38th parallel. But as American troops crossed the boundary and headed north toward the Yalu River, the border between North Korea and Communist China, the Chinese started to worry about protecting themselves from what they called “armed aggression against Chinese territory.

Chinese leader Mao Zedong (1893-1976) sent troops to North Korea and warned the United States to keep away from the Yalu boundary unless it wanted full-scale war” (KoreanWar-Facts&Summary). The number one thing The United States didn’t want to do was go to war with China. They were too powerful and frankly had way too many people, it would add even more strain on a war they were struggling to win in the first place. “They were sure that such a war would lead to Soviet aggression in Europe, the deployment of atomic weapons and millions of senseless deaths.

To General MacArthur, however, anything short of this wider war represented “appeasement,” an unacceptable knuckling under to the communists” (History. com. comStaff). MacArthur’s willingness to go to war with China eventually ended in him being fired by President Truman. It became clear that this war wasn’t going to end any time soon so President Truman had to think of a way to get the fighting to stop before more innocent people died at the hands of the Soviets. In July 1951, President Truman and his new military commanders started peace talks at Panmunjom.

Still, the fighting continued along the 38th parallel as negotiations stalled. Both sides were willing to accept a ceasefire that maintained the 38th parallel boundary, but they could not agree on whether prisoners of war should be forcibly “repatriated. ” Naturally the United States said no, hoping most of the Prisoners of War would choose democracy and strengthen South Korea and also make a subtle jab at The Soviet Union’s efforts to spread Communism. However, North Korea wanted them to be forced to return to their native countries, so fighting commenced.

In 1953 a new President took office, Dwight D, Eisenhower. Eisenhower promised to go to Korea and see the fight first hand in order to devise a plan to end this war, and that’s exactly what he did. “After taking office, however, Eisenhower adopted a get-tough policy toward the communists in Korea. He suggested that he would “unleash” the Nationalist Chinese forces on Taiwan against communist China, and he sent only slightly veiled messages that he would use any force necessary (including the use of nuclear weapons) to bring the war to an end unless peace negotiations began to move forward” (EisenhowergoestoKorea).

Finally, after more than two years of negotiations, the adversaries signed an armistice on July 27, 1953. The agreement allowed the POWs to stay where they liked; drew a new boundary near the 38th parallel that gave South Korea an extra 1,500 square miles of territory; and created a 2-mile-wide “demilitarized zone” that still exists today” (KoreanWar-Facts&Summary). All in all the Korean War was messy and many lives were lost. Nearly 5 million people died. More than half of these–about 10 percent of Korea’s prewar population–were civilians. (This rate of civilian casualties was higher than World War II’s and Vietnam’s. ) Almost 40,000 Americans died in action in Korea, and more than 100,000 were wounded” (KoreanWar-Facts&Summary). The war may not have lasted as long as the other major wars in this time but the damage caused by it is catastrophic.

So many families had empty seats at their dinner tables, all because some grown men who didn’t actually have to suit up and go fight, decided that stopping communism was more important than a child returning to their mother, or a father returning to his newborn baby. Not even mentioning the innocent civilians who had their families torn apart by gunfire and explosives. The Korean War may be forgotten by textbooks and politicians but it’ll never be labeled “The Forgotten War”, by those who fought in it and lost their family members to it.

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