What were the causes of the korean war

what were the causes of the korean war

Causes of the Korean War

May 10,  · The Korean war began on June 25, , when some 75, soldiers from the North Korean People’s Army poured across the 38th parallel, the boundary between the Soviet-backed Democratic People’s. Today, historians generally agree on several main causes of the Korean War, including: the spread of communism during the Cold War, American containment, and Japanese occupation of .

Elections were suppose to be held but the Soviets would not allow it. After the US withdrew from South Korea the North thought they could reunifiy the country by force so they attacked. Japan had effectively occupied Korea since The United States forces that arrived in Korea were wholly unprepared for their duties in Korea, not understanding its history and relationship with Japan.

To many Koreans, independence and unification were their most important goals. Despite Soviet objections, a United Nations commission voted for elections in Korea. The communists in the South boycotted the election, and refused to allow it in the North. Rhee became President of the newly-declared independent South Korea in October As the United States drew down its military in the post war period, the American garrison of 40, quickly withered to a force of officers and men who made up the Korean Military Advisory Group KMAG.

The Korean army, known as ROK, was given only light weapons. The North Korean Army, on the other hand, was heavily equipped with tanks and other armored vehicles. The communist victory in China, combined with the first Soviet nuclear tests inwhat were the causes of the korean war in a new US policy of containment in Asia. Korea was left out. The withdrawal of the last American forces from Korea, as well as North How to bleach your ends at home Kim's conviction that the US would not intervene, convinced the North Koreans to attempt to unify the country by force.

The Soviets, led by Stalin, and the Chinese, led by Mao, concurred with both Kim's judgement about the United States and his plans to unify the country by force. In June, he struck. Causes of the Korean War.

Before 1941, the US had no vital interests in Korea and was largely indifferent to its fate.

Causes of the Korean War 14th Amendment Passed Korea had been divided between North and South at the end of the World War II with Russia occupying the North. Elections were suppose to be held but the Soviets would not allow it. North Korea attacked South Korea on June 25, , igniting the Korean War. Cold War assumptions governed the immediate reaction of US leaders, who instantly concluded that Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin had ordered the invasion as the first step in his plan for world conquest. The causes of the war were deep-rooted and the two most powerful nations of the world – Soviet Union, and the United States of America – abetted the .

Cold War assumptions governed the immediate reaction of US leaders, who instantly concluded that Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin had ordered the invasion as the first step in his plan for world conquest. Liberation in August led to division and a predictable war because the US and the Soviet Union would not allow the Korean people to decide their own future.

Before , the US had no vital interests in Korea and was largely in- different to its fate. When Harry S. An atomic attack on Japan, Truman thought, would preempt Soviet entry into the Pacific War and allow unilateral American occupation of Korea. His gamble failed. US military occupation of southern Korea began on September 8, Hodge from Okinawa to Korea.

It did not help that they followed the Japanese model in establishing an authoritarian US military government. Also, American occupation officials relied on wealthy land- lords and businessmen who could speak English for advice. Meanwhile, Soviet military forces in northern Korea, after initial acts of rape, looting, and petty crime, implemented policies to win popular support.

They also expropriated and punished landlords and collaborators, who fled southward and added to rising distress in the US zone. Simultaneously, the Soviets ignored US requests to coordinate occupation policies and allow free traffic across the parallel.

Deterioration of Soviet-American relations in Europe meant that neither side was willing to acquiesce in any agreement in Korea that might strengthen its adversary. This became clear when the US and the Soviet Union tried to implement a revived trusteeship plan after the Moscow Conference in December Eighteen months of intermittent bilateral negotiations in Korea failed to reach agreement on a representative group of Koreans to form a provisional government, primarily because Moscow refused to consult with anti-Communist politicians opposed to trustee- ship.

Meanwhile, political instability and economic deterioration in southern Korea persisted, causing Hodge to urge withdrawal. Postwar US demobilization that brought steady reductions in defense spending fueled pressure for disengagement. With Communist power growing in China, however, the Truman administration was unwilling to abandon southern Korea precipitously, fearing domestic criticism from Republicans and damage to US credibility abroad. Seeking an answer to its dilemma, the US referred the Korean dispute to the United Nations, which passed a resolution late in calling for internationally supervised elections for a government to rule a united Korea.

Truman and his advisors knew the Soviets would refuse to cooper- ate. Discarding all hope for early reunification, US policy by then had shifted to creating a separate South Korea, able to defend itself.

Bowing to US pressure, the United Nations supervised and certified as valid obviously undemocratic elections in the south alone in May , which resulted in formation of the Republic of Korea ROK in August. There now were two Koreas, with President Syngman Rhee installing a repressive, dictatorial, and anti-Communist regime in the south, while wartime guerrilla leader Kim Il Sung imposed the totalitarian Stalinist model for political, economic, and social development on the north.

A UN resolution then called for Soviet-American withdrawal. Despite plans to leave the south by the end of , Truman delayed military withdrawal until June 29, In spring , US military advisors supervised a dramatic improvement in ROK army fighting abilities.

They were so successful that militant South Korean officers began to initiate assaults northward across the thirty-eighth parallel that summer. These attacks ignited major border clashes with North Korean forces. Fears that Rhee might initiate an offensive to achieve reunification explain why the Truman administration limited ROK military capabilities, withholding tanks, heavy artillery, and warplanes.

Moreover, by June , the US policy of containment in Korea through economic means appeared to be experiencing marked success. As important, the ROK army virtually eliminated guerrilla activities, threatening internal order in South Korea, causing the Truman administration to propose a sizeable military aid increase.

Communist victory in China in fall pressured Stalin to show his support for a similar Korean outcome. In January , he and Kim discussed plans for an invasion in Moscow, but the Soviet dictator was not ready to give final consent. Significantly, Mao also voiced concern that the Americans would defend the ROK but gave his reluctant approval as well.

The president immediately named MacArthur, who was required to submit periodic reports to the United Nations on war developments. The ad- ministration blocked formation of a UN committee that would have direct access to the UNC commander, instead adopting a procedure whereby MacArthur received instructions from and reported to the JCS.

Despite these American commitments, UNC forces initially suffered a string of defeats. State Department officials began to lobby for forcible reunification once the UNC assumed the offensive, arguing that the US should destroy the KPA and hold free elections for a government to rule a united Korea.

The JCS had grave doubts about the wisdom of landing at the port of Inchon, twenty miles west of Seoul, because of narrow access, high tides, and sea- walls, but the September 15 operation was a spectacular success.

A month earlier, the administration had abandoned its initial war aim of merely restoring the status quo. On September 11, , Truman had approved NSC, a plan to cross the thirty-eighth parallel and forcibly reunify Korea.

Invading the DPRK was an incredible blunder that transformed a three-month war into one lasting three years. US leaders had realized that extension of hostilities risked Soviet or Chinese entry, and therefore, NSC- 81 included the precaution that only Korean units would move into the most northern provinces.

He also wanted to repay the DPRK for sending thou- sands of soldiers to fight in the Chinese civil war. On August 5, Mao instructed his northeastern military district commander to prepare for operations in Korea in the first ten days of September. Having been wrong in doubting Inchon, the JCS remained silent this time. He was infuriated upon learning that the British were advancing a UN proposal to halt the UNC offensive well short of the Yalu to avert war with China, viewing the measure as appeasement.

In several public pronouncements, MacArthur blamed setbacks not on himself but on unwise command limitations. In response, Truman approved a directive to US officials that State Department approval was required for any comments about the war. The JCS, despite later denials, considered implementing these actions before receiving favorable battlefield reports. Early in , Lieutenant General Matthew B.

Soon, UNC counterattacks restored battle lines north of the thirty-eighth parallel. Truman reprimanded but did not recall the general. Martin Jr. The JCS had been monitoring a Communist military buildup in East Asia and thought a trusted UNC commander should have standing authority to retaliate against Soviet or Chinese escalation, including the use of nuclear weapons that they had deployed to forward Pacific bases. Truman and his advisors, as well as US allies, distrusted MacArthur, fearing that he might provoke an incident to widen the war.

General Omar N. When May ended, the CPV and KPA had suffered huge losses, and a UNC counteroffensive then restored the front north of the parallel, persuading Beijing and Pyongyang, as was already the case in Washington, that pursuit of a cease-fire was necessary. The belligerents agreed to open truce negotiations on July 10 at Kaesong, a neutral site that the Communists deceitfully occupied on the eve of the first session.

North Korea and China created an acrimonious atmosphere with at- tempts at the outset to score propaganda points, but the UNC raised the first major roadblock with its proposal for a demilitarized zone extending deep into North Korea.

More important, after the talks moved to Panmunjom in October, there was rapid progress in resolving almost all is- sues, including establishment of a demilitarized zone along the battle lines, truce enforcement inspection procedures, and a postwar political conference to discuss withdrawal of foreign troops and reunification. An armistice could have been concluded ten months after talks began had the negotiators not deadlocked over the disposition of prisoners of war POWs.

Beijing and Pyongyang were guilty of hypocrisy regarding this matter because they were subjecting UNC prisoners to unspeakable mistreatment and indoctrination. Truman ordered that the UNC delegation assume an inflexible stand against returning Communist prisoners to China and North Korea against their will.

Thousands of Chinese POWs were Nationalist soldiers trapped in China at the end of the civil war, who now had the chance to escape to Taiwan. In November , angry Americans elected Dwight D. Instead of embracing the plan, Eisenhower, after taking office in January , seriously considered threatening a nuclear attack on China to force a settlement. Signaling his new resolve, Eisenhower announced on February 2 that he was ordering removal of the US Seventh Fleet from the Taiwan Strait, implying endorsement for a Nationalist assault on the mainland.

What influenced China more was the devastating impact of the war. By summer , the PRC faced huge domestic economic problems and likely decided to make peace once Truman left office. Major food shortages and physical devastation persuaded Pyongyang to favor an armistice even earlier. Early in , China and North Korea were prepared to resume the truce negotiations, but the Communists preferred that the Americans make the first move.

That came on February 22 when the UNC, repeating a Red Cross proposal, suggested exchanging sick and wounded prisoners. At this key moment, Stalin died on March 5.

Two days later, Zhou Enlai publicly proposed transfer of prisoners rejecting repatriation to a neutral state. On April 20, Operation Little Switch, the exchange of sick and wounded prisoners, began, and six days later, negotiations resumed at Panmunjom. Sharp disagreement followed over the final details of the truce agreement.

No documentary evidence has of yet surfaced to support his assertion. Also, by early , both Washington and Beijing clearly wanted an armistice, having tired of the economic burdens, military losses, political and military constraints, worries about an expanded war, and pressure from allies and the world community to end the stalemated conflict.

A steady stream of wartime issues threatened to inflict irrevocable damage on US relations with its allies in Western Europe and nonaligned members of the United Nations. Far from being intimidated, Beijing thus displayed its continuing resolve, using military means to persuade its adversary to make concessions on the final terms. Before the belligerents could sign the agreement, Rhee tried to torpedo the impending truce when he released 27, North Korean POWs.

An armistice ended fighting in Korea on July 27, Since then, Koreans have seen the war as the second-greatest tragedy in their recent history after Japanese colonial rule. Not only did it cause devastation and three million deaths, it also confirmed the division of a homogeneous society after thirteen centuries of unity, while permanently separating millions of families.

Koreans instead had to endure the living tragedy of yearning for reunification, as diplomatic tension and military clashes along the demilitarized zone continued into the twenty-first century.

In response, US leaders vastly increased defense spending, strengthened the North Atlantic Treaty Organization militarily, and pressed for rearming West Germany. Matray, James I. US Department of Defense. Before , the US had no vital interests in Korea and was largely indifferent to its fate.

On April 11, with the unanimous support of top advisors, the presi- dent fired MacArthur. The Korean Conflict. Westport, CT: Greenwood, Lee, Steven Hugh. The Korean War. New York: Longman, Search for:.

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