Japan had effectively occupied Korea since 1904. In the waning days of World War II, an agreement was reached between the United States and the Soviet Union: the Soviets would occupy South Korea only as far as the 38th parallel. The United States forces that arrived in Korea were wholly unprepared for their duties in Korea, not understanding itshistory and relationship with Japan. To many Koreans, independence and unification were their most important goals.
Four subsequent conferences could not decide the unification issue, with the consequences of divided as two different governments were established on each side; the Republic of Korea in the South and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the North.
The UnitedStates, after much fumbling, supported Syngman Rhee, a Korean nationalist who had been exiled to the United States in 1907. The United States asked the United Nations to settle the issue of a divided Korea. 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. In the South,conservative parties allied with Rhee received a majority of the vote, in an election in which 80% of eligible Korean voters took part. Rhee became President of the newly-declared independent South Korea in October 1948. The Soviets installed Kim el Song as the leader of the North.
As the United States drew down its military in the post war period, the American garrison of 40,000 quickly withered to aforce of 472 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 in 1949, resulted in a new US policy of containment in Asia. The policy, calledNSC 48/2, called for the containment to be primarily non-military, with economic and military aid given to non-communist regimes in Asia.
On January 5, 1950, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, speaking at the National Press Club, articulated the American policy. He spoke of those countries that the US would defend with force: Japan, the Rykus islands and the Philippine Islands. Korea was left out.The withdrawal of the last American forces from Korea, as well as North Korean 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.
▪ Soviet intervention
▪ Role of the UNO
▪ Role of China
▪ End of the war
▪ Essay. Was the Korean War an episode of the Cold War?|
Soviet interventionin April 1950 Kim Il Sung again begged for a chance to unify Korea, promising that the campaign would be over in three days. Stalin gave his permission, provided that the Chinese agreed to support the North Korean action. Mao, in desperate need of Soviet military and economic aid, quickly agreed. Mao also released over sixty thousand combat-hardened ethnic Koreans from the People’s LiberationArmy (PLA) for duty with the Korean People’s Army (KPA, the North Korean Army).
The KPA’s Soviet advisory staff drew up the assault plan for the attack on South Korea, and on 25 June 1950 North Korean forces crossed the 38th parallel in an effort to unify Korea under DPRK rule. Two days later President Harry S. Truman ordered U.S. airmen, sailors, and soldiers into action to stop the KPA’s...