THE ORIGINS OF THE KOREANWARChapter 2Prepared by:HAFIDZ HAKIMI BIN HARONLLB (Hons.) IIUMAdvocate and Solicitor ,High Court of Malaya
INTRODUCTION Korean War is often referred as the “Forgotten War” Technically is not even a war?? <-why It was a pretending war, but unfortunately a bloody one Everyone feared it might sparked a full scale world war – world war III
THE ROOTS OF THE KOREAN WAR No one ever heard of Korea before 1950 Geographically it is a rough place to lived ; mountainous, unstable climate. Thus it is not a suitable place for war. Locals were „primitive‟; using their own „excrement‟ to fertilized their fields.
THE ROOTS OF THE KOREAN WAR KOREAN PENINSULA IN 1950
THE ROOTS OF THE KOREAN WAR Korean Peninsula is surrounded by three great powers ; Russia (USSR): Northern neighbor. – had a little interest towards Korea until late 19th Century China : Regarded as Korean “elder brother” Influences Korean culture, religion, and always territorially subjected to the ancient Chinese warlords Japan : Also begun their interest towards Korea in 19th Century. • In 1895, Japan had defeated Imperial China in Sino – Japan war to gain control of Korea. Later deposed the native Yi dynasty in 1905 when Japan also defeated Russia.
THE ROOTS OF THE KOREAN WAR How did the Japanese „administered‟ their Korean subject in 40 years? “Japanization” - replacing the traditional Korean culture with a Japanese one. Any resistance will met a dire consequences ; Korean patriots were hunted and murdered, many were exiled To put it simple, it was a brutal and oppressive rule.
THE ROOTS OF THE KOREAN WAR : TWOIMPORTANT FIGURES Dr Syngman Rhee •Was a Christian and spoke English. •Sent to the USA in 1905 to assist Korean independence but failed. – he stayed in the US, and developing contacts. •Consistent in pressing claims of his people. •Wanted Korea to be independent , a democratic country Kim Song Ju / Kim Il Sung •Born in 1912 •His parents tried to escape Japanese persecution and fled to Chinese Manchuria. •Spoke Chinese •Joined Chinese Communist Party and changed his name to Kim Il Sung •1932-1940; fought the Japanese by using guerilla tactics, defeated and later fled to USSR. •Became a member of the USSR army, was a Battalion Commander. •Indoctrinated and loyal to Stalin as a result of that. •Wanted Korea to be independent , but a communist country
THE DIVISION OF KOREA Late WWII, Russia had agreed to join the war against Japan. The Soviet army then was poured into Manchuria and Korean Peninsula. But the decision by the US army to use an atomic bomb had ended the war – The Soviet army was not utilized. Then, the victorious allies had seek to divide a “halting line” between two countries just like they did in Germany. Initially there was no US army at all in Korea at that particular time! General Lincoln of the US army had suggested to the Soviet Army that the 38th parallel to be a halt line – Soviet Army accepted it. 2 US army divisions were rushed to Korea and halted at 38th Parallel. Thus, in 1945, two divided Koreas were born.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NORTH KOREAN STATE. The USSR was better prepared in establishing North Korean state. Thousands of North Korean served either Chinese or the Soviets in WWII. – which made them fond of communism. Kim Il Sung was welcomed in a public celebration – without a doubt organized by the Soviet occupiers. 1946 – Interim People‟s Committee was set up (Kim Il Sung was the chairman) IPC sought cooperation with various leftist movement in the first place. They also sought to introduce populist policy, including distribution of land to peasants.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NORTH KOREAN STATE. Many who served Japanese administration during imperial rule had fled away to South Korea. – fearing abuse and prosecution. So, the vacancy of the available administrative job were filled by the Communist. “Police State was born” – controlling all aspects of the North Korean life. A mini Soviet-like Totalitarian state was born. In September 1948, North Korea had became totally independent as the Soviet forces had fully withdrew from their territories. Nonetheless, North Korean government was only a puppet state to the Soviet Union. – Independent were just on paper.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NORTH KOREAN STATE. North Korean People‟s Army (NKPA) was established in February 1948. Put under the supervision of soviet trained commanders – Like Kim himself. Have plentiful of advisers and Soviet made equipment. NKPA enjoys great social status. Why local people were not against this totalitarian state? What is Collectivization?
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SOUTH KOREAN STATE. Unlike the USSR, the US forces appears to be unprepared to established a government in South Korea. Barely a few Americans can speak Korean, so they had to rely on Japanese officials – which evidently caused much resentment by the native Koreans (as they had suffered from the Japanese during occupation) Thus, local ex-collaborators of Japanese colonial government rose through the ranks, and achieve prominence in the society – even though they were despised by many. At this moment, Dr Syngman Rhee emerged as a political leader, with a reputation of resistance to the Japanese colonial rule. He had strong links with Chiang Kai Shek regime in China, but was not well like by the US.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SOUTH KOREAN STATE. The US basically wants to pull out from Korea. But, the South Korea then was far from stable. Factionalism and banditry everywhere! In 1948, an UN Supervised election was held, and Dr Syngman Rhee won it. The assembly elected him as the new President, and the Republic of Korea was born in 15 August 1948. The new nation however, was corrupt and an authoritarian state. Both of North and South Korea however, claimed legitimacy of representing the whole Korea. The heat was on!
WHY DID THE FORCES OF NORTH KOREAATTACK SOUTH KOREA IN JUNE 1950? Border raids between the two was begun as early as 1949. Kim Il Sung initially asked permission to launched a full scale war from Stalin, but rejected. Small scale attacks were launched small scale attacks to the North Korean territory, but the US refused to supply arms. Half-heartedly, the USA was also established an advisory body to supervised South Korean military development; the KMAG – Korean Military Advisory Group. Or known by the US Army as “Kiss my a** Goodbye” – Yeah, that‟s the spirit… Thus from 1949 to 1950 there was confrontation between the two armies, but still not resulting into a full bloodied conflict, which was soon to change..
WHY DID THE FORCES OF NORTH KOREAATTACK SOUTH KOREA IN JUNE 1950? Soviet was planning the North Korean invasion all along. Even in 1949, they supplied various of equipments to the North Koreans, some 87 tanks, and others, which are not for the purpose of defense, but attack. The North Korean army was also strengthened by the returned of 50,000 hardened veterans who had served the Chinese army during China‟s civil war. In February1950, Stalin had accelerated his military aid by sending further military equipments, including river crossing gear – which illustrates clear indication of invasion. Thus, by June 1950, there were 242 Tanks and over 200 aircraft assemble in the Southern North Korean border in preparation of long anticipated invasion.
WHY DID THE FORCES OF NORTH KOREAATTACK SOUTH KOREA IN JUNE 1950? There was an evidence that Stalin himself pressed the North Koreans to attack. Why he did so? First and foremost he was confident with the USSR military position in Asia. Secondly he had also ended America monopoly on atomic bombs in 1949. Thirdly, just after the success of Mao Ze Dong overthrowing Chiang Kai Shek‟s China, the Soviets immediately sign a military pact with the new Chinese regime. – This will ensures Chinese participation in the Korean war if without direct intervention by the Soviets. Fourthly, it is because the American had withdrew their army from the Korean peninsula in 1949. While the remaining forces in Japan was poorly equipped. Next, he was believed that, by virtue of US national security report; NSC48, South Korea was not a vital US interest – which left them undefended. Thus, Stalin had finally gave a nod to launched a full scale attack provided the North Koreans seeks Mao‟s blessing as well. At last, at 4 am on Sunday June 25th 1950, the North launched a massive attack across the 38th parallel, heading towards Seoul.
WHY DID THE USA DECIDE TO INTERVENE? Basically the US were reluctant for any war. They were even deliberately withheld heavy equipments from the South Korea to prevent them invading the North. Thus, South Korean then were poorly equipped – no tanks, and 27 aircraft. Therefore, the North only took 2 days to captured the South Korean capital, Seoul. General Douglas MacArthur plead for US assistance as the Republic Korea was likely to collapse if without the active US intervention.
WHY DID THE USA DECIDE TO INTERVENE? Two main factors that made the USA had decided to resist the North Korean aggression :1. The attack on South Korea was a clear breach of the US-Soviet Agreement of August 1945.2. The UN had recognized the sovereignty and legitimacy of South Korea, - which the UN is under obligation to defend it! The USA also learned their lessons during World War 2; whereby if Hitler and Mussolini were stopped at the initial stage of their conquest, World War 2 might be averted! – so Stalin must be stopped as he was the one who pulling the strings!
WHY DID THE USA DECIDE TO INTERVENE? On the day of North Korean invasion, the UN security council had passed a resolution condemn the attack and called for the North Korean forces withdrawal. The USSR cannot VETOED such resolution because they had already withdrawn their ambassador in the council. Later, on 25th June 1950; Truman held a meeting in which it was stressed that the aggression of the North Korean army might be prejudicial to the American interest in Japan. Then, it was decided that the US will offer air and Naval support and press UN for the military support. The decision gain unanimous political and public approval.
WHY DID THE USA DECIDE TO INTERVENE? On 27 June the UN Security Council authorized the use of force to assist South Korea. Now the US forces will act under the UN flag. However, Truman was never declare a war to North Korea officially, but described it as a “Police action under the United Nations”. Thus, the US was in war in practice but not in theory. Anybody care to give their opinion why?