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My Lecture Five on Korean War (1950-53)- Part II

My Lecture Five on Korean War (1950-53)- Part II



This is part II of my lecture on Korean War (1950-53) at National Law University Orissa, Cuttack, India.This lecturer is purely compiled from the web sources just for the use of nluo students. This ...

This is part II of my lecture on Korean War (1950-53) at National Law University Orissa, Cuttack, India.This lecturer is purely compiled from the web sources just for the use of nluo students. This work is not mine and it shall not be cited.



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    My Lecture Five on Korean War (1950-53)- Part II My Lecture Five on Korean War (1950-53)- Part II Document Transcript

    • MY LECTURES ON “KOREAN WAR-PART II 2010 PRELUDE TO KOREAN WAR In January, 1950, United States Secretary of State Dean Acheson gave a speech declaring that America might not fight over Korea. But Korea's defense would be the responsibility of the United Nations. On the other hand, in mid- 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. By 1950 the North Koreans enjoyed substantial advantages over the South in every category of equipment. However, in early 1950s, Stalin approved an invasion with a condition of North Korea supplying a yearly 25,000 tons lead, 9 tons of gold, 40 tons of silver, and 15,000 tons of monazite as payment for Soviet arms, ammunition and military technical equipment. COURSE OF KOREAN WAR: Under the guise of a counter-attack, the North Korean Army struck in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, June 25, 1950, crossing the 38th parallel behind a firestorm of artillery. The North claimed Republic of Korea Army (ROK) troops under the “bandit traitor Syngman Rhee” had crossed the border first, and that Rhee would be arrested and executed. • RESPONSE OF US AND UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL Initial response of US was to use air cover to protect the evacuation of U.S. citizens from South Korea. Instead of pressing for a congressional declaration of war, which President Truman regarded as too alarmist and time- consuming when time was of the essence, he went to the United Nations for sanction. Under U.S. guidance, the UN Security Council unanimously condemned the North Korean invasion with UNSC Resolution 82 on 25 June, 1950 and then on 27 June UNSC Resolution 83 was passed that asked the member states to provide military assistance to the South Korea. However, this resolution could have been vetoed by a permanent member such as the Soviet Union. But the Soviets were boycotting the Council over the issue of admitting communist China to the UN. The US Congress, meanwhile, supported military intervention without significant dissent and approved $12 billion to pay for the military expenses. The USSR challenged the legitimacy of the war for several reasons. The South Korean Army intelligence upon which Resolution 83 was based came from US Intelligence; North Korea was not invited as a sitting temporary member of the UN, which violated UN Charter Article 32; and the Korean conflict was beyond UN Charter scope, because the initial north–south border fighting was classed as civil war. The Soviet representative boycotted the UN to prevent Security Council action, and to challenge the legitimacy of the UN action; legal scholars posited that deciding upon an action of this type required the unanimous vote of the five permanent members. • ESCALATION OF WAR At the outbreak of war, the North Korean Army was well equipped with Soviet-made tanks, YAK fighters, attack bombers, YAK trainers and reconnaissance planes. Their navy had several small warships, and launched attacks on the South Korean Navy. North Korea's most serious weakness was its lack of a reliable logistics system for moving supplies south as the army advanced, but the South Korean forces were weak and ill-equipped compared to the North Koreans. The South Korean Army had 150,000 soldiers armed, trained, and equipped by the U.S. military, and as a force was deficient in armor and artillery. The South Korean military had by then limited tanks, attack planes, and few anti-tank DR. AFROZ ALAM, NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY ORISSA Page 2
    • MY LECTURES ON “KOREAN WAR-PART II 2010 weapons. There were no large foreign combat units in the country when the war began, but there were large American forces stationed in nearby Japan. The North's well-planned attack with about 415,000 troops achieved surprise and quick successes. Within days, South Korean forces – outnumbered, outgunned, and often of dubious loyalty to the Southern regime – were in full retreat or defecting en masse to the North. North Korean forces occupied Seoul on June 28. It was not until the first weeks of August 1950 that the United Nations Command (UNC), as General Douglas MacArthur’s theatre forces had been redesignated, started to slow the North Koreans. With the aid of massive American supplies, air support, and additional reinforcements, the UN forces managed to stabilize a line along the Nakdong River. With the battle of Inchon in September, the entire strategic balance of the war was shifted in favour of South Korea and UN Command forces. In the face of these overwhelming reinforcements, the North Korean forces found themselves undermanned and with weak logistical support. They also lacked the substantial naval and air support of the Americans. In order to alleviate pressure, General MacArthur argued for an amphibious landing far behind the North Korean lines at Inchon. When he finally received permission from Pentagon, MacArthur ordered X Corps to land at Inchon. The landing was a decisive victory, as X Corps rolled over the few defenders and threatened to trap the main North Korean army. MacArthur quickly recaptured Seoul. The North Koreans, almost cut off, rapidly retreated northwards. The UN forces crossed into North Korea in early October 1950 and captured North Korean capital city, Pyongyang. Taking advantage of the UN Command's strategic momentum against the communists, General MacArthur believed it necessary to extend the Korean War into China to destroy depots supplying the North Korean war effort. President Truman disagreed, and ordered caution at the Sino-Korean border. • CHINESE INTERVENTION China warned American leaders through neutral diplomats that it would intervene to protect its national security. Truman regarded the warnings as “a bald attempt to blackmail the U.N.” and did not take it seriously. The Chinese Government argued that in making Japan its main war base in the Far East, launching an invasion against Korea and the Chinese province of Taiwan, and carrying out active intervention in other countries in Asia, the United States was building up a military encirclement of China. As UNC troops crossed the 38th parallel, Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong received a plea for direct military aid from Kim II-Sung. The chairman was willing to intervene, but he needed assurances of Soviet air power. Stalin promised to extend China’s air defenses (manned by Soviets) to a corridor above the Yalu, thus protecting air bases in Manchuria and hydroelectric plants on the river, and he also promised new Soviet weapons and armaments factories. After much debate, Mao Zedong issued the order to assemble the Chinese Army and to move to the Yalu River, ready to cross in mid October 1950 and launched the First Phase Offensive on October 25, attacking the advancing UN forces near the Sino-Korean border. Finally on November 1, thousands of Chinese had attacked from the north, northwest, and west against scattered U.S. and South Korean units moving deep into North Korea. The Chinese seemed to come out of nowhere as they swarmed around the flanks and over the defensive positions of the surprised United Nations (UN) troops. Heartened by the ease with which the Chinese army had driven the UN troops out of North Korea, Mao Zedong expanded his war aims to demand that the Chinese army unify all of Korea and drive the Americans and puppets off the peninsula. With this aim, in January 1951, the Chinese and North Korean forces struck again in their 3rd Phase Offensive. The Chinese repeated their previous tactics of mostly night attacks, with a stealthy approach from positions some distance from the front, followed by a rush with overwhelming numbers, and using trumpets or gongs DR. AFROZ ALAM, NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY ORISSA Page 3
    • MY LECTURES ON “KOREAN WAR-PART II 2010 both for communication and to disorient their foes. Against this the UN forces had no remedy, and their resistance crumbled; they retreated rapidly to the south. Seoul was abandoned and was captured by communist forces on January 4, 1951. Nevertheless, the situation was so grim that MacArthur mentioned the use of atomic weapons against China, much to the alarm of America's allies. The Chinese launched their Fourth Offensive on February 11, 1951. Again the initial attacks struck ill-prepared South Korean divisions, and again the UNC gave ground. But the offensive was soon blunted. Again the US Army fought back methodically, crossing the 38th parallel after two months. On April 11 Truman, having reached the opinion that MacArthur’s independence amounted to insubordination, had relieved the general of all his commands and recalled him to the United States. General Ridgway was appointed Supreme Commander, Korea; he regrouped the UN forces for successful counterattacks. The Chinese counterattacked in April 1951, with the Fifth Phase Offensive. But fierce resistance blunted its impetus, and the Chinese were halted at a defensive line north of Seoul. On 15 May 1951, the Chinese commenced the second offensive in the east, and initially were successful, yet were halted by 20 May. At month's end, the US Army counterattacked and regained "Line Kansas", just north of the 38th parallel. The UN's "Line Kansas" halt and subsequent offensive action stand-down began the stalemate that lasted until the armistice of 1953. FROM NEGOTIATIONS TO ARMISTIC By June 1951 the Korean War had reached another critical point. The Chinese–North Korean armies, despite having suffered some 500,000 casualties since November, had grown to 1,200,000 soldiers. United Nations Command had taken its share of casualties—more than 100,000 since the Chinese intervention—but by May 1951 U.S. ground troops numbered 256,000, the ROKA 500,000, and other allied contingents 28,000. These developments obliged the leaders of both coalitions to consider that peace could not be imposed by either side through military victory. On May 17, 1951, the U.S. National Security Council adopted a new policy that committed the United States to support a unified, democratic Korea, but not necessarily one unified by military action and the overthrow of Kim II-Sung. The communist road to a negotiated peace started in Beijing, where Mao, who had no desire to end the war, approved an approach: hold the ground in Korea and conduct a campaign of attrition, attempting to win limited victories against small allied units through violent night attacks and infantry infiltration. Meanwhile, negotiations would be managed by the Chinese, an unparalleled chance to appear an equal of the United States in Asia and a slap at the hated Japanese. The Koreans were not a factor for either side. After secret meetings between U.S. and Soviet diplomats, the Soviet Union announced that it would not block a negotiated settlement to the Korean War. The Truman administration had already alerted Ridgway to the prospect of truce talks, and on June 30 he issued a public statement that he had been authorized to participate in “a meeting to discuss an armistice providing for the cessation of hostilities.” On July 2 the Chinese and North Koreans issued a joint statement that they would discuss arrangements for a meeting, but only at their place of choice: the city of Kaesŏng, an ancient Korean capital, once part of the ROK but now occupied by the communists at the very edge of the front lines. The Chinese had just fired the first salvo of a new war, one in which talking and fighting for advantage might someday end the conflict. From the time the liaison officers of both coalitions met on July 8, 1951, until the armistice agreement was signed on July 27, 1953, the Korean War continued as a “stalemate.” This characterization is appropriate in only two ways: (1) DR. AFROZ ALAM, NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY ORISSA Page 4
    • MY LECTURES ON “KOREAN WAR-PART II 2010 both sides had given up trying to unify Korea by force; and (2) the movement of armies on the ground never again matched the fluidity of the war’s first year. Otherwise, the word stalemate has no meaning, for the political- geographic stakes in Korea remained high. In late October 1951 the communists agreed to move the truce negotiations to a more secure area, a village named P’anmunjŏm. Within two months they accepted the current line of contact between the armies as the military demarcation line; they also accepted related measures for the creation of a demilitarized zone (DMZ). The UNC accepted that there would be no verification activities outside of the DMZ, and both sides agreed to work on a regime for enforcement of the armistice after the shooting stopped. Much work on these items remained to be done, but the outline of an agreement was becoming apparent as the year ended—with one major exception: the handling of prisoners of war. On March 5, 1953, Joseph Stalin died, and within weeks the Politburo of the Soviet Communist Party voted that the war in Korea should be ended. Mao Zedong received the news with dismay, but he knew that his army could not continue the war without Soviet assistance. With a speed that amazed the negotiating teams on both sides, the Chinese accepted voluntary repatriation. POWs who wanted to return to their homelands would be released immediately, and those who chose to stay would go into the custody of a neutral international agency for non- coercive screening. The Chinese and North Koreans also agreed to the exchange of sick and disabled POWs, which took place between April 20 and May 3. In the final armistice agreement, a Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission under the custodianship of India was set up to handle the matter. With the United Nations' acceptance of India's proposed Korean War armistice, the KPA, the PVA, and the UN Command ceased fire on 27 July 1953, with the battle line approximately at the 38th parallel. Upon agreeing to the armistice, the belligerents established the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which has since been defended by the KPA and ROKA, USA and UN Command. As provided for in the armistice agreement, the United States organized an international conference in Geneva for all the belligerents to discuss the political future of Korea. The actual meetings produced no agreement. The Korean peninsula would continue to be caught in the coils of Cold War rivalry, but the survival of the Republic of Korea kept alive the hope of civil liberties, democracy, economic development, and eventual unification—even if their fulfilment might require another 50 years or more. DR. AFROZ ALAM, NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY ORISSA Page 5