The victory of Allied in WWII (1945) US + Soviet Union agreed to occupy the country as a trusteeship with the zone demarcated along the 38th parallel. After the war, the USSR began to pursue communism, which the US saw as a threat to freedom because of the Communist Manifesto. Because Korea was divided, America felt that there should be an election to see which form of government the people of Korea wanted, so that it could be reunited again.
No agreement reached on how to resolve the issue of divided Korea. ◦ Fall of 1947: US brought this problem to United Nations Nov. 14, 1947: UN passed a resolution ◦ free elections should be held, ◦ foreign troops should be withdrawn, and ◦ an UN commission for Korea (United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea) should be created.
Reaction of Soviet Union: ◦ Boycotted the UN-supervised election in the south ◦ No UN supervision of election held in the north May 10,1948: the south held a general election. ◦ Syngman Rhee was elected as president ◦ August 15,1948: the Republic of Korea was established.• Sept 19, 1948: the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea was declared in which Kim Il-sung appointed as prime minister As a result, a Communist state was permanently established under Soviet in the north and a pro- Western state was set up in the south. The two superpowers backed different leaders and two states were effectively established, each of which claimed sovereignty over the whole Korean peninsula.
Immediate cause: ◦ 1950, Syngman Rhee boasted that he was going to attack North Korea. It was a good enough excuse – the North Koreans invaded South Korea. ◦ April 1950, Kim Il-sung travelled to Moscow and secured Stalins support for a policy to unify Korea under his authority ◦ North Korea started the Korean War invoking the nationalistic slogan of liberating the Korean people from the U. S. colonialism and imperialism.
Underlying Cause: ◦ It was just another episode in the ongoing Cold War between the US and the USSR The US went to war in Korea for three reasons: ◦ The ‘Domino Theory’. ◦ To try to undermine Communism. ◦ Competition with the USSR for world domination.
The Soviet Union reason: ◦ To expand Communism ◦ To prevent the Chinese leader (Mao) from establishing relations with the US The PRC reason: ◦ As an act of self-defense
The armistice of 27 July 1953 ended the fighting in Korea. The armistice was a temporary cease-fire and not a treaty of peace. It reflected the realization by all the involved parties that neither side had either the means or the will to compel the other to submit to its political agenda. The conflict has remained, despite border clashes and sporadic incidents, for more than half a century.
Casualties: ◦ In the three years of fighting 1,263 men of the Commonwealth forces were killed and a further 4,817 were wounded, while the United States lost 33,000 men. Australian casualties numbered more than 1,500, of whom 339 were killed. Almost half a million South Koreans died as a result of the war, and an unknown number of North Koreans and Chinese.
Korean: ◦ The country was totally gone after long period of war as image below. The effects of Korean war has divided Korea into North Korea and South Korea. Many Korean families were split with relatives on either sides of the border due to different kind of thoughts, either communism or non-communism. There were several casualties on both sides though the exact figure may never be known. ◦ Today, South Korea has become a major economic and technological power. North Korea is still a poverty-stricken, heavily militarized nation.
Soviet Union: ◦ They had actually suffered a net loss of 1,500 square miles of territory as the price of their aggression. ◦ The Communists had successfully prevented UN attempts to liberate the North,.
China: The conflict had propelled the Peoples Republic of China to a place of prominence on the world stage Develop feeling of enmity between China and the United States that last for decades
US: ◦ This war created a fear in the United States of the ‘domino effects’ of communism. The United States intervened in Vietnam to avoid another North Korea. ◦ The war demonstrated the will of the United States to do everything possible to prevent the proliferation of communism. ◦ United States had rearmed and become a world power