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To what extent was the Korean conflict of 1950 to 1953 a 'turning point' in the Cold War

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Introduction

To what extent was the Korean conflict of 1950 to 1953 a 'turning point' in the Cold War? The beginnings of the Cold War, the period between 1945 and 1949, were fraught with a mutual tension and distrust sustained chiefly by the bold, economically expansionist policies of the USA and the defensive, albeit retaliatory, responses of the Soviet Union. Until 1950, America had relied upon her own currency in curtailing what she perceived as the spread of communist influence. The start of the Korean War, however, saw the revampment of American policy and the globalisation, as well as the exacerbation, of the existing superpower tension. As such, to a large extent, the Korean conflict was a departure from previous trends in the American-Soviet conflict. In reaffirmation of my stand is the fact that the battlefield had expanded beyond the borders of continental Europe into the environmentally hostile regions of Korea, and that the participants of this 'new' Cold War were no longer confined to the superpowers themselves. At the same time, though only to a slight degree, the Korean War was still reminiscent of the old, European Cold War, as manifested by Truman's citing of the Domino Theory in the face of an invasion of South Korea by the communist North, a typical instance of American failure to fully grasp the situation with which they are dealing. Of foremost importance to the turning point of the superpower enmity is the implementation of NSC 68. ...read more.

Middle

The rearmament and procurement of full-fledged independence of West Germany was deemed a necessity as a result; the resurrection of Russia's former wartime adversary would rekindle old fears of German expansion and deter Soviet aggression. After the occurrence of war in Korea, in hopes of putting up a stronger attack front against the Soviets, the USA had begun to favour the idea of West German rearmament, which the French strongly opposed. Ultimately, to dispell French fears, the USA agreed to the French Pleven Plan to allow West Germany to be part of a European Defence Community. This, however, was met with disapproval from the Germans, most of whom were opposed to the idea of military rearmament and preferred instead to be independent of foreign control. Seeing as how the political and economic reconstruction of West Germany was a long-term goal, the USA agreed to remove all occupation controls and grant Germany full statehood. The Korean War was indubitably a turning point in the Cold War, as seen in the fact that its occurrence galvanised the Americans to rearm and grant independence to Germany, something that would previously have been regarded with doubt and apprehension. American signing of the ANZUS pact and recognition of Japan as a post-war ally varied from previous policy too. Like in the case of Germany, the USA had erstwhile been wary of future Japanese expansion and was not likely to grant Japan freedom from foreign supervision. ...read more.

Conclusion

America had responded ambivalently to the formation of the Chinese Communist Party, outwardly declaring the formation of diplomatic relations with the new regime, yet ordering the cessation of economic aid to Chiang Kai Shek. Hence it would seem that Truman had not only inherited Roosevelt's title as president of America but also his intrinsic uncertainty and diplomatic ambiguity displayed at Yalta in 1945. Truman's ambiguous response to the 'fall' of China reflected an inconsistency in American policy that was already exhibited earlier in the days when the Cold War was confined only to continental Europe. Even so, the events in Korea from 1950 to 1953 largely marked a turning point in the Cold War. This is seen in the extent of change in American policy thereafter, as well as the fact of international involvement in the conflict. Though only regional by nature, the Korean War had had far-reaching effects on foreign politics, like those of Japan and Germany, playing a major role in influencing American decision to grant full-fledged independence to these countries. Also, the Korean War marked the globalisation of what was once a regional conflict, as well as a departure from earlier American policy, from the provision of economic succour to the building up of armed forces and military and nuclear arsenal. As such, to a large extent, the Korean War was a turning point for the superpower enmity. ...read more.

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