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What were the causes of the Korean War (1950-1953)?

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What were the causes of the Korean War (1950-1953)? On 25th June 1950, ninety thousand North Korean soldiers invaded South Koreas border defences, The Korean war had begun, this small scale civil war would escalate into an international conflict. Historically Korea had once been a united country, under Japanese rule for between 1905 and 1945 however, the Japanese were unruly and did not treat the Koreans well. At the end of the Second World War it was decided that the country would be divided along the 38th parallel and occupied by soviet troops in the North and American troops in the South. Syngman Rhee, who had spent some years exiled in America, became the president of South Korea in 1948, while Kim Il Sung, having fought for the Russian red army during the war became leader of the Peoples Democratic Republic (Communist) in North Korea. I intent to outline the causes and contributing factors that eventually led to the Korean War. ...read more.


The USA did not provide an air force for the South Koreans as they too did not want Syngman Rhee to abuse his advantageous position. In 1949, Mao had just led a communist government to victory in a Chinese civil war, leaving the defeated Chinese nationalists in exile on the island of Taiwan (Formosa). This precedent where the Americans failed to stop the spread of Communism resulted in criticism of Truman's apparent soft approach towards the dangers outlined in the domino theory. This may have led to questions being asked as to would the USA intervene if North Korea invaded the South, Truman would now have to take a more stern and uncompromising approach to communism if he was to maintain domestic support and some may argue that the Korean support was an unnecessary token gesture to prove his vigilance and hard-line approach to communism. The Soviet Union adapted a somewhat different approach, Stalin was quite happy for there to be conflict, revolution and war in Asia as it would draw away attention from his plans of ...read more.


There were several short term events and misjudgements that had immediate effects in Korea, In January 1950, the American secretary of state, Dean Acheson made his "Defence Perimeter" speech in witch he failed to include Korea as an area that would have US influence in the event of an invasion. Stalin and the USSR were absent from the UN Security Council in an act of protest against the refusal to allow Communist China into the UN. If it had not been for this the USSR could have prevented UN backing to the Korean War. In Conclusion the real causes of the Korean lie in the wider context of cold war hostility and international relations rather than a civil war in an "Insignificant country". In 1949 It had been revealed that Russia know had the ability to use an atomic bomb, by the 1950's the fear of a third world war or conflict between major powers, the internal suspicions of communism in western politics and the growing reality of a Polarised world led to an increased tension in cold war hostility; Korea was just a venue. Stuart Webber 10/05/2007 ...read more.

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