How far was the USA's military involvement in the conflict in Korea the consequence of a desire to defend democracy?
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How far was the USA's military involvement in the conflict in Korea the consequence of a desire to defend democracy? Historians have often argued over why the USA got involved in the Korean War. Was it to defend democracy and that all that it stands for, was it to show the communists not to attack the USA and her allies, or was it simple pride? These are all questions that have to be asked when trying to understand why the USA got involved in Korea and whether or not it was out of a desire to defend democracy. When examining whether or not the USA's intervention in Korea was out of a desire to defend democracy, we have to look at the regime that was in power in south Korea at the start of the Korean War. South Korea was run by Syngman Rhee.
If they did not stop them then other Asian countries may fall communist and may even spread to Australia or Japan. South Korea was also a buffer for the Americans. They needed more than Japan as a buffer. Japan was key to the Region and if there were few or no allies surrounding Japan, there was the possibility of losing it. As Edwards explains "Japan held the Key to the balance of power in the region." Also after the loss of China communism appeared to be spreading through Asia. President Truman had been blamed for losing China, and it would have been politically unwise to not intervene in South Korea and allow it too to become communist. Another factor of containment is the Truman Doctrine. Due to what President Truman had stated in this the Americans were morally obligated t o get involved. As the Truman Doctrine said "...it must be the policy of the United States to support free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."
The European allies would have been extremely anxious. Due to the possibility that if they won't go to the South Koreans aid, they may not come to ours. It would have also shown the Soviets that the Americans were weak willed and could be pushed around. In conclusion it was not really out of a desire to defend democracy that the USA got involved in the Korean conflict. The main reason for them getting involved was containment. Under the Truman Doctrine they had to help the South Koreans. They believed that this was another attempt by Moscow to spread communism. Also the USSR had developed atomic weaponry the previous year, and the Americans had to show that even though they no longer had a Atomic monopoly, they would stand up to communist aggression around the World. One other contributing factor was syngman Rhee's pleas to the US to get involved. Overall it was containment that got the USA involved and a fear of the global spread of communism.
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