Explain how the USA, USSR and China became involved in the Korean War 1950 53

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Explain how the USA, USSR and China became involved in the Korean War 1950 – 53

Korea was liberated from Japanese control by the USSR in 1945. The country was divided along the 38th Parallel. Attempts were made to reunite the country but the USSR wanted a government sympathetic to communism and the USA preferred capitalism. The country ended up being divided into two separate states: in the north, a communist regime under Kim Il Sung and in the south a capitalist dictatorship under Syngman Rhee.

The USSR became involved with Korea because it feared that the invasion of North Korea was a stepping stone to Asian communist revolution. They feared that if the whole of Korea was to fall Japan and other neighbouring countries could be a risk of communism. Many Americans believed in the domino theory – that one country after another would fall to communism. The 1947 Truman Doctrine was revised so it was extended to cover the whole world rather than just Europe. Truman wanted to prove he was tough on communism. He stated that the USA would help any country resisting ‘armed minorities or outside pressures’.

The USA were still reeling from the loss of China to communism in 1949, after Zedong’s victory in the civil war. The USA had failed to keep Kai Shek, a nationalist, in power. Their fears were increased when in 1949 the USSR developed an atomic bomb and in 1950 signed a treaty of friendship with China. The Cold War tensions shifted in their location from Europe to Asia.

Between 1948 and 1950 thousands were killed in clashes between North and South Korea. In June 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea and within three months the South Korean army was pushed into a small area in the south called the Pusan Pocket. President Truman was under pressure from the US government, especially Republicans and Senator Mc Carthy, for being weak on communism. He felt the need to act decisively after the invasion.  

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The USA became involved using the United Nations which was boycotted by the USSR. 15 countries contributed soldiers to the UN army but it was a 90% US force. Almost all the weapons were provided by the USA. The 300,000 soldier army was led by General Douglas MacArthur who was responsible to President Truman. Rhee’s army was on the verge of surrender, so in September 1950 the UN army successfully landed at Inchon behind North Korean lines and by October the North Korean army was pushed back over the 38th Parallel.

The UN army then got ambitious and went against ...

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