The Korean War
The Korean War began as a civil conflict between North and South Korea. However, it overgrew the frontiers of Korea soon and became one of the most important conflicts within the cold war.
Until the end of the 2nd World War, Korea was officially Japanese colony. Allies decided that after the war, the defeated Japan should be stripped of all of its colonies, including Korea. Allies agreed on that the Soviet Union will supervise the surrender of Japanese army in the part of the Korean peninsula north of the 38th parallel and the United States will oversee the Japanese troops surrender in the part of the Korean peninsula south of the 38th parallel.
The division of the Korean peninsula was intended to be only temporary. The United States planned democratic elections in both parts of Korea, in order to create the united Korean government. But the Soviet Union obstructed the democratic elections in the north part of Korea and promoted Kim Il Sung. The United States promoted Syngman Rhee. They both wanted to reunify Korea, but each of them had different ideological opinion and according to that promoted different way of political regime.
Unfortunately, the division of the Korean peninsula pasts until nowadays. In the north is located Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which was during the cold war supported by the Soviet Union and in the south there is Republic of Korea supported by the United States.
On 25 June 1950 North Korean People’s Army surprisingly poured across the 38th parallel and they quickly approached to the capital city of Republic of Korea Seoul. This invasion was the first military action of the Cold War.
In April 1950 United Nations Security Council approved a resolution that recommends to support South Korea and to use all necessary means, including military force. At that time Soviet Union was boycotting the Security Council, hence Soviet representative was not present to veto the resolution.
After UN Security Council issued this resolution, the American president Harry S. Truman decided to send American military forces to Korea. United States provided huge assistance to South Korea as they sent a lot of land, air, and sea forces in order to stop the expansion of communism.
From the beginning, the American invasion was defensive, however by the end of summer it changed and started to be offensive. The United States claimed that their goal is to liberate the North Korea from the communist regime.
The American troops came even near the Yalu River, the boundary between North Korea and Communist China. China considered that step an aggression against Chinese territory. In response Mao Zedong ordered to send the Chinese troops to support North Korea. Definitely Harry S. Truman did not expect this. The situation was very dangerous, because it could provoke the Soviet Union to attack west countries in Europe.
Harry S. Truman was looking for a suitable non-aggressive solution to the problem, but the American general Douglas MacArthur did everything that could provoke China. From those reasons, MacArthur was dismissed on 11 April 1951.
In July 1951 American president Harry S. Truman commenced peace negotiations at Panmunjom. The negotiations took more than two years, while the fighting still continued along the 38th parallel. Finally, an armistice was signed on 27 July 1953. According to the agreement, the division of Korean peninsula continues at just about the same geographical point as before the conflict.
The Korean War was very frustrating experience for the American people. More than 55,000 American soldiers were killed in the conflict and moreover, the United States did not defeated the opponent, as in most other conflict including the 2nd World War.