History of the Korean War

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History of the Korean War


The Korean War took place between the years of 1950 and 1953. The cause of the war was that Korea was under Japanese rule ever since the end of the Chinese-Japanese war in 1895. After World War II, in 1945, Korea was freed from Japan. The United States troops occupied the southern part of the country and Russian forces took the north. The very first and main reason we entered the war in Korea was because John Foster Dulles, the future Secretary of State under Dwight Eisenhower, said that it would be best if we entered the war. At the time Dulles was a special advisor to the Secretary of State Acheson. Dulles was in Tokyo when the Koreans staged war. Dulles sent a message to Acheson that if the South Koreans start losing and cannot hold back the North Koreans, they should send in United States forces. He said to do so, "even though this risks Russian counter moves. To sit by while Korea is overrun by unprovoked armed attack would start a disaster chain even leading most probably to World War III." When Dulles got back to Washington he specified that he meant sending in United States Air and Naval forces only, not troops. Almost immediately after getting word of the invasion, Acheson decided that the United States should put the matter before the United Nations. He then called President Truman and got his approval. Almost fourteen hours after Washington got word of the war there was a conference set up among certain members of the United Nations. The final decision of the United Nations was to give arms and equipment to the R.O.K. army (Republic of Korea). Then they authorized General MacArthur to use his forces and the United States Seventh Fleet, "to stabilize the combat situation". We first entered the war on June 25, 1950 because the United States felt that if Russia's troops would fight for North Korea, we should fight for South Korea. Also, since South Korea had a dictatorship, we wanted to prevent it from becoming communist and remaining a dictatorial form of government. If the communist started conquering many nations they might start a whole empire (the domino effect). In December 1943 the United States, China and Great Britain made a promise to Synyman Rhee during World War II that Korea would be given its independence "in due course" after World War II.

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Our involvement began with Korea dates back to when we dropped the atom bomb in Hiroshima, Japan and the defeated Japanese gave up Korea. The United States took all of Korea below the 38th Parallel and Russia took everything else. Russia began indoctrinating its occupied territory of Korea in communist thinking. This upset the United States which wanted the region to have a democratic government, rather than the existing dictatorship. On June 25, 1950 , without warning a surprise attack was staged by North Korea, on South Korea, across the 38th Parallel. Almost the minute the United States found out from Ambassador John J. Muccio, the United States asked for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, which had been formed just five years before , to discuss the matter on hand. The first decision of the United Nations was not to aid North Korea. Two days later a second meeting was called and the United Nations decided to assist the Republic of Korea because it was necessary to repel the armed attack and regain international peace and security in the area. Earlier that day President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, had announced that he had ordered U.S. air and naval forces to give the South Korean troops cover and support. On June 29 , Truman ordered General Douglas MacArthur to use special supporting ground units in Korea, and authorized the United States Air Force to conduct missions on specific military targets in North Korea. He also asked to set up a naval blockade off the entire Korean coast. A reason why the U.S. entered the war is because the United Nations, voted and decided that the invasion was a violation of international peace. Since the communists continued to fight, sixteen United Nations countries sent troops and forty-one countries sent military equipment, food or other supplies. The United States sent around 9% of the supplies. A North Korean division invaded South Korean territory, past the 38th Parallel. One of the main commanders involved in the Korean War was Major General William "Big Bill" Dean, commander of the U.S. 24th Infantry Division , a combat veteran of World War II and former military governor of South Korea. On June 25, 1950 General Dean was walking out of church and the post duty officer came running saying, "General, sir, we've just had word that the North Koreans have crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded South Korea." The minute General Dean heard this he notified Lieutenant Colonel Charles Brad Smith and had him call in the Task Force. This was a group of four hundred infantrymen. Soon after many other troops were sent into Korea. I feel that the Korean War was a tragedy. I disagree with the people who said we should enter the war. I feel that the United Nations should have threatened the North Koreans rather than the United States getting into the fight. Many people died, and the U.S. did not even, necessarily, win. North Korea succeeded in turning South Korea into a communist nation. On the other hand, the U.S. succeeded in preventing the domino effect, further stopping the spread of communism. I do, however, think it was important to stop communism, so if the United States would have tried alternating peace methods and still did not succeed, then sending in the troops was acceptable and important.

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