Korean War 1950-53



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Mao Tse Tung
Both the US and the USSR had interests in Asia and Britain fears that communism will spread to their territories like India and Malaya. In 1949 China became communist under Mao Tse Tung. The United States responded by blocking Mao from his seat in the UN stating that Mao was not the rightful leader of China. Stalin signed peace and aid treaties with China and withdrew from the UN to protest the US's action against Mao.

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General MacArthur
After World War Two, when the Japaneses left Korea, it became divided into two parts; North, controlled by the USSR; and South, controlled by the US. The North became a communist state and the South became a non-communist state. North and South Korea were bitter rivals which lead to a war in 1950, where the North invaded the South and by September 1950 the most of South Korea was taken. Truman got the UN to condemn the invasion, branding the North as aggressors, and set-up a UN force led by US General MacArthur. The UN drove the North back to the North Korean-Chinese border. Mao did not like this so sent in a "volunteer" force to push the UN back to the original line. The two opposing sides fought in a bloody stalemate for three years (1951-1953). In 1953 North Korea and the UN agreed to a ceasefire (stalemate) which resulted in the country staying apart. The war was devastating resulting in the loss of about 1.5-4 million people and there were many cases of brutality against POWs.

On July 7th 1950 a British Foreign Officer in Moscow reported to London of the Soviet press response to the Korean war. First the officer gave his opinion on the event stating that the reason why it came at such a surprise is because Soviet ideals have spread to many countries all around the world, so a revolution or conflict would have occurred anywhere. He reported that the Soviet press has printed articles on North Korean movements, but they also written articles fooling the public into thinking that North Korea was a victim in this conflict saying that they were "victims of an unprincipled aggression launched under United States auspices (observers)".

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US Sectatary Dean Rusk
In 1951 the US government wrote a document to the press to help them quote Dean Rusk, a US government official in charge of Far Eastern Affairs, who went on T.V to discuses the American policy in Korea. He stated that the U.S is in Korea because they don't want the aggressors (like N.Korea) to think they could get away with invasion, if U.S did nothing aggressors will believe they can get away with anything. This war is meant to teach Korea and Red China the cost of aggression, and to allow neighboring countries to live free without fear of being forced to accept communism. US is there to help S.Korea against communism and protect them from a worse fate if communism takes over (justification to attack communism? aimed to get public outrage against communism?). Also this conflict is to show US's allies that they will stick to their commitments.

A year after the beginning of the war the British Cabinet discussed the possible escalation of the war in Korea. This escalation was made probable due to US General MacArthur's disobedient action to push the N. Koreans to the Chinese border which caused China to send soldiers to assist the North. It was discussed that if China attacked UN forces in Korea with air strikes from mainland China then the United States wants to make the decision, representing the command of UN forces in Korea, to strike back (this would possibly mean a direct war with China, remember that the Chinese forces were considered "volunteers". The discussion continued to state that it is not clear if the Americans have prepared to reduce the effects of Chinese air strikes, like the dispersal or protection of military targets or by the provision of more night-fighters (if this is the case then is the US planning a war with China by branding them as aggressors?). It also went further to discuss if the USSR were to commence air strikes against UN forces then it should be by the decision of the UN (as a whole) to respond with retaliatory strikes (why the change is it because the USSR is more dangerous the N.Korea?).

An intelligence report was created by Captain REE King (British officer) in Korea. The important thing to note from this report was that the North Koreans were armed and equipped (poorly as stated by the Captain) with Soviet made weapons and vehicles (does this mean that the Soviets are doing something smiler to the Truman Doctrine by protecting Communist states with weapons?)

Learning Curve: Korean War
Learning Curve: Korean War: Historical Source One: A French news film from late 1950 which gives an overview of various aspects of the war in Korea (ITN Archive/Pathe).
Learning Curve: Korean War: Historical Source Two: Extracts from a Foreign Office report on the Soviet government's management of media coverage of the Korean War July 7th 1950
Learning Curve: Korean War: Historical Source Three: Comments on the Korean war by US politician Dean Rusk on a US TV show, January 29th 1951
Learning Curve: Korean War: Historical Source Four: Extracts from the minutes of a meeting of the British Cabinet discussing the possible escalation of the war in Korea
Learning Curve: Korean War: Historical Source Five: Extracts from an intelligence report on North Korean forces late 1951 to early 1952
Learning Curve: Korean War: Historical Source Six: Extract from a report from British officials in Tokyo on problems of achieving a peace settlement, January 1952