Causes of the korean war Essay

This essay has a total of 1379 words and 7 pages.


causes of the korean war




Causes of the Korean War
The Korean War, 1950-1953

After the USSR installed a Communist government in North Korea in
September 1948, that government promoted and supported an insurgency in
South Korea in an attempt to bring down the recognized government and
gain jurisdiction over the entire Korean peninsula. Not quite two years
later, after the insurgency showed signs of failing, the northern
government undertook a direct attack, sending the North Korea People's
Army south across the 38th parallel before daylight on Sunday, June 25,
1950. The invasion, in a narrow sense, marked the beginning of a civil
war between peoples of a divided country. In a larger sense, the cold
war between the Great Power blocs had erupted in open hostilities.
The western bloc, especially the United States, was surprised by the
North Korean decision. Although intelligence information of a possible
June invasion had reached Washington, the reporting agencies judged an
early summer attack unlikely. The North Koreans, they estimated, had not
yet exhausted the possibilities of the insurgency and would continue
that strategy only.

The North Koreans, however, seem to have taken encouragement from the
U.S. policy which left Korea outside the U.S. "defense line" in Asia and
from relatively public discussions of the economies placed on U.S. armed
forces. They evidently accepted these as reasons to discount American
counteraction, or their sponsor, the USSR, may have made that
calculation for them. The Soviets also appear to have been certain the
United Nations would not intervene, for in protest against Nationalist
China's membership in the U.N. Security Council and against the U.N.'s
refusal to seat Communist China, the USSR member had boycotted council
meetings since January 1950 and did not return in June to veto any
council move against North Korea.
Moreover, Kim Il Sung, the North Korean Premier, could be confident that
his army, a modest force of 135,000, was superior to that of South
Korea. Koreans who had served in Chinese and Soviet World War II armies
made up a large part of his force. He had 8 full divisions, each
including a regiment of artillery; 2 divisions at half strength; 2
separate regiments; an armored brigade with 120 Soviet T-34 medium
tanks; and 5 border constabulary brigades. He also had 180 Soviet
aircraft, mostly fighters and attack bombers, and a few naval patrol
craft.
The Republic of Korea (ROK) Army had just 95,000 men and was far less
fit. Raised as a constabulary during occupation, it had not in its later
combat training under a U.S. Military Advisor Group progressed much
beyond company-level exercises. Of its eight divisions, only four
approached full strength. It had no tanks and its artillery totaled
eighty-nine 105-mm. howitzers. The ROK Navy matched its North Korean
counterpart, but the ROK Air Force had only a few trainers and liaison
aircraft. U.S. equipment, war-worn when furnished to South Korean
forces, had deteriorated further, and supplies on hand could sustain
combat operations no longer than fifteen days. Whereas almost $11
million in materiel assistance had been allocated to South Korea in
fiscal year 1950 under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program,
Congressional review of the allocation so delayed the measure that only
a trickle of supplies had reached the country by June 25, 1950.
The North Koreans quickly crushed South Korean defenses at the 38th
parallel. The main North Korean attack force next moved down the west
side of the peninsula toward Seoul, the South Korean capital, thirty-
five miles below the parallel, and entered the city on June 28.
Secondary thrusts down the peninsula's center and down the east coast
kept pace with the main drive. The South Koreans withdrew in disorder,
those troops driven out of Seoul forced to abandon most of their
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