Koreans





Before the World War II era, the smallest Asian community to settle in the

United States of America was the Korean American community. Between 1903 and

1905, immigration records show some seven thousand Koreans migrated to Hawaii.

Hawaii had been annexed to the United States in 1898 and organized as a territory in

1900 A fraction of those immigrants came to the mainland. After 1905, sizable.

Korean emigration was all but stopped by Japanese overlords. Tens of thousands of

Koreans then went or were brought to Japan, but their descendants are still not

granted citizenship and other human rights.

The early Korean American community differed from the other Asian

communities in social characteristics. The Koreans were largely a community of
.
families, and a majority of them had converted to Christianity before leaving their

homeland. They saw Christianity as a kind of protection from the brutal Japanese

regime. (Encyclopedia of American Social History, Volume II, pages 880-887)

(America-A New World Power, Page 107)

The changes in the world that were made by World War II opened the

golden door of immigration once again. However, Korean immigration to the United

States was most greatly influenced by the Korean War and fueled anew by the Immi-

gration Act of 1965.

Before World War II, Korea had been one country, but in the aftermath of that

war, Korea was taken from Japan and occupied by the Soviet Union north of the

thirty-eighth parallel, and by the Americans south of that line. After four years

of occupation, American forces left South Korea in 1949. North Korea saw this

as the chance they had been waiting for, the invasion of South Korea...

(Readers\' Digest, The Story of America, 457)

The Korean War began June 25, l950. It was early afternoon in New York,

high noon on the West Coast, and four o\'clock in the morning in faraway Korea.

The summer monsoons had just begun, and heavy rains were falling, when the North

Korean army of seventy thousand men, forty miles of big guns, and Russian T34

tanks crossed the thirty-eighth parallel. Sheet after sheet of flames erupted, and North

Korean planes filled the air toward Seoul, less than fifty miles away. As General

MacArthur would later state, "North Korea struck like a cobra" that wet morning

of June 25, 1950. The Korean Peoples\' Army(KPA) and the North Korean Army

captured Seoul on Wednesday, June 29th, 1950.

Russian diplomats had been boycotting the United Nations Security Council

meetings, because the United Nations had not admitted Red China. Because of that

boycott, President Harry Truman was successful in his appeal to the United

Nations for "police action". For the first time in history, on Sunday, July 3, l950, an

international organization voted to intervene against aggression.("The Glory and the

Dream" William Manchester, pages 532, 533, 535)

American ground forces successfully landed on Inchon September 15, 1950, and

the United Nations forces began to gain the offensive. They retook Seoul, crossed the

thirty-eighth parallel and broke through the Pusan perimeter by September 30th. KPA

forces began retreating in the second phase of the war. Southern forces were approxi-

mately twenty-five miles north of the parallel and had captured Wonson, on the

eastern side of North Korea. After the regain of land, the South Korean forces, without

much resistance from the North Korean units, marched toward the Yalu River. The

tide of the war was turned once more, by the unexpected decision of China\'s entry into

the war. United Nations forces were sent retreating again by the North Korean units

which included Sino-Korean troops. Pyongyang was retaken by the Communist forces

on December 6, who then re-crossed the parallel, and retook Seoul by the end of

December. By the end of January, 1951, United Nations forces regained the offensive

on the Han River and retook Seoul by March 14. Conditions were of desperation and

despair in all of Korea, especially Seoul ,which had changed hands four times. Many

Koreans fled their homes to find refugee camps, but did not leave in large numbers

until after 1965.

Truce negotiations began July 10, 1951, but dragged on for months and men

continued to die. The conflict became an issue in the 1952 U. S. presidential

election, and finally, on July 27, 1953, an Armistice was signed at Panmunjom,

establishing a demilitarized zone at the thirty-eighth parallel. Neither side claimed

victory, but the Communists had been stopped by international forces.

(The Story of America,