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Korean War 1

Korean War

QuestionAnswer
Why were the USA and USSR in Korea in 1945? Korea had been under Japanese occupation since 1905. USA and USSR had allied during the second world war and proposed that when Japan surrendered, the USSR would take the North and the USA the South.
What happened after the War? Soviet troops entered the North on the 12th August and American troops the South on the 8th September.
After American and Soviet troops entered what was the situation between the two powers? 1. The USA and USSR began 18 months of unsuccessful negotiations on the issue of Korean reunification. 2. Korea was effectively divided in half by their occupying forces. 3. The USA tried to create a state in its own image, as did the USSR in the North
Why was the USA initially keen to get their troops out of South Korea? In September 1945, the Joint chiefs of Staff, head of the US armed forces said that Korea had no strategic significance and it was therefore useless to have troops there.
What made the USA change their mind? Cold War tensions increased and President Truman feared domestic criticism and damage to US credibility.
What pressure did the USA put on the UN in November 1945? The USA pressured the United Nations into issuing a resolution favouring reunification following nationwide elections in Korea. Under further pressure the UN supervised elections but only in the American controlled South.
What was the result of this election? Syngman Rhee became leader of the newly established Republic of Korea in May 1948.
What followed in September 1948? Kim Il Sung became leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
What did Historians believe about Kim Il Sung and the elections? He had considerable support and if free nationwide elections had been held in Korea he would have won.
What was the difference in military aid between the North and South? The North was military superior to the South, having been armed to the hilt by the USSR. The USA gave Rhee far less aid because they feared he would become too agressive in dealing with the North.
Why was a Korean war probable? Against the backdrop of the Cold War and because Rhee and Kim were both ambitious nationalists wanting reunification on their own terms.
What did British Historian Peter Lowe suggest contributed greatly to the outbreak of the Korean war? An unquestionably foolish combination of US statements and acts.
What was the first US statement that contributed to the outbreak of War involving US Secretary of State Dean Acheson? Acheson defined the American 'defence perimeter' in the Pacific, a line from North to South, any country on the East side would be defended by America in the face of an attack. He excluded Korea from the defence perimeter.
What was the second US act that contributed to the outbreak of War involving Senator Connolly? Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Connally, made a speech where he seemed willing to accept Communist takeover of the whole peninsula. Syngman Rhee criticised the speech as foolish.
What did Congress reject in January 1950? What did this suggest? The Republican dominated Congress rejected a bill giving aid to Korea to prove they opposed Truman's China policy. The initial rejection of the bill suggested to some Communists Korea did not matter and an attack against it would not be opposed by the US.
What was Stalin's role in the outbreak of war? 1) His approval was essential for Kim's invasion as Kim needed Soviet fighter planes. 2) Throughout 1949, Stalin stopped Kim attacking the South because he feared US intervention. However, Stalin in the end, gave Kim the go ahead.
Why did Stalin let Kim attack South Korea? 1) Communist parties were keen to see Korea become Communist after China's fall in late 1949. 2) Stalin wanted the USA to be embroiled with China, so they would be occupied and thus, weakened making the USSR powerful. 3) Stalin was anxious about Japan.
What was Mao's role in the outbreak of war? 1) The US believed that Moscow and Beijing colluded in a North Korean attack on the South an important motivator for the US intervention. 2) Mao feared a resurgent Japan demonstrated by his concern for his frontiers - invasion of Tibet,
To summarise, what were the 5 influencing factors for a USSR North attack on USA's South? 1)Stalin wanted the USA distracted to make progress in Europe. 2) Stalin and Mao's assent. 3) Fear of Japan and USA increasing realations. 4)'Unquestionably foolish' US words and deeds. 5) Stalin wanted US to be entangled with China.
What influence did American Anti Communism have on US involvement in Korea? USA feared an ideology rejecting Capitalism and democracy. America believed it's security would be greatly threatened in a world where more countries were communist. It anticipated that they would refuse trade with the US and export their ideologies.
What influence did the 'world balance of power' have on US involvement in Korea? From the time Russia had become Communist, USA feared a Communist dominated world and by 1950 this seemed likely. By 1950, all of Eastern Europe was Communist, behind Stalin's iron curtain.
Which events suggested that the 'world balance of power' had tilted in favour of Communism? The Berlin Blockade - the West percieved Stalin's actions to be highly aggressive. Czechoslovakia's fall to Communism. End of US monopoly of the atomic bomb, the Soviet testing of their first atomic bomb was a huge threat to US security.
What did Historian Peter Lowe say about the Berlin Blockade and Czechoslovakia's role in US involvement? Historian Peter Lowe emphasised that these 2 great European crises played a big part in persuading Truman that Communist aggression had to be contained in Korea, according to Lowe, Europe's battles were fought on the battlefields of Korea.
What influence did McCarthyism and domestic political concerns have on US involvement in Koera? The Red Scare prompted by Joseph McCarthy generated a large scale anti-communist hysteria. In this atmosphere, Truman had to be tough in handing Communist Threats, otherwise the Democrats would lose in the Congressional midterm elections of November 1950
What was the influence of the NSC-68 on USA's involvement in Korea? Truman commissioned the NSC in early 1950 to produce a planning paper summarising the USA's position and direction regarding communism.
What did the paper entail? It was a classic Cold War document descbring a polarised world where the enslaved (communists) faced the free (USA) Claimed the USSR had a 'fanatic faith' and its leaders wanted total domination of Europe and Asia.
What did the paper recommend? (3) 1) The development of a hydrogen bomb so the USA could resist Communist attempts at domination. 2)The build up of US conventional forces to defend American shores and enable the USA to fight wars abroad. 3)A cold war consensus, uniting the country.
What was the influence of Japan on US involvement in Korea? After WW2, the USA occupied Japan under General MacArthur. The safety of Japan would be jeopardised if it were faced by a Communist Korea. In June 1950, Truman's advisers emphasised that communist control of south korea's airbases would be a huge threat.
What was the influence of the United Nations and lesson from history on US involvement in Korea? Truman felt that the 1930's failure of the LON had taught that collective security needed to be supported and appeasement avoided. Truman believed there would be another war if the UN was not supported or aggressors appeased.
COURSE OF THE KOREAN WAR ----
When did North Korean troops attack South Korea? 25th June 1950
What did the UN security council pass and what were the influences? Influenced by the absence of the USSR and encouragement by the USA, the UN passed a resolution asking North Korea to withdraw.
What was passed on the 27th June? Another SC resolution declaring that the UN should oppose North Korea.
How did Truman respond to this? An executive order authorising US air and naval forces to attack North Korea.
What did Truman state about North Korea's attack in regards to Communism? The attack upon Korea makes it plain beyond all doubt that communism has passed beyond the use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion.'
What did Truman later state in his memoirs? If the free world had not opposed Communism in South Korea then no other smaller nations would have had the courage to resist threats and aggression by stronger Communist neighbours.
When and why did Truman first send in US troops? 30th June after the Seoul fell to Communists. MacArthur warned Truman that without US forces the whole of Korea would fall to Communism.
What happened in the Taiwan Straits? Truman ordered the US 7th Fleet to the Taiwan Straits motivated by US fear that Communist China would takeover Taiwan and threaten US security.
Why was this significant? Britain a close ally of the US criticised this extension of the Korean war to China and confusion began over US war aims which were originally seen to be getting North Korea out of the South but now suggested the aim was to defend Chiang.
What happened on the 7th July in the UN? Security Council asked for a UnitedNations Commander to coordinate US, UN and ROK forces in Korea, Truman appointed General MacArthur.
Why did tension develop between Truman and MacArthur? Truman wanted a limited defensive war in South Korea to resist Soviet and Chinese troops but MacArthur wanted to go all out against North Korea and later, Communist China.
What was the significance of US entry into Korea? 1) Risking third world war with China and USSR. 2) Truman's order of American forces into Korea was 'significantly expanding and militarising' US foreign policy in Asia according to Historian James Patterson. 3) 75% of Americans supported entry.
Who was General MacArthur? Career soldier with a great reputation, he was considered by many Americans to be one of the heroes of WW2 when he led the US army in the Pacific. He was convinced noone knew the 'Oriental mind' better than him.
Why was he picked to be the UN commander and what was reaction? He had handled the remaking of Japan and was already a commander of US forces in the Pacific. John Dulles warned Truman that tact was essential for a UN commander and MacArthur did not have any.
What was the military situation in June 1950? The forces in the South had struggled through the summer of 1950 and were on the defensive having been unprepared for the attack.
What did Roy Appleman say about the occupational divisions? They were not trained, equipped or ready for battle. Most of the soldiers were young, and not really interested in being soldiers.
Why was morale low? No strong ancestral links like in Europe in WW2 or motivating attack e.g. Pearl Harbour. Furthermore, Korean terrain was unpleasant, temperatures were high and human excrement filled the air used to fertilise rice paddies.
What happened in 'Early Retreat' June 1950? American forces failed to halt North Korean tanks, there were no tanks in the South belonging to ROK forces because US military planners deemed the mountainous land unsuitable.
What became of the retreat? The retreat was chaotic, inexperienced troops frequently fled known as the 'bugout fever.' The Americans became bitter about North Korean tactics e.g. using civillians as human shields.
Where were the US forces in August 1950? The retreating US and ROK forces were pinned behind the Perimeter, within the area was the only port and airfield left where the US could land more troops and supplies.
What happened at the Pusan Perimeter? The ROK commander and Major Genearl Walker managed to hold the line of the Pusan Perimeter enabling the fighting to continue. Battle Mountain changed hands 19 times ove the course of fighting.
By late August, what had happened? The North Koreans were outnumbered, they had lost 58,000 men and were down to 40 tanks. The Americans still controlled the skies and seas and the North Korean supply lines were overstretched.
Why were the North Korean troops failing? They couldn't use their favourite tactic of flanking the enemy as the USA and South Korea bordered by the sea to the South and East. Six US tank battalions arrived and the USA had less territory to defend and more troops to defend it with.
What was the situation in September 1950? There had been 8000 US causalities and although 50 countries had pledged support only Britain had arrived. The suporters of the war were still in the majority in Washington.
What did Truman say to Moscow and Beijing on 1st September? USA did not want a WW3 but at that point US military effort looked unimpressive and there was little for the USSR and China to worry about.
What changed on 15th September? The military situation was revolutionised by MacArthur who against advice of other military experts undertook a highly successful assault on Inchon.
Why was the Inchon landing risky? There was a 30ft daily tidal change and the beaches were merely glutinous mud. There was the very real possibility that North Korea had mined the area.
What happened at the Inchon landing? Kim was taken completely by suprise, the harbour had not been mined despite advice from Mao and the operation went like a dream with minimal US casualties, Inchon was taken.
What happened from here? US forces pressed on to Seoul where there was bitter fighting with the North who had rushed in reinforcements. Massive bombing was used and the destruction of the city resulted.
What happened to North Korean troops? Fled north of the 38th paralel threatened by US air power and badly weakened by repeated attacks on Walker's army.
What was the risk behind moving North of the 38th Parallel? Risked Chinese intervention, there were already a large number of Chinese divisions in Manchuria, just North of the Yalu river which marked the border. To occupy the whole of Korea would bring US forces to the Yalu and in the North East to the USSR.
What happened on 1st October? Some ROK forces crossed the 38th parallel into North Korea.
What happened on 2nd October? The Chinese Prime-minister, Zhou Enlai, told the Indian ambassador in Beijing that China would intervene if US forces crossed the border.
How did the US react to this? Did not take the warning seriously, MacArthur was convinced that China would not intervene and was determined to continue the 'rolling back of Communism.'
Why did it make military sense to move North of the 38th Parallel? It was better to push on and eliminate the threat of the North and find a better defensive line further North to dig and defend.
What happened in the State department that encouraged the push? Moderates such as George Kennan who saw the USSR as containable were being replaced by more aggressive Cold War warriors such as Dean Rusk and John Dulles who thought it was essential to respond harshly to challenges from Moscow.
What was US public opinion about moving North? 64% of Americans favoured invading the North. There was a growing anti communist lobby and a China lobby that hoped conflict with Mao's China would see the return of Chaing Kai-Shek.
Why did Truman find it impossible to resist the pressure? Congressional elections due in November.
What was MacArthur told? To show restraint and not undertake any act risking conflict with China or the USSR, US troops were not to be used near the border.
What were the problems in invading North Korea? Winter was approaching and sub Arctic temperatures were likely. Roads were few and a central mountainous spine split the country which would divide Walker and Almond's troops.
Why did MacArthur insist on moving North? Insisted that North Korea was beaten and China would not intervene. Bad advice from intelligence officer General Willougbhy who told him what he wanted to hear. The number of Chinese troops in Manchuria was consistently underestimated.
What did MacArthur see was the next step in the Korean war? A parade to the Yalu River would win the war. He planned a similar landing to Inchon at the port of Wonsan.
What happened at Wonsan? North Korea had mined the harbour and US troops were left out at sea waiting for minesweepers. UN forces had taken the port from the land by the time the harbour had been cleared.
What happened by the end of October? The British Commonwealth Brigade reached the narrowest point in the Korean peninsula, an obvious place to stop and draw a defence line.
What could have happened now? Kim could have been left with a rump state, protecting Chinese and Russian interests but McArthur felt that was appeasing Communism and ordered ground commanders to advance to the Yalu.
What happened on 1st November at Unsan? A large force of Chinese troops struck an elite force of US troops at Unsan, 50 miles South of the Border.
What was the result of this? Terrible battering on the Americans and swept away several ROK units on their flanks.
What happened at the border hills? The Chinese withdrew to the bordehills, MacArthur fell for it, took the bait, and ordered his forces further North into more inhospitable terrain.
Why did Mao intervene? (4) 1) Angry about Trumans reversal of policy in Taiwan. 2)Did not want hostile US forces on the border where China relied on electricity from N Korea. 3) Conflict would heighten nationalist sentiment. 4) Conscious of Chinese history - consolidate power.
Why were the Chinese forces on the border of North Korea different to American forces? Lightly armed, not limited to roads, relied heavily on rifles and machine guns, masters of camouflage and surprise attack.
What happened by mid November? Over 120,000 Chinese troops confronted Almond's 10th Corps in the East and 200,000 faced Walker's 8th Army in the West.
How did Almond react? He urged the marine division North up an 80 mile single-track road to the Chosin Reservoir near the border.
What happened on 25th November in Kunuri? The Chinese offensive against Walker began, UN's front collapsed, ROK units broke and fled and US forces faced being surrounded.
What decision was taken? Longest retreat in US military history over 300 miles.
What happened in the East? An attack began two days later, 100,000 Chinese veterans had encircled the Marine Corps, blocking retreat from the Chosin Reservoir.
How did US troops triumph? Encirclement failed and China blew up the bridge but Japan flew in equipment to mend it as well as tanks, guns and vehicles. Almond's whole corps them embarked with minimal losses.
Why did US forces have to retreat again? The Western Front had collapsed, Seoul was lost for the second time and it was not until 50 miles to the South that China were halted.
When did the grand retreat end? February 1951
Why did Truman dismiss McArthur on 11th April 1951? Long term disagreements over the relative strategic importance of Asia as opposed to Europe, the use of nuclear weapons in the war and whether the US should provoke Communist China.
What was the backlash to this decision? 1) Truman's approval rating decreased 2) 100,000 letters reached congress demanding Truman’s impeachment 3) 2.2 million Japanese people surrounded him leaving Tokyo 4) Largest ticker tape parade in NYC
What was the support of this decision? 1) Leading Newspapers, Truman was justified as MacArthur had committed two acts of insubordination 2) JCS feared he would provoke WW3 3) Some thought that many American deaths in Vietnam were the result of MacArthur.
What happened in February 1951? The US proposed peace talks which China rejected. Under US pressure, the UN denounced China as an agressor.
What did China request? 1) The United States were to leave Korea 2) The US 7th Fleet to leave the Taiwan Straits 3) The UN seat for China currently held by Chiang Kai-shek’s Taiwan.
What did China do on the 22nd April 1951? Launch another offensive on South Korea but the costs of lives proved to high, 12,000 Chinese troops died on the first day
What did this prompt? China to request an armistice in June 1951.
When was a peace treaty signed and why? Although China promised an armistice in June 1951, it was not finally signed until July 1953. In those two years, bitter fighting continued, it was estimated that two soldiers died for every one-minute the peace talks were on.
Why did fighting stop? The military situation had reached stalemate and the front lines of the combatants had stabilised near the 38th parallel.
Why did the US want peace? 1) Financial burden 2) Loss of US soldier's lives 3)Majority of American's thought the war was useless 4)Fear of the USSR joining in creating a third world war
What happened over Bacteriological warfare? Communist accusations that the US were using bacteriological warfare in Korea were damaging America’s reputation. In 1976, the head of the CIA admitted they were commissioned in early 1952 to develop bacteriological agents and delivery systems.
What did the JCS advise America about in Europe? Communist tension may arise in Europe if American troops were still in Korea they could not properly respond to this and it was more important.
What did the chairman of the JCS, Omar Bradley tell Congress about China? It would be the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time with the wrong enemy.
Why did China want peace? China needed to focus on domestic problems, its economy was suffering and hundreds of thousands of soldiers were dying.
Why did the USSR want peace? Stalin’s death caused a power struggle amongst his likely successors. They were keen to have peace because they wanted to concentrate on successions, decrease the risk of war and create tension between the US and its allies.
Why did North Korea want peace? − North Korea was suffering food shortages and Kim was increasingly anxious to end the conflict because he was clearly not going to attain reunification.
Why did new leaders make it easy to reconcile peace? The new leaders had neither started nor sustained their nations involvement in war so their prestige was not at stake in the same way.
How did Eisenhower bring about peace? The new president effectively ‘bought off’ Syngman Rhee, offering him financial aid and a promise to defend him if South Korea were attacked. Eisenhower’s threat to use atomic weapons is believed to have helped persuade China to sign the armistice.
What also helped establish peace? Backroom talks at the UN between the US Soviet specialist George Kennan and the Soviet ambassador to the UN, Jacob Malik.
What effect did 'saving face' have on establishing peace? When UN negotiator Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy put a UN flag on the table on the first day (10th July 1951) the North Korean representative quickly put up a larger North Korean flag.
According to historian Peter Lowe why were negotiations difficult? the Americans were simplistic, the Communists were inflexible and Syngman Rhee was obstructive and their combined characteristics slowed down the process
How did Truman help prolong the peace? He refused Communist POWS to be returned to China insisting they wanted to defect to the ‘free world’ but many were South Koreans who had joined Communists.The Chinese pointed out that under international law, POWs had to be repatriated.