Causes of the Korean War - History

Causes of the Korean War - History

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Korea had been divided between North and South at the end of the World War II with Russia occupying the North. Elections were suppose to be held but the Soviets would not allow it. After the US withdrew from South Korea the North thought they could reunifiy the country by force so they attacked.


Japan had effectively occupied Korea since 1904. In the waning days of World War II, an agreement was reached between the United States and the Soviet Union: the Soviets would occupy South Korea only as far as the 38th parallel. The United States forces that arrived in Korea were wholly unprepared for their duties in Korea, not understanding its history and relationship with Japan. To many Koreans, independence and unification were their most important goals.

The United States, after much fumbling, supported Syngman Rhee, a Korean nationalist who had been exiled to the United States in 1907. The United States asked the United Nations to settle the issue of a divided Korea. Despite Soviet objections, a United Nations commission voted for elections in Korea. The communists in the South boycotted the election, and refused to allow it in the North. In the South, conservative parties allied with Rhee received a majority of the vote, in an election in which 80% of eligible Korean voters took part. Rhee became President of the newly-declared independent South Korea in October 1948. The Soviets installed Kim II Song as the leader of the North.

As the United States drew down its military in the post war period, the American garrison of 40,000 quickly withered to a force of 472 officers and men who made up the Korean Military Advisory Group (KMAG). The Korean army, known as ROK, was given only light weapons. The North Korean Army, on the other hand, was heavily equipped with tanks and other armored vehicles. The communist victory in China, combined with the first Soviet nuclear tests in 1949, resulted in a new US policy of containment in Asia. The policy, called NSC 48/2, called for the containment to be primarily non-military, with economic and military aid given to non-communist regimes in Asia.

On January 5, 1950, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, speaking at the National Press Club, articulated the American policy. He spoke of those countries that the US would defend with force: Japan, the Rykus islands and the Philippine Islands. Korea was left out. The withdrawal of the last American forces from Korea, as well as North Korean Kim's conviction that the US would not intervene, convinced the North Koreans to attempt to unify the country by force. The Soviets, led by Stalin, and the Chinese, led by Mao, concurred with both Kim's judgement about the United States and his plans to unify the country by force. In June, he struck.


The Causes of the Korean War

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AQA GCSE History: Conflict and Tension in Asia, 1950-1975 - Conflict in Korea. The resources are also suitable for Edexcel, OCR, WJEC GCSE History and iGCSE History.

Describe the situation in Asia in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.
Explain why the relations in Korea deteriorated in June 1950.
Lesson Objective: what was the main cause of the Korean War?

The resources that I have created enabled my GCSE History class to attain P8 +0.57 during the 2019 summer examination series and many students secured Level 9s - the most of any class in my entire school. In addition, this specific component - Conflict and Tension in Asia, 1950-1975 - was well above average for each question according to AQA Enhanced Results Analysis.

Owing to marking GCSE History for AQA during the 2019 summer examination series, all of my original resources have been amended and updated for students studying GCSE History syllabus. In addition, I have utilised feedback from students, fellow professionals, experienced colleagues and my own professional judgement to ensure that each resource will help you to teach quality history lessons.

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Conflict in Korea: Conflict and Tension in Asia, 1950-1975

AQA GCSE History: Conflict and Tension in Asia, 1950-1975 - Conflict in Korea. The resources are also suitable for Edexcel, OCR, WJEC GCSE History and iGCSE History. • The causes of the Korean War: nationalism in Korea US relations with China the division of Korea Kim Il Sung and Syngman Rhee reasons why the North invaded the South in June 1950 US and the UN responses USSR's absence from the UN. • The development of the Korean War: the UN campaign in South and North Korea Inchon landings and recapture of South Korea UN forces advance into North Korea reaction of China and intervention of Chinese troops October 1950 the sacking of MacArthur. • The end of the Korean War: military stalemate around the 38th Parallel peace talks and the armistice impact of the Korean War for Korea, the UN and Sino-American relations. The resources that I have created enabled my GCSE History class to attain P8 +0.57 during the 2019 summer examination series and many students secured Level 9s - the most of any class in my entire school. In addition, this specific component - Conflict and Tension in Asia, 1950-1975 - was well above average for each question according to AQA Enhanced Results Analysis. Owing to marking GCSE History for AQA during the 2019 summer examination series, all of my original resources have been amended and updated for students studying GCSE History syllabus. In addition, I have utilised feedback from students, fellow professionals, experienced colleagues and my own professional judgement to ensure that each resource will help you to teach quality history lessons. Copyright Protection ©


Synopsis of the Korean War

Korean War Summary and Causes

The Korean War started on June 25, 1950, when communist North Korea marched about 75,000 troops into the predominantly capitalist South Korea. The North’s army was called the North Korean People’s Army (KPA). The invasion by the North Korean army occurred during the early hours of Sunday. The North crossed the 38th parallel boundary that separated the two Koreas.

The North was backed by the Soviet Union and China while the South was supported by the United States and its allies (the United Nations). At its core, the Korean War was the product of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The Americans fearing that North Korea would decimate the ill-equipped and ill-trained South Korean Army (ROKA), entered the war. The U.S. sent troops to the Korean Peninsula in July 1950.

At the start of the war, the communist North clearly outnumbered and outperformed their foes in the south. However, the two sides became evenly marched as time progressed. Vast stretches of areas were constantly moving between the South and North. Soon, the war stalemated and became a frozen war. Both sides went on to lose severely, and it was clear that there was not going to be an outright winner. Also, the two nuclear superpowers, the Soviet Union and the U.S., feared that without some sort of armistice the Korean War would certainly escalate into a global war or a third World War. As a result, the fighting ended on 27 July 1953 with an armistice. Under the Korean Armistice Agreement, a Korean Demilitarized Zone was created.

In sum, the Korean War claimed millions of lives. Millions of US Dollars’ worth of properties were damaged as well. The psychological trauma the war caused was not confined to just the Korean Peninsula, it was felt all across the world. The War also ushered in a full-blown Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union which lasted for another 4 decades or so.

Today, the two Koreas are technically at war with each other because no peace treaty was signed in 1953. Tensions between them can only be described as cold and dire: a situation that epitomizes the truest definition of a frozen conflict.


Cause And Effect Of Korean War

The Korean War took place between North and South Korea with an attempt of unifying the 2 nations. During the 7th century Korea was a single country until the World War II. In 1894 China and Japan were in a war and at that time some parts of Korea was occupied by Japan. Then, by 1910 entire Korea was conquered by the Japanese.

At the end of the Second World War, Korea was occupied by the US and USSR. At that point, the US and erstwhile USSR were in a cold war. The US requested the United Nations to resolve the issue of divide in Korea. The United Nations decided to hold elections in Russia to which the North Koreans refused. Even the communists in South Korea boycotted the election plan. As a result South Korea formed its own government with the anticommunist Syngman Rhee. The Soviet Union placed a communist Kim II Sung as a leader for North Korea.

The North Korean army with the help of Russia invaded South Korea on June 25th, 1950. At that time United States was very keen on stopping communism from spreading and as it is they were not in good terms with USSR. So, they started supporting South Korea against North Korea. Even china got involved because they were scared of US invasion.

However, the war ended in a peace treaty actually and there was a cease fire. In this case neither Russia nor America had the will to continue with a meaningless war and so they backed out. However the effects of the war remained for half a century. There were tensions on the borders of North and South Korea and several incidents that kept taking place.

The Korean War started in the year 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea. There was a severe was that lasted for 3 years and many people lost their lives and there was a lot of destruction. However, in 1953, both the sides felt that the war was a waste of money and people&rsquos lives as well, so there was a cease fire. A clear division was made between these two countries at the 38th parallel. The conditions of the people during the Korean War were quite bad. More..


Causes and Impacts of the Korean War

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The Korean War was overwhelming to both sides, the North and South. There were many deaths almost reaching millions and all between soldiers alongside civilians.  The war-damaged a significant amount of cities, as well as farmlands. This war had begun when the North attacked the South and it followed up until, 1953, when a truce was settled and signed by the two opposing sides. When the communist North Korean army crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded South Korea’s non-communist territory it was believed by many that this signified the start of a pointless war in which it was ended with an unresolved conflict that caused a death toll of approximately 2 million innocent people.

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In 1950, 75,000 soldiers from the communist army fled across the non-communist territory. The boundary that was held between the democratic people in the Republic of Korea to the north and the western like Republic of Korea of the south was broken apart. This attack is considered the first military like action from the infamous Cold War. American officials worked quickly in order to find a solution, they soon decided an armistice with the North Koreans would be best. They feared this insignificant attack would start a war within Russia and China or maybe the possibility of World War III. However, in July 1953, the destruction that the Korean war has caused all came to its end. Many officials from America have evidence to believe it was a war against the ideas of international communism. 5 million soldiers and civilians had lost everything and some even their lives throughout this time period. “If the best minds in the world had set out to find us the worst possible location in the world to fight this damnable war,” U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson once said. This quote signifies how every outside force opposed the Korean War and did not agree with it. The reason for this is not only will Korea as a whole be affected but also those who were or are considered their allies, a perfect example of this are the Northside being backed up by the Soviet Union and the South by the United States. This affects them because they not only lose trust but also lose the money they used in order to help.

A historical connection to these tragic events is the Korean War being very similar yet different from the Vietnam War. Their “roots” as some may call it, branched from the Truman Doctrine as well as the Domino Theory. Adding on, the country was split into two sides, one being the Communist North and the other the Democratic South. On the other hand, the biggest differences between the two wars were their various methods of combat. Despite this, the Korean War and the Vietnam War were very much the same. Firstly, the Truman Doctrine, by its definition, is “…the policy of the United States to support free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” The Vietnam War ended with both their communist and non-communist sides agreeing to put their argument on a pause. Both Korea and Vietnam have split into two afterward, these wars were invaded by the United States supporting the South for the same objective, to stop the quick spread of communism through this era. This is significant because it is showing the hatred the united states felt towards the communist nations. It also proves that in the end, due to their selfishness the united states lost many soldiers during combat and their economic structure also suffered because of the amount of money they had lost. However, even after that, it did not stop them from siding with the non-communist nations. The unmerciful battle that erupted 60 years ago killed more than two million Koreans, divided thousands of generations, and formulated the world’s most profoundly reinforced border. It formed the alliances that exist today.

To conclude, It is the war that was never ended, that allowed the Korean peninsula to split back in 1953. When the North Korean Communist army crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded non-Communist South Korea the Korean war had begun. The pointless war was finalized with an unsolved dispute that caused the deaths of innocent people and the divisions of various families. At first, it was originally a war to get the communists out of South Korea and it ended horribly for their Allies. An assault at Inchon pushed the North Koreans out of Seoul and back to their side of the 38th parallel. But as American troops intersected the upheld boundary and headed to the north towards the River, the Chinese began plotting various ways they could be able to protect themselves from what they referred to “armed aggression against Chinese territory.” While the armistice suggested by the United States in 1953 put an end to the active fighting within the Korean nations, it was not accompanied by a peace treaty, now the tension between both nations are held to this day. Those were the ways Korea was affected in today’s society. However, during recent meetings between, Kim Jong-un, the now leader of still communist North Korea, and President Moon Jae-in of still non-communist South Korea, a new settlement is viewed to be discussed. In addition to collectively call for the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula, also vowed to formally end the war. To finalize, normally during a war, you are met with one winner and one loser, however in this one that was not the case. The Korean war was never officially ended because both sides had signed an agreement where their conflict was only put on pause for the time being.  The Korean peninsula is still divided today, therefore, making a nonsettled war. Though it can be changed this war is still viewed that way by today’s society.

Works Cited

The Korean War was overwhelming to both sides, the North and South. There were many deaths almost reaching millions and all between soldiers alongside civilians.  The war-damaged a significant amount of cities, as well as farmlands. This war had begun when the North attacked the South and it followed up until, 1953, when a truce was settled and signed by the two opposing sides. When the communist North Korean army crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded South Korea’s non-communist territory it was believed by many that this signified the start of a pointless war in which it was ended with an unresolved conflict that caused a death toll of approximately 2 million innocent people.

In 1950, 75,000 soldiers from the communist army fled across the non-communist territory. The boundary that was held between the democratic people in the Republic of Korea to the north and the western like Republic of Korea of the south was broken apart. This attack is considered the first military like action from the infamous Cold War. American officials worked quickly in order to find a solution, they soon decided an armistice with the North Koreans would be best. They feared this insignificant attack would start a war within Russia and China or maybe the possibility of World War III. However, in July 1953, the destruction that the Korean war has caused all came to its end. Many officials from America have evidence to believe it was a war against the ideas of international communism. 5 million soldiers and civilians had lost everything and some even their lives throughout this time period. “If the best minds in the world had set out to find us the worst possible location in the world to fight this damnable war,” U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson once said. This quote signifies how every outside force opposed the Korean War and did not agree with it. The reason for this is not only will Korea as a whole be affected but also those who were or are considered their allies, a perfect example of this are the Northside being backed up by the Soviet Union and the South by the United States. This affects them because they not only lose trust but also lose the money they used in order to help.

A historical connection to these tragic events is the Korean War being very similar yet different from the Vietnam War. Their “roots” as some may call it, branched from the Truman Doctrine as well as the Domino Theory. Adding on, the country was split into two sides, one being the Communist North and the other the Democratic South. On the other hand, the biggest differences between the two wars were their various methods of combat. Despite this, the Korean War and the Vietnam War were very much the same. Firstly, the Truman Doctrine, by its definition, is “…the policy of the United States to support free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” The Vietnam War ended with both their communist and non-communist sides agreeing to put their argument on a pause. Both Korea and Vietnam have split into two afterward, these wars were invaded by the United States supporting the South for the same objective, to stop the quick spread of communism through this era. This is significant because it is showing the hatred the united states felt towards the communist nations. It also proves that in the end, due to their selfishness the united states lost many soldiers during combat and their economic structure also suffered because of the amount of money they had lost. However, even after that, it did not stop them from siding with the non-communist nations. The unmerciful battle that erupted 60 years ago killed more than two million Koreans, divided thousands of generations, and formulated the world’s most profoundly reinforced border. It formed the alliances that exist today.

To conclude, It is the war that was never ended, that allowed the Korean peninsula to split back in 1953. When the North Korean Communist army crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded non-Communist South Korea the Korean war had begun. The pointless war was finalized with an unsolved dispute that caused the deaths of innocent people and the divisions of various families. At first, it was originally a war to get the communists out of South Korea and it ended horribly for their Allies. An assault at Inchon pushed the North Koreans out of Seoul and back to their side of the 38th parallel. But as American troops intersected the upheld boundary and headed to the north towards the River, the Chinese began plotting various ways they could be able to protect themselves from what they referred to “armed aggression against Chinese territory.” While the armistice suggested by the United States in 1953 put an end to the active fighting within the Korean nations, it was not accompanied by a peace treaty, now the tension between both nations are held to this day. Those were the ways Korea was affected in today’s society. However, during recent meetings between, Kim Jong-un, the now leader of still communist North Korea, and President Moon Jae-in of still non-communist South Korea, a new settlement is viewed to be discussed. In addition to collectively call for the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula, also vowed to formally end the war. To finalize, normally during a war, you are met with one winner and one loser, however in this one that was not the case. The Korean war was never officially ended because both sides had signed an agreement where their conflict was only put on pause for the time being.  The Korean peninsula is still divided today, therefore, making a nonsettled war. Though it can be changed this war is still viewed that way by today’s society.

Works Cited

  • Morris-Suzuki, Tessa. “War Without End: Cold War Ideology, POWs and the Unfinished Korean War.”
  • Kang, Woo Chang, and Ji Yeon Hong. “Unexplored Consequences of Violence against Civilians during the Korean War.”
  • Kang, Woo Chang, and Ji Yeon Hong. “Unexplored Consequences of Violence against Civilians during the Korean War.”
  • TALMADGE, ERIC. “On Anniversary of War, Young North Koreans Talk of Tensions.”
  • TRUMP, DONALD J. “Proclamation 9770–National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, 2018.”

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The Significance of the Korean War in the History of Warfare

Clockwise from top: A column of the U.S. 1st Marine Division’s infantry and armor moves through Chinese lines during their breakout from the Chosin Reservoir UN landing at Incheon harbor, starting point of the Battle of Incheon Korean refugees in front of an American M26 Pershing tank U.S. Marines, led by First Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez, landing at Incheon F-86 Sabre fighter aircraft.

In spite of its limited nature, the Korean War was tremendously destructive. Korea’s industrial base was wiped out. Four million Koreans, 10 percent of the population, were rendered casualties and five million became refugees. The North Korean armed forces lost approximately 600,000 men in the fighting, in addition to two million civilian casualties. The Chinese suffered an estimated one million casualties. Losses to the ROK armed forces are estimated at 70,000 killed, 150,000 wounded, and 80,000 captured (the majority of whom died from starvation or mistreatment). One million South Korean civilians were killed or injured. The USA lost 33,600 men killed and 103,200 wounded.

The Korean peninsula was divided along the line of contact at the end of the war and remains so to this day. A political conference called for in the armistice agreement was held in Geneva in 1954, but the two sides’ demands were too far apart to permit any compromise. The peninsula became a microcosm of the Cold War itself. Heavily armed, North and South Korea faced each other across the demilitarized zone. But, other than desultory skirmishing, a second war has not broken out.

South Korea emerged from the war militarily secure but domestically unstable. The ROK armed forces had grown to number 600,000 men. They could hold their own against the North Koreans and, to a lesser extent, the Chinese. Following his unilateral release of North Korean POWs, Rhee had secured from the USA a mutual defense treaty, long-term economic aid, and assistance in expanding the ROK armed forces. Additionally, the Eighth Army remained in South Korea throughout the Cold War. The ROK was now an important bulwark against Communist expansionism in east Asia. It would be one of the few nations to provide a sizable military contribution to the American war effort in Vietnam. However, South Korea would not experience substantial economic growth until the 1960s. The constant threat of war led Rhee toward greater authoritarianism and high levels of military spending, which detracted from economic development. The political context of South Korea was marked by authoritarian governments and intermittent student protests. Rhee himself was overthrown in a coup d’état in 1961.

North Korea remained a potent military power after the war. Close ties were maintained with the Soviet Union and the PRC. Indeed, North Korea became intensely-Communist. The re-indoctrination of Communism was necessary to mobilize sufficient resources for economic reconstruction. The effort was largely successful, and the North Korean economy was rebuilt by the late 1950s. Politically, the defeats of the Korean War undercut Kim Il Sung’s leadership position. In order to stay in power, he executed a number of his opponents. He then built a cult of personality around the myth that North Korea had won the Korean War. Kim ultimately survived the Cold War, and North Korea remains a Communist state to this day under his son’s leadership.

The Korean War is often considered a draw or even a defeat for the UNC. The Soviet Union and the PRC had achieved their minimal goal of defending their positions in east Asia. The two countries remained powerful obstacles to American hegemony in the area. The independence of North Korea had been preserved. However, this reasoning assumes that the lack of total victory was a defeat. In fact, the Korean War was an unmistakable victory for the UNC.

First, the important UNC demands were met in negotiations. Concessions were only made on minor points. The line of contact, not the 38 th Parallel, became the border between North and South Korea, and voluntary repatriation was enforced. Second, in the course of military operations, the Communists suffered far greater manpower and economic losses than the UNC. For the PRC and North Korea, the opportunity cost of these lost resources for internal development was great. Third, the West halted the first major Communist attempt at overt aggression. Without delving into a counterfactual, it is reasonable to assume that if South Korea had not been successfully defended, China and the Soviet Union would have continued with a more overtly aggressive foreign policy against the West. Instead, for the remainder of the Cold War, they resorted to guerrilla warfare as the primary means of expanding their influence. There were no truly decisive battles in the Korean War. Success for the Communists or the UNC ultimately depended on their ability to sustain protracted warfare through a combination of economic strength and military efficiency. The Communists proved less able to do so. Despite their numerical superiority, the Communists needed to break the military ascendancy of the UNC before the weakness of their economic systems made continued warfare unacceptably expensive. Instead, the clumsy Communist tactics in the first year of the war and Ridgway’s generalship crippled their war effort. Deng Hua and Yang Dezhi did a remarkable job reforming the CPV in 1952. But by the time these reforms took effect, the Chinese could no longer shoulder the costs of war.

After overcoming the initial Chinese intervention, the UNC became an exceptionally efficient military force. The UNC mounted offensives without sustaining heavy casualties repeatedly halted Communist attacks conducted air strikes throughout North Korea and controlled the seas surrounding the peninsula. Technological superiority, abundance of firepower, a core of experienced soldiers, and innovating commanders engendered military efficiency. Moreover, the economic strength of the USA meant that the UNC could fight the war virtually indefinitely. China’s economy, on the other hand, had never recovered from the Chinese Civil War or the Second World War. As the Korean War dragged on, the need for internal economic development and an end to the burden of military expenditure created an impetus for compromise. For the Soviet Union, the heavy costs of financing and supplying a major regional war were not worth the marginal reward of enforcing the Communist bargaining position in negotiations. Hence, by 1953, the Communists preferred to compromise rather than overburden their economies with an interminable war.

The Korean War had wide implications for the entire international system. First, as technically a United Nations action, the Korean War was pivotal in the development of that organization. Second, in the area of military strategy, Korea was significant as the first limited war. Hard practical experience in the Korean War had raised major questions regarding the usability of nuclear weapons. Third, and most importantly, the war affected the balance of power between the two superpowers.

It was in Korea that the UN first authorized the use of force in the name of collective security. Unfortunately, the Korean War showed that, in reality, the UN was not a guarantor of collective security. UN action was a fluke resulting from Soviet absence in the Security Council. The UN was not acting out the will of the entire international community, but that of the West. Later in the Cold War, UN action in support of collective security was usually impossible because of opposition from either the USA or the Soviet Union, depending on whose sphere of influence the UN was considering intervening in. Nevertheless, several important diplomatic initiatives originated in the UN, including the first cease-fire resolution in December 1950 and Jacob Malik’s proposal for negotiations in June 1951. The ‘Uniting for Peace’ procedure was also created in the Korean War. It would be used again in the Cold War, most notably as a means for the USA to punish the British and French during the Suez Canal Crisis. Most importantly, the fact that the Korean War was heavily debated in the UN by all member states validated the UN’s role as the legitimate mediator of international conflicts and a forum for diplomacy.

Regarding military strategy, the Korean War was the first illustration of the new context of warfare that emerged in the Cold War. The former aim of warfare, the total annihilation of an opponent, was excessively dangerous. The dramatic victories of the North Korean blitzkrieg, the Inchon landing, and the Second Phase Offensive caused a rapid escalation of the Korean War that brought each combatant to the brink of world war. A limited aim was now the goal of most wars. In Korea, and frequently thereafter, a limited aim embodied seeking minor political gains through a negotiated resolution of the war. Military operations were carefully restrained in order to reduce the risk of escalation. Similar restrictions on military operations would reappear in subsequent wars, such as Vietnam, the Arab-Israeli Wars, and the Indo-Pakistani Wars. The methods of warfare implemented under these restrictions in the Korean War – attrition, air power, and nuclear threats – were the first adaptations to limited war. Consequently, the Korean War was the formative experience in the strategic thought and operational doctrines developed during the Cold War.

Attrition was the first method of warfare that the UNC applied to fighting a limited war. Ridgway found that gradual and careful attrition could defeat the Communists on the battlefield and enforce the UNC bargaining position yet not escalate the conflict. The significance of attrition was underlined when Peng Dehuai and Deng Hua adopted it as the operational doctrine of the CPV. However, because of its protracted nature, attrition on the ground entailed a steady flow of casualties for both the UNC and the Communists. Indeed, after 1953, the Eisenhower administration forswore the use of conventional force largely because of the costs of attrition in Korea. Nevertheless, attrition would be applied as a strategy in many later conflicts in the Cold War – not always successfully – such as Vietnam, the Egyptian-Israeli War of Attrition, and the Iran-Iraq War.

The use of air power was less effective as a means of fighting a limited war. It could not inflict the damage necessary to make the Communists crack. Nevertheless, it remained a preferred, if often overrated, means of applying force after Korea. In the US air force, the perceived success of the air campaign was used to confirm the decisiveness of air power in modern warfare. Strategic air campaigns that were very similar to Operation Strangle and the sustained air pressure strategy were implemented in Vietnam, the 1991 Gulf War, and the 1999 conflict in Kosovo. Although rarely decisive, the allure of a painless and quick victory makes air power the West’s principal means of waging war to this day.

Eisenhower’s nuclear threats represented the final new method of warfare implemented in Korea. As noted above, while the nuclear threats signalled that the USA was resolved to fight a heightened war if necessary, they probably had only a marginal effect on the Communist decision to compromise. Historically, the nuclear threats were a part of the development of deterrence strategy, which dominated strategic discourse in the Cold War. In 1954, Eisenhower and Dulles instituted the New Look doctrine, hoping to repeat the supposed success of their nuclear threats at the end of the Korean War. The New Look threatened that Communist aggression anywhere in the world would be the subject of a devastating American nuclear strike. It was believed that this threat of massive retaliation would deter future Communist expansionism. Although massive retaliation was eventually discredited, nuclear threats, as a component of deterrence, were used again in international crises such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

In terms of the balance of power, the Korean War motivated the Western powers to view Communism as an imminent threat to their security and take a more determined stance against its expansion. The USA mobilized meaningfully to enforce containment throughout the world. As the Soviet Union strove to match this impressive military build-up, Western rearmament set the tone for the arms races that marked the remainder of the Cold War. The size of the American armed forces multiplied. Massive programs for new ships, missiles, tanks, and aircraft were implemented. In Europe, England and France also increased the size of their armed forces. NATO was greatly strengthened through the establishment of unified command with strong military forces under its authority. Moreover, the impetus had been created to rearm West Germany as a part of NATO, which would actually occur in 1950s.

Outside Europe, the USA ceased neglecting east Asia in its geostrategic planning. The Japan-US Security Treaty facilitated the long-term stationing of formidable American air, ground, and naval forces in Japan. Additionally, increased American military spending in Japan during the Korean War helped it on the path to economic recovery. With its relatively secure island status, large population, and growing economy, Japan became the centrepiece of American security architecture in East Asia.

The USA also took greater interest in the defense of Taiwan. In the Taiwan offshore islands crises of 1954-55 and 1958, the USA appeared willing to defend Nationalist territory against Communist encroachment. But the Korean War also caused the USA to embrace global containment and the precepts of NSC 68 too tightly. In Indochina, the USA was paying for 80 percent of France’s military operations by 1954. With the losses of Korea fresh in mind, Eisenhower would not send military forces to fight the Viet Minh, nor would he agree to use nuclear weapons to save the French at Dien Ben Phu. Later administrations were less cautious and believed that the ultimate success of the Korean War in halting Communism meant that the USA would also be successful in a war in Vietnam.

The growth of American power in east Asia was inhibited by the emergence of the PRC as a military power in the region. The world now viewed the PRC as a major Communist military power and not a backward agricultural state. The Chinese military had proven that they could contend with the best forces of the West. The catastrophic defeat of the US Eighth Army in November and December 1950 showed that liberating Communist countries could be excessively dangerous. After the defeat, the USA never again tried to liberate a Communist state by invasion. For example, in the Vietnam War, the USA would not invade North Vietnam for fear of Chinese intervention. The PRC enjoyed increased influence in east Asia and the Third World. Its veteran officers became advisors in numerous national liberation movements, particularly in Vietnam. Mistakenly, the USA predominantly treated China as the unswerving and unpredictably dangerous ally of the Soviet Union. In fact, the PRC was denied entry into the UN until Nixon’s presidency.

The Korean War also had implications for China’s relationship with the Soviet Union. In the short term, fighting the USA reinforced the Sino-Soviet Alliance. The level of military and economic assistance provided during the war continued after 1953, with a tremendous amount of technology being transferred to the PRC. However, the war also caused the beginning of cracks in the alliance. The Chinese had fought the war largely on their own and were disappointed by the limited military involvement of the Soviet Union. The Soviet demand that China pay for all of the military equipment provided was particularly galling. More fundamentally, by the late 1950s, Mao found deep Soviet involvement in Chinese economic development and military affairs to be curtailing the PRC’s independence. By the mid-1960s, these cracks would widen and the Sino-Soviet Alliance would break apart.

Finally, the Korean War symbolizes the superpower competition of the Cold War. It was the only occasion in the Cold War when the armed forces of the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, and the United States – plus the other Western powers – were regularly in direct combat with one another. Later in the Cold War, the superpowers only fought each other’s proxies or client states. But in Korea, Soviet fighter pilots engaged in dogfights with American pilots, and Chinese infantry grappled with American infantry. Hundreds of thousands of men were taken prisoner, injured, or killed. Some of the most modern new weapons were utilized and the best generals of the three countries planned operations for the war. Historian William Stueck has gone so far as to describe it as a substitute for a Third World War. In any event, the Korean War brought the superpowers to the brink of world war. Less dramatically, the Korean War was the point where the differences between Communism and democracy, the Soviet Union and the USA, actually warranted major conventional warfare. The fact that the Korean War was a conflagration of this magnitude and intensity is sufficient reason that it should not be forgotten.


Why Did The Korean War Start

The Korean War started mainly because of the disagreement between North and South Korean leaders. However, it need not have ended as a war. The Korean circumstances turned into a war mainly because of the United States and USSR. The two super powers of the world were having a cold war for a long time, even before the World War II. The United States managed to involve itself wherever they feared that communism would spread and Russia, which was a communist country, wanted to invade and spread communism. So both these countries always had a reason to fight with each other.

In Korea, the United States supported the South Koreans, while the Russians supported the North Koreans. Both the super powers were extremely powerful and they both had nuclear arsenal. In addition, the 2 nations were much ahead in army and military capabilities compared to the rest of the world. They were constantly competing with each other to gain world supremacy. Hence, this was one of the reasons for the start of the Korean War.

As the Korean War progressed, millions of people were killed because of the armed forces of the United States and USSR was involved. For a long time these both countries were bombing each other. The actual war in Korea can be categorized as civil war where North and South Koreans were not supporting each other. Korea, on the other hand, also did not want to be a occupied land under Russia or the United States. So, both these super powers thought that it was best to divide the nation into 2. They approached the United Nations and finally the peninsula was divided along the 38th parallel. North Korea was called the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea, whereas South Korea was officially known as the Republic of South Korea.

The Korean War took place between North and South Korea with an attempt of unifying the 2 nations. During the 7th century Korea was a single country until the World War II. In 1894 China and Japan were in a war and at that time some parts of Korea was occupied by Japan. Then, by 1910 entire Korea was conquered by the Japanese. More..


Military Resources: Korean War

Armistice Agreement for the Restoration of the South Korean State (1953) Text of the armistice that ended the fighting in Korea in 1953. "The armistice, while it stopped hostilities, was not a permanent peace treaty between nations."

"Electronic Records of Korean and Vietnam Conflict Casualties" Prologue article by Theodore J. Hull that describes NARA's electronic records about the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

The Korean War The Eisenhower Presidential Library maintains this site which describes the Korean War and President Eisenhower's actions to deal with it.

The Korean War and Its Origins 1945-1953 This site from the Truman Presidential Library offers a look at the Korean War through documents and images.

The Korean War as History: David Rees' Korea: The Limited War in Retrospect Presentation by William Stueck at The Power of Free Inquiry and Cold War International History program held on September 25-26, 1998, at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, and sponsored by NARA's Archival Research Coordinating Committee and the University of Maryland.

Korean War Records A guide to Korean War records at the National Archives.

Records of Nurse Casualties in the Korean War: Electronic Records Reference Report How to locate records of Korean War nurse casualties at the National Archives.

Records of U.S. Military Casualties, Missing in Action, and Prisoners of War from the Era of the Korean War: Electronic Records Reference Report "Overview of the electronic data records in the custody of the National Archives that relate to U.S. military casualties, missing in action, and prisoners of war from the Korean War era."

"Revisiting Korea: Exposing Myths of the Forgotten War" James I. Matray's two-part Prologue article from Summer 2002 examines U.S.-Korean relations and the myths about the Korean War.

State-level Lists of Casualties from the Korean Conflict NARA's Center for Electronic Records has made these lists available online. Casualty lists for Vietnam War are also available.

Other Resources

50th Anniversary Commemoration Korean War 1950-1953 Check out this site sponsored by the Army Quartermaster Corps Museum at Fort Lee, Virginia, and visit the related exhibit, "Korea: The Quartermaster Story" which will be open at the museum on June 25, 2000, 50 years to the day the Korean War began.

Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO): Korean War DPMO is the Department of Defense office that oversees and manages POW/MIA issues. This site dealing with POW/MIAs of the Korean War provides information about DPMO's activities, fact sheets, maps, and lists of POW/MIAs. Also included is the Johnnie Johnson List, a list secretly compiled by Army Private First Class Wayne A. "Johnnie" Johnson of 496 fellow prisoners who had died during their captivity.

Korean War, 1950-1953 This Air University Library Special Bibliography No. 290 was compiled by Joan Hyatt.

Korean War, 1950-1953 The U.S. Army developed this site to pay tribute to veterans of the Korean War and their families.

The Korean War, June 1950-July 1953: Introductory Overview and Special Image Selection This online library of information and selected images related to the Korean War is sponsored by the Naval Historical Center.

Korean War Maps Website maintained by the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

Korean War Naval Operations: A Bibliography This online bibliography is maintained by the Naval Historical Center.

Korean War Overview A video lecture from the Khan Academy.

Korean War Project Site includes information about POW-MIA issues, veterans' issues, and units that served in the war.

Medal of Honor Recipients: Korean War U.S. Army Center Center of Military History site that provides the names of Medal of Honor recipients and the actions that are commemorated.

Remembering the Korean War Compiled by the U.S. Army Center of Military History, this site contains official histories, art and images, and studies and documents related to the Korean War.

United States Army in the Korean War: Policy and Direction: The First Year Written by James F. Schnabel and published by the Center of Military History, this work was first published as CMH Pub 20-1-1 in 1972.

Veterans History Project: Korean War, 1950-1953 Oral history interviews with Korean War veterans presented by Grand Valley State University Libaries.

"What We Learned From the Korean War" This article from The Atlantic discusses ways in which the Korean War influenced the course American wars that followed.

This page was last reviewed on August 15, 2016.
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Contents

Historically, the central objectives of Korea's nationalist movement were the advancement and protection of Korea's ancient culture and national identity from foreign influence, and the fostering of the independence movement during Colonial Korea. [1] In order to obtain political and cultural autonomy, it first had to promote Korea's cultural dependency. For this reason, the nationalist movement demanded the restoration and preservation of Korea's traditional culture. The Donghak (Eastern Learning) peasant movement, also known as the Donghak Peasant Revolution, that began in the 1870s, could be seen as an early form of what would become the Korean nationalist resistance movement against foreign influences. It was succeeded by the Righteous Army movement and later a series of Korean resistance movements that led, in part, to the current status of the two Korean nations.

National resistance movements Edit

Nationalism in late 19th century Korea was a form of resistance movements, but with significant differences between the north and south. Since the intrusion by foreign powers in the late 19th century, Koreans have had to construct their identity in ways that pitted them against foreigners. They have witnessed and participated in a wide range of nationalist actions over the past century, but all of them have been some form of resistance against foreign influences. During the colonial period, the Korean nationalists carried on the struggle for independence, fighting against Imperial Japan in Korea, China particularly Manchuria and China Proper and Far East Russia. They formed 'governments in exile', armies, and secret groups to fight the imperial Japanese wherever they are.

Partition of Korea Edit

Korea was divided at the 38th parallel between north and south by the Allied powers in 1945 as part of the disarmament of Imperial Japan, and the division persists to this day. The split is perpetuated by rival regimes, opposing ideologies, and global politics it is further deepened by a differing sense of national identity derived from the unique histories, polities, class systems, and gender roles experienced by Koreans on different sides of the border. As a result, Korean nationalism in the late 20th century has been permeated by the split between North and South. Each regime espouses its own distinctive form of nationalism, different from the opposing side's, that nonetheless seeks to encompass the entire Korean Peninsula in its scope.

Korean reunification Edit

With regard to Korean nationalism, the reunification of the two Koreas is a highly related issue. Ethnic nationalism that is prevalent in Korean society is likely to play a significant role in the unification process, if it does occur. As Gi-Wook Shin claims, “Ethnic consciousness would not only legitimize the drive for unification but it could also be a common ground, especially in the early stages of the unification process, that is needed to facilitate a smooth integration of the two systems.” [2]

Korean reunification (Korean: 남북통일) refers to the hypothetical future reunification of North and South Korea under a single government. South Korea had adopted a sunshine policy towards the North that was based on the hope that one day, the two countries would be re-united in the 1990s. The process towards this was started by the historic June 15th North–South Joint Declaration in August 2000, where the two countries agreed to work towards a peaceful reunification in the future. However, there are a number of hurdles in this process due to the large political and economic differences between the two countries and other state actors such as China, Russia, and the United States. Short-term problems such as a large number of refugees that would migrate from the North into the South and initial economic and political instability would need to be overcome.

North Korea Edit

In North Korea, nationalism is incorporated as part of the state-sponsored ideology of Juche. The Juche Idea teaches that "man is the master of everything and decides everything", [3] and the Korean people are the masters of Korea's revolution. Juche is a component of North Korea's political system. The word literally means "main body" or "subject" it has also been translated in North Korean sources as "independent stand" and the "spirit of self-reliance".

The Juche Idea gradually emerged as a systematic ideological doctrine in the 1960s. Kim Il-sung outlined the three fundamental principles of Juche as being:

  1. "independence in politics" (자주, 自主, chaju).
  2. "self-sustenance in the economy" (자립, 自立, charip).
  3. "self-defense in national defense" (자위, 自衛, chawi).

Unlike South Koreans, North Koreans generally believe that their (North Korean) state and the "Korean race" (English: 민족 , minjok) are analogous. Thus they strengthen each other rather than undermining the other like in South Korea: [4] [5]

Thanks in part to decades of skillful propaganda, North Koreans generally equate the race with their state, so that ethno-nationalism and state-loyalty are mutually enforcing. In this respect North Korea enjoys an important advantage over its rival, for in the Republic of Korea ethnonationalism militates against support for a state that is perceived as having betrayed the race.

Even North Koreans who may not particularly admire their country's leaders will still be patriotic towards their state. [7] The North Korean state's symbols, such as the national emblem and flag, have been cited as an example of North Korea's attempt to build a civic-based nationalism, in contrast to South Korea's state symbols, which utilize overtly racialized motifs and ethnic symbolism. [6]

South Korea Edit

State-based nationalism (or patriotism) in South Korea is weak, compared with the more salient race-based nationalism. [4] [5] As a result, some commentators have described the South Korean state in the eyes of South Koreans as constituting "an unloved republic". [6] [8] Whereas in North Korea, most of its citizens view their state and race as being the same thing, [4] [5] most South Koreans on the other hand tend to see the "Korean race" and their (South Korean) state as being separate entities due to the existence of a competing Korean state in North Korea. According to Korea scholar Brian Reynolds Myers, a professor at Dongseo University, while race-based nationalism in North Korea strengthens patriotism towards the state and vice versa, [6] in South Korea it undermines it:

Anglophones tend to use the words nation and state more or less interchangeably, but when one nation is divided into two states, it's important to stick to the [South] Koreans' own practice of distinguishing clearly between nationalism (minjokjuŭi) and patriotism / state spirit (aeguksim, kukka chŏngsin, kukkajuŭi, etc). Historians do this even in English when discussing the Weimar Republic, where nationalism undermined support for the state — and for liberal democracy — just as it does in South Korea today.

Due to traditional state support for race nationalism during the 20th century, South Koreans have come to view positive achievements as being a result of inherent racial characteristics, whereas negative events are attributed to the incompetence, malevolence, and inherent inferiority of the South Korean state: [5] [6] [10]

South Korean nationalism is something quite different from the patriotism toward the state that Americans feel. Identification with the Korean race is strong, while that with the Republic of Korea is weak.

It is said that one of the reasons the South Korean state during the 20th century decided to extol race-based nationalism over civic nationalism was that being an authoritarian military junta at the time, it did not want to extol republican principles that might be used to criticize it in turn. [6] That said, civic state-based nationalism was said to have been stronger during those years than in contemporary post-democratization South Korea, albeit still tenuous. [ citation needed ]

South Koreans' lack of state-based nationalism (or patriotism) manifests itself in various ways in the country's society. For example, there is no national holiday solely commemorating the state itself. [6] The closest analogue, Constitution Day, ceased to be one in 2008. [5] The Liberation Day holiday, which is celebrated each August, shares its date with the establishment of the South Korean state. However, celebrations during the holiday choose to forgo commemorations of the South Korean state or its establishment in favor of focusing and extolling other aspects. [6] As a result, many South Koreans do not know the exact date their own state was established, [6] in contrast to North Koreans, who do. [5] In contrast, a holiday marking the mythological formation of the "Korean race" in 2333 BC is commemorated with a national holiday in South Korea each October. [6]

The "Hell Chosun" phenomenon and a desire among many South Koreans to immigrate have also been cited as an example of South Koreans' general lack of nationalistic patriotism towards their state. [8] The lack of state-based nationalism manifests itself in diplomacy as well the lack of a strong, resolute response by South Korea to North Korea's attacks against it in 2010 (i.e. the sinking of ROKS Cheonan and the bombardment of Yeonpyeong) has been attributed to the former's lack of state-aligned nationalistic sentiment, as these attacks were viewed as mere affronts against the state. [11] [12] [7] In contrast, Japanese claims to South Korean-claimed territory are seen as affronts against the Korean race and are thus responded to with more vigor from South Koreans. [12]

Even state symbols that are ostensibly civic in nature, such as the national anthem, state emblem, and national flag contain racial nationalist references (such as the mugunghwa flower) instead of republican or civic ones. [6] Thus, the South Korean flag is often seen by South Koreans as representing the "Korean race" rather than merely South Korea itself. [13] [14] As a result, the vast majority of South Koreans will almost always treat their national flag with reverence and respect, compared to other countries where citizens would desecrate their own national flags as political statements or in protest. [6] This weak state-based nationalism was reflected in the pre-2011 South Korean military oath and pre-2007 pledge of allegiance, both of which pledged allegiance to the "Korean race" over the state. [15] [16] [17] [5] [18]

One of the reasons put forth to explain South Koreans' lack of support or affinity for the South Korean state is due to a popular misconception that only North Korea purged its regime of pro-Japanese collaborators of the colonial period and that South Korea did not, while in reality the former did not do so. [4] [5] [19] [7] Another reason given is that South Koreans view their interactions with their state in negative contexts, such as when having to report for mandatory military service or paying fines. [6]

Anti-Japanese sentiment Edit

Contemporary Korean nationalism, at least in South Korea, often incorporates anti-Japanese sentiment as a core component of its ideology, [20] even being described by some scholars as constituting an integral part of South Korea's civil religion. [21]

The legacy of the colonial period of Korean history continues to fuel recriminations and demands for restitution in both Koreas. North and South Korea have both lodged severe protests against visits by Japanese officials to the Yasukuni Shrine, which is seen as glorifying the Class A war criminals whose remains are held there. South Koreans claim that a number of Korean women who worked near Japanese military bases as comfort women were forced to serve as sex slaves against their will for Japanese soldiers during World War II which had been a persistent thorn in the side of Japan-South Korea relations from the 1990s to the 2010s. Disagreements over demands for reparations and a formal apology still remain unresolved despite the previous agreement and compensation in 1965, South Koreans started peaceful vigils in 1992 held by survivors on a weekly basis. Recent Japanese history textbook controversies have emerged as a result of what some see as an attempt at historical negationism with the aim of whitewashing or ignoring Japan's war crimes during World War II. These issues continue to separate the two countries diplomatically, and provide fuel for nationalism in both Koreas as well as anti-Japanese sentiment.

According to Robert E. Kelly, a professor at Pusan National University, anti-Japanese sentiment in South Korea stems not just from Japanese atrocities during the occupation period, but also from the Korean Peninsula's division. [17] As a result, Kelly says, South Koreans take out their anger, whether rising from Korean division or otherwise, against Japan, [17] as due to the racialized nature of Korean nationalism it is considered gauche for South Koreans to be overly hostile towards North Korea. [22] [4] [5] This view is supported by another professor, Brian Reynolds Myers of Dongseo University. [4] [5] [ verification needed ]

Liancourt Rocks dispute Edit

The Liancourt Rocks dispute has been ongoing since the end of World War II after the United States rejected Korea's claim to give sovereignty of the Liancourt Rocks islands, known as Dokdo or Tokto (독도/獨島, literally "solitary island") in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese, to Korea in the 1951.

Since 1954, the South Koreans have administered the islands but bickering on both sides involving nationalism and lingering historical acrimony has led to the current impasse. Adding to this problem is political pressure from conservative politicians and nationalist groups in both South Korea and Japan to have more assertive territorial policies.

With the introduction of the 1994 UN Law of the Sea Convention, South Korea and Japan began to set their new maritime boundaries, particularly in overlapping terrain in the Sea of Japan (East Sea), where some exclusive economic zone (EEZ) borders was less than 400 nautical miles (700 km) apart. [23] Tensions escalated in 1996 when both governments declared a 200-nautical-mile (400 km) EEZ that encompassed the island, which brought Japan-South Korean relations to an all-time low.

This has not only complicated bilateral relations but heightened nationalist sentiments on both sides. In spite of generational change and the passage of time, the institutionalization of Korean collective memory is causing young Koreans to be as anti-Japanese, if not more so, than the older generation. [24] [ verification needed ] [25] For Koreans, "historical memory and feelings of han (resentment) run deeply and can influence Korea's relations with its neighbors, allies, and enemies in ways not easily predicted by models of policy-making predicated on realpolitik or other geo-strategic or economic concerns." [26] [ verification needed ] [27]

Due to Korea's colonial past, safeguarding the island has become equivalent to safeguarding the nation-state and its national identity. A territory's value and importance is not limited to its physical dimensions but also the psychological value it holds as a source of sovereignty and identity. [28] Triggered by perceptions and strong feelings of injustice and humiliation, Korean nationalistic sentiment has become involved in the dispute. The island itself has become to symbolize South Korean national identity and pride, making it an issue even more difficult to resolve. [29] South Korea's claim to the island holds emotional content that goes beyond material significance, and giving way on the island issue to Japan would be seen as compromising the sovereignty of the entire peninsula. The dispute has taken on the form of a national grievance rather than a simple territorial dispute.

The South Korean government has also played a role in fanning nationalism in this dispute. President Roh Moo-hyun began a speech on Korea-Japan relations in April 2006 by bluntly stating, “The island is our land” and “for Koreans, the island is a symbol of the complete recovery of sovereignty.” [30] The issue of the island is clearly tied to the protection of the nation-state that was once taken away by Japan. President Roh emphasizes this point again by saying:

“Dokdo for us is not merely a matter pertaining to territorial rights over tiny islets but is emblematic of bringing closure to an unjust chapter in our history with Japan and of the full consolidation of Korea's sovereignty.” [30]

Later on in his speech Roh also mentions the Yasukuni Shrine and Japanese history textbook controversy, saying that they will be dealt with together. [31] Having placed the Liancourt Rocks issue "in the context of rectifying the historical record between Korea and Japan" and "the safeguarding of [Korea's] sovereignty", compromise becomes impossible. [32] As the French theorist Ernest Renan said, "Where national memories are concerned, griefs are of more value than triumphs, for they impose duties, and require a common effort." [33]

The Liancourt Rocks dispute has affected the Korean and Japanese perceptions of each other. According to a 2008 survey by Gallup Korea and the Japan Research Center, 20% of Koreans had friendly feelings towards Japan and 36% of Japanese the same towards Korea. When asked for the reason of their antipathy, most Koreans mentioned the territorial dispute over the island, and the Japanese the anti-Japanese sentiment in Korea. This is in contrast to a 2002 survey (post 2002 FIFA World Cup) conducted by the Chosun Ilbo and Mainichi Shimbun, where 35% of Koreans and 69% of Japanese had friendly views of the other country. [34]

Anti-U.S. sentiment Edit

Anti-Americanism in Korea began with the earliest contact between the two nations and continued after the division of Korea. In both North Korea and South Korea, anti-Americanism after the Korean War has focused on the presence and behavior of American military personnel (USFK), aggravated especially by high-profile accidents or crimes by U.S. servicemembers, with various crimes including rape and assault, among others.

The 2002 Yangju highway incident especially ignited Anti-American passions. [35] The ongoing U.S. military presence in South Korea, especially at the Yongsan Garrison (on a base previously used by the Imperial Japanese Army during Colonial Korea) in central Seoul, remains a contentious issue. While protests have arisen over specific incidents, they are often reflective of deeper historical resentments. Robert Hathaway, director of the Wilson Center's Asia program, suggests: "the growth of anti-American sentiment in both Japan and South Korea must be seen not simply as a response to American policies and actions, but as reflective of deeper domestic trends and developments within these Asian countries." [36]

Korean anti-Americanism after the war was fueled by American occupation of USFK troops and support for the authoritarian rule of Park Chung-hee, and what was perceived as an American endorsement of the brutal tactics used in the Gwangju massacre. [37] Speaking to the Wilson Center, Katherine Moon was noted by Hathaway as suggesting that "anti-Americanism also represents the collective venting of accumulated grievances that in many instances have lain hidden for decades", but that despite the "very public demonstrations of anger toward the United States [. ] the majority of Koreans of all age groups supports the continuation of the American alliance." [38]

Manchuria and Gando disputes Edit

Historical Korean claims of Manchuria can be traced back to the late Joseon dynasty. It was common in late Joseon dynasty to write about old lands of Goguryeo, an expression of nostalgia for the north. In the early 20th century, Korean nationalist historians like Shin Chaeho, advocated a complete unification of Korean peninsula and Manchuria in order to restore the ancient lands of Dangun. [39]

Today, Irredentist Korean nationalist historians have claimed that Manchuria (now called Northeast China), in particular Gando (known in China as Jiandao), a region bordering China, North Korea, and Russia, and home to the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture should be part of Korea, based on ancient Gojoseon, Goguryeo and Balhae control of the area. [40] [41] The term Greater Korea, sometimes used in nationalist works, usually enompasses those regions located. [42] [41] The claim for Gando is said to be stronger than the claim for the whole of Manchuria, due to later Balhae presence in Gando after the fall of the Koguryo kingdom, the current area population's consisting of 1/3 ethnic Koreans, [43] and the circumstances of the 1909 Gando Convention that relegated the area to Chinese control. [44] While the Manchurian claims have not received official attention in South Korea, claims for Gando were the subject of a bill introduced in 2004, at a time when China had been claiming that Balhae and Koguryo had been "minority states" within China and the resulting controversy was at its height. [45] The legislation proposed by 59 South Korean lawmakers would have declared the Gando Convention signed under Japanese rule to be "null and void". [46] Later that year, the two countries reached an understanding that their governments would refrain from further involvement in the historical controversy. [47]

Ethnic nationalism emphasizes descent and race. Among many Koreans, both in the North and South, ethnicity is interpreted on a racial basis, with "blood", and is usually considered the key determinant in defining "Koreanness" in contemporary Korean nationalist thought. [48] [26] [49] [4] [5] [15] [16] [17] [50] In South Korea, ethnic nationalism has salience to the point where it has been described as being a part of the country's civil religion. [4] [5] Despite its contemporary salience, ethnic Korean nationalism is a relatively recent development. [6] [51]

Importance of blood Edit

The term "pure blood" refers to the belief that Korean people are a pure race descended from a single ancestor. First invoked during the period of resistance to colonial rule, the idea of having pure blood gave Koreans an impetus for developing a sense of ethnic homogeneity and national pride, as well as a potential catalyst for racial discrimination and prejudice. [52] As a way of resisting colonial rule, Shin Chaeho published his book Joseon Sanggosa in the 1920s, proclaiming that Korean descent is based on the Goguryeo kingdom, formed from the intermingling of the descendants of Dangun Joseon with the Buyeo kingdom. This raised a sense of ethnic homogeneity which persists as a major element in the politics and foreign relations of both Koreas. [53] A survey in 2006 showed that 68.2% of respondents considered "blood" the most important criterion of defining the Korean nation, and 74.9% agreed that "Koreans are all brothers and sisters regardless of residence and ideology." [26] [ verification needed ]

Noted Korea scholar Brian Reynolds Myers argues in his 2010 book The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters that the North Korean ideology of a purest race arose from 20th century Japanese fascism. Japanese collaborators are said to have introduced the notion of racial unity in an effort to assert that Japanese and Koreans came from the same racial stock. After Japan relinquished control of Korea, Myers argues, the theory was subsequently adjusted to promote the idea of a pure Korean race. [54]

A poll by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in 2015 found that only 5.4% of South Koreans in their twenties said they saw North Koreans as people sharing the same bloodline with South Koreans The poll also found that only 11 percent of South Koreans associated North Korea with Koreans, with most people associating them with words like military, war or nuclear weapons. It also found that most South Koreans expressed deeper feelings of "closeness" with Americans and Chinese than with North Koreans. [55]

Nationalist historiography Edit

Shin Chaeho was the first historian to focus on the Korean minjok (민족, 民族, "race" or ethnicity) or Kyŏre(겨레), and narrated Korean history in terms of its minjok history. There is no direct English language equivalent for the word minjok, though commentators have offered "race" and "ethnicity" as being the closest analogues. [56] For Shin, minjok and history were mutually defining and as he says in the preface of the Doksa Sillon, “if one dismisses the minjok, there is no history.” Shin emphasized the ancientness of the Korean minjok history, elevated the status of the semi-legendary figure, Dangun, as the primordial ancestor of the Korean people and located the host minjok, Puyo. [57] Shin launched a vision of the Korean nation as a historically defined minjok or ethnicity entity. [58] In an attempt to counter China's controversial Northeast Project and Goguryeo controversies that ensued, the South Korean government in 2007 incorporated the founding of Gojoseon of the year 2333 BCE into its textbooks. [59]


The Real Causes and Disastrous Effects of the Korean War

The Korean war started on the 25th of June, 1950 and lasted three years till an armistice was declared on the 27th of July, 1953. It resulted in the death of three million people and caused massive destruction of property. The causes of the war were deep-rooted and the two most powerful nations of the world - Soviet Union, and the United States of America - abetted the two warring nations of North Korea and South Korea.

The Korean war started on the 25th of June, 1950 and lasted three years till an armistice was declared on the 27th of July, 1953. It resulted in the death of three million people and caused massive destruction of property. The causes of the war were deep-rooted and the two most powerful nations of the world – Soviet Union, and the United States of America – abetted the two warring nations of North Korea and South Korea.

Ever since the 7th century, Korea had existed as a unified country. However, after the Sino-Japanese war in 1894-95, certain parts of Korea were occupied by Japan. The Japanese conquered Korea entirely in August 1910, whereafter it remained a Japanese colony until the Second World War.

After Japan’s surrender in WWII, the Soviet Union held the northern half of Korea and established a communist state, called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, under Kim-Il-Sung. The US controlled the southern half, called the Republic of Korea, from Tokyo.

Today, South Korea has become a major economic power, while North Korea is a poverty-stricken nation with military rule. On 4 October 2007, South Korean President, Roh Moo-hyun and the North Korean supreme leader, Kim Jong-Il signed an eight-point peace agreement on issues of permanent peace, economic cooperation, diplomatic talks and renewal of road, air and train services between the two countries. It is hoped by the masses that these overtures would one day result in the unification of the two nations.


Watch the video: The Korean War