Analyse the causes of the Korean War
The Korean War took place between June 1950 and July 1953. Wither it is considered as a fight between 2 leaders Kim II and Syngman Rhee for the rise in power; the Korean War was highly influenced by the involvement of external countries. This; combined with the rivalry between communist and capitalist ideologies led to the development of the only unique armed confrontation within all
the Cold War era.
Korea by 1950 was divided by the 38th parallel between the communist north, led by Kim II and the capitalist south; led by Syngman Rhee. Syngman Rhee wanted to invade and conquer the northern Korea, impose his rule and become the sole leader of the country. Hence as a reaction; Kim II reaches an agreement with Stalin from Russia in which Stalin would provide Kim II the resources needed to attack the southern part in exchange for Nickel and Pig Iron. This was done so that the northern part was able to attack the south in a surprise tactical operation; satisfying Kim II nationalistic fervour of becoming the unique ruler of Korea. As John Lewis Gaddis agrees; it was not that “Kim II was influenced by the
USSR; it was the nationalistic feelings within him that led to the invasion of Southern Korea in June 1950”.
On the other hand; the involvement of the USA and the United Nations was also a cause for the Korean War as it settled up the rivalry between the communist and capitalist ideologies. After Kim II launched an offensive attack on Southern Korea; Syngman Rhee turned to USA and the United Nations in order for their help. In return; USA sent 350,000 men, leaded by MacArthur; 14 billion dollars which combined with 50,000 men from 14 different nations provided a very powerful army in order to counter-attack the fight.
The involvement of both Russia and America promoted an indirect fighting between the different ideologies. From the point of the Soviet Union; it was trying to expand the communist ideology based on the Trotkist theory of “permanent revolution”. The Korean War was seen by Stalin as a way to disturb the USA.
From the ideological point of the USA; the involvement of the USA in sending an army to Korea was done to prevent the “domino theory” of happening. The Domino theory was based on the motion that if one country felled under communist rule; the neighbour countries would also fall under communist influences.
At the same time; the Truman’s Doctrine made in March 1947 provided a solid non-deniable source of help that couldn’t be refused to be made. The USA undermined communist forces to get involved in future events within the Cold War as they though that by changing their way to address the Cold War in a more aggressive way; the communists would cease their policy of “expanding communism”. When the communist ideology attempted to pursue the totalitarian control within Korea; the USA had to help the Korean people that were being “subjudized by an armed minority or external pressure”.
Simultaneously; another indirect reason was that the USSR had been successful in detonating an atomic bomb in 1949 which provided the Soviet Union with a new source of confidence in order to test the Truman Doctrine and the capitalist USA. This combined with Stalin’s idea to test the newly formed NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) which had been settled up in April 1949 resulted in the agreement between Stalin and Kim II from USSR to provide Northern Korea with supplies to carry out its actions.
The last cause towards the USA to get involved in the minor armed conflict which resulted in the Korean War was that in 1st of October 1949; Mao successfully established the People’s Republic of China. In a broader sense; the deployment of military troops to Korea would not only frighten Mao and its government of a possible attack but moreover; if they were successful in imposing a capitalist ideology in Korea, they would be well strategically positioned in order to establish a powerful base 50 meters beyond the borders of China. This would allow them not only to produce a more powerful strike; but establish a nuclear base near china and close enough to strike Russia.
In conclusion; there are a variety of causes that lead towards the Korean War. The struggle for survival between Kim II and Syngman Rhee is the most important reason for the outbreak of the Korean War. However; the involvement of external countries provide the armed conflict to become in a massive deadly proxy-war between an increased militaristic army from the South; and a powered army from the North with the help of USA and the USSR. This; combined with the rivalry between the communist and capitalist ideologies within both of the leaders
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