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Title: Essay on the Korean War


M Bison - December 16, 2008 12:06 AM (GMT)
How far should the outcome of the Korean War be seen as a triumph for the USA?

The United States had entered Korea intending to restore a border around the position of the 38th parallel, with the intention of keeping an independent, non communist South Korea. They came out of the war having completed this objective. However, the priorities of the war changed during its’ course, and many of these new aims were not met. Though the main objective of the United States was met, their claim of total victory is questionable.

As already stated, the USA had achieved their primary objective of creating and holding a border around the 38th parallel, keeping South Korea an independent, capitalist nation. This had effectively contained communism, stopping it from reaching South Korea (and, in turn, Japan, which had become a United States base after World War 2). With communism contained, the USA could claim that its policy of containment was proving a success, which was a boost for the President. This was by far the most important objective for the United States, and their greatest victory in the war.

The first President of the United States during the Korean War was Harry S Truman, who was President during the outbreak of war in June 1950. Earlier in his Presidency, Truman had created the Truman Doctrine, a policy of containment that outlined his intentions to disallow the spread of communism. However, China had become a communist state and he had been unable to stop it. This had led to accusations that he had gone “soft” on communism, which was a legacy he did not wish to leave with. His part in the war on Korea had solidified his legacy as an anti communist president, as the USA had successfully contained communism from spreading into South Korea. This was important for Truman, but for the United States as a whole, was a very minor concern.

The United Nations was the force that officially went to war with North Korea- not the United States. They had branded North Korea as the aggressor when they moved southwards (the USSR was boycotting the Security Council at the time), and called upon its members to defend the Republic of Korea. By the end of the war, 16 nations in all had contributed to the defence of the ROK, and had shown the world that the United Nations were prepared to act on international issues, including going to war. This elevated their image, and proved that they had to be taken seriously (unlike the earlier League of Nations, which had failed on more than one occasion to act on international issues).

With containment successful, the United States had successfully managed to re-establish their reputation as defenders of the free world. Of the 16 nations that came to the aid of the ROK, the US troops were the first to arrive. The commander of the combined UN forces was legendary United Stated General Douglas MacArthur. It was the US policies that were followed (for instance, the policy of containment), and it was the United States president (now Dwight D Eisenhower) that sighed the peace treaty in July 1953. Despite the fact that Korea was a UN war, the United States were seen as the leader, and the victor at the end of the war.

Despite these successes, the Korean War was not a complete victory for the United States. After securing the 38th parallel, General MacArthur attempted to continue on straight to the Chinese border- rolling back the communist forces, rather than just containing them. This, at first, proved successful, until they came upon the Yalow River bordering China. MacArthur expected the Chinese to refrain from attacking, and risking war with the United States, but to his dismay, they did, feeling threatened by the army’s presence on their border. This attack took the USA completely by surprise, and the UN forces were forced to begin the long retreat back to South Korea. MacArthur had proved he was willing to take major risks, including war with China or even the USSR. President Truman, who had been at odds with MacArthur the entire war, fired him in April 1951. This was a popular decision in Europe, but to Americans, who viewed MacArthur as a legendary hero, it was largely unpopular. Not only had the UN forces been embarrassed by the Chinese, but the President had been forced to make a decision that was heavily unpopular in his own country.

The tension between the communist nations and the United States had only been heightened by the war. The UN went to war without the blessing of the Soviets, who had provided North Korea with weapons and equipment. China had proven it was not afraid to fight US forces if necessary, and also proved it could do so without looking weak. The communists were united- China had come to North Koreas’ aid, and the USSR had as well, to a lesser extent. The United States would have a far more difficult time to stop the spread of communism, and were likely to have to fight more wars to do so.

The growing tension had caused an arms race between the Soviets and the United States- NSC-68 was passed in the USA, increasing defence spending dramatically in order to maintain a constant military advantage over the USSR. Money that could have been spent on other concerns for the United States instead went into preparation for a war that never came into fruition, wasting billions of dollars.
Another result of the Korean War was the United States increasing commitment into becoming Global Policemen, attempting to stop the spread of communism all over the world. This was a responsibility that was placed upon the United States was a heavy one, and made it even more likely that they would have to go to war again in the near future.

Whilst it is true that the USA had not achieved a total victory in Korea, they had achieved their main, primary objective. They had shown the world that they were willing to stand against the spread of communism, no matter where it arose. The European countries had heightened faith in them, and they had gained a victory over communism. Though it was not a perfect victory, the Korean War was a major triumph for the United States.

Ethan - December 16, 2008 03:17 AM (GMT)
some mistkaes, like the part where Ike sighed when you mean signed.... and isn't there supposed to be a the before the legendary General Douglas?

M Bison - December 16, 2008 05:05 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Ethan @ Dec 16 2008, 03:17 AM)
and isn't there supposed to be a the before the legendary General Douglas?

No. It's still correct English. The additional the is unnecessary.

Phalanx - December 16, 2008 08:59 PM (GMT)
Wow for a non-American, you sure know A LOT about American history practically as if it were the back of your hand. :blink:

M Bison - December 16, 2008 11:22 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Phalanx @ Dec 16 2008, 08:59 PM)
Wow for a non-American, you sure know A LOT about American history practically as if it were the back of your hand.  :blink:

Cold War America and Stalinist Russia are the subjects I'm tackling in history right now. The only British history we are going to do is women's rights (which will be booooooring). We're also going to be doing the rise of Nazism in Germany, and the black civil rights movement in America.

Ethan - December 17, 2008 03:19 AM (GMT)
you're in college? I already took those subjects in school and know some things...

Leo Sanders - December 17, 2008 03:33 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (Ethan @ Dec 17 2008, 03:19 AM)
you're in college? I already took those subjects in school and know some things...

Sweet.

Phalanx - December 17, 2008 08:18 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (M Bison @ Dec 16 2008, 11:22 PM)
QUOTE (Phalanx @ Dec 16 2008, 08:59 PM)
Wow for a non-American, you sure know A LOT about American history practically as if it were the back of your hand.  :blink:

Cold War America and Stalinist Russia are the subjects I'm tackling in history right now. The only British history we are going to do is women's rights (which will be booooooring). We're also going to be doing the rise of Nazism in Germany, and the black civil rights movement in America.

Gee, I had no clue English colleges had that much interest in teaching you guys American history and values. :mellow:

M Bison - December 18, 2008 12:21 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (Phalanx @ Dec 17 2008, 08:18 PM)

Gee, I had no clue English colleges had that much interest in teaching you guys American history and values. :mellow:

Values? No. Just history. And Ethan, I took most of 'em in school to. We're looking at it in a more advanced manner.

Phalanx - December 18, 2008 09:02 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (M Bison @ Dec 18 2008, 12:21 AM)
QUOTE (Phalanx @ Dec 17 2008, 08:18 PM)

Gee, I had no clue English colleges had that much interest in teaching you guys American history and values.  :mellow:

Values? No. Just history. And Ethan, I took most of 'em in school to. We're looking at it in a more advanced manner.

Define "more advanced manner".

M Bison - December 18, 2008 09:19 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Phalanx @ Dec 18 2008, 09:02 PM)

Define "more advanced manner".

Different time periods, more depth, more skills needed, etc.

Phalanx - December 18, 2008 11:14 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (M Bison @ Dec 18 2008, 09:19 PM)
QUOTE (Phalanx @ Dec 18 2008, 09:02 PM)

Define "more advanced manner".

Different time periods, more depth, more skills needed, etc.

As opposed to learning American history in my country, how do you guys learn it? Through our point of view or yours? Just making sure.

Ethan - December 19, 2008 04:23 AM (GMT)
...dude, I'm in the third hardest school of my state...........they force us to come to school even in a snowstorm..................>.<

M Bison - December 19, 2008 08:27 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Phalanx @ Dec 18 2008, 11:14 PM)
QUOTE (M Bison @ Dec 18 2008, 09:19 PM)
QUOTE (Phalanx @ Dec 18 2008, 09:02 PM)

Define "more advanced manner".

Different time periods, more depth, more skills needed, etc.

As opposed to learning American history in my country, how do you guys learn it? Through our point of view or yours? Just making sure.

Unbiased point of view.

Phalanx - December 20, 2008 05:08 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (M Bison @ Dec 19 2008, 08:27 PM)
QUOTE (Phalanx @ Dec 18 2008, 11:14 PM)
QUOTE (M Bison @ Dec 18 2008, 09:19 PM)
QUOTE (Phalanx @ Dec 18 2008, 09:02 PM)

Define "more advanced manner".

Different time periods, more depth, more skills needed, etc.

As opposed to learning American history in my country, how do you guys learn it? Through our point of view or yours? Just making sure.

Unbiased point of view.

Cool.

Btw you got a pm, Bison.




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