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Causes Of The Korean War Essay

1335 words - 5 pages

Causes of the Korean War

After the USSR installed a Communist government in North Korea in
September 1948, that government promoted and supported an insurgency in
South Korea in an attempt to bring down the recognized government and
gain jurisdiction over the entire Korean peninsula. Not quite two years
later, after the insurgency showed signs of failing, the northern
government undertook a direct attack, sending the North Korea People's
Army south across the 38th parallel before daylight on Sunday, June 25,
1950. The invasion, in a narrow sense, marked the beginning of a civil
war between peoples of a divided country. In a larger sense, the cold
war between the Great Power blocs had erupted in open hostilities.
The western bloc, especially the United States, was surprised by the
North Korean decision. Although intelligence information of a possible
June invasion had reached Washington, the reporting agencies judged an
early summer attack unlikely. The North Koreans, they estimated, had not
yet exhausted the possibilities of the insurgency and would continue
that strategy only.

The North Koreans, however, seem to have taken encouragement from the
U.S. policy which left Korea outside the U.S. "defense line" in Asia and
from relatively public discussions of the economies placed on U.S. armed
forces. They evidently accepted these as reasons to discount American
counteraction, or their sponsor, the USSR, may have made that
calculation for them. The Soviets also appear to have been certain the
United Nations would not intervene, for in protest against Nationalist
China's membership in the U.N. Security Council and against the U.N.'s
refusal to seat Communist China, the USSR member had boycotted council
meetings since January 1950 and did not return in June to veto any
council move against North Korea.
Moreover, Kim Il Sung, the North Korean Premier, could be confident that
his army, a modest force of 135,000, was superior to that of South
Korea. Koreans who had served in Chinese and Soviet World War II armies
made up a large part of his force. He had 8 full divisions, each
including a regiment of artillery; 2 divisions at half strength; 2
separate regiments; an armored brigade with 120 Soviet T-34 medium
tanks; and 5 border constabulary brigades. He also had 180 Soviet
aircraft, mostly fighters and attack bombers, and a few naval patrol
craft.
The Republic of Korea (ROK) Army had just 95,000 men and was far less
fit. Raised as a constabulary during occupation, it had not in its later
combat training under a U.S. Military Advisor Group progressed much
beyond company-level exercises. Of its eight divisions, only four
approached full strength. It had no tanks and its artillery totaled
eighty-nine 105-mm. howitzers. The ROK Navy matched its North Korean
counterpart, but the ROK Air Force had only a few trainers and liaison
aircraft. U.S. equipment, war-worn when...

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