The Korean conflict had a number of factors that contributed to it. One of the factors although it is not the major one could be the size of Korea as a country which is small in the middle of large countries such as Russia, China and Japan. Because of this fact, each surrounding country wanted to take over Korea to be under their territory, something which Korea had trouble in dealing with. Most of the time, she could find herself under the control of the neighbors like China which controlled her at intervals for over 1000 years.
The major cause of the conflict came into play when Japan took control of Korea just like the other neighboring countries had done. They ruled Korea from 1904 until the end of the World War II when the Soviet Union and the United States of America joined forces to drive Japanese out of the Korean territory. They agreed that after the Soviet Union was to rule in the north with the United States taking the Southern Korean. The 38 parallel was to make the dividing line between the North and the South Korea. The two countries ruled for a period of two years after which they both left Korea.
The North which was under the Soviet Union leadership was left with a communist government while the south which was under the leadership of the US, a democratic government was left behind . Because of the need for unity between the north and the south, problems started. There were two governments in place: one formed by the southern people which was a democratic government and the other one was a communist government. The northern government formed the democratic people’s republic of Korea which was headed by Kim II Sung as a prime minister and the southern government was led by Syngman Rhee who was their president.
The north wanted Korea unified as a communist state with the south advocating for a democratic state. Elections were held to form a single government between the North and the south and were supposed to be supervised by the UN to ensure that they were fair. Elections were held, of which the South was declared to have been undertaken in a free and fair way but the Northern region’s elections could not be accepted because the UN supervisors could not be allowed into the North by the Soviets who were present.
As a result, they were declared unacceptable. This led to formation of the separate states. Disputes started to emerge between the two sides with each side becoming more aggressive . The United States pulled out its soldiers from the south from 40,000 who were there to only 500 soldiers and limited the number of weapons they were sending to the region. This was partly because of the fear of the southern president attacking the North and also because of the policy that had been passed in the US concerning Asia (NSC 48/2) .
Because of the power that the Soviet and China had developed through military advancement such that by 1949 they already had a nuclear bomb, the US opted for a different way of resolving the conflict other than war . In 1950, the troops from North Korea launched a surprise attack on the south. The UN intervened and called an emergency meeting on the same day but the meeting was boycotted by the Russian security delegation because the UN had recognized Chiang Kai-Shek’s government as the official government in Taiwan and ignored Mao’s communist rule in Beijing.
At the meeting, it was claimed by the US that North Korea had interfered with world peace by attacking South Korea. America wanted North Korean troops to back off from the 38 parallel, a view that was supported by nine out of the eleven member countries. On 27th of June 1950, the US suggested that the UN should use force to get the North Korean troops out of the south because of them boycotting the Security Council . The UN formulated its plans in which 16 member states were to provide troops under the joint command of the UN which could support the South Korean army.
The UN troops were under the command of an American General MacArthur. The UN troops launched an attack against the North Korean troops in September of 1950 and managed to effectively cut North Korean army into two and managed to push them out of the south. They continued advancing to the North Korean territory despite the warnings from China. This led to an attack on the UN troops by China between 1950 and 1951 managing to push back the UN forces. MacArthur was sucked by President Truman after they had clashed generating the war into a stalemate between the UN and China.
They agreed on a ceasefire at Panmunjon in 1953 which still exists to date . The reasons that brought about conflicts between the North and South Korea were not justified. This was not North Korean verses South Korean war but instead it was a war between the US and the Soviet Union. It was the battle for supremacy between the US and the Soviet Union that fueled the conflicts between the two regions. In the first place, they are the ones who brought differences between the north and the south by first dividing them and instilling in them different forms of governance.
Because of the effects that the war could have on the people of both the South and North Korea, the Northern troops could have desisted from entering the southern territory. From the start, it was evident that because of the differences that existed between the two, forming a unity government could do them more harm than good hence they should have continued with the separate governments they had formed . The cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union was more or less the same as the Korean conflict because it was still the struggle for supremacy between the Soviet Union and the US led to these wars.
It was because of President Woodrow Wilson’s commitment to liberal internationalism that was aimed at promoting democracy together with free enterprise that conflicted with the Soviet Unions’ world wide class revolution which was aimed at bringing a socialist future that triggered the cold war. Differing economic interests between the two is also thought to have brought about the conflict. The US was out to create a new currency stabilizing scheme which the Soviet Union was opposed to because it was based on American capitalism.
The issue of military superiority also had a hand in the conflict. The Soviet Union was the second most powerful and the US felt threatened by it. Therefore, it was keen on increasing its military capacity. The two came face to face in their fight for supremacy and had to deal with one another . Looking at the factors that led to the Korean conflict and those that contributed to the cold war, it is evident that the driving force between the two was the battle for supremacy between the Soviet Union and the US. These battles had significant effects to both states.
It led to an expensive arms race which involved development of nuclear weapons, brought about alliances between states for and against each of the two and also had economic implications. They also led to propaganda wars and created a military and bureaucracy complex. It was not healthy for both of them and the world at large because of the tensions that it brought with them. Therefore, it is important for measures to be put in place to ensure that there is sovereignty among countries to avoid conflicts. BIBLIOGRAPHY Burton Ira Kaufman. The Korean conflict. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Publishing Group. 1999.
Robert Buzzanco, “What Happened to the New Left? Toward a Radical Reading of American Foreign Relations” Diplomatic History, Vol 23 No 4 Fall, 1999, pp. 575-607 Roger George Stoven. Korean conflict: negotiation vs. armed settlement. Minnesota: Mankato State College, 1972. Mahavir Prasad Srivastava. The Korean conflict: search for unification. New Delhi: Prentice Hall of India (1982). Melvyn P Lefler. A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration and the Cold War (Stanford, 1992). Vladislav Zubok and Constantine Pleshakov, Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War: from Stalin to Khrushchev (Cambridge, MA, 1996)
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