The Korean War was one of the infamous proxy wars waged during the tense Cold War period, between the United States of America and the Soviet Union. In that period, the overwhelming concern facing the free world, helmed by America, was the realization of the Truman Doctrine, which in effect included the containment of the Soviet Union and the aversion of an ominous political and military phenomenon known as the Domino Effect.
The Domino Effect was the belief that should a state or country fall into the throes of Communism, surrounding countries would one by one begin to fall into the hands of the Soviet Union, heralding the very real possibility of a Third World War and all-out nuclear war. Hostilities began on the 25th of June, 1950, apparently instigated by the North Koreans – more specifically, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Army (Evanhoe, Ed. 2002 http://www. korean-war. com/TimeLine/1950/06-25to08-03-50. html). The South Korean response and the United States’ support for the military engagement began in earnest within the next couple of days.
The war escalated through the following months, and casualties mounted on both sides till an armistice was signed on 27 July, 1953. The war could be viewed in three distinct phases, i. e. the Opening Situation – from June to September 1950, the United Nations counterattack – from September to November 1950, and toward the ceasefire line – November 1950 to July 1953 (Dwight D. Eisenhower, p. 173). For the United States, it was a costly involvement that saw a total of 29,557 deaths, 92,934 wounded, and 7,245 interred as prisoners-of-war (Evanhoe, Ed. 2002 http://www. korean-war. com/TimeLine/1953/timeline1953.
html). Yet, it was seen as a very necessary action in the light of the international political arena both then and now. The Korean War was an important preface to the Vietnam War, which saw a much more heavy engagement and stunning military losses suffered by the United States. It was the major conflict that occurred after World War II, and should be recognized as such because of the significant implications that surrounded its conflagration and escalation. It is notable as the powers that be supplying the elements and process of war really belonged to the United States, the Soviet Union, and China.
That the war was waged on Korean soil by the North and South Koreans was just a physical representation. Again, this conflict was perpetuated by ideological and political differences and would be fleshed out over again in another time on another turf. The Korean War was at once both critical and unfortunate. It is referred to sometimes as the Forgotten War, simply because it was sandwiched between World War II and the Vietnam War, the former because of the horrific scale of the conflict and the latter because of the intricacies and long-drawn out battle timeline.
Psychologically, however, the Korean War represented an important milestone for anti-communist sentiments and international support for a United States military presence as the World leader, and the global policeman. In truth, the Korean War in the eyes of the United States was more of a police action than a war – that was an appropriate response to unsolicited hostilities waged against their key ally. One might be forgiven for the view that the Korean War was much ado about nothing, for there was very little real land reallocation and it ended in a technical stalemate (Korean War History Guide, n.
d. http://history. searchbeat. com/koreanwar. htm). There was plenty of huff and puff on all sides, and there were many peace negotiations and overtures throughout. Today, the war has not officially ended, and both Koreas are still technically at war. They had been observing an uncertain peace for the last fifty years and one can surmise that without the vitriolic might and fervor of both the Soviet Union and China that existed then in that period of world history, North Korea had no real impetus to engage the South in yet another conflict.
Today also, the world is witnessing a very isolated North Korea devoid of even its closest ally’s support, for it is not in China’s interest in all respects to support any possible conflagration. Should North Korea choose to be an enfant terrible and pick a fight with the South, it would really be doing so as a lonely and desperate attempt to regain its largely irrelevant dominance and imagined presence on the world stage. No longer would it be a thinly-cloaked war of belligerence waged by the Communist powers that be.
REFERENCES Dwight D. Eisenhower, Mandate for Change: 1953-56 (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1963), p. 173 Evanhoe, Ed. 2002 http://www. korean-war. com/TimeLine/1950/06-25to08-03-50. html Retrieved on 30 May 2010. Evanhoe, Ed. 2002 http://www. korean-war. com/TimeLine/1953/timeline1953. html Retrieved on 30 May 2010. Korean War History Guide, n. d. http://history. searchbeat. com/koreanwar. htm Retrieved on 30 May 2010.