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‘The US intervention in the Korean war was caused entirely by the aggressive behaviour of N. Korea.’ How far do you agree with this judgement?
The true reason as to why the US intervened in the Korean war has created a lot of conflicting answers from many historians. The aggression behaviour of North Korea inherently contributed into US intervention. Historians believed that this was another event in a civil war that had been raging since Korea had been divided.
Kim Il Sung was seen by Stalin as someone who is capable to destroy left wing factions in the north and his ability to unite the people under a communist leadership. On 25th of June 1950 North Korean invaded the south in a clear act of invasion which quickly brought the attention to the US. It is arguable that the Americans, keen on human rights and democracy, provided military assistance to Syngman Rhee in the south in order to stop further expansion of communism. One of the reasons why the Americans urged to stop the spread of communism is due to the pressures from home.
The ‘red-scare’ started by McCarthy threatened Truman’s popularity as the people’s president. He was accused of supporting communism and employing closet communists under his administration. The fact that North Korea invaded the south provided the perfect opportunity for Truman to take action and convince the public that he was no more communist than they were. He assisted South Korea in a war against the ideology of communism. Whether or not Truman fought the war out of priniciple is arguable, however it is more likely that he used democracy and the human rights as a way to protect his presidency by gaining faith from the public again.
The fight against communism had domino effect to the other SEA countries as well. If the whole of Korea were under the rule of communism, consequently other SEA nations would fall in Soviet sphere of influence. The security of Japan was particularly important to the US because she wanted a strong area of influence in the Pacific.
IT was essential for Japan to maintain as a regional democratic power in South East Asia so that it would provide a bulwark to the spread of communism in SEA and inform the USA on checks on Soviet influence. Korea is only 160 km from Japan, if the whole of Korea fell into the hands of communism, Japan would be the first country affected which would create a domino effect towards the other SEA countries. If all the region of Asia is under the influence of Soviet, America would lose her superpower stature and diminished all ties and faith from other nations such as Western Europe.