Skip to content

Korean War Essays

Origins of Korean War Korean War started on the 25th June 1950, but do you know how and why it happened? When someone mentions the Korean War, everyone knows that it was a civil war between the North and the South Korea. But, do you know the origin of how it actually got started? There are lot of things that happened, before the North Koreans decided to cross over the 38th parallel. Korean civil war was just a small part of the whole war. The war also included more then just Koreans. What people don’t know is that there were other countries that took a huge part in the start of the Korean War such as Japan, China, Russia, and United States. In the nineteenth century, Korea was just a small peasant society that paid tribute to the Chinese. This small Korean society was nothing more then a part of an inward-looking pre-capitalist Chinese world (MacDonald 3). But when the Russia and Japanese imperialism made a huge effect on the China, Korea was able to come out of its isolation. By the end of the century, Korea had become a prize in a three-way contest between China, Russia and Japan. In 1894, Japan defeated China, thus eliminating them from the contest. Then in 1905, Japan defeated Russia, making them the dominant power in Korea. In 1910, Japan took over Korea and made them into a Japanese colony. As soon as Korea became a Japanese colony, Korea became the Japans expansion into the Northeast Asia. Though Japan tried to pursue a program of modernization, Japans rule was generally unpopular. This created a Korean group called KPG. KPG was a Korean Provisional Government in Shanghai in 1921. This was a self-constructed group that later came to be known as the main source of resistance to Japanese rule in 1930. Man named Kim Il Sung was one of the members of the KPG who stood out amongst the rest. He later becomes the president of North Korea. After struggling for forty years as a Japanese colony, Korea now had to struggle as a pawn in the newly created Cold War (Hastings 25). The Americans decided to land troops to occupy Korea at the end of the war as soon as they found out that the Russia was interested in overtaking the Korea as their sphere of interest. A Soviet Unions occupying Korea would create and entirely new strategic situation in the Far East. Though Pentagon decided that interest towards Korea was not going to be a long-term interest to the US, their view changed drastically within three weeks. Washington’s view of both the desirability and feasibility to deny at least a small part of Korea changed. On August 10, 1945, dropping of the Nagasaki bomb finalized the participation of the US occupation in Korea. Unexpected by the United States, Soviet Union agreed to accept the 38th parallel as their limit of advance(Hastings 27). Russia and United States met in Potsdam and decided that it would be for the best if they were to accept the surrender of the Japanese forces in Korea by dividing the country at the 38th parallel. This event took place during the summer of 1945. As in Europe, 38th parallel became permanent, violating the US and Russia’s sphere of interest. Russia and the US tried to define the parameters of change, only to find out that they both supported the different sides. While Russia took the left, US took the alliance with the right. This placed the conservatives in control of the security device that was granted by the defeated Japanese. Russia accepted the Japanese surrender in August, and United States accepted the Japanese surrender in September. Through this, Korea had unexpectedly found themselves separated. North Korea was now set up to work as an satellite state for China and South Korea was to become a free nation prepared by the United States. By the year of 1950, the North Korea People’s Army was trained and equipped by the Soviet Union. North Koreans were now heavily trained and now had an aggressive military force. They were well equipped with Russian small arms, artillery, armor, and propeller-driven fighter aircraft(Knox 3). By 1950 the balance power was moved drastically towards the North Koreans, making the South Koreans in a venerable situations. In late spring of that year, the North Koreans had 150 Russian-built T34 tanks, the South Koreans had no tanks; the North Koreans had three types of artillery, the South Koreans one, and in actual numbers of divisional artillery pieces, the NKPA(North Korean People’s Army) exceeded the ROK(Republic of Korea) Army three to one; the North Koreans had a small tactical air force, the South Koreans had none; the North Koreans had seven full-strength combat divisions, the South Koreans four; the North Koreans had 89,000assault troops, the South Koreans 65,000(Knox 4). North Korea decided to unify Korea by direct military action hoping that United States would not interfere. North Korea felt that United States would have too much too lose by interfering, so they went and decided to confront South Korea. During the period of June 15th through the 20th , North Koreas secretly moved close to the 38th parallel with seven infantry divisions, one armored brigade, one separate infantry regiment, one motorcycle regiment, and one border constabulary brigade(Knox 4).

North Korean Forces invaded Republic of Korea territory at 4 AM crossing the 38th parallel in the city of Onjin area, Kaesong area, and Chunchon area. North Korean forces consisted of seven divisions and five brigades, with an air force of 100-150 Soviet-made planes. The main attack was down the Pochon-Uijongbu-Seoul corridor(Knox 5). North Korean tanks participated in the operation, closing in on Chunchon. By 9AM, city of Kaesong was caputred with some ten North Korean tanks participating in the operation. From the nature of the attack and the manner in which it was launched, it onstituted an all-out offensive against the Republic of Korea. When the North Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel on the 25th of June, it was more then just a struggle amongst Koreans. It was actually a clash between Russia and the United States. When a man named Kim Il Sung, a communist leader of North Korea led north Korean troops across the 38th parallel, it was a bloody Sunday for the South Koreans. This war lasted until the year of 1953, finally coming to an end with the General Mark W. Clark signing the armistice “with a heavy heart.” Korean War wasn’t just a war that between the North Korea and the South Korea. There were many different influenced that led to the crossing of the 38th parallel by the North Koreans. When you break down the Korean War and see it for what it actually is, you can have a better understanding of what happened that let to the crossing of the 38th parallel on June 25, 1950. Though the actual civil war only lasted for 3 years, you have to take into account that it was the territorial fight against the other counties such as Japan, China, Soviet Union and United states that led to the civil war on the June 25, 1950. The whole war took from late 18th century to the mid 19th century. Korea basically became a target and a victim of the geographical and territorial reasons of the other countries.

Filed Under: History, South Korea

Essay/Term paper: The korean war

Essay, term paper, research paper:  History

See all college papers and term papers on History

Need a different (custom) essay on History? Buy a custom essay on History

Need a custom research paper on History? Click here to buy a custom term paper.

The Korean War

For hundreds of years Korea was dominated by the Chinese empire. After Japan was defeated by the allies in WW II., Korea became occupied by the Russians in the North and the Americans in the South. Both the U.S. and the Soviets realized that Korea was a strategic country. It was important to occupy because it lay between China, Japan, and the Soviet Union. North and South Korea were divided by the 38th parallel, it split the country into two regions. Russia and America became politically involved in Korea, each set up strong governments. The United States wanted Korea to be held under democratic rule, while the Soviets wanted communist rule. They took these conflicting views to the United Nations (UN), which had just been set up to prevent another world war and help with international elections. The UN decided that both sides of Korea should have their own elections. The elections were held on January 12, 1948. North Korea favoured communism, the people elected the Russians and Kim Il Sung, a former guerrilla leader. South Korea favoured democracy and formed the Republic of Korea under U.S. educated, Dr. Sygman Rhee. The Soviets left a communist dictatorship with a well-trained, well armed, North Korean-Soviet army. In fear of the North Koreans newly developed strength, the U.S. left South Korea with some small arms and military advisors.

The Korean War dates from June 1950 to July 1953. The war started on June 25 1950, when a Northern Korean(-Soviet) army invaded South Korea. The attack happened without the instructions and without the knowledge of Communist Russia or the Republic of China. The struggle started as a civil war, because Kim Il Sung choose the date for the attack. The date for the attack was badly taken, because the Soviet Union was boycotting the security Council of the UN at that time (due to the fact, that a communist representative from China was not allowed to enter the council). The Soviet Union would have been able to veto any military moves against North Korea until the war was over. Unfortunately Kim Il Sung took the initiative and invaded South Korea, where a growing opposition welcomed the Northern Korean leader as a liberator and as the one, who re-united the two Koreas. After Acheson (Secretary of State) had heard of the attack, he decided that the United States should put the matter before the United Nations. He then called President Truman and got his approval. The Security Council of the United Nations decided to give arms and equipment to the Republic of Korea and it authorized General Macarthur to stabilize the combat situation with his forces. The attack was seen as a violation of international peace by the Security Council. It was necessary to repel the armed attack and regain international peace and security in the area. This was the first time that the United Nations used military intervention to maintain peace. The UN had to be interpreted in a completely different way, because it was thought to be a peacekeeping organ with peaceful means. However this changed dramatically, when the Security Council decided to use military force even indirectly against one of its members.

Korea has become a battlefield between Russia and the United States. Both super-powers supported their part of Korea with planes (Mig15 and F-86 Sabre), troops, equipment and battle-ships. However both sides were very careful with the arm-supplies, which were sent to Korea, because they feared that one side could use an atomic bomb to finish the struggle.

During the first period of the war the Southern Korean forces were fought back to the southern coast into a very small region around the port city of Pusan, where the aggressors were finally stopped. General Macarthur sent troops behind enemy lines with amphibious vehicles so that the siege could be broken in a very efficient way. The American troops were able to push the enemies back behind the 38th parallel. When they had reached the Yalu river Chinese forces joined the Northern Korean army. The reinforced army was successful in re-capturing Seoul on January 4, 1951. There, they were not able to engage the enemy in fighting, due to a lack of supplies. On January 25 Operation Killer started in which the American army pushed the enemy back to a line slightly north of the 38th parallel, which remained stationary for the rest of the war due to strong siege forces. During that time Truman changed its aggressive policy to a moderate policy, because he feared a bitter war in which America would have to face China and Russia, which would have meant WW III.. This is why president Truman removed the aggressive General Macarthur from his office and replaced him with General Ridgway, who was successful in defending the 38th parallel with his strategy known as the active defense. In July 1953, the truce agreement was signed after a series of diplomatic problems about prisoners of war. The casualties were enormous on both sides and the social and economic damage was countless.


Other sample model essays:

History / The Leonis Adobe

The Leonis Adobe The Leonis Adobe was built in stages; however, who and when the original portion of it was built is still under research. At first, there appears to have been a simple adobe ...


Quite possibly one of the most important purchases in the history of The United States was the one in which Thomas Jefferson enabled the size of the country to double. The territory was the...

History / The London Blitz

In September of 1940 through May of 1941 there was a strategic bombing attack that was lead by the Germans targeted towards London and other cities located in England, this was known a...

History / The Manhatten Project

The Manhattan Project On Monday July 16th, 1945, a countdown for the detonation of the first atomic bomb took place near Los Alamos, New Mexico. This atomic bomb testing would forever chang...

History / The Mayas, Aztecs, And Incas

The Maya, Inca, and Aztec civilizations each originated from Latin America. Some Mayans lived in southern Mexico in the present day states of Chipas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yacata...

History / The Metis

The Metis were partly french and partly indian. Their leader was called Louis riel. Following the Union of the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company in 1821, trading had been reorga...

American Civil War / The Navy Of The Civil War

The Civil War consisted of many legendary battles over the soil of the United and Confederate States of America, which will be retold for generations in history books. Although these land battles we...

History / The New Deal

The New Deal During the 1930's, America witnessed a breakdown of the Democratic and free enterprise system as the US fell into the worst depression in history. The economic depression that b...

History / The Parliament

The Parliament was an elected organization set up by the king to manage the country to save the King the effort. Although officially ruled by the King, Parliament was increasing it"s power so...