The Korean War

The Korean War

The Korean War began in June 1950, lasting three years until 27th of July 1953 when the warring sides signed a peace agreement. The effects of the war were far-reaching and devastating. After all the dust of the war had settled, about three million people had died. There was massive destruction of property and economies left in ruins, staring at crises. Its causes were deep with the two most powerful nations of that time, the Soviet Union and the United States supporting North and South Korea, whose animosity had reached boiling point. South Korea had the support of the Australian Navy, Air Force and Regular Army, with these personnel serving for the entire war period.

Events before the Korean War

The origin of the Korean War dates back years after the Second World War, with Allies being in control of the Korean peninsula that came after 35 years of occupation by the Japanese. The Soviet Union and the U.S mutually agreed to be in charge, with the former taking over north of the 38th Parallel, while the latter was to control the south. In the next few years, the Soviet Union would promote a communist government under Kim Il-Sung while the US supported Syngman Rhee’s government in the south. However, hostility between the two sides grew and by 1950, troops from both sides camped along the 38th Parallel.

In the early hours of June 25, 1950, hell broke loose as Korean War (KPA) invaded South Korea, driving the forces down the peninsula and taking of Seoul in a week. This forced the South Korean and United States Army units to set up defensive positions near Pusan, a port city.

People and events during the War

The Korean War intensified within a short period. US President Harry S. Truman allowed US Navy and Air Force to back South Korea in repulsing North Koreans. In a month’s time, President Truman had authorized the deployment of US forces to the peninsula. The United Nations Security Council acted decisively by asking its members to stop the invasion and repel North Korean forces. However, Russia was supporting North Koreans, protesting against the Security Council’s failure to recognize the Communist Chinese government. Following the UN decision, 21 member states committed military weaponry and support to defend South Korea.

The entry of China in the conflict, and in support of North Korea, would halt the UN’s advancement in recapturing Seoul and repelling the North. Even though the U.S was ready to launch an attack on the Soviet Union, the logistics proved hard in a limited conflict like Korea. On November 30, the President Truman confirmed that he was considering using atomic bombs in Korea, sparking worldwide reaction, with British Prime Minister Clement Attlee rushing to Washington to express his anger. However, President Truman assured the world that his intension was to prevent a “major military disaster” in Korea. In the end, the United States never used atomic bombs in the Korean War. Peace talks began on July 1951 after 13 months of war. Nevertheless, the road to finding peace in the region would take another 2 years. A final deal was brokered on July 27, 1953 after the new leadership in Moscow moved swiftly to find a solution.

Effects of the Korean War

The effects of the war were varied. However, the human loss was devastating. In the first month of the battle, the Strategic Air Command groups used at least 4,000 tons of bombs, killing people and destroying property and infrastructure. According to estimates, over three and a half military personnel from both sides died in the combat with millions wounded and missing. In addition, two million civilians in South Korea died even though the border separating the two warring nations remained in the same position before the invasion.

Even though the war had catastrophic effects, it also boosted the economy of Japan as most of the materials used to rebuild Korea came from nearby Japan. The War had the same effects to the US economy as its military expenditure almost quadrupled in the last half of 1950, during the heat of the Korean War.

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