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46 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

What caused the war?

D- domino theory, risk of losing Japan. Truman's doctrine. Especially after China turned communist.

U- undermine communism. NSC-68 recommended rollback rather than containment

C- cold war. competing for world domination by SK support without directly attacking USSR.

K- kim il sung persuaded stalin he could conquer SK. belief US won't react or get involved. Kim had to get Mao's approval. Stalin saw it as a way of attacking the US from afar.

S- syngman rhee. Boasted on desire of attacking NK

Definition of...


2. Panmujon

3. Pusan

4. Rhee

1. North Korean People's Army

2. Location of second half of peace treatynegotiations. Near parallel.

3. Korean port where ROK forces where trapped and pushed back.

4. democratically elected. dictator,comitted, obsessed with unified Korea

Definition of...

1. Pyongyang

2. Dean Acheson

3. Ridgway

4. Wake Island

1. North Korean capital

2. Truman's Sec. of State

3. Commander under MacArthur pushed communists back. Became Allied commander when MacArthur was dismissed.

4. Truman's emphasis on limited war. MacA hated Truman didnt salute or dress formally. Meeting Truman increased hatred. MacA convinced chinese would not intervene. Suggested to chinese US were planning something big, probably lead to involvement.

Korean War Timeline...

1. 1945

2. 1946

3. 1947

4. 1948

5. 1949

6. 1950

1. Feb, US+USSR agree on trusteeship for Korea. Aug, division of 38th parallel. Sept, Korean People's Republic.

2. Feb, Establishing of Rhee + Kim. June, Chinese cilvil war restarted.

3. March, Truman Doctrine announcement.

4. May, SK elections. Aug, SK established with president Rhee. Sept, Democratic Republic of Korea established. US withdrawal

5. March, Stalin met Kim in Moscow for 1st time. Oct, People's Republic of China established w/ Mao

6. Jan, suggestion of stalin support of attacking SK. Apr, Stalin confirms + approval of NSC-68. May, Mao confirms support. June, war begins


UN's involvement wanting to unify Korea through elections.

NK refused to vote, due to SK having a large population & Rhee's supporters refused to cooperate with trusteeship (condition @ moscow conference)

Therefore US congress never declared war

Defence Perimetre

Compilation of islands surrounding Asia for US bases


Development of H-bomb + the build up of forces. Stated US should try for complete unification allowing the crossing of 38th parallel


McCarthyism led to witch-hunt of communists by stating there were communists in the State Department.

Balance of Power:




1. USSR had A-bomb (frightened US)

2. All E.Europe was communist (Iron Curtain)

3. Eisenhower elected

Aims of US in Korea

In 1950's it was to contain communism then it got to roll back to destroy it.

Once China entered aims reverted back

Partition shouldn't be permanent

General MacArthur

Wanted to attack China @ one point with A-bombs.

Clashed with Truman on bombing China

Believed it was his destiny to finish communism

Wanted to Us power by bombing Yalu River

Dismissed in 1951 when it was evident he defied Truman in everything.

Face of America to the Asian world

Supreme Commander of UN forces

End of War

1951- Stalemate reached but PoW delayed

1953- Stalin's death & cease fire in July

Korea to the USA

Was of strategic importance. It was between China, USSR & Japan. Threat of communism spreading.

Syngman Rhee

Princeton educated

Difficult ally.

Truman told Rhee he wouldn't support reunification militarily.

Wanted a quick reunification, lack of firepower.

Massacred thousands of own people suspected to be communist

Kim Il Sung

Had long history of association with Soviets, communist.

Wanted a quick renufication.


Wanted to avoid mistakes of LoN~ nations against communist threat, UN support.


Sept 15 1950

After being trapped in Pusan

Turned course of war through amphibious assault (big risk).

Big port in SK and had a sea wall.

Tides and weather could've been make or break

Gave MacArthur a big ego boost and confidence to introduce rollback. Closest port to Soeul. Only 20 UN troops killed. Led to capture of Soeul

Why US withdrew 1948-49?

Us investment on Asian mainland got too expensive, withdrew as part of defensive perimetre.

Allowed US to focus on Japan.

Left ROK receiving aid economically+militarily but not US troops

June 25th 1950

War started.

SK appealed. Truman sent US troops.

USSR+NK thought there would be no retaliation or reaction from US.

By using UN, US gained support.

Why US entered Korean War

- communism rejected what they stood for, capitalism (private business) and democracy.

-balance of power wasn't in favour this shown by the loss of China

- McCarthyism & domestic policy ~communist in state dep. mid-term elections in 1950

- NSC-68 mention of Korea's importance to US policy

- Danger to Japan as they were trading partners

-UN failure ~ appeasement fails. Has to be limited war. SK was too weak to do alone. Also, taking advantage of USSR boycott

Yalu river

Bombing this boundary between NK and China. MacA didn't think chinese would react badly or at all(convinced Truman of this). Chinese retaliated severely though.

China repeatedly warn US through Indian foreign minister stating there would be a response.Although it was McA's attempt. Truman did authorise attack. MacA didn't cross river

Course of War

1st and 2nd step


1. June-Sept 1950.25th Jun: initial NK attack which capture most of SK. 2 days after attack US panic persuade UN involvement. An army was sent to reinforce forces in Pusan where they were cornered.

2. Sept-Nov 1950.15 Sept: Inchon landing behind NK forces. Almost being cut off NK retreated- 125,000 PoWs captured.7 Oct: MacA invaded NK advancing to chinese border boasting early finish of war bychristmas

Course of war cont

3rd and 4th step


3. Nov 1950-Feb1951.

25 Nov: Chinese panic 200,000 chinese people's volunteers attacked, wapons supplied by USSR and driving hatred for US.

31 Dec: 1/2 a million more troops drove US back to SK and advanced in SK too. Longest US retreat in history

4. February-March 1951.

US landed more trrops and use of bombs. Severe loss of numbers on both sides. MacArthur reached 38th parallel in March

Course of War how it ended

5th step


5. March 1951-53.

Truman told McA to stop. Ike elected and said a-bomb would be used, chinese agreed to truce on 27 July.

Death toll over 1.2 billion troops and 2-4 million civilians

US and China in Korea

Chinese troops in night time assaults.

Truman gave up attempt to re-unify

PoWs given choice when peace was signed.

China was under immense pressure from Stalin (secret telegrams)

Threat of WW3 with limited war, expanded.

Consequences of Korean War

Implementation of NSC-68

Strengthening of NATO

restoring Japan to its sovereignty

increased aid to Fr in Vietnam

Cold War- how it applies to Korea

Ideological struggle between the US & Soviet Union. Democracy vs communism. American foreign policy was prominent for containment. A spread is against the self interest of US, a threat to their way of life.

Korea Pre-War

Was ruled by Japan from 1919. Banned Korean language, forced a way of life. Against foreigners ruling over them.

At the end of WW2 Korea was "up for grabs" with Japan out, done through attack of USSR + US. Led to 38th parallel. USSR allowed this wanting compensation in Europe


Peace keeping organisation established after WW2

UN flag hid reality of US power. 260,000 US troops in the 300,000 UN overall.

Advance into NK overstepped mandate of police action

Why NK advanced so quickly into SK without resistance?

US left SK without weapons and ammunition because Rhee wanted to attack NK and they wanted to prevent this. US strategy of restraint backfired

Attitude of Koreans about crossing the 38th parallel

They wanted this as it was Rhee's promise they also wanted to control their own destiny. Although they had close similarities to the chinese they rejected their communism.

Significance of Japan

Was an R&R spot where morale can be reboosted. Helped regain Soeul

Operation Thunder

Under Ridgeway, was the advance that pushed the Chinese back to soeul and beyond. Although weather was big contribution almost crippling Chinese with lack of food. which US troops always had.

Truman's attitudes towards advancing on NK the second time

Saw the first time as a mistake and wanted to prevent this the second time to not waste US lives

MacArthur did not agree and wanted China, Truman fired him. He had enough.

How peace talks were possible

Ridgeway predicted chinese attack tactics and beat them with his triangle tactic. Thousands of chinese killed. Perfect time for peace

Peace talks

Both sides arrived like they were the victors, asking other to make concessions. Different objectives. UN- change of border-NK wanted 38th parallel to stay in place.

Talks went on and on with no progress

Prisoners of War

Chinese wanted all prisoners returned (even against their will). Chinese killed most of their UN prisoners. 100,000 soldiers thought captured on 13,000 returned.

UN soldiers described : torture, brain washing, starvation

UN prisons were safer and biggest danger was prisoners turning against each other

War from 1951-53

Sporadic fighting.

When they did it was heavy but there was time in between to fortify territory.

Fighting over higher ground

Put pressure for peace talks

Air War

New planes kept pilots ahead of enemy

Air strikes had massive effect in pressure and destruction

1952 UN air power reached peak strength- forced communist to peace table

Rhee recognised american planes played important part in war by demolishing 90% of electrical plants


Communist took Eisenhower's nuclear bomb threats seriously.

They actively seeked peace when he got elected.

July 27th 1953 Peace signed.

Why did MacArthur get fired?

He publicly criticised Truman

Why didn't Truman run for another election for 1953?

The country blamed him for poor war effort

Why was Dwight Eisenhower elected?

He stated he would end Korean War & threatened to use A-bombs on China and North Korea

What was the Truman Doctrine

Stopping spread of communism through aid with money, politics and military.

Marshall Plan 1947-51

Plan to rebuild Europe after WW2 to prevent spread of communism

How was the Cold War integrated into the Korean War?

Superpowers were just using it as a front to combat each other without actually going into a ‘hot war’ which – as both had the atomic bomb – would have been mutually assured destruction

Therefore a proxy war