OH Research by Alexis PaeTopic: The Korean War Interview Subject: Chung Ja Cho (my grandmother)



Korea was a united kingdom since the 7th century until it is taken over by Japan in 1910. After WWII, Japan looses, thus Korea is split along the 38th parallel with the U.S. occupying the South and the Soviet Union occupying the North. Originally, the division was not supposed to be permanent. Eventually two nations developed, the North Communistic nation (Democratic People's Republic of North Korea) led by Kim Il Sung and the South Democratic Nation (Republic of South Korea) Syngman Ree.

War started June of 1950, when the North Korean forces went on the offensive and took the South Korean capitol, Soeul, then continued on to occupy most of South Korea. The UN, who was overseeing Korea, was not happy about the attack and invited members of the UN to aid the South. Truman puts Gen. MacArthur in charge of UN troops. However, the war continued to go badly for the South and on September 1950 the SK and UN forces were all the way to Pusan, the southeastern tip of the Korean penninsula.
However this changed on September 15, 1950, when Gen. MacArthur carried out the Inchon landing plan, and succeeded in taking Inchon, Korea's second largest port 15 miles west of Seoul (the SK Capital). The success cut off the KPA(Korean Peoples' Army) supply line to forces on the Pusan perimeter and was a major psychological and political blow to the North Koreans. As this was happening, the Truman administration debated wether or not to let MacArthur cross the 38th parallel, which could trigger China, the Soviet Union, or both into direct intervention. The decision was to stay south of the 38th parallel and take the defensive if Chinese or Soviet forces entered the war. October 7, 1950, U.S. forces pushed on to North Korea all the way to the Yalu River, disregarding warnings from from China of attack if they were to cross over to North Korea, and sure enough the Chinese intervened causing the United Nations Command forces to loose Seoul for a second time. As the Chinese Communist Troops attacked accross the Yalu river, (where the US forces had been pushing toward), they drove the UN troops back to South Korea where fighting along the border ensued. MacArthur wanted to call for air strikes, blockades, and bombing against the Chinese (specifically to destroy the bridges over the Yalu River), but Truman refused, worried that the Soviet Union would join the war, causing another world war. MacArthur's unwillingness to accept his decision brought public criticism to Truman's orders and eventually led to Truman firing MacArthur. By 1951 along the 38th parallel, both sides were deadlocked. This deadlock struggle became known as the "meat grinder" and took place from Jan. 1951-June 1953. At the same time, back home, the war was becoming very unpopular as it continued on and in early 1951, talk of truce began between the US and the Soviet Union. These talks of coming to a compromise lasted for two years, through the 1952 election in which Truman wasn't even nominated by his party. Eisenhower promised to end the war quickly, and he won the election by a landslide. The combat ended with a cease fire in July of 1953. Korea was left as it had started, communism contained.

Although both the U.S. and Soviet Union lost many troops, many agree that the biggest losers here were the Korean people. The war broke up families, created tons of refugees, and left many young children homeless and orphaned.

America was frustrated by the little difference made and the indicisicive ending despite the human and economic cost of the Korean war..
The war would lead to increased hatred and fear of communsim among Americans (Red Scare). This war will also lead America to become more conservative and intensifies the Arms Race. Another impact of the Korean War was the change in role of the US and UN- this was the first of many military interventions for the UN, and after this the US would want and try to remain committed to a containment policy of stopping the spread of communism. Today, Korea still remains divided along the 38th parallel without a lasting agreement.


"Korean War." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2010. Web. 30 May 2010. <http://www.americanhistory.abc-clio.com>.

"War in Korea (Overview)." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2010. Web. 29 May 2010. <http://www.americanhistory.abc-clio.com>.

"Korea 9 3 2 1." Julia and Alexis' Wikki, 2010. web. May 2010. <http://unit8juliahalexisp10.wikispaces.com/Korea+9+3+2+1>.




korean67.gif
Many people think that the Korean War was fought in tropical weather, but the winters in Korea are actually bitter and challenging for the troops.

Picture from National Archives and Records Administration

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293764w.jpg

June 9, 1951 this Korean girl tiredly walks in Haengju, Korea with her brother on her back. She is next to a M-26 tank. The Korean war created many desperate refugees, and left many children homeless and/or orphaned. She is wearing a hanbok.

National Archives

inchon_landing.jpg
inchon_landing.jpg

Pictured at left, 1st division marines climb over the sea wall as part of the Inchon Landing plan. Inchon was an important port for the South Koreans, and it was only 15 miles away from Soeul, the capitol General MacAthur intended and was going to regain.

National Archives
korean_war_casualties.jpg
korean_war_casualties.jpg

A corpsaman fills out casualty tags as a man grieves the loss of a fellow infantryman. An estimated 54,000 Americans died in the Korean War.

National Archives


map.gif
map.gif

This map depicts major attacks and battles with the dates during the Korean war, such as Ichon Landing where the U.S. gained control of Ichon and pushed back North Korea. The map has the UN offensive, North Korean Invasion, and the Chinese intervention/offensive outlined with arrows. The map also shows the 38th parallel where the Korean war began and ended.


lrg_koreawar_colormap.gif
lrg_koreawar_colormap.gif


This map shows the farthest advancements of both the North and South Koreans, including the Pusan perimiter and the UN troop line as they apporoached the Yalta River.The map above also shows the 38th paralell, wehere Nroth and South Korea were divided at both the beginning and end of the war.

"In my generation, this was not the first occasion when the strong had attacked the weak….Communism was acting in Korea just as Hitler, Mussolini, and the Japanese had acted ten, fifteen, and twenty years earlier. I felt certain that if South Korea was allowed to fall, Communist
leaders would be emboldened to override nations closer to our own shores."
-Truman


"I can almost hear the ticking of the second hand of destiny. We must act now or we will die. . . . We shall land at Inchon, and I shall crush them."
-MacArthur on Inchon Landing