Causes of the Korean War
Written by Peter Fitzgerald
History of War - Asian War
The Korean War is a war that started in 1950 and by all accounts is still going today. When it first started the war involved countries from across the globe, today however it is deemed to only involve North Korea and South Korea.
In total the war has already claimed an estimated 2 million dead or wounded soldiers and 2.5 million dead or wounded civilians making this a huge war and not simply a political affair.
The causes of the Korean War stem back around a hundred years and the affects of these causes are still seen today.
Causes of the Korean War
From 1904 Japan had been controlling Korea, but this changed when World War 2 came to an end. At the end of World War 2 the USSR and United States were at a loose end as to what to do with Korea as their ideas were miles apart.
The United States referred the situation to the United Nations and the UN decided to put a vote to its members, this ended in elections agreeing on a divided Korea. The USSR was the only country to show against these elections.
In the end the division occurred and the United States put forward Syngman Rhee as a possible leader of the south. Syngman Rhee had been in exile in the United States since 1907 so the US knew him well. In voting 80% of the newly called South Koreans voted and agreed on Syngman Rhee.
In an opposite turn of events the USSR put Kim el Song in charge of the north; this was because of his Communist leaning which supported the USSR vision.
The two new countries were divided by the 38th parallel line, a circle of latitude location on the Earths globe.
Post World War 2 the Americans brought quickly reduced their number of soldiers based in South Korea; this left South Korea in charge of its own defence under the guidance of The Korean army, known as ROK. The Korean army was armed with light weaponry.
The North on the other hand was given heavy weapons and military vehicles by the USSR making them a formidable opponent in military circles.
In 1950 the United States spoke openly of the countries they would willing support militarily. South Korea was not mentioned and this supported North Korea’s view that America would not step in if they attacked the South.
Overall this meant that North Korea were a much stronger military force and had strong backing by Stalin and the USSR while South Korea was left with light weaponry and a lack of support from the United States.
Kim el Song saw great potential in attacking and winning back South Korea to make a united Korea controlled by Kim el Song and his Communist regime. On the 25th June in the year 1950 North Korea started their “Fatherland Liberation War", this was achieved by sending hundreds of thousands of troops into South Korea.
Effectively one could say that the causes of the Korean War were because of the end of World War 2 and the lack of support from the United States in creating a strong South Korea that could support itself.