(a) Explain why war broke out in Korea in June 1950 and why the USA became involved? (b) What were the outcomes and the effects of the war in Korea?

Answer a:
After the defeat of Japan in Second World War, USA and USSR agreed to divide Korea into two parts along the 38th parallel. This was done to organise Korea, USSR took the Northern part and USA took south. And after establishing communist government in North Korea and through elections setting up government in South Korea, USSR and USA withdrew from Korea. Then Koreans resented the artificial division and both the leaders of North Korea and South Korea claimed the right to rule the whole country. With the idea of unifying Korea, the Leader of North Korea Kim II Sung was backed by China and Russia who indirectly supported the invasion by supplying war materials, North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950.
The USA got involved due to following reasons:

  • President Truman considered Stalin behind this invasion and it was Russia’s attempt to spread communism.
  • This invasion was similar to the policies that Hitler followed and due to appeasement, Hitler remained unchecked. Therefore, the intervention of the USA inevitable as it was necessary not to make the same mistake again.
  • Truman backed UNO to preserve peace, as the reason for the failure of League of Nations was that the powerful states did not backed the league.

Answer b:
The following are the outcomes and effects of the war:

  • After the war, Korea remained divided as it was before the war. But the country was devastated due to the war.
  • Truman was successful in controlling the spread of communism.
  • UN was effective in reversing the act of aggression. But the communists termed it as a tool of capitalists.
  • The performance of China in the war as it stood against USA and prevented the unification. This showed that China has become a world power.
  • A new dimension to the Cold War was brought by this war. USA’s relations with Russia and China further strained and both sides started forming alliances with other countries. China supported Indo-Chinese communists against France and signed peaceful coexistence agreements with India and Burma in 1954.
  • USA tried to encircle China by signing defensive treaties with Australia and New Zealand along with Britain and France it formed South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO). However, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand joined it and other did not wanted to enter Cold War.
Question for UPSC Mains:
(a) Explain why war broke out in Korea in June 1950 and why the USA became involved?  (b) What were the outcomes and the effects of the war in Korea?

Published: March 19, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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