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Causes of the Korean War

What were the real causes of the Korean was? Please provide a review of the causes of the Korean wars in a detailed historical non-biased format.

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The Korean War began on 25 June 1950, the North Korean Peoples'Army (NKPA), equipped by the Soviet Union and China, crossed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea in an attempt to reunify the country. The attack was very strong, centered, surprising, and so rapid that it pushed the combined Republic of Korea (ROK) army and American forces southward in a fighting retreat all through July 1950 and finally into the city of Pusan where the combined ROK and American Forces defended the city along the Naktong River. The fighting was intense and costly for both sides, the NKPA showed it was equally as motivated, brave, and disciplined as the ROK/US forces. A major factor why the Korean and U.S. forces were able to withstand the onslaught by the NKPA through late August and mid-September 1950 was because of superior naval artillery and close air support.
However, on 15 September 1950, General MacArthur launched an amphibious invasion behind enemy lines at the port city of Inchon on Korea's west coast, about twenty-five miles west of Seoul. Simultaneously, the 8th Army counterattacked along with ROK forces and broke out of the Pusan perimeter driving the NKPA northward across the 38th parallel. Defeat had been turned into victory and the only question for the U.S. leadership was why not destroy the NKPA for good? There was substantial military justification to pursue the NKPA; based on its unprovoked attack of the south and from a military standpoint, there was no reason not to finish the job. The NKPA was outmanned, outgunned, and in full retreat with ROK/U.S. combined forces driving northward after them. However, another problem emerged, should the U.S. and ROK forces cross the 38th parallel into the north and push for unification and what would be the consequences of that action?
U.S. President Harry S. Truman made the decision with the consent of the United Nations (UN) to cross the 38th parallel into North Korea and it was a fateful one. Additionally, the government of the ROK under Syngman Rhee (Yi Seungman) demanded that the Korean peninsula be reunified and expressed that belief in a letter to Truman as well as during public speeches to his nation. The United Nations Security Council drafted resolution (NSC 81/1) which authorized the United Nations (UN) forces under General MacArthur to cross the 38th parallel.
In a radio broadcast on the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), South Korean Defense Minister Shin Sung Mo said, "The enemy is retreating under the counter- offensive of the ROK Armed Forces. Accordingly, our troops went on an all-out counteroffensive. Soon, they will advance all the way to the Yalu River, and realize our people's dream of national unification." After less than a year of fighting the war appeared to be over; MacArthur had proven to be a military mastermind. The only thing left for the American forces were to destroy the remaining NKPA forces, which would force the North Korean leader Kim IL Sung to disband the communist established government, and allow reunification of Korea. Nevertheless, there were two caveats, which were included in the directives for MacArthur by Truman when MacArthur crossed the 38th parallel and headed towards the Yalu River
The directives regarded engaging the Soviet Union and China in the advance towards the Yalu River. MacArthur was told by Truman that no attack on Manchuria or Soviet territory was to be conducted and if UN forces encountered Soviet forces; they were not to actively engage but rather take a defensive position and report to Washington for further instructions. Conversely, if MacArthur encountered the Chinese, he had the option to continue operations as long as the chance of successful operations was maintained. The UN forces crossed the 38th parallel on 7 October 1951 and advanced towards the Yalu River towards China with victory in sight, it appeared there was not anything that could save the NKPA or prevent reunification.
On 1 November 1950, the Chinese Army, also known as the People's Liberation Army (PLA), came out of the hills near Unsan, Korea, whistles blowing, bugles blaring in the dying light of the day, they came out of the hills dressed in padded pajama like uniforms which were darkly colored, they threw grenades and fired their "burp" guns (PPSh41 sub machine guns) at the shocked and surprised American soldiers of the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. In conjunction with this assault, thousands of other Chinese soldiers attacked from all directions, north, northwest, and west against a scattered and unprepared US and ROK forces, which had driven deep into North Korea in pursuit of the NKPA, only to find the Chinese lying in wait.
The Chinese seemed to come out of everywhere and without warning they swarmed around the flanks of the ROK 15th Regiment and the 8th Cavalry's right flank collapsed, forcing the 1st and 2d Battalions of the 8th Cavalry to fall back in retreat into the city of Unsan and set up defensive positions. The remaining battalion of the 8th Cavalry, the 3rd, was attacked early in the morning of 2 November 1950 with the same "human wave" assaults of bugle-blowing Chinese soldiers.
The attack was so confusing to the American forces that in the confusion, a company-size Chinese unit was mistaken for South Koreans and allowed to pass a critical bridge near the battalion command post (CP). Once over the bridge, the enemy commander blew his bugle, and the Chinese, throwing satchel charges and grenades, overran the CP. The American forces had to retreat away from the Yalu River and were pushed back into the south over the 38th parallel. The Chinese had now entered the war and attacked the unsuspecting combined US and ROK forces. The US and ROK soldiers reported they had been shocked to see wave after wave of Chinese infantry thrown against them without breaking against counter fire.
That was the decisive manner in which the Chinese entered the Korean War and the seminal event in the post World War II era of conflict between the Chinese and the U.S. The tone of adversarial relationship between the two countries was now set for decades to come. The confrontation between communism and democracy materialized in the form of communist Chinese military intervention. The major question is how the U.S. military and government as well as the UN miscalculated the situation? The answer is definitely related to a corollary in which the U.S. leadership viewed the Chinese as militarily inferior to the U.S. military.
The entrance of China into the Korean War shocked and insulted some members of the U.S. military and government. The American view was that the Chinese entered the war without true provocation because the U.S. was not a threat to China. There had been no plan to invade China, so the Chinese should not have entered the conflict. Unfortunately, the Chinese did not know the American intentions and were judging their actions based on past interactions with the west, American support of the Chinese nationalists, as well as ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides a detailed examination of the Korean war and the mistakes made which could have been voided. It also explains how voiding these mistakes could have prevented future wars in the region as well as political damage between the countries involved and the loss of life on both sides.