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  #1  
Old 21st February 2008, 23:19
edwest edwest is offline
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Cause of the Korean War ?

What sparked this "police action"? Was it really necessary? And what of General MacArthur's desire to use atomic bombs in this conflict?



Thanks in advance,
Ed
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Old 22nd February 2008, 05:54
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Sylvester Stadler Sylvester Stadler is offline
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Re: Cause of the Korean War ?

The cause of the Korean War goes back to 1945 when the country of Korea was divided at the 38th parallel, north of which the Russians were to disarm the Japanese, and south of which the Americans were to accomplish the same. The Russians violated the agreement by imposing a Communist government on the north and giving military equipment and training to the NK Army. In 1950 Josef Stalin encouraged Kim Il-Sung to invade the south.

President Truman immediately ordered U.S. naval and air forces to Korea to stem the aggression and then took the case to the U.N. which at the time the USSR boycotted and unable to use their veto in the Security Council. The U.N. authorized the participating nations to use force to repel the invaders.

General McArthur, Supreme Commander of U.N. forces, had always advocated that the U.S. military would be at a disadvantage against the huge manpower reservoir of China and that the U.S. should use the armed force which was at its disposal including nukes.
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Old 22nd February 2008, 23:20
edwest edwest is offline
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Re: Cause of the Korean War ?

Thank you, Sir. An excellent starting point.



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Ed
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Old 23rd February 2008, 00:17
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Re: Cause of the Korean War ?

There was a Channel 4 documentary series some years ago that may be still out there on some station somewhere. IIRC the circumstances of the outbreak were very murky at 50 years' remove, hard to establish exactly what the first moves had been.
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Old 23rd February 2008, 21:54
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Re: Cause of the Korean War ?

A good deal of information and links can be found here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_war

The following text was taken from the above mentioned site about the use of nuclear weapons in the conflict:

In October 1951, U.S. forces performed Operation Hudson Harbor intending to establish the capability to use nuclear weapons. Several B-29s conducted individual simulated bomb runs from Okinawa to North Korea, delivering “dummy” nuclear bombs or heavy conventional bombs; the operation was coordinated from Yokota Air Base in Japan. The battle exercise was intended to test “actual functioning of all activities which would be involved in an atomic strike, including weapons assembly and testing, leading, ground control of bomb aiming,” and so on. The results indicated that nuclear bombs would be less effective than anticipated, because “timely identification of large masses of enemy troops was extremely rare.”

-Eric Z
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Old 24th February 2008, 03:15
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Re: Cause of the Korean War ?

Thank you Eric. Like Nick, things still seem a bit murky to me. With the Americans taking over Japan, why the agreement to divide Korea with the Russians? What were the Americans after? My research shows that prior to the official start of the Cold War, the Americans did not trust the Russians. In fact, recent books indicate Russian espionage occurring in the United States during the war.

The use of Russian MiGs and the F-86 by the Americans seems a little bit beyond coincidence. The point being the similarity of the two designs and the odd (to me) sale by the British to the Russians of the jet engine that would power the MiG.


Ed
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Old 24th February 2008, 06:37
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Re: Cause of the Korean War ?

I believe the Americans and Russians agreed to divide the occupation of Korea before the war with Japan had ended, with the Russians in the North and Americans in the South. Negotiations set the dividing point at the 38th parallel. Korea had been occupied by the Japanese for some time before this. What were the Americans after? I imagine it was for more influence, control and a stronger military presence in the region. The same as the Russians.

IMHO, the Americans did not trust the Russians for some time before the official start of the cold war.

The sale of the British Rolls Royce turbojet engines to the Russians was a very strange incident. Clement Atlee had replaced Winston Churchill as British PM, and approved of the sale of (I believe 3) sample engines along with all the technical data to the Russians as a "good will gesture". Despite the protests of the British Defense Ministry of the sale, Atlee was not as suspicious of the Russians. Much to Stalin's surprise, who was quoted before this as saying "What fool will sell us his secrets?" the sale went through. Upon receiving the British turbojet engines, the Russians reversed-engineered them and created their own copies of the engines, in disregard to the licensing agreement with the British.

Churchill is quoted as once calling Atlee "a sheep in sheep's clothing"

-Eric Z
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Old 24th February 2008, 13:57
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Cause of the Korean War ?

Well, conservative circles both in UK and USA considered SU as a much more dangerous threat than Germany. The problem was with the other wing represented by such people like Atlee or Roosevelt, who were pro-Soviet, well beyond any logic. Many of them were Soviet agents, many were communists opposed to Stalin, nonetheless still actively working against 'imperialistic west'. That happens they have got a lot of influence, Roosevelt being a president from 1932, I believe, and blocked any anti-Soviet decisions, or even any 'tools' that could have possibly be used against Soviets in future (eg. OSS). Anyway, I would use much harder words than naivety or stupidity in their regard.
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Old 25th February 2008, 21:13
John Beaman John Beaman is offline
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Re: Cause of the Korean War ?

One of the best books on the war is This Kind Of War by T.R. Fehrenbach. Originally published in 1964, it was reprinted by Brassy's in 1999. It goes into the background of the entire war including the 50-year Japanese occupation and the 1945 decision to partition based on occupation zones. It goes into the tension and both sides of administration from 1945 to the war starting on June 25th 1950. Basically, both sides wanted to unify Korea and the communists (PRC and USSR) misread US resolve and decided the "allies" would accept a military fiat accompli.

McArthur did want to use nuclear weapons against China to punish them for sending in their "volunteers" after the NKPA was destroyed in the Fall of 1950. This would never have happened of course. McArthur's hard-pressing for this and his virtually direct challange to Truman on who was running the war cost him his job.
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Old 26th February 2008, 18:31
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Re: Cause of the Korean War ?

Thank you, John, for this reference. I also seem to recall a book published in the 1950s titled "Refighting the Last War."



Ed
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