South Korea and the United States Term Paper

Pages: 11 (4877 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Drama - World

South Korea and the United States

South Korea and North Korea, the two parts of the peninsular nation called Korea who shared identities for more than 5,000 years, have still not recovered completely from the fight for the division of the borders between them, fifty years after the War that took place called the 'Korean War' that started in June 1950. However, it has been noticed, in recent months, that the tensions between the two sides are in fact subsiding to a certain extent, and a series of historic incidents point towards this fact. People from one side were allowed to meet their relatives and friends on the other side for four days at the border, an old cross border railway line that had been in existence years ago in the past has been scheduled to be repaired and reconstructed, and several meetings are now being held by officials on both the sides to bring about more reconciliation between North and South Korea.

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A historic Summit was held for the purpose of discussions between these leaders, and a landmark agreement was signed to try to further relations between both the sides. The Korean War had left North Korea embittered and desolate with a lack of sufficient resources for food and water and clothing for her citizens and turned her into a communist dictatorship, while South Korea became turned into a capitalist democracy with dynamism and the knowledge needed for entry into the digital technology era. How did all this come about, and how did Korea become divided? Repeated attacks by Japan as well as Russia on Korea may have contributed towards the split to some extent. With the capture of Korea by Japan in 1910 there followed years of oppression, and it was only after the Second World War that Korea was finally freed of the domination and oppression of Japan. (Crossing the Great Divide)

TOPIC: Term Paper on South Korea and the United States Assignment

After the War, the United States as well as the Soviet Union pledged that Korea would be considered an independent state from thenceforth. However, this was not to be, because when the Soviets began to move into Korea after the debacle of the atomic warfare in Hiroshima in the year 1945, the U.S.A. realized that she had to take some action, and fast; otherwise, the Soviets could very well occupy the entire Korean peninsula themselves. At the time, U.S. troops were not available, and as a temporary measure, the U.S.A. commanded and engineered a division of the peninsula at the thirty eighth parallel so that two different zones of occupation: the North and the South would be created. The soviets complied with this rule, and they occupied the North of Korea, while the troops from the U.S.A. ended up occupying the South of Korea.

These two separate occupational zones, originally meant as a mere convenience to accept the surrender of the Japanese, became a firmly divided region, with North Korea, backed by the Soviets declared itself the 'People's Republic of Korea' in 1948, and South Korea, backed by the United States of America becoming the 'Republic of Korea'. With the starting of the Korean War, the divide became even stronger. The Korean War, though it did not solve any of these problems between the two factions, it did leave about 2.3 million Koreans dead and dying. About 37,000 U.S. troops were killed, and about a 103,000 U.S. soldiers were seriously wounded. Apart from this, more than 900,000 Chinese troops were killed, and Turkey and France and Britain and Greece and Australia and some other UN countries together lost about 2,000 to 3,000 troops. (Crossing the Great Divide)

What actually happened during the Korean War that left so many people dead and wounded? The Korean War is often referred to as the 'forgotten war' because of the lack of attention it received from the rest of the world. The most important fact about the Korean War is the entry of the United States of America into the 'Cold War' that was taking place at that time. (Examining the Korean War) the book entitled 'Witness to War' by Robert Paschall describes the Korean War in great detail with several first eyewitness accounts. The book starts with the description of the scene of the War just some time after the action had taken place there. It describes in detail how Americans charged on Chinese soldiers. The Americans put up a great show of courage and determination even while they were losing their weapons and being injured by the charge that was taking place.

The author describes how one soldier in particular kept going even when his machine gun had become useless after a Chinese bullet managed to penetrate and damage it. This brave soldier continued to fight with his pistol, and when the ammunition was exhausted, with grenades. That battle on that day ended with soldiers fighting each other with bayonets. Paschal states his feelings on the War thus: though the U.S.A. is known all over the world for its immense wealth and power, it did manage to neglect the important issue of the training of its infantry. The infantry's prowess during this war was not up to the mark, he felt, and the success or failure of the war was depending on the infantry since most of the battles were being fought on foot. (a Critical Review of 'Witness to War, Korea)

There is a general opinion that the Pacific War had dragged on for far longer than was necessary, and the Japanese had been willing to surrender a long time before they actually did, if their terms that the Emperor would remain in his position had been accepted earlier. In fact, this was what led to the occupation of Manchuria as well as the division of Korea into two factions, the North and the South. With the occupation of North Korea by the Soviets, there grew tensions along the border, and there was a virtual Cold War taking place between the two sides, and since the Koreans are a nation of proud people, they were naturally resentful of those who had caused this division, the United States. The Americans in the meanwhile took an easy way out, and appointed the Japanese as administrators of local affairs in South Korea.

At this time there was a strange argument among the leaders of the world that America had to be 'disarmed' if there was to be world peace, while Russia had to be 'armed' as a buffer zone. As a result, the U.S. troops were deprived of heavy artillery, just in case they decided to attack the North for any reason. However, the opposite happened, and the North attacked the South in 1950, and this was the Korean War. Both Stalin and Mao had expressed their concern for the South even as they knew that Sung was planning his attack. Stalin was afraid of American intervention during the attacks, and Mao simply did not want any fighting along his borders. However, Mao used this chance to rally the Chinese with Korea, while Stalin was aware of the fact that the attack would estrange China fro America, and this would only be an advantage to him. During the Korean War, Seoul was evacuated of U.S. personnel, and this was done by the cruel method of just pushing them all into one small freighter, even as the NKPA armies approached the South for carrying out its campaign of attacks.

MacArthur arrived at the scene of the fighting and was appropriately distressed. Sung's army from the North trampled upon both ROK as well as U.S. troops, and the U.S. army was vanquished. Why did this happen? Quite a few causes have been stated for this defeat, one among them being that the U.S. troops were not armed properly and adequately, and the infantry was not well trained. The second reason often stated is that the troops from the North were familiar with the terrain that consisted of forests and ridges, and this helped them in their movements, while the U.S. troops were quite unfamiliar with the entire terrain. In all this period of time also known as the 'blitzkrieg' proved to be horrendous for both the North and the South. The division between the two sections of Korea became worse, and the several prisoners of war were treated with such inhumanness that it is said that its actually unparalleled in history. Thus the Korean War ended with deaths of more than a few thousands of U.S. soldiers. The problems between the two sides were still left unsolved, and it was only recently that there have been some small attempts to try to sort out the problems and mend the divide. (Roughstuff's Summary and Analysis of the Korean War)

What is a war good for, after all? From 1950 to 1953, the Korean War was fought, and when the UN approved of U.S. troops fighting the North Koreans in their attack against the South Koreans under the Commander MacArthur, peace was lost,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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