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A war was started in an unknown country and claimed over 50,000 soldiers and many more civilians. The country was left in ruin, and the war didn’t improve anything. The war was a fight for communist or capitalist rule. This is the Korean War.
From 1910 to 1945 Korea was a forced colony of Japan. After Japan’s defeat in World War 2, the victors divided the Koreas by the 38th parallel. The south was taken by the United States, and the north was taken by the Soviet Union. The North Korean leader was Kim il sung, and the South Korean president was Seung man Rhee. Both leaders wanted to reunify the separated country into one, but with one difference. The South Korean leader wanted to rule both Koreas with capitalist control, but Kim il sung wanted to rule both Koreas but with communist control. Finally, disaster happened. At about 4 a.m., June 25th, 130,000 North Koreans invaded South Korea. The North Koreans were equipped Soviet tanks, and had heavily armed, and that forced the South Korean army in full retreat. In 3 days, North Korean armies took Seoul, the capital of South Korea, and the ROK (Republic of Korea) troops were fleeing to Pusan.
The west and its allies thought this was a dangerous growth of communism to the world. So, the United States took the lead to convince the United Nations to help South Korea. But, with the absence of the Soviet Union, the vote was passed, and for the first time, the United Nations went to war. 21 nations around the world sent men and equipment to Korea. The first allied troops were American, and they landed in the port of Pusan. The generals wished that the American troops would improve the situation. But, the American troops didn’t improve the situation, since the soldiers weren’t WW2 veterans, they were ill-equipped soldiers with no experience. Now, the American and south Korean forces were surrounded in the port of Pusan, a pocket of land in the southern part of the country. General Douglas MacArthur (the man in charge of the whole war) was gathering his forces in Japan, but he first sent a task force named task force smith, which was full of in-experienced, ill-equipped soldiers.
Meanwhile, General MacArthur was planning to attack the North Koreans with a risky plan. His plan was to land troops in Inchon, a port city about 20 miles from Seoul, to get behind enemy lines. By this time, the North Korean army was already in the south part of South Korea. The U.S. military leaders met and talked about the risks. Inchon was so dangerous, that Commander Arie Capps said “We drew a list of every (possible) and natural handicap-and Inchon had them all”. First, Inchon was guarded by an island called Wolmi-do. Also, the port was narrow. So, if one ship sank, that one ship could block all the others behind it. But, most importantly, the most dangerous part was the tide. At the low tide, the mud would strand the landing crafts. However, with these risks, the U.S. officials allowed MacArthur to attack/land at Inchon. First, MacArthur gathered good troops (a majority of them were WW2 veterans) and he called his group the X(tenth)corp. It was made up of 70,000 men, including 7th infantry division and ROK (Republic of Korea) marines. So, on September 15, 1950, the landing crafts went and landed on Wolmi-do. The ships started naval bombing, and the marines fought and easily secured Wolmi-do. Then, they secured Inchon, and the Capital, Seoul. The X-corp surrounded the North Koreans in the South. The North Koreans in the South fled, and the U.S. and the South Korean armies could push onto North Korea.
The leaders thought that the war was almost over with their victory. But, the South Korean president wanted to reunify Korea. President Truman agreed, but he worried the Chinese would see this as a threat. Meanwhile, the Chinese did think this as a threat, and they sent troops to aid the North Korean army. Without knowing this, Truman ordered only ROK troops could move to the area close to the border between North Korea and China. So, on Oct. 1st, the South Korean president sent the first ROK troops to North Korea, and then the U.S. troops went behind them. Which led to the fact that, MacArthur was sure that the U.N. had won, since they crushed the North Koreans and they were going to invade North Korea. So, he decided to divide his forces into small unorganized groups, and this was a mistake. But, even with the divided forces, on Oct. 19th, they captured Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, and General MacArthur and President Truman decided to meet each other on Wake Island. They talked about how the Chinese might attack. But, what the two didn’t know was that the Chinese were already in the Korean peninsula and they were already attacking the X-corp with their huge army. The X-corp of 70,000 troops were nothing compared to the Chinese. The Chinese attacked the divided forces one by one, and the Chinese were strong, since they were veterans of the Chinese civil war.
The Chinese were sure they were unnoticed, and they made a huge attack on Unsan, and the U.N. and American forces were confused with the whistle sounds. The whistles were used to coordinate the attack for the Chinese warriors. The Chinese soldiers kept slicing the U.N. and pushed forward. Then, something weird happened. The Chinese stopped attacking. MacArthur thought this was a retreat sign for the Chinese, but what he didn’t know is the Chinese were planning their biggest attack yet. But, MacArthur was planning a new offensive, and even with his commanders privately worrying, he told the reporters that the soldiers would be home by Christmas. Finally, on Nov. 23rd, 1950, the soldiers celebrated a thanksgiving dinner, and the next day they would march into disaster. Winter of a hundred years
On Nov. 24th, 1950, the next day after Thanksgiving, the troops once again marched forward, but the Chinese assembled and attacked with the biggest group of men. The Chinese attacked with 100,000 men, causing the allied forces to fall back, and meet their new enemy, winter. It was the coldest winter in the Korean peninsula in 100 years, and it was routinely going below freezing. The cold weather made it even harder for the retreating troops. Also, this was more a problem because it dulled the solider’s senses, wounded men died because they couldn’t be kept warm, vehicles wouldn’t start, batteries went down, grease on the guns froze so the soldiers couldn’t fire. To make it worse, the Chinese were fine in the cold. The allied soldiers would find dead Chinese soldiers on the snow in bare feet. Meanwhile, there were two bases along the Chosin reservoir, named Haga ru ri, and Yudam ni. Yudam ni was the base with the most defenses, and had about 15,000 troops. But, Haga ru ri was a small base with cooks, engineers, and little defense. 6 Chinese units (if combined there were 60,000 Chinese), attacked Yudam ni, and the troops in Yudam ni had to retreat to a port city in Hungnam, and Haga ru ri had to defend his troops retreating from the Chinese. General Smith, the leader of the two bases, ordered the engineers in Haga ru ri to finish the air base so the bombers could help. Then, he stationed every man on top of a hill to defend his troops retreating, and keep the Chinese away from them. A marine at that time said, “The first wave of Chinese had weapons. But, the second wave didn’t. They would pick up weapons from the first wave. Then, the third wave, and so on.” Haga ru ri managed to escape, and every marine in Yudam ni escaped too. This was one of the most remembered battles in the war, and it is named Frozen Chosin. After the escape in the Chosin reservoir, the troops marched the mountains, heading toward Hungnam. While they were doing that, the U.S. air transports cleared the way to Hungnam and dropped much-needed troops. The navy ships evacuated refugees, troops, and saved over 300,000 tons of supplies, and 17,000 vehicles. But, the hope that the soldiers would be home by Christmas was long gone, since now the war was right where it began. The 38th Parallel.
So, the day before Christmas eve, 1950, the most devastating thing happened. General Walker, the General that lead the whole army in Pusan, died when his jeep ran into a ROK truck and went into a ditch. From the start of 1951, the ROK troops have been being pushed back, and they retreated to the 37th parallel, south of the 38th. At this point, the troops were in complete despair. The new general, General Ridgway, changed his battle strategy, and he thought the artillery wasn’t being fully used. Also, this was a good time to attack, since the cold winter was causing the same problems to the Chinese, and the deeper into South Korea the Chinese went, the supply routes were longer for the Chinese. Next, the Chinese didn’t have any airplanes to drop supplies, many the Chinese were unarmed, and the Chinese had little to no medical treatment for the wounded. But, the U.N. soldiers had MASH soldiers, or army surgeons. Thousands of Chinese had been killed in the waves in the past two months, and Seoul was recaptured. Since the Chinese abandoned Seoul, the capital of South Korea was back at the control of the U.N. after four times of changing flags of the North Korean flag, and South Korean flag.
After this, as the U.N. troops fought their way and were getting closer to the 38th parallel, president Truman thought this was a good time for peace talks. This made MacArthur angry, since he wanted complete victory of unifying Korea as one nation. For a long time, MacArthur was protesting about President Truman’s limited war, for not being able to bomb China. But, what MacArthur didn’t know was that president Truman was afraid that the Soviet Union would get included in this too. On March, 20, President Truman issued a draft for a cease fire plan. But, after MacArthur saw this, and he issued his own words in the document, and he threatened the Chinese that the U.N. troops would expand and go beyond the North Korean border if the Chinese didn’t give up, without informing his bosses in Washington, D.C. After MacArthur wrote this, he was relieved from Korea and was sent back to the U.S.A. But, this only hurt President Truman more, since MacArthur was a hero in World War 2, and he had over 7 million people to greet him home. At this point, President Truman’s interest rate was 26%, since the Americans lost interest in the casualties and the dragging war of communism in Korea. Now, the U.N. forces were playing a game of seesaw with the Chinese. The Chinese attacked and took ground, then the U.N. regained that ground, and the U.N. advanced 40 miles north of the 38th parallel. The position wasn’t very different from the beginning of the war, except hundreds of thousands of casualties.
Finally, in 1953, the Koreas signed an armistice to make a border called the DMZ (demilitarized zone) between South and North Korea. But, the South Korean president never signed the contract, meaning that the Korean War still isn’t over. The Korean War was the first war that the U.N. was in, it was the first use of U.S. jet fighters, and there was the first jet fight (airfight) between jets in the Korean war. There were hundreds of thousands of casualties including civilians, Chinese, Koreans, Americans, and soldiers from all over the world. The beginning to the end of this war was that South Korea became Capitalist, North Korea became a communist, South Korea gained a little land, there were humongous casualties, and the most heavily fortified border in the world was made.
In 1953, when the war ended, General Dounglas MacArthur said, “Korea is poor and damaged. It will not be restored in a 100 years.” The Korean War made South Korea a capitalist, and South Korea has been developing fast with manufacturing and trading. But, North Korea is a communist country, and it hasn’t been developing, it is a poor country, and it is called a secret state. South Korea is an ally to the west and U.N., but North Korea is considered a threat, since it produces nuclear warheads. South Korea became one of the poorest countries into the 13th richest country (based on Purchasing Power Parity, known as PPP) in just 70 years. Meanwhile, North Korean GDP (Gross domestic product) is 25 billion dollars, a little amount compared to the South Korean GDP of 1.4 trillion dollars. North Korea’s main industries are farming, mining, and fishing. South Korea’s main industry is more modern with electronics, shipbuilding, automobiles, and petro-chemicals.
The Korean War was important. Although people think it was just a fight between the two Koreas, but they’re wrong. If the United Nations didn’t help North Korea, most of the countries in Asia would be a communist. Korea would’ve influenced many countries to become communist, and the North Koreans would keep attacking countries like Japan. The Korean War left many scars, but it let South Korea develop, and influenced people to work harder so they would be prepared when North Korea attacks.
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