Segments descriptions
      American Wars Series
      Korean War

             Description: Korea 2  
Korean War
           sampler  1’-47”   (25’ lecture)

What is behind the decision to push north of the 38th
parallel, leading to the disastrous entry of the Chinese, and why is it unfair to blame Gen. Douglas MacArthur?
                                play sampler




Korea Splits.  As Korea is liberated from Japan in 1945 at the end of WW II, Russian troop enter from the north, American troops from the south, dividing the country at the 38th parallel.



North Korea captures most of South Korea.  Border is hotspot for 5 years.  In June 1950 North Korea crosses the border once again.  It keeps going when surprisingly the South Korean army falls back, and wins control of most of South Korea.



Gen MacArthur invades and pushes the North Koreans back to the 38th parallel.  Korea not seen as militarily critical in the Cold War, but heightened tensions between U.S. and Russia and the “Red Scare” lead to American military intervention.



Invasion controversy.  Evidence that Russia was not behind it as a broader communist conspiracyMore likely a civil war.



Pres. Truman, not Gen. MacArthur decides to push north.  Although war could have ended now as a draw, it is continued for reasons more political than military.



Chinese military intervention.  China warns of her intention to intervene as U.S. troops get closer to the Yalu River at China border, but this is discounted by the Truman administration and by Gen. MacArthur, leading to a disastrous U.S. defeat and retreat back to the 38th parallel in 1951. 



The Truce.  Pres. Truman fires Gen. MacArthur for insubordination and he “fades away.”  The war could have ended then as a stalemate, but continues for another 2 years as a brutal struggle with high casualties on both sides, until Dwight Eisenhower is elected president in 1952 and ends the war.



The forgotten war.  The Korean War is often marginalized compared to other major wars, yet America lost 50,000 men killed and should not be forgotten.  Although tensions are high between North and South, hopefully reconciliation might be accomplished sometime in the future.