Young officer named Dean Russ, drew a line through
Dean Acheson delivered address in Jan 1950 said
US would not be involved in other areas?...Said cannot guarantee no military attack. if an attack does happen, it is responsibility of the people being attacked and UN if they were outside US defense border.
North Korean attack began
June 25, 1950.
· Beginning of Korean War. UN declared a full scale invasion, while south Koreans did nothing to provoke.
Stalin took responsibility for the attack.
He gave green light because he wanted to encourage communism.
Americans grew to learn that Appeasement does not work.
· Americans assumed if you did not respond to communist aggression in south korea you would
begin to face aggression over and over. Must take hard line now. To really keep world peace you must go to war now.
· This became a test of the UN. Truman said "this was the test of all the talk of the last 5 years of collective security"
June 1950, Truman said "attack on korea proves
communists will use force. US will continue to uphold rule of law. maintain new system of collective security"
· Authorized Douglas MacArthur to serve as commander in Korea.
· June 27th 1950, Truman authorized sea, air, and land forces.
· June 25th, UN called for end of aggression. UN called upon members to stop North Korean aggression. This action by the security counsel was possible because the soviets were absent.
Why were soviets absent?
· Soviets called for UN to replace nationalists with communists. Since it didn't happen,
soviets dropped UN in protest. Thus there was no vote to veto military force in North Korea. This was one incident in entire cold war where UN made decision without soviet veto
Why was communism on the march?
· People in Washington thought this was an internal threat. There were communists in American government. Richard Nixon raised this issue dramatically. One of the early anti-communist politians. He focused on Alger Hiss.
· Alger Hiss was in state department. He was present at Yalta. Linked his presence there to the "sell out" at Yalta
· Alger Hiss supported Soviets prior to 1939 when against the Nazis. Later on Hiss was convicted of perjury. Hiss lied under oath.
· Wasn’t able to solve problems in china. Turned on the state department because he was replaced by Marshall. He criticized the 'white paper' in china. Said it aided communist conquest of China. It was kind of a conspiracy theory.
· Robert Taft was 'mr. republican'. Robert Taft was son of Howard Taft. William Knowland also picked up conspiracy theory as well.
· Joseph McCarthy pick it up as well. Led to McCarthyism "red scare"
Douglas MacArthur wanted
· victory, not just status quo. He wanted to liberate all of Korea. Had idea that this could be first stage of liberating China. This dream was one not shared by Truman administration.
General MacArthur announced US would defend
· Tiawan. American Navy in August 1950 would begin to protect Taiwan from Communists. Dean Acheson assumed communist military would conquer Taiwan.
MacArthur's position increased in strength after first successful invasion in Korea.
· By early sept 1950, there was only a small portion of south korea still held by US, UN, and south Korean forces.
Oct 7, 1950 this decision turned political.
· Truman called for unification of korea for free elections. It called for liberation of North Korea from communism.
· Mao Tsetung did not want this. This would bring communist china into war on side of North Koreans.
· At same time Truman was concerned about letting the conflict expand. Truman told MacArthur to be careful not to expand war.
Problem with this?
· is that American Airforce dropped bombs on soviet bases. Truman did not want to bring in soviets.
· MacArthur was instructed to not use American troops by Yaloo River.
Dean Acheson said 'it should be sheer madness for Chinese to intervene'.
· By late October, Chinese volunteers moved into the war.
· Truman did not want to fight with Chinese. Chinese feared what MacArthur may do.
MacArthur launched major invasion into North Korea.
· Promised they would win within a month and come home. They almost got troops home within the month, because they were almost defeated by Chinese.
· Dec 1950 war really began to intensify.
Truman administration decided to go back to containment and no longer try to liberate north korea. simply restore line between north and south. This is not what MacArthur wanted to do. He wanted to liberate china as well.
MacArthur called for…
· Total naval blockade of China
· Use of American airpower against China. Dropped bombs on railroads and factories in China.
· Recommended land invasion in china.
· This all seemed insane to Military planners in Washington.
Truman outlined his position in a letter to MacArthur,
Jan 13, 1951
· Aggression will not be accepted by US or UN.
· Deflate dangers of communist China.
MacArthur began to appeal to republicans in Congress.
· Taft said if you will make a commitment in Europe why not asia.
· Truman was caught between republicans and Europeans.
· Europeans feared Truman would shift to asia which may open soviet invasion in Europe.
· Trumans ultimate decision was to stick with allies in Europe and led to the later dismissal of MacArthur.
MacArthur was told to not make any public statement.
· He went public and wrote letter to Joseph Martin. MacArthur was appealing to republicans behind Truman's back. April 10, 1951 he was fired by Truman. Replaced by General Matthew Ridgeway who was for containment.
· From this point onward Truman wanted to stick with containment
July 27, 1953 after Eisenhower won election, US was able to reach truce with
· North Korea to end war. New dividing line was drawn a little different from 38th parallel. Not much, returned to status quo.
Global context of Korean war
· NATO - North atlantic treaty partners made a forward strategy so they could fight
· Eisenhower was voted as US nato correspondant. Built up forces in western Europe in case stalin sent troops in Europe. Feb 1952, Nato partners met at lisbond. Called for creation of 35-40 divisions under NATO command. This never happened
· Rearment of Germany. If front line is Germany, it made sense to include Germans and let them protect themselves.
· This made French very apprehensive. They wanted german troops to be put under NATO command
allies reached Paris Agreement.
· Germany could rearm and could enter NATO.
o Occupation of Germany would end. May 1955.
· US and GB were in Germany to protect from communists and protect german aggression on france.