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International Security and Peace Korean War Prof. Jaechun Kim.

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1 International Security and Peace Korean War Prof. Jaechun Kim

2 KOREAN WAR  Unknown War/Forgotten War  Legacy of WWI & WWII; Vietnam War  Korean War Memorial (GB: 1987; US: 1995)  Significance of the Korean War  The first limited war of the US; The first hot battle of the Cold War  Impact on US Foreign (Defense) Policy – militarization of the US; isolationism no longer viable Churchill : “Korea does not really matter. I’d never heard of the bloody place until I was seventy-four. Its importance lies in the fact that it has led to the re-arming of America …”

3  Impact on US Domestic Politics  Solidified the ultra-rightists   McCarthyism; Red-baiting  Impact on Global Politics  Intensified hostilities between the West and Communist Bloc  Particularly between the US and China  Historical Learning  Spread of communism can be contained by the limited American military engagement   US involvement in Vietnam War

4  Origins of the Korean War  Traditionalists View (Jeremi Suri; U of Wisconsin) Stalin’s prelude to world domination; Stalin ordered Kim to start the war Stalin knowingly took a risk of the WWIII…  Communists Tale South Korea started it…  Revisionists View Bruce Cummings, Origins of Korean War It was a civil war until the US jumped in… It was a domestic affair… to unify the country. The US intervention was wrong! The US committed sin of creating an illegitimate SK gov. in the first place

5  What we know now…  Stalin wanted stability in Korean peninsula.. Stalin told Kim: “The 38 th parallel must be peaceful, it’s very important..”  Kim insists on war, but Stalin disagrees (Soviets didn’t want to provoke Americans…your action can invite American intervention.. )  traditional approach.. (Soviets didn’t want WWIII!)  Ultimately Kim’s persistence pays off (We can pull off decisive victory!) Stalin couldn’t just keep saying no to Kim..  Bottom Line: Soviets wanted to avoid global conflict as much as the Americans did (Stalin said yes after he came to a conclusion that the US would not intervene!)

6  But the swift American reaction – Truman committed ground troops within weeks.. and sought UN multilateral support…  Why did the Soviets pull out of the emergency session of the Security Council?  Anyways, the American reaction was a surprise to the Soviets; Soviets tried to distance themselves from the War Recalled his advisers from the front line… Ordered ships to return No public statement in support of North Korea..

7  4 Phases of the War  North pushing down to Pusan perimeter  Inchon amphibious landing; UN forces pushing the North up to their northern border  Chinese crossing (Nov. 1950); UN forces pushed back to 38.  Stalemate afterwards…  War ended on July 27, 1953…  Why did Chinese enter the war?  Mainstream view: Chinese wanted to establish influence in NK  What we know now: Stalin egged on Chinese  telegram exchange between Mao and Stalin in October 1950

8  Stalin ask Mao to enter the War…  Mao replies that he is not ready..  Stalin replies that the US is not ready either.. (October 1950)  Stalin to Mao – “If a war is inevitable between the communist giants and the western powers, then let it be now… we will be stronger than the US and England, while the other European capitalist states do not present serious military threats…” (October 1950)  Mao asking for Soviet helps… but the Soviets delaying aerial support…  One former Soviet pilot: “We pretended that we weren’t there – that we were neither Russian nor Soviet forces. We were dressed in Chinese uniform and had a small badge with Mao Ze Dong on it. “  BL: Soviets didn’t really want to get entangled in global conflict with the US  Why did the US decide not to escalate the war?

9  Some did advocate escalating the war in Korea  “The free world can no longer live under constant fear. We have to face the threat directly!”  Not because of an abstract commitment to the philosophy of limited war; not because of the fear of MAD…  But because of the military vulnerability  from 1950 through 1953, it was assumed that the military strength of the Soviets was greater than that of the Americans  Those who called for general war were ignorant of military realities..

10  Bradley: “A war with China would be the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy…”  Toward the end of the war, the US was much more willing to escalate the conflict  What were political objectives of the US?  Was the cost worth for the US?  Winners and Losers?

11  Thomas Schelling on Korean War “We lost 30,000 soldiers in Korea. It was to save face for the US, not to save South Korea for the South Koreans. And it was undoubtedly worth it. It was a cheap price to pay for maintaining the US reputation. Soviet expectation about the behavior of the US are one of the most valuable assets we came to possess in world affairs.”

12  Telegrams exchanged between Mao and Stalin a month before Chinese Entrance to the Korean War  Stalin to Mao : You should enter the war  Mao to Stalin : We are ill-prepared… We need your military assistance…  Stalin to Mao : Americans are not ready, either… Send 5 or 6 divisions  Stalin to Mao : If a war is inevitable between the communist giants and the western powers, then let it be now… we will be stronger than the US and Great Britain…

13  Chinese finally enters the war on October 19, 1950  Mao to Stalin : We need your military assistance…  Dilemma of Stalin…  Stalin to Mao : We will provide you air support…  But Stalin delayed the Soviet support for about two weeks…


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