IB 20th Century World History


Korean War

US, USSR find imposition of political solution wasn't easy, Koreans wanted immediate independence


Many factions after Japanese surrender; Rhee wanted state-driven modernization (like China); Kim Il-Sung wanted communist solution

Am proposed USSR forces share responsibility for taking over Korean peninsula

August 1945

38th parallel; US = south; USSR = north; plan = Korea comes under UN trusteeship for eventual independence

US turns to UN for help in Korea


Solution by UN = nationwide elections; North rejected this and said South would interfere with free ballot

Fighting localized to Korean Peninsula

1948 - 1949

ROK contained opposing insurrection, DPRK refused to be provoked into full war

Election in South Korea

May 1948

Ballots were tampered with; Rhee won

Syngman Rhee becomes president of Republic of Korea (ROK)

July 1948

Soviets give control of Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to Kim Il-Sung

September 1948

Kim appealed to Stalin for conventional attack over 38th parallel

January 1950

Military balance in their favor; ROK could only retain power through oppression, attack could spark uprising against Rhee, so Kim though victory would be quick and US wouldn't have to intervene

DPRK assaulted over 38th parallel

25 June 1950

Approved by Stalin and Mao; US horrified; Truman saw this as unprovoked aggression (like Hitler); Truman decided ROK needed help and took the case to the UN Security Council, UN decided to give aid to Rhee

MacArthur's forces initiate landing at Inchon

15 September 1950

threatened North's supply lines