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Student Name

AP US History
Period 2
March 17, 2008
Chapter 29: The Cold War
DQ #5: Discuss the causes and results of the Korean War. In what ways was Korea a
frustrating war for the United States?
I. Causes of the Korean War
A. Post World War II division of Korea
• under American agreement, both Soviet Union & U.S. occupied Korean peninsula after
Japanese surrender---demarcation between 2 occupation zones at 38th parallel
• North: under Stalin & USSR (communist); South: under U.S.A. (democratic)
N.Korea • eventual division of Korea agreed at Potsdam Conference
 USSR agreed to 38th parallel to better negotiations w/ Allies over Eastern Europe
S.Korea • 1949- both U.S. & USSR armies withdrawn due to U.S.–Soviet Joint Commission agreement
of Korean independence after 4 years of international oversight
B. Desire of Reunification of Korea---The Two Governments
• Agreement over political administration of Korea under U.S.-Sov. Joint Com.
 both approved the two Korean-led governments favorable to their own political
ideology
• South Korea: rise of president Syngman Rhee- anti-communist
Coin dedicated to
• North Korea: general secretary Kim Il-sung-communist
Korean War
 both intent in reuniting Korea peninsula under their form of gov’t (nationalism)Veterans
Korean War • North Korea- more militarily prepared with Soviet leftover tanks & arms—went on offensive &
Tanks escalated border conflicts---June 25th, 1950- N.Korean army invaded S.Korea
II. Korean War
• first armed confrontation of Cold War
• “limited war”---two superpowers (USSR & U.S.) fight in another country, avoiding all-out war
against each other---allow the location of fighting to suffer the bulk of destruction & death);
expand Cold War from Europe to Asia
III. Results of Korean War
A. Casualties
• South Korea: 58,127 deaths, 175,7443 wounded; U.S.: 36,516 dead, 92,134 wounded;
North Korea: 215,000 dead, 303,000 wounded; Soviet Union: 315 dead; other U.N.
troops: total of 2,300+ dead
B. Two Koreas
• negotiations began at Panmunjom in July 1951-war continued until 1953
• July 27, 1953- cease-fire of the a year and a half long stalemate & division of Korea
established
• permanent division of Korea at demilitarized zone (DMZ) (north of 38th parallel towards
east & south towards west ) through Armistice Agreement
C. Growing Unpopularity w/ Truman Administration
• Truman-MacArthur Controversy- Truman & Douglas MacArthur disagreed over decision
on invasion in China after Chinese intervention of Korean conflict from Nov. ~Dec. 1950---
Truman: No---follow containment policy
 MacArthur’s letter of objection to Truman’s decision to Joseph W. Martin made public
intolerable insubordination by TrumanMacArthur discharged of his command
 public outrage towards Truman—69% of American people support MacArthur---saw
Korean War Truman administration too weak to confront and obliterate communism in Asia-
Veterans Memorial “appeasers”
• attack on Democrats by Republicans- “soft on communism” (stalemate in Korea & “loss” of
China contributed to this vision)
D. Limited Gov’t Regulation of Wartime Economy
• Office of Defense Mobilization---fight inflation by holding down prices and discouraging
high union demands
• Drastic Action by Commander-in-Chief—Truman seized railroads and steel mills during
strikes of 1951 & 1952 (respectively)-Supreme Court declare president’s actions exceeding
executive branch authority- Truman relent
 costly strike follows; Truman’s action rash & ineffective---damage on public image
E. Augmenting Anti-Communist Sentiment within U.S.---Communist Conspiracy?
• inability of an easy U.S. victory at Korea ( seen by many as “minor border skirmish in a small
country”), loss of China--- lead to suspicions of “redness” in America
IV. Frustrating War
A. Extended Peace Talk---from 1951 to 1953 (Prolonged War)
• continuation of war during this period---ongoing slaughter of American troops during
stalemate (no progress)
B. No Decisive Win---No True Victor b/w U.S. & USSR
• America---loss of men during long stalemate in Korea, loss of opportunity to rid communism in
China—what has the nation won from battle?- communism still there
CONCLUSION: The Korean War was the first armed clashes in the Cold War, adding to the tense
atmosphere between the Soviet Union and America. Truman, true to his containment policy, provided
military assistance to South Korea in the Korean conflict, yet his strategic success on taming
communist aggression was overlooked widely by the public who puzzled and angered over America’s
assertion to defeat communism in China. Questions arose, which later fed the fervent anti-communist
atmosphere.