Essay Assignment on Specific Events in the Korean War

Specific Events in the Korean War

The Korean War could be regarded as a test of powers between the U.S and Russia. The two countries were the super powers at the time. Accordingly, the issue of disarming the areas that each country controlled at the end of the Second World War could be said to have triggered the Korean War. On one hand, the Soviet Union was mandated with disarming the northern part of Korea while USA was mandated with disarming the southern part. Since 1910, Japan had been in Korea after defeating Chinese and Russian militaries at different times. However, by the end of the Second World War, things changed when Russia declared war against Japan (Stueck, 2010). By so doing, Russia occupied the northern part of Korea. Japan surrendered, and by so doing, the U.S was quick to accept Japanese surrender.

The U.S general Hodge who was appointed to oversee the transition process responded by trying to restore the Japanese colonial administrators. Nonetheless, he was forced to change this decision because of the protest from the Korean nationals. This led to a joint administration of Korea by the U.S and Soviet Union with the hope of establishing a government after five years. This decision was unpopular to the Korean people. Accordingly, two opposing sides broke in Korea. One force was in south while the other force was in north. The U.S government responded to this issue by banning strikes (Malkasian, 2009). However, this decision did not resolve the matter because strikes continued.

As this was taking place, there were protests against the joint administration. Consequently, the U.S government decided to call for national elections claiming that the joint administration between USA and Soviet Union was ineffective in executing its mandates. The Soviet Union together with Korean communist groups opposed this move claiming that it was to be unfair. The elections were held, but the Soviet Union opposed them and because of this, the North Korea held its parliamentary elections later on. This led to the formation of two governments that claimed to be legitimate governments. The two governments repeatedly fought over boundaries, thereby there were frequent uprisings in Korea. The uprisings claimed the lives of many people. As a result, it was decided that USA and Soviet Union were to leave Korea because it was an independent state. Soviet Union did this in 1948 while USA did it in 1949 (Stueck, 2010). Although this took place as agreed, the southern-based government was oppressive to communist groups. In fact, it had jailed majority of the communist people and their sympathizers.     

In 1950, the northern based government with the help of China and Russia invaded the southern based government. By this time, the United Nations had been formed; thus, called for a ceasefire. The UN members unanimously agreed to supply military forces to South Korea. USA agreed to supply majority of the military personnel. During the first two months of the war, South Korea was at the point of surrendering to the North Korea. The UN launched a counter-offensive attack on North Korean military force (Malkasian, 2009). This attack pushed the North Korean military force all the way to Yalu River. The Chinese forces joined the war, and forced the UN led military to retreat. The Chinese government did this because North Korea had supported Chinese military during the Chinese war. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, supported North Korea because it saw it as an opportunity to showcase its supremacy in battles.


Malkasian, C. (2009). The Korean War. New York: Rosen Pub.

Stueck, W. (2010). The Korean War in World History. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky.