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Notes on video lecture:
Reasons for the Korean War
Choose from these words to fill the blanks below:
Syngman, disagree, viscerally, accurate, Japan, outside, Japanese, bomb, French, assistance, overrun, Soviet, world, Conservative, responsibility, attack, defend, radioactive, UN, pleads, South, damage, committed, mood, Chinese, Mao, linear, peninsula, military, gradually, good, character, instinctively, east, Taiwan, economic, Korean, 1949, republics, multipolar, social, Truman, North, revolutionary, psychologically, fervor, safest
the Korean War (1950-1953)
it's important not to see the Cold War as just a simplistic              story of two sides in conflict with each other
the                    of this confrontation in 1949-1950 changed much of how the world progressed in the subsequent decades
this is a pivotal point in            history
in 1949, important parts of Europe and Asia are being organized around completely different              systems
this didn't necessarily mean that these two systems had to come into                  conflict
America was actually                    pulling out of East Asia after the war
the world of 1949
the US envisions a                      world
communist states
the US is hoping that the largest, the Soviet Union and China, will begin to                  with each other
Western Europe
will increase in power, hoping for continued good relations
participating in the world economy
some American military                     
new independent and reconstructed states
America providing some military and                  aid to help these new states get on their feet
US gives Western Europe the treaty            Atlantic Treaty, "if you are attacked, we will come to your defense"
the US is expecting the Western Europeans to gradually be able to fully protect themselves
NSC 48/2 document
defines new independent power areas in Asia and US desire to gradually scale down presence there
1949: two major blows shake American complacency
the Soviet         
first A-Bomb test August 29,          in Semipalatinsk
the US learned about it only from detecting                        particles in air samples on fly overs
fall of China to the Communists
a lot of revolutionary              that can spread to other countries, i.e. a very large country that successfully was overthrown and became communist
however, Truman is still                    to keep defense spending way down, and concentrate his energies on America's domestic development
this is the tension of 1950
1949 from point of view of Soviet and                government
Soviet Union
still recovering from the enormous              it suffered in the war
just coming out of civil war
you could easily make the argument that both of these countries would be concentrating on domestic issues
Stalin and        get together
Mao is planning invasion of              to wipe out the last bastion of the Nationalists
Americans are fearful of this, but in 1950 America has resigned itself to what at that point seemed to be the fact that Taiwan was lost
although many in congress wanted the U.S. to help Taiwan
Chinese are looking for ways to help the insurgents in              Indochina
China paying more and more attention to what is going on in Korea
Choice about Korea 1949-1950
the area in and around Korea and a fairly small part of North Western Europe seem to be the arenas where a lot of world history gets written
the problem
Korea had been a                  colony until 1910
after World War II that colony was taken away by the victorious powers
it was going to go back to              control
all the issues arose around the issue: which Koreans, who is going to run it?
the United Nations had the                              to help sort this out
Korea is currently under the administration of occupying powers
The Soviet Union and its forces in the North
the Americans and their forces in the south
two rival                    are created, one in the south, one in the north
each claimed the whole                    for themselves
both are                           -style governments
long-time Korean nationalist
was trying to enlist                help to get the Japanese out of Korea
top-down modernizer
Kim Il-sung
in WWII was in              Red Army
Soviets nominate him to lead the North Korean area
the United States view on Korean split
they are ambivalent about Syngman Rhee
some things they like about him and some things they don't
above all, they don't want him starting a war with North Korea
1948 indeed America decides to draw American forces out of            Korea
America pulls forces out and leave behind a small number of people advising the South Korean army
Soviet Union's view of Korean split
Kim Il-sun repeated              to Stalin to give him the help to launch a decisive invasion to gain control of the whole peninsula
April 1950: Stalin and Kim have decisive meeting in Moscow
we have documentation from this meeting which shows in detail how the Korean war begins
if you are a note-taker for Stalin's meetings, probably one of the              thing to do is to write really careful and                  notes
"the Chinese Communist Party's victory over the Guonmindang has improved the environment for actions in Korea, China has at its disposal troops which can be utilized in Korea, the Chinese victory is also important                               , Americans left China and did not dare to challenge the new Chinese authorities militarily, the prevailing          in America is not to interfere, such a mood is reinforce by the fact that the USSR now has the atomic bomb, the liberation can be started only if the Chinese leadership endorses it"
May 1950: Stalin, Kim, Mao meeting
Mao agrees to support the North Korean move, and has some reciprocal requests he wants from the Soviet Union in return
June 1950: North Korean invades South Korea
June/July 1950: The US backed by      commits to fight in Korea
Stalin had          reasons to think that this would not have been the case
Why did              reverse his position and decide to get involved militarily in Korea?
difference between calculated and axiomatic reasoning
in a calculated reasoning, the US had decided they would not get into a war in Korea
it was the wrong place and time to have a war for many reasons
but when the              actually happened, the analogy and symbolism was strong
it had the same pattern as Hitler in 1938, as the Japanese in 1941
Americans making the decision to return to South Korea and              it had been profoundly marked by WWII and the attacks on Poland and Pearl Harbor and had experienced the US reaction to these events
                    , it felt as though they were being tested again: will you stand up to world-wide aggression or won't you?
drawing from that sense of historical analogy, America                            responded to meet the challenge and defend the cause of freedom in the world
this axiomatic reasoning quickly overrode all the prior, careful reasoning to not get involved in a war in Korea
situation in August 1950:
South Korea is almost entirely               
American with South Korean forces only held a small area in the south          of the country


######################### (1875-1965)
First president of South Korea
  • before WWII, elicited outside help to get the Japanese out of Korea
  • Harvard, Princeton graduate
  • anti-Communist and a strongman
  • led South through the Korean War
######################### (1912-1994)
Leader of North Korea from 1948-1994
  • authorized invasion of South Korean in 1950
  • established an all-pervasive cult of personality
  • succeeded by Kim Jong-Il reigned 1994-2011
  • succeeded by Kim Jong-un in 2011

Spelling Corrections:

1914: Schizophrenic Germany
1914: The Balkan Whirlpool
1914: From Balkan Crisis to War
1914-1916: All War Plans Fail Horribly
The 1916 Missed Opportunity for Peace
WWI Pushes Warring Countries Toward Total States
Why the Allies Won World War One
Post-WWI: Filling the Void of Collapsed Empires
Post-WWI Communism vs. Anti-Communism
Post World War I: The Age of Uncertainty
1910s/1920s: Modern Women
The World of 1930
The 1930s World Crisis
1930s: The Decade of Contingency
America's Entry into World War II
WWII: Strategies for Total War
1945: Hour Zero
Post WWII: Imagining New Countries
Conflicts in Postwar Nation Building
The Two Europes That Emerged After WWII
1947 China: Undesirable Communists vs. Flawed Nationalists
Post WWII: The Age of America
Reasons for the Korean War
How WWIII was Avoided in the Korean War
1950-1952: The Cold War Comes to Main Street
1950-1954: The H-Bomb and the Nuclear Revolution
1950s: Loosening Empires and Building Confederations
The Emergence of the Third World
1958-1962: The World at the Brink
Third World Proxy Wars of the 1950s and 1960s
Managerial States and the Transnational Disruption of 1968
1970s Obstacles to Reducing Cold War Tensions
1970s Democratic Socialism Becomes a Non-Choice
1980s Political Polarization
1980s: Global Capitalism Transformed