Wednesday, March 21, 2001
The "Korean War"
Truman's Inconclusive UN Police Action!
By Howard Hobbs Ph.D., Valley Press Media Network
CLOVIS -- Among the wars of the US,
the Korean conflict was the last one in which the US relied entirely upon conventional
strategy, tactics, and weapons. This conflict marked the first limited, inconclusive
conflict in which the American government would deploy a modern version of gunboat
erupted in Korea on June 25, 1950, along the 38th Parallel separating North Korea
from South Korea. At that moment in time, the communist North Korea Army [organized,
equipped and abetted by the Soviet Union] pushed deep into South Korea. The United
Nations' Security Council called called upon member states to do come to
the assistance of South Korea.
The President Harry S. Truman, acting on his own and
without consulting Congress sent in US military forces under the command of Gen.
Douglas MacArthur. Twenty other nations would follow suite, 15 sending combat
troops, five providing medical support.
For the first time in its history, the UN authorized
establishment of a multinational force, flying the UN banner, to repel communist
aggression with MacArthur as Commander-in-Chief, United Nations Command.
In the meantime, the North Korean offensive drove the defenders to the southeast
corner of the Korea peninsula.
There, the Pusan perimeter was established and, reinforced
by U.S. armed forces divisions, held in bitter battle after bitter battle. The
stout defense made possible a brilliantly conceived amphibious landing at Inchon,
which enveloped the overextended North Korean Army and recaptured the capital
city of Seoul. UN forces advanced north to compel capitulation of the aggressor
and set the stage for the long-delayed reunification of the Korean people.
Massive intervention of the Chinese Communist Forces
in November 1950 profoundly altered the nature of the war. UN troops were at the
disadvantage in numbers and Americans had no cold weather gear for combat in subzero
UN forces retreated to a line well south of Seoul, regrouped
and, by March 1951, had fought back to the 38th Parallel.
In April and May, Chinese launched successive major offenses
to drive UN forces from the peninsula. The offensive was repelled at staggering
cost to the Chinese. With the battle line again astride the pre-invasion boundary
-- proof that aggression had failed -- negotiations were initiated to terminate
Opposing forces remained locked in combat, at great loss
of American lives, for the next two years while the Military Armistice Agreement,
effective July 27, 1953, was filled out. President Eisenhower declared, "We have
won an armistice on a single battleground, not peace in the world," capturing
the sense that the Korean War was the beginning of a longer Cold War that
would be waged again.
In the absence of a political settlement, the agreement
still regulates the de facto boundary between two Koreas.
The war’s consequences extended well beyond Korea and
were measured by dramatic changes to the shape of post-World War II national security
The Congress vowed that America would not be caught "off-guard"
again and would maintain multi-service forces of requisite power to deter Soviet
aggression at all levels.
NATO political and military components were strengthened
greatly, making it the principal instrument for maintaining the security and confidence
of Western Europe.
Collective security arrangements were forged by bilateral and
multilateral treaties with the free nations of Asia. Encouraged by substantial
U.S. presence and aid, the treaties ensured the stability and forward progress
of the entire Pacific Rim.
When the guns fell silent over the war-torn Korean peninsula,
the final tally evidenced cost
beyond measure in life, limb and material treasure. Many questioned the need
for U.S. involvement.
[Editor's Note: Go to the eye-witness
photographic essay of the Korean War.]
Letter to the
©2001 Clovis Free Press. All rights reserved.