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Vol. 17  No. 21 Final Edition
Clovis Free Press

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 diplomacy.
   The Forgotten War! War 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 weather.
     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 armed hostilities.
     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 policy.
    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 Editor

©2001 Clovis Free Press. All rights reserved.

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