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Domestic Pressure Rather Than Events In Asia Governed The U.S.A.'s Intervention In, And Conduct Of, The Conflict In Korea

1658 words - 7 pages

Domestic Pressure Rather than Events in Asia Governed the U.S.A.'s Intervention in, and Conduct of, the Conflict in Korea

On the 25th of June 1950, the communist North Korea (Democratic
Peoples Republic of Korea) invaded the capitalist South Korea
(Republic of Korea). Within two days, USA, the world’s most powerful
country, became involved in a civil war of a small Asiatic country.
One of the main reasons USA became involved in the war were the
domestic pressures Truman administration was under. However, other
factors, such as events in Asia, international pressure and the
concept of the Cold war context governed USA’s involvement and conduct
of the war. ...view middle of the document...

Since increase in military expenditure would undoubtedly
mean increase in taxes, Truman had to come up with a way to implement
the suggestion without committing a political suicide. The Korean War
came just at the right time to help Truman justify the need for NSC
68. It can be argued that this was a significant factor for USA
involvement.

However, taking into account the domestic pressures in the USA, it can
also be argued it was the events in Asia that added fuel to the fire
and made going into Korea necessary for the Americans. The primary
event was the “loss of China” in 1949. This had a tremendous effect on
the American attitude to the Cold War. Truman and his administration
were blamed for “losing” China. Fear that they were losing the Cold
War was taking root. McCarthy’s repeated attacks on the State
Department forced Truman to fire civil servants in charge of China
“old China hands”, ensuring that the new civil servants were far more
aggressive in their outlook. To lose South Korea to an invasion by the
North was unacceptable to America. Its domestic and international
standing depended on their ability to contain communism. Americans
were convinced that failure to protect Korea would mark a subsequent
communist rising in other countries, a concept which would later be
called Domino Theory. USA was particularly concerned with Japan, which
had become America’s ideological, economic and strategic centre in
Asia. In addition, strong communist movements in other Asiatic
countries such as Malaya and Indo-China seemed to confirm USA fears.
Although domestic pressure was important to USA’s involvement, it was
the events in Asia that made those pressures immediate.

There were other reasons for USA involvement. Truman and the UN
countries involved in the Korean War claimed that they were there to
“defend democracy”. A case for this argument can be made since
democratically elected South Korea was being invaded by communist
controlled North Korea. Furthermore, America’s economic interests were
being threatened. Whenever a country becomes communist, USA losses a
trading partner. There was pressure from big business to prevent
communist takeover of any other country. In addition, Truman learned
from the ineffectiveness of the League of Nations and wanted to ensure
that the new United Nations was strong. He also learned that appeasing
aggressors never worked, and in his eyes Kim Il Sung was nothing more
than Stalin’s puppet. And that, arguably, is the most important reason
why USA became involved. Americans saw Korean War in the Cold war
context. To them everything that happened in the world was the result
of the conflict between capitalist and communist. Due to their
monolithic view of Communism, they were convinced that Kim was
fighting on the orders of Stalin. Because of this...

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