Origins of Korean WarKorean War started on the 25th June 1950, but do you know how and why it happened? When someone mentions the Korean War, everyone knows that it was a civil war between the North and the South Korea. But, do you know the origin of how it actually got started? There are lot of things that happened, before the North Koreans decided to cross over the 38th parallel. Korean civil war was just a small part of the whole war. The war also included more then just Koreans. What people don’t know is that there were other countries that took a huge part in the start of the Korean War such as Japan, China, Russia, and United States.
In the nineteenth century, Korea was just a small peasant society that paid tribute to the Chinese. This small Korean society was nothing more then a part of an inward-looking pre-capitalist Chinese world (MacDonald 3). But when the Russia and Japanese imperialism made a huge effect on the China, Korea was able to come out of its isolation. By the end of the century, Korea had become a prize in a three-way contest between China, Russia and Japan.
In 1894, Japan defeated China, thus eliminating them from the contest. Then in 1905, Japan defeated Russia, making them the dominant power in Korea. In 1910, Japan took over Korea and made them into a Japanese colony. As soon as Korea became a Japanese colony, Korea became the Japans expansion into the Northeast Asia. Though Japan tried to pursue a program of modernization, Japans rule was generally unpopular.
This created a Korean group called KPG. KPG was a Korean Provisional Government in Shanghai in 1921. This was a self-constructed group that later came to be known as the main source of resistance to Japanese rule in 1930. Man named Kim Il Sung was one of the members of the KPG who stood out amongst the rest. He later becomes the president of North Korea.
After struggling for forty years as a Japanese colony, Korea now had to struggle as a pawn in the newly created Cold War (Hastings 25). The Americans decided to land troops to occupy Korea at the end of the war as soon as they found out that the Russia was interested in overtaking the Korea as their sphere of interest. A Soviet Unions occupying Korea would create and entirely new strategic situation in the Far East. Though Pentagon decided that interest towards Korea was not going to be a long-term interest to the US, their view changed drastically within three weeks.
Washington’s view of both the desirability and feasibility to deny at least a small part of Korea changed. On August 10, 1945, dropping of the Nagasaki bomb finalized the participation of the US occupation in Korea. Unexpected by the United States, Soviet Union agreed to accept the 38th parallel as their limit of advance(Hastings 27). Russia and United States met in Potsdam and decided that it would be for the best if they were to accept the surrender of the Japanese forces in Korea by dividing the country at the 38th parallel. This event took place during the summer of 1945.
As in Europe, 38th parallel became permanent, violating the US and Russia’s sphere of interest. Russia and the US tried to define the parameters of change, only to find out that they both supported the different sides. While Russia took the left, US took the alliance with the right. This placed the conservatives in control of the security device that was granted by the defeated Japanese. Russia accepted the Japanese surrender in August, and United States accepted the Japanese surrender in September.
Through this, Korea had unexpectedly found themselves separated. North Korea was now set up to work as an satellite state for China and South Korea was to become a free nation prepared by the United States. By the year of 1950, the North Korea People’s Army was trained and equipped by the Soviet Union. North Koreans were now heavily trained and now had an aggressive military force. They were well equipped with Russian small arms, artillery, armor, and propeller-driven fighter aircraft(Knox 3).