Explain the causes of the Korean War
The Korean War began in 1950 when Communist North Korea crossed the 38th parallel into Capitalist South Korea, however, it was not just an ordinary civil war, it involved 3 of the world’s biggest superpowers of the time, USA, China and Russia. Ultimately, their fight was indirectly played out in this small country. However, the main causes of the war can be debated. The cause of the war can be traced back to 1945 when the war ended and Korea was split between the USSR and the USA by the 38th parallel, a vote was meant to be held throughout the whole of Korea about who the people wanted as their leader in order to re-unify Korea, however, the USSR pulled their side out of this vote because they feared the country would choose Capitalism and it would push back their fight to spread communism to other countries. If the USSR had taken part in this vote then it is possible the country would have been united and the war would have never happened. Historian Peter Lowe supports this view saying that each of the major players hoped only hoped to ‘improve their international position’ by fighting in Korea. It can be argued that the main cause of the Korean War was that North Korea invaded South Korea because, although there had been a fairly equal amount of raids venturing across the border from each side, this was the first time a major attack crossing the 38th parallel had been pursued, it was completely unexpected. It can be described as the catalyst for all the events that followed, if the north hadn’t attacked, the USA would not have got involved and neither would China. This is the view of historian James Patterson and of historian Peter Lowe who believes that although the USA, China and the USSR did play roles in the war, the blame falls onto Kim Il Sung (North Korea) and Syngman Rhee (South Vietnam) and Korea in context was a civil war. However questions can be raised about this view, why would North Korea suddenly launch an...
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