The USA emerged from WWII as the dominant Western, democratic superpower. She quickly established for herself a role as world policeman, and defender of the “free world”. When, on June 25th 1950, Communist North Korean forces invaded the South of the country, the USA was quick to step in, and with UN support and approval, sent in military forces to restore the balance. However, it is questionable whether moral principles were the only reason for America’s involvement in the Korean War, or whether perhaps the Truman administration had other validation for such a huge scale military campaign.
Although the USA and USSR had been allied in WWII, US-Soviet relations quickly disintegrated after the War. An enduring political and ideological divide emerged between the democratic capitalist governments of the Western world, and the Communist governments of the East. As Soviet troops liberated Eastern Europe from Nazi occupation, the USSR supported the establishment of Communist governments in nations like Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The USA interpreted this as an aggressive invasion, which effectively constituted empire building. In order to stem the red tide of Communism across Europe, the USA poured billions of dollars of investment into Western Europe through the Marshall Plan. The Truman doctrine was set out, outlining America’s intentions to stop the spread of Communism, and a policy of Containment materialized. The USA did not make any attempt to “liberate” Communist countries, but was determined to make sure that Communism did not spread any further. The USA did all she could to protect Western Europe, but little action was taken in other areas, such as SE Asia.
The conflict in Vietnam between the years of 1945 and 1975 was a nationalist struggle for independence. The Vietnam War developed as a sequel to the struggle in 1946-1954 between the French, who were the colonial rulers of Indo-China before World War II, and the Communist-led Vietminh, established and led by Ho Chi Minh. In 1950 the New Chinese Communist Government and the USSR supplied Ho Chi ...
Despite initial successes in securing Europe after the War, by 1949, the international situation was weakening once more. In August 1949, the USSR exploded its first atomic bomb, years before American prediction anticipated. In September, Communist forces led by Mao Tse-tung pushed back the Chinese Nationalist army, led by Chiang Kai-shek forcing them to flee to Formosa. The USA had had high hopes for China’s emergence as another non-Communist superpower, which was one of the major reasons for allowing her a permanent position on the Security Council of the United Nations when it was established, and her fall to Communism was seen as a major blow.
In America, the domestic situation was also deteriorating, with public approval for the Truman administration waning. A series of high profile spy scandals, like that of Alger Hiss, were reported in the press. It also became clear that the USSR’s rapid progress in mastering atomic energy had been aided by information gathered by spies from the US nuclear program. Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy, grabbed the headlines by declaring in early 1950 that the Truman administration was infiltrated by Communist agents and sympathizers. A modern-day witch-hunt broke out, with widespread panic ensuing. Anti-communist feeling intensified and many people, especially the Republican opposition, claimed that the government was not being tough enough on Communism, especially in Asia.
The situation in the Far East and SE Asia was of great concern during the late 1940s and into 1950. In China, Mao’s Communist army had claimed a victory, and seemed to be gathering its strength before a final push to crush Chiang’s nationalist army, who were cornered on the island of Formosa. The USA, sensing his imminent defeat, had stopped all aid to Chiang, provoking a furious response from the Republicans who refused to abandon China completely to Communism. They called for aid to be resumed, and for the US Pacific Fleet to protect Formosa from Chinese invasion. In Japan, the USA was developing a peace treaty, which would grant the US military bases on Japan. However, opposition from the Japanese Communist Party, and even more moderate Japanese politicians was threatening this aspect of the agreements. America risked losing her closest air bases to the Eastern Soviet Union. Meanwhile, in Vietnam, the French were struggling to put down a Communist/Nationalist rebellion led by Ho Chi Minh.
The downside of this system is the producers coming together and forming a monopoly and charging unreasonably high price. Economists have also for long argued whether essential areas like education, health care, road and rail, defence etc should be allowed as free enterprise. Here is the summary of the second economic choice for the USA. Resources are owned and controlled by individuals Economic ...
The situation in Korea was also problematic. Like much of SE Asia, Korea had been liberated from the Japanese at the end of the War, and had consequently been divided along the 38th parallel to form two separate zones. This was intended to be a temporary measure, to be resolved after it became clear how to unify the country, but the new border quickly became a permanent divide. In the southern Republic of Korea, the USA established a government under Syngman Rhee, and American troops occupied the region. In the north, the Russians established a Communist puppet government, and also sent in their own troops. By 1950, both the USA and Russia had withdrawn their troops, but continued to give military aid to their respective zones.
In the Republic of Korea, Rhee turned out to be something of an embarrassment. He led an inflexible right-wing regime with little support from the Korean people. Over the space of a few years, he had effectively begun to impose totalitarian rule. In April 1950, the US Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, insisted that Rhee hold free elections. As a result, Rhee’s party only received 48 seats; whist left-wing parties received 120. The new Korean government began pressing for unification of Korea, under North Korean terms. Rhee’s government was on the verge of collapse.
In the meantime, in January 1950, Truman had authorized the drafting of “an overall review and re-assessment of American foreign policy” in the light of developments in the Cold War. By April of the same year, a National Security Council report, number 68 had been returned to the President. NSC 68 was the first clear definition of the policy America intended to follow for the duration of the Cold War. It gave concrete form to the Truman Doctrine, and outlined the intention to contain Communism. It advocated a massive build-up in the American armed forces with the aim of discouraging any further Soviet expansion, and defined America’s intended role as a protector of the “free world” from Communist insurgence.
Military Governments Charles Aquino Political Science 1/14/97 Military governments have been around since the days of feudalism. Itis the oldest and most common political state. According to Shively, a military government is one in which a group of officers use their troops to take over the governmental apparatus and run it themselves. Military governments are usually weak in appeasing the masses ...
Truman did not allow publication of NSC 68 when he received it. The main reason for this was that the plans for implementing NSC 68 would be hugely expensive, and would entail an unprecedented military expenditure for times of peace. He was aware that he only had two and a half years left of his term, whilst NSC 68 represented a much more long-term commitment. Truman also doubted that he could gain congressional or public support for the plans without some kind of major crisis to force the issue.
In June 1950, just such a crisis presented itself: in Korea. North Korean forces led by Kim Il-sung crossed the 38th parallel and invaded the South. The American response was swift. The very next day, America pushed a resolution through the UN Security Council condemning North Korea as an aggressor and proposing immediate military action to aid the Republic of Korea in pushing the invaders back into their own zone. This resolution was not vetoed by the USSR, because they were boycotting the UN over the refusal by America to acknowledge the Communist government of China and allow Mao to take over Chiang’s seat on the Security Council. The President made a speech extending the Truman Doctrine to SE Asia and announced that the USA would provide military aid to the Republic of Korea, the French in Indochina, and the Philippines. Shortly afterwards, American forces were sent to Korea to fight in the ensuing war.
In 1950, the position of the Truman administration was far from secure. It faced many problems, from many different sources. When the Korean crisis occurred, Truman was quick to realize that it provided him with the perfect opportunity to strengthen his government’s position. US military involvement could potentially resolve the political crisis in South Korea, and deal with Rhee’s problematic regime. It would give America a genuine reason for keeping her air bases on Japan, and show the Republican opposition that the Truman administration was not soft on Communism in Asia. Military involvement would make the policy of Containment a reality, and crucially, could secure the funding needed for NSC 68. What’s more, because the USSR wouldn’t veto the decision, Truman saw that he could do all this with UN approval, and thus keep the moral high ground. America did not get involved in Korea for purely altruistic reasons. For the American government to be prepared to spend so much money on full-scale military involvement; there were undoubtedly predicted benefits for the USA and the Truman administration.
I. Introduction: In this paper, I will discuss the measures that the Republic of Korea’s (addressed as South Korea from here on out) government took in trying accomplishing economic development despite its several economic and political upheavals. I will, specifically, review the economic growth and institutions established in South Korea beginning in the 1950s, the process of democratization in ...