Korean War (1950-1953)

In Asia, however, it was not that easy to check spreading of communism. American troops established a presence in the southern part of the Korean peninsula, but as the Soviets sent troops into Korea, they began cutting roads and communications at the 38th parallel. Soon, two separate governments emerged, as Korea began to resemble the divided Germany. In the elections, the South elected Syngman Rhee as president, but the Soviet-backed North was ruled by Kim Il Sung. After the United States withdrew its forces from the peninsula, Northern Korean armed forces crossed the 38th parallel in 1950. Truman hoped to build a broad coalition against the aggressors from the North by asking support from the United Nations. Of course, the Soviet Union could have vetoed any proposed action by the UN´s Security Council. But the Soviets were just boycotting the Security Council for refusing to admit Red China into the United Nations and as a result, the Council voted to repel the attack of North Korea. Northern troops were taken by surprise and quickly pushed back far beyond the 38th Parallel up to the Yalu River, which borders China. The commander of the UN forces was Douglas MacArthur who saw an opportunity to create a complete indivisible Korea. However, over 400,000 Chinese soldiers soon flooded across the Yalu River. In 1949, Mao Tse-tung had established a communist dictatorship in China, and the Chinese now tried to aide the communists in northern Korea. American troops were once again forced below the 38th Parallel. General MacArthur´s intention was to escalate the war and bomb the Chinese mainland and blockade their coast. Truman disagreed as he feared the conflict could lead to World War III, especially if the nuclear-armed Soviet Union would assist China. Meanwhile, the war evolved into a stalemate, with the front line corresponding more or less to the 38th Parallel. Ceasefire negotiations followed for two more years, when finally, in 1953, an armistice was signed at Panmunjom. North Korea remained under communist control, and South Korea remained under the control of USA.