Tammie has taught elementary school for 14 yrs. and holds an MA in Instructional Technology
Two Worldviews Clash
It was a fight based on two different worldviews. One worldview refers to the creation of a government elected by the people. We call this democracy. The other worldview refers to the creation of a government by one party that controls everything. We call this communism.
It was a fight that took many by surprise, and a fight that many thought was necessary to stop communism from overtaking the world. Welcome to the causes of the Korean War.
The End of World War II
To understand the reasons for the Korean War, we have to travel back in time to the end of World War II. One thing you must understand is that in every war, there are winners and losers.
In WWII, one of the losers was Japan. Two of the winners were the United States and the Soviet Union, which were part of the Allied forces that fought together against Japan. When the Japanese surrendered to the Allies in 1945, they were forced to give up some of the territories they owned. Korea, which had been under Japanese control since 1910, was one of these territories.
Now that the Allies had control of Korea, what were they supposed to do with it?
To understand why Korea was divided into two countries - North and South - you have to look back to World War II again. Because Japanese troops occupied Korea, the Soviets moved into Korea from the north, while the Americans moved in from the south. At the end of the war, it was decided that the Soviets would maintain control of northern Korea and the Americans would maintain control of southern Korea. This sharing of control was only supposed to be a temporary fix.
However, two worldviews were about to clash, and Korea was the land where the fight would take place!
Remember the worldviews discussed previously? Communism and democracy are two worldviews that are opposite of each other. One puts the power into the hands of the government - this is communism. While the other puts the power into the hands of the people - this is democracy. The Soviets had a communist government, while the Americans had a democratic government. Can you see how this would cause a problem in Korea?
This time period in history, when two worldviews were clashing, became known as the Cold War era. The Soviets and Americans were the strongest powers in this fight, and their relationship was not on good terms. Neither side wanted the other to grow more powerful, and Korea became the first battleground of this great clash.
Korean War Begins
On June 25, 1950, North Korea, under communist control, invaded South Korea. The South Korean army was pushed back, and the area began to be overrun by the North. Within two days, American President Harry S. Truman ordered American forces to join the fight and defend the South Koreans. In President Truman's own words: ''If we let Korea down, the Soviets will keep right on going and swallow up one place after another.''
The Korean War started because of a clash between two worldviews: communism and democracy. The division of Korea into communist-controlled North Korea and American-backed South Korea saw this clash explode into an all-out war for control. It was the beginning of the Cold War period, a time when both sides feared the spread of the other.
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