The Korean War

Korean History Essay

May 22, 2020 at Superb Free History Essays Online

The Korean War (1950-1953)

Causes of the Korean War

I think that the Korean War is the event that had the most lasting impact on Korean society. The origins of this war can be traced back to 1910 when Japan took control of Korea and ruled the country until the end of World War II. As the Japanese surrendered to the allies at the end of World War II, the USSR and the United States agreed to temporarily occupy Korea and divided it into two zones. The South was occupied by the U.S. while the North was under Soviet rule. As there was no permanent government in Korea, the USSR and the United States installed a temporary one. The Cold War became one of the main causes of the Korean War because the relations between the U.S. and the USSR worsened leading to a conflict. In 1950, North Korea backed by the USSR, and China invaded South Korea.

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As a result, the U.S. intervened to assist South Korea (Cumings, 2010). Moreover, China became a communist country, and the U.S. wanted to stop the spread of communism. This conflict escalated into the Korean War. During the war, the USSR provided military hardware while China sent combat troops directly to North Korea. The U.S. provided military personnel to South Korea as well. Although the U.S. did not directly attack China during the war, the confrontation between these two countries provoked an increase in their existing nuclear arsenals (Cumings, 2011).

Effects of the Korean War on the Population

Due to the Korean War, approximately two million Koreans died, thousands of Korean families were ruined, and many people were declared missing (Cumings, 2010). The Koreans feel its effects and consequences even today. The war-affected both the physical and mental health of Koreans. In addition, the war caused the flood of refugees who did not manage to return to their original homes.


The Korean War had severe effects on children too. Many children, who had been separated from their families, did not manage to reunite with their parents and relatives after the war (Cumings, 2010). The family bonds of many Koreans were destroyed. People did not know whether their families were still alive. Consequently, they experienced psychological traumas and needed counseling.

Effects of the Korean War on the Economy

Positive effects. The Korean War had a positive effect on the economic development of South Korea. After the war, South Korea gained political freedom and was able to design its own way of developing the economy. Some strategies used by South Korea to improve its economy, like the education of local people, are even adopted by modern Koreans. Despite the fact that the economy of Korea is not among the best economies in the world, it is much better than economies of countries that were stable before the Korean War (Cumings, 2010).

Unlike their compatriots in North Korea, after the war, the South Koreans decided to take effective measures and develop their economy despite some challenges like the lack of infrastructure. To improve their economy, they decided to base it on manpower. The South Koreans concentrated on manufacturing just like most Asian countries. Due to the export of many goods to other foreign countries, their economy started to grow. The country also developed the education section, which led to the emergence of high-tech industry and biotechnology. Currently, the economy of the country is stable and strong. Like the economies of many developed countries, the South Korean economy is a free market. Therefore, people benefit much since they can start their own businesses. LG and Samsung are some of the companies created in South Korea (Cumings, 2010).

Negative effects. Unlike South Korea, North Korea decided to stick to communism. This led to a slow economic recovery in the area. During the Korean War, the United States dropped many bombs on North Korea obliterating much of its agricultural land. Due to the constant bombing, famine struck and people, including educated Koreans, emigrated from the area. The brain drain caused a slump in the economy, which is evident even at the present time. The economy of the country has never fully recovered after the Korean War. Recent reports show that the North Koreans still suffer from food shortages and slow economic growth (Cumings, 2010).

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The Assessment of the Effects of the Korean War

After three years of bloodshed, China, the U.S., and North, as well as South Korea, signed an armistice (Cumings, 2010). The Korean War left North and South Korea separated by the Korean Demilitarized Zone. The consequences of the war are still fresh and visible even today. Both North and South Koreans will never forget this war as it took the lives of many people and ruined thousands of families. Although the war allowed South Korea to improve its economy, its negative impacts outweighed positive ones.

An Argument to Convince the King to Prepare for the War

According to emissaries, the Japanese are going to attack Joseon and seize it. If they conquer us, they will take the kingdom and you will not be the king anymore. To avoid this, we need to unite and fully prepare for the war to protect our territory and citizens. If we do not take any measures right now, the Japanese will kill our people, including innocent children. Many families will be ruined. Moreover, if they win this war, they will make us their slaves or prisoners. As a high-ranking official, I am sure that the Joseon navy and other military forces have enough power and strength to defeat the Japanese and save our people. The military and diplomatic steps that will help to repel the Japanese invasion are presented below.

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Militarily Steps to Repel the Japanese Invasion

To stop the Japanese attack, I propose the following military steps. Firstly, it is necessary to organize militias, appoint experienced commanders, and send them to the borders to not allow the enemy to enter our country unnoticed. Secondly, we must send groups of approximately one thousand soldiers to different parts of the country to be ready to repel the attack of Japanese divisions in any place. Thirdly, we must employ some defense strategies. The first one is to make the enemy concentrate in the confined region where my soldiers will have more chances to defeat it. The second step is a boxing maneuver, a strategy used to attack the enemy on all sides. The third good strategy is fortification. I will construct semi-permanent defensive structures to protect my units. The fourth effective step is using the Fabian strategy to overcome enemy forces. This strategy will allow us to wear down our opponents by avoiding frontal assaults or pitched battles. After my troops reduce the enemy’s power, they will advance and try to destroy anything that might be useful to the enemy. This strategy is called scorched earth. Military withdrawal is a final step I will take. I will order my soldiers to retreat while maintaining contact with the enemy. All the above-mentioned strategies are extremely effective and will help our country to stop the Japanese invasion.

Diplomatic Steps to Repel the Japanese Invasion

There are various approaches used in resolving international problems and disputes. One of the approaches that I will use in negotiations. After I get the news that the Japanese are planning to attack Joseon, I will send someone to their camp and request peaceful negotiations. I think these negotiations will help to reach an agreement and avoid the war. I will urge the Japanese to adhere to international law. However, if negotiations do not have any positive results, I will submit our dispute to arbitration.

One more diplomatic technique that may help to repel the Japanese invasion is an international conference. I will organize a conference and invite several states to help us to resolve the conflict. Japanese representatives will also be present. The decision of the participants will be based on the principles of global fairness, protocol, and logic.

Jang-ga-ganda and Shijip-ganda


Jang-ga-ganda represents the Koryo period that lasted from 918 until 1392. In the early tenth century, the King named Silla decided to abdicate the throne and later married the daughter of General Wang Kon, who established the Koryo dynasty. Some of the social changes that occurred during that period included the introduction of the bureaucratic system that replaced the aristocratic one. Moreover, the civil service examination system was employed to appoint the most qualified officials. Another social change that was experienced during this period was the adoption of the Chinese culture as local authorities had good relations with China. In addition, the country was often attacked by the Mongols; therefore, the Mongol culture had a great influence on the Koryo one. In 1392, Confucian scholar General Yi Song-Gye overthrew the shaky Koryo dynasty and founded his own one. This led to the end of the Koryo period and the beginning of the Choson period (Peterson & Margulies, 2010).


Shijip-ganda represents the Choson period that began in 1392. It was the longest period in Korean history. The Koryo dynasty suffered from many internal problems, and General Yi Song-Gye took effective measures to solve them and secure the power of the new dynasty. During the previous period, most of the land was owned by some rich bureaucrats. As a result, people were dissatisfied with that situation and wanted to change it. General Yi Song-Gyethe redistributed the land to local people and officials. There were many other changes during the Choson period. During the reign of the fourth monarch, King Sejong, the Korean script known as hangul was invented (Deuchler & Haboush, 2001).

After Sejong, less influential men ruled the dynasty. In the fifteenth century, the country experienced some difficulties. Succession to the throne caused many fierce struggles, especially when the ruler did not leave an heir who was mature enough to rule the kingdom. During this period, members of the elite yangban class often quarreled over minor issues. The other cause of difficulties was the emergence of factional groups that started vying for authority. Corruption became commonplace among the top officials of the country. Royal relatives as well as members of powerful factions increased their landholdings. There was not a good government that would properly rule the country and effectively uses its sources. In addition, the Japanese attacked the region in the late fifteenth century. These attacks turned much of the land that was previously used for farming into waste. However, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Korean people managed to recover from Japanese attacks and restore the fertility of the land. Therefore, agriculture began to develop again. The Choson period lasted up to 1910 (Duncan, 2000).

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