Tag Archives: South Korea

Harry Truman: What We Can Learn From The Man From Missouri [20]

Defend Your Allies Vigorously: North Korea attacked South Korea in 1949. Kim Il Sung wanted to crush the south. The republic of South Korea at the 38th parallel was chiefly agricultural while North Korea was purely industrial. Korea is an extremely small country. The NKPA (North Korean People’s Army) was marching south to conquer the entire peninsula. In the summer of 1949, the UN (mostly US army) fought and fell back. The equipment could not prevent the USSR tanks from crossing the line. It was a dark chapter but the UN and South Koreas held down the south. McArthur was responsible for the UN army. Truman called for 60,000 men to South Korea. Truman had to ask how they could afford to defend Korea with only 10 divisions after years of cutbacks in the military. Truman didn’t want to commit everyone to Korea or he might leave US susceptible to attack. Truman didn’t like McArthur’s ridiculousness. McArthur had a heroic standing. The UN forces appeared in Korea under the international flag: a testament to the emerging international law.

What We Can Learn From Truman Part XXI

Fortune Favours The Brave: MacArthur was certain that China and Russia would not intervene in Korea. He wanted to win the war with one bold stroke but Truman feared that this proxy war could explode into WWIII. MacArthur eyed invading North Korea and to continue beyond. MacArthur began to intervene in public policy. MacArthur said that Chang High Chek and Formosa needed to be defended he felt it was not fair that this would be unfair to Asians. Truman fired Johnson and nominated Marshall. MacArthur wanted an amphibian assault in Northern Korea at Inchon. It was the riskiest proposal because of the coastal mud and cliff-faces. Montcalm was defeated in Quebec by Wolfe’s climbing of the Quebec City walls; this was a similar situation to MacArthur’s Inchon. Ultimately, MacArthur’s Inchon invasion was a success. The causalities were very high, however. In 11 days Seoul was retaken. Half the North Korean army was split in a pincher movement. It was a military miracle. The question was then whether to cross the 39th parallel. MacArthur wanted a hot pursuit of the North Koreans. The excitement of victory against North Koreas engulfed MacArthur’s already shaky judgement. He believed that basic military action says that you should chase your defeated enemy until they are destroyed. Underpressure, MacArthur was authorized to invade North Korea. MacArthur was not to cross into China, however. Carrying north was risky: a) Chinese intervention b) winter.