Two American Setbacks

Two American Setbacks - Kimberly Zhang "Two American...

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Kimberly Zhang “Two American Setbacks” Reading Korean War (1950-53) 1. Korea after the Japanese surrender on August 15, 1945 a. US was able to occupy Korea south of 38 th parallel without military action i. Suspicious that Russians might attempt to seize whole peninsula ii. Americans moved from Okinawa in September iii. American commander thought that he could act through Japanese authorities iv. Koreans found intolerable the continuance if office of a colonial government which had oppressed them for decades and from which the Allies were supposed to be liberating them v. General MacArthur quickly ordered that Japanese officials must be removed from office, but damage was done b. Russia treatment of Japanese was different i. Russians disarmed Japanese soldiers and arrested colonial officials ii. Entrusted day-to-day administration to Korean politicians but formed provisional government under chairmanship of Kim Il-song in February 1946 c. To Koreans, Russians seemed reasonable but Americans were detested by public for replacing Japanese with their long-serving collaborators 2. May 1950 election results a. Russia had withdrawn troops, but continued to train and supply Kim Il-sung’s army (135,000 men, better equipped than South Korea’s force) b. Bellicose pronouncements of South Korean president connected with his unpopularity i. Second general election of May 1950 for National Assembly, Syngman Rhee’s party secured only 56/310 contested seats c. Following month, Kim decided to exploit Syngman Rhee’s political problems by invading South Korea i. Believed that he could move so fast that no American reinforcement would be able to arrive in time to save opponent 3. UN and South Korean forces pushed back to Pusan at southern tip of South Korea
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a. North Kroeans achieved complete strategic and tactical surprise; drove southwards almost unopposed b. UN and South Korean force had 95,000 men remaining around Pusan c. For six weeks, Pusan subject to attack by day and night until the effort to break through the defenses exhausted North Korean strength
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Two American Setbacks - Kimberly Zhang "Two American...

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