Division of South Korea

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Dr. Bob, Oct 28, 2004.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Anyone understand the WHY of 38th parallel? At the close of WWII still hundreds of thousands of Japanese in China, Manchuria, Korea, etc. Russia enters the war with a week to go and we allow them to "occupy" Manchuria and N Korea.

    This makes no sense. Why did we just send a few troops up the peninsula and accept the surrender and reestablish a unified nation?

    We KNEW what the Ruskies were doing in Eastern Europe by this time (4 months earlier) in their "sphere of influence". Why did we abandon land to the Soviets?
     
  2. billwald

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    It was the approx front line when the truce was agred to.
     
  3. rsr

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    Under the Yalta agreements, China, the Soviet Union and the United states would share "trusteeship" of Korea when the Japanese surrendered. So Americans accepted south of the 38th, the Soviets north. (The 38th, like so many other things, was an arbitrary line and more or less cut the country in half.) That was the arrangement, which was intended to be temporary.

    Truthfully, I don't think Americans gave it that much thought; they didn't really have an interest in Korea (it was much more important to keep the bear's paws off of Japan) and had no deep historical relationship with Korea.
     
  4. Dr. Bob

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    What truce? We're talking end of WWII and Japan still controled all of Korea at that time, right?
     
  5. CoachC

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    Also we viewed Chiang Kai Shek as the ruler of China at this point. I don't doubt that we gave Chiang to much credit for being able to influence events. It sure didn't work out the best that it could have for the Kuomintang.
     
  6. Stratiotes

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    Its one of the great "whys?" of history - why did we give away so much to the Soviets when we knew what they were? Why did we stand by and do little to help the Hungarians in their late 1950's uprising?

    Perhaps in the case of splitting Korea we were just so flush with victory that we never dreamed any other nation could possibly be a threat to us if we chose later to change our minds. Perhaps there were plans to influence elections in the north and perhaps the Soviets promised elections - they often made such promises.
     
  7. billwald

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    "Under the Yalta agreements, China, the Soviet Union and the United states would share "trusteeship" of Korea when the Japanese surrendered."

    The Koreans were not a party to Yalta.

    Korean War began 1950 or so.
     
  8. mioque

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    "why did we give away so much to the Soviets when we knew what they were?"
    "
    Roosevelt seems to have had a bit of a blind spot when it came to Stalin, underestimating the man's evil. Josef seems to have been a true psychopath and those are often very good at being superficially charming. Churchill on the other hand seems to have known exactly what he was up against, but he was also a very cynical realpolitiker when push came to shove.
     
  9. mioque

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    billwald
    Korea had already been cut in halve prior to the Korean war. The fight between North-Korea+Communist China vs. the UN only kept the status quo intact.
     
  10. Stratiotes

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    Yalta as Versailles before it, ignored the lesser powers and made decisions for them. Korea was not represented at Yalta but its fate, as the fate of many other "lesser" powers, was in essence determined at Yalta (if not previously in Versailles) without their input. Which is part of what led to further conflict in and of itself there and other places - Veitnam, Iraq/Kuwait, Israel/Arab, come to mind.
     

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