Before the Korean War ensued America maintained the reputation of a dominatingly. Successful and unbeatable superpower, an image that was further enhanced by the fact they emerged victorious after their intervention in WWII. Consequently the inability to win the Korean War and the resulting detriments of the war was disquieting for the US, notably by the fact they had not escaped with a decisive victory over a country, which was not of critical interest to them, but merely a pawn to prove they were rigidly anti-communist. This Truman’s government failed to prove to critics. Thus it can be argued regardless of the resulting stalemate and some of the relatively positive effects of the war, the outcome of the Korean War cannot be seen as a true triumph for the USA.
The Korean War did not entirely result in negative consequences for the USA as containment, a policy to halt the extension of communism by containing it in North Korea was achieved, and South Korea was liberated from communism. By their involvement in the Korean War America demonstrated they would not stand by whilst communism expanded, they proved they would help countries against communism and thus seemed loyal and reinforced their image of being against communism. But containment took a lengthy time to be achieved. The policy of containment appeared to go smoothly. But after the successful Inchon landing by MacArthur the policy was converted to rollback. The policy of rollback which was to roll back communism from the Korean peninsula initiated. By the successful Inchon landings to roll back communism from the Korean peninsula. Was highly unsuccessful especially with the intervention of the provoked Chinese. Even when the policy changed abruptly back to containment Macarthur’s crossing of the 38th parallel completely changed the course of the war.
An impressive amount of soldiers from the Chinese Volunteering Army fought in the war and thus it was evident a military victory could not be achieved as the conflict was expanded and culminated in a lengthy ineffectual stalemate. The stalemate ended in June 1953, more than two years later.
Though America may have saved South Korea from communism. The Chinese despite being isolated by America in trade and politics had managed to save North Korea from America and in addition achieved a closer bond with Russia thus for America it was clear their conflict with China was to their adversary Russia’s advantage. China thus became a super power and gained much respect from surrounding Asian countries.
As a result of trying to achieve containment America lost a great amount of soldiers. In fact casualties from the war were very high, with 54,246 soldiers killed a harsh blow to the American people and military spending being $220b between 1951 and 1955. This was an immense amount of money that could not be spent to benefit the American people. The domestic legislation ‘Fair deal’ (the package of reform of social benefits) was blocked as an effect. Due to the NSC-68 being passed the US military production became seven times what it had been before the Korean War. This might have been seen in a positive light because America’s defence was now very superior but in the light that only a very small amount was actually used in Korea, the spending for the increase in production seemed rather pointless.
Some postitve aspects emerged from the War. SEATO was founded and the Nato’s power increased. For the American’s this was a postive consequence, more so as America’s postion as the most powerful superpower was established firmly. When compared to the Europeans the US emerged as the most powerful, as a direct result their economic powers increased too. The war spurred Japan’s industrial recovery and the US’s decision to rearm Japan thus making the country less susceptible to communsim. The end of the war established the trend towards limited war and restraint on weapons was used, which was a relief for those fearing the use of atomic bombs. These effects however were overshadowed by the fact the war’s legacy had a highly negative impact American foreign policy. Presidential powers was increased, though postive for the president, it would prove to be later something that would genrate conflict. The confidence in the CIA descreased as the fact they had failed to provide accurate information in the course of the war was revealed meant much more money had to be invested into for improvement.
Reflecting on the end fo the Korean War it is clear that much problems still remained after America’s retreat. A great amount of South Koreans who had actually been sympathetic or very much indifferent to communism later became firm communists to America’s dismay. This was due to the fact they’d seen their country demolished and a great many of their people killed. Moreover a large number of Chinese troops remained in North Korea until 1958 and later played an increasingly important role in Korean affairs. The outcome of the war dashed all hopes of Korea ever being unified as one country in addition there was an intensification of hostilities between the communist and non communist camps in the ever accelerating East-West arms race.
In conclusion one may argue that the Korean War was indeed a triumph for the Americans but by understanding that there were many limits to this success, one can conclude the triumph was actually very limited in the light of the fact roll back failed and the fact the war resulted in long term negative effects. America proved to its critics that it was still undoubtedly a principal leader of the world but this affirmation was achieved at a great to itself, and surely for the Americans it cannot count as a success.