Following World War II, tensions in the form of a Cold War between American and Democratic allies and the Soviet and Communist allies mounted. As part of the terms of the surrender of the Axis powers, Japan lost its colony of Korea. This colony was then divided along the 38th parallel. Thus, North and South Korea were born. Russia would control North Korea, which was led by communist Kim Il Sung. A conservative nationalist, Syngman Rhee, with the help of the UN, remained in control of South Korea. It can be said that the Korean War was a result of global diplomatic conflicts between the Communist and Democratic governments.
However, contrary to the prevailing view of the 1950’s, North Korea actually invaded its Southern counterpart without consulting the Soviet Union or China, a militant move independent of its future allies. In response to this attack, Truman offered a continuation of his containment policy to a special UN conference. All in all, 19 countries became involved in the war on South Korea’s side, with the United States pledging a majority of the troops in the fighting. Soviet Russia quickly aided North Korea with weapons and troops that in return was complemented by a number of volunteer’ Chinese who crossed over the border during the fighting. Throughout the war, the borderline between the two Koreas would fluctuate just as often as would a seesaw, but eventually an armistice would be called when the border remained just slightly above the 38th parallel, in which it would become stationary. The installment of two adversary governments in the same original country in such close proximity to each other probably was not the smartest of the post-war terms of surrender.
A number of lessons were learned from the Korean War. For one, the United States learned some modesty. After subsequent wins in the two world wars and Spanish American War, it became the first time there was no clear outcome in a US war. Though not a decisive loss, it did terminate the formulation of the idea that the United States is invincible, an idea that led to the complete destruction of such civilizations as the Romans. Once again it was reviewed that war is hell. The United States witnessed 150,000 casualties and South Korea conceived 1,300,000 casualties. The combined loss of the Communists was equally great, if not worse. They sustained close to 2 million casualties together. The land of North Korea was decimated due to the frequent bombing of the UN’s B-52’s, another terrible manifestation of war. Truman could be considered an achiever in view of his acknowledgement that Cold War battles can be fought without the initiation of the next world war.
He was successful in containing Communism in Southeast Asia, without escalating the conflict to something that involved the whole world. Truman also learned that in times of crisis, he would be able to justify actions that would never pass had there been no war. In this way Truman was able to expand the military, give funding to the team that invented the B-52 bomber, and relocate thousands of troops to overseas bases. It is evident though, that the separate governments of democracy and communism have yet to learn peace. Even during the signing of the armistice, nothing but suspicion existed and passed between the two governments. The Communists claimed that the UN, specifically the United States, used germ warfare on their POW’s, claims which never were confirmed. We ourselves accused the communists of performing gruesome atrocities on our own captured personnel. Overall, war is a learning experience.